January 2003 Archive
December 2002 -February 2003
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 January comment considers our hopes for radio in 2003 with reference to regulatory and technological changes in train.
RNW December comment considers whether in view of recent US complaints about talk radio and media bias, the US needs to reintroduce some form of "fairness doctrine" for broadcasters.
RNW November comment considers whether the US adoption of iBiquity's IBOC digital radio system will prove to be a step forward or one sideways to a technology inferior to that adopted by the rest of the world and offering insufficent benefits to other options including sticking with conventional analogue systems.
2003-01-31: US radio industry chiefs and Senators displayed some clear differences of emphasis and approach to media regulation at Senate Commerce Committee hearings on Thursday.
Industry testimony was to the effect that consolidation had benefited US radio and its audience, something that some of the Senators expressed scepticism about.
The Committee also heard direct accusations that radio and entertainment giant Clear Channel aired only recordings that independent promoters had paid it to play and that the recording of one artist was boycotted because she had previously refused to appear at a Clear Channel benefit.
Singer Don Henley, who was testifying on behalf of the Recording Artists Coalition, made the allegation of the boycott, saying that the his manager Irving Azoff had been called by Michael Martin of Clear Channel, San Francisco, and an independent promoter who wanted the artist to appear at the benefit.
She refused because she was trying to finish an album on time and her next single was boycotted. Henley said he came to the hearing at his peril because his records might be boycotted.
Clear Channel CEO L.Lowry Mays, denied the accusations and said that, even though Henley had made statements that were "very untrue" he need not fear retribution as long as Clear Channel audiences wanted to hear his music.
(RNW comment: The clear implication of the English, even if not so meant, is that the boot can be safely put in if the audience isn't too keen on a record, but not when an artist is possible. But then again, Clear Channel's release of May's comments does show an attachment to PR over clear use of any language).
Clear Channel has suggested that Henley's views might be coloured by his relationship with his manager, who is a principal of Concerts West, a Clear Channel competitor on the concert circuit.
Mays clashed with Republican Senator John McCain (Arizona) over the issue of consolidation when McCain asked if Clear Channel was planning more station purchases and tried to get a straight "Yes" or "No" answer whilst Mays wished to offer a detailed response. He eventually gave an affirmative if it would serve the local community better and Clear Channel saw an opportunity.
Mays was also pushed on the issue of whether any limits should apply to the number of stations a company could own, eventually ending up with a response that the 1996 Telecommunications Act covered the issue and he didn't think there should be a limit within the Act.
In his testimony, Mays said that US radio was stronger than ever, meeting listener needs and in touch with local community demands and commented that for live concerts the determinant of price was the artists not the promoters.
Mays said that Senator Russ Feingold (Democrat, Wisconsin) was "dead wrong" in his legislative plans, adding that he was working on the faulty premise that the "concert business and radio business need to be fixed" when in fact they were "healthier than ever, delivering more and better service to consumers."
Far from being a "cautionary tale" of the dangers of deregulation, " said Mays, "radio has a great story to tell. The industry is healthier and more robust today than ever before."
" Radio is, without a doubt, healthier today as a result of deregulation, and the public clearly benefits as a result."
"Recall for a moment the financial health of radio in the early 1990s, before the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Competition from cable and broadcast television and hundreds of newly authorized FM stations had forced half of the nation's radio stations into the red. Many others were operating close to it."
Mays said that at that time station profits had plummeted, causing investment to dry up and leading many stations to cut back on their news and other local programming budgets.
Deregulation, he said, had allowed economies of scale and also increased radio's share of the advertising pie, allowing investment to the benefit of both owners and listeners.
He then went on to say that deregulation had also benefited minority ownership, saying that Clear Channel was committed to encouraging diverse media ownership and he was proud of the company's contributions to that goal.
In support of this he noted that in connection with the acquisition of AMFM, Clear Channel had sold a third of the stations it had to divest to obtain regulatory approval - some USD1.5 billion worth - to minority buyers and added that Clear Channel has also committed USD 15 million to the Quetzal/Chase Fund, which invests in minority-owned media. He also noted support for a bill to provide tax incentives to increase media ownership by small businesses and new entrants.
"We have done all of this," said Mays, "not because of any direct benefit to Clear Channel, but because it is the right thing to do."
Mays also said flatly that Clear Channel did not threaten reduced airplay to force musicians to tour with it nor prevent competing concert promoters from advertising their shows on the air.
"Anyone who would make such allegations simply doesn't understand our business," said Mays.
"The fact is live entertainment accounts for less than 7 percent of Clear Channel's revenue. Radio is the bread and butter of our business, and we simply wouldn't risk the ratings of any station by refusing to play or promote a popular artist who isn't touring with us, or by overplaying a less popular artist who is."
He also said that Clear Channel helped to develop new artists through both its concert and radio activities.
On consolidation, he said radio was the least consolidated segment of the media and entertainment industry, with the ten largest radio operators accounting for only 48 percent of the industry's advertising revenues whereas in cable television they accounted for 89 percent of the revenues.
He also pointed out that, despite its size, Clear Channel only owned 9 per cent of US radio stations.
(RNW comment: A more revealing figure would be the percentage of revenues and audience, that Clear Channel and rivals such as Viacom's Infinity (few stations but more heavily concentrated on major metropolitan markets) control.
But it strains our credulity to hope for such figures to be made part of the records - as they would in fair and unbiased testimony - voluntarily by almost any business. We Mr Mays to change sex, we suggest he'd need a heavy make-up allowance!).
Also testifying on Thursday was US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) president and CEO Eddie Fritts, who focussed on the "localism" of US radio stations but like Mays, also referred to the state of the US radio industry before the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Fritts noted that many stations had gone off the air and sixty per cent were losing money and said that it was against that background that legislation was changed, allowing the industry to rebound.
"NAB believes," said Fritts, "the limits implemented through the 1996 Telecommunications Act enabled radio to better serve local audiences across the country as well as strengthening the industry economically."
He also responded to suggestions by McCain that there was a contradiction in NAB's different stance concerning different stances in supporting a cap on national TV ownership and also radio deregulation by saying that the cases were different as there were 13,000 radio stations but a tenth as many TV stations.
(RNW note: Again we'd love to have the figures for NAB income from radio and TV owners broken down into groups relating to size just to see if there is any correlation between attitudes and direct benefits!).
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
Clear Channel web site:
NAB web site:
2003-01-31: Arbitron has announced that Belgian broadcaster, Vlaamse Radio en Televisie (VRT), and Vlaamse Audiovisuele Regie (VAR), the marketing arm of VRT, have chosen its Portable People Meter technology for use in measuring the listening and viewing habits of audience.
Flemish-language public broadcaster VRT runs three TV channels and five radio stations and it says it will use the PPM for the assessment of the synergy between radio and television.
The deal has been made through a five-year contract with TNS Media, part of the worldwide Taylor Nelsen Sofres (TNS) group, which has a licensing and royalty agreement with Arbitron for the PPM.
TNS will supply a panel of 450 people with the PPM beginning in the second quarter of this year.
Arbitron also has contracts for use of the PPM in Singapore, where it is used for TV audience measurements, and Canada, where BBM Canada will begin measuring French-language television audiences in Montreal and Quebec with the PPM beginning in the fourth quarter of this year.
On a less positive note for the company, Arbitron has told US Spanish language broadcasters that the Hispanic language weighting it had told them it would introduce is not now likely to be available until its Winter Book in 2006.
Arbitron currently applies ethnic weighting in some markets but these do not take language preferences into account and its president, US Media Services, Owen Charlebois, said in a letter that it needed to re-engineer software systems to apply appropriate weighting on a language preference-basis.
When the system is upgraded, the weighting will be applied according to the composition of the Spanish-speaking population in a market.
Although the full upgrade won't be available for some three years because of its cost and complications and the need to keep current processing systems operating securely, Arbitron is suggesting that it may be able to come up with an interim solution of adding language weighting to its Hispanic Market Service. The proposal is to be put to broadcasters and advertising agencies next month and could be in place for its summer/fall report, due to be released in February next year.
The interim solution, says Arbitron, is dependant on it negotiating access to Nielsen's language preference information and then working about how to adapt it for its use.
Previous Arbitron (and PPM):
2003-01-31: UK GWR Group has reported flat like-for-like revenues in a trading update covering the quarter to the end of the year but is more optimistic about the start of this year, saying it expects January like-for-like radio revenues to be up by around 5% on the figures for a year ago.
The company singles out a 14% increase in year-on-year airtime revenues for its national Classic FM channel as a high spot, noting that national and local airtimes revenues for its local radio group were flat and 4% down respectively. GWR shares ended the day 3% up at GBP1.38.
GWR also announced that Mair Barnes, the former Woolworths Plc chief executive who is a non-executive director of a number of companies including Scottish Power and a non-executive member of the Departmental Board of the Department of Trade and Industry, as a new non-executive member of its board.
Also in the UK, the Radio Authority has now advertised a new regional FM licence for the West Midlands, covering Birmingham and Wolverhampton, and the surrounding areas, with an adult population of around 2.3 million.
A number of main UK groups have already said they will make bids for the licence. They include Chrysalis, which will offer a similar speech-based format to its recently re-launched LBC station in London; EMAP, which is to offer its Kerrang! young rock music station, which is already on air as a digital channel; GWR with its The Storm rock format, also already on air as a digital channel; and SMG's Virgin, which would also put forward a rock format.
Previous UK Radio Authority:
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-01-31: Latest UK radio ratings from RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) show UK radio now reaching 91% of the potential 15-plus audience in the country, up 1%; weekly reach was up 293000 a week to 44,097,000 million in the quarter to December 15, 2002.
Within the figures, the BBC gained 182000 listeners a week and had a 52.5% share of listening, down from 52.6%, whilst commercial radio increased its audience by 160000 listeners a week and took its share up to 45.5% compared to 45.3% in the previous quarter.
The big gainers in the quarter nationally were BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio Five Live.
The former increased its weekly audience by 775000, helped by a healthy contribution from Australian radio veteran Brian Hayes, who drew an average of 5.7 million listeners for his stint replacing another veteran, Sir Jimmy Young, who had a hip operation, in the noon slot for most of the quarter.
Another Radio 2 veteran, breakfast host Terry Wogan, also did well and now reaches 7.8 million listeners a week, up some 600,000 listeners on the year. Radio Five Live added 437000 listeners a week, and now has a reach of 6.27 million.
In London, Chrysalis's Heart FM lost a little share, down from 13.6% to 13.3% but its breakfast show, fronted by Jono Coleman and Emma Forbes, again inched upwards, adding 13,000 listeners a week to take its reach to 875,000.
Also doing well in London were the Bam Bam's Breakfast show on EMAP's Kiss FM, which upped its audience by 7% to 868,000 and the SMG-owned Virgin drivetime show of Pete Mitchell and Geoff Lloyd, whose audience was up 4%; they are now hosting the station's breakfast show, swapping with Darryl Denham whose breakfast audience was down by 11,000 to 590.000 a week.
Big losers nationally were BBC Radio 1, which dropped 374000 listeners a week; BBC Radio 4, which dropped -114000 listeners a week; and Virgin Radio, which again had a dismal time and lost 184000 listeners a week.
In London, the big loser was Capital Radio's breakfast show, which haemorrhaged a further 204,000 listeners a week; its host, Chris Tarrant, was on leave for two-thirds of the survey period.
Capital's chief executive David Mansfield had already gone on record saying he expected "no miracles" in these ratings (See RNW Jan 24); he also says that changes Capital has made should bring back lost listeners and there should be signs of this in the next ratings.
Overall BBC network radio lost 8,000 listeners a week although its share of listening was up from 41.4% to 41.5%.
Within the figures, compared to the previous quarter:
*BBC Radio 1 lost -374000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 10.505 million, a weekly reach of 21%, down from 22%, and a listening share of 8.4%, down from 8.8%.
*BBC Radio 2 gained 775000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 13.260 million, a weekly reach of 27%, up from 25%, and a listening share of 15.8%, up from 15.2%.
*BBC Radio 3 lost 11000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 2.154 million, a weekly reach of 4%, as before, and a listening share of 1.2%, down from 1.3%.
*BBC Radio 4 lost -114000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.798 million, a weekly reach of 20%, as before, and a listening share of 11.5 %, down from 11.8%.
*BBC Radio 5 Live gained 437000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6.274million, a weekly reach of 13%, up from 12%, and a listening share of 4.7%, up from 4.3%.
On the commercial side for national networks:
* Classic FM (owned by GWR) lost -22000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6.657 million, a weekly reach of 14%, as before, but a listening share of 4.7%, up from 4.5% % as listening hours increased from 47,353 hours to 50,425 hours a week.
* TalkSport (owned by The Wireless Group') gained 23000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.415 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 5%, and an unchanged listening share of 1.7%.
*Virgin (Owned by SMG --total including all AM and FM) lost 184000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.817 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 6%, and an unchanged listening share of 1.6%.
Commenting on the ratings, Jenny Abramsky, the BBC's Director of Radio & Music, said: "I'm delighted to see Radio 2 going from strength to strength but the most important news for the industry is that all radio listening is up."
Paul Brown, Chief Executive of the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA), said, "Today's RAJAR results prove unquestionably that Commercial Radio knows its local markets and knows it has to serve them."
"The locally relevant programming provided by our smaller stations has been rewarded with record audience levels, which have led to an increase in share overall for Commercial Radio this quarter."
As well as terrestrial listening, the UK has seen increased listening to radio online and to digital channels carried on Sky' satellite TV platform.
Previous GWR (owns Classic FM):
Previous RAJAR ratings:
Previous SMG (Owns Virgin):
Previous Wireless Group (owns TalkSport):
RAJAR web site (links to quarterly reports):
2003-01-31: Seattle-based Fisher Communications has reached agreement to sell two Georgia TV stations, WFXG-TV and WXTX-TV, to South-eastern Media Holdings for USD40 million but has declined comment on a Reuters report (See RNW Jan 30) that it was considering at least two bids for the company according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Fisher, which has around USD300 million of debt, last November hired Goldman Sachs & Co. to evaluate possible options including merger, recapitalization, and the sale of all or part of the company.
Spokesman Chris Wheeler told the paper that it decided to sell the two stations to reduce its debt and also shrink its geographic footprint - most of its radio and TV holdings are in the US Northwest.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer report:
2003-01-31: Former Infinity Radio president Dan Mason is to join iBiquity Digital as a consultant to promote US radio industry adoption of its HD digital radio technology.
Mason, who retired from Infinity last year (See RNW Aug 21, 2002), is also a past president of CBS Radio, Group W Radio and Cook Inlet Radio.
"I'm looking forward to joining the iBiquity team and being part of bringing their technology to market in the broadcast industry," he commented.
"I have been a long time supporter of the technology and the team behind it. HD Radio technology is very exciting and offers limitless possibilities to broadcasters and their listeners."
"My objective will be to assist the radio industry in adopting this wonderful technology in the most efficient and effective way possible in order to help make 2003 and beyond a great success,"
2003-01-31: Long-time New York radio personalityand executive Stan Martin has died aged 64.
Martin began his radio career in 1959 in Port Jervis, New York, and worked for a number of other stations in New York and Philadelphia before joining WQEW-AM in 1992 as programme director when The New York Times changed its format from classical music - it was then WQXR-AM - and became station manager before leaving in 1998 when the Times leased it to ABC, which now uses it for Radio Disney.
After leaving WQEW, Mr. Martin was master of ceremonies for cabaret shows in Manhattan and host of a Web site, www.popstandards.com.
New York Times obituary:
2003-01-30: The US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) in its fourth annual Nontraditional Revenue (NTR) Survey says that US radio stations are continuing to increase NTR activities with event marketing remaining the clear leader in the area.
The RAB reports that there has been an increase of nearly a third in responses over the past year and more than two thirds of stations say they have been pursuing such revenues for more than three years, compared to just over half in 2001.
Some 85% say they will increase NTR activities and 72% say they will have more involvement with event marketing.
The survey shows that NTR activity is concentrated in sales departments (42%, up from 37%) and nearly two thirds of respondents say they train sales staff in NTR. Time management is said to be the main problem in developing such revenues although this problem declined slightly over the previous year's survey (65% of respondents compared to 67%).
In terms of current NTR activity, 91% said they were pursuing event marketing (down 1% from 2002 figures), 70% Cause-Related marketing (the same as last year) and 55% Internet marketing (also the same as lat year).
In terms of total revenue share, 2% reported getting more than 30% of their revenues from NTR activities (down form 4% in 2002), 5% from 21-30% (down from 6%), 27% from 11-12% (up from 26%) and 66% up to 10% (up from 64%).
RAB President and CEO Gary Fries commented, "Radio has quickly adapted to the new advertising landscape and incorporated more NTR programs into its revenue-generating efforts. Radio has traditionally delivered results with events in the local marketplace, and the acceleration we are seeing in that direction is a natural progression that will be of benefit to the industry and its clients."
2003-01-30: Two significant US media board meetings are being held today but without any announcements as we publish.
In one, Fisher Communications directors are considering at least two firm offers to acquire the company; one is from LIN TV and the other from Sonoran Capital.
Each offer is reported to include acquisition of Fisher's debt of some USD 300 million plus additional payment of around USD450-500 million and Reuters reports that sources have told it that LIN has also negotiated a deal to sell off Fisher's 28 radio stations to Clear Channel should its bid succeed; it would keep the company's 12 television stations and probably its other operations including programme production arm Fisher Entertainment, satellite and fibre transmission provider Fisher Pathways and its Fisher Plaza digital communications hub in Seattle.
Reuters also said that Emmis Communications has decided not to bid. In November last year Fisher hired Goldman Sachs and & Co. as its financial advisor to assist in reviewing its options.
In the other meeting, Viacom directors are expected to put pressure on chairman Sumner Redstone to patch up differences with president Mel Karmazin, whose contract is due for renewal at the end of this year. There has already been one run by Viacom's board at settling the power battle between the two executives and last year it told the two to settle their differences and work as a team.
RNW comment: When push comes to shove, Redstone's shareholding in Viacom gives him the power.
He will have to decide how far it is to his benefit to keep Karmazin on and how much power Karmazin should retain (his contract also means that two-thirds of the board have to agree to vote Karmazin out, which would have strengthened his hand last year). A high-stakes poker game this one!
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-01-30: UK Capital Radio has hired Jane Wilson, account director at financial PR agency Impact Consulting and former corporate affairs manager at SMG (the former Scottish Media Group that owns Virgin Radio), as its head of corporate communications.
Wilson, who will report directly to chief executive David Mansfield, will face an uphill task in overcoming current perceptions of Capital's shortcomings - its audience share has fallen form 10.3% to 8.8% - and putting forward a positive view of changes it is making.
Latest UK radio audience figures from RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) today are expected to show a further loss of listeners.
RNW comment: As with Virgin, which is also having a disappointing time in the ratings, Capital's troubles stem from it failure to attract listeners. However important public relations may be in guiding perceptions, to paraphrase a US phrase, "It's the audience, stupid!" that counts.
2003-01-30: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has paused its usual informal 180-day period for processing station transactions for the Univision purchase of Hispanic Broadcasting, saying this is because of "novel" issues in the merger and perceived delays by the companies in meeting requirements from the US Department of Justice.
In a letter to the companies, it notes that they had agreed to allow it to review documents they were submitting to the Department of Justice and adds that the companies have not yet told it that they have supplied all the documents required by the DOJ.
Previous Hispanic Broadcasting:
2003-01-30: Wisconsin Democrat Senator Russ Feingold has re-introduced his "Competition in Radio and Concert Industries Act" that he first introduced in June last year (See RNW June 28, 2002).
Feingold argues that his legislation would aid smaller independent radio companies and concert promoters by restricting concentration and curbing anti competitive practices.
Amongst the sanctions in includes are a proposal that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could rescind a station licence if its owners abused cross-ownership of concert venues to the detriment of artists, a proposal that would clearly potentially affect US giant Clear Channel.
Feingold says he's found a groundswell of support grow in Congress and amongst artists, consumers, and smaller radio companies and promoters since he first brought forward his proposals.
RNW comment: Bearing in mind the amount of concentration that has gone on since 1996, the Feingold legislation would seem to be in danger of a case of locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. Although it could act as a restraint on any future anti competitive actions, unless Clear Channel were to be forced into a major divestment, such as of its Entertainment division, there don't seem to be many locations left where it could currently acquire without falling foul of current restrictions and indeed those that seem likely under planned FCC changes.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-01-29: A number of Latino organisations in Chicago have launched a boycott of the Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC) in protest at the content of the breakfast show on the company's WOJO-FM.
The show, hosted by "El Pistolero" and sidekick Memin, is said by the protesters to be breaching the US Federal Communications Commission's obscenity and indecency laws with the jokes and humour it carries.
Luis Pelayo, president of the Hispanic Council, told the Chicago Tribune the show was "garbage" and added, "These guys are like the evil side of Howard Stern."
Cesar Canales, operations director for HBC in Chicago, said audience response had been overwhelmingly positive since the program went on the air in April and commented on appearances by its hosts at charity events and functions geared to women and children
"If this was a show that was a detriment to the community, I don't think they would be invited," he said. "I think we have strong support. The majority of people seem to be very pleased, very happy with the program."
Previous Hispanic Broadcasting:
Chicago Tribune report:
2003-01-29: UK Virgin Radio, owned by SMG (the former Scottish Media Group), is to spend some GBP3 million (USD 4.7 million) promoting its sound.
Virgin has lost some 700,000 listeners a week over the year to the end of September last year when its weekly reach was down to 3.3 million; it hopes to boost both its overall audience and that for its new breakfast team of Pete Mitchell and Geoff Lloyd, the fourth set of hosts for the show in less than two years.
The show was once hosted by Chris Evans, whose Ginger Media Group owned the station. He was fired after failing to turn up for work and his replacement Steve Penk walked out in January 2001(See RNW Jan 26 2001), to be replaced by former Drivetime host Darryl Denham.
Denham switched shows with Mitchell and Lloyd, who were then hosting Virgin's drivetime show earlier this month (See RNW Jan 6).
The promotional drive for Virgin will include TV, cinema, press and outdoor including poster adverts on the London Underground that show CD's from various artists to communicate the musical variety on its shows.
Previous Mitchell and Lloyd:
2003-01-29: California morning host Renan Almendarez Coello, who dominates his English- and Spanish-speaking competition in Southland ratings has announced that he is to leave his morning show, which he has hosted for six years, and move to an afternoon slot with the station.
Coello's "El Cucuy de la Manana," or "the Morning Boogeyman" is syndicated to stations in New York, Washington, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Chicago.
The last show on Hispanic Broadcasting's KSCA-FM will be on Friday this week and a company spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times that Coello was also to try his hand with television and unspecified other opportunities.
"It's his choice, and he has really amazing opportunities that have been presented to him," spokeswoman Victoria Lichtman said. "He's reached about every goal you can dream of. He's making the decision to explore those opportunities."
She added that the morning show is to be hosted by Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo, a morning host on KLOK-AM in San Jose.
Previous Hispanic Broadcasting:
Los Angeles Times report:
2003-01-29: Canadian broadcasting veteran Harry Mannis has died 83, He had a 37-year-career with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) where he was hired in 1946 as a radio announcer in Halifax, moving to Toronto two years later.
Mannis worked in radio as a news reader and host until the 1960s when he added TV news reading and hosting to his repertoire, although he maintained a preference for radio on the basis he did not need to dress up for work.
In the US, former co-owner of Great Empire Broadcasting and for two years President of the Country Radio Broadcasters Mike Oatman has died aged 63.
He built Great Empire in conjunction with partner Mike Lynch into a group of 15 mid-west stations. After leaving radio he was a newspaper columnist for the Wichita Eagle.
Toronto Star - Mannis obituary:
Wichita Eagle - Oatman obituary:
2003-01-29: Xfm and former BBC Radio 1 host Zoe Ball, who recently split with her husband Fatboy Slim (real name Norman Cook) has admitted that she is involved with another man.
Ball, currently on two weeks leave from Xfm, separated from Cook, which whom she has a two-years-old son, at the end of last year. In a statement she said there were problems in the marriage and she subsequently met someone else.
British tabloid newspapers have been carrying reports of Ball's relationship with DJ Dan Pepe, drummer with dance group Themroc.
2003-01-28: Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone and its president Mel Karmazin are barely speaking according to the New York Times, which says that people who know them think "their relationship has become so poisonous that even if they resolve their current contract dispute, their dealings are not likely to improve."
Karmazin's contract is due for renewal and the paper says that the relationship between the two men will undoubtedly be up for discussion when Viacom directors hold a scheduled meeting tomorrow.
The paper says its sources say the two got off to a bad start after Viacom took over CBS in 2000, with Redstone thinking he gave away too much power to Karmazin when he became Viacom President. The sources also say that there is a clash in personal styles, with Redstone being much more gregarious.
