June 2002 August
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 July comment argues in favour of non-advertising funded public broadcasting..
RNW June comment considers when consolidation efficiencies cross the line into abuses of power.
RNW May comment looks at the future for Internet streaming.
2002-07-31: UK Capital Radio breakfast host Chris Tarrant may be going to quit the post that he has held for 15 years according to British newspaper reports.
The UK Guardian says Capital has admitted publicly that it is talking to him about new projects and adds that it has been an open secret for some time that he wants to leave the show.
The paper says that Andria Vidler, the managing director of the Capital FM network has said in an internal memo that the group is discussing other projects with Tarrant who has a GBP1 million a year contract and she told the paper," Chris is contracted until the end of 2003 and we are currently discussing a number of programme options with him. These discussions have not yet been concluded and no final decision has been reached"
The paper adds that analysts believe Tarrant is contracted to work the breakfast show until December this year and quoted one as saying his loss could cut the company's revenue by 3% with an even higher percentage effect on its profits.
UK Guardian report:
2002-07-31: Westwood One has reported record revenue, operating cash flow, net income and free cash flow n the second quarter of the year with net revenues up 5% to USD 140.8 million from USD133.7 million for 2001 Q2; operating cash flow up 17% to USD52.6 million from USD45.1 million; free cash flow up 21% to USD 31.7 million (24 cents a share) from USD27.1 million (5 cents a share).
Net income was up to a record USD49.7 million from USD28 million, amounting to 26% on the basis that Westwood had adopted accounting standard SFAS 142 in January last year and 78% without taking this into account.
President and CEO Joel Hollander said he was " extremely pleased that Westwood One continues to deliver record operating results in a difficult advertising environment. We achieved these record results by sticking to the basics - focusing on developing new business and creating new and innovative programming while keeping a tight control over costs."
He added that Westwood believed "the best use for its available cash is to repurchase its Common Stock."
Jefferson-Pilot's communications division also had a strong second quarter although the company has a whole saw its net profits drop from USD134 million (87 cents a share) to USD134 million (83 cents a share). The communications division, which includes 17 radio stations, reported earnings up 21% to a record USD10.5 million whilst broadcast cash flow was up 9% to USD22.1 million.
In Canada, Toronto-based CHUM Ltd. reported third quarter revenues covering the quarter to the end of May, up 20% to CAD 131 million (around USD 83 million) but profits down 4% on last year at CAD7.37 million (around USD4.6 million), mainly due to increased operating expenses and interest charges.
Revenues were boosted by acquisitions, including the TEAM sport network and TV stations, without which they would have been up just over 10%.
Radio revenues were up 5.5% for the quarter at CAD 28.6 million (around USD18 million).
Back with the US radio business, Cumulus has now filed applications with the FCC to transfer ownership of its radio stations from its previous Illinois existence as Cumulus Media to newly created Cumulus Delaware Inc.
Cumulus will revert to its former name after the Delaware reincorporation has become effective.
Previous Westwood One:
CHUM web site (links to results -277 Kb PDF):
Westwood One web site (links to results):
2002-07-31: Britain's national classical music channel Classic FM, owned by GWR, has announced a wide-ranging number of changes that its news release indicate it is both to go for celebrity names to attract younger audiences and, at the other end of the scale, invade BBC Radio 3's territory with a daily Evening Concert programme of full musical works rather than excerpts.
It has also given her own show to 22-years old violinist Lisa Duncombe, who had written to the ten-tears-old station demanding more young voices on it.
She had written in the hope of gaining work experience but, following tests that showed her broadcasting potential, Classic's managing director Roger Lewis has now given her own show, Lisa Late and Live.
It will run for three hours on Fridays and Saturdays featuring recordings by young musicians.
Amongst the names to join the station are Independent Television News (ITN) newscaster Katie Derham, actor Stephen Fry, and ex-Virgin Radio and Heart FM presenter Mark Forrest. The last will become part of a Saturday morning host trio with Classic FM creative director, Tim Lihoreau, and newsreader Anne-Marie Minhall.
Derham will host a new afternoon show on Saturdays at 14:00 and Fry will present what the station terms an "authoritative but irreverent 20-part series tracing 1,000 years of classical music", The Incomplete And Utter History Of Classical Music, to be broadcast at the same time on Sundays.
Classic, which has been criticised for its policy of generally playing only short popular excerpts of classical works to the detriment of whole works, has build an audience of nearly seven million, more than three times that of BBC Radio 3, whose output is considered more demanding of attention but is now only a little more than 2 million a week.
RNW comment: Where, we wonder, will the adverts go during Classic FM's evening concert?
To us, the idea of breaking into many full-length pieces, even during intervals, with adverts for can be considered antithetical to the frame of the mind in which the music will be most appreciated. Classic FM does sterling work and we'd never find it really satisfactory to listen to a challenging full performance whilst driving whilst Classic often fits the bill.
In our view, licence fee funding gives BBC Radio 3 a freedom that should neither be underestimated nor undervalued to challenge an audience whilst commercial demands make this far harder for Classic FM.
Previous Classic FM/GWR:
2002-07-31: New York headquartered independent recording company Artemis Records , which is not a member of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), has announced that it is to waive royalty payments for any of its songs that are streamed on the Internet for a year from August 1.
The announcement was made by Chairman and CEO Danny Goldberg and President Daniel Glass. Goldberg commented that he and Glass hoped to stimulate Internet radio that they felt to be "an incredibly worthy marketing and promotional tool."
Companies wishing to use Artemis tracks have to sign an agreement, posted on the company's web site, that gives "the non-exclusive, non-transferable, revocable license during the Term to publicly perform and transmit the Masters on the Site without compensation to Artemis, provided that such performance and transmission are made solely as part of Company's non-interactive digital audio transmission of original programming produced for Internet transmission or as part of Company's non-interactive digital audio." The agreement also makes the streaming company liable for any costs or damages in connection with the agreement "EVEN IF ARTEMIS HAS BEEN ADVISED OF (OR KNOWS OR SHOULD KNOW OF) THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES (Artemis's capitalisation)".
Artemis also makes part of the agreement a requirement to provide information about use, saying in its contract, "Company shall maintain a comprehensive database of all public performances of the Masters transmitted hereunder and all ephemeral recordings of the Masters created hereunder. Such information, along with aggregate information regarding users of the Site, shall be provided to Artemis upon request (but in no event more than one time per week). The parties acknowledge that all such information is the joint property of the parties hereto."
RNW comment: Without being unduly cynical, the sceptical in us notes that Artemis retains all the power in this deal and can end it whenever it feels like it, that any problems end up being paid for by the webcaster and Artemis gets a one-way track to promotion plus a strong initial burst of publicity as well as being able to make a claim for the waived fees should it "reasonably believe" the webcaster to be in breach of the agreement.
Seems a fairly clear no-brainer for an independent label but maybe not so much of a benefit for webcasters overall and Goldberg, a former chairman and CEO of Mercury Records and Warner Brother Records and former President of Atlantic Records, has come up with a smart move with little downside.
We have refrained from adding to his upside by listing the artists it handles but will be interested to see if they suddenly get more publicity and sales.
Artemis web site:
2002-07-31: Washington DC station owner Sima Birach, who has pulled the plug on Islamic programming on his former time-brokered WWTL-AM, changed its call sign from to WGOP-AM, and created a new talk station featuring conservative hosts and also Doug "The Greaseman" Tracht, is featured by the Washington Post in a report that suggests he's made the changes for the money but claimed his actions were determined by principle.
Tracht became infamous for his comments that led to his 1999 firing as morning man for classic rock station WARW-FM after making on-air comments including "No wonder people drag them behind trucks" relating to a Texas 'dragging death" case in which James Byrd Jr. was murdered when dragged behind a truck in Jasper.
Birach, an Orthodox Christian, agreed an affiliation agreement in June with Salem Radio Network to air such conservative hosts as
Dennis Prager and Michael Medved; He I also in the process of increasing the station's power from 5kW to 25kW, changing the city of licence from Walkersville, Maryland, to Poolesville, which is closer to Washington, and relocating the broadcasting tower to Damascus, Maryland.
The switch, as the Post headline puts it, "Trading One Type Of Excess For Another" followed months during which Birach defended as "free speech" the Moslem talk shows that often sometimes attacked Americans and Jews.
Now, it reports, Birach says he took offence all the time at "anti-Semitic" talk on the station, telling the paper, "They had contracts, so I had no choice but to stick with them It drove me nuts. It seemed like I was pushing Islamic propaganda. I did bring it up with them many times, but they would keep trying to slip it in."
The Moslem broadcasters counter that Birach broke the contract, dropping their programmes without explanation, and quotes talk host Medhi Bray, blamed by Birch for the most incendiary comments, as saying "Sima went for the money. When he didn't have any money, he worked with the Muslims. We kept him afloat, advanced him money. Now he gets a better opportunity and he uses us as a whipping boy."
Mamdouh Rezeika, who runs the Islamic Broadcasting Network, said, "If this is about Mehdi Bray's style, why did Birach have him on the air for more than a year? I respect and love this country. This is a big loss for our community. We need the radio to let our neighbours know us as we really are, not as criminals and terrorists."
Tracht, who spent years apologising for his comments, started his comeback by buying time for his show on AM stations like Birach's. He told the Post, "My show has never been about race. I told a joke, I apologized, and now it's time to move on. What more can I do? I'm a comedian. We're going to have a lot of fun like the old days."
Previous "Greaseman" Tracht:
Washington Post report:
2002-07-31: MeasureCast has announced new metrics that it describes as tailored for Internet radio broadcasters and that will, it says give more information than ever before including Average Concurrent Connections, Total Time Spent Streaming, Weekly Average Time Spent Streaming, Average Connection Length, and Total Connections.
The company now provides both the new reports and reports based on standard radio industry metrics, terms and definitions.
One change with the new system is one that will increase the recorded audience by ending of the five-minute rule under which anyone had to listen to a station for at lease five continuous minutes before being counted as a listener. Now, all streaming activity will be counted.
MeasureCast marketing Vice-President Bill Piwonka commented, "Traditional radio industry metrics were developed when precise measurement of actual listening behaviour was not possible, which produced metrics that gave only close approximations of audience size and listening time."
RNW comment: Only one question. When did a marketing man ever intentionally produce a new measure that showed a product to less advantage rather than more? If you've got an example, Please e-mail us. We'd love to give the honest individual some recognition. But check with them first lest it adversely affect a career.
Previous MeasureCast Ratings:
2002-07-30: In an interview with the UK Guardian after being named as chairman of the planned new British media super regulator OFCOM (See RNW July 26), the economist Lord Currie of Marylebone has insisted that the fact that he had donated small sums to the ruling Labour Party will not impinge upon the independence of his judgement and suggested that he might already not be in full agreement with its plans to allow foreign operators to take over British broadcasters without reciprocal agreements.
"As a regulator my job is to achieve the statutory duties that are laid upon the regulator by parliament using the instruments that are available," he told the paper. "What I particularly think is not directly relevant. People who know me and have seen me in action know I'm not a party political person."
"When I advised Labour I was merely giving the best professional advice as a business economist. I gave exactly the same level of advice to two Conservative chancellors."
He said he was fully aware of the high profile the post would bring to him, adding that he was "doing it because I'm interested in regulation and creating a new organisation. The challenge of creating an organisation out of five different components that regulates effectively is a fascinating one."
On the question of the contentious plan to allow takeovers of British media companies by US operators when there was no reciprocity, a plan the British government insists it will push through despite opposition from a Parliamentary Committee set up to scrutinise the bill, he entered what might be termed a diplomatic caveat.
"The pure economist would say free trade is good whether or not you have reciprocity, he said, "but it is clearly not good for British-owned media if there is no reciprocity. A judgment has to be made on whether it is worth opening up to non-European media anyway."
Over the style to be followed by the new regulator he said, "In general I favour a light-handed style of regulation, with the proviso that where there is a major problem there could be a major intervention. We want to create the conditions in which dynamic, vibrant industries can develop. I'm a firm believer that if competition can work then that is the best thing."
He defended the plan to include content regulation in the new body's brief, saying, "Content regulation and economic regulation are different animals, but it is an advantage having them together in the same body because they are interrelated,"
UK Guardian report:
2002-07-30: Clear Channel has suspended San Jose shock jock "Mikey" Esparza for a week over jokes cracked about story of a seven-years-old Philadelphia girl who had escaped following her kidnap by chewing through duct tape.
After a news item had been read out on his show on KSJO-FM, Esparza cracked, "That's why I don't use duct tape. That's why I use nylon rope."
He then suggested, following a commercial break, that kidnappers buy tarps and use lye to dispose of murder victims.
Station general manager Joe Cunningham said Clear Channel was uncomfortable about the comments, adding, "We don't condone comments that make light of, or try to find humour in, something of that particular nature."
The station also broadcast a formal apology to listeners.
Previous Clear Channel:
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2002-07-30: Some signs of hopes for webcasters have come in a proposals from an "Internet Fairness" bill, introduced by Washington Democrat Jay Inslee with support from nine colleagues, that would drastically overhaul the webcast royalty ruling made by the US Librarian of Congress.
First payments, including back payments, are due under this in October and could well force out of business many more webcasters.
At the core of the proposal is an overhaul of the arbitration process used to set royalties combined with an interim position under which Internet radio stations that qualify as a small business under US Federal Government definitions would be exempted from the 0.07 cents per song per listener charge.
Inslee's news release says the bill was introduced because of disappointment over "recent imposition of high fees on web radio broadcasters and the resultant shutdown of many web radio broadcasts" and is "designed to make the copyright royalty arbitration process more fair for smaller entities, and will go before the House of Representatives' Judiciary and Small Business Committees..."
Another sponsor of the bill, Virginia Democrat Rick Boucher commented, " both the CARP (Copyright Arbitration Panel) and the Librarian of Congress were working under a flawed law that has produced a royalty rate which harms not only the hundreds of webcasters that have already shut down operations, but also Internet users seeking innovative music programming and artists seeking alternative avenues through which to promote their music..."
The proposals, as well as giving temporary relief to small webcasters, call for future rates to be set on the basis of the 1976 Copyright Act traditional standards, not the willing buyer and seller one used in setting the current rate; for exemption of small business from requirements to pay to participate in future Copyright proceedings (RNW note- this requirement effectively disbarred small stations from putting their voice forward before the current rates were set and these were effectively based on just the Yahoo-RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) agreement that has subsequently been said by Mark Cuban, founder of Broadcast.com - taken over by Yahoo - to have set a high rate with the intention of driving small webcasters out of business - See RNW June 27), for future fees to comply with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, thus requiring specific consideration of the impact of decisions on small businesses; and for the elimination of "ephemeral" recording charges.
The RIAA is trying to avoid Congressional action, saying Congress should allow a compromise to be worked out by the parties on their own and suggesting that the recording industry has become a convenient scapegoat for businesses that were already losing money.
RNW comment: Another dissembling, mealy-mouthed comment as we see it: If the recording companies wanted to do so, they could already have come up with a generous proposal specifically designed to ease the problems of small webcasters.
Indeed, it might have been sensible to do so to avoid political intervention but we suspect they are feeling confident in their lobbying power.
The webcasting move followed another bill, sponsored by California Democrat Howard Berman and North Carolina Republican Howard Coble, chairman of the House subcommittee on intellectual property, that would allow groups such as the RIAA and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) immunity from actions they might take to disable, block or degrade a "'publicly accessible peer-to-peer file-trading network" if the copyright holder had a reasonable basis for thinking piracy was taking place.
The proposals does not specify what methods could be used to interfere with such networks and would not allow deletion of files but would limit the rights of anyone to sue if a file were accidentally erased.
RNW comment: Yet again another double-edged sword that, reasonable as it seems on the surface, does not in our view take enough account of the likelihood of large companies to push things to the limits when they see it as in their interest.
We would see this measure as much sounder with another clause that, where a jury can be convinced of a gross violation, damages capped at say USD 10 million but starting at something like 100, 000 times the cost to an individual or small business of costs shown to have been caused by the deletion would automatically be levied against the MPAA and RIAA, with not more than a hundred times the cost going to aforesaid individual or small business and the remained into a legal fund that other individuals could access where they think they have been unfairly treated by the MPAA and RIAA.
To be fair to the MPAA and RIAA, another clause should remove from the fund and return to them a hundred times up to USD 2 million the cost of fighting any case thus brought that fails.
The caps and destinations of the sums in each case, should mitigate individual greed and frivolous suits.
2002-07-30: Seattle-headquartered Fisher Communications has announced a net loss for the second quarter of USD785, 000 before taking into account gains from of USD4.32 million from a sale and an interest-swap agreement; including the gains it had net income of USD3.5 million (41 cents a share) compared to a net loss of USD520, 000 (6 cents a share) in Q2, 2001.
Broadcasting division revenues were down 8% from US38 million to USD35 million; TV revenues were down 11% whilst radio revenues were flat.
Broadcasting operations income was down 34% to $3,958,000, compared with $5,220,000 last year.
Fisher web site:
2002-07-29: History and politics each feature today in our look at print comment and cover of radio over the past week: The history first, as much for the content of some of it as for the fact it was on radio -but then much of it can't be as well done on TV because the technology of the times involved didn't include video and it's much easier to create a feeling of the past on radio than on a visual medium.
First, part of Sue Arnold's weekly radio review in the UK Observer, in which she reviews approvingly three BBC Radio 4 series that are well worth a listen however you can get them, on the web or off the airwaves or even via BBC's commercial arm if they all get issued as CDs or tapes.
Arnold starts, "Ask me what I remember most vividly about This Sceptred Isle, Radio 4 's award-winning history series, and it would probably be one of the lists - an Elizabethan breakfast menu before a day 's hunting; a list of armaments found in the wardroom of an eighteenth-century manor; a school clothes list for a Victorian public schoolboy."
"Kings and queens are all very well but it 's the bricks and mortar of history, the stuffing, not the cushion covers, that truly fascinate. What is the Domesday Book after all but a series of inventories down to the last pigsty, hedgerow and beehive?"
She then goes on to praise Melvyn Bragg's new series Voices of the Powerless, saying that the presenter "using the same techniques as he did so effectively in his last acclaimed series, The Routes of English, looks at the lives of ordinary people at certain critical moments of history, starting with the Norman Conquest and specifically William I 's merciless harrying of the North."
And for those who might think Saddam Hussein is uniquely nasty (and who have forgotten Richard Plantagenet and many other monarchs in history), a quick note of how William the Conqueror harried the north of England: " William ordered all the peasants' crops and cattle to be collected up and burned so that around 100,000 men, women and children died of starvation and exposure. He built a castle, a tower and a cathedral in York, clearing the city of its inhabitants more ruthlessly than the French government making way for a new TGV track."
On to a different form of history, this time courtesy of Gerry McCarthy in his weekly column on Irish radio in the UK Sunday Times.
He looks at presenter Brenda Donohue's series Going Home on Irish state broadcaster RTÉ's Radio One, a series with nostalgia at its centre.
Its producer said, "Nostalgia for the past is something we all share, particularly for our youth and childhood. Going Home hopes to stimulate that", a statement that led McCarthy to comment "This vapid attempt to locate the programme's selling point summarises everything that is wrong with Going Home - or almost everything - because it takes little account of Donohue's weakness as a channel for nostalgia."
A programme with singer Brian Kennedy, whilst generally panned, got one positive comment, that a segment on his weekly confession " shone a brief light on one of the least spoken of divisions in Ireland: the difference between northern Catholic culture and that south of the border."
"The one in the republic began to turn secular much earlier. Even by the 1970s, hip young teens were too cool for confession. North of the border, identity is a different matter, and skipping a sacrament can seem like abandoning your tribe."
"Such illuminating glimpses were, however, " writes McCarthy, "rare. For the most part Going Home encouraged its guest to wallow in the minutiae of his early life . Listeners want to hear of youthful indiscretions from minor celebrities - something confirmed by Donohue when she wheedled a story about teenage vodka drinking out of Kennedy. This is not nostalgia: it is tabloid radio that confuses titillation with cultural memory."
That comment on Catholicism is as good a link as any to comment in the Toronto Star by Linda McQuaig headed "Tame media kept gloves on" that slams the media cover of the Papal trip to Canada.
She began, "'HOW CAN one keep one's faith in a secular world?' asked the host of a CBC radio show. But as the papal coverage built to a deafening crescendo over the past week, until it was difficult to distinguish some of our main media outlets from the Vatican press office, I started to ponder a different question: "'How can one keep any sort of secular perspective in a world awash in faith?'"
"In fact, I suspect the world isn't as awash in faith as it may have seemed. Listening to people on the street, one got a more grounded view of the situation. But the mainstream media would have none of that, as the coverage soared with the flourish of full organ pipes."
"By midweek, those attending World Youth Day weren't just participants, they had been transformed into "pilgrims." Huh? Is that the CBC I just turned on or Radio Free Vatican? "
"The visit of a leader of one of the world's biggest religions is certainly a news story deserving coverage. But isn't the job of the media to cover an event, not to celebrate it?"
Most of the rest of the article attacks the Catholic Church from a feminist point of view, particularly as regards its attitudes to sex abuse and abortion, but the point regarding cover of such an event seemed worthy of note to us as did another strong opinion on the media, this time relating to US deregulation.
Writing in the Chicago Tribune on "Untangling the dereg mess", syndicated columnist Molly Ivins comes down hard on US politicians who allowed deregulation to happen and also on the media regarding cover of it.
"OK," she writes, " it's now hundreds of thousands of words past the WorldCom bankruptcy, with the media might of this great nation devoted to explaining it all to you, and there are still six words I cannot find anywhere--the Telecommunications Deregulation Act of 1996. Don't you think that's carrying our famously ahistorical journalism a little too far?"
" When the cause of a disaster is a mere six years back in time, surely even American journalists can dredge up a twinge or two of memory. For those of you not afflicted by Alzheimer's in recent years, Bob McChesney, the media critic and professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, sums it up nicely: "'The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was one of the most important of the last 50 years. It was also the most corrupt and undemocratic bill of the time: It was of, by and for special interests. Most of the congresspeople who voted for it didn't even know what they were voting on.'"
"He understates. The bill was actually written by industry lobbyists, each of the several components of telecom snarling at one another like wolves over a piece of meat as they ripped up 70 years worth of regulatory experience. The wolves united once the bill hit the floor to push it through. We few, we happy few, who raised hell about it at the time had it condescendingly explained to us that the magic of the marketplace would take care of all our doubts."
" Here's the result in terms of the great variety, the let-100-flowers-bloom they promised would accompany this flowering of competition: Clear Channel moves into a city and rents, say, a floor of a building, which is mostly a sales office but also has eight little closets for eight radio stations. The Play List is shipped in from headquarters and is the same all over the country, for Top 40 or Easy Listening or country--we have less and less sense of our localities, of our regional music, fewer opportunities for new talent. Actually, they've ruined radio."
Ivins goes on to comment in terms of other telecommunications areas, writing of the phone companies, "Prices are up, service is worse, and the '96 act opened the door for precisely the sleazy, rotten behaviour we have witnessed with Global Crossing and WorldCom. Not just opened the door, but invited it in and laid down the red carpet for it."
"Now connect the dag-nabbit, bobberty-doggin' dots here. This is not a business scandal. WorldCom is not just a corporate failure. This is about government. The government of this country has been bought by campaign contributions from corporate special interests. This is about the nexus between big corporations and government, the American keiretsu, the Establishment."
She concludes, "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country. Because if we don't, it's going to get worse."
" The FCC is now chaired by the anti-regulation Michael Powell, who is determined to do for newspapers and television what has already been done to radio and cable."
Across the city in the Chicago Sun-Times, columnist Robert Feder was also having a go about media and the politicians, this time from the perspective of talent and the politicians, not the companies.
His column, "Should politicians help journalists fight battles?" was pegged to a meeting with NBC executives concerning union representation following the acquisition of Telemundo by NBC parent company General Electric and he makes the point that the journalists involved may feel beholden to the politician involved when they next cover a story about him.
"These are more than just hypothetical questions or topics for a slow day in journalism class," writes Feder. "They're real concerns that affect the quality of news you see, hear and read in the media. "
He then goes on to comment about the recent intervention by the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson on behalf of Felicia Middlebrooks after she had been dropped by Infinity Radio's WBBM-AM following a walk out over a massive pay claim (See RNW March 17).
Pressed about precisely the issue of cover, he says Infinity bosses "acknowledged the obvious conflict and promised that Middlebrooks would not be allowed to deliver news stories involving Jackson."
So what happened. Writes Feder. " 'Newsradio 780' reported on Jackson's announcement naming the Rev. James T. Meeks as his eventual successor as head of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. Who read the story? You guessed it: Felicia Middlebrooks."
