Kathleen Abernathy -(3) - Republican US FCC Commissioner; Lee Abrams - Chief Programming Officer, XM Satellite Radio; Jonathan Adelstein - (2) - US Federal Communications Commissioner; Raúl Alarcón - (2) -Chairman/CEO, Spanish Broadcasting System (US); Edward G. Atsinger III - President and CEO,Salem Communications, US; George G. Beasley - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Beasley Broadcasting, US; Wes Butters - BBC Radio 1 "Chart Show" host; Chris Campling --(2) - UK Times radio columnist; Steve Carney - Los Angeles Times reporter on media; Joseph P Clayton - President and CEO, Sirius (Satellite Radio) (US); Renan Almendarez Coello -Los Angeles KCSA-FM drivetime host; Robert T. Coonrod - President and CEO, Corporation for Public Broadcasting(CPB), US; Michael J. Copps -(5) -US Federal Communications Commissioner; Daryl Denham - Drivetime host ( and former breakfast host) for Virgin, UK; Lewis W. Dickey Jr. - President and Chief Executive Officer, Cumulus Media, US; Lewis W. Dickey Jr. - President and Chief Executive Officer, Cumulus Media, US; Paul Donovan- U.K. Sunday Times radio columnist; Greg Dyke - Director General British Broadcasting Corporation; Robert Feder - Chicago Sun-Times media columnist; David Field - President and CEO Entercom, US; Prof. David Flint -(2) - -chairman, Australian Broadcastng Authority; Gary Fries - President and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau, US; Eddie Fritts - President and Chief Executive Officer, US National Association of Broadcasters; Mark Goodier - former BBC Radio 1 DJ- now Classic FM, chart show host & also host of EMAP's interactive chart show; Jim Gordon - veteran New York news and sports broadcaster (deceased); Ray Hadley -2GB, Sydney, morning host and former sports commentator, 2UE , Sydney; Joel Hollander - President and CEO, Westwood One, US; Richard Hooper-chairman UK Radio Authority; Charles Jaco -(2) - St Louis talk host; Terry Jacobs -(3) - Chairman and CEO, Regent Communications, US; Alan Jones - (2) - Sydney 2GB breakfast host; Mel Karmazin - Viacom President & Chairman and CEO Infinity Broadcasting (US); Kevin Klose - President, US National Public Radio; William Krippaehne Jr. - CEO, Fisher Communications (US); John Laws - (2) - Sydney 2UE morning host; Larry LeSueur - former CBS WW2 radio reporter (deceased); Alfred C. Liggins III - president and chief executive, Radio1 Inc (US); Geoff Lloyd - breakfast host (with Pete Mitchell) for UK Virgin; Kelvin MacKenzie - -chairman and chief executive of U.K. Wireless Group which owns TalkSport; Torey Malatia - general manager, Chicago public station WBEZ-FM; David Margolese - founder and former chairman and Chief Executive Office, Sirius Satellite Radio; Kevin Martin - (2) - Republican US FCC Commissioner L.Lowry Mays -(4) Chairman and Chief Executive,Clear Channel, US; Randall Mays -chief financial officer, Clear Channel (US); John McCain- Republican Senator for Arizona; Brian McCarthy -managing director Rural Press, Austalia; Bill McNeil - veteran Canadian broadcaster (deceased); Pete Mitchell - breakfast show host (with Geoff Lloyd) for UK Virgin;Adrian Moynes, Managing Director of RTÉ Radio; Robert F. Neil - President and Chief Executive Officer, Cox Radio, US; Cliff Norton - veteran US broadcaster, comedian and actor (deceased); Holmes 'Daddy-O' Daylie - veteran African-American Chicago radio host (deceased); John Pearson - chief executive, Virgin Radio, UK; John Peel - British DJ; Steve Penk - UK Capital Radio host Michael K. Powell - (7) - Chairman, US Federal Communications Commission; Sumner Redstone - chairman and Chief Executive,Viacom (US); Bill Rose -(3) - Arbitron Internet Broadcast Services Vice-President and General Manager; Hilary Rosen - Chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA); McHenry Tichenor Jr - (2) - President and CEO, Hispanic Broadcasting, US; Chris Wright - chairman and co-founder Chrysalis Group, UK; Walter F. Ulloa - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Entravision(US); Stephen Whittle - BBC Controller of Editorial Policy and former Director of UK Broadcasting Standards Commission; Nan Wyatt - (2) - co-host of KMOX-AM, St. Louis morning show( shot dead); Rod Zimmerman -(2) - senior vice president and market manager of Infinity's Chicago stations;
Numbers in brackets indicate the number of stories involving an individual mentioned more than once F
February 2003 Archive
January 2003 -March 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 February comment considers what we think copyright should be in the future.
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.
2003-02-28: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell told the Commission's public hearing on US media regulations on Thursday that they had to set rules based on evidence not intuition and re-iterated his previously made stance that restrictions that the Commission could not justify would be thrown out by the courts.
The legal position of ownership restriction regulations, unlike most of the Commission's rules, said Powell, was that they had to be reviewed every two years by statute and it was legally presumed that a rule was not required unless the commission found otherwise.
"Unless we can re-justify each broadcast ownership rule under current market conditions," said Powell, "the rule goes away."
He noted that the Commission had lost on each of the five occasions in the past years when it had defended its ownership rules in court. Adding that there was a common theme that the commission had failed to justify the rules in the current media environment.
Powell said that all the rules would be thrown out if the Commission put in the half-hearted effort this time that it had into the last Biennial Review but everyone agreed that some broadcast ownership limits were critical to meet the public interest of a robust marketplace of ideas (RNW comment: ideas, we rather thought, weren't subject to a marketplace although certainly their promotion or suppression in mass dissemination is); he added that the right way to build rules was through gathering evidence.
Powell's stance was backed by fellow Republican Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy who noted the requirements put by the US Congress upon the Commission to justify its rules and described its record in the court over the past two years as "rather pathetic."
She noted the changes that had occurred since the rules were framed but added that they should not just consider the 85% of people that have access to cable and satellite but also the remainder that could only receive broadcast services.
She wanted, she said, to "ensure that free over-the-air services remained competitive and viable and continue to provide programming alternatives to those that rely only on broadcast to receive news, information and entertainment."
"I don't want," she added, "the competitive environment to drive the migration of quality programming to cable, and deprive the public of free access to these services."
Democrat Commissioner Michael Copps said the decisions could alter forever the US media landscape, adding that he was concerned because he thought they didn't yet know "the potential implications of our actions."
He was backed up in this by Virginia Commonwealth University sociology professor David Croteau who said they had enough evidence to serve as a warning and added that less regulation would be a windfall for " a few giant corporations" but was likely to be "a huge mistake for the rest of us."
2003-02-28: The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has reached a provisional agreement with Los Angeles-based Univision Communications Inc. and Dallas-based Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC) over the former's USD3.5 billion purchase of the latter.
Under the deal, the DOJ would not object providing Univision reduces its current 27% stake in Santa Monica -based Entravision Communications Corporation to 15% within three years and to 10% within six years and also converts all its Entravision stock into a new class of non-voting preferred stock.
Opponents of the deal had argued that the DOJ should consider radio and TV advertising in local markets together in considering the takeover but this was rejected by the Department, which stuck to its treatment of radio and TV advertising as separate.
The agreement has to be approved by shareholders in both companies - expected to be a formality at meetings of both companies scheduled for today - and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); should this be given, the takeover is expected to close in mid March.
According to the Miami Herald, there has been lobbying for approval of the merger by two Florida representatives, Miami-Dade Republicans Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lincoln Diaz-Balart, who last year each took campaign contributions from principals of Hispanic Broadcasting and Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) , which opposes the takeover.
In contrast, reports the paper, Hispanic Democrats in Congress, some of whom also received campaign contributions from Hispanic executives, voted not to take a position on the merger.
The merger has been opposed by a number of Hispanic advocacy groups who fear it would stifle competition among Spanish-language media and also by SBS , which is opposing the deal in the courts on anti-trust grounds: its suit has been dismissed but it is appealing the decision (See RNW Feb 19 )
Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart each received the maximum USD1, 000 individual donation permitted from HBC President McHenry Tichenor Jr., who also gave USD 5,000 to the Republican Party of Florida's Federal Campaign Account and the former also received USD 1,000 from four other members of the Tichenor family.
SBS President and Chief Executive Raúl Alarcón Jr., his wife and parents also gave $1,000 each to Ros-Lehtinen and $5,000 to the Florida Republican Party Federal Campaign Account.
In other US radio business, Denver-based NextMedia has reported what it terms "significant revenue and broadcast cash flow increases at our radio properties" in its fourth quarter and full year 2002 results.
For the quarter, NextMedia's revenues were up 20.2% to $25.0 million and EBITDA was up 85.0% to $7.4 million; despite this the company's loss for the quarter was up sevenfold to USD27.2 million as a result of the application of Financial Accounting Standards Board Statement No. 142. that led to a $43.0 million non-cash impairment loss on goodwill associated with certain of the Company's outdoor advertising assets
For the full year, revenues were up 27.3% to $91.3 million, EBITDA was up 48.4% to $23.9, and net loss increased nearly four-fold to $53.4 million compared to 2001 because of the USD43 million adjustment and also a $1.9 million non-cash gain on NextMedia's interest rate swap arrangements.
Pro-forma revenues for the quarter were up 13.5% to $27.8 million, pro-forma Broadcast Cash Flow (BCF) was up 25.0% to $10.5 and pro-forma EBITDA was up 51.7% to $8.8 million; the corresponding increases for the full year were a revenue increase of 8.1% to $104.1, a BCF increase of 5.8% to $38.0 million and an EBITDA increase of 10.3% to $29.9 million.
Within these figures, pro-forma radio division revenues for the quarter were up 19.0% to $20.0 million and pro-forma radio BCF was up 35.6% to $8.0 million whilst for the full year radio pro-forma revenue was up 14.7% to $74.0 million and pro-forma radio BCF was up 26.0% to $28.6 million.
Looking ahead, but with a caveat about no "material changes in economic conditions or extraordinary world events", NextMedia says it expects revenue for the current quarter to be up 6.0% and 8.0% and BCF growth to be between 9.0% and 12.0%.
On the deals front, Regent Communications, Inc. has announced a swap of its four stations in the Duluth, Minnesota, market for Clear Channel's five stations in the Evansville, Indian, market plus USD2.7 million in cash.
Stations involved are Regent's KKCB-FM, KLDJ-FM, KBMX-FM and WEBC-AM and Clear Channel's WYNG-FM, WDKS-FM, WKRI-FM, WGBF-FM and WGBF-AM and the deal is subject to regulatory approval.
Regent already owns WBKR-FM & WKDQ-FM in Evansville and WOMI-AM in nearby Owensboro, Kentucky, acquired from Brill Media in a USD 62 million deal that closed on Thursday (See RNW Feb 27) and also included the Duluth stations; Clear Channel has no stations in Duluth at present.
The companies will commence operation of the stations involved immediately under a local marketing agreement and Regent Chairman and CEO Terry Jacobs said the transaction upgraded its portfolio through providing it with a "full station cluster in a significantly larger market."
"We are exchanging four stations in a market ranked 197th in terms of radio revenues, for five stations in Evansville, the 121st ranked radio revenue market, providing us with the opportunity to realize significant revenue and cash flow growth over the long-term," he continued.
"In addition, this transaction further validates the strategic importance of the recent Brill transaction, as we were able to exchange the Duluth cluster to complete the Evansville cluster we acquired in that deal. Perhaps most importantly, today's transaction improves the overall economics of the Brill transaction (which was completed earlier this week), lowering the acquisition multiple while providing us with a stronger platform for growth. In total, today's announcement demonstrates our ability to opportunistically improve Regent's long-term growth characteristics on increasingly better financial terms."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Hispanic Broadcasting:
Miami Herald report:
2003-02-28: The latest Arbitron MeasureCast Ratings covering the week to February 16 show MUSICMATCH's artist match displacing Radioio from the top station spot and Stream Audio taking over top network spot; the ratings also include the return of Live 365 to the ratings and the absence, due to server communication issues of Internet Radio Inc., which had been in fourth rank in the week to January 19 before dropping out of the top ten.
The Live365 figures, which make it the fourth ranked network, are for its top 25 stations; Arbitron is currently working with Live 365 on reporting all its stations.
For the week to February 16, 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 311,356 (296,730); CP 132,552 (130,340). Up from second with higher listening and reach.
2: Adult alternative Radioio Eclectic - TTSL 283,365 (315,117); CP 61,586 (62,926). Down from first with lower listening and reach.
3: Classical format WQXR-FM- TTSL 237,263 (238,650); CP 35,704 (37,180). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
4: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 207,817 (213,139); CP 47,024 (47,536). Up from fifth despite lower listening and reach.
5: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 206,813 (215,721); CP 29,571 (33,213): Down from fourth with lower listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week to February 16 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: StreamAudio TTSL 1,366,223 (1,141,600); CP 197,209 (175,846). Up from third with higher listening and reach.
2: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,323,120 (1,255,555); CP 389,570 (387,827). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 1,047,773 (1,505,375): CP 197,209 (216,557)- Down from first with lower listening and reach.
4: Live365.com - Top 25 TTSL 643,953; CP 136,022 not rated in previous week.
5: Warp Radio TTSL 628,764 (523,745); CP 152,761 (134,898) - Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
* Moontaxi fell from fourth to sixth with TTSL of 577,107, up from 544,777 hours and CP of 88,217, up from 81,357
*Stream Guys fell from fifth to seventh with TTSL of 569,741, up from 558,742, and CP of 137,098, up from 125,759.
Arbitron has also released details of "Internet and Multimedia 10: The Emerging Digital Consumer", its tenth study in conjunction with Edison Media Research of the use of digital media by consumers; it shows that the "Internet Broadcasting" audience has now topped 100 million in the US with a levelling off in the digital divide between American ethnic groups in terms of ability to access the Internet, largely because of work done by public libraries and schools in providing access to minority groups.
It says that in terms of access at home or work, 70% of whites can use the Internet compared to 60% of African Americans and 48% of Hispanics but when other means of access are taken into account. 75% of the total population can access the Internet compared to 74% of African Americans and 65 percent of Hispanic Americans; the study says that 34% of African Americans and 24 % of Hispanics access the Internet at public libraries compared with 19 percent of White Americans and 32 percent of African Americans and 24 % of Hispanics access the Internet from schools compared with 25 % of White Americans.
Internet use has soared over the past five years but is now showing signs of levelling off says the report, which notes that over the last three years, the number of Americans listening to Internet audio broadcasting nearly tripled, while those watching Internet video has shown little growth.
Internet audio listeners, says the study are just as likely as the general population to say that terrestrial radio does a "very good" or "good job" of playing the music they like - 74% compared to 73% of all Americans- or providing a variety of programming - 69% compared to 70% of all Americans. It also says that around 12 million Americans say they would be willing to pay a small fee to listen to content provided by the one Internet audio source they listen to most with the most important factor being unique content.
Were Internet audio broadcasters to be treated as a US radio network, says the study, it could generate up to $54 million per year in advertising revenue based on the current weekly cumulative audience of approximately 20 million people, listening for an average of 5½ hours a week; this approximates to an Average Quarter Hour (AQH) audience of approximately 655,000 people.
Those who listened to streaming audio within the past month, termed "Monthly Streamies", have a significantly greater interest in digital devices than the general population says the study and said Bill Rose, vice president and general manager, Arbitron Internet Broadcast Services, commented, "Internet broadcasting is rapidly becoming a mass medium with an estimated 103 million people or 44 percent of the total population having ever used Internet audio or video."
"Considering the high degree of interest in digital devices exhibited by 'Streamies,' marketers of consumer electronics would be smart to consider advertising on Internet broadcasting to reach and influence their target audience."
The study also shows greater satisfaction with their Internet experience from broadband users than from those who dial up and the study estimates that some 33 million Americans plan to get broadband Internet access in the next year. These users, indicates the study, will spend significantly more time online and less time with traditional media.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings:
Previous Edison Media Research:
Arbitron-Edison Media Study (490 kb PDF)
2003-02-28: From this weekend, BBC Radio 2 is to link up with the British Forces Broadcasting Service to support British troops stationed in the Gulf by broadcasting special programming to help them stay in touch with families and friends.