One executive close to Karmazin told the paper that he expected to work out a deal although it could be a short-term contract, for a year or two.
The executive said he was confident that the board would address the issue of Mr. Karmazin's level of control. "The board is going to put strong pressure on the two men to make a deal that keeps the status quo in the company," the executive said, adding, "The board will act because it has a fiduciary responsibility to maintain a management team that has been so successful.".
Others who know both men told the paper strains developed because Karmazin had run Infinity Broadcasting and then CBS and was not willing to consult Mr. Redstone about management issues immediately after the merger.
He also upset Redstone by barring his daughter Shari and son Brent, who are both on the Viacom board, from attending divisional management meetings as they had previously.
New York Times report:
2003-01-28: Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) , has issued an upbeat set of figures that included an increase of 6% in like-for-like revenues in the three months to the end of December compared to its fiscal first quarter a year earlier with its radio division doing even better with a 6.5% increase.
The figures are in marked contrast to those of some of its major rivals, most significantly Capital Radio, which earlier this month reported a 6% fall in revenues (See RNW Jan 24).
SRH chairman Lord Gordon of Strathblane said the group had "had a good start to the current financial year" and noted that in its radio division this reflected "an improvement in national advertising revenue and a continuing strong performance from local direct advertising."
If acquisitions, which included regional newspapers in Scotland and Ireland as well as Today FM in Ireland and Wave FM in southern England are taken into account revenues are up 30% on the same quarter a year ago
During the year, SRH also sold its loss-making outdoor division to Clear Channel (See RNW May 22, 2002), taking a hit of GBP 21.2 million (USD 33.3 million) and putting it into a loss of GBP13.5 million (USD 21.2 million) for the year (See RNW Nov 22, 2002)
Looking ahead, Lord Gordon commented, "While it is still too early to foretell how the full year might develop, we are pleased with the start to our new financial year and remain confident about the group's inherent strengths."
2003-01-28: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) says it has received four applications for the two licences advertised in its fifth tranche of local commercial licences advertised (Licence News, Nov. 17, 2002).
There was one application for the Donegal North franchise area, from Donegal Highland Radio Ltd (Highland Radio), and three applications for the Donegal South/Sligo/Leitrim North franchise area.
These were from NWR FM Ltd. (North West Radio, the current licence holder), Ocean FM Ltd (Ocean FM), and North West Broadcasting Ltd. (Ocean FM Radio).
Commission members will assess the applications at their Board meeting in February.
2003-01-28: Clear Channel's KMEL-FM is now taking some "small" steps towards "repairing its damaged image in the local hip-hop community" according to San Francisco Chronicle Pop Music Critic Neva Chonin.
She says that executives from the station, which more than a year ago cancelled its community affairs program "Street Knowledge" and fired its host David "Davey D" Cook, earlier this month met a delegation from the Coalition for Media Accountability to discuss listener complaints that the station has lost touch with local issues and local music.
The only firm decision was to hold more meetings but, says Chonin, Jen Soriano of the Oakland non-profit Youth Media Council said the opening talks were promising and that she felt KMEL was sincere in its desire to work with the coalition, although real change would "take a lot of follow-up on our part."
The dialogue, says the paper comes after "a controversial year in which the hip-hop and R&B station has moved toward increasingly homogenized content."
"The same can be said of nearly every Bay Area radio station owned by the Clear Channel conglomerate, " adds Chonin, "but the case of KMEL, which draws a large part of its audience from youth of colour, has been especially rancorous."
RNW comment: Our reaction, as with any other large business conglomerate decision in radio, is that we'll believe in a commitment when we hear it on air.
As shown by the Opie and Anthony show and a number of other cases, corporate commitment is to profits but minds will change when sufficient pressure is applied.
"Homogenized content", of course, allows conglomerates to save money through economies of scale.
Hence, much as we may regret it being the case, the most effective response is probably for those who feel really strongly to boycott advertisers of a station after any such changes are made: If the money flow dries up sufficiently, the savings will be more than wiped out by the effects of audience loss and the accountants will call for a suitable response.
If, of course, the station has judged it correctly in terms of profiting more after taking into account the combination of audience reaction and cost savings, then, as a commercial operation, they have acted wisely.
Previous Clear Channel:
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2003-01-28: UK Capital Radio programme director Keith Pringle, in an interview with the UK Guardian, has defended both Capital FM's wide mix of music and also the changes it is making.
"Londoners have grown up listening to radio that gives them a range of musical styles, rather than to stations with narrow music formats," he told the paper. "In London people have a wide appreciation of music - they love great songs, they don't care about the musical label. Capital FM is the only station in London that can play that mix for them."
He also said that as market leaders they could not be complacent, commenting, "You have to move things forward, as a leader you need to innovate. Tried and trusted can easily turn into safe and predictable."
"So we're making a few changes to keep pace with the changing tastes of our listeners and to stay ahead of the pack. However, the current fine tune of Capital FM's programming is part of a natural ongoing process rather than a lurch to the surface for air!"
He said that the pop charts were now less representative of mainline tastes and they had made changes to reflect this but he did not favour going too far in narrowing output as this risked becoming a niche station.
"Despite the huge number of stations in London," he said, "Capital FM is still considered far and away the best for music by Londoners, with our mix of today's hits, new songs and great oldies."
Pringle's comments come in advance of the release this week of British radio ratings, which are again expected to be disappointing for Capital, whose chief executive David Mansfield warned eerier this month that the company was not "expecting any miracles" in the next set of figures from its market-leading breakfast show, hosted by Chris Tarrant (See RNW Jan 24).
He also forecast better figures for Xfm, Capital's alternative format station which performed strongly in the September ratings, increasing its weekly reach from some 366,000 to 535,000
UK Guardian report:
2003-01-28: Evansville, Indiana, talk station WGAB-AM, owned by Newburgh Broadcasting, has been put up for auction online at Ebay with a price-tag of USD 2 million although so far bidding has only reached just over a twentieth of the figure.
WGAB has five employees and broadcasts to 22 tri-state counties; it was founded in 1984 as an adult standards format by the father of station general manager Jeff Davis, who told local station WFIE that, although the station is doing all right it was hard competing and the family would pick up the money and leave if offered the right price.
The auction closes on February 12 and as of 22:00 GMT/Jan 27, there had been 22 bids with the current highest bid being USD122,000 well below the reserve price.
e-Bay web site:
2003-01-27: We start this week with three technology reports, one from the UK and two from the US, although the actual technology in one case is so far only on sale in Japan.
The UK technology, subject of Paul Donovan's Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times concerns the convenience of recording radio programmes without the ready availability of the facilities built into every videocassette recorder to record programmes.
For those who want to use tape, he notes the arrival of the first gadget specifically for recording radio programmes, the Long Play recorded produced by Roberts for GBP80 (USD 125) and comprised of a tape recorder, timer and digital clock that is plugged into a supply and a receiver to enable up to six hours of programmes to be recorded on audio cassette.
It can be programmed for recordings up to six days ahead, less than advanced VCR's but a significant convenience.
For those who have moved into the digital domain the latest Sky+ box (Satellite broadcaster BSKYB's version ofa personal recorder like TIVO) can now also record radio as well as television. In all there are now
68 radio stations available on Sky's satellite system and the device can be set to record on a regular schedule without limit.
From the US comes praise for the latest XM satellite receivers, courtesy of Walter S. Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal in a reporter we spotted in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Mossberg comments that when he fist reviewed XM he gave high marks for the programming but "panned the actual radios that were being sold to receive all this stuff."
"I found them cramped, hard to use and a poor fit for the service," he adds. "They were mainly based on existing FM radios that were never designed to navigate 100 channels quickly or to display XM's song information properly. I also noted that they were expensive "
Now, he writes, the hardware as caught up and XM's rich programming is now available through a new, very well-designed radio that works in a car or a home and is much less expensive -- around USD200."
The hardware Mossman refers to is, of course, the recently introduced Delphi XM SkyFi Radio, consisting of a small, palm-size modular satellite receiver used together with various home or auto adapter kits.
"The SkyFi," concludes Mossberg, "is simply the best satellite radio around today, the first designed from the ground up for the new medium. "
And from the Chicago Tribune "techie home" column by Don Hunt and Brian Edwards comes word of a Japanese device that enables listeners to slow-down the sound and listen again to items such as "hard-to-understand broadcast messages include rapid-fire legal disclaimers at the end of cash-back car commercials" and "commercials with speedy election-year patter that plague radio and TV in alternating Novembers."
The feat is achieved through a JVC receiver, the RA-BF1 desktop radio, that is currently available in Japan but whose technology may be introduced into products for the US.
It is an AM/FM/TV band radio equipped with three different "sound enhancement" technologies that can at the first stage slow down the speech.
The total duration of a segment of sound is not affected; the device uses an algorithm to slow down speech at the start of a segment and then speed it up gradually to catch back up again with the programming.
A second part of the system's signal processing boosts the normally softer sounds in a broadcast while lowering the louder ones, levelling the volume differences and a third part uses a buffer memory to enable a replay of ten seconds of speech.
The RA-BF1 was developed under a commission from the Japanese government to benefit older and hearing-disabled listeners and went on sale in December in Japan at a price of about USD 300 but JVC think it also has benefits for the general public.
"We have talked to many customers using the product and believe its appeal isn't limited to the senior citizen," said JVC spokesman Namiko Goto. "Disabled customers also wish to have this technology in various products. People in education also expect this technology to be used for learning foreign languages."
JVC says it is studying how the technology might be implemented in televisions, telephones and other appliances for the US market.
Technology and science, of course, have always included downsides for the ignorant, leading to pressures to make devices as simple as possible; ignorance however can always still strike back as was discovered by Capital Radio when staff at its Birmingham BRMB station used "dry-ice" instead of "ice" for a "Coolest Seats in Town" competition and injured four contestants. (See RNW Jan 25).
Unsurprisingly the fine imposed on the station led to follow-ups, one of which, by Mark Borkowski in the UK Guardian, speculated about the possibility of it leading to a long-term inhibition in developing contests and promotions.
"Everyone's getting sued for not informing punters of things it is just not possible to predict, whatever your professional expertise" writes Borkowski. "Ultimately, it makes professional advice worth less than the paper a no-win-no-fee advert from a unscrupulous ambulance-chaser is printed on."
"Professionals can't afford to make useful, definitive judgments, so they don't. Short-term, lawyers and claimants are richer; long-term we're all of us the poorer."
"It was inevitable that PR stunts would head down the same litigious road," he continues, noting that the contestants had signed disclaimers but then adding, "OK, the disclaimer defence might have technically save BRMB's bacon, but regardless, they're the losers in this sad little debacle."
"The upshot of all this? Obvious. Every brand manager in the land will be scared stupid at the merest mention of staging a stunt. They'll only consider what could go wrong. If they do agree to try anything in the least creative, it'll be hedged by so many riders you won't see the photocall for ambulance chasers after a quick buck, and it'll earn as much media space as a small ad."
"Who knows, when Joe Public gets involved in some bizarre bit of PR-driven promo, he'll only have an eye for the really big prize - the one he can collect in court."
"Stunts, " says Borkowski, " have to have a component of excitement and apparent - note that word, 'apparent' - risk and danger. There is no risk or danger if you plan properly, if you cover all eventualities sawing a woman in half is great entertainment. It looks a bit iffy, but iffy it isn't. I would have thought that was pretty basic thinking. BRMB didn't think - beyond the funny headline."
The prescient Jim Moran, legendary American stuntmeister, said as much when one of his stunts got stuffed by the city authorities in the big apple. "It's a sad day for capitalism when a man can't fly a midget on a kite over New York".
Back in Chicago, Robert Feder in his Sun-Times column drew attention to a stunt by WLUP-FM that injured nobody but gave a fair number of people chuckles at the expense of Arbitron.
The Bonneville International station started airing its legal station identifications in Spanish at the top of alternating hours, a stunt that "Greg Solk, vice president of programming at the Loop, explained the stunt as a subtle jab at Arbitron for giving disproportionate weight to the listenership of young Hispanic males in the fall ratings survey."
"As a result," noted Feder, "rock stations catering to white males (including the Loop) declined across the board."
Solk's response? "At the Loop, we've always had fun with our listeners, and since it appears Arbitron is doing such a great job of measuring Hispanic listeners, we thought we'd reach out and welcome our Hispanic listeners too," he said.
All the above pales into insignificance, of course, against the possible penalties to one of other of the sides in spat between some US churches and Christian radio host Harold Camping, reported by the AP and carried in a number of US papers.
Camping, best known for his failed predictions of the second coming of Christ, says Satan has taken over all the churches and that God wants people to worship privately in their homes instead.
Unsurprisingly, many churches disagree and a former supporter, Dave Rastetter a deacon at Faith Presbyterian Church in Akron, Ohio, and the man behind anti-Camping Web site familyradioiswrong.com now terms him "an authoritarian spiritual meathead" who refuses to answer critics who can find no traces of his teachings in the bible. He suggests Camping is trying to save face after his predictions failed.
Camping, whose organisation collects around USD 12 million a year in donations, calls the criticism "character assassination" and says he still says the second coming is nigh.
RNW note: The birth of a foal in rural Morocco, could of course be adduced in evidence to support Camping. It was born to a mule, normally a sterile animal, only the third substantiated case of such a birth in the past 25 years, and according to some reports legend in the village in the Oulmes region near the ancient city of Fez says that such a birth forefends the Apocalypse.
We, of course, believe this as much as we believe Camping!
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
Chicago Tribune - Hunt and Edwards:
San Francisco Chronicle/AP Camping report:
San Francisco Chronicle - Mossberg:
UK Guardian - Borkowski:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
Family Radio web site:
Familyradioiswrong web site:
2003-01-27: Alfred C. Liggins III, president and CEO of Maryland-headquartered Radio One Inc is featured in a Courtland Milloy column in the Washington Post that starts by noting that he first featured in a 1988 column when he was 23-years old and working, for USD 100, 000 a year, as general sales manager for the two radio stations owned by his mother, Cathy Hughes.
In most people's eyes, Liggins, who earns around USD 1 million a year and whose company is valued at close to USD 3 billion, and in which he is the largest stockholder, would be regarded as close to an unalloyed success but he commented to Milloy, "When I look back on my life, back at the vision I had at age 23, I would have spent a lot less time on things that did not matter. If I had just stayed more focused, how much farther along would I be?"
His mother, who started the company with 1980 purchase of WOL-AM, is more positively proud of his achievements: "There is no question that I laid the foundation," she said. "But every brick in the skyscraper that sits atop that foundation was laid by him."
She added that she first noticed his business acumen when he was 13 and would earn up to USD 100 a week taking odd jobs. But then he came back home one day with designer jeans and she told him if he was going to plaster a label on his behind it should be his own.
It's just me and you," she told him, referring to her status as a single mother. "Since you are actually going to pay somebody to be a walking advertisement for their jeans and help them build their business, you are also going to help me build mine."
She then started to charge him rent, USD 20 a week, noting, "People said I was so cruel. But that was my method of teaching responsibility."
Liggins graduated from the District's Wilson High in 1983 and then worked in Los Angeles as a record industry production assistant before returning home two years later to work as a radio advertising salesman for Hughes and also begin night school at the University of the District of Columbia.
After graduating from the District's Wilson High in 1983, Liggins headed out to Los Angeles, where he worked as a production assistant in the record industry. He returned home in 1985, went to work for Hughes as a radio advertising salesman and began night school at the University of the District of Columbia.
A year later he dropped out of UDC to work full time in the business but later he enrolled in an executive study program at the Wharton School of Business and, in 1998, gained his MBA. It helped, he said, to have already pulled off several 30 million and 40 million dollar deals -- and have no need for financial aid.
The struggles to gain attention and time from prospective advertisers are long behind him and he noted, "There have been tremendous strides in the advancement of many African Americans," Liggins said. "Look at Richard Parsons at AOL; look at what's happening at Radio One. I'm fortunate to be a part of the ascendancy."
He's also not one for giving in. "I am good at not letting other people's problems stop me," he said. "If a person is central to the accomplishment of my goal, I will find a way to make him see the world the way I see it."
One area where he could be considered less successful is his personal life; at 38 he is still unmarried, a status his mother would like to change.
"When you're married," Hughes said, "a wife can help to balance you, keep you from working so hard that you end up having a heart attack and dying young, or end up as a lonely old man."
Liggins said he is confident that all of his dreams, which include being married as well as becoming a media mogul, will come true. But first things first.
"It's always nice when you have a dream that's viable and someone who is credible, smart and powerful agrees with you," Liggins said - talking about his cable TV tie up with Comcast -- not a wife.
Previous Radio One Inc.:
Washington Post column:
2003-01-27: CBC Radio Canada has announced the names of the eight journalism student winners of the 2003 CBC Newsworld Joan Donaldson Scholarships.
The students are awarded to students who have demonstrated a commitment to the ideals of public interest journalism, academic excellence and community involvement; each will receive a cash award of CAD 2,000.00 (USD 1250), special training and an intensive four-month internship with CBC News.
The awards are named after Joan Donaldson, the founding Head of CBC Newsworld.
CBC News Release:
2003-01-26: Last week was very quiet for licence activity, with the most important activity again coming from the US, where the Federal Communications Commission is busy considering media regulation changes; it has now set February 27 as the date for its public hearing in Virginia (See RNW Jan 25.)
There was nothing on the radio side again from Australia but Canada was back to fairly busy with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issuing a number of new lower power station licences and also approving various changes from AM to FM.
New licences issued were:
New low power (48 watts) English-language religious music FM in Medicine Hat.
New English- and French-language low-power (50 watts) weather and environmental information service FM in Britt.
New low-power (1 watt) French-language religious FM in Crabtree.
Conversions to FM approved were:
Licence for new English-language country 40,000 watts music format FM to replace Standard Radio's CKNL Fort St. John.
Licence for new 9,300 watts English-language full news, weather, sports and community FM to replace CKPG Limited's CKPG-AM, Prince George.
Licence for a new English-language adult contemporary format 5,600 watts FM to replace CHUM's CFJR-AM.
The Commission also approved an application from CFMM-FM Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, to relocate and increase the effective radiated power of its transmitter CFMM-FM-1 Waskesiu Lake from 58 watts to 2,500 watts and to change the authorized contours.
Also in, Saskatchewan the CRTC approved extension of time limits to commence operation of a new transmitter at Denare Beach for Natotawin Broadcasting Inc.'s CJLR-FM La Ronge, Saskatchewan (until April 30, 2003) and for the commencement of operation of a new transmitter for Radio CJVR Ltd.'s CJVR-FM Melfort (until March 7, 2003)
The CRTC has also approved an application by Radio Mégantic ltée to implement a corporate reorganization that would modify the direct control of Mégantic, part of the Quebec radio network known as Réseau des Appalaches, which includes Radio Victoriaville ltée and Réseau des Appalaches (FM) ltée.
The reorganisation will involve the transfer of the 79.01% voting interest in Mégantic currently held by the management corporation Gestion 450 inc., owned by François Labbé, to a new management firm to be incorporated that will also be owned by Labbé, to be named Gestion des Appalaches inc. (Gesco).
In a concurrent transaction, Gesco will also acquire Labbé's direct holdings (9.75%) in Victoriaville.
Ireland was quiet but in the UK, the Radio Authority has issued its assessment of the award of the Brighton digital multiplex to Capital Radio Digital Ltd., the sole applicant, which is proposing eight channels, one of them shared, plus carriage of BBC Southern Counties Radio (See Licence News, Nov 3, 2002).
It noted that all of the multiplex capacity had already been allocated to identified programme service providers including full digital simulcasts of three local commercial radio services, Southern FM, Capital Gold and Juice 107.2 FM and also daytime carriage of Spirit FM, the local radio service for South West Sussex. Members considered, said the Authority that overall capital would provide a good mix of services.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , apart from its activities concerning changes in ownership regulation has reduced a fine on South Central Communications Corp. relating to tower offences in Tennessee (See RNW Jan 24 ); it is also in receipt of a complaint from Spanish Broadcasting System objecting to the structuring of the deal under which Hispanic Broadcasting proposes to acquire WXXY-FM, Chicago, from Big City Broadcasting (also RNW Jan 24).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-01-26: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) host Shelagh Rogers is on medical leave from her "Sounds Like Canada", which went on air in October last year as part of a re-vamp of the Corporation's morning programmes, because of high blood pressure.
There have been suggestions that Rogers is dissatisfied with the show, which succeeded the This Morning Show, and which has been trimmed and changed so as to reduce her control and airtime, including the introduction of a ten-minute local update segment, but Rogers herself said that her leave was to do with stress and not because the newscast was taking her airtime.
She added that her family had a history of early deaths from heart problems, so she had to take the problem seriously and was taking the leave on "doctor's orders."
2003-01-26: XM Satellite Radio says it has now completed restructuring its debt and is on track to obtain an extra USD475 million of financing that will keep it operating until mid-2004, by which time it hopes to break even in cash flow.
Debt holders tendered 92% of the XM's outstanding 14% senior secured notes due 2010 for 14% senior secured discount notes due 2009 plus and warrants to buy XM common stock. The total for the exchanged noted was just over USD 300 million.
XM expects settlement and closure of the exchange on January 28 together with obtaining the extra financing from General Motors and a group of investors, which was dependant on successful completion of the tender offer,
XM President and CEO Hugh Panero said in a statement that the believed the completion would fund XM to cash flow break-even.
2003-01-25: Birmingham, England, radio station BRMB, owned by Capital Radio, has been fined GBP 15, 000 (USD 23,400) in connection with its "Coolest Seats in Town" competition two years ago that left four people with severe frostbite and permanent scarring (see RNW Aug 26, 2001).
The fines, imposed under Health and Safety laws, is only half the amount Capital has already paid out in compensation and the sum could end up much higher as so far only one case has been settled, that of Emma Adkins, who settled her claim for GBP 8,000 (USD 12,500); she had less severe injuries than the other three contestants who were in hospital for up to ten weeks.
The other three claimants have received interim payments, of GBP 9,000, GBP7,800 and GBP 6,000 (USD 14,000 to USD 9,000) to two women and a man respectively but their claims have not been finally settled.
Helen Terry, who received the £9,000 payment, said she could no longer sit on plastic sets, which caused her extreme pain and could not watch her soccer team play because she could not sit in the seats at the stadium; she said her family had been "through hell" and said the station had not been that helpful over the past year.
BRMB, which pleaded guilty to the offences, said it got the idea for the competition from a New Zealand website that had used ice for a similar stunt but a "breakdown in communications" led to them using dry ice (solid carbon dioxide whose temperature is minus 78 degrees C rather than zero C) instead.
Following the court case, Capital Radio operations director Paul Davies said the company deeply regretted the consequences of the competition, adding, "It was never our intention to place anyone in jeopardy and we sincerely apologise to the participants and their families for their injuries and distress."
He added that over the past thirty years listeners to the company's stations had taken part in and enjoyed many station events and as responsible broadcasters took the health and welfare of our listeners extremely seriously " as testified by our exemplary track record to date. "
2003-01-25: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it is to hold its public meeting about media regulation in Richmond, Virginia, on February 27.
It has yet to give details of the agenda or location but says the hearing will run from 10 AM to 4 PM and will "focus on the goals of diversity, competition and localism."
2003-01-25: Strong results have come from both Montreal-headquartered Astral Media and Toronto-headquartered Corus Entertainment in their fiscal first quarter figures to the end of November last year.
Astral reported strong results from pay-TV, radio and outdoor, with a particular note that "The acquisition of the Telemedia radio assets had a significant impact on our radio results, even though their contribution was only included for one full month of operations."
Overall revenues were up from CAD 100 million (USD 64 million) to CAD 114 million (USD73 million) in the same quarter of 2001 whilst EBITDA was up 44% from CAD 20.2 million (USD 12.9 million) to CAD 29 million (USD 18.6 million) and net earnings, excluding a one-time after-tax gain of CAD 13 million (USD 8.3 million) in 2001 through sales of Astral's holdings in the Comedy network, were up 65% from CAD 9.8 million (USD 6.3 million), or CAD 0.20 per share, to CAD 16.1 million (USD 10.3 million) or CAD 0.31 per share.
Astral President and CEO Ian Greenberg commented, "This very robust quarter is due principally to a strong increase in the advertising market felt across all our properties and by sustained television subscriber growth."
In its first quarter, Corus more than doubled its profits, again aided by strong advertising radio and TV revenues, to CAD 8.3 million (USD 5.3 million) or CAD 0.19 a share from CAD 3.7 million (USD 2.4 million) or CAD 0.09 per share a year before.
Its revenues, however, were down 9% from CAD174.7 million (USD112 million) to CAD 158.1 million (USD 101 million) as gains in radio and TV were more than offset by problems at its Nelvana Ltd. animation unit, which cut its production.