RNW comment: We may think it impracticable that media stars, owners, or politicians , must be like Caesar's wife "above suspicion (That history again, this time courtesy of Plutarch, and an example of where text records have an advantage over audio), but we cannot but think that a democracy would be better served by an informed populace and for that, you need an informing media. Would anyone sensible, for example, ever have staked his or her fortune on information from any News Corporation source that involved News Corporation business without checking wider. Indeed one might ask why the US mainstream media, which has know for many years about the financial backgrounds of George Bush and Dick Cheney, didn't give it more prominence before things went wrong?
Venality? Self-interest? A bit of both, maybe, but at least the US system is openly political in areas where others just bury the politics.
Finally, a different note on which to end: This comes from the UK Sunday Times again and Paul Donovan whose column dealt with the split between national and local radio in the UK.
After noting that most nationally known radio stars in the UK are on national stations, he pegs an article on the strengths of local stations on a BBC series, " A Sense of Place", which will air every weekday at 22:30 GMT. from August 5 for nine weeks and will be preceded by a curtain raiser in the Radio 4 Archive hour on Saturday ( Aug 3) at 20:00 GMT.
"The content of the 45 programmes," writes Donovan, "varies enormously, from the Sikhs who sing of Ilkley Moor to the impact on Cumbria of its sheep, of which (despite the effects of foot-and-mouth disease) there are still six for every person. But what they all make you realise is just how much local radio, and BBC local radio in particular, has cemented communities by reinforcing their sense of pride and local commitment - through journalism and providing vital information, through sports coverage, through religious programmes, and so on. A Sense of Place is a sense of worth. "
"But local radio is popular as well as worthy. Although Radio 2 is now the most listened-to station in Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and Leicester, in other areas it is the local station that is the most popular."
"For example, the most listened-to station in London is Capital FM (followed not by Radio 2 but by Radio 4, reflecting the concentration of chattering classes down here)."
"In Newcastle, Liverpool, Nottingham, Glasgow and Swansea it is, once again, local commercial stations - Metro, City, Trent, Clyde and The Wave - that are the most popular."
Donovan then concludes by linking the performance of local stations to the draft Communications Bill under consideration in the UK. "One good thing about the draft broadcasting bill now being scrutinised at Westminster," he writes, "is that it enshrines the duty of broadcasters to emphasise local content and character, and all who value that protection should watch out that those clauses do not get diluted in its passage through parliament."
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
Chicago Tribune -Ivins:
Toronto Star - McQuaig:
UK Observer - Arnold:
UK Sunday Times -Donovan:
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy:
2002-07-29: According to the UK Independent, the Joint Committee on the Draft Communications Bill, a committee of peers and Members of Parliament set up to scrutinise the British Government's Communisations Bill is to reject plans to ease regulation by allowing foreign companies to take over British broadcasters even when their own countries, as in the US, do not allow such foreign ownership. I
The paper says the committee is also opposed to allowing large newspaper groups to take terrestrial broadcasters, a move that would affect any attempt by Rupert Murdoch's News International over Channel 5 TV. The government intended to go ahead with the deregulation before the new media regulator OFCOM was established but according to the paper the committee is likely to recommend that changes be delayed until OFCOM is fully operational.
A follow-up in the UK Observer, which has also seen the report, says that in opposing the change to allow takeovers, the committee argues that Britain has not been able to get a reciprocal agreement with America that British companies should be allowed to take over US TV stations and says that government arguments "lack force."
The paper says, however, that British Prime Minister Tony Blair would personally sanction overturning the committee's findings to push the changes through and in an indication of the likely spin to be put on his action quotes a senior source as saying "The committee seems to be trying to conceal its anti-American prejudice by way of weak argument."
RNW Comment: In view of the importance of broadcasting to a country's politics and culture, we tend to agree with the US stance on not allowing foreign control of broadcasters, although with suitable strong regulatory powers, which in our view should include rescinding of licences if need be, we could see a reasonably strong argument the other way.
We cannot, however, see it as other than craven or foolish to allow any such measure without reciprocity and suitable safeguards.
UK Independent report:
UK Observer report:
2002-07-29: Amid all the coverage about the Eddie and Jobi USD 21million deal with WBBM-FM in Chicago, one name conspicuous through its absence was that of former WBBM news anchor Karen Hand, a 20-year veteran at the station.
Her contract was not renewed (See RNW June 15) and, as Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times noted, she has been off the air since June 12. Hand is the special guest on Mancow's Morning Madness today..
(RNW note: We wonder whether either Eddie or Jobi gave a thought to Hand during their negotiations.)
Another Chicago station involved in hirings and firings, WUSN-FM has named Lisa Dent, former KIKK-FM, Houston morning host, as its new midday host. Bill Garcia moves from midday to evenings, taking over from Amy Davis who has been ousted.
At talk format WLS-AM, the news is the loss of its director of operations and programming Mike Elder who has resigned after six years in the post become program director of Boston talk station WRKO-AM.
Disney-ABC owned WLS was second overall and first place in afternoons in the Chicago Spring Arbitron ratings this year.
Chicago Tribune - Feder columns:
2002-07-28: Last week was fairly routine for the regulators with a steady level of activity in most areas.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has again been focussed on community licences.
It has invited applications for new licences to serve the Port Pirie and Yorke Peninsula areas of South Australia and has allocated the new community licence for Ballina in New South Wales to Paradise FM Community Radio Association Inc to serve the general community. Paradise currently operates on the same frequency under a temporary licence.
The ABA has also extended by six months the deadline for 5SSA Adelaide to change the frequency of its Adelaide Foothills translator service. 5SSA now has to introduce the change by the end of March next year.
The Authority commented that it was able to allow the delay, which is linked to changes that will allow a new commercial licence for Adelaide, because it is not proposing to auction the new commercial licence until after September 2003
On the commercial licence front, the ABA has also announced that it is to auction two new commercial licence, for the Gold Coast and Nambour in Queensland on August 26.
It says it has received 11 applications for the Nambour licence, which has a reserve price of AUD 250, 000 (around USD134, 000) and eight for the Gold Coast, which has a reserve price of AUD 100, 000 (around USD54, 000).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), has given the go-ahead to a number of corporate reorganisations and a takeover.
In Ontario it has approved the takeover by John Sheratt, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, to acquire the assets of CJOJ-FM and CHCQ-FM Belleville.
The seller Anthony Zwigg owns Belleville Radio Limited and CHCQ Limited which in turn own CJOJ-FM, which has been operating for many years and CHCQ-FM, for which a country music format licence was awarded in 2000.
Sheratt helped with the establishment of the latter and operation of the former before deciding to make an offer for both stations, CAD $1.46 million for CJOJ-FM, and CAD 540, 000 for CHCQ-FM (a total of just under CAD 2 million- USD1.26 million).
The purchaser said that CJOJ-FM had been unprofitable over the past three years and that CHCQ-FM had not yet achieved profitability.
The re-organisations involved affect Rock 95 Broadcasting (Barrie - Orillia) Ltd., licensee of the radio programming undertakings CFJB-FM and CKMB-FM Barrie, Ontario, but does not change control of the station and Rawlco Capital Ltd., Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Regina, Saskatchewan, which wants to effect an intra-corporate reorganization within the Rawlco Group of corporations.
Ireland was quiet for radio but in the UK the Radio Authority has invited applications for the Additional Services licence that utilises the Radio Data System (RDS) sub-carrier of the INR1 licence currently held by GWR's Classic FM and covering 85% of the UK population.
The services use spare capacity in a channel and will be awarded to an applicant who makes the highest cash bid of those who submits applications meeting regulatory requirements.
The Authority has also announced that only existing licence holder , Alpha Radio Ltd., had submitted by its deadline an application for the Darlington area local licence to run from November 2003. Alpha will now be invited to apply for renewal under the Authority's "fast track" procedure.
The Authority has also published its Programming and Advertising Review for the second quarter of the year, during which it issued one yellow card warning to Thames Radio concerning achievement of the minimum level of speech defined in the station's format. It considered a total of 101 complaints in the quarter, 52 concerning programming and 49 advertising (See report below).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a step closer towards its full complement of Commissioners with a Senate Commerce Committee passing Jonathan Adelstein's nomination on to the full Senate for approval (See RNW July 25).
The FCC has also trimmed back from USD20, 000 to USD 500 a fine proposed on C. W. H. Broadcasting, Inc. , the licensee of WHNY-AM, McComb, Mississippi.
The penalty related to a number of tower violations including failing to light and register three towers and to properly enclose one.
The fine had already been cut back to USD3, 500 in March this year on the grounds of the company's inability to pay because of the state of its finances, the death of its General Manager, and misplaced reliance on its engineer and staff.
The company appealed again and this time the FCC cut the penalty right back to USD500 on the basis of the station's efforts to make other repairs unrelated to the violations and because of further information, "some personal in nature" that had been provided to the Commission.
Previous Classic FM:
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2002-07-28: In its latest Programming and Advertising Review, published along with its quarterly Complaints Bulletin to the end of June, the UK Radio Authority headlines the issue of local news against a background of consultations regarding the idea of local "news hubs" that would allow a group of stations to centralise production of bulletins (See RNW June 21).
It summarises the arguments and its Director of Programming and Advertising, Martin Campbell, looks at the significance of the questions raised by the consultation, noting the requirement for British stations to broadcast a minimum level of news in line with their proposals in their licence application.
"Everyone is agreed that localness should be at the very heart of pretty nearly every local commercial station," he writes but then adds later that, "Many argue that when researchers ask listeners about local news they will always say they want it - whether or not they actually listen to it."
"They say it's part of the 'halo' effect, when people tell researchers what they think they should say, and not what they actually want to say."
"Then again, radio is a passionate medium, and passions are never higher than when something is taken away from a schedule, or under threat of eviction. By the same token, good local news is just as difficult to identify when it is absent as when it is present."
In the Review, the Authority also notes that in the first six months of the year it dealt with a total of 301 complaints, in relation to which it upheld 15 programming-related complaints and 31 that were advertising related.
In the second quarter, the Authority received 52 programming complaints, upholding seven- fewer than half the total upheld in the same period of 2001, and 49 advertising complaints, upholding 12.
Details in the Complaints Bulletin show a breakdown (Q2, 2001 figures in brackets) of Programming complaints as follows:
* Accuracy - One (Seven) of which none (four) were upheld; *Balance/Bias and Fairness - six (10), of which none (three) were upheld;
* Taste and decency - 22 (25) of which five (six) were upheld; *Promise of performance or format - three (One) of which One (none) were upheld and
* Other 20 (eight) of which 1 (four) were upheld. These total 52 complaints (51) of which seven (17) were upheld.
The Advertising complaints breakdown (again with 2001 figures in brackets) was:
* Harmful - Eight (One), of which one (none) was upheld;
* Misleading 19 (12) of which four (One) were upheld;
* Offensive 20 (28) of which seven (One) were upheld and
* Other - Two (Two), of which None (None) were upheld. These total 49 complaints (45) of which 12 (Two) were upheld.
The Promise of performance complaint, concerning which a yellow card was issued to Thames Radio, Kingston of Thames, concerned the level of news output of the station.
Its format described the station as providing "full service of music, news, community issues and information for 25-54 year olds" and also said that news and information "must feature strongly" as well as providing minima.
The Authority said, "From our detailed monitoring we concluded that there was an absence of speech items and local news, and that the music output did not comply with the station's Format."
Of the six Balance and Fairness complaints, two involved complaints of anti-Islam stance or comments and another of a pro-Israel bias but none were upheld.
The Taste and Decency complaints upheld involved:
*Magic-FM, Manchester - a complaint that a presenter told a caller to "bugger off" and also used the word "bloody" frequently. The station said the comment had been made in a jovial manner but the Authority, whilst agreeing, said the station should steer away from these words or phrases in future.
*Heart FM - London. A listener complained that remarks made by a presenter following the airing of a Britney Spears record "condoned "the sexual abuse of young girls by their fathers".
The Authority says, "We heard the Britney Spears record end with the lyrics "hit me baby one more time", which were followed by the presenter's remarks. He said, "just the once more...is it good for you Britney?...Yeah, I know - I could be her father - I tell you if she was my daughter I'd still be bathing her". It was told the station, which referred to the link as a "momentary lapse of judgment" had severely reprimanded the presenter and taken him off air for three days.
*TalkSport - a complaint that a presenter's remarks were an attempt to incite racial hatred for political gain. The presenter was a political figure and, although the Authority did not uphold the racial hatred complaint, it held that not enough care had been taken concerning rules when elections were pending.
*TalkSport - a complaint that a caller had been allowed to make offensive comments about the Royal Family on the day of the Queen Mother's death. The caller had initially spoken of praising the Royal Family but after he was put on air "changed tack, declaring that he was really a republican and that he thought, "they should shoot the fucking lot of them. How's that for your national radio? Fuck you, pal". The delay mechanism was not used and the comments were therefore broadcast."
*Isle of Wight Radio - a complaint of salacious comments and speculation that a caller's husband was having an affair after the caller had asked for tips on removing lipstick from clothing. The station responded that the call had been a set-up and the caller was a relative of one of the presenters. The Authority held that listeners could have been left "feeling concerned for her, and offended by the way in which the presenters had handled a delicate issue."
*Virgin FM, London - a complaint over the playing of the Sex Pistols' 'God Save The Queen' after a news
bulletin that had reported the Queen's intention to deliver an eulogy about her late mother. The complainant thought "this was ill-timed and insensitive" and the Authority agreed.
The "Other" complaint that was "partially upheld " involved Island FM in Guernsey and complaints by Channel TV that comments made by the station about its coverage of a Royal visit to he island implied that it had been inaccurate and were "derisive and untrue."
It lodged a complaint but said there had not been a response.
The Authority commented that "the matter could, and should, have been dealt with at 0840 on the morning of the broadcast, perhaps by putting the CTV spokeswoman to air to correct what had been said and to defend CTV's position" and agreed that Island FM had not dealt thoroughly with the complaint.
Advertising complaints upheld included complaints about:
* A National Drugs Helpline advert that was said to have portrayed drug taking too graphically at times when children were likely to be listening.
*An advertiser that said it was the "number one nursing agency in Wales", when this claim could not be substantiated.
*An "only on ITV" advert for cover of Formula One Grand Prix racing that was inaccurate on the particular occasion.
*An NSPCC (National Society for the Protection of Children" advert that began as nursery rhymes but turned into descriptions of parents hitting children and which the complainant said was causing more harm than good" to young children who would not understand the advert's meaning.
*A government advertisement about the consequences of driving when tired that the complainant felt was not appropriate at times when young children might be listening.
*An advert for "de-activated" weapons that the complainant said was inappropriate in a climate of street crime. This advert breached the relevant code.
*An advert in which someone said to a psychiatrist that he was "a vegetarian who is addicted to Walls bacon." There were three complaints about the advertisement and the Authority held that the idea that the bacon was so tasty as to tempt a vegetarian would have been acceptable in a programming sketch but not when its purpose was to sell meat.
The Authority also upheld two complaints against satellite station Asian Gold Radio, one concerning a presenter's description of singer Talet Mahmood as a "donkey" that was upheld as a Taste/Decency complaint and another that alleged hat the Punjabi news out put station of both Asian Gold Radio and another satellite station, Sukh Sagar Radio, was sponsored in breach of codes.
Previous UK Radio Authority:
Previous UK Radio Authority Review and Complaints Bulletin:
UK Radio Authority web site (links to Review - 150 Kb PDF and Bulletin 675 KB PDF)
2002-07-27: BBC Radio 2 Controller Jim Moir has signed a new contract to run the channel and the digital service 6 Music until December 2003, ending months of speculation as to whether he would leave when his current contract expires at the end of this year.
Commenting on the appointment, Moir said, "I'm very pleased to have been invited to remain as Controller Radio 2 for another year.."
He then went on to confirm that Jeremy Vine, currently a BBC TV Newsnight programme presenter, had signed a contract to present a new midday show for Radio 2 starting in January.
The Vine show will replace (Sir) Jimmy Young's show and Vine commented, "I am absolutely thrilled to bits - there can't be a better job for a journalist anywhere on radio."
"Stepping into Sir Jimmy Young's shoes is a frightening thing to do, but I've got a great production team and together we'll do our best to meet the high standards of the Radio 2 audience."
Jenny Abramsky, Director of BBC Radio and Music, said she was "delighted" that Moir is to stay on at Radio 2, adding, "2003 will be an important year for us. I'm pleased to be able to have Jim at the helm and Jeremy Vine fronting such a key strand."
Moir, who reached the normal BBC retirement age in November last year, has been with the Corporation since 1963, when he joined as a production trainee.
He took over his current post in January 1996 and under his direction Radio 2 has become the most listened to channel in Britain and won three Sony "Station of the Year" awards.
Vine began his BBC career as a news trainee in 1987 following a traineeship with the Coventry Evening Telegraph.
He has worked as a reporter on BBC Radio 4's breakfast show, The Today Programme, and has also bee a presenter on that show, Radio 4's 1700 PM show as well as standing in for Young on Radio 2 and fronting programmes on BBC Radio 5 Live. He took on his current Newsnight role in 1999.
2002-07-27: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has named TV journalist and CBC veteran Anna Maria Tremonti as host of a new 90-minute weekday morning show to run from November 18 between 0830a.m. and 10a.m. as part of its re-vamp of its Radio One channel under which the "This Morning" show is being dropped.
The show, as yet without a title, is due to start in November and will be followed on air daily by a two-hour national "Canadian lifestyles" show hosted by Shelagh Rogers that will air from October 14. New morning shows will air from the beginning of September (See RNW June 6)
Adrian Mills, executive director of programming for CBC Radio One said that he termed the introduction of the shows "phased in" and referred to the new output as a "a three-pronged delight" for the audience. He said the Tremonti show was designed to challenge "conventional wisdom and be a little more provocative and surprising."
2002-07-27: According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Macquarie Broadcasting Network has asked for police advice about complaints made by 2GB presenters that are alleged by Moslems to be racist and derogatory.
The paper cites chief executive, George Buschman, as saying a sponsor had passed on an emails from a complaining Moslem to the network, and it would seek police advice.
"We are accused of not dealing with these complaints but we are actually active in dealing with them," he told the paper. "[Muslim critics] are asserting or attributing the remarks to Jim Ball [an early morning presenter on 2GB]. We assert they are not correct."
The paper says the e-mails variously accuse Ball of referring to Moslems as "sewerage of humanity", accuse presenters including top-rated morning host Alan Jones of making derogatory remarks about Australian Moslems and others, such as Phil Clark, of allowing such comments from callers on air.
The most complained about incident, says the paper, was a Jim Ball show on July 17 in which Ball commented on the Moslem women's veil as "rubbish - I am putting it right on the line - we are dealing with a bit of laundry ... If a religion, any religion, bases itself on bloody laundry, it has a major problem."
He also said some Moslems were "the raw sewerage of humanity, and I don't apologise because they are".
Moslem leaders in Sydney, says the paper, have been circulating a list of 2GB sponsors for people to contact.
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2002-07-27: Jacques Tortoroli has been appointed Chief Financial Officer of Infinity Broadcasting and Westwood One, a post in which he will report to John Sykes, Chairman and CEO of Infinity Broadcasting and Joel Hollander, President and CEO of Westwood One.
Tortoroli, who was most recently CFO of the e-Services consultancy Scient, Inc., has also worked for advertising agency Young & Rubicam, Inc. and for PepsiCo, Inc.
The Westwood One CFO post became vacant in February when Farid Suleman has left that post and his post as President and CEO of Infinity Broadcasting Corporation to become a special limited partner at Forstmann Little & Co., the buyout firm that owns Citadel Communications (See RNW Feb 22).
Sykes moved into his Infinity posts in March from Viacom's VH1 cable music TV network (See RNW Mar 18)
Previous Forstamann Little (Citadel owner):
Previous Westwood One:
2002-07-27: Arbitron is to expand its Portable People Meter (PPM) market trial following comments from its Radio Advisory Council and through the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
It says it will set up a new, separate, pane, of around 1, 000 consumers in the Philadelphia Radio Metro Survey Area and agrees in principle with industry requests for a second PPM trial in one of the top 25 Hispanic Markets in the US.
The new Philadelphia panel would allow comparisons with data being produced by an existing Philadelphia panel that have raised some concerns about anomalies between diary and PPM results (See RNW June 18).
Arbitron Spring data shows the differences between diary and PPM results as less than 5% but industry leaders would like a study of the economic impact of a switch to PPM from diary.
Arbitron president and chief executive officer Steve Morris commented, "Through our Radio Advisory Council and through the Radio Advertising Bureau, our customers have asked for expanded market trials to give the industry the information it needs to embrace the Portable People Meter as an improved means of measuring radio audiences."
"Arbitron welcomes the involvement of our radio customers in the PPM development process. We are confident that any expansion of the trial would further demonstrate the validity of PPM, paving the way for industry-wide acceptance of our new audience measurement system. With that ultimate goal in mind, we intend to deploy this expansion of the trial while maintaining our overall financial plan for 2002."
Arbitron web site:
2002-07-26: Viacom, which owns Infinity Radio and controls Westwood One, has reported a sharp increase in its net earnings for the second quarter of the year, aided by adjustments because of changes in accounting standards.
Its overall revenues for the quarter were USD5.85 billion compared to USD5.71 billion in the same quarter of last year but net revenues were USD547 million (31 cents a share) compared to USD17 million (1 cent a share) in Q2 last year.
Without the adoption of accounting standard SFAS 142 in 2001, the second quarter earnings a year ago would have been USD524 million (29 cents a share).
Most of the improvement came from its cable, television and video businesses; radio revenues were virtually flat with Infinity figures going only slightly up, from USD985.2 million to USD985.4 million.
infinity EBITDA was 6% down , from USD 436 million to USD409 million, but its operating income was sharply up, from USD122 million to USD350 million.
Chairman and CEO Sumner M. Redstone said, "Viacom turned in an outstanding performance in the second quarter of 2002, particularly in light of the continuing challenges of a slow recovery in the overall economic environment... by every operational measure revenues, operating income, net earnings and EBITDA, Viacom delivered record second quarter results and is on track to achieve our full-year targets."
Viacom president and chief operating officer Mel Karmazin said the results showed the "unique value of our mix of businesses and the strength of our position in those businesses," adding, "Significant ratings momentum and programming successes at CBS, UPN, MTV, Nickelodeon, TNN and BET, as well as at our radio and television operations are also contributing to Viacom's performance."
"Radio reported higher revenues in the second quarter, its first year-over-year revenue growth since the fourth quarter of 2000. In the current quarter, radio pacings are up high single-digits, our television stations are pacing up double-digits versus the same prior-year quarter, and Outdoor pacings continue to show improvement."
Viacom shares ended the day a little more than 2% up at USD 35.15.
Also reporting in the US was Cumulus, which posted a second quarter profit of USD10 million (9 cents per share) compared to a loss of USD12 million(47 cents a share) in Q2, 2001.
Net revenues, aided by acquisitions, were up nearly 27% for the quarter to just under USD70 million from USD55 million and EBITDA was up nearly 75% from USD14.7 million to USD 25.5 million. Same station net revenues were up 4.4% from USD54.5 million to USD56.9 million.
Lew Dickey, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "Cumulus is pleased to report strong revenue performance in Q2 2002 along with the Company's achievement of its seventh consecutive quarter of EBITDA growth and BCF margin improvement."
Cumulus said it expects pro forma net revenues in the third quarter to be up between 5% and 5% and
earnings before income taxes, depreciation and amortization to increase between 13 percent and 15 percent, both compared to Q3, 2001.
Cumulus shares ended the day nearly 8.5% up at UD 11.15.
North of the border, Montreal-based Astral Media has reported a 74% rise in its third quarter profits to the end of May from CAD 8 million (CAD 0:17 a share) to CAD 14.1 million (just under USD9 million)(CAD 0.28 a share) , fuelled by its TV and billboard businesses.
Total revenues, adjusted for changes in accounting were up from CAD88 million to CAD105 million but radio revenues were only up slightly, from CAD 12.9 million to CAD 13.4 million; Radio EBITDA declined from CAD 3.0 million to CAD 2.7 million compared to an overall EBITDA increase from CAD20.5 million to CAD26.7 million.
President and CEO Ian Greenberg said the company was well in line with its targets for the full year, saying, "Our television and outdoor advertising groups led the way with third-quarter revenue increases of 22 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively. Our radio group's performance is consistent with that of the Quebec radio market in the current year and its revenues increased by 4 per cent in the quarter."
Astral, whose CAD255 million acquisition of Telemedia's 19 radio stations in Québec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, was agreed in May 2001 and approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in April this year (see RNW April 21) now says the deal is not expected to go through this fiscal year because of a challenge to the deal by Canada's Competition Bureau.
Another Canadian Group. Corus Entertainment Inc, has warned investors that it is likely to miss its 2002 targets because of a slowdown in radio advertising and problems caused by the ending of a supply agreement with Munich-based RTV Family Entertainment AG which ran into difficulties when its main customer, Kirch Holding GmbH, collapsed.