BFBS has set up a network of FM transmitters in the Middle East to provide a 24-hour-a-day service and it approached the BBC for co-operation in the service, the latest in a long tradition that saw Two-Way Family Favourites, first broadcast on the Light Programme (Radio 2's predecessor) in 1945, add around 7 million listeners in Germany to its 20 million in the UK. The programme ran up until 1980.
The first programme in the current tie-up will see Steve Wright pass on dedications and messages and play requests from listeners in the UK for friends and family in the Gulf on the second half of his Sunday Love Songs show on March 2; a similar service will be featured on Richard Allinson's last show that runs from Monday to Thursday.
Charles Foster, Controller of BFBS Radio, commented, "BFBS Radio is so important at a time like this. Our troops rely heavily on us for up-to-the-minute news and round the clock programmes made especially for them, many of which carry messages from their friends and families back home."
"Reaching out to those friends and families is another vital part of the service and I am delighted that BFBS has such solid support from BBC Radio 2 at this difficult time. Separation from loved ones is never easy but hearing a special message or a song that really matters can make a world of difference."
2003-02-27: Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) and Saga Communications have joined the ranks of US radio companies reporting strong results for the final quarter of last year and the year as a whole.
Although its losses increased, SBS net revenues for the quarter were up 16.7% on a year earlier at USD 35.7 million, the quarter's Broadcast cash flow (BCF) was up 25.2% at USD15.9 million, and EBITDA was up 15.5% at USD 11.9 million.
The loss for the quarter, with both periods adjusted on the basis of adoption of various accounting standards, was down to USD 2.10 million (USD 0.03 per share) from USD 2.95 million (USD 0.05 per share); for 2001 SBS had reported a net loss of USD1.23 million before the adjustments were made.
For the full year, SBS reported an adjusted profit of USD 10.8 million (USD 0.17 per share) compared to an adjusted loss of USD 6.9 million (USD 0.11 per share); reported losses were USD 89.8 million in 2002 and USD 9.4 million in 2001.
Full year revenues were up 15.2% to USD 133.9 million, full year BCF was up 25.3% to USD 59 million and full year EBITDA was up 23.7% to USD 45.4 million.
On a same station basis SBS quarterly revenues were up 16.7% for the quarter and 14% for the year with same station BCF up 27.1% and 23.5% respectively.
Commenting, Chairman and CEO Raúl Alarcón, Jr. said, "During the past year, we experienced substantial improvement in key operating measures."
"Highlighting our strong fundamentals, during the fourth quarter, our ratings, revenue and cash flow all increased. Led by our stations in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, we posted robust gains in audience share in the Fall 2002 Arbitron ratings." "These ratings advances, particularly in Los Angeles, where we operate a leading Hispanic radio cluster, bode well for our ongoing revenues."
" As the nation's advertisers seek to infiltrate the nation's fast-growing Hispanic population, we are well positioned to benefit, given our leading market shares in the nation's top-ranked markets."
Looking ahead, SBS is forecasting net revenues for the current quarter to be up 7% to 8% over a year ago with BCF in the range USD10 million to USD10.3 million.
Saga's net revenues for the final quarter of 2002 were up 16.4% to USD 31.3 million and for the year were up 10.4% to USD114.8 million whilst broadcast cash flow was up 17.2% to USD11.3 million for the quarter and 11.0% to USD41.4 million for the year.
Same station revenues were up for 9.9% the quarter and 5.3% for the year with same station BCF up 14.0% and 7.6% for the quarter and year.
Saga profit was USD14.0 million (USD0.66 per share) for the year compared to USD 8.6 million (USD0.41 per share) in 2001; the 2001 figure on a pro-forma basis reflecting the adoption of financial accounting standard FAS 142 USD 10.6 million (USD0.51 per share). In percentage terms profit grew 62.9% on a historical basis and 31.9% when adjusted for the implementation of FAS142.
For the final quarter of 2002, reported profit was up 66.4% to USD 4.1 million.
Within the figures, radio revenues for the year were up 10% as reported to USD 102.4 million (on a pro-forma basis they were up 6.9% to USD 106.3 million; operating radio profit for the year was up 22.5% to USD 33.4 million as reported and up 8% on a pro-forma basis to USD 34.2 million.
Reported same station revenues for the year were up 4.3% to USD 93 million and same station profit was up 17.7% to USD 32.9 million.
For the final quarter, reported radio revenues were up 16.9% to USD 27.8 million with operating profits up 31.7% to USD 8.95 million; same station figures were an increase of 9.6% to USD 26.1 million for revenues and of 15.1% to USD 9.1 million for operating profits.
Looking ahead Saga says it expects net revenue and broadcast cash flow for the current quarter of approximately USD 26.0 - USD27.0 million and USD7.5 - USD8.0 million, respectively and for the year it predicts a 3% to 5% increase in net revenue and a 4% to 6% increase in broadcast cash flow.
In other radio business, XM Satellite Radio is to ask stockholders at its special meeting on March 27 to approve a proposal to increase its stock from 240 million to 615 million as part of its re-financing deal under which it needs extra shares to issue in return for financing from General Motors and other investors.
XM's regular annual meeting will be held on May 22 with the statement relating to this to be sent to investors in April. It now has more than 360,000 subscribers and says it is on track to exceed one million by the end of this year.
On the deals front, Regent Communications has announced the completion of its previously announced USD62 million cash purchase of 12 stations from the bankrupt Brill Media Company (See RNW Aug 24, 2002).
Chairman and CEO Terry Jacobs said the transaction would "enhance our long-term future growth and was done on attractive financial terms."
Previous Saga Communications:
2003-02-27: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) public meeting on media regulation takes place today in Richmond, Virginia against a background of last-minute representations by various groups.
Amongst them is the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), which has appealed to the FCC to postpone issuing new broadcast ownership regulations "until the commission has held a series of public hearings nationwide that allow for the maximum possible public input into its deliberations."
NAHJ President Juan Gonzalez commented, "The American people have not been adequately informed about the profound changes that are about to occur. [FCC] Chairman Powell should seek the widest possible public debate before promulgating rules that will fundamentally alter the media landscape in our nation."
The NAHJ also noted that a recent action alert, by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), showed that revealed that since the FCC announced the review of the nation's broadcast ownership rules the major US TV networks had almost completely failed to cover the story with only one item being aired, a short summary on ABC's World News This Morning that aired at 4:30 a.m.
On the other side of the fence, the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) says its president and CEO John F. Sturm, who is to appear on the meeting's "localism" panels, will argue that newspaper-broadcast partnerships can aid local news quality.
The NAA says the success of the more than 40 newspaper-broadcast combinations in the US "shows beyond any question that repealing the long-outdated cross-ownership ban will greatly serve the FCC's localism and diversity goals."
Sturm will testify that with the ability to draw on their locally oriented heritage and journalistic expertise, co-owned broadcast stations are able to provide more in-depth coverage of local news and public affairs than other media outlets in their communities."
Speaking to the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet on Wednesday, FCC chairman Michael Powell said there were no "hard and fast" rules as to the outcome of the rules but they had to correct current regulations since the DC Circuit Court had ruled against the Commission on every ownership rule so far.
He dismissed the idea of holding a number of public meetings again saying that although such hearings did have value "at some point it's time to be a commission and act."
RNW comment: As seems almost always the case, arguments at the hearing look likely to be made almost entirely from a perspective of sectional self-interests with very little dispassionate searching for truth.
Bearing in mind, however, the importance of this issue to a functioning democracy, it does seem to us that major US conglomerates have a very poor record in this case of coverage of the issue with limited cover in newspapers and almost none by broadcasters; that along, it could be argued, makes them not really fit to hold their current licences, never mind be allowed more.
Equally the NAA argument as presented seems to us one that could be argued by any near monopoly such as a Microsoft argument for the overall benefits of the dominance of its computer software; it would also apply to a cartel.
So far we have not seen clinching evidence from either side, although we do recognise that radio now has to compete with a wider range of technologies than in the past, with particular implications for smaller owners in smaller marketplaces.
But since any consolidation is likely to be a one-way street, that fact would favour caution; the caution would be somewhat assuaged if changes were made subject to continuing reviews at suitable interviews with any finding that the consolidation was against the public interest leading to automatic divestment orders.
Since the big conglomerates would then want to tie such orders up with appeals, we rather feel at this stage that the longer-term public interest lies in continued regulatory limits
If limits are to be removed, we feel that, at the very least, conditions should be laid down before allowing consolidation (maybe in areas such as reviews of meeting defined public interest goals such as local news cover--whoops, we forgot that doesn't matter in the US unlike most of the world -- or any increase in advertising charges in an area over and above the general inflation by a certain amount)whose breach would lead to automatic divestment order.
In such a case, orders could come with reasonable deadline set in advance beyond which any offer, however low had to be accepted.
It would also be reasonable to allow no appeal once the facts were established on the basis that the consoldiation had only been allowed under conditions that had been breached.
2003-02-27: The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) prompted by the development of major residential projects in close proximity to the AM transmission towers at Homebush Bay as a part of the Sydney Olympic Park master plan (See RNW Feb 18) has issued a call to State planning agencies to be sensitive to the risks of allowing urban encroachment onto the remaining metropolitan AM radio transmission sites across Australia.
"Suitable AM radio sites in and around major cities are few in number and extremely difficult to replace without affecting the coverage area of what the listening public regards as essential services," said ABA Chairman Professor David Flint .
Although broadcasters negotiate about sites directly with local planning authorities, the ABA is responsible for coordinating radio signals to minimise their interference, and Flint continued, "Our engineers have planned carefully and signals are tightly packed, especially around cities. Moving a transmitter changes the area its signal covers. This often leads to new interference with other broadcasts."
"Because of the way they travel, AM signals sometimes even need international coordination," he said, noting that ground conductivity has a major impact on how well AM radio waves are launched and salt water is considered to provide the best conductivity.
"AM radio transmitters are therefore often built in swampy areas, that have not historically been desirable for residential use," added Prof Flint. "Our cities have grown, but if housing developments crowd out the sites we use for broadcasting, it will be difficult to find alternatives. There are many pressures on city planners, but broadcasting services are an important part of most people's lives. The ABA is concerned that state and local governments may not appreciate the scarcity and value of the existing sites."
Concerning the Homebush Bay transmitters, where a recent survey of radiation to the Waterside apartments, which are due to be occupied in the Autumn of this year, recommended the re-siting of the transmitters, the ABA says it could be extremely difficult to find a suitable alternative site and technical specifications.
The Homebush Bay transmitters have been used for many years by Sydney AM broadcasters 2UE, 2SM, 2GB, 2KY, 2EA and 2CH and there have been no changes to the transmission characteristics of the services since 1985.
The broadcasters and regulators raised the issue of radiation with New South Wales planning authorities when they found out about the planned development and in 2001 the broadcasters objected to the Sydney Olympic Park post-Olympic master plan.
There is particular concern about the towers used by 2UE and 2SM since the apartments are within their "drop zone".
The matter is also affecting requests by 2CH and 2GB for daytime power increases; these have been put on hold until the issue is resolved
ABA web site
2003-02-27: Infinity has fired two Chicago veterans as part of its reorganization of its operations in the city that was forecast to include the axing of a number of general manager posts (See RNW Feb 12 ).
The general managers who are out are Don Marion, vice president and general manager of contemporary-hit WBBM-FM and Mike Fowler, vice president and general manager of oldies WJMK-FM; they will be replaced by Dave Robbins, president and general manager of Infinity's Columbus, Ohio, stations WLVQ-FM, WAZU-FM and WHOK-FM.
In addition, Harvey Wells, vice president and general manager of adult rocker WXRT-FM and comedy/talk WCKG-FM is also to be general manager of country WUSN-FM; he takes over the WUSN duties from Steve Ennen who was moved to Infinity's Spark Network Services unit as its president (Also RNW Feb 12)
At the top of the ranks, Rod Zimmerman, senior vice president and market manager for the Infinity Chicago radio group, remains at the head of all-news WBBM-AM and sports-talk WSCR-AM.
Lower down, Drew Hayes, operations director for WBBM and WSCR also takes on the role of WSCR station manager, Michael Damsky, general sales manager of WXRT, becomes its station manager and Terry Hardin, general sales manager of WCKG, adds the job of general sales manager of WJMK, replacing Todd Wegner, who was forced out.
2003-02-26: US radio giant Clear Channel has turned a fourth quarter loss in 2001 of USD366 million (USD 0.61 a share) into a profit in the final quarter of 2002 of USD 184 million (USD 0.30 per share), although it has warned that the outlook for the current quarter is weaker than expected because of the likelihood of a war in Iraq.
Clear Channel revenues for the quarter were up 19% to USD 2.21 billion and for the full year were up 6% at USD8.42 billion; for the full year profits, before taking into account the effects of accounting standard changes, were USD725 million (USD1.18 per diluted share) compared to a net loss of USD 1.14 billion (USD 1.93 per diluted share) in 2001. Had accounting standard SFAS been adopted at the start of 2001, Clear Channel would have reported a profit of USD249 million (USD 0.41 per share) for the year.
Within the group, radio was the weakest link: its revenues were up 10% USD 979 million (9% on a pro forma basis) in the final quarter; radio EBITDA was up 43% to USD428 million for the quarter, up42% on a pro-forma basis. By comparison outdoor revenues for the quarter were up 17 %and outdoor EBITDA increased 44 % whilst entertainment revenues were up 28% and entertainment EBITDA was up from a negative USD18 million in 2001 to a positive USD12 million in 2002.
For the full year, radio revenues were up 8 percent to USD3.72 billion and EBITDA was up 18 percent to USD1.59 billion (pro forma up 6% and 17%) whilst outdoor revenues were up 6% and outdoor EBITDA was down 4% and entertainment revenues were down 1% and entertainment EBITDA was up 5%.
Chairman and CEO Lowry Mays commented, "I am very proud of the financial results that we delivered to our shareholders this year, despite a challenging industry and economic environment. We are also proud of the value we have created not just for our investors but for our listeners and advertisers/customers over the past thirty years."
"We could not have achieved that success, and created that value, if we were not acutely sensitive to the needs of the listeners and communities we serve, and if we did not do a quality job of meeting those needs year in and year out."
Looking ahead Clear Channel forecast first-quarter EBITDA of between $370 million and $390 million, compared with $370 million a year earlier; it also said that there was a slowdown linked to concern about a war with Iraq.
In Canada, Nova Scotia-based Newfoundland Capital Corporation Limited, which operates 42 radio stations across Canada, has announced revenues in the final quarter of 2002 up 41% to CAD 16.43 million (USD 10.6 million); full year revenues were up 25.5% to CAD 51.83 million (USD 33.3 million).
Profits were up 108% to CAD 2.2 million (USD 1.4 million) for the quarter (from CAD 0.09 to CAD 0.19 per share) and for the full year were CAD 8.87 million (USD5.7 million and CAD 0.75 per share) compared to a loss of CAD 3.78 million (USD 2.4 million or CAD 0.32 per share) in 2001.
The year's results benefited from a CAD 3.3 million (USD 2.1 million) gain on sale of the company's publishing and printing division and excluding this and 2001 restructuring charges, profit from continuing operations would be CAD 5 million (USD 3.2 million) in 2002 compared to CAD 800,000 (USD 514,000) in 2001.
Radio operating cash flow was up 69% to CAD 5.9 million (USD 3.8 million), around a fifth of the increase coming from acquisitions and more than half from improvements in existing operations, with the largest gains in Labrador and Newfoundland.
In other US radio business, syndicator Westwood One has announced the launch at the end of March of NBC News Radio featuring content, programming and leading journalists from the top rated television news network; this follows an announcement earlier this month of the launch of CNBC Radio Business Reports (See RNW Feb 12).