Corus, which acquired Nelvana in 2000, took a CAD 200-million (USD 128 million) write-down on it in November.
Corus Radio revenues in the quarter increased to CAD 59.3 million (USD38 million) from CAD 55.6 million (USD 35.6 million)
Corus President and CEO John Cassaday commented, "The advertising recovery seems to be picking up momentum. We saw real growth in the first quarter and our outlook for the second quarter remains positive."
"We think the ad recovery, coupled with our continued focus on cost reduction, will allow us to partially offset the necessary repositioning of Nelvana."
2003-01-25: Entercom has now imposed new contracts on on-air staff at its Boston stations, WEEI-AM, WRKO-AM, and WQSX-FM, following a failure after three years to reach agreement with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).
The action is likely to have its main effect on staff hired in future and includes pay-scale cuts, reductions in severance pay and insurance benefits.
In all some 60 -80 positions are affected but the changes do not affect major hosts who have their own personal contracts.
Entercom said it had "tried desperately" to reach agreement but had ultimately concluded it was at an impasse whilst AFTRA said that Entercom's contract when first proposed last year, was rejected ''overwhelmingly'' by union members because it included a life insurance cap of $50,000 compared to the former contract which had a benefit equivalent to a year's pay.
The union says that the move will cause problems with new staff working side-by-side with people paid more for doing the same job and accuses Entercom of trying to undercut industry standards.
Entercom and the union are to meet again on January 30 and staff at the stations are scheduled to meet the enxt day to decide what action to take.
2003-01-25: Shareholders in SMG, the former Scottish Media Group, have voted to approve the GBP216 million (USD 336 million) sale of the company's print division including its Glasgow newspapers, to US publisher Gannett (See RNW Dec 24, 2002 ).
The deal is still subject to clearance by competition authorities but if it goes through, proceeds will be used to reduce the company's debt.
2003-01-24: The US Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled a hearing on consolidation in the radio industry on January 30 according to the Wall Street Journal.
The paper says that Clear Channel President and COO Mark Mays is among those who already have agreed to testify and it is also thought that Clear Channel chairman and CEO Lowry Mays is likely to make an appearance.
Clear Channel has consistently argued that deregulation and the resultant consolidation in US radio has been to the benefit of US listeners but a number of Senators, notably Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold and Arizona Republican John McCain, who is to take over chairmanship of the Committee, have expressed concerns about the level of consolidation in US radio.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
Previous Mark Mays:
2003-01-24: UK Capital Radio has reported a 6% drop in revenues in the final quarter of last year compared to 2001, a fall the company said in an update was in line with its expectations in a continuing tough advertising market
In October lat year, it said, revenues were down 14% compared to a year earlier but November and December were "essentially flat" and it expected January revenues to up a little.
"The outlook for February and March is more uncertain," it added, "and we continue to manage the cost base of our business on the assumption that the advertising market remains under pressure for the rest of our financial year.
The fall had been anticipated and Capital's shares rose GBP 0.25 after the announcement to GBP 432.5, around half their value of GBP 8.69 in March last year
Capital has been under pressure in London where its flagship Capital FM suffered from uncertainty as to whether breakfast host Chris Tarrant would leave the station and from competition by rivals, particularly from stations formatted at particular musical genres such as Heart, Kiss and Jazz FM who took share from the more broad-based Capital format.
It has recently reversed its policy of a group playlist to allow Capital FM to have its own playlist but remains under pressure particularly from Chrysalis's Heart FM, which in the latest ratings recorded its highest-ever share of the London audience; Heart's Breakfast show increased its weekly audience by 26% to 862,000 whilst Capital's breakfast show lost some 160,000 listeners, although it still remains the market leader with a weekly audience of 1.6 million (See RNW Oct 25, 2002)
Capital Chief Executive David Mansfield told the Company's annual general meeting that he does not expect any"miracles" from Tarrant when the next ratings are issued at the end of the month.
He added that Capital was not expecting an increase in listeners in the ratings because they would not include changes to the breakfast show that he expected to improve things.
He was more positive about Xfm whose ratings he said he did expect to have made strong gains.
2003-01-24: Arbitron has reported fourth quarter revenues up 12.3% over Q3, 2001 at USD57.8 million and annual revenue for 2002 up 9.8% at USD 249.8 million.
Net income did even better at USD 6.5 million in the quarter (USD 0.21 per share compared to USD 0.09 per share), two-and-a-half times the net income for the quarter in 2001; for the year net income was up 17.3% at 42.8 million (USD 1.24 per share compared to USD 1.24 per share in 2001).
Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) for the quarter were USD 14.1 million, compared with USD 9.3 million whilst for the year EBIT was up 13.5% to USD 85.7 million compared to USD 75.5 million.
President and CEO Stephen Morris commented, "We ended 2002 by meeting our financial goals for revenue and profitability, a good performance in a difficult year for the media industry."
"Our basic ratings, Scarborough and software services all made good progress in the quarter
our RADAR network radio measurement service expanded its roster of clients while staying on track in its transition to a more efficient and more effective sampling system.
"Our acquisition of a license to the MeasureCast Webcast ratings technology, also in the fourth quarter, should allow us to maintain a leadership position in the webcast ratings arena while keeping a tighter grip on costs."
Commenting on the Portable People Meter (PPM) he said that, working with Nielsen Media Research, Arbitron continued to make progress in refinements requested by the marketplace and on its own Arbitron had made "solid progress" marketing the PPM internationally.
2003-01-24: Hilary Rosen has announced that she is to leave her post of Chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) at the end of this year after 17 years with the organisation she was appointed its CEO in 1998.
Rosen has been at the forefront in the music industry's fight to prevent digital piracy of music; she has four-years-old twins.
She has not said whether she and her partner, Elizabeth Birch, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay-advocacy group in the US, will remain in Washington, DC.
Birch announced last month that she would leave her post at the end of this year.
Rosen said she was stepping down for family reasons but she would be very busy in the rest of her time in the role.
"This has been the most exciting job I can imagine," Rosen said. "During my tenure here, the recording industry has undergone dramatic challenges and it is well positioned for future success. I have been extremely proud to be a part of this industry transition."
"But, I have young children and I want to devote more of my time to them. This has been an extremely difficult decision but I know it is the right one for my family."
" I have much to do in the coming months. We continue to face unprecedented levels of on-line piracy as well as a changing market in physical piracy here and abroad."
Cary Sherman is to remain as RIAA President as he will serve on a committee to be set up to search for a replacement for Rosen.
RIAA web site:
2003-01-24: A long history of compliance with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations has saved South Central Communications Corp. USD 2000 for breached at an antenna in Sevierville, Tennessee.
It had originally been served with a notice in June last year of liability totalling USD 10,000 but this was reduced to USD 8,000
The offences related to failure to maintain an automatic alarm system designed to detect any failure of its antenna structure lights and also failure to paint the structure as required in aviation orange and white.
In its response
South Central did not deny the offences but noted that it has been the licensee of 30 broadcast facilities over the past 50 years and has an unblemished history of compliance with the Commission's technical requirements, including those related to towers, during this period.
It also noted that when it acquired the tower in 1987, the tower did not appear to be adequately painted or lighted and said it immediately sought authority from the FAA to install medium intensity obstruction lighting on the tower and that the FAA subsequently notified the FCC that it had no objection to the use of such lighting on the tower.
The FCC has also received a letter from Spanish Broadcasting System objecting to the structuring of the deal under which Hispanic Broadcasting proposes to acquire WXXY-FM, Chicago, from Big City Broadcasting.
Hispanic is proposing to program the station under a time brokerage arrangement whilst Superior Broadcasting holds the licence (See RNW Jan 3).
SBS notes that Hispanic already owns four stations in the market and says that approval of this arrangement would set a "dangerous precedent" and adds, "To allow HBC to obtain indirectly what it cannot presently obtain through the candid and straightforward filing of an application for assignment of license is abusive in the extreme."
Previous Spanish Broadcasting:
2003-01-24: Clear Channel's reduction of its streaming activities on various cost grounds has again cut its listening as shown in the latest Arbitron-MeasureCast Ratings released although it did not change its number three ranking, which compared to a top spot in the December monthly rankings and for most weeks of last year.
The ratings also showed that, although leading classical station WQXR-FM fell back from fourth to fifth, there were three classical channels in the top ten; the other two were Beethoven.com, which was ranked eighth, and KING-FM, which was ranked ninth.
For the week to January 12, Arbitron-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: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 291,602 (226,698); CP 129,662 (124,489). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Adult alternative Radioio - TTSL 184,238 (145,184); CP 56,601 (48,062). Up from third with higher listening and reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 278,136 (198,141); CP43,357 (35,743). Down from second despite higher listening and reach.
4: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 242,298 (159,693); CP 33,174 (27,697): Up from fifth with higher listening and reach.
5: Classical format WQXR-FM- 226,620 (160,474); CP 35,080 (31,278). Down from fourth despite higher listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week to January 12 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,221,801 (947,720); CP 370,441 (359,444). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: StreamAudio TTSL 1,004,167 (686,939); CP 154,569 (122,279). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 633,596 (667,172); CP 129,985 (176,814) - Same rank but listening was down yet again as was reach.
4: WARP Radio TTSL 617,326 (536,261) hours: CP 102,556 (95,346) - Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: StreamGuys TTSL 511,787 (359,165); CP 120,288 (100,119) - up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
* Internet Radio Inc fell from fifth to seventh although TTSL 485,723 (438,263) and CP 189,285 (160,296) were each higher.
In the ratings for the month of December, also recently released, Clear Channel held on to its former regular top spot, something that without a change of policy is now unlikely to return.
For the month of December 2002, the top five stations were (November figures in brackets):
1: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 1,183,194 (1,250,514); CP 459,139 (381,603). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
2: Adult alternative Radioio - TTSL 1,012,992 (1,803,431); CP 166,092 (180,106). Up from fourth despite lower listening and reach.
3: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 890,620 (1,202,148); CP 161,196 (248,267). Down from second with lower listening and reach.
4: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 846,585 (1,174,334); CP 110,652 (176,362). Down from third with lower listening and reach.
5: Classical format WQXR-FM - TTSL 787,094 (848,693); CP 95,949 (109,213). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
The top five networks for December were (November figures in brackets):
1: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 5,585,467 (5,848,346); CP 796,330 (836,559). Same rank with slightly lower listening and lower reach.
2: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 5,272,302 (4,990,647);CP 1,361,611 (1,239,405). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: StreamAudio TTSL 3,824,927 (3,930,618); CP 364,724 (375,419). Same rank with slightly lower listening and reach.
4: WARP Radio TTSL 2,479,659 (2,573,816); CP 301,669 (288,032). Up from fifth despite lower listening but higher reach.
5: Radio Free Virgin TTSL 2,318,960 (3,762,058); CP 276,151 (503,831). Down from fourth with lower listening and reach.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings:
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast monthly ratings:
Arbitron web site
2003-01-23: According to the New York Post, support staff from the Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) show have now been fired by Infinity's WNEW-FM in New York, five months after the duo were taken off the air in the wake of the sex-at-St. Patrick's cathedral row (See RNW Aug 24, 2002).
A notice on the duo's web site says, "The support staff of the Opie & Anthony Show has been, for all intents and purposes, FIRED [sic] by Infinity Broadcasting" but a CBS/Infinity spokesman would only say, "We're working towards a mutually amicable separation with the show's staff."
The Post speculates that the station is likely to return to a music format and notes that the station is now ranked 29 our of 40 stations in the city and says Infinity is known to have researched several music formats for WNEW in recent months
Previous Opie and Anthony:
New York Post report:
Opie and Anthony web site:
2003-01-23: The first survey of radio listening in Kabul since the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001 showed 82% of those surveyed saying they listened to BBC World Service broadcasts in Persian and Pashto every week.
The unprecedented level of listening for an international broadcaster was mainly to the service on FM that was launched in June last year and beat all other local and international broadcasts, including a number of new radio stations; BBC World, the international television news and information channel - was the leading international television broadcaster in Kabul with 15% of the weekly television audience.
In all just over 2000 people took part in the survey, carried out by independent market researchers in Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif last month and some 98% of those surveyed in Kabul were aware of the BBC World Service, with 44% of BBC listeners tuning to Pashto broadcasts, 40% to Persian ones, and 19% to broadcasts in both languages. In all 91% of Afghans in the survey said they turned to radio for news and 88% of those surveyed in Kabul said they perceived BBC World Service as a high quality, trusted source.
Baqer Moin, Head of the BBC's Persian and Pashto language services, described the results as "excellent", adding, "The results confirm many anecdotal reports which reached us even during the Taliban days which indicated that BBC World Service is Afghanistan's favourite radio station."
"Even more importantly, this survey confirms that BBC World Service is respected and trusted by Afghans for its objectivity and accuracy."
2003-01-23: Former St Louis talk show host Charles Jaco, who was fired from Infinity's KMOX-AM last year after sending undiplomatic e-mails to complaining listeners may soon have a permanent post at Entercom's KIRO-AM in Seattle according to a report in the Daily American Republic News, his Poplar Bluff, Missouri, hometown paper.
Jaco has been working for KIRO in a tryout in its 7-10p.m. weekday slot and KIRO program director Kris Olinger said of the former CNN Gulf War reporter, "He's got a tremendous background in international news, and with the situation as it is in the Middle East, we just feel that he's a great asset to our radio station. If there ends up being a war in Iraq, our hope is to send him to cover it."
Jaco, who reached a settlement with KMOX, who paid him around USD122, 500 a year, in December (See RNW Dec 10, 2002) but Olinger would not comment on what KIRO might pay.
Jaco himself praised what he termed KIRO's national reputation for news. Saying, "KIRO and the Entercom Corporation still have a commitment to the silly, old-fashioned, pre-deregulation idea of public service."
Daily American Republic news report:
2003-01-22: A number of US public broadcasters may have to refund sums of thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars following audits by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) inspector general according to a report this month in Current Magazine.
The magazine says most of the cases result from mistakes rather than being deliberate although it also carried a report on three cases where fraud by individuals was involved.
In particular it says the errors come from over reporting non-federal financial support (NFFS)-a figure that represents most of public broadcasters' annual revenue excluding federal grants and payments from other public stations. Community Service Grants (CSGs) awarded to stations are increased in line with their NFFS.
It cites a number of examples where station executives misunderstood the complex CPB guidelines or made mistakes filling out forms including stations that included business income from sideline for-profit projects as NFFS (it is not eligible) or put down gross revenue from events instead of net income.
In such cases monies have to be refunded, which can cause problems for stations and Current notes that South Carolina ETV is disputing a finding that it must return USD 775,000 to CPB, and Santa Monica public radio station KCRW-FM is disputing another finding that it must return USD 224,000.
In the KCRW case, it claimed USD2.8 million in NFFS for on-screen advertising from two local movie theatre companies but CPB auditors found that letters from the companies did not provide the detail required under its guidelines and did not state that a donation was intended.
It then conducted its own market research on the value of the advertising and concluded that the station had overstated its NFFS by nearly USD2.5 million.
KRCR general manager Ruth Seymour said the CPB's conclusion was outrageous and that it had based its information on rates for slide advertisements shown before lights are dimmed in movie theatres whereas the adverts in question were moving pictures shown after the lights had been dimmed.
The station has hired a lawyer to appeal the findings but CPB deputy inspector general David Tanner maintains that KCRW's claim is exaggerated and that it failed to follow "very specific guidelines" on donated advertising, which call for an easily determined value and documentation ahead of time stating that a donation was intended.
Current magazine web site:
2003-01-22: A Malawian radio journalist was arrested but later cleared by a judge of charges of broadcasting false information likely to cause public alarm because of interview with a man who claimed to have been attacked by a vampire according to the UK Guardian.
The paper says that Southern Malawi has been "rife with rumours of blood-sucking vampires, fuelled by the popular belief that the government is colluding with vampires to collect blood for international aid agencies" and notes that villagers in the southern province of Thyolo recently stoned to death a man on suspicions that he was working with vampires.
Maganizo Mazeze, who had conducted the interview with a tea planter in Thyolo, said he was not bitter about his arrest, adding, "In fact, my sojourn in jail has reinforced my resolve to unearth issues authorities would otherwise prefer buried."
UK Guardian report:
2003-01-22: Former NTL UK and Ireland managing director Stephen Carter has been formally conformed as the first chief executive for OFCOM, the new British media and telecommunications regulator; he is to take up his post on March 1.
Carter, who is 38, graduated with a Law Degree from the University of Aberdeen. He was chief executive of advertising agency J Walter Thompson before he moved to NTL as managing director in 2000; his job there disappeared in a restructuring that followed financial problems which led the company to seek bankruptcy protection.
He described his new job as an "irresistible" opportunity and said an effective regulator was critical for all media and communications businesses.
OFCOM brings together five regulatory bodies including the Independent Television Commission and UK Radio Authority and Radiocommunications Agency.
OFCOM chairman Lord Currie said, "I am very pleased Stephen is to join us. He has exactly the right qualities as well as considerable experience of working in the advertising, broadcasting and telecommunications sectors."
2003-01-22: XM Satellite Radio says it expects around 80,000 Delphi XM SKYFi "boom box" portable and home units to be shipped to retailers in the first half of this year in what the company's President and CEO Hugh Panero describes as its "third launch."
He added that the "next-generation SKYFi family of products from Delphi, including XM's first portable boom box radio, which will be a big part of our 2003 march to exceed 1 million subscribers."
The SKYFi boom box was named a finalist for the Best of CES (Consumer Electronics Show) award for 2003 in the portable audio category and Delphi says that around 100,000 units were shipped to retailers last year with even greater prospects for this year.
XM has also announced an additional commitment of USD25 million in funding from an investment group led by Everest Capital Ltd., taking its funding commitments to USD475 million.
XM web site:
2003-01-22: British music stars and music industry executives are launching a campaign "Londumb" to protest at the culling of five niche music shows on the BBC's London radio station and to try and force a change of heart by station executives (see RNW Nov 19, 2002).
The stars including Chemical Brothers and former Verve front man Richard Ashcroft say the move, particularly the ending of late-night music show Solid Steel, hosted by DJ and producer duo Coldcut, amounts to dumbing down the station.
Coldcut, club DJ Ross Allen, 60s soul DJ Bob Jones and jazz DJ Kevin le Gendre - whose shows were all axed - will play for free at a benefit gig to raise money for Londumb next month
The music industry is also concerned that deregulation of British radio could hit British music and fifteen of the UK's music industry bodies - including the British Phonographic Institute, the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters and the Musicians' Union - working under the banner of the Media Business Forum will lobby the government on issues such as preserving the diversity of local radio.
"The Media Business Forum wants to ensure safeguards are built into the bill to ensure the upheaval doesn't have a negative impact on British music," Francis Lowe, the director general of British Music Rights, told the UK Guardian and a spokesman for the Association of Independent Music added, "We want to make sure local radio stations are required to carry local music, just as TV stations have to broadcast local news."
UK Guardian report:
2003-01-21: UK Capital Radio's head of music and programming strategy Jeff Smith, who joined the company as programme controller of flagship London station Capital FM from BBC Radio 1 in June 2000, is leaving the company by "mutual agreement."
Smith was promoted to his post overseeing Capital's network in a re-structuring at Capital last year that saw it concentrate on four "brands" -- Xfm, Capital Gold, Capital FM and Century (See RNW June 13, 2002).
The restructure also created roles for two other programming and music executives, John O'Hara as Capital FM network programme director and Ric Blaxill as Capital FM programme controller, roles that left Smith's role squeezed by them.
Capital group programme director Keith Pringle will look after Smith's role on an interim basis and Capital FM, which has admitted it needs to change its music strategy to meet competition, is to review his post.
Capital is to create a specific playlist for Capital FM rather than tie it to a group playlist as it had been doing.
2003-01-21: According to a report in the New York Times, "power and pride" not remuneration is an issue between the Viacom and its President Mel Karmazin renewal of whose contract, is still under negotiation.
Karmazin's current contract runs out in May and chairman Sumner Redstone, who is 79, has already put day-to-day operation of the company under control of 59-year old Karmazin but says the paper, there are issues over who has the right to hire and fire managers.
Openly Redstone is saying he remains "absolutely optimistic that Mel will stay" but, says the paper, talks are not going smoothly, according to those close to the process.
It adds that while they say that Mr. Karmazin has indicated he wants to stay at Viacom, in which he himself is a major shareholder, they say the difficulty of the negotiations has given him second thoughts.
New York Times report:
2003-01-21: Former NTL managing director and former UK chief executive of ad agency J Walter Thompson Stephen Carter is to be named as chief executive of OFCOM, the new British media regulator that is to absorb five regulators including the UK Radio Authority, according to the UK Guardian, which says the appointment follows heavy lobbying from communications and cable companies with an interest in infrastructure issues.
The paper adds that the appointment, which is subject to final approval of the culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, is to be announced within the next two days; it lists two other names, Patricia Hodgson, the chief executive of the independent television commission, and McKinsey consultant Nick Lovegrove as having been on the shortlist for the post.
UK Guardian report:
2003-01-20: As the debate on US media regulation and the potential effects on diversity of voices that deregulation could bring got well and truly under way last week in the US, this week seemed a good one to look at radio diversity in the world as reported on during the week.
As other stories today (see below) show, radio is still an unmatched propaganda tool in many areas of the world, be it a case of US broadcasts to Iraq or the voice of Tamil rebels, but it's also a significant tool for the trio of education, information and entertainment.
The first two are the main focus of broadcasts by a South African doctor featured in an article by Wilson Lee in the Toronto Star.
Dr. Frikkie Kellerman, who has been on the front lines of South Africa's fight against its HIV/AIDS pandemic for a decade, has turned broadcaster to put an additional weapon in his armoury.
"There is a tremendous problem of secrecy and stigma around HIV/AIDS," he said. "People are not open about it and don't speak about it easily. Because of that, it is ideal to relate to each other through community radio because it is anonymous and people can be at home and receive information in the privacy of their home and even own room and to hear, think and even speak about HIV/AIDS."
Kellerman joined Good News Community Radio in Durban five years ago and inherited The Friendly Health Corner program about general health and nutrition.
He refocused it to cover HIV/AIDS and subsequently added two more programs, The Living Hope, which focuses on HIV/AIDS itself, and a counselling show For The Layman.
"We're trying to reach out to people at home," Kellerman adds. "Imagine the people are too sick to go to hospital or support groups, alone and rejected in the village. They are busy dying at home in bed and their relatives have to care for them without knowing how to care for them. The community radio becomes a friend they can switch on and listen and learn."
Kellerman gives out solar-powered radios turned to the station's frequency during his visits to patients and he estimates that up to 90 per cent of households in South Africa have access to a radio, compared with only a fifth owning a television set and originally the power of radio to communicate with a large number of people over large areas came as a surprise to him.
"Before I started with the radio programme," he recalls, "I didn't have a clear vision how powerful radio could be. But since the health program was started and I saw the response - with people taping programs, taking notes and sharing what they learned with others - I was amazed."
Also from the Star is a story about a school radio station in Canada that could be said to fulfil the education and entertainment functions. The Vaughan Secondary School, featured in a report by Christopher Hutsul, has a number of struggles including that of getting anyone to call Rob Kelly's (real name Rob Shatzky) all-request radio show since the station is only allowed to broadcast to the school and its surrounding neighbourhood. Kelly gets over that by making the calls himself to family and friends and regards his efforts as practice for a career in the industry. He's used the experience to help him land a position doing odd jobs at commercial station KISS92 and is to take a radio broadcasting course in college.
"I like communicating," he says. "I love announcing, and I like smiling behind the mike. People tell me I've got a good voice for radio. But all it is, is smile and a bit of projection. That's a radio voice."
The station was founded as a result of lobbying by Rob Basile, who works for the IT department for five schools in the area and he says it has offered a venue of expression for a handful of youngsters who may have never discovered a knack for broadcasting.
"You get an interesting mix of kids involved," he says. "You get the Robby Shatzkys who are gung ho to pursue a career in broadcasting. And you get the others who don't, but who want to have their voice and they want people to hear what they have to say."
In the UK Guardian, Will Hodgkinson reported on a station that doesn't easily fit any category and that the paper termed "London's strangest radio station" and whose shows it says "call pensioners to arms, are broadcast in reverse and take their cues from supermarket announcements."
Resonance FM regular shows include Calling All Pensioners, on which Harry Haward, a retired bank robber and founder member of the Deptford Action Group for the Elderly, incites a call to arms for all those old enough to receive a free bus pass; Sound Walks, on which singer Viv Corringham wanders around her local supermarket and improvises to the announcements over the Tannoy; and Xollob Park, featuring Reverso Mondo, in which everything is the wrong way round. Repeats come earlier in the week than the original airings, and the first show ever broadcast was of course the last, when he said his goodbyes.