Corus says its EBITDA target may slip from CAD165 million into the CAD155-160 million range, with some CAD 3 million of the shortfall resulting from national advertising sales problems for its radio stations.
Corus reported a profit of only CAD463, 000 (CAD0.1 a share) for the quarter, compared to CAD103 million (CAD2,43 a share) in Q2, 2001, despite increasing revenues to CAD149 million from CAD138 million.
Astral site (Links to 400kb PDF shareholders report and 811 kb results & growth PDF):
Cumulus site ( Links to results news release):
Viacom-CBS-Infinity site (Links to results 232 kb PDF)
2002-07-26: The Dean of City University Business School in London, Lord David Currie, has been named by the British Government at the chairman of the planned new British media super regulator OFCOM, whose remit will cover regulation of broadcasting, telecommunications and the management of radio spectrum.
The appointment of the 56-year old peer, who is expected to work up to four days a week for a salary of around GBP135, 000 a year, has led to complaints from critics who say the government has appointed too many Labour Party sympathisers to broadcasting jobs.
Both the BBC chairman Gavyn Davies and director general Greg Dyke are supporters of the ruling Labour Party.
The Opposition Conservative Party shadow trade and industry secretary Tim Yeo accused the government of politicising posts that should be independent and said it was "extremely unfortunate" that this post had gone to someone with close ties to the Labour Party, adding that OFCOM needed to be totally independent of the government and set a high standard of impartiality.
2002-07-26: The new deal signed by WBBM-FM in Chicago with its morning duo Eddie and Jobi (See RNW July 17). is leading to speculation about any likely knock-on effects for others in the city with the Chicago Tribune reporting that some consider it an anomaly and others expecting other big names to benefit.
Todd Musburger, a Chicago attorney who represents several local personalities, told the paper, "Certainly every deal of this kind has repercussions, and I can assume that all the radio execs and talent paid close attention to this story. I would expect the salary curve to bend, as it should."
Others were less certain. Lin Brehmer, morning personality at WXRT-FM, commented, "How likely is it to trickle down? Probably not likely at all. Each individual disc jockey is an entity unto himself."
The likelihood, the report indicates, is that there will be some rises for the big names, particularly in morning drive times.
It cites figures from a National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) survey that showed an average morning personality pay packet in the top 15 markets last year being USD 312, 000 with the top figure reported to it of USD1.6 million; in 1996 the average was USD142, 000 and the top figure was USD 600, 000
David Gunzerath, the NAB's vice president of research and planning, said DJs seemed to be benefiting from competition: "Morning drive is the most lucrative day part for radio stations," he added. "They're willing to invest more money because they are able to make more money."
The benefits, however, are overwhelmingly seen as available only for the star names. "Somebody who can't support that will get laughed out of the room," said Eliot Ephraim, a lawyer-agent who represents Don and Roma (Wade) on WLS-AM and John Landecker on WJMK-FM.
"Somebody who can will have to be taken very seriously."
Chicago Tribune report:
2002-07-26: The probability of pirate radio on the Internet is raised by an article in the UK Guardian that considers the financial problems webcasters are facing and that were exacerbated by the recent US Copyright royalty payments ruling that demands payment of $0.0007 per song per listener.
In the article Peter Rojas notes that, even before copyright fees are taken into account, many stations were finding it difficult to get revenues to pay for bandwidth alone.
The solution it says for many stations may be to go for pirate broadcasts using a programme called "Peercast"; this used the same protocol as Gnutella, meaning that instead of a stream emanating from a known server, users pass audio and video streams to each other.
Rojas quotes Giles Goddard, a video programmer for Nintendo, who created Peercast, as saying that this means that every listener is also "functioning as a broadcaster."
Peercast can be downloaded for free and, says the article, is simple to use and install, although it is still a little "buggy."
Rojas says that, at the moment, he could only find half-a-dozen stations but as the number of Peercasters increase it should be possible to search by quality and genre for a desired station.
To set up a station, he adds, needs extra MP3 software such as Winamp and a freely available plug-in like Oddcast or Shoutcast for your MP3 software, which converts what you're playing on your computer into a digital audio stream. Peercast takes this stream online by connecting to Gnutella, and lets others on the network know your webcast is out there.
Rojas points out that, although the software has benefits for a pirate in being difficult to trace a stream, the system also has potential benefits for legitimate webcasters because it reduces the need for expensive bandwidth.
"With Peercast," he writes, "every person who tunes in to a station is also relaying it to others in the network, demolishing the one-to-many model of broadcasting and inverting the economics of webcasting." "Each person in the network shoulders part of the burden, redistributing the webcast to others, meaning there are virtually no additional bandwidth costs. As demand grows for the stream, so does its availability as listeners or viewers use their own bandwidth to relay the stream."
UK Guardian report:
2002-07-25: US Radio giant Clear Channel has reported flat revenues for the second quarter of 2002 of of USD2.17 billion, compared to 2001 revenues of USD2.18 billion but it made a profit of USD238 million (39 cents a share) compared to a Q2 loss of USD237 million (40 cents a share) in 2001.
Within the earnings were some USD21 million of pre-tax gains (2 cents a share) relating to asset sales and a litigation settlement. Clear Channel also noted that had it adopted FAS142 relating to goodwill and other intangibles at the beginning of last year, Q2 earnings for 2001 would have been USD104 million (17 cents a share).
Clear Channel had originally scheduled its earnings release for next week but moved it up following Tuesday's sharp fall in its stock that had followed the announcement that Randy Michaels was to move from its radio division to become CEO of its new technologies division (See RNW July 24) .
Clear Channel chairman and chief executive Lowry Mays said the company had brought forward the results to speedily deal with "very negative rumours being suggested in the marketplace which have no basis.''
"It's my hope and desire that accelerating this release will put the recent innuendos to
rest so that we can get them behind us," he continued. "We are doing what's most important for this Company, focusing on the fundamentals of our business and operating (as we have done historically) to create shareholder value. Further, despite the recent performance of our stock and the overall volatility of the stock market, we believe the fundamentals of our business remain sound."
Clear Channel also reported EBITDA OF USD627 million compared to USD611 million for Q2 2001; it said on a pro forma basis, second quarter 2002 revenues declined 4 percent compared with last year's second quarter revenues of $2.24 billion and pro forma EBITDA was $625 million, an increase of 1 percent, when compared to $621 million for the second quarter of 2001.
Within its divisions, radio revenues were up 5% over 2001 Q2 to USD991 million and EBITDA was up 9%; pro-forma revenues and EBITDA were up by the same percentage.
Outdoor revenues were up from USD 461 million to USD474 million but pro-forma revenues were down 5% and EBITDA was down from USD167 million to USD145 million with pro-forma EBITDA down 18%.
Entertainment revenues were down from USD697 million to USD619 million and Entertainment EBITDA was down from USD56 million to USD52 million with pro-forma revenues down 14.4% and pro forma EBITDA down 11.5%
Clear Channel shares fell on Wednesday to USD20 at one stage but ended up 32 cents at USD25.32.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
Previous Randy Michaels:
Clear Channel web site (Links to results 47kb PDF)
2002-07-25: EMAP's Manchester KEY103 radio station is promoting both the station and its special Commonwealth Games restricted service licence through a 160 feet (50 metre) long airship that has been given permission to fly around Manchester during the games.
The airship will be used for traffic and travel information as well as being used to host live shows.
2002-07-25: Jonathan Adelstein has moved closer to becoming a US Federal Communications Commissioner after the Senate Commerce Committee approved his nomination.
This now goes before the full senate, where Arizona Republican Senator John McCain is blocking all nominations until Democrat Ellen Weintraub is confirmed to a seat on the Federal Election Commission.
2002-07-25: An overload of the US National Weather Service's Emergency Alert System (EAS) prevented Washington's news station WTOP-AM from passing on a warning concerning a severe tornado to smaller stations on April 28 according to an AP report in the Baltimore Star.
The paper says that the system is designed to relay warnings affecting up to 28 counties but became overloaded because the storm affected 31 counties; it caused a strong tornado that caused five deaths and damage estimated at USD120 million in Southern Maryland.
Most larger broadcasters receive the warning through satellite links of from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration radio but some smaller ones relied on an alert sent to WTOP via a phone line and then automatically passed on but on April 28 W|TOP failed to receive the alarm according to weather service spokesman Curtis Carey.
Jim Farley, WTOP's vice president of news and programming, commented, "We are the top of the food chain, but we weren't able to pass the warning along to the other stations because we never got it."
Baltimore Sun/AP report:
2002-07-25: MeasureCast's latest Internet ratings show a jump of 26% in its Listening Index to an all-time high in the week to July 14 with more listening to 24 of its top 25 stations; listening it says has gone up nearly one-and-a-half times since January this year. (RNW note: As we have already commented, with many smaller - and not so small, like KPIG.com - sites stopping streaming we would expect an increase for those stations that are left as some people move over rather than turn off.
For the week to July 14, MeasureCast's top five stations ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) with in brackets TTSL and Cume persons (a measure of the cumulative audience -CP) for the previous week - were:
1: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 362,831 (325,982); CP 67,861 (59,216): Same position with higher listening and reach but listening was less than in the week to June 23.
2: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 289,880 (322,005); CP 67,630 (67,002): Same position with lower listening but slightly higher reach.
3: Classical format WQXR-FM, New York - TTSL 184,782 (145,046); CP 34,809 (33,030): Same position with higher listening and reach.
4: Sports talk format ESPN TTSL 161,040; CP 32,650. Not in previous ratings during holiday period but in week to June 23 was fifth with TTSL lower at 147,727 and CP higher at 37,073.
5: Classical format KING-FM - TTSL 127,006 (93,683): CP 21,686 (20,714) Same position with higher listening and reach.
*Internet-only market match Adult alternative Radioio, which was fourth in the previous ratings, fell to sixth despite higher TTSL of 118,111 compared to 107,877
The top five networks for the week to July 14(Previous week in brackets) were:
1: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 1,973,769 (1,514,308) ; CP 359,292 (321,390) - Same position with higher listening and reach.
2: Radio Free Virgin TTSL 781,926 (606,439): CP 160,716 (148,468) - Same position with higher listening and reach.
3: WARP Radio TTSL 694,577 (512,301) hours: CP 160,716 (98,141) - Same position with higher listening and reach but listening was lower than in week to June 23.
4:Internet Radio Inc TTSL 593,328 (512,301) : CP 187,854 (180,803) - - Same position with higher listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio TTSL 516,983 (458,762) : CP 94,229 (87,373) - - Same position with higher listening and reach but both were lower than in week to June 23.
The top five simulcast stations for the week (Earlier figures in brackets) were:
1: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 362,831 (325,982); CP 67,861 (59,216) - Same position with higher listening and reach although both were lower than in the week to June 23.
2: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 289,880 (322,005); CP 67,630 (67,002) -same position but lower listening and reach.
3: Classical format WQXR-FM, New York - TTSL 184,782 (145,046); CP 34,809 (33,030) -same position with higher listening and reach.
4: Sports talk format ESPN TTSL 161,040; CP 32,650. Not in previous ratings during holiday period but in week to June 23 was fifth with TTSL lower at 147,727 and CP higher at 37,073.
5: Classical format KING-FM - TTSL 127,006 (93,683): CP 32,650 (20,714) - Down from fourth despite higher listening and reach.
*Classic rock WFXZ-FM, which had been fifth with TTSL 58,008 and CP 6,945 fell to sixth despite higher listening with TTSL 79,192 and reach, up to 7,649
The top five Internet-only stations for the week (Previous week in brackets), were:
1: Adult alternative Radioio - TTSL 118,111 (107,877) ; CP 33,009 (30,468) - Same position with higher listening and reach.
2: Listener-formatted MediAmazing - TTSL 94,982 (76,524) ; 41,583 CP (37,869) Same position with higher listening and reach.
3:Classic Rock Radio Margaritaville -TTSL 83,711 (63,944); CP 13,342 (13,497) - Same position with higher listening but lower reach.
4: Pure Rock KNAC.com - TTSL 63,825 (51,291) ; CP 15,707 (15,338). Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
5: Alternative Rock 3WK Underground Radio TTSL 61,597 (49,183): CP 16,641 (15,105) - Up from eighth with higher listening and reach.
*Country format Internet only Bluegrass Country fell from fourth to sixth despite higher TTSL of 59,053 compared to 53,659 and Artists match MUSIC MATCH, which had been fifth, dropped out of the top ten..
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2002-07-24: XM Satellite Radio shares fell by nearly a quarter to USD4.00 from USD 5.38 on Tuesday after the company announced increased losses but also exceeded its subscriber goals for the quarter to the end of June.
During the quarter XM reported revenues of USD3.8 million but its loss was USD122 million, or USD1.38 a share, compared to USD44 million, 76 cents a share, during the second quarter of 2001 when it had not yet launched its service.
It had 136, 000 subscribers at the end of the quarter and says it expects to reach 200, 000 by the end of the current quarter and 350, 000 by the end of the year.
Increased losses had been anticipated as XM developed its service; its customer care and billings operations, for example, was up to USD3.9 million compared to Usd1.6 million and marketing costs were up to USD46.8 million from Usd7.3 million. XM says it has funds to keep it going into the first quarter of next year.
XM's rival, Sirius Satellite Radio, which began its service later, also suffered on the market on Tuesday with its shares dropping nearly 18% to USD 2:08. Over the past week, Sirius has seen a fall from just under USD3.50 and XM has fallen from just under USD6.50. Over the past year, Sirius stock 's high was USD13:05 whilst XM reached USD20.68.
Sirius web site:
XM web site:
2002-07-24: Randy Michaels has stepped down as Clear Channel radio chairman and CEO to become CEO of the New Technologies Division of the company, in which role the company says he will be "focused on the changing technological landscape including interactive, wireless broadband and satellite technologies."
Clear Channel President and Chief Operating Office Mark Mays, who will stand in as Clear Channel radio CEO while a successor is found, paid tribute to Michaels by saying, "Randy has been, and continues to be, a great contributor to Clear Channel. Without his vision and foresight we would not have been able to develop the best, most well positioned, unduplicatable collection of radio stations in the world."
"Randy's greatest strength is his ability to see how the radio industry will evolve long before it does. In his new role, Randy will be able to utilize this strength to enable us to react better to the advent of new technologies and their impact on the Company."
Michaels commented, "I am excited about the opportunity to once again look out in to the future and help shape the way we will adapt to it. I enjoy the challenge and stimulation of breaking new ground and look forward to this newly created position."
No mention was made as to whether Michaels, who ran the radio division from Covington, near Cincinnati, would be moving to Clear Channel's headquarters in San Antonio, Texas.
Michaels developed his career at WLW-AM in Cincinnati then helped build up Covington-based Jacor Communications Inc. to own hundreds of stations before it was bought by Clear Channel in 1998 for some USD4.4 billion.
Clear Channel's shares fell by 16.5% on Tuesday, ending the day around USD25, after opening just under USD30.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
Previous Randy Michaels:
Clear Channel announcement ((21Kb PDF):
2002-07-24: Looking ahead to the announcement of who is to head the new OFCOM super-regulator of British media, expected before the British Parliament goes into its summer recess, the UK Guardian says Richard Hooper, chairman of the Radio Authority, and Lord Currie, the dean of City University, have emerged as the frontrunners. It adds that Hooper was one of only two existing regulators to have been interviewed for the post, the other being Oftel chief executive David Edmonds. Other names in the hat were reported to include Adair Turner, vice chairman of Merrill Lynch Europe, and Lord Eatwell, the chairman of the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA).
The paper reports that Whitehall sources, who said Hooper was frontrunner amongst existing regulators was regarded as a "safe pair of hands" but there were concerns over problems he could face in managing the integration of the five existing bodies that will be subsumed into Ofcom. About Lord Currie, there was concern whether he would give up other commitments to allow him enough time to do the job.
UK Guardian report:
2002-07-24: US-based media and marketing research company Arbitron has announced the signing of long-term deals with Mexican broadcasters Grupo Radio México, Grupo Radio Centro and ACIR to provide Guadalajara radio market ratings.
In addition, a number of advertising agencies and media buying services that currently take Arbitron's Mexico City ratings services have extended their contracts to include Guadalajara.
Arbitron began ratings operation in Mexico City in Fall 2001 and started conducting measurements in Guadalajara at the start of this month.
Clara Carneiro, vice president, Latin American Marketing, Arbitron Inc., commented, "With our expansion into Guadalajara, we will continue to create a new radio audience measurement standard for Latin American broadcasters and agencies."
Arbitron will conduct its surveys in Guadalajara in the same way it has handled its Mexico City surveys, by using a Spanish-language version of its standard seven-day diary that will be filled in by some 2,300 residents of the city who will be recruited by visiting agents; the agents will collect the diaries and they will then be shipped to Arbitron's Columbia Research and Technology Centre for processing and tabulation using the company's existing processing infrastructure.
The first Guadalajara report should be available in early November.
Arbitron web site:
2002-07-24: Looking at the latest Washington radio ratings, the Washington Post headlines the loss of a quarter of its audience by Disney-owned news-talk WMAL-AM whose morning show fared even worse; it dropped a third and fell from fifth to eleventh in the rankings. WMAL has tried a large number of co-hosts and sidekicks to go with morning host Andy Parks.
Commenting on the reason for the fall, the paper quotes WMAL's president and general manager, Tom Bresnahan, as saying, "The truth of the matter is, some of our listeners didn't like the changes we made and they obviously let us know."
Referring to the morning show, he added," "Someone said to me, 'If you're used to eating two strips of bacon, two eggs and a cup of coffee every day for breakfast, and one morning you get a cup of tea, pancakes and grapefruit juice, it can screw up your whole day.' That's what it was like for us."
Overall in DC, urban hit station WPGC-FM was top ranked, followed in second place by all-news WTOP-AM-FM, which led morning and evening drive.
In Chicago, Disney fared rather better with Roe Conn and Garry Meier in the overall lead for ABC's talk-format WLS-AM during the afternoon drivel; they were also first in the 25-54 demographic although Steve Dahl on Infinity's WCKG-FM, took top place amongst men in that demographic, despite being tenth overall.
WLS itself was second placed overall, behind WGN-AM, for whom Spike O'Dell led the morning drive rankings.
Infinity's WBBM-FM, which had pulled its morning duo Eddie and Jobo (Ed Volkman and Joe Bohannon) in a contract dispute (See RNW June 1) lost audience and dropped from a 4.2 share to 3.5. The duo went back on air this week after signing a seven-year renewal deal totalling more than USD20 million (See RNW July 17).
Previous Eddie and Jobi:
Washington Post report:
2002-07-23: The switch to hip-hop format by stations in the US as they chase ratings and income is featured in a New York Times report that notes that, since its format change from rhythm and blues, Clear Channel's WWPR-FM in New York, now re-branded Power 105 has risen in the ratings to 13th place from 13th despite having to compete against established hip-hop station WQHT-FM, Hot 97, which has lost some listeners but retained its second place.
There were similar ratings gains elsewhere, says the paper, noting that in Chicago, where Clear Channel's WGCI-FM is third in the ratings, a change in format from oldies R.& B. to hop-hop and contemporary R.& B. brought rival WPWX-FM up from 31st to eighth in the rankings.
Over the past decade, the number of stations with a hip-hop and contemporary R.& B. format has risen from an initial six to around 150 according to the paper, which notes that initially stations were reluctant to call themselves rap or hip hop because of what Tony Sanders, a senior analyst at Duncan's American Radio, termed the unwillingness of media buyers and advertisers to spend on "gangsta rap."
The reluctance was eased as the music grew in popularity with the young, a group heavily targeted by advertisers because of their spending on disposable items.
"Young people rule right now," Taft Harris, general manager of WPWX, one of 38 stations owned by Crawford Broadcasting, told the paper. "They have great spending power. They can't go out and buy big homes like older groups, but they can match them pound for pound on clothing, electronics and liquor purchases."
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Times report:
2002-07-23: The British government is considering a plan to put public funding into a television equivalent of BBC World Service radio, which is funded by the Foreign Office although run by the Corporation, according to the UK Guardian.
The paper says that not only would the move "infuriate rivals such as CNN" but is also causing concern amongst World Service radio staff.
It quoted an anonymous member of staff as saying, "It sounds like a mad idea. Radio is so cheap - look at what you get for your money with the World Service. With TV you get much less bang for your buck."
The BBC is already attempting to change the fortunes of its international TV news channel BBC World, which lost more than GBP15 million last year, by taking it into a "global news" division under by the World Service director, Mark Byford, who would then control the BBC's international TV, radio and online news services.
The plan has yet to receive government approval but the junior minister responsible for World Service funding, Dennis MacShane, commenting on public funding for an international TV services, said, "A World Service television network that was popular and successful would do more to promote British interests abroad than almost anything else I can think of."
UK Guardian report:
2002-07-23: The US Pacifica Radio Network, which is still trying to dig itself out of problems that arose from conflicts between its former board and many supporters (which supposedly ended when the dissidents gained control nad most of the former management were ousted (See RNW Feb 5) is still keeping up its reputation for being internally disputatious.
The latest example involved the Democracy Now programme for which a five year contract was signed in June; the deal gave the programme makers rights to the name of the programme, long a Pacifica flagship, plus its archives and also to twice-a-year access to Pacifica's donor list to allow it to fundraise.
Following objections and a call to renegotiate the agreement, the Interim Pacifica National Board met last Tuesday (July 17) to start on the path to hiring legal counsel and it met again on July 22 to decide on the details of its agreement with counsel.
Because the matter involves contractual matters and potential litigation, the board said it would take no further action until it had both received legal advice and agreed on the action to be taken.
The agreement that was reached with Democracy Now has been posted on New York outlet WBAI-FM's site as have other documents concerning the dispute including a long letter from the show's host Amy Goodman and senior producer Kris Abrams.
This deals with the background, including details of the dispute with the previous management that led to the show being produced outside WBAI after a long history of conflict including attempts to control the political content of the show and terminating in what they term "a physical assault on Amy."
The show then made air by being sent to KPFA, Berkeley, who then plinked it for satellite distribution to affiliates and which, with KFCF in Los Angeles continued to air the show despite legal threats from Pacifica.
After the old Pacifica Board was replaced, the show staff eventually negotiated a five- year agreement that was approved by a 10-2 vote of the Interim Board last month.
That deal, say Goodman and Abrams, initially pays USD400, 000 a year plus around USD88,000 in other costs such as phone bills, all that Pacifica could afford although Goodman and Abrams say they expect to raise USD 2 million for Pacifica this year.
The deal is to be renegotiated annually within a 4% to 10% band depending upon Pacifica's finances. The two say they need around USD 630, 000, for the daily radio news hour and it was for this reason that Pacifica agreed to share its donor list and also other parts of the agreement including an agreement that Democracy Now will have the right to sell the show directly to stations, will get half the fees received for the first year only (Pacifica retains all fees for current affiliates) and will also retain copyright,
Goodman and Abrams say they agreed a number of the conditions against their legal advice. They say they "believe Pacifica is a vital force in the independent media movement in this country and we are some of Pacifica's staunchest supporters."
"We believe our new relationship with Pacifica will benefit both of us. In what our own legal counsel is calling a 'sweetheart deal for Pacifica,'it cements our relationship with Pacifica in a new way, committing us to raising millions of dollars for Pacifica over the next several years, while we will receive a fraction of that amount which covers only some of our costs. It gives us the autonomy and independence we need to continue to grow, improve, and innovate."
The opposition to the contract was led by Carol Spooner, who in her call for the board to reconsider the deal wrote that she believed it was "it is one-sided, disadvantageous to Pacifica in the extreme, and amounts to a divestiture of substantial Pacifica assets without compensation. I believe ratification of this contract was a grave mistake that will have long ranging negative ramifications for Pacifica and will dangerously impact our financial viability, among other negative consequences."
In a later message after speaking to Goodman and Abrams she backs off a little, writing, "If anyone ever had any doubt of their love for Pacifica and dedication to the rebuilding of the Pacifica network and rededication to its mission ... those doubts were misplaced... Amy and Kris have said they are willing to revisit the contract recently negotiated with Pacifica ... and there are some issues that we are certain can be clarified/modified to secure Pacifica's interests in the future, specifically: Pacifica's Archival rights to Democracy Now! programming, Pacifica's radio distribution rights, and the use of Pacifica's donors' lists."
"After talking with Amy and Kris I feel confident that all will be well ... we are all working towards the same goals ... the rebuilding of Pacifica, and the strengthening of alternative media in these perilous times."
Pacifica web site:
SavePacifica web site - links to various postings concerning Pacifica and Democracy Now including call for renegotian of agreement:
WBAI Home Page - links to various postings concerning Democracy Now including Text of agreement and Democracy Now letter.
2002-07-23: SMG, the former Scottish Media Group, is reported to be going to put up for sale its television business.