It is also to launch in April in conjunction with Gaylord Entertainment Company's Grand Ole Opry a two-hour weekly syndicated radio programme America's Grand Ole Opry Weekend that will feature performances from today's biggest Country Music stars recorded live from the Grand Ole Opry stage in Nashville, Tennessee.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
Previous Westwood One:
2003-02-26: Ned Sherrin, host of the BBC Radio 4 satirical show "Loose Ends" has indirectly accused the BBC of political censorship in a letter to the London Times.
Sherrin's letter is phrased in the form of an apology for apparent endorsement of a French anti-British joke: "What do you call a pretty girl in London?" "A tourist."
In his letter he apologises for what he terms an "unmeant, unpatriotic insult to so many lovely, young British women", saying that the joke was used only to set up ripostes written for him such as the anti-French joke, "What do you call a Frenchman advancing on Baghdad?" "A salesman."
"For some extraordinary, dumb reason the balancing jokes were censored in Portland Place," writes Sherrin.
Other jokes that were cut included two that at one time were more likely to be found in a different form in anti-lawyer jokes in America: "What is the difference between a road accident involving a hedgehog and a Frenchman?" "There are skid marks before the hedgehog" (read "skunk" and "lawyer"); and "What do you call 20 French politicians face down in the English Channel?" "A start." (Read "lawyers" and "The Hudson" or any suitable stretch of water in the US).
UK Times - Sherrin letter:
2003-02-26: Macquarie Radio Network's flagship station 2GB, Sydney, has increased even further its lead over rival talk station, Southern Cross Broadcasting's 2UE, in the latest Australian ratings from the AC Nielsen McNair survey; 2GB took its share up to 11.7% and went into the number one slot from second in the rankings whilst 2UE slid from sixth to 9th with its share down to 6.3%
Macquarie 's second station 2CH also did well, increasing its share from 5.2% to 7.1% and moving up to eighth from ninth rank.
In the Sydney breakfast slot Alan Jones took his share up even further - to 17.6% from 15% - whilst his 2UE rival Steve Price lost share and rank - down from 8.5% and fourth to 6.9% and fifth; ABC 702 was up to second rank from this with its share up from 10.1% to 11.6% and Austereo 2DAY lost breakfast share and rank, falling from second spot with a 12.2% share to third with 9.9%.
There was no consolation for 2UE in the morning slot this time: John Laws who was second in the previous ratings with an 11% share dropped share to 8.5% and rank to third behind top ranked 2-DAY with 12.1% and second-ranked 2GB's Ray Hadley with 11%, up from 9.8%.
Austereo fared badly in Sydney with 2-DAY losing its top rank to 2GB and Triple-M dropping from third to fifth; Triple-M also lost share amongst the 18-24 demographic, down from 201% to 15% and belying the optimism of Austereo's managing director Brad March at the time of the last survey results. DMG's Nova lost share slightly.
City by city, the top three were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: SAFM -same rank with 22,9 (23.1); 5MMM 13.9 (12.8) Up from fourth; 5AA with 13.6 (17) - down from second; *MIX with 11.3(14.4) fell from third to fourth rank.
*Brisbane - B105FM with16.2 (18.2); Triple M 14.0(12.5) up from third; NEW97.3 FM 12.4 (12.9) down from second:
*Melbourne -3AW 13.7 (11.6) - up from third; ABC774 13.1(12.1)- increasing share but remaining in second spot; Fox FM 11.5(12.1) down from top rank to third: * Nova dropped from fourth to fourth equal with Gold and its share down from 10.5 from 9.7
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 24.3 (23.3); All New 92.9 with 10.9 (15.2); 96FM 10.9 (11.9) -- no change in rankings:
*Sydney, 2GB 11.7 (10.2) - up from second; 2-Day with 11.5 (12.0)- down from first; ABC 702 9.0 (8.7) up from fifth; Triple M with 7.6 (9.1) fell from third to fifth; Nova remained fourth with share down from 8.8 to 8.6 and 2UE fell from sixth to ninth with share down from 8.4 to 6.3.
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Southern Cross:
2003-02-26: A group of British artists led by DJ Paul Oakenfield has called on the British Government to ensure that its communications bill included measures to take action to aid diversity of music on British radio, particularly from the BBC.
In a letter to the UK Guardian they write, "We are concerned about the potential effects of the communications bill, which returns to the Commons today, on music choice on the radio (BBC London recently slashed five of its specialist music programmes)."
"The government's proposed changes to the radio sector make it all the more crucial that the BBC deliver on its local and regional remit to support the arts."
"The current bill offers a great opportunity for the government to do something. Yet it seems deaf so far to our pleas."
The letter goes on to say that an opinion poll last month found that more than two-thirds of 15-24 year olds wanted a wider variety of music played on general radio stations and that around 72% would support "measures to encourage local radio stations to cover local music."
The BBC told the paper that its local stations, including BBC Radio London, played a wide range of music and were fully committed to regional arts.
In the case of BBC London, specifically attacked by the group that has accused it of "dumbing down" in its change of format (See RNW Nov 19, 2002) its managing editor David Robey said audience figures showing a rise in reach and listening share had vindicated its decision.
RNW comment: Bearing in mind the skewing of commercial radio stations' output to a younger demographic and the commercial self-interest of those involved in this particular campaign, we are somewhat sceptical about this particular campaign. If anything, the underserved population in the UK is the older demographic and reasonable business judgements are likely to ensure that this continues to be the case in the commercial sector.
Ally with this the potential for such artists to offer their output free of copyright on Internet stations should they really be concerned about the availability of the music (tie-ins with CD sales boosted by the lower-quality sampling available on streaming audio would produce some returns for the artists) and we become even more sceptical about their case.
Although we would welcome a combined initiative from local stations and artists to increase broadcast of the work of local musicians (and also poets, readings of authors and so on), we cannot see that any case has been properly made for this particular area of output to be given priotity by BBC local stations over such other programming as that for for children and of local ocmmunity issues.
UK Guardian report:
2003-02-26: Washington DC law firm Zuckerman Spaeder LLP has announced that it has filed an amicus brief in support of the University of Michigan's affirmative action policies on behalf of 18 US media companies including Emmis Communications Corp., Hispanic Broadcasting Corp., Radio One, Inc., and Susquehanna Radio Corp.
An attorney for the company Taylor said the filing argues that diversity in higher education is a compelling governmental interest and that the University's policies, currently the subject of two cases due to go before the US Supreme Court, are narrowly tailored to serve that interest.
She said among the reasons such diversity was "essential to the success of the media industry and to the public interest" included giving the companies to ability to hire "talented college graduates from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds", the addition brought to public debate by the different perspectives thus brought to bear on public issues and the fact that "Diversity in higher education also inspires America's future workforce to value and respect racial and ethnic differences present in our communities, values that are key to media's communications mission."
RNW comment: In this case we wish good luck to all the companies involved - and note the absence of the giants of US media from the list. The arguments have already divided the Bush administration with Secretary of State Colin Powell yet again the one out on a limb in opposition to White House support for the case against the University; irrespective of views on the balance of the argument - and as usual we find the President on the side of the privileged - it has to be to the credit of those involved that they see the issue as important enough to openly put some funding back up their views.
Zuckerman Spaeder web site:
2003-02-26: Irish state broadcaster RTÉ has announced that Séamus Crimmins, the founding head of its classical music Lyric FM channel, is to be seconded to the Irish Arts Council as its Arts Policy Director or 15 months from April.
Crimmins joined RTÉ in 1981 and has headed Lyric FM from its establishment in May 1999.
The managing director of RTÉ Radio, Adrian Moynes commented that he welcomed "welcome the initiative whereby Séamus is able to retain a key role with RTÉ Radio while joining the Arts Council in a new senior management position; I believe both organisations will benefit."
2003-02-25: Beasley Broadcast Group has turned round fourth quarter losses of USD 3.5 million (USD 0.15 per diluted share) in 2001 into a profit of USD 3.2 million (USD 0.13 per diluted share) in the final quarter of last year; the quarter saw revenues up 7.5% to USD 32.7 million broadcast cash flow (BCF) up 7.6% to USD10.6 million and after-tax cash flow (ATCF) up 27.2% to USD5.4 million (USD 0.22 per diluted share).
The results included the effects of adoption of accounting standards SFAS 142, which had they been in effect in the fourth quarter of 2001 would have trimmed the loss to USD0.1 million (USD 0.01 per share).
Same station results for the quarter were up 9.7% to USD 32.7 million and same station BCF was up 8.3% to USD10.6 million.
For the full year, net revenue was down 0.4% to USD114.7 million but BCF was up 12.4% to USD 36.8 million and ATCF was up 34.1 % to USD 18.5 million (USD 0.76 per diluted share). Beasley's full year loss was trimmed to USD3.7 million (USD 0.15 per diluted share) compared to a net loss of USD22.1 million (USD 0.91 per diluted share); the loss reflects the adoption of SFAS 142 and included a charge of USD 12.1 million in the first quarter.
Same station revenues for the year were up 2.3% at USD114.6 million and same station BCF was up 14.9% to USD36.7 million.
Commenting on the results, Chairman and CEO George Beasley said that in the fourth quarter, "Beasley delivered its largest quarterly same-station revenue gain since 2000 with the help of double-digit revenue increases at our Philadelphia, Las Vegas and Augusta clusters."
"Steadily improving revenues throughout the year, " he added, "combined with a 5.5% reduction in station operating expense, helped us achieve our goals of growing cash flow, expanding our BCF margin, paying down debt and reducing interest expense in 2002."
"As with other advertisers and broadcasters, we are watching world events very closely as 2003 unfolds, and we will continue our efforts to competitively position our company for any economic and advertising climate that prevails."
For the first quarter of this year, Beasley is expecting revenues of around USD 24 million and BCF of around USD6.5 million; it says same station revenues will be down around 3% and same station BCF will be down around 5%.
Previous George Beasley:
Previous Beasley Broadcasting:
2003-02-25: A clampdown on pirate stations by the UK Radiocommunications Agency led to prosecutions increasing by 145% in 2002 compared to a year earlier, with convictions more than doubling to 49, up from 20 a year earlier.
The Agency carried out 1042 raids in the year against 209 pirate radio broadcasters and inspectors are currently raiding around three stations a day, with at least three successful prosecutions this month.
They involved a London and an Essex man who were each given 100 hours community service for offences in connection with the operation of South Essex pirate Klash FM, and a Dartmouth man who used ships' radio and was conditionally discharged for 12 months and ordered to pay £200 costs after pleading guilty to unlicensed possession and broadcasting.
The former two, who were also ordered to pay costs, pleaded not guilty and are appealing against their conviction.
The British government is proposing to strengthen the powers of the agency, already strong with penalties up to 2 years imprisonment and unlimited fines not only for the pirates but also for anyone providing premises or supporting them with advertising. Nightclubs that promote them can be closed (See RNW Dec 20 2002).
The clampdown has been defended by telecommunications minister Stephen Timms, who said that the tough approach was paying off.
"Pirate stations can put lives at risk by interfering with safety-of-life services such as air traffic control or emergency services. They also cause interference to legal broadcasters, damage property and annoy local residents," he said.
On the other side of the coin, music industry figures say the clampdown could have a chilling affect on British music; they point to the number of household names, both artists and DJs, whose success was in part due to the pirate stations.
They include veterans like DJ Tony Blackburn, who made his name on Radio Caroline before joining the BBC, and newcomers like Ms Dynamite, who won two Brit awards last week.
She began her career on London pirate stations and her first hit, "Booo!", was successful mainly because of plays by the pirates. Others who made their start via the pirates include two veteran Kiss FM DJs from its days as a London pirate station before becoming legal; Norman Jay, now a BBC DJ, and Jazzie B, who masterminded Soul II Soul's rise to the top of the British charts.
Jazzie B commented that the pirates were shop windows for British talent adding that without them there was nowhere for newcomers to show off their work.
Previous UK Radiocommunications Agency:
2003-02-25: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced a number of appointments in its Enforcement Bureau: Heading the list is the new Chief of the FCC Enforcement Bureau's Investigations and Hearings Division, Maureen F. Del Duca; she was previously deputy chief in the division.
In addition, William D. Freedman has been named Deputy Chief of the division; a former broadcaster and partner at Morrison & Foerster, LLP, whom he left to take up the post, Freedman had formerly served at the FCC as an attorney with the Broadcast Bureau's Facilities Division and Hearing Division.
Other appointments made were of Rebecca L. Dorch as Regional Director of the FCC Enforcement Bureau, Western Region where she was Deputy Regional Director and of Mark Stone as Enforcement Bureau Legal Advisor On Common Carrier Issues
2003-02-25: A study commissioned by a packaging company that is investigating a new plant on the former Liverpool showground site 400 metres away from Australian Broadcasting Corporation's transmission tower in Liverpool, Sydney, has shown radiation levels above the Australian safe limit at five metres (16 feet) above the ground according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
It says the study, whose findings are disputed by the ABC, which says its tests showed radiation levels were well below those permitted under Australian standards, found levels to be safe at ground level but advised the company it would need to shield equipment in the factory to avoid malfunctions.
The tower is also near a new housing estate whose residents have complained repeatedly of interference from the transmitter affecting electronic equipment; the tower has been at its current location for 67 years.
Earlier this month the Herald reported on problems at the Homebush transmitter site in Sydney (See RNW Feb 18).
Previous ABC, Australia:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2003-02-25: A California Highway Patrol study has put use of cell phones while driving as the leading cause of accidents that happen because a driver is distracted - with radio, tape or CD players just behind.
Such "distraction" accidents were way behind leading causes, speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol, and accounted for only one percent of all accidents.
Of the distraction accidents, cell phone use accounted for 11%, with radio, tape or CD equipment just behind at 10% followed by distracting children at 4 percent.
California reporting is limited on police forms to "one inattentive action per collision" thus not allowing for reporting of inattention caused through juggling a number of activities and it may also be inaccurate because drivers under-report causes such as cell phone use.
The survey may also under report the contribution of inattention to accidents whose main cause is other reasons such as speed, or being too close to another vehicle.
2003-02-24: Various ethical issues relating to radio form the backdrop to our look at radio through the eyes of various print reporters and columnists this week but first a take with a difference on the US media regulation issue.
It came in an article in the New York Times by Brent Staples, headed, "The Trouble With Corporate Radio: The Day the Protest Music Died."
After running through a little of the history of deregulation and the voice tracking techniques used to give a show local flavour when it's nothing of the kind, Staples, who later reverts to his comments about the deleterious effect of consolidation on the range of music played in the US, details some of the problems that he sees as having arisen from consolidation.
Some are political - as when Florida Republican Rep Mark Foley found it much more difficult to get on air after the number of local stations in his area had been reduced from five to one.
Others are much more worrying in their potential if the report is true since it could have lead to many deaths through inadequate staffing at a station: Staples reports that when a freight train carrying ammonia derailed, releasing a cloud over the city of Minot, North Dakota, the police tried to phone the town radio stations, six owned by Clear Channel, because the emergency alert system failed. According to news reports, he says, no one answered the phone at the stations for more than an hour and a half; three hundred people were hospitalized and pets and livestock killed.
(RNW comment: If that is so,and there are no extenuating circumstances,in our view Clear Channel should have lost all its licences in the city automatically as not being fit to hold them.
It should also have had to show cause why every single licence it holds nationally should not have been revoked. If it isn't so, then we should expect to see a correction in the Times soon).
Staples also mentions the virtual absence of "liberal" talk show hosts on US radio, something that we reported last week may be addressed by the formation of a new talk network (See RNW Feb 18).
During the week we noted a response to the New York Times report that we cited on the matter, from former Texas agriculture commissioner Jim Hightower, whose show was said to have been a "failure."
Hightower responded by writing to the Times to say, "This is the second time in recent weeks that you have referred to the "failure" of my radio career, which is now into its 11th year and going strong."
"In fact, I'm still very much alive on the radio."
"My daily commentaries are broadcast on more than 100 stations across the country and abroad."
Still on US politics, an item in a Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times concerning the ethics or the reporting of politicians' activities by those who owe them a debt caught our eye.
It related to a public excoriation of Infinity's WBBM-AM morning news anchor Felicia Middlebrooks by rival morning host, Don Wade of WLS-AM, the ABC-owned talk station.