Resonance FM grew out of the London Musician's Collective, a 26-year-old non-profit organisation set up to support the growth of live, experimental music, and was founded in May last year(See Licence News, May 19, 2002) ; it is one of the "Access" stations launched under an experimental programme by the UK Radio Authority.
It has only one paid employee, programme manager Knut Aufermann; the rest of the staff are unpaid volunteers.
"We're not trying to be weird," says Aufermann. "We want to give an outlet to things that are not heard elsewhere. In terms of finding the talent, that's the least of our problems - there are so many artists who never have the chance to get their work on air. We quickly realised from people's reactions that we were serving an arts community in London who were not being served elsewhere."
LMC organiser Ed Baxter, one of a duo who put together a four-week programme of international radio art as part of John Peel's Meltdown festival at the South Bank Centre in 1998, commented, "People involved with Resonance are not bound by some imp of the perverse, but a desire to communicate to an inchoate and unstructured community. What they have is a passion for their cultural lives. They're engaged in culture, rather than being passive consumers of it."
The station records almost all of its programmes live, with the risks that entails. "There are mistakes, but mistakes can lead you somewhere," says Baxter. "Even if an entire programme screws up, there will be another one coming soon enough. We're not overly fussy over broadcast quality either. Last week somebody played a recording made inside a wax cylinder in 1908, which of course sounded like a wax cylinder from 1908. What's wrong with that?"
It's not a money maker though and is dependent on grants. Comments Baxter, "To be honest, we are in dire straits financially. We're not great businessmen, and at the moment we're waiting on a grant from the Arts Council. What we really want is a patron of the arts."
On a more conventional platform, BBC Radio 2 got plaudits for diversity in music choice from Sue Arnold in her weekly review in the UK Observer.
"Listening to Radio 2 last week, " she wrote, "it was easy to see why its controller, Jim Moir, keeps winning awards. No other station covers such a variety of music in such depths. There were new series about bhangra music, the jazz trombonist Jack Teagarden, and the artist formerly known as Prince - Purple Reign - who, apparently is fed up with being just a logo and says we can call him Prince again."
"Anyone who thought Radio 2 was for wrinklies in slippers drinking Horlicks should listen to the Prince programmes and think again. Don't be misled by presenter Mica Paris's, pseudo-academic commentary: 'The mainly white rock audiences,' she advised, 'were simply not ready for someone whose uncompromising lyrics and ambiguous sexuality challenged their most fundamental beliefs.' What's ambiguous about pretending to hump a guitar, which has been specially made to spew a milky substance all over the audience?"
Finally from the US, a look at XM radio in a feature by Washington Post writer Frank Ahrens headed," Can XM Put Radio Back Together Again?
Overall the article is a strong summation of the way US radio has developed over recent years and why there are potential opportunities for national satellite radio companies as well as local stations.
Ahrens starts by commenting on US analogue radio: "Why does radio sound the way it does today? Why does it sound like it's been prepped, packaged and served up in easy-to-digest bites, like tiny bits of Spam stuck on toothpicks?"
" Owing to a growing sophistication in audience research, light-speed consolidation of radio ownership and the attendant rise in value of FM stations, the commercial FM dial has been essentially reduced to six musical formats: Pop/rock, hip-hop, country, classical, Spanish-language and variations on the theme of "adult contemporary," a sort of light pop or R&B. Research has shown radio owners that these are the moneymaking formats, and this is where they've flocked."
"Swept off the dial are niche formats, such as blues, bluegrass, easy listening and jazz, except for Kenny G-style "lite jazz," which falls neatly in the adult contemporary category."
"Today's broadcasters will publicly tout what they call the diversity of the radio dial, but they know better. "It's not like the old days," they lament, though never in public."
" Then there are the ads: Most FM music stations play 18 to 22 minutes of commercials per hour -- some as much as 24 minutes. Most are abrasive enough to cause a reflexive lunge for the radio to punch to another station -- any station. The bad news: The same ad might just be starting on whatever station you land on."
Ahrens then cuts to the crunch: "Where does this leave radio in an era when the time spent listening to AM and FM is dropping? In an era of Internet music downloading, Internet radio, MP3s, burnable CDs, commercial-free digital music stations on your home cable and satellite systems, not to mention the distraction of cell phones, BlackBerries, PalmPilots hooked to the Internet, portable DVD players, TiVo and home video consoles that will soon function as vast digital entertainment libraries? Who needs radio anymore?"
"You do, when it's good. Because there is something that radio can do that you can never do. The magic of radio long has been and will continue to be: You're alone in your car, flipping the dial, and, every so often, at exactly the right moment, exactly the right song comes on the radio. It makes you slap the steering wheel with happiness. The serendipity is spellbinding."
"FM still manages to capture that magic, once in a while. But the response FM increasingly engenders is, "I'm so sick of that song."
Ahrens then goes on to report on the foundation of XM and the programming philosophy of Lee Abrams, its chief programming officer , whom he describes as being "the most influential man in FM radio" for most of the 70s and 80s.
"As the industry's top rock radio consultant for more than two decades, Abrams put his stamp on more than 300 stations around the country," writes Ahrens. "Then he watched as research became more scientific and overtook his business, draining the gut out of radio until it became something that had no more use for Abrams, who walked away in disgust from what he'd wrought."
Ahrens then details Abrams career as a consultant and the way FM developed and then comes up with a perceptive point, often buried: " Here, "he writes at one stage, "it is important to pause and plainly state something that is obvious to the radio industry and maybe even to listeners: The business of radio is not about playing songs that people want to hear. Radio is about promising discrete audiences to advertisers; it is an advertising-delivery vehicle. The reason that it's rare to hear niche formats on the radio such as, say, a station that plays Big Band music, is that radio companies know that the potential audience is not big enough to merit a Big Band station."
They also know, as Ahrens point out, that younger people are considered more susceptible to adverts, which is why Fm is unlikely to change and why XM and Sirius could yet succeed on the basis of the same business plan as cable TV, namely giving playing audiences what they do want to hear and charging them for it rather than being funded by advertising.
Even then though, Abrams as programming boss at XM is leaning heavily on market research - to pigeonhole people, although it's put in fancier words. Not enough serendipity there!
Toronto Star -Hutsul on school radio:
Toronto Star - Lee on S. African Community Radio:
UK Guardian - Hodgkinson on Resonance FM:
UK Observer- Arnold:
Washington Post - Ahrens:
2003-01-20: The 100th anniversary of Guglielmo Marconi's wireless telegram to England from Cape Cod has been marked with a repeat transmission from the former Coast Guard station in Eastham of the original message of greetings from President Theodore Roosevelt to King Edward VII followed by a new message from President George Bush.
The ceremonies were attended by Marconi's daughter, Princess Elettra Marconi, now aged 72, who read a brief statement to American and Russian astronauts in the International Space Station wishing them "''cordial greetings, good wishes and Godspeed.''
During the past week, ham radio operators, many of them members of the Marconi Radio Club, manned the station round-the-clock, sending 11,000 voice and Morse code transmissions to more than 100 countries as a special anniversary project.
The site of the original Marconi transmission towers at Wellfleet in now half underwater.
Boston Globe report:
2003-01-20: Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka have formally launched their new broadcast station in the Jaffna Peninsular with a broadcast about peace efforts in the country.
Voice of Tigers Radio used to give battlefield news during the 19-year-long civil war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who wanted a separate state for the country's Tamil minority who live mainly in the Peninsula, and Sinhalese government forces.
The rebels were allowed to import equipment for the new station as part of peace efforts that culminated in a cease-fire in February last year. They have given up their fight for secession and say they want rights to self-rule under a federal administration
2003-01-20: US aircraft have been stepping up the propaganda war over Iraq over the weekend, dropping nearly 200,000 leaflets with details of frequencies they can tune to so as to hear programmes being aired daily from US aircraft.
The broadcasts themselves criticize Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and report on the efforts to disarm him in an attempt to weaken his support.
San Francisco Chronicle/AP report:
2003-01-19: The past week was busy for the US Federal Communications Commissioners who appeared before a Senate hearing and also attended a Columbia University discussion about media deregulation but it was fairly quiet elsewhere.
There was nothing of note on the radio front from the Australian and Irish regulators but in Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) awarded two new low power licences, both in Ontario.
One was for a new 72-watts Native Type B English- and Ojibway-language FM radio station in Cape Croker (Neyaashiinigmiing), and the other was for 50-watts German-language station to be run by the Aylmer and Area Inter-Mennonite Community Council near Aylmer.
In the UK, the Radio Authority has issued its Quarterly Bulletin to the end of last year (See RNW Jan 18) and also its assessment of the award of the licence for Gairloch and Loch Ewe to sole applicant Two Lochs Radio (See Licence News January 12).
The Authority comments that "Two Lochs Radio submitted a well-presented application, which proposed a distinctive service for an area with its own identity" and added that its plans for 27 hours a week of locally-produced programming represents "a sensible commitment for a community-based group dependent on volunteers."
"Members recognised," it said, "that financing the operation of the service could prove challenging over the long-term. However, the financial model proposed by Two Lochs Radio is similar to other rural Scottish services which, although run on minimal budgets, and with unconventional operating arrangements, have a good track record in sustaining local radio services."
In the US, the main issue concerning radio that was on the agenda of the Federal Communications Commission was media ownership regulation, a subject that was brought up at a Senate Hearing on Telecommunications (See RNW Jan 15) and was a the prime topic at a forum on FCC Media Ownership Rules hosted by Columbia University Law School.
FCC chairman Michael Powell told both audiences that the Commission was committed to diversity and that deregulation had limits.
He and Commissioner Kevin Martin agreed that the FCC method of defining a radio market could in part be responsible for consolidation in US radio.
"I am troubled by the concentration in radio," Powell responded to Oregon Democrat Senator Ron Wyden, who said he worried about the trend being duplicated in the television market, but he warned that the courts would "vacate" rules if the FCC couldn't justify them and cited four recent cases where rulings had been in favour of companies challenging existing rules. Powell also noted that much of the deregulation was a consequence of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.
A number of Senators stressed the importance of the decisions that were to be made: Arizona Republican Senator John McCain,, who is to take over as Senate Finance committee chairman, said the agency would make "monumental decisions" this year that would " shape the future of communications forever" and North Dakota Democrat Senator Byron L. Dorgan said that if the Commission got things wrong, "we will have much less competition and much more concentration And the American consumer will suffer grievous injury."
Later in the week, Powell and the other FCC Commissioners apart from Kathleen Abernathy, were in New York for the forum at Columbia University and they asked the participants for help in giving evidence that the courts would see as showing that regulations were protecting the public interest.
"The court said we want empirical justification for the rules or we'll eliminate it,'' said FCC chairman Powell, who also Powell also criticized a congressional mandate requiring the FCC to conduct a biannual review of ownership rules.
He said it was "regrettable and destabilizing'' to have to revisit the regulations so frequently bur said there would still be regulations when all was done.
Concerning more routine matters, the FCC has red-flagged another Clear Channel planned purchase.
This is the plan to acquire North Dakota station KXMR-AM from Radio Bismarck (See RNW Jan 14).
The flag, as so often is because of concerns about advertisement revenue share and ownership concentration in the market where Clear Channel already owns two stations and Cumulus and James Ingstad each own four.
The Commission has also ordered Infinity-owned KEZK-FM, St Louis, to show cause why its status should not be changed from Class C to allow the relocation of the tower for WIBV-FM/, Centralia, Illinois, from Mount Vernon to Okawville.
The move would put the transmitter just over 40 miles east of St Louis WIBV says that in order to meet spacing requirements KEZK must be reclassified as a Class C0 facility.
KEZK currently operates below the minimum class C requirements and would have to submit acceptable plans to increase its tower height if it wishes to challenge the reclassification.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-01-19: British media companies Capital and Chrysalis have run into adverse publicity concerning the payments they are making or proposing to make to directors and executives.
In the case of Chrysalis, the payments are revealed in the company's annual report which shows strong profits jumps for all its division in the year to the end of August 2002.
Capital's payments are being proposed despite opposition from the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), which has advised its members not to support the scheme, and a weak market performance, with the company's shares ending last week at GBP 4.475, nearly at a five month low.
Its scheme would give executives new share options, exercisable if its earnings growth over any three-year period is more than 3% above the rate of inflation, that would amount to sums between 75% and 110% of their salaries.
The NAPF says the new options do not meet "current best practice" and it is asking members to abstain from voting to approve them; it is also calling for abstentions on the vote to re-elect Capital's operations director, Paul Davies, because his 18-month contract is too long. The normal period for British company directors is one year.
Capital, whose annual general meeting is on January 23, says it will press on with the option scheme.
In the case of Chrysalis, operating profits were up 41% in its radio division; 39% in its television division; 47% in its music division; and 76% in its books division.
Overall Chrysalis turned a pre-tax loss of GBP16.8 million (USD26.2 million) in 2001 to a profit of GBP5.8 million (USD 9 million) in 2002. The 2001 figures were hit by New Media losses of 13 million (USD 20 million) compared to losses of GBP 2.5 million (USD 3.9 million) in 2002 on top of which there was an exception loss of GP 9.4 million (USD 14.6 million) from new media in 2001 which was down to GBP400, 000 (USD 778,00) in 2002.
Radio revenues were up from GBP44 million (USD 69 million) to GBP 49.1 million (USD 77million), including USD 1 million from digital radio in 2002 as opposed to nil a year earlier; radio EBITDA was up from GBP 8.5 million (USD 13 million) to GBP 11.2 million (USD 17 million); and radio profit before tax was up from GBP6.7 million (USD 10 million) to GBP 9.4 million (USD 15 million).
Chairman Chris Wright said that the year had been the "most successful in the company's history", adding, "We have been able to deliver strong profits growth across all the Group's business areas, despite challenging trading conditions in all the markets in which we operate."
" We have fulfilled our promise of increased focus on those businesses with strong growth potential and in which we can achieve industry outperformance. All of the Group's divisions reported significant growth, including Chrysalis Radio, which now accounts for more than half of the Group's total profits."
Chief executive Richard Huntingford singled out radio as a success, commenting that the radio division had "had another excellent year, continuing to significantly outperform the market with like-for-like total revenue for the 12 months ended 31st August 2002 of GBP 49.1 million (2001: GBP 44.0 million, an 11.7% increase on the previous year. "
"Airtime revenue increased 9.4% to GBP 48.1 million (USD 75 million), comparing very favourably to the industry as a whole, which recorded a revenue decline of around 2% over the same period."
"Our stations have continued to build audience, with a further 10% year on year increase in trading hours reported in the most recent RAJARs (RNW note: UK ratings). "
"However, we have also begun to increase our yield, the rate of conversion of listening hours into revenue, which is an important growth driver for the future."
"We have set ourselves aggressive targets to drive our yield higher and it is this, coupled with ongoing audience growth, which makes us confident of further revenue outperformance from Chrysalis Radio in the future."
Regarding this year he was optimistic, noting, "Chrysalis Radio has experienced a buoyant first quarter with revenues up 17%, again strongly outperforming the industry."
"Recent audience figures and increased revenue yield gives us great confidence that this outperformance will continue for the foreseeable future."
Chrysalis's increases in remuneration to directors total GBP1.1 million (USD 1.7 million) with the largest bonus going to chief executive Richard Huntingford whose pay was up by more than half on last year to GBP812,000 (USD 1.27 million) including a bonus equal to his base salary of GBP 317,000 (USD 494,000).
Other bonuses included
GBP260,000 (USD 405.000) to finance director Nigel Butterfield taking his pay up to GBP 548,000 (USD 853,000);
GBP222, 000 (USD 346,000) to Lasgo Chrysalis Chief executive Peter Lassman taking his pay up to GBP 465,000 ( USD 724,000);
GBP 206,000 (USD 3121 million) to chairman Chris Wright, taking his pay up to GBP 500,000 (USD 778,000)
GBP 111,000 (USD 173,000) to radio division chief executive Phil Riley, taking his pay to GBP 354,000 (USD 55,000) excluding long-term incentives;
and a GBP 50,000 (USD 78,000) discretionary bonus on top of her GBP95,000 (USD 150,000) to former corporate affairs director Lisa Gordon who left at the end of the year (See RNW Nov 27, 2002).
UK Chrysalis web site (Links to annual report - 1.06Mb):
2003-01-18: Infinity radio has promoted Rod Zimmerman, vice president and general manager of WBBM-AM and WSCR-AM, to senior vice president and market manager for its Chicago radio stations.
HE will continue to run the two stations and in addition the general managers of Infinity's five other stations in the market now report to him.
Zimmerman, who is 50, began his career at WBBM-AM in 1978 as a sales executive and has spent 25-years with Infinity; he is to be director of sales for Infinity's Chicago group until a permanent sales head is named.
2003-01-18: The UK Radio Authority in its quarterly complaints bulletin to the end of 2002 considered far fewer complaints than in the same quarter of 2001 but upheld 50% more.
In all it considered 31 programming complaints, down from 53 in the final quarter of 2001, and upheld 12 compared to 11. It also considered 51 advertising and sponsorship related complaints, down from 67, and upheld 15, nearly double the eight upheld in 2001.
Of the programming complaints upheld, seven concerned taste and decency and offence, one related to balance, bias and fairness, one related to failure to comply with Promise of Performance/Format, and three concerned other matters.
The Complaints Bulletin shows a breakdown (Q4, 2001 figures in brackets) of programming complaints as follows:
* Accuracy - Two (Five) of which none (One) was upheld;
*Balance/Bias and Fairness - Two (Four), of which One (None) was upheld;
*Taste and decency - 16 (29) of which seven (nine) were upheld - three of these concerned one matter;
*Promise of performance or format - One (Six) of which One (None) was upheld and
* Other 10 (Nine) of which three (One) were upheld.
These total 31 complaints (53) of which 12(11) were upheld.
The advertising complaints breakdown (again with 2001 figures in brackets) was:
* Harmful - five (five), of which four (None) were upheld;
* Misleading 20 (34) of which seven (three) were upheld - four of these were on one matter and two on another;
* Offensive 25 (23) of which four (five) were upheld - four of these were on one matter, and two each on two matters; and
* Other - one (five), of which none (none) was upheld. These total 51 complaints (67) of which 15 (eight) were upheld.
Of the programmign complaints, the Balance/Bias and Fairness complaint (partially) upheld was against a TalkSport phone-in primarily concerning foxhunting and in which the complainant thought the presenter had abused his position in supporting the pro-hunting lobby; the complainant also objected to statement that "all gays should be banned."
The main complaint was not upheld but the comments about homosexuality - " if we are going to ban foxhunting, let's ban homosexuality. I can make just as great a case. It's cruel, it's unusual, it's dirty, it's perverse. Let's ban it. Why not? If you are going to ban foxhunting, I demand that we totally ban homosexuality" - were held to be inappropriate and likely to cause offence.
The taste and decency programming offences that were upheld or partially upheld included:
*Three complaints about Manchester Key 105 concerning a GBP500 (USD 780) "sweepstake" run after it had been announced that Moors murderess Myra Hindley had received the last rites; it called for listeners to predict the time at which she would die.
The Authority said it acknowledged the depth of emotion that Hindley engendered in local people but nevertheless thought the item was in bad taste.
* A complaint concerning a broadcast on Fresh AM in the Yorkshire Dales concerning the manufacturer's product recall of 'Rampant Rabbit' vibrators that the complainant felt was inappropriate for broadcast.
The station was unable to provide a tape of the broadcast so the complaint was upheld and the station given warning that action would be taken should it in future be unable to produce a recording when requested.
* A complaint against Radio Pembrokeshire concerning a joke that the complainant said relied on the negative stereotype of a 'thick' Irishman.
The Authority accepted that the joke was not deliberately intended to be malicious or racially offensive but nevertheless held it to be both clichéd and ill-judged and upheld the complaint.
*A complaint concerning swearing during a lunchtime phone-in on Isle of Wight Radio.
The swearing had come from a caller who said she was serving a long sentence for drug dealing and she had been asked to refrain from swearing by the presenter.
The Authority accepted that this was the case but felt that the available delay mechanism should have been used in the case in issue at a time when children were likely to be listening.
* A complaint concerning a competition to win a weekend away in a country pub on XfM that the complainant felt celebrated excessive drinking and criminal behaviour. Listeners had been asked to ring in and recall stories about items they had "nicked" when returning home from a pub and the Authority partially upheld the complaint on the basis that licence holders should not broadcast an item likely to encourage or incite crime.
The promise of performance complaint upheld involved Paisley FM, which a complainant said did not identify itself with Paisley, carried no local news and did not even give prime support to the local soccer team.
The Authority noted that the format for the station require an "information station for the Paisley area" and that its monitoring showed very little content marking it out as a local service for Paisley.
A "yellow card" warning was issued and the complaint upheld.
The other category complaints that were upheld were:
* A complaint against Leicester Sound over the broadcast of a wind-up call for which the station had not sought permission to broadcast the call from the participant.
*A complaint over an item on Galaxy in the North-East in which the presenter mislead listeners by claiming to have six callers waiting to hear who would be randomly chosen for a holiday prize when in fact only the winning caller was waiting.
* A complaint about an interview on Capital Gold, Greater London, with about his new clothing business with rugby player Lawrence Dallaglio.
The complainant said he had "never heard such blatant commercialism posturing as editorial content "
The Authority said that, although the interview covered a range of sporting issues and events, the mentions of the player's business had "exceeded what we considered to be a justifiable level of prominence."
Advertising complaints upheld included the following:
*An advertisement by HES Radio whose purpose was said to be to invite listeners to call and request a publication on the previous metals market but that the complainant had said was scaremongering and had said that stock markets were on the verge of total collapse and the only way to offset this was to buy gold and silver.
The advert was held to be in clear breach of two rules concerning exploiting financial vulnerability and making specific investment recommendations and was very likely to have breached a third.
*Three complaints relating to Weetabix adverts, meant to be heard by adults in a surreal and comic context in which an actor in one case called a fictitious gas or electricity company and asked what flavour their electricity or gas possessed and in another case mad a spoof claim about banana flavoured has.
The complaint suggested that there was the possibility of a child trying to find out by licking a wire or inhaling gas and the Authority agreed that, however slight the risk, the adverts did contravene the spirit of its codes.
*An advert by Bristol City Council aimed to encourage prompt payment of council tax in which a bailiff called at the home of someone who hadn't paid the tax to remove items of property for sale at auction.
The complainant said it gave an inaccurate impression and used inappropriate fear tactics and the Authority noted that the broadcaster, GWR had not sought clearance for the advert, as it was required.
It ordered immediate withdrawal and automatically upheld the complaint.
*An advert by Milton Keynes Council concerning its Park and Ride scheme that included the phrase "park free" when there was in fact a charge.
Again this had not cleared in advance as required so the complaint was automatically upheld.
*An advert by Fitness First that spoke of joining for a joining fee of GBP 20 when in fact there was also a mandatory GP30 administration fee on top of this that was not mentioned.
*An advert by Global Video that claimed other stores demanded return of a blockbuster rental movie by noon when in fact the Blockbuster chain, which the authority felt was implied as the other store being mentioned, only insisted on this for a small number of the movies it stocked.
*An advert by Transport for London that made positive statements about changes such as the pedestrianisation of Leicester Square when this was a matter of political controversy rather than accepted as fact.
*An advert by a car dealer that included an actor putting on a "Jewish accent" that the complainant felt reinforced stereotypical racist ideas about Jewish people being obsessed by money and getting a bargain.
*An advert by Classic FM for a CD that as one of a set of scenarios where people had difficult days was said by the complainant to have belittled " the effect of an employer disclosing a new employee's transsexual status to her colleagues." The complainant pointed out that such disclosure would also be illegal.
* An advertisement for Tens Lap Dancing Bar broadcast during the day by Rock FM (Preston and Blackpool).
This was held to have been inappropriate for broadcast when children might be listening and the station was also told that it should seek central clearance regarding the broadcasting of such adverts as this would lead to guidance concerning scheduling.
*A complaint about the broadcast by News Direct (London) of an advert for a fast-track probate service immediately following a news report on the Bali bombing.
The station accepted that the timing, although unintentional, was insensitive.
Another advert, by Matalan, that led to a number of complaints because it suggests that buying a puppy for a child is a good idea at Christmas when in act such puppies were often later abandoned was considered resolved because the advertisement was withdrawn immediately after the agency concerned was contacted.
In addition to complaints against commercial stations, a complaint was upheld against Ryder Cup Radio, which had broadcast under a restricted service licences.
The complainant said Ryder Cup Radio had carried the line "brought to you by BBC Radio Five Live" and rebroadcast Radio Five output on its service when regulations say that BBC output carried should normally not be identified or form a substantial part of the output.
In this case the complaint was automatically upheld in any case because recordings of output had not been kept.