SMG has debts of some GBP400 million, around the lower end of estimates of the value of its TV business, which includes the Scottish and Grampian TV franchises and a fifth of national breakfast franchise, GMTV.
2002-07-22: For this week's selection of print comment on radio, we have chosen some comments on the strength of the medium and others that relate to the business in various forms.
First the medium itself and comment from Vanora Bennett in her Saturday column in the London Times.
She starts, "Does the very thought of a nature programme make your eyes begin to glaze over?", relates this to "tedious daytime-TV type of wildlife documentary" and then goes on to praise BBC Radio 4's current Wild Europe series (20:00 GMT on Mondays) as a "very superior beast indeed."
After comments on some of the programmes to date in the five part series, she writes, "The beauty of radio is that it appeals to the brain, not the eyes. Radio listeners, unlike TV viewers, are not so mesmerised by the visual impact of the wolf/snowdrop/snow leopard's physical appearance that they can think of nothing else. Instead, they let themselves be stimulated by the strength of the ideas that they hear, listening to the humans as intently as visuals-led documentaries focus attention only on the animals."
"One feels with these programmes that radio can teach us something new, not just about the endangered wildlife species of Europe, but also about the relationship between man and beast - and that's surely what it's all about."
On the other side of the Atlantic, New York Times cultural critic Margo Jefferson also wrote an appreciation of radio.
This began, "LOVE to wander around my apartment, lie on my couch and listen to the radio. I can control what I hear there, but I can't predict it. Of course, we can all predict what we'll hear on commercial stations with their generic playlists. (Warning: do not purchase this product and do not listen to it again unless accompanied by diverting video images on television.) As for the higher pleasures, it excites me to hear music I know nothing about and respond with no interference from anything or anyone. A good radio station or program can ambush my prejudices - change my mood."
"No, I do not want to hear Brahms or John Coltrane. But I give in, I listen clinically. And either way I'm rewarded. My response shifts, or feels even more justified."
Further west and we have comment from Brian Murphy in the San Francisco Chronicle praising British radio commentary on the British Open Golf.
He writes, "The more cynical might wonder if describing golf on the radio would be the equivalent of broadcasting a biathlon, or a hot-air balloon race."
"Those same doubters, then, have never laid out 7 quid for the sweetest buy in sports -- the portable British Open radio, sold on the grounds of Muirfield. "
"BBC broadcasters turn a round of golf into an opera, drawing on a reverence for the game, spinning a 448-yard par 4 into a passion play. The accents don't hurt, either."
And across the Irish Sea, Gerry McCarthy in his column on Irish radio in the UK Sunday Times, was also commenting on the nature of the medium, in his case in relation to the qualities needed by a broadcaster. The comments were sparked off by various stand-ins when regular broadcasters were on summer vacation and led him to think about the difference between the requirements of a print personality and a broadcast one.
"A brilliant writer can be a stiff on radio," commented McCarthy. "The two modes of fluency are utterly different. You can hear something like this in O'Toole's (Fintan O'Toole is an Irish Times columnist, critic and reporter who had been standing in for broadcaster Eamon Dunphy) earnest, staccato delivery, as though his vocabulary is too big for the available bandwidth."
"Natural broadcasters." continues McCarthy, "know instinctively how to pitch their utterances, but writers often have trouble. They're halfway through a sentence when the thought occurs that the word they were about to use is too obscure for radio, and their print-oriented minds get stuck in the thesaurus of options facing them. .. O'Toole displays awesome command of a vast range of subjects, but the expertise is frequently of little use."
"Presented with a topic outside his usual range, in a medium where his vocabulary is a handicap, O'Toole can be shaky. His long, detailed discussion of last week's GAA matches is a case in point. He had clearly seen some games, and got genuine Dub passion into his analysis. But it sounded like an effort. "
On to the business of radio and two areas of the medium under threat. The first is classical music broadcasting in the US, subject of a column by the San Francisco Chronicle Music Critic Joshua Kosman.
"Travel to just about any American city these days," wrote Kosman, "and the odds are you'll have to work harder than ever to find the music of Bach, Brahms or Stravinsky on the radio dial. "
"From Florida to California, classical stations look more and more like an endangered species. Major markets such as Detroit and San Diego, as well as San Jose and Fresno closer to home, have been without a commercial classical station for years. "
"And the trend only seems to be getting worse. A recent Arbitron survey found that 34 of the nation's top 100 radio markets didn't have a classical station."
After detailing some of the stations where classical has gone or been cut back, Kosman then goes on to consider a classical success story, that of KDFC-FM, which has ranked in the top six amongst 127 Bay Area radio stations over the past three years.
He quotes Bill Leuth, KDFC operations and programming manager, as saying, "Classical radio spent a long time imitating the concert hall experience. That no longer works, because that's not how working-aged people listen to radio."
KDFC's answer has been to adopt, says Kosman, "marketing-driven programming, with an emphasis on short, soothing pieces -- sometimes one-movement excerpts -- drawn almost exclusively from the 18th century. For listeners looking for more adventurous fare, the KDFC formula is a mixed blessing at best."
He then quotes a former KDFC program director, Bill O'Connell, now vice president and program manager for WCLV in Cleveland:
"Anybody can make money. If you're willing to take the temperature of your audience and play only what focus groups say you should play, that's certainly a way to go. "
"But another way to go is the situation where the station is not owned by a large company but by a local company that feels a responsibility to the classical music aficionados of their market -- and to potential classical music partisans -- to play a wider range of styles and textures than the stations that are under financial pressure."
Money, particularly following the consolidation of radio in the US and the need to justify large sums paid for a licence, has been at the root of much of the decline, according to Mario Mazza, vice president of programming at WCRB, Boston's only commercial classical station.
"The number of classical radio stations is declining not because they were abysmal performers, but because owners need to recoup their investment," said Mazza."Classical doesn't do that. It makes money, but the margins may not be as large as they want. That doesn't mean there's a problem with the format, though."
RNW comment: From the British perspective the debate on the approach to classical music broadcasts outlined above approximates to the choice between Classic FM, which tends towards the KDFC model, and BBC Radio 3, which takes it classical music more on the "high culture" ground.
For those who are interested in the merits of promoting high culture, a recent article by A.C. Grayling that argues in favour of the BBC's Reithian approach (see link below) is worth a read.
And finally another form of radio under threat, Internet radio: For comment on this we have chosen a UK Observer comment by John Naughton, "The golden age of internet radio."
"Internet radio," he writes, "is a great illustration of why the unregulated Internet stimulates so much innovation and allows an unparalleled range of choice. Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that it's under threat."
Naughton then goes on to give a brief history of streaming from the inception of the idea when Rob Glaser thought up "Real Audio" streaming in 1994.
" the Real Audio story," says Naughton, "provides a great illustration of why the unregulated Internet has stimulated so much innovation. Because the network is owned by nobody, and because it is a 'dumb' system designed to do only one thing - deliver data packets from source to destination - anyone with a good idea can harness it. If you can do it with packets, the Internet will do it for you."
"Glaser had a great idea for sending audio in packets, so all he had to do was write the software and - Bingo! - the network did the rest. If, however, the Net were proprietary, he would have had to apply for permission and would then have become embroiled in arguments about what constituted legitimate and illegitimate use of the system and, well, you can imagine the rest..."
Part of that rest was Internet radio , which Naughton says "was a stupendous extension of consumer choice at a time when conventional radio was becoming increasingly bland and standardised as a result of corporate consolidation."
"Streaming radio demonstrated the power of digital technology to reverse the tendency to turn cultural products into adjuncts of mass marketing - to enable listeners to listen to [italics] precisely [unitalics] the music they like, rather than having to accept the playlists foisted on DJs by corporate requirements. "
Naughton concludes, after comment on the US Copyright Office royalty ruling, "The liabilities involved (which will, of course, be backdated) are so large that only Webcasters with substantial corporate backing will survive. The Webcasters are appealing, but I wouldn't bet on their prospects. It's just another case of how the owners of intellectual property are trying to choke off the future.
New York Times - Jefferson
San Francisco Chronicle - Kosman
San Francisco Chronicle -Murphy:
UK Guardian - Grayling on high culture.
UK Observer - Naughton on Internet radio.
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy
UK Times - Bennett
2002-07-21: Canada featured most prominently in radio licensing decisions over the past week, particularly relating to decisions in Quebec where it issued a new FM licence and renewed for only two-year's CHOI-FM's licence in a decision that contained pages of criticism of the station's past shortcomings.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has invited applications for a new Sydney-wide community AM licence following changes made to the city's licence area plan in March. The changes made a new community licence available instead of a previously planned open narrowcasting licence.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been involved mainly in commercial licence decisions. Amongst these it decided to issue a new FM licence for Québec city to Montreal-based Cogeco Radio-Television Inc. (See RNW July 18).
In all there had been four applicants for the licence: the others were from Communications Lévis 2001; Métromédia CMR Montréal inc. (Métromédia), and a wholly owned subsidiary of Radio Nord Communications inc. (Radio Nord).
In addition the Commission refused a licence variation for Genex Communications inc. to amend the licence of CKNU-FM Donnacona, Quebec, that would have expanded its signal towards Québec City by re-siting its transmitter and decreasing its power, removed a ban on selling advertisements outside the Portneuf area and changed licence conditions relating local programming to fit in with the new transmission area.
The application was competitive with the four applications for the new Québec FM licence and one dissenting note was struck in its rejection by Commissioner Andrée Noël.
He commented in terms of a possible linkage with the decision to give Genex's CHOI-FM, Québec, a short two-year renewal of its licence and said, although he agreed with the CHOI decision (see below), in the case of CKNU-FM, Genex had displayed exemplary conduct and in his view had showed "beyond a shadow of a doubt to my mind - that unless it was authorized to move its transmitter to Mont-Bélair, solicit advertising in the Québec market and become, subject to certain conditions, a regional station serving both the Portneuf market and the Québec market, two adjacent markets, one being a suburb of the other, its financial viability would be irrevocably compromised."
"Because the two applications were heard at the same time," he continued," I am concerned that the overwhelming evidence in the case of CHOI-FM may have influenced my colleagues in considering the application for an amendment to CKNU-FM's conditions of licence."
Noël then cited in his dissent, part of the ruling that said, "In the current application, Genex proposed to amend the licence of CKNU-FM in order to be granted the privilege of effectively operating a second radio station in the Greater Québec market in addition to CHOI-FM. In view of Genex's behaviour noted in (that decision ) the Commission is of the view that it would not be appropriate to grant Genex such a privilege at this time."
The CHOI decision referred to must have been one of the longest licence extension decisions issued by the CRTC. In the CHOI case, the station licence was extended subject to conditions of licence relating to a code of ethics.
At the head of its decision, the Commission said it noted, "the licensee's numerous failures to comply with the Radio Regulations, 1986 (the Radio Regulations) and the condition of its licence related to sex-role portrayal. The Commission also notes the licensee's failures to meet the objective of the Broadcasting Act that the programming originated by broadcasting undertakings should be of high standard." It then said, "The Commission intends to examine closely the licensee's adherence to its commitments, the Radio Regulations and the conditions of licence set out in this decision."
It then gave details of complaints about CHOI-FM relating to offensive remarks or language, offensive contests and personal attacks and harassment. Details were given of complaints ranging from swearing and sexually explicit content through sexist comment to the suggestion that an "Indian hunting season" replace the game hunting season and attacks on an individual. Genex's response to the complaints had been a "form letter" that "the comments made by its hosts have to be taken in context and that the target audience for the program in question mainly comprises young adults. Genex added that the aim of the program is to cover current events "[translation] sometimes with irony, sometimes with sarcasm and sometimes with humour."
It also commented on other shortfalls including breaches of licence content conditions and the failure to keep proper logger tapes and after expressing concern about past performance issued a two-year renewal with the addition of a long list of licence conditions relating to the points raised.
The CRTC was also involved in a number of much less controversial decisions including the deletion of a licence condition prohibiting Christian music station CKOE-FM in Moncton, New Brunswick, from broadcasting commercial messages; gave a one year administrative renewal to Corus Radio for the licence of its transitional digital undertaking associated with CJNW, Vancouver, British Columbia; and allowed Milestone Radio to increase the power of CFJX-FM, Toronto, from 298 watts to 1,430 watts.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the award, subject to the successful conclusion of contract licences of two of the third tranche of local licences currently being re-advertised. The Waterford licence goes to South East Broadcasting Company's WLRfm and the Wexford licence go Cormuda Limited's South East Radio.
It has also announced that it has short listed three applicants for the Carlow/Kilkenny area. They are KCR FM, an application by the Kilkenny Community Communications Co-op Society Ltd.; CKR FM, an application by Carlow Kilkenny Radio Ltd.; and KCLR, an application by CK Broadcasting Ltd
For the County Kildare licence, it has short listed five applicants. These are Kildare 97FM, an application by Kildare Broadcasting Corporation Ltd.; Kfm, an application by County Kildare FM Radio Ltd.; Kildare Sound, and application by Kildare Communications Ltd.; KFM-Kildare Radio, an application by Kildare Radio Ltd.; and KFM, an application by KFM Media Services Ltd.
In the UK, the Radio Authority has been active on the analogue, assessment and digital fronts.
Analogue activities concerned the Ipswich/Bury St Edmunds area where, by the deadline, it had received declarations of intent to apply for both the AM and FM licences only from the existing holders.
As a result they are being invited to submit "fast-track" applications.
The AM licence is currently held by Classic Gold Digital Ltd., broadcasting as Classic Gold Amber and the FM licence by Suffolk Radio Group plc (GWR Group plc), broadcasting as SGR FM.
Assessments published were for the awards of the Skye and Lochalsh FM licence in Scotland to Cuillin FM, and the re-award of the small-scale Oxford FM licence to existing holder Fusion FM.
In the case of Cuillin FM it was the only applicant for the licence and had run two trials since it was set up in 1993.
The station will provide live programming from 08:00 to 09:00 and from 17:00 to 22:00 during the week and between 12:00 and 22:00 at weekends and will also broadcast two hours a week of Gaelic language programmes.
Its service will include locally-focussed speech programming using volunteers as presenters and a wide range of specialised music shows: during time when it is not broadcasting live local programming it will broadcast pre-recorded music.
The Oxford licence was re-awarded to Fusion FM against competition from Blue FM (Oxford Radio Ltd.), Juice 107.9 (Juice Oxford Ltd.), and More FM (South Central Media Ltd.).
Fusion acquired the station, then known as Oxygen FM, in 2000 and the Authority commented that members felt its application "revealed a good insight into various problems which it had inherited, and recognised that the licence re-application process provided an opportunity for Fusion to address these, including the re-definition of the programme format so as to more accurately reflect the group's analysis of the current and future programming requirements of its target audience, and the implementation of permissible improvements to its transmission arrangements to improve coverage in and around the city of Oxford."
Members commented that Fusion had "put forward creative ideas for speech content that would be attractive to listeners, and were proposing a varied mix of youth music genres designed to appeal to those aged under 30; in particular, Fusion had recognised the traditional place of alternative rock music in the local music scene, and its popularity among the student community."
"Monitoring," it said, "had confirmed that Fusion was providing a good range of music output and a competent local news service, and was offering programming that was distinctively different from that of the area's other ILR service, Fox FM. Nevertheless, Members were conscious that much remains to be done to build up the station's listenership, and felt that the group's forecasts of future audience growth would prove challenging."
On the digital front, the Authority continued its rollout of local licences with the advertisement of the digital multiplex for Brighton and other coastal areas of East and West Sussex, an area with an adult population of some 830, 000. It expects to award the licence towards the end of this year.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a penalty of USD 39, 000 on Maria L. Salazar, licensee of radio station KTCM-FM, Kingman, Kansas, for a range of offences including the operation of a station from unauthorised premises, failing to maintain obstruction lighting on the station tower, failing to install and maintain Emergency Alert System, (EAS) equipment at KTCM-FM, failing to maintain a main studio at an authorised location and failing to maintain a public inspection file. The commission said its agents, following up on a complaint, found a station broadcasting from the Latino Boom Nightclub in Wichita and on further checks found that KTCM-FM's last known studio address was in a building that was locked and appeared empty and that its authorised transmitter site near Spivey was transmitting programming that appeared to be the same as that being broadcast from Wichita. They also found that of the six lights that were supposed to be operating on the antenna, the top flashing beacon and three of the four side lamps were not lit.
No outage report had been filed to the Federal Aviation Authority,
Following subsequent contacts with Ms Salazar, the Commission was told that the EAS equipment had been removed for repair. In a later letter she wrote that that she had relied on a professional broadcast engineer to ensure that her operation of the station complied with regulations and that she had moved the studio to Wichita on the advice of the engineer, thinking it was legal.
She had ceased operating from Wichita and had moved the studio back to Kingman. The FCC has proposed the base forfeitures for each offence, taking the total to USD 39, 000. Ms Salazar has until August 17 to pay up or lodge an appeal.
(RNW note - In June, the Commission had proposed 43 forfeitures totalling just over USD 500, 000. Of this total, 32 involved safety-related regulations.)
The FCC has also allowed a Pressly family deal in Jonesboro, Arkansas, one of two that had been red-flagged, to go through; this gives two groups 95% of the revenues in the market (See RNW July 20).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2002-07-21: Mexican radio stations in Baja California State, which includes Tijuana, have signed an agreement to ban narco-corridos songs (northern Mexican folk songs that tell the story of drug lords to a backing of guitars and accordions).
According to an AP report in the San Francisco Chronicle the move was made to help the government fight drugs and crime and the stations have asked Spanish-language stations in California to follow suit.
It quoted Casio Carlos Narvaez, a representative of the Radio and Television Industry Chamber, as saying Mexican stations will not be able to compete if their U.S. counterparts don't follow their lead.
"We should promote this self-imposed regulation to avoid converting into heroes and examples people who break the laws of our country," he said.
San Francisco Chronicle/AP report:
2002-07-20: Streaming simulcast pioneer KPIG.com, owned by Mapleton Communications, has become the most prominent recent victim of the Internet royalties ruling.
It began its stream in 1995 but on Thursday (July 18) cut its live stream because of the cost of royalty payments. It will continue a stream of music that does not require royalty payments from its own live recordings made at its studios and at station-sponsored concerts.
2002-07-20: Two deals that had been red-flagged on concentration grounds in Jonesboro, Arkansas, have now been given the go-ahead by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The latest to be given the go-ahead was Pressly Partnership Productions USD450, 000 acquisition of KJBX-FM, Trumann, in the Jonesboro market, from Pressly Enterprises, both of which are largely owned by members of the Pressly family.
The FCC, which last month gave the go-ahead for Clear Channel's USD 2 million purchase of KKEY-FM Harrisburg, and KNEA-AM Jonesboro from Pollack Broadcasting (See RNW June 29) held that the existing ownership of KJBX meant the sale unlikely to adversely affect competition or listeners.
The Clear Channel acquisition has now closed and as a result of the deals the two groups together will control 95% of the market; Clear Channel's cluster will control 62% of the market's revenues.
Previous Clear Channel:
2002-07-20: WorldSpace is to add Radio Caroline to the services available on its Afristar satellite radio service with test transmissions starting from midnight on Monday (July 22).
Radio Caroline, which began as an offshore pirate station, now broadcasts from studios in Kent and is available via the Astra 1G satellite and via the Internet.
The satellite was launched in October 1998 and is operated by WorldSpace along with its Asiastar, its second satellite launched in March 2000 (See RNW Mar 26, 2000). A third satellite, Ameristar, was due to be launched last year but was delayed and there were reports of the company facing financial problems (See RNW Feb 1).
The Afristar satellite has a footprint that covers Africa and Europe and to receive the services, listeners need a suitable receiver with portable sets, which can also receive AM, FM and SW, costing around USD225. The satellite signal is taken in via a small satellite dish clipped to the receiver.
RNW note: As well as broadcast stations including BBC World Service, WorldSpace also provides more specialised services such as the Public Health Channel that was launched in May this year by the WorldSpace Foundation and SATELLIFE to disseminate information to professional health workers on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases. The service was initially launched in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia with HIV/AIDS information high on its priority list.
Previous Radio Caroline:
Radio Caroline web site:
WorldSpace web site:
2002-07-20: Private commercial FM radio in Mumbai (Bombay) has been successful with drivers according to a recent survey that showed more than 71% of drivers were tuning into them.
ENIL's ( Entertainment Network (India) Limited) Radio Mirchi attracted nearly two thirds of drivers and during Drive Time it attracted some 42% of the male audience.
Amongst "premium" car owners Mirchi took half the audience with its nearest rival Radio City attracting only 10% whilst for "non-premium car owners" the figures were 40% for Radio Mirchi and 18% for Radio City.
Previous Indian Radio report:
2002-07-20: Chicago DuPage college station WDCB-FM, whose tower collapsed in December last year (See RNW Dec 27. 2001) is finally back on full power.
It had been broadcasting at reduced power from a temporary tower until its new tower in west suburban Glen Ellyn was commissioned.
2002-07-19: US radio ratings and media research organisation Arbitron has reported revenues, boosted by its RADAR acquisition, up 12.4% to USD56.5 million and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) up 17% to USD 15 million in the second quarter of this year compared to Q2, 2001.
Net income for the quarter was $6.6 million, compared with $4.7 million for the second quarter of 2001 and net income per share for the quarter was $0.22 (diluted), compared with $0.16 per share (diluted.
The company also reported costs and expenses up 11%, largely related to spending on its RADAR service that was bought in the third quarter of last year and on its Portable People Meter.
Commenting on the results president and CEO Stephen Morris said, "Arbitron continues to perform well, despite a difficult economic environment. Our revenue, EBIT and net earnings growth in the second quarter is a reflection of the good performance of our core ratings business and our recent acquisition of RADAR. While we expect the general business climate to remain challenging throughout the year, we enter the second half of 2002 with strong fundamentals, a stable and growing core business and exceptional opportunities in new markets such as Latin America. As a result, we remain on track to meet our previously provided guidance for 2002.
Arbitron web site:
2002-07-19: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has launched a lawsuit against the charges in conjunction with broadcasters Bonneville International, Clear Channel, Cox Radio, Emmis, Entercom and Susquehanna Radio.
The NAB lawsuit is an appeal against an earlier court decision that ruled against NAB's argument that streaming broadcasters' signals should not attract copyright charges. In essence NAB argues that Congress has "long recognized the mutually beneficial relationship between the radio and recording industries, particularly the enormous promotional benefits
derived by the recording companies from radio airplay of sound recordings" and that in enacting the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act ("DPRA")) and Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") only narrowly expanded copyright protection.
In particular NAB argues that by exempting "nonsubscription broadcast transmissions" from the new performance rights, Congress was exempting both digital over-the-air radio transmissions and streaming of the same signal.
However while the suit progresses and NAB and Internet radio organisations continue to lobby against the US Copyright Office ruling more smaller operations are closing down and gloomy prognostications proliferate.
Amongst these is an article by Wharton public policy and management professor Gerald Faulhaber, who says that some experts say the days of independent Internet radio may be numbered. The royalty fee, he writes, "may price many small content providers out of the market, leaving some with no choice but to shut down."
He quotes Tom Mondell, sole proprietor of whereveRadio.com, a Net radio service specializing in electronic music, as saying both the sites and recording companies could benefit.
"We're advertising people's music, exposing it to the Internet world," he said. "Most of the music I play no FM station would ever touch. But unfortunately the record companies don't see it that way."
Faulhaber comments that the Internet radio business model may not survive, noting that the recording companies could choose to lower the rates rather than lose the medium but do not need to as they have a choice of other ways to distribute music.
The article also notes the problems caused by the record keeping requirements for many sites.
David Landis, founder of the Ultimate-80s.com Internet radio site, noted, "They want to know how many listeners heard a song, at what times we played songs, etc., when we pay royalties. That's what the rates are based on."
"But there's no real way to calculate how many listeners heard the song with the kind of international audience that an Internet radio offering has." "The recording industry says there are costs involved with playing music. Yes, there are - and we pay the composition fees to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), BMI, and SESAC, either a flat fee or a percentage of revenue. We all assumed that the fee for the sound recording would be similar. There was no way to budget for the kind of rates they want now when we launched our stations."
Faulhaber also deals with the confusion between peer-to-peer sharing services such as Napster and the streaming operations of webcasters but also deals with the perception that specialist streaming operations could be seen as likely to reduce recording sales since individuals might choose the Internet route rather than purchase a recording, something that is not practicable for terrestrial FM listeners.
Looking at the revenue model, he notes that advertising has not lived up to initial hype, although it does have specific advantages over older forms of advertising, particularly in terms of targeting and linkage to allow a purchase of a recording.
The medium does promote sales of CDs according to Michael Mazis, professor of marketing at American University's Kogod School of Business, who conducted a conducted a survey on the subject.