Wade termed Middlebrooks, who was helped to secure a new contract with the station by the Rev. Jesse Jackson after she had overplayed her hand and was off air (See RNW Mar 18, 2002), "Jesse Jackson's million-dollar mouthpiece."
He then called for WBBM to take Middlebrooks off-air "whenever a Jesse Jackson controversy erupts."
The controversy in this case related to the Chicago night-club E2 tragedy and news stories questioning Jackson's relationship with one of the owners of the nightclub and his criticism of the city's safety enforcement.
Feder notes that since Jackson's role in her contract renewal became public, Middlebrooks has been under orders not to read any stories that involve him but adds that from time to time, she still does.
Middlebrooks did not comment and WBBM Operations Director Drew Hayes reacted not by taking up the point but by going into attack mode: "I would expect a competitor who has half the audience of 'Newsradio 780' to behave like that," he said.
The other ethical issue that has been getting considerable cover over the past few months is the question of how stations should react when a star is accused of criminal behaviour, in this case relating to airplay of songs by r'n'b superstar R. Kelly, who was indicted on 21 child pornography charges in June last year.
Although it has been getting over in the US, a Toronto Star article by Ashante Infantry and a number of responses is the best debate we've picked up on the issue.
In the report, Infantry notes that KISS-FM in Toronto dropped Kelly from its playlist in June, calling it, " an easy decision - the singer/songwriter didn't have any current hits."
Things changed last month when the "Ignition-Remix" track from Kelly's new album took off; the station opted to play the record despite the objections of morning show DJs Mad-Dog and Billie.
"I think it's a great song, but it creeps me out because a lot of it's euphemisms for sexual intercourse," said Mad-Dog.
Kiss program director Julie Adam commented, "It's a really uncomfortable situation, but it's my job as program director to play songs that are popular and to make sure that the content on the radio station is appropriate and that we follow regulations and rules," said Adam.
"And the song itself is perfectly fine. Where the argument to stop playing him fell down was a) he is charged and not convicted, and b) if we're going to pull the artist off the air because of something he's done in his personal life, are we going to hold that true to every artist? We have many convicted and charged artists on the air."
Adam went part of the way to meeting the DJs objections, deciding that staff who were uncomfortable playing the track did not need to talk about the artist or even introduce the track; they could just play it
Other stations gave a similar rationale for playing the track, although there were suggestions of reconsideration should Kelly, who is pleading not guilty, be convicted. Kelly denies that he is the man on a videotape that purports to show him having sex with a minor.
Chicago Sun-Times pop-music critic Jim DeRogatis, who was sent the tape anonymously and forwarded it to police, commented on the character of Kelly and his music, "Here is this freakish guy who is accused of a horrible crime and we're getting off on listening to him sing `Stick your key in my ignition, baby' and `I want to wax you like I wax my car.'"
"You have to wonder above and beyond the industry continuing to push this guy, just how much are listeners thinking about what really went on here? Of course they haven't seen the videotape. This is not Pam Anderson and Tommy Lee (the celebrity couple whose private sex tape was released on the Internet). (The girl) has the disembodied look of a rape victim. She is not enjoying this. Certainly she is not asking to be urinated on at 14 years old. It's a really sad and disturbing piece of film."
Readers reaction as published was clearly in favour of the track continuing to get play with a number of comments separating the acts of the musician and the music itself and asking about the wider implications of any ban although some respondents disagreed and took the view that playing the music supported the musician as well as the music.
RNW comment: Whilst Kelly is only charged, although it seems to us that in this as any case the more justice is delayed, the more it is thwarted, we can but take the view that the principle innocent until proven guilty should apply to Kelly and to any other individual.
Should he be found guilty, we would still tend to the view, although no fans of Kelly in this case, that art should not be condemned because of the behaviour of the artist - an exclusion that clearly would not apply were the art itself to have involved illegal acts.
We would, however, feel it inappropriate at this stage for a station to force a DJ or host who felt strongly otherwise to promote such an artist. Any comments, e-mail us!
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
New York Times - Hightower letter:
New York Times - Staples:
Toronto Star - Infantry:
Toronto Star - Readers' responses:
2003-02-24: US bird lovers are taking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to court over what they term "unreasonably delayed" action in complying with mandatory duties imposed by various statutes concerning the impact of transmission towers on migratory birds.
They say the Commission has repeatedly flouted a number of environmental laws and refused to do anything about it when approached.
The lawsuit was filed by the Forest Conservation Council, Inc., Friends of the Earth, Inc., and the American Bird Conservancy, Inc. saying that "during nocturnal migrations in fog and mist, flocks of migratory birds are attracted to these towers and collide with them and their guy wires, sometimes killing thousands of birds on a single night."
"The cumulative impact of tens of thousands of planned and existing towers may kill as many as four to five million birds every year," it continues.
The Towerkill organisation says that an absence of proper studies means no accurate figures can be given; its estimates are based on projections from figures for towers that have been studied.
It adds that the higher the tower, the worse the risk for birds, although it notes that a relatively short tower constructed on a hilltop may have the same impact as higher towers on flat ground.
The petitioners want the Federal Communications Commission to review the risks to birds before towers are constructed; they also want existing towers to be fitted with devices that would keep birds away such as coloured lights and infra-sound devices.
They say the National Environmental Policy Act requires the FCC to issue a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) concerning the impact on migratory birds of communication towers it has registered; current FCC guidelines require tower builders to estimate the risks to endangered species, but not migratory birds in general or particular.
The petitioners say the FCC is failing to comply with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act which requires it to take action to minimize avian mortality caused by registered communication towers.
They also say they have made strenuous efforts at the administrative level to compel the FCC to comply with its statutory but the agency has simply ignored the Petitioners' grievances and it is clear that further efforts to obtain remedies from the FCC would be an exercise in futility.
A further allegation is that the FCC has unlawfully excluded at 5,828 Gulf Coast communication towers from any environmental review.
Towerkill web site:
Lawsuit details (184 kb PDF):
2003-02-24: Radio Haiti Inter, which includes political commentary and investigative reporting in its output and is one of the island's most popular stations, has gone off the air because of threats against its staff.
Station owner Michèle Montas, widow of Haitian journalist Jean Dominique who was shot in April 2000 along with the station's caretaker, said in a statement read on air that the station would shut "because we have been subject to constant threats."
She said they had lost three lives - her husband, the caretaker who was killed on the same occasion as her husband,, and her bodyguard, who was killed on another later occasion when armed men attacked her home- and refused to "lose another one."
Montas said she did not know when they would be back on air but she would not choose exile a third time; she and her husband fled Haiti twice during the dictatorship of Jean-Claude Duvalier following attacks on Radio Haiti Inter.
2003-02-23: Last week was yet another where the main story, even though it did not move very much, was the US debate over media regulation; elsewhere things were fairly quiet although Canada had a steady flow of radio-related activity.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) was involved only in community licence decisions.
In New South Wales, it has opted not to allocate a community broadcasting licence in Cootamundra for now but instead to encourage the sole applicant, Cootamundra Workskills Incorporated, to apply for the frequency to operate a temporary service; the ABA is to review the matter in a year's time.
In Tasmania, it has extended the deadline by which community radio service 7HFC Hobart has to change frequency until the end of this year.
In Canada, radio actions by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) included:
Renewal of the licence for Peace River Broadcasting Corporation's CKYL-AM, Peace River, including an amendment to delete authority for transmitters CJRA-FM Rainbow Lake and CKLA-FM La Crete and a related renewal of the licence of Peace River's licence for CKHL-FM High Level and the addition FM transmitters at La Crete and Rainbow Lake to rebroadcast its signal.
* Approval of applications by Burns Lake & District Rebroadcasting Society to operate an 82 watts transmitter in Ootsa Lake (Tatalrose) to distribute the signal of CJFW-FM Terrace and also to operate a 110 watts transmitter in Burns Lake to distribute the signal of CHFI-FM Toronto.
*Approval of an application by Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. (AVR) to operate a 10,000 watts AM transmitter in Abbotsford Broadcasting will distribute the programming of the Vancouver Aboriginal-language radio station. The frequency was previously licensed to Rogers Radio (British Columbia) Ltd. (Rogers Radio) to operate CFSR-AM Abbotsford and the Commission notes that when it approved CFSR's conversion to FM Rogers agreed to make its transmitting facilities available for use by another party without charge for a period of seven years.
*Approval of a change of ownership of Bea-Ver Communications Inc., licensee of CFCO-AM, CKSY-FM and CKUE-FM Chatham, through a redistribution of shareholdings amongst existing shareholders and their companies.
*Approval of a power increase for CIQB-FM Barrie, from 795 watts to 2,600 watts.
In Ontario, the Commission also decided that it requires additional information from the licensee before making any decision on the renewal of the licence of CKEY-FM Fort Erie and its transmitter CKEY-FM-1 St. Catharines.
Approval of a licence for by Harvard Broadcasting Inc. to operate an English-language radio network originating from CKRM Regina, that will broadcast regional and provincial news and information of interest to the residents of Saskatchewan.
*Approval of an application for a very low-power (of 0.075 watt) English-language FM in North Battleford that broadcast music related to exhibits or special events at the Western Development Museum and internal information pertaining to the museum.
Approval of an application for 5 watts English-language developmental community FM radio station in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory that would broadcast local community programming.
There was nothing from Ireland and in the UK, the only Radio Authority release was its assessment of the award of the Stoke-on-Trent digital multiplex to the sole applicant TWG Emap Digital Ltd (see Licence News Dec 15, 2002).
It noted that the proposed Non-stop pop Smash Hits channel from Emap Performance Ltd. was not to be provided from the start of the service rather than later on and Members also considered that there was some bias towards services targeting younger listeners in the programming line-up; they hoped that the group would be able to recruit services attractive to older age groups when considering programme providers to fill the remaining capacity on the multiplex.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) now arranged details for its public hearing on deregulation in Richmond, Virginia, on February 27.
The morning session will hear statements from all five FCC Commissioners before moving on to a Summary of Broadcast Ownership Rules and Key Issues moderated by Thomas G. Krattenmaker, currently Senior Counsel in the Washington office of the law form Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo PC.
After this the hearing will move on to three panel discussions focusing on the Commission's policy goals of broadcast regulation - diversity, localism, and competition; the public will be allowed to comment during "open microphone" sessions after each panel.
First up will be a panel on Diversity Issues whose participants will include Alfred C. Liggins, Radio One, Inc. president and chief executive and Andrew Jay Schwartzman of the Media Access Project.
The second panel will be on Competition Issues and the third on Localism Issues; this will include Clear Channel President and Chief Operating Officer Mark Mays and Jenny Toomey of the Future of Music Coalition.
A live audiocast of the hearing will be available through the FCC's Web site
Apart from the media regulation issue, the Commission was also involved in dropping one penalty, confirming another and also issuing a red-flag and requirement for a classification change (See RNW Feb 21).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-02-23: According to Radio and Records, satellite broadcaster Sirius is to distribute 11 million copies of a strategy "manifesto" that takes a dig at terrestrial radio in the US.
R and R says the 11-page document also has an implicit dig at rival XM with a line, "Lyrics shouldn't fall silent because of a few words from some sponsor" - XM carries commercials on some of its music channels whilst all those of Sirius are commercial free.
On terrestrial radio, Sirius says, "Music shouldn't fade out at state borders; a song shouldn't be repeated over and over until you can't take it anymore; when was the last time someone spun a song just because they believed in its ideas?"
It also hits at the influence sponsors have over radio content: "Corporate sponsors want music that appeals to their demographic. Broadcasting companies want to keep the corporate sponsors happy, and program directors just want to keep their jobs."
"Real music gets fed into this marketing meat grinder, and the next American idol comes out the other side."
R & R web site:
2003-02-23: The co-hosts of UK local station Plymouth Sound's breakfast show are off-air following an on-air spat that led the station's programme controller Gavin Marshall to cut short their show and take over himself.
According to the UK Times Martin Mills and Vicky Compton refused to make up and were sent home until they do, although they are not formally suspended.
The row, reports the paper, began during a discussion about customer service in clothes shops, with Mills insisting that shops were obliged to give refunds for undamaged items and Compton equally adamant that they were not.
Mills said: "She started throwing rubbish at me, in the way people always do when they can't come up with rational arguments. Then one of our listeners phoned up on Vicky's side and I told her she was a dozy woman, or something along those lines. I didn't mean all women, it just got taken the wrong way."
After this a trading standards officer called in to support Mills and Compton accused her co-host of always having to be right. "There have been a few times that I've come close to leaving the studio, but I've always let it go over my head, she said. "This time I had to get away from him, I really wanted to slam the door, but they're all soundproofed, so they don't slam. I was seriously thinking of leaving altogether."
She said she was determined to return to work on Monday but would not apologise and commented that Mills had been much worse since he gave up smoking.
"I'm quite nervous about going in on Monday, and I hope they don't ask me to apologise, because I don't think I've done anything wrong," she said. "I just don't see why Martin has to be so nasty all the time."
Mills who yelled, "And put the kettle on while you're out there," as Compton left said: "It was a bit unprofessional really. We have very different opinions about everything, and this time it just went a bit too far."
"I suppose I am a bit cocky, and I do think I know it all, but I was only joking. It's just the way my sense of humour comes across."
"I'm sorry I upset Vicky," he added, "but at the end of the day I was actually right. Someone accused me of not liking women - that's rubbish, I love women, I've got five of them: one to do the cooking, one to do the cleaning, one to sleep with . . ."
RNW comment: That last remark either says something about Mills' sense of humour or about a stunt: Next week will presumably tell whether both remain obdurate.
And for those who wish to relate anyuthing to age, Mills is 38, Compton 27.
UK Times report:
2003-02-23: The Santa Barbara Foundation is in the final stages of purchasing KDB-FM, the Santa Barbara classical music station according to the Daily Nexus, newspaper of the University of Southern California (USC) in Santa Barbara.
Early last year, the university launched a campaign to raise USD3.6 million to purchase the station, which had been owned the Pacific Broadcasting Company since 1971 (See RNW Jan 24, 2002); Pacific had been trying to sell the station for several years for financial reasons but the university considered a purchase in 1999 but was unable to raise the funds.
While the university was trying to raise funds with its 2001 appeal, the station was bought from Pacific by a number of Santa Barbara area classical music fans, who intended to sell it to USCB with the intention that its classical format could be preserved: It had been feared that the station would be sold a groupt that would change its format.
Again the university failed to raise the money -- its only raised around USD 320, 000 in a year - and it officially admitted it could not raise the funds in April last year (See RNW April 5, 2002); it subsequently withdrew and released KDB's owners from an agreement to sell to the university, allowing KDB to seek other potential buyers.
The purchase by the Santa Barbara Foundation, a non-profit organization founded in 1928 to "enrich the lives of the people of Santa Barbara County through philanthropy" has been significantly aided by a donation from local businessman and philanthropist Michael Towbes.
Towbes was also one of the seven shareholders who had purchased the majority interest --around three-quarters of the stock - in KDB in the hope of a university deal. They are giving all or part of their stock holding to the Foundation and Towbes' donation will cover the cost of purchasing the remaining shares.
Chuck Slosser, SBF president, told the Daily Nexus they would not have been able to purchase the station if it was going to drain Foundation resources and they had to be sure the deal would not interfere with its other operations.
He added that KDB would not be able to depend upon SBF funding: "We will own the station as long as it is a viable business and continues to be profitable or at least break even," he said.
KDB is one of only around 30 totally classical music stations left in the US: the Foundation deal has precedents, however, with stations such KING FM in Seattle, Washington being owned by Beethoven, a non-profit corporation - and WCLV FM in Cleveland, Ohio, being owned by the Cleveland Foundation.
Daily Nexus report:
KDB web site:
2003-02-22: UK radio has outperformed rivals with a 2.5% increase in advertising income to GBP563 million (USD 890 million) in 2002 according to the UK Radio Advertising Bureau; radio sponsorship and promotions grew much faster, ending up 14.8% higher at GBP 71.3 million (USD 113 million).