Previous UK Radio Authority:
Previous UK Radio Authority Quarterly Bulletin:
UK Radio Authority web site (Links to Bulletin - 285Kb PDF):
2003-01-18: The Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is seeking an AUD250 million (USD141 million) over the next three years to enable it to extend its NewsRadio and Triple J networks to cover the whole country and also add a new digital TV channel and increase its output of Australian TV drama and comedy.
The submission in its triennial funding request would, if granted, increase the Corporations funding from the government by nearly 40% from its AUD675 million (USD 380 million) a year to a total of UD 925 million (USD 525 million) a year in three years time.
ABC managing director Russell Balding said that the Corporation wants the funds not just to provide "more services for more Australians" but also to enable it to continue its existing output. "The days of the ABC doing more with less are over. We have extracted maximum efficiencies from current available resources," he added, pointing out that from its current funding the Corporation delivers services that include four national radio networks, 48 regional radio stations, local radio in each capital city, an internet radio station, a national TV service and two digital TV channels plus an internet service.
The new initiatives for which it wants funds include extending its Triple J radio service to a further 16 regional communities and NewsRadio to a further 59 regional communities and also extend the reach of its international service Radio Australia through local FM program relays and additional foreign language output.
Previous ABC Australia:
2003-01-18: US public radio daily business programme "Marketplace", produced by Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), will from Monday next week air a series of reports on the plight of child workers round the world.
It will report on the worst abuse that children are subjected to, including being forced into bondage, drafted at gunpoint to become soldiers or sex slaves, and forced by poverty into hard manual labour. The series will also look at the lack of legal protection for child workers on US farms.
Amongst the countries from which Market place will report is Ecuador where children were fired from banana plantations following a media expose but are now returning; India where children are sold into bondage to pay off family loans; Sierra Leone, where it looks at the situation facing former child soldiers; and the US, where one in five farm deaths is that of a child.
2003-01-17: US radio revenues were up again in November, this time by 10% overall, according to figures just released by the Radio Advertising Bureau(RAB); the rise is the third in a row that radio advertising sales have shown double-digit growth over 2001 figures.
For November, the ninth straight month of increases, total revenues were up 10% compared to 13% for October, national revenues up 23%, the same as for October, and local revenues were up 7% compared to 10% for October.
On a year to date basis, total revenues are up 6%, national revenues are up 12% and local revenues are up 4% compared to the first eleven months of 2001.
RAB's sales index, which takes 1998 as a base year of 100, was 127.8 for total sales in October, 125.8 for national sales and 128.3 for local sales: The equivalent year to date indices were 135.1 for total sales, 135.0 for national sales and 135.4 for local sales.
RAB president and CEO Gary Fries commented, "Radio has been able to deliver quick turnaround results for its clients in this uncertain and tight economic climate."
"We expect equally strong numbers for December, regardless of what some forecasters have predicted, and thus a strong ending for 2002. Looking forward into first quarter, all indications are that this positive growth cycle is continuing."
Previous RAB/monthly figures:
RAB web site:
2003-01-17: Following comments published in the UK Sun tabloid newspaper that BBC Radio 1 breakfast host Sara Cox had said she would quit the programme in just over a year, the channel has put out an official statement saying that Cox does not intend to leave the show.
Cox was quoted by the paper as saying, I love doing the breakfast show, I like waking up with people and it will be hard to stop. But I will be pleased to get my life back."
BBC Radio One said the quotations were taken out of context and pointed out that Cox had recently signed a three-year contract that begins in April (See RNW Aug 31, 2002).
Under this contract, she is tied to the Breakfast Show for one year and then to the station for a further two years.
In a statement issued through the BBC Cox said, "I have a new three-year contract that starts in April, which will keep me doing the show for at least another year after that. And I'm not even thinking of leaving then."
2003-01-17: The American Most Influential Women in Radio group (MIW)in a study just released says that women still struggle to reach the top in US radio.
It conducted an analysis of all groups owning 12 or more radio stations and Joan Gerberding, President of Nassau Media Partners and spokesperson for the MIW group said this "clearly shows that the radio broadcasting industry is "behind the curve" in advancing women to top management spots."
Overall says MIW, only 17% of all General Managers, 10% of all Program Directors and 31% of all General Sales Managers are women but it also singles out two groups as exceptions; these are Entravision and HBC, which have the highest percentages of women GM's with 35% and 33% respectively, followed by ABC with 29%.
In comparison Clear Channel has 17%, although it also the largest number of female "middle" managers (not GM's) with 44 out of 252; Infinity has 14% and Cumulus has 13%.
Thirty-nine groups, who own 12 or more stations, owning 816 radio stations between them, had no women managers.
In all the survey covered 11,270 radio stations of the 13,331 in the US; it found that just under a fifth of all management positions surveyed (GM, GSM, NSM, LSM, and PD) were held by women.
"The broadcasting industry, for the most part, continues to under value the need for the talent, vision and experience of female managers. Competition has heightened, the demand for qualified managers has increased and yet progress in the development of a gender diverse broadcast industry is next to nothing," added Gerberding. "Gender diversity promotes the widest range of ideas and solutions, and it insures a balanced and vibrant work environment that encourages problem solving and, ultimately, positive growth."
MIW news release (26Kb PDF)
2003-01-17: Tomorrow sees the centenary of the first trans-Atlantic telegram between heads of state -Greetings from American President Theodore Roosevelt and Britain's King Edward V11; it was sent from Guglielmo Marconi's transmission towers in South Wellfleet, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to his British station in Poldhu, Cornwall and then routed on to the royal residence of Sandringham.
The event is being celebrated as "''Radio's 100th Birthday" with activities that include amateur radio demonstrations of worldwide transmissions, a special US postal cancellation and a radio hook-up with the International Space Station
The organisers are also hoping for a repeat exchange of greetings between the US President and British monarch.
The transmission took place two years after Marconi had demonstrated on December 12, 1901, the possibility of transatlantic radio communication by sending a signal from Cornwall to Newfoundland (See RNW Dec 13, 2001)
2003-01-17: Clear Channel's reduction of its streaming activities on various cost grounds has shown up in the first Arbitron-MeasureCast Ratings for 2003; the organisation, at one time in the top spot week-in, week-out, has dropped into third place for the first time. MUSICMATCH retained its number one rankings both as a network and in the station ratings with its artist-match channel. Listening was up 31% on the previous week, which had been affected by the Christmas Holiday break.
For the week to January 5, Arbitron-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: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 226,698 (181,713); CP 124,489 (118,606). Same position with higher listening and reach.
2: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 198,141 (162,184); CP 35,743 (31,757). Same position with higher listening and reach.
3: Adult alternative Radioio - TTSL 184,238 (145,184); CP 48,062 (36,516) ). Same position with higher listening and reach.
4: Classical format WQXR-FM- 160,474 (117,513); CP 31,278 (26,819). Up from fifth with higher listening and reach.
5: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 159,693 (132,943); CP 27,697 (31,727): Down from fourth despite higher listening but reach was lower.
The top five networks for the week to January 5 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 947,720 (841,205); CP 359,444 (367,867). Same position with higher listening but lower reach.
2: StreamAudio TTSL 686,939 (479,687); CP 122,279 (93,120). Up from third with higher listening and reach.
3: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 667,172 (739,153); CP 176,814 (213,455) - Down from second with lower listening and reach.
4: WARP Radio TTSL 536,261 (385,623) hours: CP 95,346 (80,134) - Same position with higher listening and reach.
5: Internet Radio Inc TTSL 438,263 (339,276); CP 160,296 (130,264) - Same position with higher listening and reach.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings:
2003-01-16: Sirius Satellite Radio, which has shortened its name to just Sirius, has gained US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval to transfer control of its operating licences to its creditors. The move will allow it to restructure its debt by exchanging for Sirius common stock some USD 700 million of owings together with its USD525 million of preferred stock.
The FCC in approving the transfer of control of Sirius' earth station and space station licenses commented that this would "benefit the public interest" and also allow the company "to access financial resources necessary to maintain and expand its service to the public."
Patrick Donnelly, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Sirius, commented that the approval was "an important step in the process of completing our recapitalization, which we continue to believe will be consummated this quarter."
Competitor XM Satellite Radio has received a further boost with an announcement that General Motors is to make XM receivers available in around three-quarters of its 2004 fleet, 44 of 57 models.
GM Group vice president of GM Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing John F. Smith commented, "GM new vehicle buyer reaction to XM has been overwhelmingly positive,"
"Our early research among GM vehicle owners with XM revealed that over 90 percent would either 'only buy a vehicle with XM' or would 'prefer to buy with XM' when they next shop for a vehicle."
2003-01-16: The World DAB Forum, which represents companies and organisations concerned with Digital Audio Broadcastings using the Eureka 147 DAB system, has hired a UK public relations company to boost system as worldwide radio for the future.
Connors Communications, part of PR agency Hatch Group, is to lead an initial six-month, international campaign to position DAB as the solution of choice for digital radio broadcasters, manufacturers and retailers worldwide.
Annika Nyberg, President of the World DAB Forum, said: "Digital radio is at a crossroads, with more and more governments, broadcasters and manufacturers throwing their weight behind legislation, services and products."
"DAB is emerging as the superior digital radio platform against the alternatives being developed, many of which remain unavailable to consumers. But we are not being complacent: for every country that has the infrastructure, programmes and receivers in place, there are others that need incentivising."
Although the US has opted to use iBiquity's HD system that utilises part of a station's analogue spectrum rather than different spectrum, DAB has made the running in the rest of the world; it is currently available in 27 countries including Australia, Canada, China, South Africa and much of Europe and the Far East.
World DAB Forum web site:
2003-01-16: A debate on Middle East coverage staged in Boston this week, and the subject of Mark Jurkowitz's media column in the Boston Globe, largely resulted in US National Public Radio (NPR) losing the war of words according to the columnist.
He accepts that National Public Radio President Kevin Klose and Boston public station WBUR-FM general manager Jane Christo faced an uphill battle as most of the crowd at Boston's Temple Israel supported the anti-NPR team of Philadelphia Jewish Exponent executive editor Jonathan Tobin and Boston University journalism department chairman Bob Zelnick but says that rather than go into battle Klose and Christo "opted for a kind of patronizing surrender that can only dishearten their allies and invigorate their critics."
The tone of the discussion was set early, writes Jurkowitz. "While Christo and Klose used their opening remarks to deliver a dispassionate, droning primer on the basic functions of their organizations - call it NPR and WBUR for dummies - their rivals came out charging."
"''It's about Israel's survival. ... We have a right to ask why NPR operates the way it does, '' said Tobin, who was cheered by the crowd. Jurkowitz later notes that protesters chanted ''NPR distorts the news, covers up attacks on Jews.''
The Klose/Christo response he says, "in which they relied on an unconvincing blend of deference, obfuscation, and condescension - revealed that they don't have a coherent strategy."
Jurkowitz also notes that Christo ducked a question on whether the BBC's Middle East coverage, which WBUR uses, was balanced or biased by saying that it brought "a very valuable perspective.''
Most glaringly, he also writes, Klose made no real effort to stand up for his organization.
RNW comment: Not normally being able to listen to NPR from London, we have to reserve comment on NPR's overall output.
We can comment on the BBC cover (from a background of seeing much cover of Israeli actions and the bigoted comments of Jewish settlers who are on occupied land that never makes it to the screens of US television and only to a limited extent onto those of the BBC). From our point of view (were the words Israel and Palestine to be replaced by Britain and Ireland, something we consider a not unfair exercise, we think the conclusion would be almost automatic to most people) the BBC bias in general is pro-Israel.
We would accept however, that the Corporation should have rather more scepticism about carrying some of the self-serving twaddle it airs from Israeli government and Palestinian spokesmen, particularly the former, although we fear there would be an unholy row the first time it treated comments from Netanyahu, Dore or others with the contempt they deserve.
We do accept also that it might have sparked serious disturbances in Boston to come out fighting and tell an audience like that of Monday night that the actions of the government they are supporting are just as murderous and criminal as the actions of those who bomb other civilians.
We also note that, when WBUR has lost some USD 1 million through withdrawal of support in protest at its reporting, there is a serious dampening effect on responses just as there was in the UK fifty years ago when opposition to the Franco-British-Israeli Suez invasion nearly put the UK Observer out of business.
Boston Globe- Jurkowitz column:
2003-01-15: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K Powell has told the Senate Commerce Committee that he did think it worthy of debate as to whether one company could eventually control most US media outlets were regulations loosened too far but said he did not think this was likely from any Commission actions and that any such development would be likely to be blocked by both the Commission's public interest standards and by anti-Trust laws.
Powell, in a written statement focussing on telecommunications, tied the rise of digital technology and its consequences for telecommunications together in his statement to the Committee saying that "Digital Migration" put the US at a critical crossroads in the move from the long-established analogue realm to the new digital structure whilst "remaining faithful to our governing statutes and the venerable principles of communications policy-universal service, competition, and diversity, just to name a few."
Democrat Commission Michael J Copps was the only Commissioner to pick up the issue of media regulation in his written statement in which he re-iterated previous warnings about the "enormous" stakes in the decisions to be made and adding, " we must, simply must, get this right. We need the facts. We need studies both broad and deep before we plunge ahead to remake the media landscape. And we need to hear from people all across this land of ours."
"Suppose for a moment that the Commission votes to remove or significantly modify the ownership limits. And suppose, just suppose, that it turns out to be a mistake. How would we ever put that genie back in the bottle? The answer is that we could not. That's why we need -- truly need -- a national dialogue on the issue."
Copps also spoke of the effects of radio consolidation, saying that many media watchers felt "radio now serves more to advertise the products of vertically integrated conglomerates than to inform or
entertain Americans with the best and most original programming."
He also tied consolidation into the nature of programming saying he was "concerned that we have not analyzed the impact of consolidation on the increasing pervasiveness of offensive and indecent programming as programming decisions are wrested from our local communities and made instead in distant corporate headquarters."
In testimony Republican Commissioner Kevin Martin said that, whilst the 1996 Telecom Act could be largely held responsible for the consolidation of the US radio industry, the FCC also had to take some responsibility because of the Commission's method of defining radio markets might have led to some markets being considered larger than they in fact were. He was backed up by Powell in his assessment of the matter.
2003-01-15: Regent Communications has announced agreement to purchase KKPL-FM and KARS-FM serving the Fort Collins-Greeley, Colorado market from AGM-Nevada, LLC for USD 7.75 million made up of USD 5 million in cash and the remainder in Regent stock.
The latter portion is subject to a condition that should Regent stock be valued at less than USD7.5 when the deal closes, Regent will make up the difference to bring the transaction value back up to USD7.75 million.
Regent, which is in the process of acquiring three stations - two in operation and a CP for a third - in the market in its USD62 million purchase of stations from bankrupt Brill's Media (see RNW Aug 24, 2002), will begin operating KKPL-FM under a local marketing agreement on February 1.
In the case of KARS-FM, it is in the process of moving its tower and Regent expects to begin operating it on closure of the acquisition, expected in the fourth quarter of this year.
Regent Chairman and CEO Terry Jacobs commented, "We are pleased to enhance our position in one of the fastest growing markets in the nation. With a cluster of five FM stations we are now in an even better position to serve listeners and advertisers."
In Massachusetts, Saga Communications is paying USD 400,000 for WINQ-FM, Winchendon, from Aritaur Communications, Inc.
Finally in a station swap, Clear Channel is gaining a duopoly in the Bismarck, North Dakota, market. It gains KXMR-AM plus USD 250,000 in cash from Radio Bismarck Mandan LLC, which in turn will acquire three Minnesota stations, KNUJ-AM/New Ulm; KNUJ-FM/Sleepy Eye; and KNSG-FM/Springfield.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-01-15: Birmingham, UK, commercial FM BRMB, owned by Capital Radio, is to be prosecuted by the British Health and Safety Executive over a stunt it staged in August 2001 (see RNW Aug 26, 2001) that left some participants with permanent scars.
The stunt, the "Coolest Seats in Town" contest, required contestants to sit on "dry ice" (solid carbon dioxide whose temperature is -78 degrees centigrade) and three women and a man were taken to hospital with severe frostbite. Three were kept in hospital for between two and three months.
A HSE spokesman said people had suffered a serious loss of skin, fat and muscle, with a permanent and disfiguring area of tissue loss. The station is being charged under a law that requires employers to make sure that people who might be affected by their activates but are not employees are not exposed to risks. The penalties range up to a fine of GBP20, 000 (USD 31,000) for a case decided in a magistrates court to an unlimited fine if the case is moved to the higher Crown Courts.
Birmingham Post and Mail report:
2003-01-15: The US as of the end of last year had a total of 26,319 licensed broadcast stations including 13,331 radio stations according to figures released by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Of the radio stations, 4804 were AM, 6173 commercial FM and 2354 educational FM.
The radio figures are 211 up on a year ago when the totals were 4,772 commercial AMs, 6,089 commercial FMs and 2,259 educational FM's.
2003-01-15: The UK deal for GWR to acquire the Galaxy 101 dance format station from Chrysalis and put it into Vibe Radio Services, a joint venture dance brand with Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) as part of a complicated deal of asset swaps involving Chrysalis, GWR, and SRH (See RNW Sept 27, 2002) has been referred to the country's Competition Commission.
The referral was made by competition minister Melanie Johnson on the grounds that the purchase of west country-based Galaxy 101 might "substantially reduce" competition for local radio advertising in Bristol and Bath because of GWR's strong presence in the Bristol area.
GWR says the move would not damage advertisers interests and its executive chairman Ralph Bernard said the decision, set against a background of government policy to ease media regulation, appeared to contradict that policy.
SRH, which would hold 51% of Vibe Radio Services compared to the 49% of GWR said it was confident that the deal could go through and that any competition issues could be resolved.
2003-01-15: Infinity Chicago station WBBM-FM has had its wrist slapped by Arbitron for violating its rules by talking about ratings on air in a manner that could distort survey results.
The station was issued with a "special notice" for the comments made by morning co-host Joe Bohannon who according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times responded to a listener's e-mail by calling for fans to help the station in the fall sweeps by listening longer.
Noting this, the Arbitron report said," "The emphasis on the importance of extended listening, in the context of a direct appeal for support in the ratings, may prompt [Arbitron] diary keepers to over report WBBM-FM listening as a gesture of support."
Don Marion, vice president and general manager of WBBM told the Sun-Times he cooperated with Arbitron in its investigation and called the matter "a minor infraction."
Also in Chicago but with opposition ABC-owned talk station WLS-AM, Feder reports that husband-and-wife team of Greg Batton and Yvonne Greer have resigned rather than trade places with syndicated host Sean Hannity.
The station had announced that Hannity would move earlier to a 7p.m. to 10p.m. weekday slot and Batton and Greer would move into a 10p.m. to midnight slot. The couple said no, giving as their reason child-care concerns for their 2-1/2-year-old daughter
Previous Disney (ABC owner):
Feder Sun-Times column:
2003-01-14: Maryland-headquartered Radio One Inc. has announced agreement in principle for a USD9.5 million purchase of Urban format WROU-FM, Dayton, Ohio, from the trustee in bankruptcy of Hawes-Saunders Broadcast Properties.
It expects to begin operating the station under a local marketing agreement (LMA) in February and Radio One CEO and President Alfred C. Liggins, III said the station was "very complementary to our existing cluster of stations in Dayton. We look forward to enhancing further our performance in that market through this acquisition."
Radio One already has four stations in the Dayton market, including charts/rhythmic WDHT-FM.
The other Hawes-Saunders station, Urban AC WRNB-FM, is to be sold to Sacramento-based religious broadcaster K-Love Radio Network for USD1.2 million, its first station in Ohio.
Radio One has also announced a deal in principle to move into television in conjunction with cable operator Comcast Corporation. The companies are planning a new television network featuring entertainment, news, opinion and sports-related programming targeted primarily towards 25-54-year-old African-American viewers. Radio One is to invest up to USD70 million in cash in the venture over the next four years with the amount being linked pro-rate to an investment of around USd 60 million from Comcast and others.
Radio One will also provide radio advertising time in exchange for an additional equity interest in the network; its CEO Alfred Liggins will be chairman of the network and Radio One will be paid an annual management fee plus additional equity under a management agreement.
Looking at its current business, Radio One is saying that final quarter revenues for 2002 will be at least 13% above the same quarter figures for 2001.
In other US radio business, Cumulus has now closed on its UD 30 million deal to acquire East Mississippi Broadcasters' WFTW-AM, WKSM-FM, WNCV-FM, WYZB-FM & WZNS-FM in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
The deal was red-flagged by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in October on ownership-share and revenue-concentration grounds (See RNW Oct 17, 2002) but then cleared in December. Cumulus has been operating the stations through an LMA since the beginning of October.
Also closing an acquisition was Perry Broadcasting of Oklahoma, which has now completed its USD1.175 million acquisition of five stations from Friends Communications (See RNW Oct 12, 2002)
Previous Radio One Inc:
2003-01-14: US National Public Radio (NPR) has been awarded a USD 14 million grant, the largest in the organisation's 32-year history, by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
It was the largest single grant in a total of USD42 million of special grants awarded by the foundation to mark its 25th anniversary.
Of the money, USD 10 million is for news and public affairs programming and USD 4 million will go to the NPR Endowment Fund for Excellence, which was established to help ensure NPR's long-term financial stability.
The MacArthur foundation, which was set up by John D. MacArthur, who developed and owned Bankers Life and Casualty Company and other businesses, and his wife Catherine, is NPR's most generous funder, and over the years has given it more than USD31 million including the latest grant.
Kevin Klose, NPR's president and CEO commented, "This extraordinary, historic commitment by the MacArthur Foundation, a supporter of NPR and public radio since 1985, gives NPR enormous new reserves, at a crucial time, to carry us forward and expand our service."
MacArthur Foundation president Jonathan F. Fanton said the NPR gift has no strings attached, adding that the commitment was to NPR and they thought it knew best how to use the funds.
He also noted the commitment to international news by NPR and added, "Good information is critical to a well functioning democracy, all the more so as citizens confront complex issues of domestic and international policy,"
"National Public Radio is a reliable source of objective information and thoughtful analysis which places American issues and interests in a worldwide context."
MacArthur Foundation news release:
NPR news release:
2003-01-14: Isle of Man International Broadcasting, which is preparing to launch an international Long Wave radio station from the Isle of Man, has succeeded in overturning objections to the erection of a transmitter in Ramsay Bay.
In all seven objections were made to the licence but six of them were withdrawn in November at a hearing at the Island's High Court.
The Bride Parish Commissioners continued one objection, a Petition of Doleance saying they should have been consulted as the platform would only be four kilometres (2 miles) from their coastline.
The court was told that an extensive Environmental Impact Assessment showed that there would be no effect on the parish other than minor distant views of the installation and it dismissed the petition.
Paul Rusling, founder of the project to establish the station, said the decision was, "good news for Ramsey and excellent news for the Isle of Man."
"We can at last get on with building the facility and get the radio station on the air, hopefully during the summer," he added. "Its coverage of the entire British Isles, and beyond, will put the Island firmly on the map and enhance its international profile."
IMIB is planning to transmit its signal by satellite and on the Internet in addition to the long-wave transmission.
2003-01-14: Canada's latest radio mini-mogul Doug Kirk, profiled in the Toronto Globe and Mail, has moved full time into the radio business following his retirement from the money business after 26 years as a lender, analyst and investment banker.
Kirk, aged 53, moonlighted as a broadcaster at weekends and built up a stake in eight radio stations and he plans to add three more. He became part of a group investing in ailing stations in Chatham, Ontario, that were put into profit and moonlighted as a radio company director and owner whilst keeping his full time job.
As well as the Chatham deal, he developed CJKX-FM, a country music outlet owned by himself and wife Mary, in the Durham region east of Toronto and the couple also won a licence in Hamilton, Ontario, for CIWV (The Wave), a Canadian pioneer in "smooth jazz", and then became a minority partner in a rock station in Kinston, Ontario.
HE also has a deal to buy Corus Entertainment Inc.'s AM and FM stations in Oshawa, near Ajax, and is awaiting the regulator's decision on an application for a new FM in Kitchener, Ontario.
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2003-01-14: Australian radio vet reran Elizabeth Bond, whose move into radio followed problems as a result of rheumatoid arthritis that limited her mobility and ruled out her preferred academic career, has died aged 60.
Melbourne-born Bond joined the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 1963 and was a talented all-rounder for radio and TV, handling a presenting range from cricket to classical music.
She left the ABC for a while after a radio programme she presenting at the start of the seventies on the human condition ran into political controversy and was dropped but returned in 1977 and took over the morning programme on 3LO after the ABC had sacked Terry Lane, fuelling a public outcry. She built the programme into the top-rated morning talk show in Melbourne but resigned at the end of 1979 over disagreements about the format of her show for the coming year and what she saw as threats of interference by ABC management.
Previous ABC, Australia:
2003-01-13: With almost all the UK print comment on radio over the past week relating to the various changes that took place last Monday, particularly Sir Jimmy Young's show being replaced by the Jeremy Vine Show, this seems a good week to concentrate on personalities in the medium with the side-benefit of illustrating cultural differences.