"The survey found that among heavier users - those who listened to Internet radio several hours a week - there was a pretty strong effect. It did promote the sale of CDs and worked much the way traditional radio works," he explains. The majority of those surveyed at the time, however, were not heavy users, so the overall results did not show any effect on purchasing habits.
Faulhaber also cites the promotional value to artists: Mike Hays, a country singer and co-owner of TwangCast.com, said his firsthand experience showed, "the value of webcasters promoting my work. It gives independent artists exposure that they can't get anywhere else."
Hays said that his site sends more than 300 people daily to retail partner CD Universe where listeners can purchase music.
However things go, many sites will die, the article concludes. Mazis commented, "Even if the economy picks up and there are more advertising dollars being spent, it will be difficult for webcasters to survive. Because of the low start-up costs associated with these Internet radio stations, there are a lot of them. All can't be profitable; there are too many in the market."
NAB web site - links to filing against Internet royalty charges (68 page, 220 kb PDF)
Wharton report (Site requires registration):
2002-07-19: The UK Radio Magazine editor and founder Howard Rose has died aged 49.
The magazine was bought earlier this month from Goldcrest Broadcasting Ltd, owned by Rose and his wife Patricia, by Sir Ray Tindle.
The new owners were making no staff changes and had announced that Rose was to stay on as Managing Editor. Tindle Radio owns seven radio stations in the UK.
UK Radio Magazine site:
2002-07-19: In its latest Internet ratings, MeasureCast reports that listening was down over the past fortnight by nearly a fifth. Hit by the combination of the summer and Fourth of July holidays. During the week of July 1-7, listening was down 15%, following a 4% fall in the previous week.
The falls were fairly evenly distributed but some rankings were significantly affected.
For the week to July 7, MeasureCast's top five stations ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) with in brackets TTSL and Cume persons (a measure of the cumulative audience -CP) for the week to June 23 -the latest set of weekly figures issued before then - were:
1: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 325,982 (426,692); CP 59,216 (73,670): Same position with lower listening and reach.
2: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 322,005 (310,368); CP 67,002 (70,457): Same position with higher listening but lower reach.
3: Classical format WQXR-FM, New York - TTSL 145,046 (159,534); CP 33,030 (27,426): Up from fourth despite lower listening and reach.
4: Internet only Adult alternative Radioio TTSL 107,877 (117,322); CP 30,468 (30,759). Up from seventh despite lower listening but with slightly higher reach.
5: Classical format KING-FM - TTSL 93,683 (125,779): CP 20,714 (21,173) Up from sixth despite lower listening and reach.
*Internet-only market match MUSICMATCH , a new entrant in third position in the prior figures with TTSL 171,788 fell to tenth with TTSL 51,422 and ESPN, which had been fifth with TTSL 147,727 fell out of the top 25
The top five networks for the week (Earlier figures in brackets) were:
1: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 1,514,308 (1,878,617) ; CP 321,390 (277,397). Same position with lower listening and reach.
2: Radio Free Virgin TTSL 606,439 (767,715): CP 148,468 (157,972) - Up from third despite lower listening and reach.
3: WARP Radio TTSL 512,301 (745,602) hours: CP 98,141 (119,536) - Up from fourth despite lower listening and reach.
4:Internet Radio Inc TTSL 512,301 (577,188) : CP 180,803 (182,447) - Up from sixth despite lower listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio TTSL 458,762 (603,018 ) : CP 87,373 (101,130) - Same position despite lower listening and reach.
*Again MUSICMATCH, a newcomer that was second-placed in the week to June 23, fell markedly down the rankings ending at eighth with a TTSL of 274,645 compared to 779,561.
The top five simulcast stations for the week (Earlier figures in brackets) were:
1: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 325,982 (426,692); CP 59,216 (73,670) - Same position despite lower listening and reach.
2: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 322,005 (310,368); CP 67,002 (70,457) -same position but higher listening, although reach was down.
3: Classical format WQXR-FM, New York - TTSL 145,046 (159,534); CP 33,030 (27,426) -same position with lower listening, although reach was up.
4: Classical format KING-FM - TTSL 93,683 (125,779): CP 20,714 (21,173) - Up from fifth despite lower listening and reach.
5: Classic rock WFXZ-FM - TTSL 58,008 (73,009); CP 6,945 (8,087) - Up from sixth despite lower listening and reach.
*Sports talk ESPN, which had been fourth, was not in the top ten.
The top five Internet-only stations for the week (Earlier figures in brackets), were:
1: Adult alternative Radioio - TTSL 107,877 (117,322) ; CP 30,468 (30,759) - Up from second despite lower listening and reach.
2: Listener-formatted MediAmazing - TTSL 76,524 (88,606) ; CP 37,869 (46,753) - Up from fourth despite lower listening and reach.
3:Classic Rock Radio Margaritaville -TTSL 63,944 (70,676 ); CP 13,497 (17,403) - Up from seventh despite lower listening and reach.
4: Country format Internet only Bluegrass Country - TTSL 53,659 (57,949) ; CP 15,209 (20,956). Up from despite lower listening and reach.
5: Artists match MUSIC MATCH TTSL 51,422 (171,788): CP 48,574 - Down from second with much lower listening - it was previously a new entrant and no CP was listed.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
Previous MeasureCast weekly ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2002-07-18: The six-year fight over the future of KWOD-FM, Sacramento, is still wending its way through the US courts.
Following a court hearing last week, an appellate judge ruled that it could not set a bond amount for Ed Stolz's Royce International Broadcasting to pay should it want to continue to appeal the latest court ruling that it must sell the station to Entercom.
The two parties now have to agree a date that suits the court for a hearing at which they will each present their cases before a bond amount can be set.
Previous Royce Broadcasting/Stolz:
2002-07-18: The BBC World Service in its 2001/02 Annual Review has singled out the response to the September 11 attacks and their aftermath for praise.
BBC Chairman Gavyn Davies said, "The professionalism and courage of the World Service's editorial teams during this turbulent year, often in the face of bitter attack from the enemies of free speech, has ensured that high quality news and current affairs programming has been available to a global audience of around 150 million listeners on radio and online."
"That this reporting has received widespread acclaim has further enhanced the World Service's profile in Britain and abroad."
World Service Director Mark Byford in his overview of the year, wrote, "In a year of enormous editorial challenges, the World Service provided outstanding news, current affairs and analysis in its coverage of the events of 11 September and its aftermath, the war in Afghanistan, the Middle East conflict, rising tensions between India and Pakistan and the presidential election in Zimbabwe."
He then warned that the Corporation could not afford to slacken its efforts, saying, "The battle for radio audiences is increasingly ferocious across the world as markets deregulate and listener choice explodes," he said.
"Rapid technological advances, lifestyle changes and growing competition mean it is imperative for the World Service to have an even stronger understanding of audience needs and market developments
During the year, the World Service's performance garnered awards from the Sony Radio Academy, the One World Trust, and the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association. It also won the international Webby award for the world's best radio web site.
The site nearly doubled the page impressions to some 75 million a month by the end of the year and audiences increased in
Africa, Australia, Bangladesh, Europe, the USA and Ukraine. This was largely due to distribution via FM channels (the Service is available on FM in 129 capital cities) and the Internet; listening to short and medium wave transmissions was down nine million to 115 million a week, mainly because of a significant fall in overall radio listening in India.
2002-07-18: Eastlan Resources, the second-largest radio ratings service in the US, is to introduce a weekly radio market service from the first quarter of next year in addition to its quarterly reports.
The report, "Radio Weeklies", will be distributed electronically each Monday and will be available in any US market. Stations will be able to use the weekly ratings product instantly for sales purposes via the AirWare RSS strategic selling system that is in use in more than 600 US radio stations.
Eastlan President, Mike Gould commented that broadcasters had indicated frustration at the absence of a timely trending report, saying that the Radio Weeklies service would "give programmers the data they need to adjust on the fly during the survey periods and at the same time, sales executives will be able to provide tangible, timely data to their clients."
Arbitron, the top radio ratings service, which is proposing a switch to monthly reports in conjunction with the introduction of its Portable People Meter (PPM) has meanwhile been told by the Radio Advisory Council, meeting in Vail, Colorado, that although the PPM holds "significant promise" the data made available to date leaves many important questions unanswered. It has asked Arbitron to conduct further studies and to delay any rollout schedule until after these are completed. The suggested extra studies include a Philadelphia study to "further validate" the PPM and panel methodology; a second market study to be conducted that recognizes the significance of the Hispanic population and whose results can be used towards validation of the Philadelphia study; and that a further lifestyles study be carried out concerning morning listening habits so as to show how reporting varies between the PPM and current diary methods (RNW note: The PPM has shown lower listening in morning drive time).
Arbitron web site:
Eastlan web site:
2002-07-18: Suggestions in a Radio Times interview by BBC Radio 2 controller Jim Moir that he is likely to leave at the end of the year have prompted a number of follow-ups in British newspapers.
Moir, who is 60 and has been with Radio 2 since 1995, has made the station the most popular in the UK with an audience share of nearly 16%. It has also won three Sony Radio Station of the Year awards under his leadership.
Asked if he would step down by the magazine, which is published by the BBC, Moir commented, "I think we've now got Radio 2 to the next stage and it's probably right for somebody else with a fresh vision to come in and have a look at it."
Reporting on Moir's comments, the UK Times says that the BBC had hoped to persuade Moir, who has already stayed on for a year longer than he had planned, to continue in the post which pays around GBP 250,000 a year. It says that he is not planning to retire altogether and may be interested in other offers from the BBC, for which he has worked for 39 years.
It also notes that, although he may receive offers from the commercial sector, he has attacked commercial competitors in the past for their criticisms of the channel. "The commercial stations make pathetic attacks on us, claiming we have abandoned the public-service remit," he said. "Would a commercial station run a 60-piece orchestra, spend £1 million a year on religious broadcasting, £4 million on live music? No it wouldn't."
Candidates to take over will include his deputy Lesley Douglas and BBC Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt
UK Times report:
2002-07-18: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has awarded the licence for a new FM station for Québec city to Montreal-based Cogeco Radio-Television Inc. against competition from three other applications.
The station will have a Contemporary adult music format composed mainly of hits from the 70s and onward and will also carry local programming for 77.7 hours a week including 2.5 hours of local news.
The station is also to carry 45% Canadian content, well above the regulatory requirement of 35%.
2002-07-17: Chicago WBBM-FM morning duo Eddie and Jobo (Ed Volkman and Joe Bohannon) have agreed to stick with the Infinity station and signed a new seven-year -deal worth more than USD21 million according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times.
The agreement ends as even-week standoff that began when their bosses put pressure on them to sign an early renewal and then took them on air after they refused (See RNW June 1).
Feder says that Clear Channel rival WKSC-FM (Kiss-FM) had made a similar offer but the pair were swayed by loyalty and the personal intervention at a meeting in New York of Viacom president Mel Karmazin and Infinity chairman and Chief Executive John Sykes.
RNW comment: The cynic in us notes that either was this was a good deal for John Sykes, an ex-Infinity SVP, over at Clear Channel. If he won the bidding, he dented WBBM, which was way ahead of Kiss in the ratings, and if he lost he'd forced Infinity to pay a lot more for the duo.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Eddie and Jobi:
Chicago Sun-Times -Feder
2002-07-17: According to the UK Guardian, the British Government is considering a U-turn over plans to allow US companies to purchase British broadcasters.
The paper says the move is because of backbench pressure and criticism of industry executives of the original plan in the Communications Bill that would allow foreign companies to take over British broadcasters when their own countries did not allow such takeovers of their own broadcasters, as is the case in the US.
The paper says the new guidelines would only allow deals to go ahead when there was reciprocity; Currently all European Union countries have to allow takeovers by other companies within the Union.
The Guardian says a change in the bill would be a blow for the Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, who has insisted that the proposal is non-negotiable, and a success for Lord Puttnam's joint select committee, which has been examining the bill and has expressed outrage at the idea of a free for all for non-EU companies. The Committee is expected to recommend that the current proposal be dropped.
The paper also says that lobbying against the rule has overshadowed the radio companies' pressure to remove the "three plus the BBC" proposal that says all local areas must have radio stations under three separate owners excluding the BBC.
UK Guardian report:
2002-07-17: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that sexually explicit conversations carried on "The Show with Dean Blundell" that is broadcast weekday mornings on CFNY-FM, Toronto, were inappropriate for the time of day.
The show's format includes songs, contests, news, traffic and weather reports, and banter amongst the show's hosts. The contests sometimes included sexual themes and the banter, said the council, "often veers off into conversations and jokes containing sexual innuendo or double entendres as well as occasionally more explicit sexual details."
The comments found to be problematical involved explicit descriptions of the sex lives of the hosts and celebrities and were held to be unsuitable for a time when children might be expected to be listening.
The commission ruled, however, that other comments complained about that involved no more than sexual innuendo or double entendre were not viewed as sufficiently explicit to amount to a breach of its codes.
CBSC web site- links to news release and decision (containing show excerpt transcripts):
2002-07-17: MeasureCast's June ratings just releases show listening slightly down on figures recorded in May; it puts the comparatively low figures down to holidays when people spend less time with their computers.
For June MeasureCast provided data for 1,346 stations, 52 more than it measured in May but five fewer than in April and 68 fewer than in March. In all it recorded 37,648,142 hours streamed in June compared to 38,086,043 hours in May.
MeasureCast's top five channels for June ranked by TTSL - total time spent listening - (with May's TTSL and Cume -Cumulative Audience- in brackets) were:
1): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 1,630,546 (1,589,396); CP 241,237 (201,240). Same position with increased listening and reach.
2): Jazz format Jazz FM TTSL 1,197,148 (1,226,769); CP 206,401 (229,363) - Same position with lower listening and reach.
3): Classical format WQXR-FM TTSL 704,259 (915,629); CP 173,275 (89,668): Same position with lower listening but higher reach.
4): New customer and entrant artist-match MUSICMATCH TTSL 508,139 ; No CP available.
5): Internet-only Radioio 481,027 (294,270); CP 107,742 (44,462). Up from tenth in May with a large increase in listening and a smaller one in reach.
Classical station KING-FM, which was fourth in May dropped to sixth
with TTSL down from 585,532 to 464,227 and Pure Rock KNAC.COM, which was fifth in May with TTSL 401,684 was down to tenth with TTSL 310,470
MeasureCast's June top five networks were (May rank and hours in brackets where applicable):
1: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 7,095,923 (7,310,581); CP 907,282 (853,872)- Same position with lower listening and reach.
2: WARP Radio TTSL 3,049,476 (3,180,325); CP 273,295 (391,089) - Up from third despite lower listening and reach.
3: Radio Free Virgin TTSL (3,714,258); CP 438,296 (560,027) - Down from second with lower listening and reach.
4: New entrant MUSICMATCH Radio TTSL 2,571,912 (No CP available).
5: Internet Radio Inc TTSL 2,219,409 (2,082,426) ; CP 535,050 (569,589): Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
StreamAudio, which was fourth in May with TTSL 2,425,773 dropped to seventh with TTSL 1,595,331 and Virgin Radio, which was fifth with TTSL 3,714,258, dropped to sixth with TTSL
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
Previous MeasureCast Monthly ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2002-07-16: Clear Channel president, Mark Mays in an interview with the Los Angeles Times has strongly rebutted suggestions that the company is abusing its power in the way it operates its radio, concert and promotions businesses. Commenting on the purchase of SFX Entertainment that catapulted it up the entertainment business rankings, he said that Wall Street had said there was no synergy when the deal was done but now people were complaining that Clear Channel has too much power.
Entertainment, he said, worked "well with our existing assets. At the same time, it's certainly not a monopolistic practice."
Regarding Clear Channel's deals with independent promoters, Mays commented that they didn't think the idea up themselves but were approached by promoters and "as a fiduciary obligation to our shareholders, we said it's a sound business practice; we will take the money."
There was no practice, he added, of promoters being able to buy airtime, commenting that their payments of around USD10-13 million a year made such idea nonsense. "When I'm risking $3 billion by not giving the consumers what they want?" He said. "The math doesn't work. We may be hicks from San Antonio, but we ain't that dumb. "
"It's not our job to play what records they want us to play," Mays commented. "It's our job to play what records the consumers want us to play. If 10% of the songs I play, listeners don't want to listen to, all of a sudden I lose 10 million listeners across all of our stations. I have $3 billion in revenue in radio. If I get a 10% slippage across that, that's a huge problem for me."
" The record companies have a whole different approach. They couldn't care less if we had 110 million listeners or 100 million listeners. They'd rather us have slippage and play all of their records. "
Mays also said that to threaten an artist for not appearing at a Clear Channel show would be to "cook the golden goose" but went part of the way towards accepting criticism that consolidation and financial pressures has made programmers shy away from taking chances on new music.
"There's no question that people are focused on making sure they give consumers what they want to hear," said Mays. " Are they less willing to take a risk? I'm not sure if they're less willing, but they're going to make dang sure they're not going to put at risk the consumers' listening habits. If that means taking fewer risks, maybe they are. I don't know. We just don't want people to have a reason to tune out of a station. "
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
Los Angeles Times report:
2002-07-16: UK Broadcasting watchdog, the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) in its annual report for 2001-2002 just published records an increase of 46% from 4920 to 7183 in complaints about broadcasting standards received in the year compared to 2000-2001.
Total complaints were up by 11% and much of the increase in standards complaints related to four TV programmes that accounted for nearly a quarter of all the complaints received.
Of the complaints upheld by the commission during the year, 3.9% concerned BBC radio and 7.6% concerned commercial radio stations.
The Commission also noted and welcomed broadcasters' "increased willingness to recognize and remedy their mistakes, without waiting for an adverse finding."
"This was true," it says, "both in standards cases and in cases where broadcasters had been unfair to individuals. 15% of standards complaints and 12.5% of fairness and privacy complaints were resolved in this way."
The Commission is soon to be subsumed into the new UK super regulator OFCOM and the Commission's chairman, Lord Dubs, says he is happy to be its last chairman as the Commission is likely next year "to disappear into the new Office of Communications (OFCOM)."
The BSC comments that the merger of regulators into a single body is necessary and worthwhile but adds that the "the new OFCOM should not merely merge the functions of the existing regulators, but should also start from a fresh analysis of the future necessary purposes and functions of sector-specific regulation of broadcasting and communications."
"OFCOM." It adds, " should from the start establish itself as a body at the cutting edge of those new developments."
BSC web site - links to annual report (580kb PDF):
2002-07-16: US radio ratings company Arbitron has announced contract extensions with Infinity Broadcasting and ABC Radio running up to the release of the Spring 2003 survey. The short extensions will give the two broadcasters leverage for negotiations as Arbitron moves towards adopting its Portable People Meter (PPM) , currently under test in Philadelphia.
Arbitron president and CEO Steve Morris commented, "How the Portable People Meter will affect the scope of our radio ratings services over the next few years is an important topic of discussion between Arbitron and our customers."
"As we make progress in our market trial of the Portable People Meter and in our joint venture discussions with Nielsen Media Research, we will be better able to articulate the value proposition for the new ratings service. This contract extension is specifically designed to provide the time we need to give our customers the information they have requested in our continuing discussions for the long-term renewals of their ratings contracts."
RNW comment: Apart from torturing language, Arbitron has significant difficulties with the PPM since so much relates to a proposed partnership with Nielsen Media Research and until details are finalised Arbitron doesn't know how much it will have to charge or indeed if it will go ahead with the system in the US. There's also concern from some stations about the differences in PPM and diary ratings, particularly , of course, amongst the losers. Some stations have seen large drops in the latest figures released, especially news station KYW-AM whose AQH was nearly a third lower with the PPM than the diary rating. In time terms lower figures have come from the PPM in morning drive and in demographics in listening by the over-55s and blacks.
Previous ABC (US):
2002-07-16: The BBC World Service, which is funded by the British Government, has been given an extra GBP48 million over the next three years as part of the Government's Spending Review that was announced on Monday.
It amounts to an average annual real term increase of 3.4% and was welcomed by the BBC although the Corporation had asked for around a third more.
The funding will be used to consolidate extensions in World Service broadcasts after the September 11 attacks; launch new programmes to Afghanistan, South West Asia and the Arab World; develop programmes on global issues; develop new programming for Africa, China and Europe; strengthen the service's online capability, expand its FM availability and support its capital modernisation programme.
World Service Director Mark Byford, said: "The settlement is a strong endorsement of the BBC World Service at a time when the global appetite for international news and analysis has increased."
"It is recognition that the need for our values, of impartial, authoritative and editorially independent journalism, is greater than ever."
The settlement will coincide with "a rigorous programme of efficiency over the period."
BBC News release:
2002-07-15: Some contrasts from Chicago and thoughts on music today in US radio plus the art of interviewing form the topics we've chosen for this week's look at print comment on radio.
First Chicago and a current top-ranked host, Erich "Mancow" Muller who has blamed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) indecency rulings against him on what he told Robert Feder of the Chicago Sun-Times was the obsession of a "borderline sicko, stalker-type."
The "type" in question is a David Edward Smith, 32, an aide to a South Side alderman and father of a 19-month-old son who was recently the subject of a profile by the paper.
He runs a "Citizens for Community Values" against Muller and records portions of "Mancow's Morning Madhouse" every day. These recordings formed the basis of 37 complaints filed against Muller since he began his crusade in 1999.
Six were upheld by the FCC, costing Emmis Communications USD42, 000 in fines.
Muller, who in our view obviously needs the occasional blunt kick to take him back to reality, not only compared Smith with fans who target celebrities but also found a connection between Smith's city payroll job and the crackdown. "
"I find the fact that he works for a government office very, very suspect," Muller said. "I know I'm outspoken, maybe even a fringe-type guy. But in a free society, I'm allowed to be that. I'm allowed to talk. It's our First Amendment. I have 'free speech' tattooed in my flesh, for God's sake."
"So it's extremely telltale to me that this guy works in a government office, and is using another government agency in an attempt to silence a public broadcast. That is frightening. If politicians are allowed to use their offices to silence their critics, what's next?"
RNW comment: Bearing in mind that many countries require stations as a licence condition to keep recordings of their broadcasts, a little reflection by Muller might lead to a conclusion that he and his compatriots in radio are actually quite fortunate that the US not only has a First Amendment but also a regulator who has thrown out many complaints because the complainants had not been able to produce a recording or transcript. And as for puritanical zeal over issues, a little further reading of US history even just of Chicago under prohibition might put his Muller's minor travails into a more realistic context. And even without this a reading of an article, also in the Sun-Times by Mary Mitchell might make him reflect how fortunate he has been, especially financially.
That article honoured Shannon "Lovin' Ya Like A Sister" Dell, a former top-ranking disc jockey with WGCI-FM, who in 1991 filed a pay-equity lawsuit against the station.
At the time she was paid only $40,000 annually as a top midday disc jockey some USD600, 000 less than morning host Doug Banks and afternoon host Tom Joyner.
Dell lost her case, which she had to fight without top legal help after two years and was fired from the station three years later, after she had been feted with a "Radio Personality of the Year Award."
Marv Dyson, president and general manager of WGCI, denied that Dell was blacklisted but she never again worked full time in radio and before long all but disappeared from the airwaves.
Mitchell comments that had Dell been a black woman complaining about inequity at a station run by white managers, listeners would have rallied to her side, but she was a black woman going up against powerful, black station managers.
Dell died four years ago but on July 18 a "Shannon Dell Way" sign will be put up at the southeast corner of South Water Street and Michigan Avenue, near WGCI's future offices.
On to another facet of the radio business, this time courtesy of the New York Times and an article by Laura M. Holson that bemoans the effect of giving listeners "what they want" on US radio.
She pegs the article on Tom Poleman, program director for Clear Channel's' WJTZ-FM (Z-100). Which is the top pop radio station in New York City.
Polemen, she writes, "rarely plays his favourites. Instead, he spends each day crunching numbers in his office in Jersey City, reviewing spreadsheets and computer-generated data chronicling what listeners will want to hear."
He told her that loss of a rating percentage point could cost the station up to USD10 million a year and she notes that "Long gone are the days when radio programmers simply played pop songs requested by listeners or bet on a band discovered at a hometown club. As the world of radio hardens into an industry dominated by three or four major chains, the use of research is accelerating and has become far more sophisticated, leading to mounting criticism that the quest for ratings is homogenizing music radio and making it harder for a different sound to break through."
Holson also comments on the techniques used of phone-polling eight-second excerpts, pre-testing and sometimes re-recording songs, and the introduction by Clear Channel of its PD Perceptual service that allows recording companies (for a fee of up to USD20, 000) to test unreleased music on its network of programmers.
Holson notes how these changes frequently give a further boost to the successful at the expense of new and unknown artists.
"If your band is not among the 30 songs a radio station tests each week, you effectively do not exist," said Titus Levi, an assistant professor who studies the music business at the University of Southern California. "If it's not on the menu you are not going to order it. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy."