In the final quarter of the year commercial radio revenues were up 4.2% on the final quarter of 2001 at GBP147.6 million (USD 233 million) with national advertising revenue up 3.5% and sponsorship and promotions revenue up 9.2% to GBP17.9 million (USD 28.3 million).
The Radio Advertising Bureau says its growth was helped by significant expenditure increases by a number of major companies including Sainsbury's, News International, Telewest, Toyota and Ford.
Sainsbury's more than tripled its 2001 spending on radio of GBP 2.6 million (USD 4.1 million) to GBP 8.6 million (USD 13.6 million) in 2002; BT and News International each spent a similar amount on radio to Sainsbury's. The British government remained the biggest spender, putting nearly GBP 20 million (USD 31.5 million) into radio's coffers.
Michael O'Brien, Director of Marketing Operations at the Radio Advertising Bureau, commented, "Given the continued economic uncertainties, we are very pleased to report 2.5% growth in radio revenues during 2002. With TV revenues expected to be flat during the same period we are confident that commercial radio will yet again have increased its share of total advertising spend."
Radio is also expected to outperform the market as a whole in the long term with the UK Advertising Association predicting radio to be ahead of the advertising marketplace as a whole for the next ten years, helped in part by the growth in digital radio.
Radio has also been doing well in competition for audiences with television. A recent study by the Radio Advertising Bureau found that only radio and new media were growing their share of media attention; it also found that advert avoidance was far lower on radio than for TV and newspapers and that people were listening using an increasing variety of sources including satellite TV, the internet, and mobile phones.
It says 12% of adults listen to the radio via the Internet, 15% via the TV and 2% via a mobile phone but one in three 16-24 year olds said they would listen to the radio via their mobile phone if they could.
Since 1999 total radio listening in the UK is up around 10% with the largest growth in weekday evenings - up 12.4% - although breakfast still attracts the largest audiences. A positive sign for the future was shown by the increase of 15.6% in weekday evening listening among the 15-42 demographic.
Previous UK Radio Advertising Bureau:
2003-02-22: Salem Communications has announced that, following its 2003 block booking renewals, it expects a 5% growth in 2003 same station block booking renewals.
More than 95% of its block programming contracts were renewed and the company says block revenues will amount to around 35% of its total broadcasting revenues in 2003.
Commenting on the renewals, CEO Edward G. Atsinger, III, attributed the success to Salem's combination of a national station platform and focused programming strategy and noted that many of its block programmers had been customers for more than 25 years.
2003-02-22: Following condemnation by BBC World Service journalists of comments made by its deputy general secretary, John Fray, accusing the Corporation of being a "lackey" of the Foreign Office, which funds it (See RNW Feb 21), the UK National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has retracted the accusation.
The NUJ said in a statement, "Although the NUJ stands by its criticism of the dismissals as a gross violation of the BBC's own procedures, and a betrayal of free speech, the NUJ recognises that its statement contained unfortunate implications."
"The NUJ wishes to withdraw the remark that the BBC was laying itself open to accusations that the World Service was acting 'as a lackey of the government', in this matter."
"The union is aware of the level of concern provoked by its original statement and is certain that its members in all parts of the BBC World Service will continue their long tradition of defending the highest broadcasting standards of independence, accuracy and fairness; standards the NUJ has always sought to protect, even in times of war."
The union is still saying the BBC did not stick to its procedures including the right to be represented at a formal disciplinary hearing, with a subsequent right to appeal and says the BBC needs to explain why it failed to follow its own rules.
2003-02-22: The battle for KWOD-FM, Sacramento, that has been underway since 1996 when Entercom signed a deal to acquire the station from Royce International Broadcasting now seems to be in its final phase.
Entercom filed a transfer with the FCC that was posted a week ago and now hopes to take control some time next month if the transfer is approved.
Previous Entercom-Royce International:
2003-02-22: British DJ John Peel's "Home Truths" on BBC Radio 4 goes out this morning without an interview with a Southampton nude rights campaigner who was barred by the corporation when he refused to cover up whist waiting in BBC Southampton to record the interview.
Steve Gough, who claims he had a human right to go around naked, had cycled some five miles (8km) - in the nude - from his home to the studios and was warming up when he was asked to cover up because he might upset staff on his way through offices to the studio. When he refused, the interview was cancelled.
2003-02-22: Maryland's State Finance Committee has voted down by a 6-5 margin a bill that would have forbidden employers in the state from including non-compete clauses in contracts of employment.
The vote means the bill won't make it to consideration by the full legislature but its sponsors are hoping that they can get it passed in future.
2003-02-21: Cox Radio has joined the ranks of companies exceeding expectations in their fourth quarter results; it reported revenues for the quarter up 6.3% to USD 108 million, broadcast cash flow up 19.9% to USD 44.8 million and profits up 26.9% to USD17.3 million, with the per share figure up 21.4% at USD 0.17 per share.
For 2002, Cox revenues were up 6.4% on 2001 at USD 420.6 million, broadcast cash flow was up 11.7% at USD 166 million and profits were up 122% at USD 45.9 million with the per share figure up 119% at USD0.46 per share. In 2001 net income was reduced by USD37.3 million (USD 0.37 per diluted share) through amortization of goodwill and intangible assets with indefinite lives, net of tax. No amortization of these items is recorded in 2002 pursuant to the adoption of Statement of Financial Accounting, SFAS 142 but net income for 2002 includes a USD13.9 million (USD 0.14 per diluted share) after-tax loss related to the cumulative effect of accounting change as a result of adopting SFAS No. 142.
President and CEO Robert F. Neil said Cox was "pleased to report record revenues, broadcast cash flow and earnings for both the fourth quarter and full-year 2002, reflecting the results of our long-term focus on building strong local brands."
"During the quarter," he added, "we experienced sequential ratings gains in 13 of our 18 markets in the recent Fall ratings book, marked by impressive ratings performances in Atlanta, Miami and Tampa. We are also pleased with the operating leverage that we have been able to demonstrate this year with BCF margins increasing from 37.7% to 39.6%. "
Looking ahead, Cox is forecasting this year first quarter net revenue growth of 6% and broadcast cash flow growth of 6%. It expects to report diluted earnings per share of $0.08 for the first quarter of 2003, $0.01 ahead of 2002 before cumulative effect of accounting change.
Neil said of the prospects, "Given the uncertain economic and geo-political climate, we continue to remain cautious in our outlook. However, we have very strong competitive positions within our markets and a solid foundation of ratings that will fuel our growth in 2003. As always, our focus remains on delivering consistent results to you, our shareholders, and operating our stations with long-term value creation in mind."
He also told investors on the company's conference call that he's seeing advertisers wait longer to book, saying the uncertainties concerning a possible war in Iraq meant that this would probably continue.
In other US radio business, Concord Media is selling WBPM-FM, Kingston, New York, to Cumulus for USD3.5 million; the deal follows agreement earlier this month to sell four stations in Florida - News/Talk WJGR-AM, Sports WZNZ-AM and Gospel WZAZ-AM in Jacksonville plus Christian AC WBGB-FM in Ponte Vedra Beach-to Salem for USD 9.5 million.
In Illinois, Citadel Communications, owned by Forstmann-Little, is paying Livingston County Broadcasters Inc., USD 5.5 million in cash for Country WLDC-FM in Dwight and Oldies WJEZ-FM in Pontiac.
In Utah, Disney-owned ABC Radio is paying Mercury Broadcasting USD 3.7 million in cash for talk KALL-AM, Salt Lake City; it is to use the frequency for its Radio Disney format.
In Arkansas, Archway Broadcasting is paying USD 3.6 million in cash to Malvern Entertainment Corp. for Country KCDI-FM, Bryant.
2003-02-21: Two former BBC World Service producers are planning further legal action against the Corporation after they were fired following a history of taking grievances to employment tribunals that the BBC says cost it nearly GBP 1 million (USD 1.5 million) in legal fees over the past years.
Both men worked for the BBC Arabic Service. Adli Hawwari, who is 47 and of Palestinian Jordanian extraction had been at the BBC since 1987 and had lodged 12 separate complaints that included accusations of perjury, lying and racism against colleagues; his fired colleague Dr Abdul Hadi Jiad, who is 50 and an Iraqi by birth, had lodged five complaints.
External tribunals rejected all of the complaints and the Court of Appeal also rejected several challenges by Hawwari.
Hawwari, who is a member of the National Union of Journalists' (NUJ) National Executive Committee, hopes for backing from the Union, which had backed several of the claims made by the pair and whose deputy general secretary
John Fray, deputy general secretary of the NUJ, accused BBC Director-general Greg Dyke of "the ultimate betrayal of free speech" and added that the BBC had laid itself open to accusations that the World Service, which is paid for through a Foreign Office grant, was a lackey of the government
Hawwari told the UK Guardian that the two were dismissed "because of the institutional racism of the BBC."
"It is absolutely unprecedented for the entire building to be sent an email saying why we were sacked," he added. "The reason why they did this was to scare the hell out of everyone in Bush House (the World Service headquarters)."
"The whole press machine of the BBC was turned on us and the details carefully released to make us sound ridiculous and malicious."
Dr Jiad said that, contrary to the BBC's statement, he had written to director general Greg Dyke and World Service chief Mark Byford offering to withdraw his complaints in return for "an assurance the BBC guidelines on discrimination would be applied".
He also told the paper that last month the BBC offered him a £40,000 payoff, later raised to £55,000, and offered to give him a glowing reference if he would drop his complaints and take early retirement.
"They have been recklessly squandering public money to protect managers who are all white, British males although they have committed acts of racial discrimination," he said.
The BBC in its statement accused the pair of serious abuse of its grievances procedure to the extent that the "complete breakdown in trust and confidence" made their positions untenable.
It said that when laid out the case files stretched for 190 feet (60 metres) and added that the legal claims had been an enormous drain on management time as well as involving costs for 51 days spent in court.
Among the details given of the complaints, Hawwari is said to have brought a racial discrimination claim after being passed over for a new job - he didn't attend an interview despite it being re-scheduled three times to suit him. In another case, he brought a sex discrimination claim related to another post he failed to get even though he knew the two successful candidates were both men and in yet another he lodged an equal pay claim against a woman who earned less than him.
Dr Jiad's claims were all of racial discrimination and last month he won a court of appeal judgement ordering one case to be heard at a full tribunal. He said another was dropped as a matter of goodwill.
The BBC said that a number of claims made by the pair had been rejected by tribunals as "frivolous" and "vexatious" and added that the Corporation was "particularly concerned about the impact this situation has had on the health and morale of other staff, as neither Mr Hawwari nor Dr Jiad has been prepared to withdraw the serious allegations that they have made at different times against colleagues or against their managers - even though these have been shown to be unsubstantiated in the courts."
"The BBC recognises," it said, "that every employee has the right to raise individual concerns and grievances with their managers and to seek legal redress through the courts. "However, in the case of these two individuals, they have never accepted the outcome of either a BBC or court decision." "We believe the internal grievance procedure has been seriously abused and their actions and behaviour makes a proper working relationship impossible for the future."
RNW comment: This case seems to be one where the concept in English law that can declare an individual a "vexatious litigant", thus preventing them from taking future legal action over a case, would seem to be highly appropriate and an action that perhaps it should have been possible to take at a fairly early stage.
Certainly we can't see most employers putting up with such a pattern of complaints for so long against a background of courts rejecting the claims.
We would uphold anyone's right to take action if they feel they have been treated unfairly but only within reasonable limites and the fact that in some of the cases the tribunals had, unusually, ordered costs to the Corporation, would seem to back up the BBC's point of view.
Additionally if the facts are as given, in the Hawarri case where an equal pay claim was brought against someone who earned less, a just automatic consequence would have been a reduction in pay.
UK Guardian report:
2003-02-21: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), following a couple of days affected by the snowstorm that his DC, has been busy with penalties, red-flags and an order for a reclassification.
First a penalty withdrawal: The Commission has rescinded a USD 7,000 indecency penalty on KBOO Foundation, licensee of non-commercial KBOO-FM, Portland, Oregon.
The penalty related to the playing of the rap song "Your Revolution" on KBOO in 1999; The commission proposed the fine in 2001 (See RNW May 22, 2001) but KBOO argued that the song was a feminist attack "on attempts to equate political revolution with promiscuous sex" and in the context the words of it were not indecent.
The FCC, says that "While this is a very close case, we now conclude that the broadcast was not indecent because, on balance and in context, the sexual descriptions in the song
Are not sufficiently graphic to warrant sanction. For example, the most graphic phrase (" six foot blow job machine") was not repeated. It also notes that the artist Sarah Jones had "been asked to perform this song at high school assemblies"
In Missouri, there was no relief for American Family Association, licensee of KBKC- FM, Moberly, which had been issued with a USD 5000 penalty for operating the station without a main studio.
AFA had argued that the offence was a minor one since it was operating KBKC as a satellite station and the commission had given it 59 waivers for its other satellite stations. It also said that it was meeting all the conditions required for waivers at the time the penalty was issued.
The Commission, which had already reduced the penalty from USD 7,000 (See RNW Sept 25, 2002), said that it did not accept that the other cases affected this one, pointed out that not all the conditions were being met, particularly noting that the number posted at the transmitter for contacting the station was not a toll-free one as required-it was not a local number either as it was the number for AFA offices in Tupelo, Mississippi, approximately 523 miles away -, and rejected a plea for reduction of the fine to USD 500 on financial hardship grounds, saying that AFA had supplied no financial data to back up the hardship claim.
The red-flag related to Citadel's USD25.5 million cash purchase of the last four stations of Stockton (California)-based Silverado Broadcasting - two in Nevada and two in California (See RNW Feb 1) and as usual it's on revenue and ownership concentration grounds. The deal, if it goes through, will give Citadel five stations in Reno and six in Modesto.
The reclassification order goes to WDEF- FM, Chattanooga, Tennessee, owned by Jackson Telecasters, which has been told it must move from class C to Class CO to allow SSR Communications a new class A for Tallapoosa, Georgia, its first local FM.
WDEF currently operates from 1181 feet, 295 feet below the minimum for Class C, and Jackson now has 30 days to object and 180 days to submit plants for meeting the tower requirements if it wishes to retain its class C status.
2003-02-21: St Louis police have charged Thomas J. Erbland Jr., husband of KMOX-AM host Nan Wyatt, with first-degree murder for shooting his wife. He is also charged with armed criminal action.
The St Louis Post-Dispatch reports that when he appeared in court on Thursday, Erbland tried to tell the judge that he didn't need a lawyer because he had committed the crimes; Associate Circuit Judge Thea Sherry told him he should use his right to silence and that had to have a lawyer.
Erbland had said he did not need a lawyer when Sherry said she suspected Erbland would not qualify for a public defender and told him he would have to get a lawyer before his next court appearance on Feb. 25.
When Erbland persisted, Sherry said she would have a public defender talk to Erbland later in the day (RNW comment: It does seem not unreasonable to us that in the circumstances Erbland, who had taken his 7-year-old son to his maternal grandmother's after the shooting and before calling police, might see it as a waste of money to use lawyers, preferring to have the funds go towards his son's upkeep. Police say Erbland had told them he had shot his wife and they have also recovered a .357 Magnum that Erbland had bought many years before).
The paper reports that there were suggestions that Wyatt was considering a divorce, although there were no records of any action being taken; the police said marital discord was the only apparent motive for the killing.
Wyatt, who was born Nandray Ann Walicki, was of Polish extraction; She was a Roman Catholic and grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She studied journalism and communication at Indiana University, although she had no degree.
Her first broadcasting job was at KXOK in St Louis, after which she moved to Wilmington, Delaware, where she became managing editor of the talk-show station WILM-AM. She returned to St Louis in 1990 and worked for KMOX as a writer and reporter before hosting "KMOX This Morning" and then its midday "News Magazine.
She then moved to WBBM-AM in Chicago as afternoon drive news anchor, winning won radio's National Associated Press Award for Enterprise Reporting in 1995, before returning to St Louis, where she became co-host of "Total Information AM," working with Doug McElvein.
A funeral Mass is to be held on Saturday with a private burial.