First some belated news of former Jacor Communications and Clear Channel radio executive Randy Michaels that surfaced widely this month , although it related to a Dan Monk report published in the Cincinnati Business Courier in December.
It centred on the possibility of Michaels forming a new radio company in the wake of Clear Channel's action in moving him from his radio division post to become CEO of a new division, overseeing the development of new technologies; Michaels had run the Covington-based radio division of Clear Channel Communications Inc. since 1998, when Clear Channel acquired Jacor in a USD4.4 billion transaction but his replacement has been relocated to Clear Channel's San Antonio headquarters.
Frank "Bo" Wood, whose family sold WEBN-FM to Jacor in 1986 commented of Michaels, "Randy is a genius, but his name wasn't Mays (The Mays family controls Clear Channel).
Wood saw the Michael's demotion as part of a US radio industry trend that saw entrepreneurial type being replaced by corporate operators and also thought that Michaels would find it difficult to build up his own company.
"All of the good signals are in the hands of the big companies," said Wood. "Part of Randy's problem is that he built the ultimate Death Star. It's impregnable."
Michaels, however, said the Courier hadn't necessarily given up on the idea although he stresses that he's still employed by Clear Channel. The Courier reports that Michaels is said to have turned down a lucrative severance package from Clear Channel, which would have brought him up to $100,000 a month in income but required him to not compete against Clear Channel for five years and adds that there are rumours of him engaging in talks to form a new radio company.
Michaels himself refused comment on the speculation, but he confirms he's exploring options, saying, "I'm looking at all kinds of things. When it's time, I'll be noisy."
He said he has received "more than one" offer to run another radio chain but wants to pursue other options first. "I like to work for myself," he said. "I liked working for myself a lot better than I liked working for somebody else out of town."
Also liking the idea of working for himself is US host Tom Joyner, who has already prospered mightily since leaving WHUR in DC two years ago for Radio One Inc and wider syndication (See RNW Aug 8, 2000).
He has now formed his own company, Reach Media in conjunction with former ABC Radio Networks President David Kantor.
The new company will produce and syndicate the Tom Joyner Morning Show, as well as new programming, aimed at an African-American audience, for radio, television, film, and the Internet.
In reporting on the deal, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder says it is said to be worth more than USD 200 million and gives former Chicago "fly jock" Tom Joyner ownership of his show.
ABC networks, which has taken a 10% share in the new company, will be the exclusive sales representative for all of Reach's radio products.
Needless to say, Joyner, whose son Oscar will be company president and chief operating officer, had to put a wider, and in our view rather grandiose gloss on the move than just his own success.
"This is more than a big step for those of us involved in Reach Media; it's a big step for African Americans," he said. "Reach Media is a good deal for black America, and I'm fortunate to be heading the effort."
In comparison, two of the British radio personalities on the move who were featured in profiles and comment as a result were positively self-effacing and modest.
One of them, Jeremy Vine who took over Sir Jimmy Young's BBC Radio 2 morning show, last Monday, wrote himself of his move in the UK Sunday Times. No Joyner he!
"We decided on a quiet launch," he wrote. "No point putting anything up in lights on day one. Begin low-key, build slowly after that. Maybe get a modest write-up after the first fortnight. Start small. Perhaps I should have known it was not going to work out that way."
And later, "The first review is encouraging, though the headline isn't: JV TAKES JY'S SEAT AND THE FIRST PROTEST COMES AFTER 14 MINUTES - a reference to an invigorating comment on our website."
"Actually, the first protest came a few days earlier when Sir Jimmy, in a debut newspaper column, called on listeners outraged at his recent career move to refuse to pay the licence fee. He assures readers he has "absolutely no axe to grind", which comes as a huge relief."
In similar vein, Fiona Glover, who moves over to the BBC Radio Five Live morning show today (see below) and was profiled by Louise Jury in the UK Independent is described as having an "unrelenting habit of self-deprecation and ironic wit."
She does however have an ability to poke gentle fun at herself, commenting of giggling on air" I've never apologised for giggling - it's high-quality public-service giggling" and also being known for the odd piece of mischief as for instance inserting adjectives into the reading of the soccer results, "Stalybridge Celtic, a whopping 4; Morecambe, quite a luscious 3."
She also has a very different view of the balance of live and work to Joyner, who gained his "fly-jock" appellation from his eight-year sting commuting from his morning radio job in Dallas to an afternoon one in Chicago.
"I've got quite a big thing about balance of the professional and personal, and I think that means you're probably not ever going to be enormously successful," commented Glover.
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
Cincinnati Business Courier - Monk:
UK Independent - Jury:
UK Sunday Times - Vine:
2003-01-13: American listening to radio talks shows has nearly doubled over the past three years according to a Gallup report just released based on a poll last month.
It says amongst all Americans 22% now say they listen to radio talk shows daily compared to 12% in a similar poll conducted in 199.
The poll also shows twice the percentage of Republicans (29%) saying they listen to radio talk shows as do Democrats 15%).
The majority of those surveyed irrespective of political preference listed local TV news at the top of their news sources (56% of Republicans, 64% of Democrats) and around twice as many listed main TV network news as a daily source (40% of Republicans, 47% of Democrats) as they did radio talks shows (29% of Republicans, 15% of Democrats) or National Public Radio (23% of Republicans, 22% of Democrats).
RNW comment: the Gallup survey does not draw conclusions as to the reasons for the political differences but there does seem to be a trend towards listeners going for sources that reflect their prejudices rather than looking for factual sources, certainly not a strong point of hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and his imitators.
On the other hand, the self-reported audience for National Public Radio, which is more concerned with facts although it is perceived as having a "liberal bias", seems quite healthy with the overall audience being as high as that of commercial talk radio hosts and that amongst Republicans also approaching their listening to right wing hosts.
Gallup web site:
2003-01-13: British radio, which last Monday (See RNW Jan 6) saw a host of changes, is again seeing changes today at the BBC where Nicky Campbell and Victoria Derbyshire take over the Radio Five breakfast slot and Fiona Glover moves to mid-morning, taking over from Campbell.
Glover had been presenting the late night Fi Glover Show on Radio Five Live until recently; before that she had a spell on the channel's political show, Sunday Service, which is about to be dropped.
She had decided to move on because of its effect on the rest of her life of the late night show and she says she did not hesitate when offered the morning slot.
2003-01-12: Apart from Australia, where there were no radio decisions, other areas were getting back to normal last week with a regular flow of decisions.
In Canada, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decisions (in state order) included:
*Approval of a 100,000-watt English-language Christian music FM in Edmonton.
*Approval of a low-power 30 watts Type B community station in Fort Vermilion; it will broadcast a minimum of 12-hours of station produces programming a week of which a minimum 32 hours will be in Aboriginal languages, initially in Cree, the principal Aboriginal language spoken in the area.
*Approval of a low-power 5 watts religions FM for Aylesford.
*Approval of New 75,390 watts English language FM for Atlantic Broadcasters Limited to replace CJFX-AM, Antigonish.
*Approval of a 48-watts Type A community French-language in Gravelbourg; it is to broadcast a minimum 105 hours a week with 80 hours coming from Réseau francophone d'Amérique and the remaining 25 hours being produced by the station to include children's programming, newscasts, weather reports, community activity reports, information on politics, the economy and culture, and musical selections of all types.
*The Commission has also approved in Saskatchewan applications by Rawlco Radio Ltd. to acquire a 51% interest in Northwestern Radio Partnership, which operates CJNB-AM and CJCQ-FM North Battleford and CJNS-AM Meadow Lake.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has now advertised its final tranche of local licence.
They are for a broad-based FM service for County Kerry and two Fm licences for Cork City and County.
The latter are for a music-driven local service targeted primarily at an urban audience in Cork City and a broad format local radio service targeted primarily at rural listeners in Cork County. Applications have to be in by March 7.
The BCI has also placed adverts seeking expressions of interest in community and "community of interest" stations in addition to the 14 such stations already operating in the country. Applications for these have to be in by February 10.
In the UK, the Radio Authority has awarded a number of licences and also published details of applications for others.
Licences awarded were:
* A new FM for Barnsley, in South Yorkshire, which went to Dearne Fm Ltd., which is proposing a mix of music and local news and information. It won the licence against five other bids (See Licence news June 2, 2002).
*A new FM for Gairloch and Loch Ewe, in Ross-shire on the west coast of Scotland whose licence went to the sole applicant, Two Lochs Radio (Wester Ross Radio Ltd.), which is proposing a community-based service providing a broad range of music and a significant speech-based output meeting local needs in both English and Gaelic.
*The Chichester, Bognor Regis & Littlehampton FM. This was re-awarded under the special application procedure to the sole applicant, existing licence holder Spirit Fm (South West Sussex Radio Ltd.).
*The Crawley and Reigate AM licence. This was renewed by Classic Gold Digital Ltd., which was entitled to automatic renewal because it is providing a service on the relevant local digital multiplex, the third Greater London multiplex.
*The local digital multiplex for the Brighton and the Sussex Coast. This went to the sole applicant, Capital Radio Digital Ltd., which is offering eight channels, one of which is shared, plus BBC Southern Counties Radio (See Licence News, Nov 3, 2002).
The Authority received six applications for a new local FM for Maidstone, in Kent, and the surrounding area.
They are from:
*Go-FM (Absolute Radio Kent Ltd.), which is proposing a service of adult music and local news and information targeting a 30 plus audience.
*Maidstone Live (Maidstone Fm The Max Ltd.), which is proposing a talk and music format.
*RFM (Radio For Maidstone Ltd.), which is proposing a format of music from the mid-7-s on combined with local news and information.
*Stone FM - Maidstone Community Radio (Starmela. Co.Uk Ltd.), which is proposing a community-led service.
*20/20 (Maidstone Radio Ltd.), which says that, building on the success of numerous restricted service licences, it will provide a format of a wide variety of music combined with local news and information.
The Authority has also published is assessment of the award of the additional service licence, which uses the RDS (Radio Data System) sub-carrier of the Independent National Radio (INR1) FM service, to ITIS Holdings Plc, the sole applicant (See Licence News December 15, 2002).
The service will consist of systems for the broadcasting of a commercial RDS-TMC (Radio Data System-Traffic Message Channel) service, and the Authority said it considered it sustainable for the period of the licence.
The Authority has also advertised a new FM licence for Helensburgh, in Argyll & Bute and announced that in the Oxford and Banbury area, only one declaration of intent to apply was received, from existing holder First Oxfordshire Radio Co. Ltd., broadcasting as Fox FM. Fox will now be invited to re-apply under the Authority's fast-track procedure.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been busy with submissions concerning media ownership regulations (see reports over the past week).
It has also granted construction permits for 25 new low-power FMs in Kentucky, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Montana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.
In other activities it issued another re-flag over a planned Clear Channel acquisition of WQYZ-FM, Ocean Springs, in the Biloxi market in Mississippi (See RNW Jan 9) and also rescinded a previous decision approving the placing in trust of the licence of KFWB-AM, Los Angeles that had been requested by Viacom to complete the purchase of KCAL-TV, which would take it above ownership limits in the market (See RNW Jan 10).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-01-12: Anti-government forces in Afghanistan have set up a pirate radio station in the east of the country that is broadcasting calls for the overthrow of the US-backed Karzai government and attacks on US-led coalition force according to the Associated Press.
The broadcasts in Paktia province, says the report, can be heard in different places at different times possibly indicating that they are emanating from a motor vehicle. Afghan state radio has reported that a station calling itself the "Voice of Afghanistan's Resistance" was broadcasting anti-government messages irregularly in parts of Paktia.
New York Times/AP report:
2003-01-11: Ibiquity has announced that it has licensed more than 35 broadcast groups to start digital radio broadcasts using its HD in-band-on-channel technology in 40 US markets including all the top-ranked ones.
The groups who have licensed the technology include Infinity Broadcasting, iBiquity Digital's founder, Clear Channel, and most major US radio groups.
"Broadcasters across the U.S. have embraced HD Radio technology as the next generation of radio. HD Radio technology will change the way consumers experience local AM/FM and will enable new offerings to transform radio into the world of digital entertainment and all it has to offer," said Robert J. Struble, president and CEO, iBiquity Digital Corporation. "We couldn't be more pleased with the initial rollout of HD Radio throughout all of our partners' industries including broadcasting and consumer electronics, and this is only the beginning."
In a separate announcement, iBiquity announced that Greater Media is to convert all its 19 stations to HD Radio technology early this year.
2003-01-11: BBC Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt has rejected allegations made in a letter to the Daily Telegraph that the station contributed to the rise of gun crime in the UK.
In his letter, which followed the shooting of two Birmingham women, Neil Fraser, the founder of the London recording studio Ariwa Sounds who works under the name Mad Professor, accused the Corporation of playing music that glorified "the gun, homophobic aggression, male chauvinism and drug culture."
"The producers of BBC Radio 1's ragga and hip-hop shows should share some of the guilt every time a black youth dies from a gun in Britain," he wrote.
"There used to be a lot of positive black images out there but music like that played on Radio 1's hip-hop show is not entertainment. The lyrics are all about violence and shooting."
"A lot of this mentality, such as derogatory attitudes towards women, has come from America. The videos which go with the music are just as bad."
Parfitt told the UK Guardian the allegation was "extremely unjust" and added, "Radio 1 works tirelessly to make a positive contribution to our young audiences' lives. To claim that Radio 1 or 1xtra contributes to gun crime in Britain is extremely unjust,"
UK Guardian report:
UK Telegraph report:
2003-01-11: Irish state broadcaster RTÉ has appointed long-time employee Eithne Hand as head of its Radio 1 channel.
She joined RTÉ Television in 1985 as a Researcher in Religious Programmes but moved to radio in 1990, later leaving to work for now-defunct national commercial Irish channel Century Radio a year later.
She rejoined RTÉ in 1992 as a producer working in various daytime shows including the Gay Byrne Show and Today with Pat Kenny and Rattlebag, which she devised.
Hand then moved to drama and documentary where she produced Voice Jazz, which won the Prix d'Italia - the radio equivalent of the Oscars and Daylight Robbery, which won Best Irish Drama Award at the 2002 PPI Awards.
Commenting on her appointment she said she was "both honoured and challenged to be appointed as Head of RTÉ Radio's flagship channel."
Previous Century Radio:
2003-01-11: Radio gets a strong write-up in a CNET report from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that in particular highlight FM developments.
They include the decision to use parts of the FM radio spectrum as Microsoft's transmission medium of choice for Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT), being highlighted in high-tech wristwatches demonstrated by the company.
The watches will download sports scores, weather reports and other simple data types selected by the user. Data will come from service providers, who lease carrier capacity from existing FM broadcasters.
Roger Gulrajani, Microsoft's director of marketing for SPOT, said the software giant looked at a number of wireless technologies before settling on FM. "It was really a matter of size and battery life," he said. "When we looked at Wi-Fi, there was just no way we could fit that into a watch...The FM spectrum turned out to be this great, underutilized asset."
SPOT devices will automatically download updated data so that fresh weather reports or news updates are displayed with one click.
Microsoft is also proposing to use the technology, which it terms DirectBand, in other devices that can be connected to various computer devices.
Also highlighted in the report is Ibiquity's HD in-band-on-channel M digital radio technology.
New York Times-CNET report:
2003-01-11: WSM-AM, The Grand Ole Opry country station owned by Gaylord Entertainment, has fired 20-year veteran announcer and operations manager Kyle Cantrell and overnight showOpry Star Spotligh hosts Matthew Gillian and Johnny Koval plus a number of other employees according to The Tennessean.
A year ago the station's owners planned to change it to a talk-format but they backed down after public protests (See RNW Jan 16, 2001).
They now say WSM is still ''committed to country'' but general manager John Padgett added, ''We have to be open to looking for programming content that will attract listeners to the station.''
Padgett would not comment on the future of the program or any changes in programming but did say that Cantrell would be replaced.
Gillian said he was stunned by the news after the positive feedback he had received from listeners to the 50,000-watt clear channel station. We really had something going with that show,'' Gillian told The paper.
WSM online content director K.K. Wilson, who said he had also been fired, commented on Cantrell's dismissal, "''It's a sad day when a country station gets rid of their assets and keeps their liabilities. There's no one that knows more about WSM and its history than Kyle Cantrell."
"If they're going to stay in the country genre, they've cut off their nose to spite their face.''
The Tennessean report:
2003-01-11: Chicago radio veteran Jerome Edward Golden, who was one of the first radio announcers in the country to report shots fired at President John Kennedy's motorcade in Dallas, has died aged 79.
Chicago-born Golden, began his broadcasting career as a DJ in Wisconsin in 1946. In 1957 he left WLIP-AM in Kenosha, where he was a program director and news announcer, and moved to Chicago as an announcer for WBBM and then moved to WLS-AM, where he worked for a decade.
In 1970 Mr. Golden moved to WGN, where he worked primarily as a radio staff he remained there until his retirement in 1981.
Chicago Tribune obituary:
2003-01-10: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which earlier this week passed Viacom's request to puts news station KFWB-AM, Los Angeles, into trust under streamlined policies for transactions not involving a sale has now had second thoughts.
The trust plan was needed because Viacom's acquisition of KCAL-TV put it over ownership limits but the FCC now says it needs to make an additional review of the arrangement. There has been considerable speculation that Viacom is hoping to take the station back again should FCC ownership restrictions be loosened.
In other US radio business, Citadel Communications has agreed to pay USD16.5 million for three Northeastern stations from AAA Entertainment. They are WWKX-FM, Woonsocket, and WAKX-FM, Narragansett Pier, both in Rhode Island plus WMOS-FM, Montauk, New York. Citadel already owns eight stations in Rhode Island.
Previous Forstmann-Little (Citadel owner):
2003-01-10: British stores sold almost every digital radio they had over the Christmas period, more than doubling the number of receivers in the country as some 75,000 sets were sold on the back of demand for a new GBP99 (USD150) set.
Amongst retailers who sold out their stocks a according to the Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB) were John Lewis, Dixons, Empire Stores, Miller Brothers and Maplin.
In all according to the DRDB there are now some 135,000 digital sets in British homes and it is now forecasting that the total could increase to half a million by the end of the year.
Pure, the maker of the GBP 99 Evoke set, said sales of the set had already eclipsed, by four or five times, the number of sets a good, non-digital radio would expect to sell in its lifetime; it is planning to bring out new digital radio products by March, including a Walkman-type portable radio that will cost around GBP150 (USD 230).
2003-01-10: XM Satellite Radio has announced that it has not signed up more than 360,000 subscribers, twelve times as many as the 30,000 that rival Sirius Satellite Radio says it had attracted by the end of 2002.
Sirius President and CEO Joseph Clayton made his announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show, saying that the company hoped to add another 40,000 in the first quarter of this year and reach 300, 000 by year's end.
Announcing its figures, XM President and CEO Hugh Panero said the company had added 145,000 subscribers in an "outstanding fourth quarter" and forecast a strong 2003 that will bring it up to more than a million subscribers by the end of the year.
Sirius shares ended the day 3 cents higher at USD0.79, up 3.8%, whilst XM was up 17 cents at USD3.18, a 5.65% increase.
2003-01-10: Clear Channel has expressed support for new Equality of Opportunity (EEO) rules developed by the US Federal Communications (FCC) and says it will "comply vigorously with the newly adopted EEO rules."
Chairman and CEO L Lowry Mays said in a statement, "Clear Channel applauds the FCC for its leadership in the area of Equal Employment Opportunity."
"Chairman Powell (FCC chairmain Michael K. Powell) got it exactly right when he said, 'No one is entitled to rewards they did not earn.No one is entitled to jobs for which they are not qualified. But, everyone is entitled to an equal opportunity to vie for those rewards and compete for those jobs.'"
"We couldn't agree more and fully support the Chairman's efforts Clear Channel is proud of its history of promoting diversity within its work force. Discrimination, in any form, is unacceptable, bad for business, and bad for the nation."
Previous Clear Channel;
Previous Lowry Mays:
2003-01-10: Internet listening rose by more than 80% during 2002 according to Arbitron, whose latest Arbitron-MeasureCast Ratings show MusicMatch taking over the top network spot from Clear Channel with its Artist Match retaining the top station spot in a holiday week where listening was down.
For the week to Dec 29, Arbitron-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: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 181,713 (291,960); CP 118,606 (137,930). Same position with lower listening and reach.
2: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 162,184 (180,679); CP 31,757 (33,181). Up from fourth despite lower listening and reach.
3: Adult alternative Radioio - TTSL 145,184 (282,396); CP 36,516 (52,854) Down from second with lower listening and reach.
4: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 132,943 (175,293); CP 25,144 (31,727): Up from fifth despite lower listening and reach.
5: Classical format WQXR-FM- 117,513 (202,979); CP 26,819 (34,132). Down from third with lower listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week to December 29 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 841,205 (1,322,807); CP 367,867 (405,444). Up from second despite lower listening and reach.
2: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 739,153 (1,538,156); CP 213,455 (321,330) - Down from top rank with lower listening and reach.
3: StreamAudio TTSL 479,687 (997,265); CP 93,120 (143,607). Same position with lower listening and reach.
4: WARP Radio TTSL 385,623 (615,890) hours: CP 80,134 (100,342) - Same position with lower listening and reach.
5: Internet Radio Inc TTSL 339,276 (482,907); CP 130,264 (165,020) - Up from seventh despite lower listening and reach.
* Moontaxi fell from fifth the previous week to eighth with TTSL down from 566,883 to 271,007and CP down from 131,493 to 77,070.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings:
2003-01-09: Emmis has delivered well above forecasts and reported broadcast cash flow up 36% toUSD67.8 million and net revenues up 12% to USD155.5 million for the third quarter, up to the end of November 2002, of its current financial year.
Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan described the quarter as a "remarkable period", saying, "We have continued to dramatically de-lever our balance sheet, and our New York radio performance has seen a tremendous rebound. Our television group has performed spectacularly by all measurable standards -- in addition to great ratings, they outperformed in 13 of the 14 Emmis Television markets."
On a pro forma basis, net revenue for the quarter increased 15% and domestic radio net revenue increased 7% whilst Free Cash Flow (FCF) for the quarter was up to USD26.6 million compared to USD3.6 million in the same quarter of the prior year.
After-tax cash flow (ATCF) was up 86% to USD35.6 million and ATCF per share was $0.67, up from $0.40 in the same quarter of the prior year.
Emmis has also trimmed debt and total debt-to-EBIDTA leverage (including senior discount notes) is now under 7x, compared with Emmis' February 28, 2002 leverage of 9.3x. Based on the guidance for its fiscal fourth quarter (listed below), Emmis' total debt-to-EBITDA leverage should be approximately 6.5x at February 28, 2003, with the company's senior bank leverage expected to be under 4x and Emmis Operating Company's total debt-to-EBITDA leverage expected to be under 5.5x.
Emmis also noted that it had continued a 10% wage cut which is being supplemented with a corresponding 10% Emmis stock award; the extension of the plan, which is completing its first year, is expected to yield cash savings of approximately $14 million over the next twelve months.
Emmis shares, which had been rising steadily this week in anticipation of the results, touched USD24 in early trading but then fell back to end the day down just over 1% at USD23.07.
In other US radio business, NextMedia Group, Inc. has announced that it has completed its previously announced acquisition USD 55.5 million cash purchase of WCEN-FM, WGER-FM, WTCF-FM, WTLZ-FM and WSGW-AM in the Saginaw/Bay City/Midland, Michigan market from Wilks Broadcasting, LLC.
2003-01-09: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has waved another red flag at Clear Channel, this time over its USD1.3 million acquisition via a station exchange of WQYZ-FM, Ocean Springs, in the Biloxi market in Mississippi from Golden Gulf Coast Broadcasting (See RNW Jan 4).
The FCC asks those filing a response to its notice to "specifically address issue of concentration and its effect on and diversity" in the market.
Another division of Clear Channel may also face problems, this time its Entertainment Division; Wisconsin Senator Russell Feingold (Democrat) has told the Future of Music Coalition policy summit that he plans to reintroduce his "Radio and Concert Industries Act", first introduced last June (See RNW June 28, 2002) which would prohibit companies from engaging in a number of practices he considers anti-competitive.
Feingold says he hopes to hold hearings soon and urged those attending the summit to express support. He was backed in this call by California Rep Howard Berman (Democrat) who called for major recording artists to join the fight.
Neither politician is a friend of Clear Channel: Berman last year asked for an investigation of the company for possible anti-trust and FCC regulation breaches (See RNW Jan 24, 2002) and Feingold has also expressed concern at Clear Channel's power, writing a letter of concern in November over approval of one of its takeovers in Wisconsin (See RNW Nov 21, 2002) and also long expressed concern over its activities in concert promotion (See RNW May 26, 2002).