Holson also comments on the effect on the morale of the artists, quoting Craig Marks, editor of New York based music magazine Blender. "You could make the case that doing research is better than some program director on the take, spinning discs," he said. "But if a song does not test well it is dead even before it hits the streets. The coldness of it all is a new phenomenon. And bands think that is demoralizing."
Defending the research, Clear Channel Radio chairman and CEO Randy Michaels said, "Research is almost essential because if you focused on your personal tastes, you'd only make yourself happy. If you focus on the audience, you see the ratings go up."
RNW comment: Whatever bands may think or those concerned about the cultural impact of large conglomerates like Clear Channel, we cannot see things changing much in the US.
The conglomerates have the resources to do the research and can cut costs by using modern computer technology to allow a DJ to host a number of shows simultaneously using voice tracking.
Even if this means for any particular market, the product isn't optimised the overall profit figures are what will count for the accountants and most shareholders.
Finally interviewing as seen through the eyes of UK Sunday Times columnist Paul Donovan.
As he comments of the situation in the UK," Sensitive topic, radio interviews. The Today presenters are criticised because theirs are too belligerent. Those that are the exact opposite attract equal hostility. Are interviews tussles or talks, cross-examinations or conversations?"
"Much depends on each situation. But one factor is constant: you expect to hear key questions being asked, even if you do not expect to hear honest or coherent answers being given. If they are not asked, you can feel let down."
Indeed so! And when did you last here a good radio interview with a member of the US cabinet, a top Hollywood star and like figures on that basis?
Chicago Sun-Times -Feder:
Chicago Sun-Times - Mitchell:
New York Times - Holson:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2002-07-15: The last week has seen the death of a number of radio veterans in North America.
Oldest was Pittsburgh radio newscaster Paul Long, who began work in the city in 1946 for KDKA and was on air in the city for four decaded. Long, who was also a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates radio team, was 86.
In Chicago, the death aged 84 was of Jose N Gomez, who brought Spanish-language radio to the city in 1949 with a pioneering programme "The Mexican Hour" that stated in brokered time on station WHFC. From an hour a day.
Gomez, who was born in the Dominican Republic, developed Spanish-language programming until it ran up to ten hours a day.
In New York, Irv Kaze, who was both a broadcaster and sports executive, has died aged 65. He had a heart attack in a restaurant shortly after completing his weekly radio talk show for KRLA-AM.
And north of the border, Montreal radio broadcaster Gord Sinclair died aged 74 following a series of strokes. The son of news broadcaster Gordon Sinclair, "Gord" began his radio career in 1947 as a newscaster and DJ in Ontario.
He later moved to Montreal wherehe began hosting the morning show forCFCF in 1951, taking it to the top of the ratings by 1954.
In 1960 he was one of the founders of CFOX in the city but after it was sold he returned to CFCF in 1975.
After that he joined CJAD in 1982 as news director, a post he held until his death.
2002-07-14: The main licence activity in Australia and Canada last week was with smaller stations but in Ireland the focus was the re-award of licences for existing areas and in the US there was more red-flag activity.
In Australia the Australian Broadcasting Authority has been fairly quiet on the radio front, although on the TV side it has said it is to develop a code concerning the loudness of adverts compared to adjacent programming (RNW note: Something we think could well have application in both radio and TV in many countries).
In radio it has invited applications for a new community licence for the Mount Gambier area of South Australia and has also proposed additional community and narrowcasting radio services inthe Emerald area of Queensland.
The Authority is inviting comment on the latter plan, which would make a new community radio service available in Moranbah by changing the category of service of a Moranbah open narrowcasting service to a community service, add a new community radio service at Blackwater and four additional open narrowcasting services at Blair Athol.
In Canada most action again concerned small stations with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approving a power increase for developmental community radio programming undertaking CFRM-FM Little Current, Ontario, from 1.4 watts to 5 watts; a decrease in the power of CFPE-FM Banff from 50 watts to 49 watts, thus meaning the station is upgraded from an unprotected low power to a protected class A1; an application by Radio Communautaire de la Rive-Sud inc. to decrease the effective radiated power of the radio programming undertaking CHAA-FM Longueuil, Quebec, from 104 watts to 53 watts; and a frequency change for new AM station CJRP-AM, Saint-Nicolas, Quebec.
The commission also approved an extension until October 18 for Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. To commence operations of its new FM station in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) says it has received four applications in its fourth tranche of re-advertisement of existing licences.
Two applications were received for the Laois/Offaly/Westmeath service and one each for Tipperary and for Longford/Roscommon/Leitrim(south) plus Cavan/Monaghan where the BCI was asking for a single operator for both services.
The UK was very quiet but the Radio Authority has now released its public interest determination concerning Guardian Media Group's takeover of Jazz FM (See RNW June 7).
It has approved the deal subject to GMG agreeing to maintain a separate news facility with independent editorial control within Jazz FM 100.4's measured coverage area
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rapped the knuckles of Daystar Public Radio, Inc., Licensee of Non-commercial Educational Station WKSG( FM), Cedar Creek, Florida, for broadcasting advertisements and exceeding the permitted limits for fundraising.
The Commission levied no fine but admonished the station over the broadcast of five sponsored announcements -- for an air condition company, gym, funeral company, hearing-aid company and plumbers -- and also a 17- minute interview with a company during which the station announcer solicited funds to assist that company. Daystar said it had changed practices so that the offences could not recur under current procedures.
It has also red-flagged a number of Clear Channel deals, the USD2.6 million acquisition of KLFX-FM Nolanville, Texas, from Sheldon Broadcasting; the USD 6.1 million acquisition of four stations in Youngstown from WNCD-FM, WICT-FM, WNIO-AM and WAKZ-FM in Ohio and Pennsylvania from Youngstown Radio License LLC; and the USD 1.8 million acquisition of WSKW-AM and WHQO-FM, Skowhegan Maine from Mountain Wireless (see RNW July 11).
Another red-flagged deal has been allowed through, the Cumulus Media USD7.25 million purchase of WDUZ-AM & WQLH-FM in the Green Bay, Wisconsin market, from Green Bay Broadcasting.
The Commission also seems likely to be up to full Commissioner strength shortly; a hearing is to be held on Tuesday on the nomination of Jonathan Adelstein that had been held up by political wrangling (See RNW July 13).
Previous Jazz FM:
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2002-07-14: Financially-strapped Irish state broadcaster RTÉ is expected to seek 200 more redundancies in addition to the 150 sought last December but has yet to decide whether it should sell around a third of its 32-acre site in south Dublin, estimated as worth around Euros 34 million according to the Irish Times.
The broadcaster, which wants its licence fee raised to Euros152 from Euros107, had already cut some 330 posts between 1999 and 2001.
It had a deficit of Euros71 million last year and has been hit by an advertising slump in the country.
It introduced a series of management changes on Friday, transferring responsibility for editorial and business management to radio, television and news divisions that would have responsibility for all costs and commercial revenue.
Irish Times report (requires subscription):
2002-07-13: According to Robert Feder of the Chicago Sun-Times, WBBM-FM morning hosts Eddie & Jobi (Ed Volkman and Joe Bohannon) are expected to sign new long-term deals worth around USD1.5 million a year each plus bonuses.
The two were put under pressure to sign an early renewal with moderate salary increases of their contracts, which run to the end of the year, and taken off the air when they refused (See RNW June 1)
Infinity-owned WBBM then found Clear Channel offering the duo a switch to its WKSC-FM (Kiss FM) rival under vice president and general manager John Gehron, formerly an Infinity SVP.
The Clear Channel offer put Infinity under pressure and Feder reported that the pair and their agent met Viacom President Mel Karmazin and Infinity Chairman/CEO John Sykes in New York and were offered a seven-year deal USD1.5 million each.
Feder says that the pair are now weighing similar offers from each station.
Feder cites "insiders" as saying that Volkman favours the Clear Channel offer and Bohannon staying with Infinity.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Eddie and Jobi:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
2002-07-13: The Bloomberg financial news agency is reported to have withdrawn its interest in London AM station LBC that it had planned to convert into a business news station. Talk format LBC and FM news station News Direct are owned by London News Radio (LNR). LNR was put up for sale by its main shareholders, GWR, Reuters and Independent Television News (ITN), with a price tag of some GBP20 million at the end of 2001 (See RNW Dec 21, 2001). A number of potential purchasers including Chrysalis, Jazz FM, and Scottish Radio Holdings, expressed interest but not at the price that LNR's owners wanted. The Daily Mail and General Trust, which at one stage considered plans to create a radio version of its free London newspaper "Metro" but shelved this leaving only the Bloomberg offer under negotiation.
2002-07-13: The US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on June 16 to consider President Bush's nomination of Jonathan Adelstein, former aide to Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, to the vacant seat on the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The nomination had been held up for months as a result of various political manoeuvring.
2002-07-13: Arbitron's June webcast figures just released show four new stations in its top 25 but only one change in the top five where Radioio has taken jazz-format KPLU's fifth rank; KPLU dropped to eight place.
The stations new to Arbitron's rankings are WFXZ-FM (12th with 233,500 aggregate tuning hours (ATH); KSBJadmin (22nd with 137,300 ATH; WWDC-FM (23rd with 136,400 ATH); and WOXY-FM (25th with 123,700 ATH).
Listening was down for most of the top stations and networks.
Arbitron's June top five channels, ranked by ATH (aggregate tuning hours) with previous month's figures in brackets were:
1:Adult contemporary Virgin FM with ATH 1,217,900. Same position in May when ATH was higher at 1,321,500
2: Jazz FM with ATH 853,500. Same position in May when ATH was higher at 927,800.
3: Classical WQXR-FM with ATH 702,600. Same position in May when ATH was higher at 819,400.
4: Classical King FM with ATH 501,200. Same position in May when ATH was higher at 593,800.
5: Album Adult Alternative Radioio with ATH 445,100. Up from tenth in May when ATH was 260,800.
Arbitron's June top five networks, ranked by ATH with previous month's figures in brackets where applicable were:
1:Live 365 with ATH 8,273,000. Same position in May when ATH was higher at 8,420,800.
2: Clear Channel Worldwide with ATH 7,362,700. Same position in May when ATH was higher at 7,582,500.
3: ChainCast Networks/StreamAudio with ATH 1,930,100. Same position in May when ATH was higher at 2,605,100.
4: SMG PLC (Virgin radio owners) with ATH 1,778,900. Position unchanged but up from May ATH 1,774,500.
5: MLB.com Network with ATH 1,012,200. Same position in May when ATH was higher at 1,121,200.
Previous Arbitron webcast ratings:
Arbitron web site:
2002-07-12: The six-year battle over KWOD-FM, Sacramento, is back in court in California today with owner Ed Stolz appealing against a court order that a 1996" letter of intent" to sell the station to Entercom for USD 25 million is binding and that he must sell the station.
The court has ruled that the letter was a contract to sell but Stolz has continued to appeal the decision.
The court today will set a bond that Stolz's Royce International Broadcasting must pay if it wants to proceed with the appeal.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Wednesday (July 10)at Stolz's request dismissed the latest sale application filed by Entercom last month (see RNW June 19 2002-06.html#EStolz1).
Entercom says it is confident the deal will go through, noting that the FCC dismisses any application should one party say it does not want a deal to continue.
2002-07-12: UK media group EMAP has reported turnover in its continuing business up by 3% over the previous year to GBP 938 million for the 2002-year but overall turnover was down 11% to GBP1029 million.
Its radio business fared worse than the industry average but, offering a small ray of hope, EMAP said that there had been a slight improvement in recent months.
Adopting the term "normalised profits" to exclude what it terms "one-off exceptional items and the amortization of intangibles" EMAP thereby eliminates the effects of its disposal of its US operations at a loss of GBP144 million.
On this basis, its group operating profits were down 1% to GBP182 million but its pre-tax profit was up 6% to GBP 151 million. The company is paying an unchanged dividend of 19.5 pence per share.
Commenting on the figures at the company's Annual General Meeting, chairman Adam Broadbent said the group's consumer magazines were doing well. On radio, he said, "radio airtime sales remain down across the first quarter but we have seen a marginal improvement in the year-on-year performance."
EMAP's Performance division, which is made up of its radio, TV and music/events activities plus music magazines, was hit hard by a radio advertising downturn in the UK.
EMAP owns 18 radio stations including Kiss FM in London and eight Big City stations in the north of England and underlying radio revenues, which are some two-thirds of the division's revenues, were down 11% over the year compared to an industry-wide fall of 8% (industry-wide national revenues were down 14%, local down 2%). EMAP notes that it was particularly hard hit because of the large share of government and telecommunications revenues it had grabbed in the previous year.
Overall the Performance division has a 1% fall in revenues to GBP 139 million with underlying revenues down 5%; divisional profits were down 11% to GBP41 million.
Finance Director Gary Hughes commented, "It should come as little surprise that the 11% drop in EMAP Performance's profits is contained within the radio side of the business, with the music magazines, events and television businesses all recording good year-on-year growth."
2002-07-12: One of US radio's oddest voices has been taken off the air.
It's the automated voice of "Igor/Sven" used by the US the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio system for the pst four years.
The computer voice, described by the Washington Post as "slightly Teutonic" and "slurred" has now been replaced by more "user-friendly" computer voices.
Nicknamed Craig and Donna, after two Weather Service employees involved in the project, they are said by the paper to "sound like soft-rock deejays and are at least semi-human"
"Their speech," notes the paper, is "made up of human voice fragments called phonemes, reassembled by a computer."
Originally the service, which began in the 1950s, used recorded - and occasionally "live" human voices but in 1998 the service was changed to a computerised one that could turn text into the spoken word and "Perfect Paul" was introduced.
The voice was not popular and the nicknames "Igor", "Sven" and "Arnold" came to be used.
The modern technology now introduced uses a computer to split recorded human speech into the phonemes, or sub syllables that make it up. It is then re-assembled to fit text.
Washington Post report:
2002-07-12: US public broadcasters, who are asking for around 500 million dollars in public funding to help it meet government mandated moves to digital technology, have instead received an ear bashing from Republicans about what the latter perceive as a "liberal" (RNW -the politicised perversion of the meaning s opposed to the individual freedom meaning that is linked to the Latin root) bias in public broadcasting programming, particularly that of National Public Radio (NPR) .
Louisiana Republican Senator Billy Tauzin, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who hosted a panel discussion has been critical of public funding of broadcasters (RNW note: He was also one of the leading lights in the blocking of attempts by former Securities and Exchange Commission Arthur Levitt to stop auditors also carrying out consultancy work for companies on conflict of interest grounds).
Some 12% of the funding of the Corporation from Public Broadcasting (CPB) comes from the US government and Tauzin has been instrumental in shelving re-authorisation of that funding. Federal funding also accounts for around 2% of National Public Radio's funding.
The split over US public broadcasting has been very much along party lines, with the Democrats citing its strengths and the Republicans attacking its "bias".
2002-07-11: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is to hold hearings on three red-flagged radio deals involving Clear Channel, one in Texas, another in Ohio/Pennsylvania and another in Maine.
In Texas, the deal is the takeover by Clear Channel of KLFX- FM, Nolanville, from Sheldon Broadcasting Ltd., a deal that would give Clear Channel three FMs in the Killeen- Temple, Texas Arbitron metro whilst Cumulus would own four FMs and an AM.
The Clear Channel stations would have a 52.7% share and 50.3% audience share and the two groups together would control 98.2% of advertising revenue and the entire audience in the metro.
Clear Channel has argued that the "relevant product market " is broader than radio advertising in the market but the FCC says Clear Channel has provided no evidence to support this contention.
It also rejects Clear Channel's arguments concerning the geographic market definition, saying that Clear Channel has offered no alternative definition and additionally noting that the company's Market Manager for the area has stated that the station is so dependant on the Ford Hood army base that when troops are deployed overseas the listenership in Killeen, that exists because of the base, and of Temple both drop drastically to the extent that the "the stations can almost literally go bankrupt."
The FCC furthermore gives little weight to Clear Channel's argument concerning the listening to out-of-market stations and notes that Clear Channel itself owns eight of the 23 out-of-market stations including the two that are most listened to in the area and in all its out-of-market stations take nearly a quarter of the listening in the market compared to 16% for the remaining out-of-market stations.
The second red-flag involves the takeover by Clear Channel's Citicasters subsidiary of Youngstown Radio's WNIO- AM (formerly WRTK-AM) and WNCD- FM (formerly WBBG-FM), Youngstown, Ohio, and WICT-FM, Grove City, WAKZ-FM (formerly WTNX-FM), Sharpsville, both in Pennsylvania.If the deal were to go through Clear Channel would end up with five FM and two AM stations in the Youngstown- Warren metro; these would account for a 40.8% revenue share in the market and combined with the share of Cumulus's cluster two organisations would control 95.3% of the revenues.
Clear Channel would not breach local station ownership caps subject to divestments that have taken place but the FCC said it found that "Clear Channel has failed to demonstrate particular circumstances in this market sufficient to overcome a concern that this level of economic concentration in this market will harm the public interest."
It also says that, in relation to Clear Channel's "relevant product market" arguments that "the only "data" Clear Channel provides to support its assertions is a collection of anecdotes from one of its own employees."
The third red-flag involves Clear Channel's acquisition of WSKW-AM and WHQO-FM, Skowhegan, Maine, from Mountain Wireless Inc. Clear Channel currently owns six stations in the Augusta- Waterville metro and the commission says that if the deal went through Clear Channel would account for a 55.9% share of revenues in the market and, combined with Citadel's cluster, two groups would control 99.5% of advertising revenues. Again the FCC says Clear Channel has not demonstrated circumstances that overcome economic concentration concerns.
Previous Clear Channel:
FCC web site (July 10 Daily Digest links to FCC news releases re these deals):
2002-07-11: UKBetting, whose GBP13.7 million takeover of TEAMtalk is expected to be completed shortly, is drawing up plans to sell the TeamTalk252 sports format radio station according to the UK Guardian.
UK Betting already has a radio station through its purchase of Sportinglife. This serves its own sites and the Guardian says that TeamTalk 252, the former dance format Atlantic 252, which was bought from RTL for GBP2 million last year (See RNW Oct 12, 2001) does not fit in with the plans of UK Betting.
It says that one possible buyer for the station is Unique Broadcasting, which would use the frequency for the Oneword speech-based station that is currently broadcast on digital frequencies and the Internet. Another possibility is a management buy-out led by former TEAMtalk chairman and chief executive Bill Wilson.
TEAMtalk 252 has built up an audience of some 400, 0000 listeners a week despite having to compete without sporting rights against BBC Radio Five Live and TalkSport.
UK Guardian report:
2002-07-11: Loyola University in Chicago has confirmed that it is discussing a plan for its student-run WLUW-FM radio station to be managed by National Public Radio affiliate WBEZ-FM.
The station currently airs alternative music and many community programmes and the move, prompted by budgetary problems, has angered some students although the university has stressed that any change would not be at the expense of educational opportunities for its students.
The station costs some USD160, 000 a year to run but the university says it has no plans to sell off the licence.
Torey Malatia, president and general manager of WBEZ, told the Chicago Sun-Times' Robert Feder that under his organization's supervision, WLUW would retain its mission as a community radio station and as a training facility for students. "We have no intention of making it an outlet to simulcast NPR [National Public Radio] programming," he said.
On the other side o the argument, Mark Pollock, associate professor and acting chairman of Loyola's department of communication told the Chicago Tribune, "It's difficult to imagine how having an outside entity come in would enhance student learning at a station where students are intimately involved with coming up with programming ideas and implementing them." Further talks between the parties are scheduled for the end of this month.
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder report:
Chicago Tribune report:
2002-07-10: US radio revenues were up again in May according to the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB). It reports combined revenues for the month up 3% on May 2001; national sales, which had taken the hardest knocks, were up 11% and local sales were up 1%.
RAB 's Sales Index, which equates 1998 figures to 100 to eliminate the effects of the dot.com boom, was up to 133.3 for May whilst the national index was 133.8 and the local index 133.1. Year to date figures were a combined index of 133, a national index of 132.4 and local index of 133.2
RAB President and CEO Gary Fries commented, "Radio's sustained increase since March of this year is indicative of the medium's resiliency and its unique ability to address advertisers' needs at a moment's notice. All indicators point to continued sales gains for Radio as the year progresses."
RAB web site:
2002-07-10: Christian-oriented broadcaster Salem Communications has announced agreement to sell country format WYGY-FM, Cincinnati, Ohio, to Susquehanna Radio Corporation for USD 45 million in cash.
Susquehanna already owns two FMs in the market, AC WRRM-FM and Rhythmic Oldies WMOJ-FM and Salem is retaining its two AMs in Cincinnati, Sports Talk WBOB-AM and Christian Talk WTSJ-AM.
Salem President and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III described WYGY-FM, which it acquired two years ago and whose audience share it had doubled from a 2.0 to 4.0, as a "non-strategic format and said that Salem believed the sale of the station, which is not operated as part of a cluster, was the "best means to maximize return on investment for our shareholders."
In another substantial deal, Spanish-language group Entravision Communications Corporation announced agreement to acquire KRCY-FM serving the Las Vegas, Nevada, market from Spectrum Scan, LLC for approximately $6 million in cash.
Entravision expects to being operating the station by September and to close the transaction in the final quarter of this year. Entravision already operates KRRN-FM and two TV stations in the market and Chairman and CEO Walter Ulloa said, "The addition of KRCY-FM will significantly strengthen our position in the rapidly-growing Las Vegas market."
"With this transaction we have further executed on our overall business plan of clustering Spanish-language radio and television stations in the fastest-growing Hispanic markets. We expect the integration of KRCY-FM into our Las Vegas cluster to be extremely smooth as we leverage our existing sales force and management team."
Yet another red-flagged deal has also been given the go-ahead. This is the Cumulus Media USD 7.25 million purchase of WDUZ-AM & WQLH-FM in the Green Bay, Wisconsin market, from Green Bay Broadcasting.
The deal had been red-flagged because the deal would give Midwest Communications, the market leader, and Cumulus a combined share of nearly 90% of revenues in the market.
The FCC accepted Cumulus's argument that this was mitigated by the significant audience and sales efforts in the market by stations in the adjacent Appleton-Oshkosh market. Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps dissented, saying he felt too much concentration was being allowed.
2002-07-10: Online bookmaker UK Betting, which recently agreed a GBP13.7 million deal to buy, TeamTalk252's web site and radio station (See RNW June 1) has now bought the betting operations of failed sports website Sports.com for GBP670, 000. Sports.com, which was valued at around GBP125 million at the height of the dot.com boom, set up the betting operation when it was struggling to survive on advertising and e-commerce revenues. It had around 24,000 customers when the company went into administration.
The Sports.com name itself, which was leased to the company by CBS SportsLine.com, has been bought back by CBS Sportsline for more than GBP500, 000 and sold on to another company.
2002-07-09: The US Copyright Office has now released its final rule and order on royalty rates for webcasters.
The order, signed by Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters, contains Peter's reasons for not recommending that Librarian of Congress James Billington override the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel's (CARP) refusal to create a percentage-of-revenues payment scheme as suggested by a number of webcasters, notably Live365.
Billington had accepted most of the CARP arguments but halved the charge for Internet-only webcasters to that proposed for simulcasts of broadcast stations (See RNW June 21).
Peters says, "The RIAA proposal required that a webcaster pay either 15% of revenues or $5,000 per $100,000 of a webcasters' operating costs, whichever is greater ... This formulation, however, would not have given the webcasters the relief they seek through the adoption of a rate based on a percentage of revenues."
"In fact, under RIAA's percentage-of-revenue formulation, many webcasters, including Live365, would have paid more than they will under the panel's per-performance rate structure."
She also notes that the CARP was not required to offer alternative fee structures and says the webcasters should not have expected it to do so.
Many small webcasters say the rules will put them out of business and a group of them, the "Voice of Webcasters", is petitioning Congress directly asking for "help in averting the impending collapse of much of the Internet webcasting business."
The group, whose signatories include Beethoven.com, KPIG, and Radioio, says that it is "fairly representative" of the majority of Internet radio stations and adds that "the continued existence of each of these companies is threatened by a recent decision of the Library of Congress setting rates for the royalties to be paid to copyright holders for the use of music on the Internet."
It argues that using one agreement, that between Yahoo and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), as the basis of the agreement is bad public policy and adds, "Even worse, recent reports quote a former executive of that company as stating that the rate was purposely set at an artificially high value to force small webcasters, like those signed below, out of business. That is exactly the effect that this decision is already producing. "
The companies also argue that the process was made even more unfair because they were affectively excluded of taking part in the process to set the rated because it required participants to pay shares of arbitrator's fees and "Small webcasters simply could not afford those fees, much less the cost of the attorneys necessary to try a case that went on for almost six months."
"Thus," it continues, "the process to set a rate governing a vast, growing industry was arrived at by representatives of only a few very large companies -- companies having different interests than those of the small independent webcasters."