St Louis Post-Dispatch report:
2003-02-21: The UK Wireless Group has signed a three-year deal with market research company Gfk for its own radio ratings using the Swiss radiocontrol system that he trialled in the UK for a second time in September last year, following the trial with announcement of plans for a permanent survey using electronic measurement (See RNW Sept 18, 2002).
Gfk is to produce monthly figures from a sample of around 2000 people and will measure audiences for the five national BBC analogue networks, Classic FM, Virgin and TalkSport, owned by the Wireless Group.
The group's chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie has been advocating the system, which uses wrist-watch devises to record details of what people are actually listening to, for more than two years and claims that the current RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) diary system short-changes stations that people dip in and out of because the diaries do not record listening under four minutes; he also said his tests showed that the major well-known stations were over-recorded in diaries to the detriment of smaller stations.
The Wireless Group is not cancelling its RAJAR contract for the moment although MacKenzie has suggested that it could do so in the future.
RAJAR itself has been examining electronic measurement systems, including the radiocontrol system and Arbitron's portable people meter (PPM) system, for more than a year and is nearing the end of its tests. It argues that there are pros and cons for both diaries and electronic systems and says that it wants to get things right before making any changes. It is due to announce its plans later this year.
Previous Wireless Group:
2003-02-21: Radioio Eclectic has retained the top station ranking and Clear Channel has come back to take the top network ranking, pushing MUSICMATCH down to second place, in the latest Arbitron-MeasureCast figures just published, running to February 9.
For the week to February 9, 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: Adult alternative Radioio Eclectic - TTSL 315,117 (324,323); CP 62,926 (62,198). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
2: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 296,730 (305,374); CP 130,340 (131,195). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
3: Classical format WQXR-FM- TTSL 238,650 (237,739); CP 37,180 (35,763). Up from fourth with higher listening and reach.
4: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 215,721 (210,141); CP 33,213 (31,434): Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 213,139 (286,312); CP 47,536 (48,780). Down from third with lower listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week to February 9 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 1,505,375 (641,913): CP 216,557 (135,143)- Up from third with much higher listening and reach.
2: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,255,555 (1,285,584); CP 387,827 (378,561). Down from first with lower listening but higher reach.
3: StreamAudio TTSL 1,141,600 (1,016,610); CP 175,846 (158,428). Down from second despite higher listening and reach.
4: Moontaxi TTSL 587,261 (544,777); CP 81,357 (91,503) - Same rank with higher listening and lower reach.
5: Stream Guys TTSL 558,742 (491,552); CP 133,580 (125,759) - Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
* WARP Radio fell from fourth to sixth with TTSL of 523,745 , down from 633,008 hours and CP of 134,898, up from 105,447
In Arbitron's monthly ratings for January, Radioio moved up to top station spot whilst in the network rankings MUSICMATCH took top rank as Clear Channel, affected by its restructuring of streaming operations, plunged from first to tenth.
The top five stations for January were (December 2002 figures in brackets):
1: Adult alternative Radioio Eclectic - TTSL 1,308,720 (1,012,992); CP 196,355 (166,092). Up from second with higher listening and reach
2: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 1,290,320 (1,183,194); CP 467,283 (459,139). Down from first with higher listening and reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 1,210,684 (846,585); CP 157,001 (110,652). Up from fourth with higher listening and reach.
4: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 1,026,071 (890,620); CP 92,177 (161,196). Down from third despite higher listening but reach was down.
5: Classical format WQXR-FM - TTSL 994,230 (787,094); CP 101,489 (95,949). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
The top five networks for January were (December 2002 figures in brackets):
1: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 5,441,003 (5,272,302); CP 1,290,302 (1,361,611). Up from second with higher listening but lower reach.
2: StreamAudio TTSL 4,236,623 (3,824,927); CP 418,552 (364,724). Up from third with higher listening and reach.
3: WARP Radio TTSL 2,727,654 (2,479,659); CP 305,978 (301,669). Up from fourth with higher listening and reach.
4: Moontaxi TTSL 2,213,001 (1,686,787); CP 226,321 (283,162). Up from eighth with higher listening but lower reach.
5: Stream Guys TTSL 2,166,512 (1,747,059); CP 391,016 (368,083). Up from seventh with higher listening and reach.
*December's top ranked Clear Channel with TTSL (5,585,467) and CP (796,330) was down to tenth with TTSL of 1,494,550 and CP of 254,370
*December's fifth ranked Radio Free Virgin fell to seventh with TTSL of 1,805,619 and CP of 228,938, down from
TTSL 2,318,960 and CP 276,151.
Arbitron has also now formally announced, as reported earlier (See RNW Feb 15) that starting next month its Internet Broadcast Services will be available exclusively to subscribers; allied with the move will be enhancements to "facilitate the buying and selling of audio and video advertising on Internet Broadcast stations."
Arbitron says the expanded service will include sales training tools for Internet broadcast sales organizations and the publication of traditional broadcast-style audience metrics.
Arbitron says its Service is designed to support a sales model patterned closely after traditional broadcast networks and adds that the "publication of traditional metrics such as Average Quarter Hour audience (AQH) and unique users (Cume) is designed to allow advertisers to integrate Internet Broadcasting seamlessly into their existing media planning process."
Arbitron Internet Broadcast Services vice president/general manager Bill Rose added, "To the consumer radio is radio, whether it comes out of their stereo or the computer on their desk. Therefore, it's important for buyers and sellers to strip away the technical details of how the programming is delivered and focus on the value of the audience delivered."
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings:
: Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast monthly ratings
Arbitron web site
2003-02-20: In more strong US radio results, Cumulus and Regent have exceeded expectations in the final quarter.
Cumulus has reported fourth quarter revenues for 2002 up by 39% to USD 70.8 million; it also cut its losses drastically, from USD 16.9 million (USD 0.48 per share) to USD 1.9 million (3 cents per share).
For the full year, Cumulus revenues were up 25% to USD 253 million; the net loss attributable to common stockholders also increased, from USD48.3 million (USD1.37 per share) in 2001 to USD 120.1 million (USD1.44 per share before the effect of accounting changes and Usd2.20 after the changes are taken into account).
Same station revenues were up 8% in the final quarter and 5% in the year and broadcast cash flow was up 13% for the quarter and 21% for the year; on a pro-forma basis, net revenues were up 9% for the quarter and 7% for the year, broadcast cash flow was up 18% for the quarter and 19% for the year, and EBITDA was up 20% for the quarter and 21% for the year.
Commenting on the results, President and CEO Lew Dickey said, "The fourth quarter of 2002 was marked by greater than expected pro forma revenue growth and our ninth consecutive quarter of EBITDA growth. We also continued to de-lever the Company through several repurchases of our Series A Preferred Stock and 10 3/8% Notes. These repurchases reduced our pro forma leverage to 5.2x and will dramatically reduce our interest expense going forward, enhancing our future ability to generate free cash flow."
Regent revenues were up 56% in the fourth quarter of last year at USD21.4 million and broadcast cash flow was up 97% at USD6.6 million but overall net losses were also up in the quarter - from USD2.2 million (USD0.06 per share) in the final quarter of 2001 to USD3.9 million (USD 0.08 per share) in the final quarter of 2002.
For the year as a whole net broadcast revenues increased 31% to USD70.4 million, broadcast cash flow increased 41% to USD21.4 million and reported net loss before cumulative effect of accounting change for full-year 2002 was USD 342,000 (USD0.01 per share) compared to a net loss of USD1.7 million (USD 0.05 per share) for 2001 period; taking into effect of a net charge of USD6.1 million in the first quarter as a result of adopting accounting standard SFAS142 took the net loss up to USD6.5 million (USD0.15 million) for the year.
Regent chairman and CEO Terry Jacobs commented, "We are pleased to report fourth quarter results that exceeded our expectations. Notably, we reported better than expected same station broadcast cash flow growth of 32% on same station revenue growth of 10%."
"These results reflect continued progress at the Company's developing properties combined with impressive performances at our more mature properties. We were especially pleased with the results of the recent Fall ratings book, which serve as a leading indicator of our future performance and reflect our success in serving our listeners and advertisers. Looking ahead to 2003 we are focused on integrating our recently acquired stations while continuing to improve the performance of our start-up and developing stations."
Regent is forecasting first quarter 2003 reported net revenues and broadcast cash flow of approximately USD17.4 to USD17.6 million and USD3.4 to USD3.6 million, respectively. Same station net revenue is expected to be up 5% to 7% and same station broadcast cash flow to be flat to up 4% in the first quarter of 2003. Regent expects earnings per share to be USD0.00 for the first quarter of 2003.
Jacobs said the guidance reflected planned investment on recently acquired stations that " will fuel our long-term growth"
"In addition," he said, "our same station results for the first quarter will now include five developing stations that are not yet expected to yield meaningful cash flow. These five stations were launched just over a year ago and it typically takes 18 months for a start-up station to begin contributing meaningful broadcast cash flow. If you excluded those five sticks in our expected same station broadcast cash flow, we believe that same station broadcast cash flow would increase approximately 4%, resulting in a range of 4% to 8% growth compared to our guidance of flat to 4% in the first quarter of 2003."
2003-02-20: Nan Wyatt, co-host of the "Total Information A.M." morning show on Infinity's KMOX-AM, St. Louis, has been found shot dead in her home in the St Louis suburb of Twin Oaks, Missouri; the St Louis Post-Dispatch reported that her husband was being questioned by police .
Wyatt, aged 44, had been a host on the show since 1996; before that she had been afternoon drive personality at Infinity's WBBM-AM, Chicago.
Paying tribute, Karen Carroll who last month stepped down as vice-president and general manager at KMOX, said Wyatt was "the strength and backbone of KMOX News and always the first to pitch in any crisis."
One of her former co-hosts, Charles Jaco, who was fired by KMOX last year, said of Wyatt, "She was in love with this area, she was in love with this town. She was the consummate pro behind the microphone -- sceptical without being cynical.''
A notice on the station web site from KMOX vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer said, "KMOX and St. Louis lost a great broadcaster and dear friend. We are deeply saddened by the loss of Nan Wyatt, a member of the KMOX family and the St. Louis community. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go to Nan's family and friends Nan was a consummate professional. And we will miss her very much."
In New York, long-time news and sports broadcaster Jim Gordon has died aged 76. Gordon, who began his announcing career in Syracuse, N.Y., moved to New York in 1954.
Among his roles there he was anchor and news director at WINS - where he delivered the first newscast when the station went all-news in 1965- news-director at WNEW and the radio play-by-play voice of the NFL Giants from 1977-94.
KMOX web site:
New York Times/AP - Gordon obituary
St Louis Post-Dispatch report:
2003-02-20: A new Arbitron study supports major US radio group claims that listeners have benefited from industry consolidation; originally scheduled to be released to coincide with the start of the University of Southern California forum on media regulation that was postponed as a result of this week's East Coast snow storm, the survey shows 79% of respondents saying they get either the same amount or more choice of programming from their local stations than they did five years ago.
More than a third of the survey's 2000 plus fall 2002 diary keepers who were interviewed on the phone by Arbitron said that they had more choice, more than two-thirds said their local stations did a very good job of providing a wide variety of programming, nearly three-quarters said their local stations did a good job of playing the music they liked, nearly four-fifths said they listened to radio at least once a week for information on news, weather, traffic, sports or community activities and more than four fifths said radio played an important role in providing such information.
The whole study is to be released later this month by Arbitron but already some of those opposed to consolidation have said that the study could be biased by Arbitron's ties to the radio industry.
Michael Bracy, legislative director of the Future of Music Coalition, said that the US broadcast industry, which had a vested interest in further consolidation, and it was obviously in their interest to present a positive view of the changes.
RNW comment: Bearing in mind the degree to which the big companies can use their clout to limit Arbitron's charges and also influence the information it provides, Arbitron seems to us to be between a rock and a hard place. It cannot go head to head too roughly with the giants but they are in turn are limited in how far they can push things by the need for a ratings service; maybe the media hearings should also and Department of Justice should also be looking at the ratings industry with a view to setting down some guidelines for ratings.
If nothing else, as Enron showed, those who control the issued figures can significantly affect the nature of an industry and, since so much of radio programming is linked to ratings, it cannot be to the good of fair competition if a major player can have too much influence on what is rated and how markets are defined.
2003-02-20: Infinity has now dropped the radio simulcast of the CBS TV Late Show With David Letterman, saying additional fees required by the Directors' Guild made it uneconomic. The simulcast started in November last year (See RNW Nov 5, 2002) and Infinity said that it had been a success.
RNW note: Whatever Infinity's official comments may be, some on-air comments by Letterman on the show at the end of last month indicated that he had his doubts.
After poking fun with a segment that a moment of silence in his TV show and asking how that would play on radio, Letterman said - presumably not totally as a joke - " I never wanted it on radio - I know for a fact it barely works on television."
2003-02-19: Following a positive cover story on XM Satellite Radio by Barron's allied with its upbeat tone about the future of satellite radio in general and the commitment of automakers to the idea, shares in both Sirius and XM soared on Tuesday when the markets opened after Monday's President's Day Holiday.
At one stage in early trading XM was up nearly a third with Sirius also rising but to a lesser degree; by late afternoon the XM rise was around 21% and Sirius stock was up 25%.
At the close of trading, Sirius was up 24% at USD 0.93 and XM was up 19% at USD4.49.
2003-02-19: Around 50 intruders, described as "anarchists", made their way into the BBC World Service radio Bush House headquarters at the weekend before the start of the anti-war demonstration in London, overcoming security staff who tried to stop them.
According to the UK Guardian, some of them replaced the BCB flag on the roof with one of an anarchist design and others made their way into various parts of the building, including the offices of one of the foreign language services but they did not manage to enter the newsroom or studios, which are protected by security-coded doors.
The paper notes that security at the building is light, with staff only having to show their security passes to guards as they enter the main reception area and says that there is concern that the World Service could be targeted for a violent attack: The BBC is now reviewing all of its security procedures.
The Guardian also reports that has learned that an armed Jewish settler, who was carrying a gun and had asked for the World Service correspondent Lyse Doucet, had to be escorted from the corporation's Jerusalem bureau earlier this month.
UK Guardian report:
2003-02-19: Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS)has filed to appeal the dismissal of its antitrust suit against Clear Channel and Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (See RNW Feb 2) and has also asked the Florida Southern District Court to allow it to file a second complaint.
This complaint is currently not being detailed because it contains new information that came to light in the discover-phase depositions of Clear Channel's chairman and CEO Lowry Mays and its CFO Randall Mays and also from Hispanic Broadcasting Chief Financial Officer Jeff Hinton.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Hispanic Broadcasting:
Previous Lowry Mays:
Previous Randall Mays:
2003-02-18: A group of wealthy Democrats is planning a liberal radio network to counter the dominance of conservative talk hosts in US radio according to the New York Times.
It says that the group, led by Sheldon and Anita Drobny, Chicago venture capitalists and major campaign donors for former US President Bill Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore, is already in discussions with comedian Al Frankel, Author of "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot."
The paper says that the spur to action has been new campaign finance restrictions allied with the political propaganda success of conservative radio and television personalities; the new radio network, AnShell Media L.L.C., will initially be financed by the Paradigm Group, in which the Drobnys are the principal partners and which will put up USD10 million in start-up funding.
AnShell CEO will be Atlanta-based radio executive Jon Sinton, who in the 1990s helped start the nationally syndicated but short-lived radio program of Jim Hightower, the former Texas agriculture commissioner.
Sinton said the new venture would seek to disprove not only those who doubt liberal hosts can make it in radio, but also those who believe that success in radio depends on an alliance with one of the handful of major distributors or station groups.
"The object of the programming is to be progressive and make a statement that counters this din from the right," Mr. Sinton said. "But we have a solid business plan that shows a hole in the market."
There has long been scepticism in US radio about the business prospects for liberal talk hosts and
Kraig T. Kitchen, CEO of Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Networks, whose syndicated talks hosts include Rush Limbaugh, Michael Reagan and Dr. Laura Schlessinger, said that he would have pursued the idea of liberal talks hosts despite being a conservative himself had he thought they would be successful.