In Los Angeles, Clear Channel is involved in more consolidation but this time it's internal.
The company is to move its eight stations in the area into a new office and retail complex in Burbank for which it has agreed a 12-year rental deal valued at around USD45 million.
Clear Channel is to construct around 40 radio studios in the complex and move in the stations, KIIS-FM, KHHT-FM, KBIG-FM, KYSR-FM and KOST-FM plus KFI-AM, KXTA-AM and KLAC-AM, which are currently housed in four locations in central Los Angeles.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-01-09: Sirius Satellite Radio has made a number of announcements timed to coincide with the start of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas at which it is showcasing a number of new products and where it demonstrated a live video broadcast over its satellite radio system, becoming the first satellite radio company to demonstrate video capability.
The new products include portable receivers from Kenwood and Audiovox; other consumer electronics companies expected to issue portable receivers later this year.
Also being displayed are dedicated home receivers that are expected to be available mid 2003l these incorporate including displays that show listeners useful information such as artist name, song title, channel name, and category and can be operated using a wireless remote and include audio presets and RCA left and right audio jacks for easy integration into a consumer's existing home stereo system.
The programming changes include the announcement of two new streams "SIRIUS Right and "SIRIUS Left" dedicated exclusively for right and left wing political programming.
SIRIUS Right will feature hosts such as Oliver North and Bob Dornan and SIRIUS Left including commentary on political and social issues from personalities such as Peter Werbe, Ernie Brown, Mike Malloy, consumer advocate David Horowitz, and John McMullen. The channels will debut on February 3 as will a new daily feature, an hour-long daily weekday live broadcast, SIRIUS Sessions, featuring artists in every genre, ranging from rock to hip-hop, metal to country, alternative rock to jam bands and including up and coming acts to established stars.
Other new news and entertainment streams are three Weather Channels, East, Central and West, and Court TV reality programming and there will also be a number of new music streams,
NEW Music Streams - rock channel Jam Central; Hip Hop channel Planet Rhyme; DJs channel Wax; Dance stream House Party; Club channel The Rave; Folk Channel Folk Town; Rock and Trend channel The Trend, an expansion of an existing channel; and easy listening channel Movin' Easy
Among existing channels being dropped to make room for these are The Express; Jazz En Clave; Tropical; Alt Ñ; Tejano; SIRIUS Arts; The Hook Up; Intimate; and Real SIRIUS.
Sirius has also announced the formation of a new unsigned recording artist program, WAGS Recordings (Working Artist Group at SIRIUS) that is designed to nurture unsigned artists and expose emerging artists to listeners nationwide and create CDs featuring a variety of this new music.
Sirius web site:
2003-01-09: Three BBC Radio 1 hosts, Mark and Lard and rap DJ Tim Westwood, have made it into this year's edition of Debrett's People of Today, which lists people it describes as "contributing something of real and lasting value to modern British society."
Out, however, are two former Radio 1 hosts, Dave Lee Travis and Noel Edmonds, whose careers are considered to be on the decline.
2003-01-09: iBiquity Digital Corporation and dMarc Networks, Inc. , the sub carrier management and data delivery solutions company, have announced agreement to jointly market dMarc Flow for use by AM and FM radio broadcasters using iBiquity Digital's HD Radio digital technology.
Currently dMarc's analogue dRDS (dynamic radio data service) technology enables text to be broadcast and displayed on RDS-enabled car receivers and the increased bandwidth capacity in digital broadcast technology will allow additional content and data services including song and artist information, news, weather and customized content."
2003-01-08: Clear Channel Chief Financial Officer Randall Mays has called ownership limitations "ridiculous" but also said that he didn't believe the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will loosen further US radio ownership restrictions.
Speaking to the Salomon Smith Barney Global Entertainment, Media & Telecommunications Conference, Mays said it was "irrational to have any regulation related to the number of stations an operator can hold especially if you look at the sheer number of different media in each marketplace and the consolidation of other media relative to radio."
Despite saying he expected current radio regulations to remain, Mays said he thought there would be an easing as far as TV ownership and also radio and TV and newspaper /broadcast cross ownership rules were concerned.
Mays, whose company last year sold its UK interests (See RNW Nov 7, 2001), also said that Clear Channel, contrary to media reports, was not intending to buy UK radio stations should British regulations be relaxed as expected. He said the stories had come from potential sellers of assets but it was not "even a consideration" in its plans.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Randall Mays:
Clear Channel web site (Links to audio of Mays presentation for next 2 days):
2003-01-08: Miami Radio hosts Joe Ferrero and Enrique Santos, well known for on-air pranks, scored another one on Monday this week by persuading Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to believe he was talking to Cuban President Fidel Castro in a call they made from Miami.
According to the Miami Herald, Enrique Santos, co-host of El Vacilón de la Mañana on Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS)'s salsa station WXDJ-FM, said afterwards they still could not believe Chavez fell for the hoax.
The joke, says the paper, was part of a segment called Fidel Te Llama or ''Fidel's Calling You,'' in which Santos and co-host, Joe Ferrero, call various people and play snippets of a controversial conversation between Castro and Mexican President Vicente Fox that Castro made public in 2001.
As has happened before, the sound of the real Castro voice, at first heard in the background, persuaded a Venezuelan presidential aide to put the call through to Chavez after the woman calling supposedly on Castro's behalf, said he could not be called back.
Chavez also fell for the hoax for a short while and the station faked trouble on the line to cover up the fact some comments made no sense.
When after a while Chavez found the call making no sense, Santos said the call was from Miami and launched into a tirade: ''Terrorist! Animal! Murderer!'' plus, as the Herald puts it, a few choice four-letter nouns. "You're finishing off the Venezuelan people!''
After the broadcast, the station received numerous calls including one from SBS chairman Raúl Alarcón, whom Santos described as ''not very happy.''
Miami Herald report:
2003-01-08: An unusual prize offered by BBC Radio Five Live has given a Devon man a role in the demolition of the "twin towers" of Wembley Stadium in London.
Ray Tidmarsh from Dawlish will press the button to set off the demolition, which is expected to take place later this month.
He will also get a piece of rubble as a souvenir together with Wembley memorabilia.
During the competition, which ran for a week, Tidmarsh correctly identified clips of events hosted at Wembley including the 1948 Olympic Games and 1985 London Live Aid concert, and was judged to have composed the best tie breaker.
2003-01-08: Whatever the US and British governments may say, CBS it would seem is confident that there will be a war with Iraq judging by the wording of Westwood One's announcement of a new daily weekday 45-second feature "Showdown with Saddam" that started airing on Monday.
"Showdown With Saddam", says the announcement, "utilizes the vast resources of CBS News at the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, on Capitol Hill, in Baghdad and around the world to provide an in-depth look at the reality of an impending war."
"The feature will cover the latest on the standoff with Iraq, the chances of an actual war, the movement of U.S. troops and equipment to the Persian Gulf area, and the escalating rhetoric on all sides."
The feature is hosted by news correspondent Dan Raviv.
Westwood One has also announced that it is to provide exclusive worldwide radio coverage of the 45th Annual GRAMMY Awards including the nominations and live cover of the awards ceremony from Madison Square Garden in New York City on February 23.
Previous Westwood One:
Westwood One web site:
2003-01-08: Radio One's WDMK-FM, Detroit, has become the first commercial US station to commence digital broadcasts using iBiquity's HD (in-band-on channel) technology.
In September last year, Radio One announced a deal with Harris Corporation for a complete turnkey implementation of iBiquity's system for its stations in Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, Detroit and Atlanta (See RNW Sept 13, 2002).
Ibiquity is demonstrating its system at the International Consumer Electronics Show, which opens in Las Vegas tomorrow, and it is expected to announce a number of licensing deals.
Previous Radio One Inc:
2003-01-08: Clear Channel, which had said it was planning to offer USD500 million in bonds to redeem
AMFM 8.1% and 8.75% Senior Subordinated Notes due in 2007 (See RNW Jan 7), ended up overdoing it by USD 300 million.
It sold USD500 million worth of ten-year 5.75% notes due to mature on January 15, 2013 plus another USD 300 million worth of 4.625% five year notes to mature on January 15, 2008.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-01-07: The US Federal Communication Commission's newest Commissioner, Democrat Jonathan Adelstein in his first speech as a Commissioner, has lined up with his colleague Michael J Copps in urging caution over further media-deregulation in the US, saying that any changes made "could massively and irreversibly change the media landscape."
Speaking to the Future Of Music Coalition Policy Summit at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, he noted that the FCC was "charged with charged with protecting what the Supreme Court referred to as an 'uninhibited marketplace of ideas'" and added that this meant "not only that the FCC should not impose restrictions, but also that we should refrain from actions that have the effect of impeding the exchange of diverse viewpoints."
"We need to ensure, " he continued, "that we do not allow the structure of the industries that distribute ideas and creative products to limit the voices that can be heard in this country and in each of our communities."
Turning to the issue of changing regulation, he said, "The FCC must proceed very cautiously, because if we permit further media consolidation and it turns out to be a mistake, we will find it difficult, if not impossible, to put the toothpaste back in the tube. "
Adelstein then summed up the radio consolidation that had occurred since the passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, including references to a study from the coalition that concluded that consolidation had led to an increasing amount of programming being done at national rather than local level.
Copps then noted that the US "unlike some other countries" had "never awarded nationwide radio licenses."
"Radio stations," said Adelstein, "are licensed to communities and serve as outlets for local expression."
He then commented on various studies and the meaning of the term "diversity", saying, "The FCC has historically achieved it by ensuring that no single company can dominate the public discourse in any given town or nationwide. Viewpoint diversity remains critical, because it is the new ideas, the new content, and the airing of news and public affairs that fuel our culture and that are at the heart of our democracy. "
It was clear from the studies, he said, that the effects of radio consolidation could not be measured by calculating advertising revenues or the number of formats.
"Ownership consolidation in local markets by definition," he said, " reduces competition and puts programming decisions into the hands of comparatively fewer, often national, players. Therefore, we must consider how consolidation affects the programming choices available to listeners and the level of local public affairs coverage."
"We also must consider how consolidation affects all of you as artists. Years ago, as a new artist, you might have gotten your first airplay on your local station - in a town where the DJ heard you at a local club the night before and wanted everyone else to hear you, as well. As national groups buy out more local stations, that town may no longer have a local DJ at all."
Adelstein also called for a re-evaluation of the way the Commission calculated the number of stations in a market.
"For example, take the small town of Yankton, South Dakota, in my home state," he said. "The way the FCC set up its market definition, it considers Yankton one of the largest markets in the country. That means that one owner can control eight radio stations in town - but there are not even eight stations in Yankton! So one person can own them all! Clearly, there is something wrong with how the FCC currently draws market boundaries. This issue is pending before us right now."
In addition to Adelstein's comments, more organisations have been revealing details of their comments made to the FCC about media regulation.
As might be expected, Clear Channel argues that the explosion in the number of media outlets means that ownership rules are no longer needed to promote diversity. It argues that market forces along provide "a sufficient level of diversity and competition to protect and advance the commission's policy goals, without the need for anachronistic ownership rules."
Not all broadcasters agree: Entravision in its filing expresses its concern over the removal of ownership restrictions and argues that if they are weakened or removed "well-tailored regulations" should be put in place to ensure that stations and local audiences do not become victims of anti-competitive behaviour. Entravision says it is commenting on behalf of smaller operators serving minority or special-interest audiences; it wants the FCC to ensure that such operators can survive and flourish and warns that they could be hit by further media consolidation that includes "the clear potential for abuse by those who will hold new and/or greater market power."
A similar concern has been expressed by Pacifica Radio whose board has commented, "What will it matter that some Americans will be able to access hundreds of radio and television stations if most are owned by a few corporations?"
"Democracy," it adds, "means a diversity of media owners, not an overflow of channels and Web sites offering roughly the same formats and political viewpoints."
Comments by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) filed in conjunction with the Writers Guild of America directly contradict some of the submissions by broadcasters.
AFTRA National President John Connolly said, "AFTRA and its members have a unique inside perspective on the urgent need to maintain the remaining ownership rules Although media companies may claim they do not exert control over news decisions in the local markets, the union's experience illustrates otherwise."
"Local broadcast station contract negotiations, for example, are generally conducted by corporate, rather than local station representatives, with corporate demands often taking precedence over local issues," explains Connolly.
"And our journalist members know that their general managers often receive mandates regarding the types of stories to be investigated and reported. There are several examples of local stories being 'killed' because they dealt with topics that corporate management did not want to see reported."
Previous Clear Channel:
AFTRA web site (Links to release on comments):
2003-01-07: Chrysalis's re-launch of LBC on FM yesterday got off to a rough start for anyone not lovers of silence; it was marred by technical difficulties and the inabilities of its main breakfast show hosts, John Nicolson and Jane Moore, to deal smoothly with unexpected problems although newsreader Howard Hughes, formerly with Capital FM, showed his pedigree and handled them well.
The show was undisciplined at times with presenters and guests talking over each other, adverts were played out over the presenters' voices, and a number of audio clips just didn't appear leading to periods of "dead air".
As well as the technical difficulties, Moore, a tabloid newspaper columnist, made the mistake of intrusively interrupting guests to broadcast her own views in marked contrast to the interviews conducted by Nicolson, a former TV presenter, who generally handled them competently.
On the news side, the station was shown up by rivals: it opted to use its news service from Sky for its 8 am lead over the charging of a man with the murders of three women, had to settle for a mobile phone call from its reporter covering the London siege at Hackney, and relied heavily on the use of experts and pundits to comment on stories.
On the plus side for those who are fans of his it had Sir John Elton as star guest and it has also signed former ITN reporter Sandy Gall as its world affairs editor although at 75 he hardly seems likely to entice the younger audience.
Reviewing the show in the UK Guardian, former LBC late-night talk host Robbie Vincent commented favourably on the move to FM and the extra resources but then said that they "ended up making breakfast with Jane Moore and John Nicolson overcrowded and too zoo-like."
"True, it is day one, but if there is a competition running for our morning hosts and guests to talk over each other, this morning was a success," continued Vincent. "Presenter chemistry, they say, is important - but so far it's a bit like cough medicine."
"Thank goodness for commercial radio's finest ever newsreader, Howard Hughes, who lorded over regular periods of dead air as if they were meant to be there. Sorry to disappoint dead air fans but I don't think this will be a regular feature."
"And thank goodness for the excellent Nick Ferrari, whose callers outshone all the talking heads within minutes and went straight for the throat with some great insights into gun crime, gangster rap music and keeping gunmen out of Britain."
Across town at Capital FM, the new Chris Tarrant breakfast show, and at SMG -owned Virgin the move to breakfast by former drivetime duo Pete Mitchell and Geoff Lloyd, both went smoothly.
Tarrant now starts later and the early part of the show is hosted by former BBC Newsround present Becky Jago who coped well.
Later in the day, Jeremy Vine also performed competently on the BBC Radio 2 lunchtime show, starting off with Bruce Springsteen track "Thunder Road" and hitting cues on time in a show that was also helped by an interview with Home Secretary David Blunkett in full flow following the shooting dead of two Birmingham women who had been caught in gang crossfire when they went out for a breath of air during a New Year's party.
Blunkett called for restraints on rap music and automatic five-year jail sentences for those caught carrying guns.
Reacting to the playing on the show of a track by Jay-Z, containing the lyrics: "mo murder for the ROC gangs, reader to fire, one body, two body, three body four... I'm above the law" Blunkett said he thought the lyrics were "appalling" and suggested that music lyrics should come under the same race hate laws as everything else.
RNW note: Blunkett's comments come at a time when cocaine use is reported to be on the increase in the UK and ironically just as a study from the US suggests thatautomatic jail sentences for carrying guns did not necessarily cut gun crime.
The study "Evaluating Gun Policy: Effects on Crime and Violence" (to be published by the Brookings Institute) looke at the Project Exile anti-gun crime programme in Richmond, Virginia,and says that the fall of nearly a third in gun killings was in line with falls nationwide in the US and was probably not linked to the programme's imposition of an automatic five-year sentence for felons carrying guns.
The study concluded Richmond's experience was in line with that of other cities that had seen large increases in crime in connection with the rise of the crack cocaine trade; when this faded, so had gun crimes.
Other experience in the US has also failed to make any direct connection between rap lyrics and crime, although similar criticisms have been voiced in the US that the recording companies are promoting gang culture.
Previous SMG (Virgin owner): :
UK Guardian - Vincent on LBC re-launch:
2003-01-07: US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Executive Vice President and chief lobbyist Jim Mays is leaving to become President and Chief Executive Officer of the Air Transport Association. He takes up his new role on February 3 and succeeds Carol B. Hallett who is retiring.
NAB President and CEO Eddie Fritts said NAB was "disappointed" to see Mays leave, adding, "Under Jim's leadership, NAB Government Relations became a catalyst for energizing our grassroots membership, and NAB is regarded as one of the most effective lobbying operations in Washington. Fortunately, Jim leaves the department in excellent shape, with a first-rate team of highly regarded professionals."
2003-01-07: BBC World Service is to start broadcasting at the end of the week (it will be on the World Service website from January 10) the first of a series of five programmes, Inside the Global Giants that look at the impact of giant global corporations and how they operate.
Hosted by Lesley Curwen, the series begins on January 10 and considers the operations of such giants as Unilever, Shell, and Levi.
Another series, the Global Music Machine to be broadcast in three parts from January 18, examines the rise of the five multinational major record labels and examines the massive challenges to their continued success including problems from piracy and competition from other areas of entertainment such as video games.
It also looks at the day defined radio formats have grown and how, particularly in the US< power is being concentrated in a small number of giant media corporations and explores the impact of the digital revolution in music, which has permitted easier copying of music and downloading from the internet.
2003-01-07: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has red-flagged on ownership concentration grounds Triad Broadcasting's planned USD37 million purchase of four stations in Peoria, Illinois, from JMP Media (See RNW Dec 25, 2002).
Triad itself owns no other stations in Illinois but the FCC is expressing concern over the sale because of the strength in the market of AAA Entertainment, which owns seven stations, and Regent, which owns six.
Triad is already uperating the stations under a local marketing agreement.
2003-01-07: US radio giant Clear Channel is to put on offer USD 500 million in five and ten-year notes, saying it intends to use the proceeds to finance the redemption of AMFM 8.1% and 8.75% Senior Subordinated Notes due in 2007.
Clear Channel took over the notes when it bought AMFM in 2000.
It has also announced that corporate and investment banking veteran Phyllis Riggins is to join its board of directors, Riggins, who retired last year, was head of Republic National Bank's Media and Telecommunications Group and retained the post for successor companies including Bank of America.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-01-06: As so many of the columnists have been filling space over the past week with a look back at the year, it would seem churlish not to give some of them a second look starting with Dean Johnson, whose Boston Radio column in the Boston Herald opened with a succinct summary: "There's only one thing you need to know about Boston radio in 2002: Six program directors got new jobs in the city."
He then added, "That's six with an asterisk because one of them, Jeff Scott, left dance station WQSX-FM before he even got there, an odd circumstance that's never been fully explained."
After dealing PD moves, Johnson moved on to air talent, noting that "nobody was safe" including Rocko, who was dumped from WAAF, where he long been a mainstay, when his contract ran out, and Opie and Anthony, whose ratings didn't save them from the fallout from the sex in St. Patrick's cathedral stunt (See RNW Aug 24, 2002).
Johnson also comments on an issue that is going to run again this year, that of consolidation in US broadcasting, writing, "Another result of radio's massive consolidation over the last few years surfaced in Boston during 2002."
"There are few real airwave rivalries anymore. Instead, most local radio companies looked for complementary or niche formats rather than risk head-to-head encounters with a well-entrenched rival."
In Chicago, Robert Feder in his look over 2002 for the Sun-Times, notes that the city's biggest winners in broadcasting were on radio when "A high school dropout and former hot dog stand operator named Mike North and a couple of journeymen disc jockeys named Eddie Volkman and Joe Bohannon renewed with their respective stations--Infinity Broadcasting's WSCR-AM and WBBM-FM--for a staggering $1.5 million a year apiece."
Feder then points out that Infinity eased up on the spondulicks when it came to Felicia Middlebrooks.
She and her agent, he writes, "played their hand so badly that Middlebrooks nearly lost her gig at WBBM-AM (780) as the highest paid local radio newsreader in America."
He then intersperses the column with some quotes from Middlebrooks:
*"This is not just about my salary or my efforts to keep my job. This battle is bigger than me. If I am removed, then so is a vital voice for women and minorities on this station. So you see, this is a battle I must fight, not just for myself, but for the women and/or minorities that will follow me."--Felicia Middlebrooks in an open letter to colleagues after her $350,000-a-year contract expired (March 5).
*"Please do NOT reveal that you're being asked to do this. Just let them know you're upset. With God's help, I can work to usher in a positive change in the course of history at WBBM and the radio industry." --Felicia Middlebrooks, asking friends to threaten a boycott of her station if she doesn't receive a substantial raise (March 6).
*"I feel what I did was the right thing, and I stand by it." --Felicia Middlebrooks, after rejecting her station's "final" contract offer and calling it quits after 20 years (March 14).
*"I look forward to continuing my commitment to the station and our listeners." --Felicia Middlebrooks, after accepting the identical "final" offer, reinstated thanks to the Rev. Jesse Jackson (March 16).
Which exchange nearly provides a natural link to a UK Guardian review by Elisabeth Mahoney of a BBC Radio 3 "Sunday Feature" programme in which "people were being very clever about stupidity."
"We were reminded of Flaubert's assertion that for happiness all you need is good health, selfishness and to be stupid while Marx ranked stupidity after only the economy and violence as a historical determinant", continued Mahoney.
"Umberto Eco explained the genius's interest in its opposite - the smart see stupidity, he suggested, as "an upside-down exceptionality", fearing that they could too easily swap places - and Susan Sontag noted George Bush's masterful display of 'stupidity as performance', a tactic that seems to win over much of the American electorate."
"'A certain kind of stupidity is very admired here,' Sontag noted grimly.
"But, concluded Mahoney, "the best bits in this lively history of dimwittedness featured the clever actually being stupid."
"Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society in the mid-18th century, thought lobsters and fleas so similar that he believed them to be the same species. To test this hypothesis, he boiled fleas and lobsters, proving conclusively thereby, as a historian detailed with much glee, 'that fleas were not the same as lobsters because they do not turn pink'. "
"There then followed a long, rich gurgle of a laugh; the sound of stupidity being spotted across the years and with the generous protection of hindsight."
Also in the UK, Vanora Bennett in the London Times proffers a ray of hope about the future of children's radio.
She starts off more gloomily, commenting, "It is an old tradition that only the festive season makes BBC programmers remember the millions of under-16s out there."
"Then they suddenly get excited at having discovered a new generation of potential listeners, and put on wonderfully imaginative stuff for them for a few weeks (my favourite this Christmas was Radio 4's Where the Wild Things Are on Christmas Day, with Maurice Sendak's drawings miraculously transformed into grunting sound-only Wild Things). Yet as soon as the holidays are over, kids are banished from the schedules again."
Then she adds, "But not this year. Suddenly there is an unfamiliar whiff of hope in the air."
The hope, however doesn't come from BBC Radio 4 but from a combination of children's programming from Classic FM and from new technology in the form of digital radio, with both the BBC 7 digital channel and commercial digital talk station Oneword contributing, allied with websites.
"It is a smart bet by the BBC," writes Bennett, "that children will most happily listen on bedroom computers, while they mess about with electronic games, thus gaining a taste for radio."
"Who knows? They may even get keen enough to nag their parents into buying the digital radios that the BBC wants us to invest in next."
Finally a reminder of the ancient pedigree of general excess on New Year's Day, celebrated as the "Feast of Fools" in 15th century Catholic Ireland and the subject of a documentary on Irish state broadcaster RTÉ, "Monks of Unreason and Abbots of Misrule".
The programme was reviewed by Gerry McCarthy in his column in the UK Sunday Times and as he noted, the day was one when "choirboys dressed as bishops, incense burners were replaced by giant thrusting sausages, and the congregation brayed their responses like so many asses."
The documentary, much of it based on material assembled from surviving medieval manuscripts, commented McCarthy "fulfilled the most vital function of any radio documentary by treating its subject in an original and engaging style."
In particular he notes that the clergy at first described the activities without disapproval and "it was only later, when reformers began to mutter about idolatry, that the feast was suppressed."
"Inverted practices," writes McCarthy, "were common across Europe to celebrate the new year: unholy versions of the Lord's prayer celebrated the glories of wine, women and song. One finished "deliver us from our clothes", which gives some indication as to what might have happened next."
"RTÉ, ever sensitive to the delicacy of listeners' ears, preceded the documentary with a warning that some might find the contents shocking."