Noting that many companies are already in the process of stopping, or have already stopped, their streaming activities, it asks Congress to immediately stay the decision, restructure the process to ensure that future copyright decisions "accurately reflect 'fair market value' for copyrights", allow small businesses to take part in future negotiations without the exorbitant costs of paying for arbitrators fees and change the standard to a "fairness" standard that balances public interest with copyright owners and user interests.
US Copyright Office ruling:
Voice of Webcasters site:
2002-07-09: UBC Media chief executive Simon Cole ahs called for the British government to "put its money where its mouth is" by launching a large-scale advertising campaign to promote digital radio.
A report in the UK Guardian says Cole said it would be "outrageous" if politicians backed digital TV but not radio and called for a publicity campaign from the government.
UBC owns the Classic Gold Digital vintage rock format that is carried on both analogue and digital stations and supplies content to radio, Internet and digital television in the UK and is expanding into Europe. It is also involved in integrating data services into digital offerings.
Its Radio Production Division is the largest independent producer of customized audio content to both the BBC and the commercial radio industry.
The company is a significant player in UK digital radio and Cole said he expected the medium to benefit from the launch of a GBP99 digital radio receiver, announced last week at the Radio Festival in Cambridge.
UBC has just announced its preliminary results to the end of March, showing Turnover up 49% to GBP9.19 million, gross profits up 74% to GBP2.99 million and an overall operating loss for the year before development and goodwill reduced from GBP 519,000 in 2001 to GBP210, 000. Overall it lost GBP2.23 pence per share in the year compared to GBP3.25 loss a year earlier.
Loss attributable to shareholders was cut from GBP3.83 million to GBP 2.8 million. UBC's radio production business maintained revenues in line with the previous year at £2.01 million but margins were improved.
UBC said it had a successful placing of just under 20 million ordinary shares that raised GBP 5.44 million before expenses.
Chairman Michael Peacock said this placing meant the company had a "fully funded digital business plan with the necessary finance in place to secure the Group's position in the digital future."
In digital radio UBC has now secured carriage for Classic Gold Digital on seven EMAP digital multiplexes in the North of England extending its digital cover in the UK to 15 million. In addition, in October of last year acquired the remaining six Classic Gold Digital AM stations from the GWR group for GBP1.69 million, extending its analogue cover to 21 million.
In April last year, in partnership with GWR Group, UBC launched 'The Digizone', the world's first multi-media radio station, broadcast on the national digital radio multiplex, Digital One; it also launched the "Source" data broadcasting service operating on the four regional multiplexes awarded to the MXR consortium in 2001 and formed a joint venture with Capital to pool the data capacity of each companies licenses to create "quasinational data Services" covering every major UK metropolitan area.
Cole commented "The past year has seen UBC's core radio business hold firm in a challenging business environment whilst the Company continued to make strong progress in establishing a prime position in the emerging digital radio market."
"UBC's mix of revenues and relatively low exposure to the advertising cycle protected the Group in large part from the downturn in business sentiment experienced by the rest of the commercial radio sector."
Speaking of the Classic Gold format, he said, "'Gold' formats in the UK are broadcast on low quality AM frequencies, which has acted as a 'barrier to listening'. In the USA, where 'gold' formats are broadcast on higher quality FM frequencies, they consistently rank amongst the top radio formats. It is UBC's belief that 'gold' formats in the UK will benefit particularly from the migration of radio listening to high quality DAB Digital Radio.
UBC also holds a third of the UK's only national commercial spoken word digital radio station "OneWord" that is available on the UK Digital One multiplex, Sky Digital, the Internet and Sirius Satellite Radio.
OneWord, which for the second year running took this year's Sony Radio Gold Award for 'Digital Terrestrial Radio Station of the Year (See RNW May 3), broadcasts 18 hours a day with a service of plays, comedy and readings.
UK Guardian report:
2002-07-09: In a sidebar pegged on the latest fines on Chicago radio host Erich Mancow" Muller, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder has listed a number of other examples of the city's radio personalities who were rousted for things they said or were accused of saying on the air.
The list is an interesting reflection of times and attitudes. It includes:
* Ex-disc jockey turned conservative talk show host Howard Miller who was suspended then fired for comments on WIND-AM that his station termed "inflammatory remarks" and inciting racial hatred. He suggested that schools be closed to honour police and fireman who had battled riots that broke out on Chicago's West Side after the assassination of Martin Luther King and taunted protestors to confront the National Guard.
*Morning news anchor Dan Price who was fired in 1968 after referring to then-presidential candidate Richard Nixon as a "son of a bitch"; Price thought his microphone was off. It wasn't!
*Then morning personality Steve Dahl who was fired from WLUP-FM in 1981 for "continued assaults on community standards." Dahl says many thought he was a scapegoat by the station's owner who wished to pursue other radio deals without complications.
*Overnight DJ Mike McDonald who was fired by WLS-AM in 1988 after facetiously awarding a listener who answered a simple question the "keys to a brand-new shiny Porsche." There was no Porsche and shortly thereafter no job as the station has to reach a settlement with the listener.
*Nighttime host * Alan Kabel who was suspended and eventually fired by the former WTYZ -FM for repeatedly uttering what his bosses called "unacceptable words" on his show. Feder says the last straw may have been in 1989 when he put a caller on the air who made an explicit reference to oral sex in putting down the station's competitor, WBBM-FM
Feder Sun-Times report:
2002-07-08: The UK Radio Academy's "Radio Festival" last week in Cambridge covered a wide range of topics and we felt it reasonable to concentrate on the Festival this week.
We found three topics worthy of further attention: One was an address by Clear Channel chairman and CEO Lowry Mays, another was a report presented at the festival looking at the ways British men and women listen to radio, and the third was the question of whether the new broadcasting regulator should be able to levy fines on the BBC.
Lowry Mays first, and an address we've already referred to for its news line about possible UK acquisitions (See RNW July 3) and also through a UK Guardian article on Clear Channel (See RNW July 6).
We feltthat the speech itself deserved mention and include some of the extracts that caught our eye below, particularly opening comments that could be construed as simply an honest statement of what the Clear Channel business is about or a rather narrow view of what broadcasting should encompass.
So, direct from the horse's mouth, a fairly long extract of Mays' comments during his Guardian lecture.
Mays began, after a video on Clear Channel has been played, by saying, ". I want to tell you how we got here and where we want to go next."
"I also want to give you my view of the UK radio market and the effect that the draft Communications Bill will have on the radio landscape here."
"Clear Channel is the largest out-of-home media and live entertainment company in the world. Our collection of properties has been put together to create a cost-effective way for advertisers to reach all consumers. "
"We do this though radio, television, outdoor advertising and live entertainment. Often the advertiser will use just a single medium, but increasingly they use a combination, especially at the local level. "
"The job of all employees of Clear Channel is to use these assets to help advertisers promote their goods and services. This means that indirectly Clear Channel is selling Fords, burgers and toothpaste. It is easy to forget this."
Mays then looked at the history of radio and noted the split between broadcasting models in the UK and USA with the former opting for what Mays termed "a state funded organisation with huge resources and a lot of control" and the US for "for a red-bloodedly commercial system where local licences were awarded and local entrepreneurs did more or less whatever they wanted to."
"Over the years," continued Mays, "both systems have flourished. Several generations have grown up, and been entertained, informed and enriched by a wide diversity of radio programming."
He then noted that when he acquired his first radio licence in 1972, the UK had just licensed its first two commercial stations, Capital and LBC.
Mays put this as, "there were approximately 5,000 commercial licences operating in the USA, however the British public had access to only two." (RNW comment: Good sentence as spin but pretty meaningless as a comparison.)
"Today radio is just as extraordinary a medium as it was back then," he continued. "It can be with you wherever you go, in the car, in the kitchen, in the bathroom and on the golf course. It is cheap to produce, cheap to transmit and it is surely the most democratic of all the communications media. "
" Like everyone here, from the commercial sector and the BBC, I want radio to grow. Grow in terms of listening and programming budgets but in the case of the commercial sector, to grow in order to better serve the advertising community and help them sell their products."
"Being successful in radio is all about choice - giving listeners what they want. Listeners vote by turning on, tuning in and switching off if they don't like what they hear."
"Like political parties, some people ridicule radio stations for relying too much on audience research, being driven by public opinion. However programmers, like political parties, cannot control listeners and we must respond to their collective demands."
"To give listeners what they want, radio broadcasters have to invest in programming, produce better shows and recruit superior talent year in and out. "
"We believe that the only way to deliver this is to allow consolidation to work its magic. The bigger the radio groups, the better they can serve advertisers and the more resources are then available to invest in output for the benefit of listeners.
After all the BBC is a "consolidated" entity, just look what it has achieved through the benefits of scale."
"Those that fear consolidation, while they might accept that greater scale can deliver more resources for programming, often suggest that the commercial market will deliver low quality output and target the common ground."
"In fact the opposite is true. A fragmented commercial market will deliver low quality output and target the common ground. A consolidated commercial market, like the USA, will produce a greater range of output including what you call 'high-brow' because it is able to respond to demand."
(RNW comment: If this is true we assume listeners all over the US will have no need for Internet radio where two classical stations are frequently in the top five or satellite radio, which as well as providing advertising-free channels is also providing what to us seems a much broader range than terrestrial radio for much of the country. Or have we hit upon an admission by Mays that Clear Channel, big as it is, isn't up to the job of providing diversity in some areas?).
Mays then briefly looked at the views of Lord Reith, the early BBC boss before continuing with more "market" message: "Where early regulators in the UK got it wrong was that when additional spectrum was made available, it should have all been given to the commercial sector in order to respond to demand, as markets do best. Markets respond to demand, public sector institutions do not."
"The UK radio industry remained stifled by regulations that limited the spectrum available to it and kept it fragmented for too long. The commercial sector was not able to grow the share of advertising revenue to that of the USA or France."
"The commercial sector also lacked scale and therefore lacked the profits to be reinvested to deliver the range of formats and programming that Clear Channel and others do in the USA, or Lagardere and RTL do on the continent."
"A fragmented commercial sector that lacks resources will simply programme station after station with chart music.
I ask any commercial CEO here, if I gave you five national FM networks, let's hypothetically call them Radios 1 thru 5, would you programme them the same way? Of course not, you would do what the BBC does, cover off every listener need with a range of complementary services."
" Jenny Abramsky (RNW note- BBC Director of radio and music) says that the BBC "delivers quality, it delivers things that, if it wasn't there, wouldn't be there".
"Give me 50% of the UK's radio spectrum (I'll even pay for it) and I'll give you 14 different format categories, as Clear Channel does in the USA. We spent half a billion dollars last year on radio programming alone in order to deliver this diversity. That's half a billion on programmers and talent."
"Lord Reith's statement of the purpose of the BBC (to inform, educate and entertain) is exactly what the commercial sector does."
"I don't believe that you could argue, having seen the video, that Clear Channel fails to inform educate and entertain. We won't be able to renew our licences if we fall short in serving our local communities in these areas."
"A related issue is that of regulation of content. I'll be brief here as I am sure you will guess where I stand. Leave the market to decide when to automate, when to network or simulcast and when to produce from out of market.
Don't meddle. If the commercial sector gets it wrong and fails to deliver what the listener wants the BBC will knock them for six - a home run in Texas. Trust the market."
"To draw a line under this point the FCC investigated the entire US radio industry and concluded that in aggregate, choice had increased after 5 years of deregulation."
Not only does the listener benefit from consolidation. In the USA consolidation has also taken place to the benefit of the advertiser and of course the shareholder. "
Mays then expressed some doubts about digital broadcasting before going on to the issue of audience measurement, noting, "We are testing the radio-watch in Switzerland, as I think you are here, and we are testing the Portable People Meter in USA."
"I look forward to one or both technologies replacing the diary. Diaries are old fashioned."
"I'm not scared of any measurement system as programmers will adapt and the best salespeople will turn audiences into revenue. And it is how much money you make that determines the value of your business."
"I have been asked to say something about what a radio station is worth. A radio station is worth what you are going to do with it and nothing to do with the history or the method of technical delivery. Can you improve programming, sales and economics? "
"Value is the ability to generate cash flow. Total survey areas, total audiences and brands all contribute, but value is measured by actual and expected cash flow. This means that often a radio station is worth more to a larger radio group than someone from another industry."
"The factors needed for success in radio are the same in USA as they are here; the best sales people, the best programmers and the best financial control through the best general managers. This is the Clear Channel business model and a model that I get a kick from implementing in any market I go to."
Mays then went on to comment about the idea of a UK acquisition as we have already reported (See RNW July 3).
RNW comment: Looking at the whole speech, we were left whether anything in radio or any medium could excite Mays more than large black figures on a bottom line. In the end, the challenge we would see as a fair one, given Clear Channel's resources, would be to put it up against the BBC in terms of producing "great" radio in artistic terms outside the range of the obvious music formats. If Clear Channel shows up well, then fair enough. If not, we'd suggest the whole argument falls in terms of allocating more resource and spectrum to the commercial sector as opposed to the public one in the name of "diversity" or indeed anything apart from cementing a particular commercial model.
On to the report "Sex Appeal", commissioned by the BBC and Radio Authority and produced by ratings organisation RAJAR, that was launched at the Festival and whose main conclusion according to Paul Donovan in his UK Sunday Times "Radiowaves" column was that there wasn't much difference in the way men and women reacted to programmes.
"It is interesting, " he writes, "to see that women now like to change channels as often as men: they are prepared to have as many aural partners as sexual ones. (In 1989, when the last big piece of research, The Use of Radio, was unveiled, more than 70% still stuck to one favourite station, for fear of getting lost.)."
"In addition, it can no longer be said that men concentrate while listening to the radio whereas women only have it on as background: for both sexes, it depends on the time and situation."
"And for almost everyone under 50, the sex of presenters is no longer an issue, only their ability. That, too, shows how much attitudes have evolved: a decade ago, Radio 2 put on air many women presenters and was deluged with complaints from women listeners, who did not regard their voices as sufficiently authoritative."
"Today, says the report, only "a minority of men and women believe that men's (deeper) voices are generally more authoritative ... people felt both speech radio and music radio could encompass both male and female voices, neutral accents and regional accents, more casual and more formal speech". Music to the ears of all who believe in diversity, no doubt."
"Despite the overall blurring," Donovan later noted, "there are still some gender differences - and one of them is, indeed, over presenters. Murray was one of the favourites named by women; Alan Green, Radio 5 Live's senior football commentator, was on the men's list."
" In addition, men are still far keener on sport and rock music, tend to get the job of presetting the channels, and tend to be in control of the radio in the car, but not the home. They listen on average for 3hr 41min a day, compared with only 3hr 20min a day for women."
Another issue that came up at the conference was the question of how the BBC should deal with lapses in standards.
Reacting to proposals that the Corporation should be fined by the regulatory authorities for lapses in standards, BBC Chairman Gavyn Davies suggested that instead of this its Board of Governors should be able to fire people for such lapses. He argued that the fines would be a misuse of licence payer's money and argued that dismissal or demotion of staff was a preferable remedy. "Firing the people is a much better remedy than fining the public," Davies said during a debate at the Festival.
According to a UK Guardian by its media correspondent, Matt Wells, this "enraged" staff, although Davies had said any such punishment would have to have the approval of the director-general, Greg Dyke, before adding, "If the director general didn't agree, ultimately we could get rid of him too."
The paper says one BBC executive commented, "I don't see how this fits in with Greg's 'cut the crap and make it happen' campaign. That's meant to cut through the BBC's risk-averse culture and encourage people to be creative. Are we then going to hang them out to dry when things don't work out?"
The British government is already consulting over the issue of allowing fines on the BBC by the new super-regulator OFCOM, which will regulate BBC programme standards from next year. At the moment the Radio Authority, which is to be subsumed into OFCOM has the power to fine commercial stations and the new regulator will retain this power.
Davies, however, argued that the circumstances were different and asked, "How logical is it really to fine the public for mistakes made by the management? It shouldn't be the general public that suffers the consequences. Instead we should impose sanctions over careers."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
UK Guardian - Matt Wells:
UK Radio Academy - Mays' Guardian lecture:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2002-07-07: Last week was fairly quiet in the US, where the holidays took up the latter half of the week, but busier north of the border in Canada and elsewhere.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) is inviting comments on changes it proposes to open narrowcasting licences that are granted for services limited by various factors such as being targeted at special groups, for limited locations or for a limited period.
Under the proposals some providers of open narrowcasting licences will be required to provide a statement to the authority of how their services meet the requirements and also should there be any significant changes to a service where a licence has already been granted.
The proposed conditions would apply where the service is being provided under a high power licence or as a networked service.
In Canada. the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been fairly busy, issuing a large number of six-month administrative renewals for radio, TV and radiocommunication distribution licences, dealing with changes from AM to FM, adding new transmitters and extending a number of deadlines.
The Commission has also approved the takeover of CJWA-FM Wawa, Ontario by Labbe Media Incorporated from North Superior Broadcasting, which currently owns CJWA-FM and CFNO-FM Marathon and further approved the takeover of North Superior Broadcasting by H.F. Dougall Company Limited.
The Dougal acquisition of all the shares of North Superior is contingent upon the disposal of CWJA-FM to Labbe.
The AM to FM conversions approved were for Maritime Broadcasting System's CFAN-AM, Newcastle, New Brunswick, and CKEN-AM, Kentville, Nova Scotia. CFAN will be replaced by an adult contemporary 17,8000 watt FM in Miramachi City and CKEN will be replaced by a country music format 100,000 watt FM.
Maritime already operates CKWM-FM Kentville, and is the only broadcaster in the market.
New transmitters approved included a 28.6 watt transmitter for Native Communication Inc. in Little Grand Rapids, a 39.7 watts transmitter in Leaf Rapids, and a 28.6 watts transmitter in Jackhead, to carry the signal of CINC-FM, Thompson, all in Manitoba;
Deadlines extended included one until March 2003 for the Simon Fraser Campus Radio Society to commence the operation of the new radio programming undertaking in Burnaby, British Columbia; another until 15 December this year for Fabrique de la Paroisse L'Assomption-de-la-Ste-Vierge, to commence operation of a new religious FM in L'Assomption, Quebec; and another until June 2003 for Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. to commence operation of a new Vancouver station.
In addition to these approvals the CRTC has acceded to a request by La Chambre de Commerce de Ste-Agathe-des-Monts, to revoke the licence of CJSA-FM Ste-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec.
Ireland was again quiet on the radio front but in the UK, the Radio Authority has awarded the new licence for Skye & Lochalsh on the west coast of Scotland to the only applicant, Cuillins Fm Ltd., which will provide a community led service including a significant broadcast of material in Gaelic and also announced that next week it will be advertising a new licence for the area around Loch Gairloch and Loch Ewe, in Ross-shire, on the west coast of Scotland.
In England, it has re-awarded the Oxford small-scale licence to Fusion FM, the existing licence holder, which was competing against three other applicants (For details see Licence News, February 17).
It also announced that it had received two applications for the re-advertised licence for Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks in Kent.
One was from existing licensee Mercury FM, which provides a locally- oriented music, news and information station, and the other was from Go-FM (Absolute Radio West Kent Ltd.), which is proposing a music, news and information service targeted at a 30-plus audience.
In addition to licence activity, the Authority launched at the Radio Festival in Cambridge, a CD-ROM concerning the role of the Radio Authority and the growth and development of Independent Radio in the UK since it was founded.
The Authority, which will be subsumed into the new OFCOM super regulator if the current UK Communications Bill becomes law, came into being in 1991.
Since then it has licensed 145 new local analogue radio stations to take the UK total to 261, three national analogue commercial stations, and 37 commercial digital radio multiplexes (including one national multiplex).
It also issues around 400 short-term Restricted Service Licences (RSLs) each year, and has also issued around 100 long-term RSLs (mainly for hospital and student radio), and licensed 70 satellite and ten cable radio services.
In the US, where the Independence Day break consumed the second half of the week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had a fairly quiet week.
In Puerto Rico it proposed a USD 1, 000 fine on WQHA-TV for using material from radio station WSKN-AM without written permission (see RNW July 4).
It was also involved with Clear Channel in Arizona where it lifted the red flag on Clear Channel's USD 1.5 million purchase of KMJI-FM, Ashdown, from Bunyard Partnership.
The deal adds a fifth station to Clear Channel's holding in the Texarkana market and lifts its revenue share to approaching 60%.
The FCC allowed the deal on the basis that it met its interim policy on market concentration although Democrat Commission Michael Copps dissented, noting that, although the market included stations owned by other owners, both individual and group, none of them had as much as a quarter of Clear Channel's share.
He terms the concentration in a market of this size "particularly unacceptable."
In New York, the Commission has extended the deadline for comment on Fordham University's plan to move the tower for WFUV-FM to the New York Botanical Gardens because of concerns about high RF levels on the dorm where the current tower is located.
The plan has led to concerns being expressed on environmental grounds and the FCC hosted two meetings to hear comment on counter-proposals and other options from outside parties.
The FCC, which had already said the relocation, would adversely affect the gardens, leading Fordham to reduce the height of the proposed tower to 380 feet(around 120 metres).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
CBSC web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2002-07-06: After various US features on Clear Channel, the UK Guardian has followed suit with a business article that follows much of the ground covered by chairman and CEO Lowry Mays in his Guardian lecture at the UK Radio Festival earlier in the week. (See RNW July 3).
After detailing the history of the company, started 30 years ago with one Texas station that cost USD125, 000 and now owning more than 1200 stations, the article both speculates on the likelihood of Clear Channel bidding for one or more UK radio groups should the British governments communications bill go into law and lift the bar on foreign ownership (RNW note - the forign ownership bar still applies in the US!) and looks at the way Clear Channel operates.
It strategy has been, says the paper, to "build market share across radio, outdoor advertising and live entertainment to offer companies a variety of routes for reaching consumers when they are out of their homes."
It quotes Mays as saying, "Our collection of properties has been put together to create a cost-effective way for advertisers to reach all consumers."
"The job of all employees of Clear Channel is to use these assets to help advertisers promote their goods and services. This means that indirectly Clear Channel is selling Fords, burgers and toothpastes."
Unsurprisingly Mays listeners at the Radio Festival did not all wholeheartedly welcome this view and the paper says it caused "unease among many delegates who believe radio is about producing great programmes and pleasing listeners rather than selling hamburgers."
It quotes Jenny Abramsky, director of BBC Radio and Music, as saying, "Lowry sees his customers as the advertisers, not the audience."
The paper also considers the question of consolidation, which Mays defended as to the good of audiences, saying, "The bigger the radio groups, the better they can serve advertisers and the more resources are then available to invest in output for the benefit of listeners."
"A consolidated commercial market like the USA will produce a greater range of output, including what you call 'highbrow', because it is able to respond to demand."
The aim of commercial radio's growth, he added, should be "to better serve the advertising community and help them sell their products".
RNW comment: More on the Mays lecture on Monday in our weekly look at comments on radio in print and on the Internet.
We have to put on record that the argument as adduced by Mays himself was, in our view, better put than in this report, even allowing for the fact that he had more space to put it over. Nevertheless, we refuse to go along with the idea that the aim of even commercial radio should be just to serve advertisers.
Even though we accept it as a fact of life that the business of commercial broadcasting is in the end about delivering an audience for advertisements, it also uses a public resource in the form of licensed spectrum and should therefore have to accept that other aims are also priorities.
Indeed we'd go so far as to say that a broadcast organisation that does not accept this should be stripped of all its licences on the basis of not being a fit person to hold them.
How far Mays would bend we don't know but in the end the feeling we got was of a philistine, educated and affable maybe and certainly with business acumen, but a philistine nevertheless.
We would, of course, be delighted were he to prove us wrong and offer space for any guest comment he may wish to make.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
UK Guardian report:
2002-07-06: A The BBC is to launch its new black music digital station 1Xtra on August 16 at 0500gmt with a special five-hour show hosted by DJ KC, currently with BBC Radio 1, and featuring guest appearances from a number of the channel's DJs who include G Child, Robbo Ranx, Seani B, Kinky D, Manny Norte, Ady Harley, JJC and Aaron Ross.
The opening special will be followed by a series of launch parties with live sets being broadcast from five UK venues from 2200 gmt to 0500 gmt the next morning.
Clubs involved are in Nottingham, Bristol, Sheffield, Glasgow and London and the show will end at the London location.
The channel's music formats will include Hip Hop, RnB, UK Garage, Drum & Bass and Ragga as well as less commercial sounds.
BBC 1Xtra web site:
2002-07-06: With the Independence Day break taking out part of the week, last week was fairly slow for radio deals in the US and those there were involved smaller groups.
Largest deals were the closures of acquisitions of FM's in Alabama and Mississippi.
In Alabama Crawford Broadcasting has now closed its USD8.5 million purchase of WRRS-FM from ST Media and in Mississippi, Backyard Broadcasting has closed its USD4.83 million purchase of WTYX-FM and WVIV-FM from Proteus Investments.