"Individuals who are liberal in their viewpoints can be all-encompassing," he said. "It's very hard to define liberalism, unlike how easy it is to define conservatism. So, as a result, it doesn't evoke the same kind of passion as conservative ideologies do."
Sinton said he thought past attempts failed because they were not properly executed; Hightower, he felt, had a problem because his program was sandwiched into a schedule crammed with conservatives.
"It is very hard to succeed when you throw liberal programming between bookends of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity," he said. "That violates expectations of the listener."
"This side has failed by going at Rush, and trying to be Rush - you're not going to beat him at his game," Sinton continued. "What really makes this work is tapping into Hollywood and New York and having a huge entertainment component, where political sarcasm is every bit as effective as Rush Limbaugh is at bashing you over the head."
He said his biggest challenge was getting national distribution for the network and to do this he would seek to strike deals with underperforming radio stations in major markets.
Analysts said that the plan while difficult to achieve, it is not impossible. "It is going to be trickier in the top-10 markets, easier in the middle markets, but it will be possible," said Jonathan Jacoby, a radio industry analyst for SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. "There is a case that if they have the right product, they will be able to find distribution."
RNW comment: While we welcome the idea of more variety in US talk, wish the new venture well, and deplore the current political imbalance in US talk radio, we cannot but share some of Kitchen's doubts.
We'd love to be proven wrong but rather fear that it's a minority of people who enjoy being pushed into thought and understanding the complexities of a multi-hued world rather than sharing the simplistic certainties, or should we say prejudices, so often the currency of successful US hosts.
We also fear Kitchen is right about the degree to which passion is important in these matters, although yet again we deplore this in general, whether it be a matter of left-wing zealots, right-wing ideologues or fanatical religious bigots whether they be Christians, Hindus, Jews, Moslems or of any other belief.
New York Times report:
2003-02-18: According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a site at Eastern Creek has emerged as a possible new location for the transmitters for Sydney's five AM commercial stations following an admission by the New South Wales government that it erred in 1988 when it approved residential development within 200 metres of the Homebush Bay facility used by Sydney 2SM and 2UE.
The paper quotes NSW Minister for Planning Andrew Refshauge as saying that when the development was approved, "There was no information to suggest radio broadcasts would cause any problem despite the fact the proposal was advertised widely. There was no submission made that would suggest that there was any problem."
The Australian Communications Authority warned more than a year ago of concern about radiation from the tower that could potentially be a health risk and also cause serious interference with electrical and electronic equipment.
RNW note: The case has echoes in Italy where in 2000 the Vatican was accused of using its diplomatic immunity to hinder investigations of claims that Vatican radio transmitters at Santa Maria de Galera were causing cancer in Cesano, a northern suburb of Rome (see RNW April 23, 2001); the dispute was eventually settled by the Vatican moving its transmitters out of Italy (See RNW May 19, 2001).
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2003-02-18: Former Nottingham, England, Century 106 breakfast host Ian Sky (real name Ian Wickens), sacked in October 2001 for playing the "Hey Mr Taliban " song set to the tune of the Banana Boat Song, has settled his case against Capital Radio, the station's owners.
Listeners had complained about the song, a major "hit" after the September 11 attacks or the MadBlast web site that linked it to an animation, and Wickens and producer Peter Allen were both fired. Both appealed and were to have appeared before an employment tribunal on Monday but the hearing was cancelled following the settlement, whose terms include a bar on any of the parties commenting publicly about the matter.
Wickens is currently host of the Morning Skye breakfast show on Wolverhampton commercial radio station, The Wolf
2003-02-18: US National Public Radio (NPR) is to drop its annual Public Radio Conference, which has been running for more than 30 years, after this year's New Orleans Conference in May.
NPR gives as its reason the losses, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars, it makes in connection with the event and declining interest in the event whose attendance has fallen by more than a third from its peak.
2003-02-17: In view of the importance of the topic we start this week's look at the past week's cover of radio in print with three reports related to the regulation of US media.
The first, from the Mercury News, personalises the issues through a profile of Federal Communications Commission Michael Powell, described by Heather Fleming Phillips as "an unabashed gadget freak who owns three cell phones, three personal digital assistants, five personal computers, six TVs, a wireless wifi network and of course what he calls ``God's Machine'' -- TiVo."
The article describes Powell as a "die-hard Republican free-marketeer" and says he aims to "craft the rules of the road to a new digital promised land, where the lines between computers and entertainment devices blur and consumers have access to a vast array of new services" with "as little government intrusion as possible."
That approach says the report infuriates consumer groups and it quotes Gene Kimmelman, senior director of public policy and advocacy for Consumers Union as saying that Powell's ideological perspective "is that government intervention does more harm than good. He's so blinded by that sentiment that he refuses to see the day-to-day harms consumers face in unregulated markets.''
Even within the Republican ranks on the Commission, there are differences with Powell's approach, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times by Jube Shiver Jr. and James S. Granelli.
They comment "perhaps the most unusual challenge of all has come from Kevin J. Martin, a fellow Republican on the FCC who shares many of Powell's free-market ideals."
The divisions between Powell and Martin, they say, were obscured until recently by the 3-1 Republican majority on the FCC but, following the swearing-in of second Democrat Jonathan S. Adelstein, Powell has been finding problems in keeping his "his political majority in line as Martin sides with the two Democratic commissioners."
J. Gregory Sidak, a resident scholar with conservative think-tank America Enterprise Institute, described Martin as "like the Sandra Day O'Connor of the FCC. You never know what side of an issue he's going to be on."
The paper notes that Powell himself hinted at the conflict with Martin in a December speech, when, after joking that he had been pressured to take fellow FCC members on the road for public hearings into the consolidation of media ownership, he likened his trip to the "Magical Mystery Tour" with "Martin insisting on singing the lead."
The differences, suggests the article, are more of timing that principle; Both men it says feel deregulation is admirable and achievable but Martin differs with Powell on whether enough competition exists at this point to make deregulation anything more than a return to monopolies, particularly in the phone business.
On the West Coast, a report on the field hearing on broadcast ownership rules that Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps has called for Seattle in March, shows scepticism by Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Bill Virgin about the event, but from a different perspective in some ways to Powell's objections to such meetings.
"Public hearings," writes Virgin, "are useful for lots of things: grandstanding, finger pointing, scapegoat hunting, posterior protection, pillorying of a convenient target, giving the appearance that Something Is Being Done even if nothing is."
"Hearings that are informative or productive? Those are occasional, even unintended, by-products of the process. "
He then suggests that the Seattle hearing probably won't yield "any fresh insights into the controversy over whether to relax rules on the concentration of ownership" but may give "insights into yet another motivation for holding a hearing: building leverage among members of an agency's board."
After summarising the views likely to be presented -basically "Consolidation good in all ways " from media conglomerates" and "Consolidation bad for diversity" from opponents of deregulation - Virgin comments, "The problem with these arguments, aside from their predictability, is the extent of bogusness inherent in both viewpoints. Maybe media company executives can praise consolidation without rolling their eyes, but no one else can."
"The American public knows that what they are seeing and hearing is more uniform, more dumbed down, less colourful -- and consolidation sure looks like a culprit."
"Those who object to the consolidation trend on the grounds that it stamps out diversity, meanwhile, have diversity problems of their own, at least when it comes to diversity of opinion. The community, non-profit and public radio groups that harrumph so loudly about the sins of commercial broadcasters themselves represent a spectrum of opinion that runs the gamut of lefty thought from A to B."
Virgin then runs through public statements made by both Copps and Powell about their concerns and possible motivations for both holding the meeting and holding it in Seattle before concluding, "Good theatre, which is not the same thing as good ideas about what to fix."
Copps could produce a much more useful, if much duller, hearing, by telling everyone who testifies: 'You get five minutes. Don't tell me how awful or great things are. If you think things should be changed, give me concrete ideas, in specifics, on how they should be changed. Time's up. Goodbye. Next.'"
"Otherwise, the Seattle hearing will simply generate even more of what there's already an abundance of in the broadcast bands: static. Noisy, but not terribly meaningful."
The cynics might suggest the same thing about the idea of low-power community radio, subject of a report by Kathy Bergren Smith in the Baltimore Sun on the first anniversary of 100-watt, low-power community radio station WRYR- FM.
The station, she writes, has "carved a niche in a brand-new market: '"ultra-local' radio", and quotes founder Mike Shay as saying, "We saw a need to have a place to discuss the issues affecting our community at length."
As well as environmental programming sponsored by the local environmental group, WRYR offers what Smith terms "an audio smorgasbord by volunteer disc jockeys.."
An example given is of Jackie Savitz, who "arrives at the studio with a wicker basket filled with compact discs from her collection of adult alternative music and a general idea of what she wants to play. "I usually have a theme." On a recent Sunday, she said, "I was thinking a lot about Martin Luther King, so that sort of informed the show."
The station line-up reflects the tastes of the DJs, not the audience interests shown up in polling done by commercial groups, and ranges from talk shows, a native-American programme, and religious programming to a musical output from Savitz's AA to zydeco.
But that's enough of the serious - or maybe an article by Michael Endelman in the New York Times on Stephen Webber, professor of music production and engineering at Berklee College of Music in Boston, is even more serious.
Webber, writes Endelman, has for several years "been trying to introduce a course on hip-hop turntable techniques into the Berklee curriculum."
"He designed a program of study that would teach students the technical and musical basics of turntablism, which involves manipulating a record back and forth against the needle to create percussive scratches, jagged beats and abstract sounds. But the college turned down the idea of a turntable class in 2000 because the provost disapproved, and in 2001 the idea was rejected by the executive vice president because of budget constraints, despite support from the college's deans."
Foiled so far at the academic course level, Webber has succeeded as an author and has written a book "Turntable Technique: The Art of the D.J.," the first musical method book for aspiring hip-hop D.J.'s.
Endelman notes that the book "became one of Berklee Press's best-selling titles, and now the college's administrators are willing to reconsider the course."
He says that if Webber is successful his course will be take an instructional or practical approach to hip-hop as opposed to other courses on hip-hop music and culture, such as Stanford University's "The Language of Hip-Hop Culture " and Harvard's "Hip-Hop America: Power, Politics and the Word" that have taken a cultural or analytical approach.
There are other places where DJs can learn noted Endelman but, he adds, "If Berklee decides to approve a turntable class, however, it will be the first hip-hop performance class at a conservatory, applying Western notation and theory to an oral tradition."
Scepticism still remains however as to whether the course "is appropriate for a serious music college."
Gary Burton, executive vice president of the college, said, "There's still some controversy over whether it's an instrument, in the conventional sense of the word, meaning with established systems of technique and notation that relates it to Western harmony and melody."
Webber responded, "The fact that people are taking beats and snippets of other records bothers a lot of people" but said it was s not very different from modern classical composers like Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage, "except it actually grooves, and you can dance to it."
Students were also divided, one describing it as "the future of music" and another taking a more traditional view and commenting, "I think that turntables in general are just a party trick. It's a total gimmick. I'm not even sure if it's music."
Finally a commercial host with a little style: WSCR-AM, Chicago, afternoon host Mike North, found that Chicago Magazine had killed a free-lance article on him because, according to its author, it was too complimentary about North.
Instead of whinging, he bought the rights to the story and posted it on his website(link below).
Baltimore Sun - Smith
Los Angeles Times - Shiver Jr. and Granelli:
Mercury News - Phillips;
Mike North web site:
New York Times - Endelman
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Virgin:
2003-02-17: Looking ahead to the Grammy Awards ceremony in New York this week, a New York Times report by Fred Goodman bemoans the absence of any outlook for country music amongst New York commercial radio stations, even though the format is a mainstay round the US.
He notes that last year country musician and producer Marty Stuart, in New York to promote "Kindred Spirits," a tribute to the songs of Johnny Cash, was only able to get interest from two non-commercial stations - news-talk public station WNYC-AM and Fordham University's WFUV-AM, which he says is the only station in the city likely to play any of the tracks.
Until May last year, when it was switched to a Top 40 Spanish format, WYNY-FM, had been a country station in the city and Stuart says that, although a country format could be lucrative, the city isn't likely to get such a station back soon.
"It's sad and it's frustrating," said Stuart, who also noted that there was also no suitable club or concert venue for country music in the city. "There's a misapprehension that there are no country fans in New York."
The report says that some radio executives say the absence of the format in New York is nothing to do with demand, everything to do with advertiser prejudice.
Eric Wellman, assistant director of programming at the classic-rock station WAXQ-FM, told the paper, "If someone started a country station in New York, they'd probably be in the top 10. But they couldn't sell it. The stations get listeners, but advertisers tend to feel they're not the ones they want. The attitude is that you may get 20 million listeners but they're all on welfare and driving rusted pickup trucks."
The reality, writes Goodman, is nothing like that - the economic profile of the average country music fan in the New York area is almost identical to that of listeners to such top-rated adult contemporary stations as WLTW-FM and WPLJ-FM.
"Most country music fans in New York live in the suburbs," he continues, "and they actually appear to be slightly more affluent than adult-contemporary listeners: they have higher rates of home ownership, second cars and managerial jobs. Country audiences do tend to skew slightly toward women, however - not as attractive a target audience as one that is predominantly male or equally divided."
"Apparently, country music fans don't drive cars or eat," Wellman said with a roll of the eyes.
Noting the past successes of WHN-AM and WYNY-FM when they played country, Ed Salamon, who was program director of WYNY when it was the second ranked station in the city with a weekly reach of 1.5 million, commented, "Of course the market can support a country station."
Salamon, now president of Country Radio Broadcasters, added, "All those people didn't move out of New York. The people in the greater New York area are not all that different from the rest of America, and the issues for a country broadcaster are very much the same as they are for any other format: you've got to provide a compelling station."
When WHN switched to a sports format in 1987 as WFAN, WYNY-FM stepped in to fill the country void, grabbing the sixth-largest adult audience in the city in the early 90s: WNYNY was switched to WKTU, an urban hits format, in 1996 following its purchase by a new owner, Evergreen Broadcasting.
WYNY was later revived as Country Y-107 by Big City Radio broadcasting an amalgam of four small suburban transmitters in Stroudsburg, Pa., Long Branch, N.J., Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., and eastern Long Island, all broadcasting on 107.1but the result was an uneven and hard-to-hold signal that was particularly elusive in New York City and the station's market share went down to a third of the 3.5 percent share of the New York market it had enjoyed at its peak in the 90's.
Even with the signal problems, WYNY was the No. 1 suburban broadcaster in the market but last May Big City converted it to Latin hits Rumba 107.1, a station that failed to register in the ratings in its first Arbitron Book. When Big City declared bankruptcy the stations were sold again and their future format is unclear.
No existing New York station seems likely to move to Country and the report suggests the demand may yet be met by satellite broadcasters, noting that Sirius, is currently experimenting with five different country formats.
Sirius is marking the return of the Grammys to New York with a variety of special programme streams as well as live cover of the event on February 23.
The special streams include "New Country Goes to the GRAMMYS" that will 3-song sets highlighting nominees for Best Female, Best Male, Best Duo or Group and Best Song in the country music categories and album tracks from nominated country albums.
Previous Country Radio Broadcasters:
New York Times report:
2003-02-17: Fears voiced in advance of the takeover of Loyala University station WLUW-FM's operations by Chicago public station WBEZ-FM have not been realized according to a report in the Chicago Tribune that is tied to the first pledge drive for WLUW since the operating agreement came into effect in December (See RNW Dec 7, 2002).
The Tribune quotes WBEZ general manager Torey Malatia as saying, "We have a lot of money to raise. We believe this is possible, especially if the community realizes what we're doing is preserving this community service they've come to value. We've retained the character."
Fears still remain as to how secure WLUW's traditions are with Laura Hermann, a member of Friends of WLUW, commenting, "Right now, I have a positive impression of the work that has taken place. At the same time, it requires the attention of WLUW listeners to make sure they keep the programming."