"Well, no, actually. Highly amusing, yes, and informative; but only a Christian fundamentalist with an unusually narrow mind could have objected to a report on the practices of his own church 800 years ago. On the other hand, maybe RTE had a point: memories of misrule have long faded, and this country has a recent tradition of being run by people who take a dim view of excess. There are still drunks at midnight mass, but they're not part of the ceremony."
"It is difficult to imagine Cardinal Connell in choirboy costume being menaced by a giant phallic sausage. Difficult, but not impossible. This column takes its metaphorical hat off to any radio programme that can achieve it, as this one did."
So do we. A happy New Year to all who concur!
Boston Herald - Johnson:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
UK Guardian - Mahoney:
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy:
UK Times - Bennett:
2003-01-06: Today sees a swathe of new battle lines in British radio with LBC's re-launch and new shows on BBC Radio 2 and Virgin Radio being just part of changes being made this month..
The LBC re-launch by new owners Chrysalis Group will see LBC swap its AM frequency with the former News Direct FM frequency, with LBC becoming a talk station on FM and News Direct becoming LBC News 1152 on the AM band.
On BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine takes over the lunchtime slot from Sir Jimmy Young and is expected to start with a Bruce Springsteen record as he begins his new role on a permanent basis; he has already been a stand-in on the show.
Vine, a former BBC news reporter and BBC TV Newsnight presenter, is 37, less than half the age of his octogenarian predecessor and can expect flak from Young fans who have already been filing messages to the programmes website opposing the decision to drop Young.
Vine is something of a BBC Golden Boy and is also to host a new political show next month when "The Politics Show with Jeremy Vine" takes over the Sunday lunchtime slot currently held by "On the Record", hosted by veteran BBC Radio 4 Today show presenter John Humphrys.
Vine's Radio 2 show is expected to be more news-driven than the "JY" show, reflecting Vine's working background which began on the Coventry Evening Telegraph as a graduate trainee followed by a move to the BBC under its news trainee scheme and subsequent BBC career including a spell as a reporter on the Today programme, as a political correspondent, and as the BBC's Africa correspondent.
At Virgin, owned by SMG, former drivetime duo Pete Mitchell and Geoff Lloyd move into the breakfast slot in a swap with Daryl Denham, who originally joined Virgin in the afternoon slot but stepped into the breakfast role when Steve Penk walked out a year ago (See RNW Jan 26, 2001).
In other changes this month, Chris Tarrant's breakfast show on Capital is being truncated and starts later whilst at BBC Radio 5 Live, Nicky Campbell and Victoria Derbyshire are taking over the breakfast show.
In another move, Mark Goodier yesterday took over the Classic FM Chart Show from Paul Gambaccini and also launched The Smash Hits Chart, which will go out on all the commercial radio stations owned by EMAP; Goodier's BBC Radio 1 pop chart slot is to be hosted from next month by newcomer Wes Butters.
Previous GWR (owns Classic FM):
2003-01-06: There are mixed forecasts for advertising outlook for radio this year with general confidence in North America and less in the UK, although long-term forecasts seem positive in both areas.
In the US, Robert Coen, director of forecasting at Universal McCann in New York, is projecting a 5-per-cent and in Canada
Toronto-based Optimedia Canada Inc. is forecasting an overall increase of around 4% compared with 2002 with the highest increase for TV and online advertising at around 6% and 5.5% with radio lagging at 2.3%.
In the UK, there is still caution with Capital Radio chief executive David Mansfield amongst those remaining cautious; he commented that they would be working on the basis that there would be no improvement during the year.
In addition to the effect of general economic conditions, a London Business School study of actual and planned marketing expenditure in the top five global markets, those of the USA, Japan, Germany, UK, and France, indicates that traditional media advertising (radio, television, newspapers, etc.) will account for 44.4 percent of marketing spending in the five countries this year, down from 45.4 percent in 2001.
However direct mail will grow to 13.3 percent by the end of 2003, up from 12.8 percent in 2001, and interactive marketing (email, websites, Internet advertising, and cell phones) will achieve a 7 percent share by the end of this year, up from 6.1 percent in 2001.
The study, based on phone interviews with executives at more than 700 companies, says that unlike the cutbacks in total expenditure, the shifts in resource allocation towards interactive marketing and direct mail appear to be permanent.
Area by area, the study says that:
*In the USA, interactive marketing is rapidly gaining share and sales promotion and PR/sponsorship are losing share.
*In Japan, direct mail is losing share and PR/sponsorship is gaining. Interactive marketing is gaining, in line with the general trend.
*In Germany, media advertising is significantly losing share while sales promotion and PR/sponsorship are gaining. Interactive marketing is barely gaining share.
*In the UK, both media advertising and PR/sponsorship are losing share while direct mail and inter-active marketing are gaining.
*In France, media advertising is gaining slightly, against the trend elsewhere, while sales promotion is losing and interactive marketing growing only slowly (from a base which is already lower than in the other countries).
London Business School study (280Kb PDF):
2003-01-06: Pennsylvania station WLER-FM's anti-smoking commercial s have featured way beyond the state in an AP item carried in a number of US newspapers; the adverts are carried in its "Dead Air" programme, which is sponsored by the Butler County Tobacco Prevention and Control Program and the Butler County Tobacco Coalition.
The funds come from Pennsylvania's USD 11 billion share of a settlement between US states and the tobacco industry and the station is charging half its normal rate.
The advertisements use a mixture of satire, humour, and talks from peers.
One features Joe Chemo -- a cancer-stricken, disgruntled satire of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s now-extinct Joe Camel advertising campaign, another an aspiring dancer telling the audience how cigarette smoking sapped her energy.
"`We don't throw statistics at them. The ads kind of sound like conversations on the school bus,'' said Butler County Drug and Alcohol Program Director Kimberly Clark, who helped producer John Walchesky create the programme.
Cheryl Healton, president and chief executive of the American Legacy Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based foundation that works to decrease tobacco use told the AP radio programs were good ways to reach teenagers because they are drawn to music .
The foundation created and distributed a similar radio program -- one that featured edgy music and commentary -- about two years ago, Healton said.
Since 80 percent of all smokers had their first cigarette before the age of 18, it's important to convey that ``young people are in the driver's seat,'' Healton said, "It's an approach that helps young people see themselves as wary consumers,'' she added.
New York Times/AP report:
2003-01-05: With a number of regulators deciding to close for all or most of the week, activity was light on the ground with nothing at all from Australia, Canada or Ireland.
In the UK, the only announcement by the Radio Authority was a pre-advertisement of the Taunton & Yeovil area FM licence. This is currently held by GWR's Orchard FM, which will be invited to submit a fast-track application if no competing declarations of intent to apply are received by February 4.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also had a fairly quiet time although it had to deal with a last minute flurry of comments concerning media regulation submitted just before its end of week deadline (See RNW Jan 4).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-01-05: Clear Channel has again stopped some of its Internet streams because of charges but this time not those for advertising or webcast performing royalties but, if a notice posted by Modern Rocker KTBZ-FM applies more widely, for those charged for song and music royalties but the music licensing organisations BMI and ASCAP.
It's cut signals from some 100 to 150 stations including those in San Jose, Miami and Dallas stations but is still streaming signals from a number of other major markets.
Clear Channel streaming is now controlled locally following its decision to fold its Internet division.
In April 2001, Clear Channel was amongst the organisations that cut its streams in protest at a decision by the American Federation of Radio and TV Artists (AFTRA) to enforce an agreement requiring extra payments for advertisements that were streamed over the Internet (See RNW April 11, 2001).
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-01-05: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio 1 has revamped its Saturday line-up starting yesterday, with new entertainment shows in its line-up. They are:
*a 30-minute show at 11 AM. hosted by comedian Al Rae, The CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival Presents, which features the best of Winnipeg's annual festival. It runs until March 29.
* Roots Music Canada at 11:30 AM , which comes from Vancouver and is hosted by Venk Chandran. It focuses on folk, country and world music and runs for three weeks.
* Grooveshinny, a new musical game show that picks up the 11:30 slot from January 25 and will feature games, interviews and live performances and include invited guests competing with professional musicians to display their knowledge of all kinds of music.It is hosted by Brent Bambury.
2003-01-04: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) deadline for writing comment on media ownership changes produced an expected last minute rush of responses, most of them predictably self-interested from those making the comments.
The changes will affect the whole US communications industry including broadcasting, cable, Internet and phone companies and it is widely expected that the further deregulation agenda of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael K. Powell will prevail.
Powell is expected to be supported on most points by fellow Republicans on the Commission, Kevin J. Martin and Kathleen Q. Abernathy, with Democrat commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael J. Copps fighting a weakened rearguard action following last year's elections which put a Republican majority into the Senate.
It also gave chairmanship of the Senate Commerce Committee to Powell supporter Sen. John McCain (Republican, Arizona) and took it from Powell critic, Sen. Ernest F. Hollings (Democrat, South Carolina) who had accused Powell of being in the pocket of big business.
In essence, the big networks including Viacom, which owns CBS and Infinity and entered a joint filing with Fox and NBC, want the whole current framework of regulations dropped; they say eight privately funded studies have shown that consolidation of television and radio stations leads to more diversity of programming and local news.
They say there "There is no longer any public-interest need served by the commission's media ownership rules -- in fact, the rules frequently undermine rather than advance the commission's policy goals."
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), whose lengthy filing was made in conjunction with the Network Affiliated
Stations Alliance (NASA) wants the 35 percent national television ownership cap to be retained, saying this furthers core communications policies, particularly localism and competition.
In addition, NASA advocates retention of the dual network rule because it fosters competition and the emergence of new major networks.
On other issues, where the interests of its members are not in conflict with those of the networks, NAB favours deregulation, in particular the ending of the broadcaster-newspaper and radio-television cross ownership restrictions although it says it supports "limited and properly reformed same-outlet restrictions."
In terms of radio markets, it says that the FCC should simply comply with numerical limits set out in the 1996 Telecommunications Act and should impose no "additional public interest requirements" nor change its methods of defining radio markets and the number of stations in a market.
In relation to FCC concerns about news and information, NAB cites a report by Thomas W. Hazlett and David W. Sosa "Was the Fairness Doctrine A "Chilling Effect"? Evidence from the post-deregulation Radio Market" as saying that between 1975 and 1995 the share of informational formats on FM increased from 4.64 percent in 1975 to 7.39 percent in 1995, but the more dramatic increase was in the AM band where the share of informational programming went from 4.29 percent to 27.60 percent.
Offering less support for deregulation are many consumer groups, unions and minority groups, which are already concerned about the power in the hands of a small number of major media companies and conglomerates.
The Minority Media & Telecommunications Council, for example, wants the question of minority ownership to be specifically put on the agenda and wants a public hearing on the subject, and a other groups such as the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Federation of America, and the Writers Guild of America want media-ownership rules strengthened, arguing that they are vital to the nation's democracy and freedom of speech.
The American Federation of Radio and TV Artists (AFTRA) is also arguing that its members will be "negatively impacted by further media consolidation."
(RNW comment: Some of the filings seem to be made on the basis of including "everything including the kitchen sink" and thus listing anything that benefits the argument being made without serious consideration of the actual merits of the relevant evidence in terms of the current real world situation.
In some cases, the arguments seem to us to be reasonably argued in terms of the effects of changes in technology and some of their implications; in others they seem to be merely statements that serve the argument but are not put in any context.
An example above is NAB's inclusion in its filing of comments relating to the "Fairness Doctrine (See above), in a context mainly of consolidation. We are not clear quite how this relates to post 1996 Act consolidation and the issues currently on the agenda, unless NAB is expecting the re-imposition of some kind of fairness rule.
Another example is NAB's submission in terms of public service by broadcasters, who as Commission Michael Cops points out are using "public property" when they broadcast on the airwaves and, judging by figures paid for stations, are doing very nicely out of it.
For example, is NAB actually arguing that if stations were to drop all "free" Public Service Announcements, broadcasters would actually be able to attract another USD6.6 billion a year in paid advertising for the time and would suffer no downside in public perception? These and many "charitable" actions we would accept as enlightened but not necessarily as being devoid of self-interest, thus significantly weakening the arguments as made.)
NAB web site (links to submissions - in PDF format ranging from 95Kb summary through 288Kb NAB ownership submission and 577 NAB/NASA ownership submission to 2Mb NAB/NASA regulatory submission)
2003-01-04: UK Chrysalis Group says its breakfast host Jane Moore has secured Sir Elton John as a star guest for the LBC breakfast show when it re-launches the station on FM on Monday; it had hoped for an interview with British Prime Minister Tony Blair but has is on holiday and was unavailable.
Elton John was best man when Moore married Sony Music head Gary Farrow in May last year in a ceremony at the musician's mansion in Windsor and is expected to feature in several phone interviews from France during the inaugural show.
LBC has been involved in a number of dry runs for the re-launch, which involves a line-up of new hosts and a switch to the former News Direct FM frequency whilst News Direct becomes LBC News 1152 on the AM band.
2003-01-04: The deal is a small one compared to the recent Big City Radio sales but Clear Channel is back in action, this time in a station swap that takes it into a new Mississippi market.
It's to acquire WQYZ-FM, Ocean Springs, in the Biloxi market in Mississippi, from Star Broadcasting in exchange for WTKM-FM, Holt, in the Pensacola market in Florida.
Each station is being priced at USD 1.29 million and the swap will take place as soon as Star closes on its purchase of WQYZ from Golden Gulf Broadcast.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-01-03: Big City Radio is now nearly out of the radio business with an announcement for a USD 33 million deal with Hispanic Broadcasting for WXXY-FM, which is licensed to the Highland Park suburb of Chicago.
This leaves Big City with just one station left, WYXX-FM, also in the Chicago area; just before Christmas it announced the sale of its Los Angeles stations to Entravision in a USD137 million cash and shares deal (See RNW Dec 25) and then followed this by sales of its New York stations to Nassau Broadcasting for USD43 million in cash (See RNW Jan 1) and of three more Chicago area stations to Spanish Broadcasting for USD 22 million in cash (See RNW Jan 2 ).
Under the latest deal, Hispanic has acted in conjunction with Lakeshore Media as advisor to set up an agreement under which Superior Broadcasting of Chicago will hold WXXY-FM's broadcasting licences and some other station assets and Hispanic will programme the station under a time brokerage arrangement.
Hispanic also has an option to subsequently purchase the licences and other assets subject to prior Federal Communications Commission (FCC) consent and Hispanic says that it anticipates that following completion of its planned merger with Univision an application will be made for assignment of the FCC licences to the merged company.
When the acquisition closes, Hispanic plans to use the frequency to simulcast the signal of its WLXX-AM station.
Financing for the acquisition will come from a combination of Hispanic's cash on hand and borrowings under existing credit arrangements.
Previous Big City:
Previous Hispanic Broadcasting:
2003-01-03: UK Chrysalis Group's dance plus rhythm and blues format Galaxy network is to be broadcast on Switch Digital's multiplexes in London and Central Scotland from later this month; its digital rock format The Arrow is also to be broadcast on the Central Scotland multiplex that covers Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The move will extend Galaxy's potential audience to around 28 million; it is currently broadcast on four analogue stations in Birmingham, Manchester, Yorkshire and the northeast as well as on digital multiplexes in the Midlands and part of Northern England.
2003-01-03: MUSICMATCH's artist match channel and Clear Channel retained the station and network top spots respectively in the latest Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings just released for the week ending December 22. The week was also notable for the presence of five Christmas-related channels in the top 25, two from MUSICMATCH and three from Moontaxi.
At the top of the station rankings, Radioio kept second spot and New York Times classical station WQXR-FM headed up to third; overall listening was up but not for most of the top channels.
For the week to Dec 22, Arbitron-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: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 291,960 (321,494); CP 137,930 (145,002). Same position with lower listening and reach.
2: Adult alternative Radioio - TTSL 282,396 (262,458); CP 52,854 (53,759) Same position with higher listening but lower reach.
3: Classical format WQXR-FM- 202,979 (220,250); CP 34,132 (35,678). Up from fourth despite lower listening and reach.
4: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 180,679 (178,533); CP 33,181 (32,187). Up from fifth with higher listening and reach.
5: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 175,293 (223,280); CP 31,727 (53,812): Down from third with lower listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week to December 22 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 1,538,156 (1,508,860); CP 321,330 (326,379) - Same rank with higher listening but slightly lower reach.
2: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,322,807 (1,392,257); CP 405,444 (417,349). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
3: StreamAudio TTSL 997,265 (1,038,810); CP 143,607 (151,393). Same position with lower listening and reach.
4: WARP Radio TTSL 615,890 (610,857) hours: CP 100,342 (109,407) - Up from fifth with higher listening and reach.
5: Moontaxi TTSL 566,883 (413,940); CP 131,493 (100,350) - Up from ninth with jump in listening and reach.
*Radio Free Virgin fell from fifth the previous week to sixth with TTSL down from 622,614 to 552,920 and CP down from 102,048 to 86,055.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings:
Arbitron web site:
2003-01-02: Big City Radio has added more station sales to its list with an announcement that is has sold three of its Illinois stations to Spanish Broadcasting System for USD 22 million in cash.
They are WDEK-FM, licensed to De Kalb; WKIE-FM, licensed to Arlington Heights, and WKIF-FM, licensed to Kankakee.
Following its Los Angeles and New York station sales, Big City now has two stations in Illinois, WXXY-FM and WYXX-FM and is said to be close to finding a buyer for these.
Previous Big City:
2003-01-02: The latest complaints bulletin issued by the UK Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) upheld three complaints against radio compared with only one in its previous bulletin.
In all the Commission dealt with 91 complaints, two fewer than in the previous bulletin. 15 of these concerned radio and 75 concerned TV compared with 15 and 77 respectively a month earlier.
Of five fairness complaints, only two were upheld, one against Isle of Wight radio and another partially upheld TV complaint.
Of the remaining 86 standards complaints, 14 were against radio and 72 against TV compared to 16 and 74 a month earlier; no statements were required from broadcasters in 63 cases, 56 TV compared with 38 TV a month before and seven radio compared with nine.
One radio complaint was resolved and three upheld, involving Isle of Wight Radio, Century FM, and TalkSport; no complaints were upheld against any BBC radio shows.
The resolved case involved playing of a wrong version of a track in error by Choice FM: the track had been cut short when the error was realised, the station had apologized and the presenter had been reprimanded.
The Isle of Wight case involved comments by presenter Alex Dyke about the poor quality of cleaning services at the station. The commission accepted that the item was intended to be light-hearted but felt that it was unjustified of the host to use as a foil and name an individual he had never met. It noted that the station had expressed regret and offered to broadcast an apology and that the co-presenters had defended the cleaner.
The Century FM complaint upheld concerned a joke about a priest and choir boy broadcast on the Graham Mack Attack show. The station accepted that the joke was "wholly inappropriate for broadcast, particularly on a breakfast show, at a time when children may be listening" and the presenter had accepted that its broadcast was a serious error of judgment.
The standards complaint upheld against TalkSport involved a complaint about racist remarks by the presenter during the No Nonsense Sports Breakfast show on June 22.
TalkSport had said that the comments had been about the expertise of an Egyptian referee in the World Cup soccer tournament and that the presenter had made it clear he had nothing against Egyptians but, after listening to the tapes, the Commission held that "the derogatory and far-reaching nature of the presenter's comments had exceeded criticism of the personal performance of the Egyptian referee in question and had exceeded acceptable boundaries for broadcast."
Previous BSC Complaints Bulletin:
BSC web site (Links to report 94 kb PDF)
2003-01-01: Big City Radio has agreed to sell its four "Rumba" format simulcast, WYNY-FM, WWZY-FM, WWXY-FM and WWYY-FM, to Nassau Broadcasting for USD43 million.
Last week, Big City, which had said it would consider bankruptcy unless it managed to sell its stations to pay debts, agreed a USD137 million deal to sell its Los Angeles stations to Entravision (See RNW Dec 25)
In other US deals this week, Liberman Broadcasting has now formally filed to purchase for USD35 million, the Astor Broadcast Group's adult contemporary KMXN-FM, serving Orange County, California; Liberman is to begin use the frequency under a Locall Management Agreement before closure.
It will simulcast the signal from KBUA-FM, San Fernando, that is already simulcasting Liberman's "Que Buena" Regional Mexican format from KBUE-FM, thus giving the format cover over the whole Los Angeles-Orange County area.
In Chicago, time-brokerage ethnic specialist Polnet Communications is to add a third suburban AM to its existing stations, WKTA-AM & WNVR-AM, with a USD 1.1million purchase of WEEF-AM, Highland Park, from Leveton Communications, which is leaving the radio business.
Polnet also owns two AMs in New York State, WRKL-AM, which it bought for around USD 1.6 million and started operating in 1999, and WLIM-AM, Suffolk County.
In Georgia, the Federal Communications Commission has now given the go-ahead for Cumulus's USD34 million acquisition of seven stations from U.S. Broadcasting. It had red-flagged the deal, along with the purchase of WAVH-FM in Mobile, Alabama, a deal that is still pending.
The FCC has also given the all clear for NewRadio Group's USD 19 million purchase of 22 stations from Marathon Media (See RNW Oct 3).
Previous Big City:
Previous NewRadio Group:
2003-01-01:According to the UK Times, market research group Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) is now in advanced talks with Arbitron for a joint venture to roll out round the world Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) system that used embedded codes to determine what audiences are listening to.
The two companies are already in joint efforts to gain PPM contracts in Australia and Belgiumand TNS has been testing the system in Singapore (See RNW Dec 6).
In the UK, RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research organisation) is evaluating both the PPM and its Swiss Radiometer rival that monitors what people are listening to from the audio being broadcast.
UK Times report:
2003-01-01: US overnight host of the weird and wonderful, Art Bell, has now signed off the airwaves for good unless there's a late extra-terrestrial visitation.
The host's website, which has for a while been advertising a commemorative Art Bell site CD, is also closing; it carries a farewell message from Keith Rowland, who founded the site with Art when he was syndicating the show himself and then continued it, with Bell's support, when Premiere took over syndication.
Rowland is to retire along with Bell and the show's new site will be taken over by Premiere.
Previous Art Bell:
2003-01-01: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has cancelled a USD 22, 000 forfeiture issued to Jamie Patrick Broadcasting, Ltd., licensee of KTRY- FM, Bastrop, Louisiana.
The original penalties, issued in November 2001, related to failure to respond to Commission correspondence, failure to install and operate Emergency Alert System (" EAS") equipment, and failure to maintain a public inspection file and the company did not file a response for the FCC's initial notice sent earlier but did respond to a forfeiture order sent in April 2002.
Patrick then argued that it was unable to pay the penalty on financial hardship grounds and asked for additional time to address the violations; it also said that it had maintained the public inspection file, but on the day of the inspection it was not at the main studio but in a desk that had been moved to a sales office and that the station was "manned" 24 hours a day by allowing a homeless person to occupy the facility, and that this person monitored the station's Emergency Broadcast System (" EBS") unit, the lead EAS station in Northeast Louisiana, and the transmitting equipment of the station.
The FCC cancelled the public inspection forfeiture of USD10, 000 based on the company's response and then dropped the remaining USD12, 000 on financial grounds, opting to issue an admonishment in its place.
2003-01-01: Nearly four fifths of Americans consider that local radio stations are fulfilling an "important" role in providing news and information to their communities according to a survey conducted in December by The Mellman Group, Inc. for the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).
Overall nearly two-thirds also said they were "satisfied" with the job local stations were doing. The poll showed a small regional variation but most of those polled said they were satisfied with the job that local stations were doing; highest satisfaction came in the Midwest where 68% said they were "satisfied" and 10% "unsatisfied". In the South the figures became 66% and 11%; in the West 64% and 15%; and in the Northeast 63% and 16%.
Regarding radio as an information source, the survey said 70% of Americans listened to radio for information on news, sports, weather, traffic, and community activities at least several days a week and 51% that they listened daily. In demographic groups, the medium fared least well with younger listeners-- 63% in the 18-34 demographic reported listening several days a week whilst this went up to 76% in the 35-54 demographic and then declined slightly to 69% by listeners 55 and above.
When it came to choice of music, 56% said their favourite local stations played the music they liked most of the time whilst 13% said it did so rarely or never.
(RNW comment- Choosing a "favourite " station question would tend to self-select in a way to give a positive response), so we would have thought these figures indicates a fairly significant shortfall and US figures on the number of classical music stations, for example, would indicate the choice of less popular genres is limited).
In terms of overall variety, 29% of those polled said there was now more variety available than five years ago, 21% that there was no change, and 17% that there was less variety; the remaining 33% were "don't know " responses.
These figures varied by demographic groups with 16% of lower income households (under USD25, 000 a year) saying they perceived less variety and 47% the same or more; middle income (USD25-50, 00) households responded with 13% and 53% replies; and upper income (USD50, 000 plus) responded with 20% and 49% replies.
NAB web site (links to survey):
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December 2002 -February 2003
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