In Tennessee, the East Tennessee Radio Group has sold WCLE-AM and FM in Cleveland for USD2.4 million to Williams Communications and, also in Tennessee, Three Angels Broadcast Network Inc, which already has a radio network airing on a number of non-commercial stations, has dipped its toe into the radio owned and operated business with a USD55, 000 purchase of WBLC-AM in Lenoir City.
2002-07-05: A federal jury in Baltimore has rejected claims that Watergate conspirator and current radio talk show host G Gordon # harmed the reputation of a former Democratic National Committee secretary when he propounded a theory that the break-in was linked to a prostitution ring and said that the secretary had kept photographs of call girls in her desk at Democratic headquarters.
The verdict may yet be appealed by the then secretary Ida "Maxie! Wells, who originally launched her USD5 million defamation lawsuit against Liddy in 1997.
Wells, who is now a community college dean in Louisiana, has seen her suit thrown out twice by a judge and on a third occasion deadlocked before a jury that was hung 7-2 in Liddy's favour.
The Baltimore Sun reports that Liddy reacted to the verdict, which was a decision on defamation not the theory itself, by calling it a "great day for the First Amendment" and added, "I think it's very important that American citizens be able to have vigorous debate on the elements of history."
Wells commented, "It just kind of makes me feel like there is no justice. To me, what's so frustrating is somebody can just go around and tell lies about you and get away with it."
Former White House counsel John Dean, who was alleged by Liddy to have organised the break in to find the pictures because they could have linked his future wife to the prostitution ring, said, "I'm almost speechless, because I don't understand how a jury could find it is not defamatory to say Maxie Wells was helping run a call-girl ring."
RNW comment: In this case, and despite our general vast preference for American law over that of Britain when it comes to matters of libel and defamation, our sympathies lie totally with Wells.
As far as evidence that we have seen is concerned, she has in no way been shown to have kept call-girls' photographs in her desk. To us she is not a public figure and the verdict from this distance seems rather perverse unless the American consensus is that organising a prostitution ring is a find and dandy thing to do.
As far as the theory itself is concerned, we have no problem with it and many other far-fetched theories being propounded but it seems to us to have as much credibility as Liddy's prime source, a disbarred Washington lawyer with a conviction on a prostitution-related charge and a history of severe mental troubles.
Baltimore Sun report:
2002-07-05: Not only has the Iraqi government banned, blocked or jammed many overseas sources of information and entertainment, including satellite television, Internet sites and foreign radio broadcasts, it is allowing the taste for some things Western to be turned to the advantage of Saddam Hussein's son, and potential successor, Uday.
He owns the country's most popular radio station VOI-FM (Voice of Iraq FM) and it mixes propaganda against US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair with a prime format of western pop music. He also runs western programming including Hollywood movies and western sports on its sister television station, Youth FM.
The radio output eschews jingles and the DJs patter is mostly reserved for competition phone-ins with very little comment between tracks.
Almost needless to say when so much pirate Western software is freely available in Baghdad, neither the recording nor movie companies get any royalty payments. The output of the stations is pirated material taken from other broadcasters, the Internet or from CDs, many of them smuggled copies that serve as a source for both the radio station and CD bootleg operations.
2002-07-05: Lisa Simeone is now the host of the World of Opera programme on US National Public Radio (NPR).
She has more than 20-years broadcast experience and her most recent post was as host of NPR News's Weekend All Things Considered,a post she stepped down from in March.
She has also been guest host on NPR's classical music programme Performance Today and for 13 years was the host of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Casual Concerts.
The position will allow her to do freelance work on other projects. Simeone commented, "I love opera I'm delighted that I'll be working on a show with some of the network's most creative people and some of the world's greatest music."
NPR web site:
2002-07-04: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing a USD1, 000 fine on Concilio Mision Cristiana, licensee of Puerto Rican TV station WQHA, for rebroadcasting programming of radio station WSKN- AM without obtaining written authority.
The radio station had complained that WQHA had broadcast in its "El Tribunal Cristiano" programme material from its "Saliendo del Closet" radio programme. WQHA had responded that it contacted an "acting station officer" for WSKN by telephone on November 1, 2000, and requested a recording of the "Saliendo del Closet" program for rebroadcast on "El Tribunal Cristiano." It said it was told that
WSKN did not make or distribute such recordings, but the producer of "El Tribunal Cristiano" could make an off-the-air copy for use on WQHA's program.
The supposed "acting station officer" denied that he was an officer of the radio station, that he had any such conversation, that he gave permission, and that he had authority to do so,
WQHA was unable to provide the required written consent and the penalty order was made accordingly.
2002-07-04: There was yet another increase in Internet listening in the week to June 23 according to MeasureCast, which says it listening index was up 6% over the week.
It also headlined a new subscriber, MUSICMATCH, whose Radio's Artist Match channel was the top Internet-only station for the week, streaming 171,788 hours of music.
MUSICMATCH pushed classical station King FM into sixth place in the top 25 rankings and Internet Radioio into sixth place in the network ratings.
MeasureCast has also introduced a top ten list for simulcast stations as well as its standard top 25 list.
For the week to June 23, MeasureCast's 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 426,692 (402,825); CP 73,670 (80,220): Same position with higher listening but lower reach.
2: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL310, 368 (325,688); CP 70,457 (69,836): Same position with lower listening but higher reach.
3: Internet-only market match MUSICMATCH TTSL 171,788 (New entrant. No other details)
4: Classical format WQXR-FM, New York - TTSL 159,534 (176,861); CP 27,426 (22,020): Down from third with lower listening but higher reach.
5: Sports talk ESPN - TTSL 147,727 (128,704): CP 37,073 (35,074) : Same position with higher listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 1,878,617 (1,655,694) ; CP 277,397 (276,153). Same position with higher listening and reach.
2: MUSICMATCH TTSL 779,561 (New entrant. No other details available);
3: Radio Free Virgin TTSL 767,715 (779,562): CP 157,972 (158,454) - Down from second with lower listening for the fifth week and with lower reach.
4:WARP Radio TTSL 745,602 (733,020) hours: CP 119,536 (122,357) - Down from third with higher listening but lower reach.
5: Virgin Radio TTSL 603,018 (519,510) : CP 101,130 (102,227) - Down from fourth with higher listening but lower reach
The top five simulcast stations for the week (Previous week's figures in brackets but this was first week of ranking) were:
1: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 426,692 (402,825); CP 73,670 (80,220):
2: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL310,368 (325,688); CP 70,457 (69,836):
3: Classical format WQXR-FM, New York - TTSL 159,534 (176,861); CP 27,426 (22,020):
4: Sports talk ESPN - TTSL 147,727 (128,704): CP 37,073 (35,074) :
5: Classical format King FM - TTSL 125,779 (121,303); CP 21,173 (23,294):
The top five Internet-only stations for the week, the second week they have been ranked (Previous week's TTSL and CP in brackets), were:
1:Artists match MUSIC MATCH TTSL 171,788 (New entrant. No other details available):
2:Adult alternative Radioio - TTSL 117,322 (114,750) ; CP 30,759 (30,772): Same position but with higher listening and reach. Down from sixth to seventh in top 25 stations.
3:Top Hits MUSICMATCH TTSL 102,658 (New entrant. No other details available):
4: Listener-formatted MediAmazing - TTSL 88,606 (85,206) ; CP 46,753 (45,678). Same position but with higher listening and reach: Down from eighth to ninth in top 25 stations.
5: Classic Rock Virgin Radio TTSL 80,746 (50,442); CP 7,573 (7,702). Up from tenth with higher listening but lower reach. Tenth in top 25
RNW comment: In view of the likely effects of the recent decision on webcast royalty rates, we would be very interested to find any source of overall internet streaming as opposed to figures like those of MeasureCast that measure only its subscribers.
Logically we might well expect listening overall to actually fall as smaller webcasters stop streaming but figures for the larger organisations to rise and thus increase the MeasureCast index; this would be another example of statistics not exactly telling the whole truth.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2002-07-04: The Federal Judge presiding over the USD5 million defamation case against former convicted Watergate burglar and current radio talk host Gordon Liddy has said that Liddy has constructed a strong circumstantial case that the burglary was tied to a call-girl ring.
The Baltimore Sun quoted Chief U.S. District Judge Frederic N. Smalkin as saying, "I would suggest ... that very few people at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) would be willing to talk about a nest of whores if they were involved in the DNC in the 1970s."
Smalkin also said that Liddy's reliance on circumstantial evidence wasn't a surprise and called the theory "debatable" according to the paper.
He also indicated in comments after the jury had left the courtroom that if the jurors held for the plaintiff, Ida "Maxie" Wells, who was a DNC secretary at the time, he would reconsider the defence motion to throw out the case.
Liddy has admitted that the call-girl theory has been rejected by almost every key figure from the Democratic headquarters and by former White House counsel John W. Dean; Liddy has alleged that the real purpose of the burglary was to retrieve photos that could have linked Dean's future wife to a prostitution ring. The Senate probe of the affair did not raise the theory as a possibility and Wells says that Liddy harmed her reputation by telling audiences that photos of call girls were kept in her desk and used to arrange liaisons for visiting Democratic officials.
Wells' lawsuit, begun in 1997, has twice been dismissed by a federal judge in Baltimore but was reinstated each time by an appeals court. The case also has been to trial once before when the jury deadlocked 7-2 in favour of Liddy.
Liddy said he accepted the conventional theory of Watergate at first but then said that in 1990s his investigators in the 1990s talked to a stockbroker for the call-girl ring's de facto bouncer, a former FBI agent named Lou Russell, whom he alleged was paid money from Republican Party campaign cash that Dean had never accounted for.
Baltimore Sun report:
2002-07-03: Clear Channel chairman and CEO Lowry Mays has told British radio operators that he would like to take over one of the large UK radio groups.
Speaking at the Radio Academy's festival in Cambridge that "nothing would give him greater pleasure" than acquiring one of the main UK radio groups, adding that any group acquired would benefit from Clear Channel's knowledge about radio and its other arms such as live entertainment and outdoor advertising.
However he added that the company was not planning a hostile takeover. Speculation has already arisen concerning a Clear Channel bid for Capital Radio or Emap's radio division.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
2002-07-03: US Spanish-language media company Entravision says it expects its second quarter results to be towards the high end of its current guidance ( revenues between USD60.6 million and USD62 million and EBITDA from USD18.2 million to USD18.7 million) but for the effects of a settlement reached with sales and marketing company Interep over its termination of its sales agreement with Interep.
The deal with interep was terminated in August of last year whenEntravision launched its own rep company Lotus/Entravision Reps LLC through a joint venture with Lotus Hispanic Reps Corp.
Following the settlement, Entravision, which had previously said it would incur such a one-time charge, it to record such a charge of approximately USD1.5 million in the second quarter of this year.
Entravision Chairman and CEO Walter Ulloa, commenting on the expected results said, "We continue to see solid momentum across our core business lines. Our television and radio divisions are posting strong ratings and revenue pacings remain well ahead of industry averages."
2002-07-03: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman William Powell has now started his second term as an FCC Commissioner. He was originally nominated as a Commissioner in 1997 by then US President Clinton and sworn in on November 13 that year for a term until the end of June this year.
He became chairman last year following a nomination by President Bush.
2002-07-02: XM Satellite Radio says it has ended the second quarter with more than 136,5000 subscribers, a number it says exceeds "most Wall Street projections." It has also announced that General Motors is expanding factory installations from the Cadillac DeVille and Seville to 23 additional GM models in the 2003 model year.
XM President and CEO Hugh Panero commented, "Our focus is now shifting to making XM part of the sale of GM vehicles as well. In preparation for availability at dealers beginning later this summer, XM is now being factory installed in 25 models of GM cars with an aggressive rollout plan encompassing household names."
XM web site:
2002-07-02: UK Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell will deliver the keynote speech at the Radio Festival in Cambridge today against a background of sharp divisions concerning the consolidation to be permitted in local radio in the country.
Under the government's draft Communications Bill it is proposed to insist on three owners of radio stations plus the BBC as a general rule in franchise areas, a position supported by the Radio Authority, which under the bill would be subsumed into the OFCOM super regulator.
Commercial Radio companies and the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) say that radio is being treated unfairly compared to TV and would prefer a general rule of two plus the BBC; the CRCA says that it is in favour of the idea of three owners but these could be radio, newspaper or regional television companies.
The commercial companies lobbied for changes last week at the parliamentary joint scrutiny committee (See RNW June 25). As well as the issue of ownership they are also concerned about rules on programme formats and content.
The Radio Authority chairman Richard Hooper argues that the main argument for plurality is one of democracy in terms both of differing voices on the air and a choice of local employers for radio station staff and content providers.
Last year he said the Authority wanted cross-media ownership for the UK to be based on the three plus the BBC rule (See RNW Jan 30, 2001).
Previous UK Radio Authority:
2002-07-02: Maryland-based Radio One Inc. has announced that it now expects second quarter results ahead of its forecasts with the highest revenue and broadcast cash flow (BCF) in its history.
That guidance was for net revenues of Usd79.5 million, BCF of USD 41 million and EBITDA of USD38 million. Radio One also expects to end the quarter with some USD45 million of cash in hand.
The announcement, made along with an invitation to a conference call on the results on July 31, followed a week in which its shares were battered.
They fell by more than a fifth over the week, after Radio One's announcement that it had lent millions of dollars to key executives including CEO Alfred Liggins and CFO Scott Royster, to buy shares in the company.
The company said the loans were made to prevent key executives from being lured away by other companies.
RNW comment: Whilst the defence may have some point as regards CFO Scott Royster, we really can't see that there was much change of Liggins, son of Radio One founder Catherine Hughes, jumping ship.
We rather suspect that if he were given the choice of immediately repaying the loan plus 10% or being pushed, he'd still be with Radio One next month.
Previous Radio One:
2002-07-02: Trading in shares of Radio First , the UK company that has deals with a number of soccer clubs for digital radio stations, has been suspended on the UK's Alternative Investment Market after the company failed to meet the deadline to produce its financial results for the six months to March.
Radio First has been seeking additional funding for its existing digital stations that cover Chelsea, Southampton, Aston Villa and Derby County and for extending its Fan Radio Network.
Previous Radio First:
2002-07-01: For this week's look at print comment on radio we have gone the offbeat and another look at comment on Internet radio and Clear Channel but before anything else some perceptive comments about the medium from the London Times and Vanora Bennett's radio column. She starts by asking, "How do you know whatever you know about the controversial hot topics of the day?"
She continues, "Teenage gun culture in south Manchester, say, or the farmers' class action against the Government for "mishandling" foot-and-mouth? You may have become well informed by sweating through analytical newspaper articles."
"Or you may have decided consciously to watch a hard-hitting investigative programme on television. It is likely, though, that you have somehow acquired opinions without really being aware of how.
The secret of your brilliant, but unintentional, fact-finding is almost certainly the radio, which seeps into your consciousness even if you're only listening with one ear and doing something else with your hands."
Bennett then looks at some examples and ends by concluding of radio, "It is half intellectual stimulation, half gut reaction to voice and expression; that quiet, powerful mix does more than anything else in the media to shape public opinion."
Part of that mix is how various issues are perceived and the UK Guardian in a report by Nicola Hill entitled "Charities told to tune into radio's potential" starts by noting," Radio may not be as glamorous as television but 90% of the UK population spends an weekly average of 21 hours listening to it and there is plenty of potential for charities to air their stories."
It then goes on to list some of the advice given at a Media Trust seminar by various UK radio executives. The comments included:
"Radio gives the best results for the amount of effort you have to put in. For example, it is 10 times less time-consuming to produce than television. People listen to the radio in the work place, in the car and even while they are on the internet." - Simon Cooper, public affairs director of GWR Group plc.
"Listeners drive radio stations so it is important to understand the audience, create compelling programming and develop a brand Find the radio station that fits your audience and then target the right person at the station.
"Present your idea in a bold and original way. Help the radio presenter understand how your idea fits with their objectives. Position your organisation as an honest broker - an expert in its field." - Darren Henley, managing editor of Classic FM
Talk radio is also part of that mix but the segment of it we chose to look at is not the populist rabble-rousing of some right-wing US talk hosts but the different mix on US public radio about which Katherine Lanpher wrote about in Current Magazine. "The call," she comments, " was meant to be a compliment, a voicemail message from a former print colleague of mine who had listened to that day's edition of Midmorning, a two-hour call-in show I host for Minnesota Public Radio."
"'I just want to tell you I really, really liked this morning's show, the questions were great, the callers were good . . . it was almost like journalism.'"
Lanpher's reaction? "I was stunned. Here I thought I had been committing journalism all along. But if listeners - even other journalists - aren't always sure about what they're listening to, then we need a call to arms for those of us who keep humming the rising tide of talk now heard on public radio stations: It's time for a serious conversation about public radio talk shows."
"Are they entertainment? Or journalistic venues? And if they're the latter, how do you maintain standards of accuracy, fairness and balance?"
She argues that it's "crucial to make distinctions now between what makes a talk show and what makes a public radio talk show" and says that public radio talks shows have to be journalism or "there's no place for them in public radio, where listeners have an expectation and we have a mission to provide information that's free of cant, that invites insight and that helps listeners better perceive the world around them."
Lanpher then considers issues and techniques before quoting Talk of the Nation host Neal Conan who said he regarded each caller "as a interview and what he looks for is not an opinion - but a story. 'We're specialized storytellers,' he said. 'Opinions are boring, stories are interesting.'"
On to Internet radio and a Washington Post report by Marc Fisher under the title "Politics Kills Web Radio's Budding Stars" that looks at the effects of royalty rates recently approved for streaming.
It is pegged on Radio Del Ray, a station in the Del Ray section of Alexandria in Takoma Park, Maryland, that is "staffed" by some 20 volunteers to produce shows of what the report terms "local rock, blues, jazz and other sounds rarely heard on broadcast radio."
Of broadcast radio, Fisher comments, "There's not a lot of neighbourhood on the radio these days, not with a handful of huge conglomerates owning thousands of stations, not when your favourite deejays turn out to be sitting in a studio in Dallas, recording "local" announcements for stations all over the continent. That guy telling you it's rough out there on the Beltway may well be in Denver, and he may well have recorded that days ago."
" But on the Internet for the past few years, people who missed the community that radio once provided -- and people who crave the kinds of music radio has banished -- have found something new and fresh."
Those "sounds of freedom" writes Fisher were dimmed by the royalties decision and he quotes Randy Allen, general manager of Radio Del Ray as saying, "We're looking at a deep hole, and we might have to shut down The only other option is to go to a format of entirely local artists who have no recording contracts, so we wouldn't have to pay fees to record companies."
Already some sites have closed down and Andrew Leyden, whose Penguin Radio site aims to be the Yahoo of Internet radio, providing a portal to 5,000 stations, told the paper most of those outlets "are so delicate and fragile that this might kill them."
Leyden's site, says Fisher, provides "listeners who can't find techno or chamber music, bluegrass or bebop on the radio get not only the music they want, but the surprises and adventure that broadcast radio once offered. (You can even hear the D.C. fire department scanner on Penguin.)"
"The big companies that produce most recordings and program much of radio, " he adds, "fear seeing their audience splinter into such tiny pieces that advertisers would no longer see value in paying for airtime."
He then comments, "This is the same kind of strategy that last week led Circuit City to wipe videotapes off its shelves. Never mind that virtually all Americans have VCRs and only 30 percent have DVD players. We have offended our corporate overlords by taping too many movies, and we must be punished by being forced to adopt a technology that offers Hollywood more control over how we use their product."
Finally Salon and Clear Channel and two articles by Eric Boehlert, which in effect put the recording industry case against Clear Channel.
In one, "Is Clear Channel selling hit singles?" Boehlert takes up accusations that Clear Channel gave "gave an obscure singer major airplay to promote its pricey new market-research program."
Clear Channel denies the allegations but Boehlert says that some in the recording industry aren't sure and details how MCA got help from Clear Channel when it wanted to launch "Feels So Right" a new single for "Cherry". Clear Channel, says the report, was said to have offered major labels a free trial of its market-research program PD Perceptual, which polls the companies stations on whether a record will be a hit for the sum of USD20, 000 per song.
Boehlert says that the song was released at an unpropitious time and when his album was a commercial failure but managed to get more top-40 stations plays in its first week of release "than almost any other single in the country" including singles by major artists like Janet Jackson and Jay-Z. Clear Channel was singled out as the network giving the song major airplay.
In another article "Will Congress tackle pay-for-play?" Boehlert takes up the system of payments to independent promoters to get airtime for songs. "Not only does pay-for-play cost the music industry approximately $150 million each year," he writes, " it virtually shuts off access to commercial FM radio for artists or record companies who can't or won't spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote a new single."
The article then details past efforts to clamp down on promotional payments in the early 80's and the current situation, particularly in light of the Competition in Radio and Concert Industries Act bill now put forward but at the time, being touted by Sen. Russell Feingold (See RNW June 28).
Current Magazine- Lanpher on talk radio:
Penguin Radio site:
Radio del Ray site :
Salon - Boehlert on singles promotion:
Salon - Boehlert on pay for play:
UK Guardian - Hill on radio for charities:
UK Times - Bennett column:
Washington Post - Fisher on web radio:
2002-07-01: The UK Wireless Group headed by Kelvin MacKenzie is to launch its own ratings system in September according to the UK Independent, which notes that initial tests of the Swiss radiocontrol meter system show the group's flagship TalkSport station with an 8 million a week audience compared to the 2.4 million figure produced by RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) using its diary system.
The system, a wristwatch-sized device, records a wearer's "audio experience" every four minutes and analysis of the results indicates to which station they were listening at the time.
The paper says MacKenzie will launch the system under the slogan "It's time to tell the truth" and quotes him as saying, "Why should I sell [the advertising for] my audience at a 75 per cent discount?" I was thinking of suing RAJAR for costing me a load of money. I'm not putting up with it any more."
RAJAR is currently researching other methods of audience measurement and it is due to report next spring and Jane O'Hara, its managing director said, "There are pros and cons on both [sides of the argument] My view is there will probably be a hybrid system: diaries for some stations, watches for others."
She also argued that the radio control system could cost as much as six times as the diary system for which UK stations pay GBP4.5 million a year but MacKenzie says this is simply untrue.
Previous Wireless Group/TalkSport:
UK Independent report:
2002-07-01: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation celebrates 70 years of broadcasting today and also launches its online music station DiG.
It is now under a new managing director Russell Balding who took over in November 2001 from Jonathan Shier whose reign was cut short, albeit with a lucrative pay-off (See RNW Feb 19).
Balding was not formally given the post until May this yead and his first
priority was to calm things down after the tensions of the Shier period. He's now calling for staff to be more innovative.
On the radio side, director of radio Sue Howard commented that much of ABC radio's strength lat in its local content adding that new technologies could help radio deliver what it did best.
Previous ABC, Australia:
2002-07-01: Irish state broadcaster RTÉ has revealed the salaries of its top 27 stars to the UK Sunday Times following the paper's application for information under the country's Freedom of Information Act.
However it has not put names to the figures, which range from one presenter in the top bracket of €400,000 and €500,000 (around the same in USD), one in the €300,000 and €400,000 (The paper suggests the latter is Marian Finucane, the Radio 1 presenter whose pay is around €350,000) and one between €200,000 and €300,000 (The paper says this is Gerry Ryan, the 2FM presenter, whose salary is reckoned to be €250,000).
Below the top three bands, three presenters were paid between €100,000 and €150,000, ten between €100,000 and €150,000 and 11 between €75,000 and €100,000
In comparison RTÉ's standard rate for presenters ranges between €40,928 and €52,605 and the maximum pay band for members of its executive board is between €180,000 and €200,000, said by the paper to be paid to the managing director and chief financial officer.
Lower down one manager, said by the paper to be director-general Bob Collins, is paid between €160,000 and €180,000 and five more are paid between €120,000 and €140,000:
The broadcaster said of its decision to release the information in the form of salary bands and without names. "We don't like identifying individuals. We are letting people know how much we are spending without identifying the presenters," said a station spokesman
UK Sunday Times report:
2002-07-01: Sirius Satellite Radio completes the nationwide launch of its US 100-channel service today, some eight months after that of its competitor XM Satellite Radio.
The launch is a month ahead of Sirius's most recent schedule and means that receivers are in short supply.
Sirius web site:
XM web site:
Links note: As far as possible we provide site links to the previous related story. Should these links not work, please advise us so we can sort out the problem.
Regarding external links, we give links where we can but an ever-increasing number of newspapers and stations either require registration or only keep items available for a limited period or move them to a pay-per-use archive (typically after 7 or 14 days in the USA).
Thus some links become outdated or sources you would have to pay for or subscribe to access. See links page for notes regarding various sites we think of value
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June 2002 August 2002
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