WBEZ, a powerhouse with its 2,000-watts transmitter compared to the 100-watts of WLUW, broadcasts news and talk in the day and Jazz most nights; WLUW is wider ranging and its output includes shows highlighting Chicago's ethnic communities and music too diverse and avant-garde for most corporate stations.
WLUW's budget is being kept independent under the agreement between WBEX and the university; they will split any deficit for the next three years but WLUW will eventually have to raise all its budget, of some USD 1300, 000 a year compared to USD 12 million for WBEZ, through contributions.
The financial arrangement led some WLUW listeners fear that it would be used by WBEZ as a testing ground to the detriment of what made it special but both the university and WBEZ management have consistently denied this.
"Nothing really can be done that from our point of view would provide some sort of a natural advantage for WBEZ in the traditional sense," Malatia said. "So it was a matter of thinking untraditionally."
He added that they could see benefits for WBEZ from WLUW in terms of training potential staff and keeping it in touch with its audience.
Chicago Tribune report:
2003-02-16: Last week was yet another where the main regulatory story continues to be the future of media regulation in the US as reported during the past week; elsewhere was fairly quiet although Canada saw a steady throughput of radio decisions.
There was nothing concerning radio from Australia.
In Canada, decisions by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) included:
*Approval of an application to allow CKBF-FM, Canadian Forces Base, Suffield, to operate a transmitter in Wainwright Canadian Forces Base to serve the British Armed Forces personnel and their dependents stationed at the Wainwright base.
*Approval of CHUM's takeover of CKST-AM, Vancouver, from Grand Slam Radio Inc. CHUM is proposing to retain the station's all-sports format and in response to questions concerning the effect on ownership concentration had noted that it would end up with three stations in a market where Corus and Rogers each already had four stations; CHUM currently owns and operates adult contemporary CHQM-FM and all-talk CFUN-AM in the market.
*Approval of an application by Russ Wagg, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, to operate a low-power 50 watts solid gold light rock music format English-language FM radio station in Fort St. John. It would produce all programmes locally and spoken word programming would include news, weather, sports, road reports and community bulletin boards.
The application had been opposed by a number of commercial broadcasters in the area on the basis that its format was too broad and that low-power stations should have more of a niche format and that the Commission should not allow new low-power entrants into the Canadian radio market until it had issued a determination on proposed revisions to its licensing policy for low-power radio stations.
*Approval of a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation application to allow its transitional
Licence amendment - Transitional digital radio undertaking digital radio undertaking in Vancouver, in order to broadcast the programming of CBUX-FM Vancouver (la Chaîne culturelle) instead of CBFX-FM (Montréal)
*Refusal of an application by Kelowna Radio Club, on behalf of a not-for-profit corporation to be incorporated for a licence for a 50 watts low-power English-language FM community Type B radio station in Kelowna.
It proposed spoken word programming and a music content focussed on hard rock and heavy metal although nearly a quarter would be concert and non-classic religious.
Five local broadcasters opposed the application and the CRCT said it felt the musical content proposed reflected musical selections offered by some commercial radio stations and that a portion of the selections would duplicate the music programming currently available on commercial radio stations already serving Kelowna.
* Approval of a new 49-watts English-language specialty format FM in Saint John that would carry spoken word comedy programmes for more than half the broadcast week.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Approval of a new primarily English-language 50 watts FM in Sturgeon Falls.
*Approval of an application from Haliburton County Community Radio Association to set up a Type A English-language FM community radio station in Haliburton.
The application was supported by a variety of local community organizations and opposed by commercial station CFBK-FM Huntsville, Ontario, which argued among other things that the power proposed was excessive, that the proposed signal would reach Huntsville and Bracebridge, and that a low-power FM would be adequate to serve Haliburton. The CRTC rejected its opposition.
*Approval of changes to the licence of CIZN-FM, Cambridge, including a frequency change, transmitter move and power increase from 560 watts to 2,500 watts.
*Approval of a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation application to relocate the transmitter for CBVX-FM Baie Saint-Paul, to its CKRT-TV-1 site, and increase its power from 350 watts to 530 watts.
The CRTC has also issued two public notices relating to various licences applications.
One, with an intervention deadline of March 17 this year, related to an application by CJRT-FM, Toronto, to broadcast Urdu, Hindi and English language programming, using a Subsidiary Communications Multiplex Operations (SCMO) channel.
The other, with a March 19, deadline for intervention, related to applications by:
*CHUM Limited to renew the licence of CIMX-FM Windsor, Ontario, expiring 31 August 2003. The CRTC noted an apparent first in November 2001 failure by the station to comply with regulations concerning the percentage of Canadian music broadcast.
*An application by Northern Native Broadcasting, Yukon, to add an FM transmitter at Faro to offer the programming of CHON-FM Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.
It has also approved the transfer of effective control of Les Communications Matane inc., licensee of CHOE-FM and CHRM-FM Matane, Quebec, through various changes in share capital. The Commission noted that the company remains ultimately controlled indirectly by Kenneth Gagné but noted, that contrary to Canadian radio regulations, the transactions had been conducted without its prior approval.
In Ireland the only radio related action by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) related to the release of latest ratings (See RNW Feb 12).
In the UK, the Radio Authority, as well as issuing a rare penalty to a major broadcaster for failing to keep recordings of its output - of GBP 5,000 to GWR (See RNW Feb 11), has also been active on the digital front, on which it announced that it has received only one application for the Kent digital multiplex, from Capital Radio Digital Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Capital Radio plc.
Capital Radio Digital is proposing, in addition to carriage of BBC Radio Kent, a bouquet of eight channels. These are:
Contemporary hit radio - Invicta FM --provider: Radio Invicta Ltd.;
Gold - Capital Gold provider: Radio Invicta Ltd;
AC and classic hits, local news - Kent Digital Extra -provider: Kent Digital Extra Ltd., a subsidiary of Kent Messenger Ltd.;
Credible new music - Xfm - provider: Capital Radio plc.;
Easy listening - Saga Radio - provider: Saga Regional Digital Radio Ltd.;
Dance - Kiss - provider: Emap Performance Ltd.;
Community channel - Provider(s): to be confirmed;
A channel to be shared between a full local service (Swale area) from Swale Sound from 06.00-18.00) and an 1800-0800 Alternative specialist service from Totally Radio - provider: Festival Productions Ltd..
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as well as activities relating to future US media regulation, was also involved in a tightening of security as the US stepped up its "terror alert" warning to Amber status. The FCC closed its Reference Information Center for a few days and also increased security at its headquarters by insisting that visitors use just one entrance and have an escort at all times when inside its building.
It also issued a number of fines for technical offences and announced that a Florida pirate had been sentences to 18 months probation (See RNW Feb 11).
In Texas, it has revoked permission to Pacific Broadcasting for a construction permit to move its KTKY-FM, Refugio, to Taft, The original permission was given subject to a condition that a new service would be provided in Refugio, where KTKY was the only local service, but in 2001 Pacific had told the FCC that it had lost its lease on the Refugio tower site and requested special temporary authority to operate KTKY from the facilities specified in the Taft CP. That authority was refused but while the matter was proceeding the KTKY Refugio licence lapsed. The FCC says Pacific has not demonstrated that "it considered all possible solutions to its temporary siting problem" and has ordered it to find a temporary facility in Refugio and file to it within 30 days a status report and also to update the FCC on its progress every 60 days after that.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-02-16: Canadian media and communications company Rogers Communications Inc. has reported "solid performances" across all its divisions - Cable, Wireless and Media - in the final quarter of 2002; it halved a loss of CAD173.7 million (USD 111 million) a year earlier to CAD 88.3 million (USD 56.8 million) before taking into account non-recurring items that included a gain of CAD904.3 million (USD 581 million) from selling its AT&T Canada shares. It ended up with a net profit of CAD 698.2 million (USD 449 million).
Overall revenues for the quarter were up 12.3% to CAD 1.167 billion (USD 750 million) and operating profit was up 26% to CAD 303 million (USD 195 million).
The media division, whose holdings include 43 radio stations in Canada, had revenues up 9.8% for the quarter to CAD 233 million (USD150 million), within which radio revenues, aided by revenues from the 13 stations Rogers acquired in April last year (See RNW April 21, 2002), were 18.4% to CAD 48.3 million (USD 31 million); media operating profit was up 35.8% at CAD 34.5 million (USD 22.2 million) but radio operating profit was down 9.2% to CAD 11.8 million (USD 7.6 million).
For the full year, Rogers revenues were up 10.5% to CAD 4.323 billion (USD 2.779 billion) and operating profits were up 19.9% to CAD 1.141 billion (USD 733 million); The net figure was a profit of CAD 312 million (USD 201 million) compared to a net loss of CAD 464 million (USD 298 million) in 2001.
Excluding non-recurring items, Rogers lost CAD363 million (USD 233 million) in 2002 compared to a 2001 loss of CAD 436 million (USD280 million).
Rogers Media revenues for the year were up 12.3% to CAD 810 million (USD 521 million) and its operating profits were 28.3% to CAD 87.6 million (USD 56.3 million). Of this radio contributed revenues of CAD 166 million (USD 107 million) and profits of CAD 42 million (USD 27 million), up 28.3%.
Chief Executive Ted Rogers commented that the company had "ended a good year with a strong fourth quarter across all of our business units." He noted the media division's focus on cost management as a factor in its performance.
2003-02-15: NBG Radio Networks has effectively been short down with an announcement that its "senior secured lender had foreclosed on substantially all of its assets as well as substantially all of the assets of its subsidiary." The announcement follows the resignation at the end of January of NBG Networks President and CEO John Holmes.
Shortly after the death of NBC, Crystal Media Network announced its formation as a new company that will produce, distribute and sell network programming to national advertisers in the US. The company's network radio operation will be offering a number of established offerings picked up from NBC.
Its CEO will be Nick C. Krawczyk and its offerings will include The Dave Koz Radio Show, Hollywood Hamilton, Wireless Flash, and The Dr. Don Prepsheet, all former NBG Radio Network properties.
2003-02-15: British folk group Seize the Day, whose music has a strong anti-war message had been disqualified from the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards because, says the Corporation, there had been a "political" campaign to get votes for them.
The group has denied canvassing for votes on anti-war websites and e-mail lists and says the support they have received mirrors the interest of their fans.
Seize the Day were in the top four bands short listed for The Audience Award - the others were Te Vaka (New Zealand), Oi Va Voi (UK) and Terra Folk (Slovenia).
BBC executives said they became aware of a messages on websites and e-mail lists calling for votes for the group with the result that they went ahead in the voting; they added they had to disqualify the group in fairness to other groups who had only been soliciting support from their fan base.
On their web site, the group says, "Listeners phoning the BBC helpline in order to register their vote for Seize the Day were informed that Seize the Day have mass e-mailed anti-war mailing lists. THIS IS NOT TRUE!"
"We do not run or have access to any anti-war mailing lists. However we do sing about peace, so most of our supporters ARE anti-war (as are most of the British people). Our supporters, like those of the other bands, are bound to spread the word and so they should - Co-incidence??? "
The group says it wasn't even told about its suspension in advance and calls for its supporters to let the BBC know what it thinks about their action, listing numbers and names of people at the BBC to contact. It also pokes fun at the reason given for their suspension - "voting irregularities - with a "Stop Press" paragraph reading, "We're just receiving reports that Radio 3 are also declaring that George W Bush is no longer U.S. President!! This, apparently, is due to 'Voting irregularities'"
It also has a link to the BBC Radio 3 Awards web site, which when we checked it, said nothing about the suspension of the group but still had a link to a page about the group and also to their track "United States" from the "Peace not War" album.
Amongst other things its lyrics carry a litany of wars in which the US has been involved.
The BBC News site did carry a report, quoting the BBC's head of editorial policy, Stephen Whittle, as saying, "It was clear from the voting process that the votes for Seize the Day were motivated and organised for political reasons."
From the band it quoted their manager Louise Somerville-Williams as saying, "We feel extremely wounded that they are damaging the band's reputation for integrity and honesty" and adding she did not think the BBC could afford to let such a radical anti-war group win.
"It's too political for them. You can't separate art and politics - all music's political," she said.
Earlier in the week, the BBC banned all but the most junior of its news staff from attending today's anti-war march in London; the junior staff will not be barred from attending in a personal capacity but people like correspondents, presenters and editors were told they had to stay away.
BBC News Story:
BBC Radio 3 Awards site:
Seize the Day web site:
2003-02-15: Radioio Eclectic has retained the top station ranking and MUSICMATCH Inc. topped the network rankings in the latest Arbitron-MeaureCast figures just published, running to February 2. Arbitron also notes that two Jazz stations, Jazz FM and KPLU-FM, were in the top ten channels; Jazz FM was fifth and KPLU was ninth.
In the network ratings, Clear Channel was back and in the same third rank it held when it dropped out while new arrangements were made as to how its ratings were to be measured.
For the week to February 2, 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: Adult alternative Radioio Eclectic - TTSL 324,323 (297,916); CP 62,198 (60,958). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 305,374 (295,771); CP 131,195 (133,041). Same rank with higher listening but lower reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 286,312 (271,022); CP 48,780 (46,336). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: Classical format WQXR-FM- TTSL 237,739 (216,346); CP 35,763 (35,240). Up from fifth with higher listening and reach.
5: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 210,141 (250,829); CP 31,434 (32,100): Down from fourth with lower listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week to February 2 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,285,584 (1,257,558); CP 378,561 (388,095). Same rank with higher listening but lower reach.
2: StreamAudio TTSL 1,016,610 (959,806); CP158,428 (150,368). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 641,913: CP 135,143- not ranked since week to January 12 when it was third with lower TTSL (633,596) and CP (129,985).
4: WARP Radio TTSL 633,008 (583,626) hours: CP 105,447 (104,068) - Down from third despite higher listening and reach.
5: Moontaxi TTSL 544,777 (505,351); CP 91,503 (80,681) - Down from fourth despite higher listening and reach.
* Stream Guys fell from fifth to sixth with TTSL 491,552, up from 484,404 and CP 125,759, up from119,134.
Arbitron has also confirmed that it is to start charging its subscribers for taking part in its ratings, although it has not given details formally.
A report in Radio and Internet Newsletter on Thursday said Arbitron had been looking at ways to held Internet radio generate advertising sales and had come to the conclusion that it needed to offer comparable metrics to those issued for broadcasters.
Arbitron Internet Broadcast Services Vice-President and General Manager Bill Rose said this meant this meant "AQH and cume, in addition to TTSL and the other statistics we provide, because that's why these buyers understand."
He indicated to RAIN that they would commence their subscription system in around a month with a four-week free trial towards the end of which those taking part would be offered a subscription deal. If they chose not to take it, no further offer would be made for a trial for six months.
The charge for the service according to RAIN would be USD 3,000 a year for those whose tuning hours were less than 60, 000 a week and thereafter would five cents per hour of tuning; this would cover up to ten channels after which there would be a USD100 per annum additional charge per channel except where channels were combined in a sales network.
RNW note: Looking at MeasureCast's figures, the 60,000 hours break point for individual stations occurs around the bottom of the top 20 stations. And the top-rated station would pay around USD 15,000 a year. The top rated network would pay in the USD 65,000 to USD75, 000 per annum range.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings:
Arbitron web site
RAIN web site:
2003-02-14: Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation is moving into Puerto Rico through an agreement for a USD32 million cash purchase of the stock of El Mundo Broadcasting Corporation from Fundación Angel Ramos, Inc., the philanthropic organization set up by El Mundo founder Angel Ramos.
It owns four stations, two FMs -- WKAQ-FM and WUKQ-FM - that are programmed as one format CHR/Spanish Contemporary KQ-105, and two AMs - WKAQ-AM and WUKQ-AM - that are programmed as news/talk Radio Reloj. WKAQ-AM, launched in 1922 and owned by El Mundo since 1949, is the oldest radio station in Puerto Rico.
The other major radio owners in Puerto Rico are Arso Media and Spanish Broadcasting System.
Commenting on the sale, Argentina S. Hills, Chairman of the Board of Fundación Angel Ramos, Inc., said, "We wholeheartedly welcome HBC to Puerto Rico. With a proven track record as the largest and most renowned Spanish-language radio broadcaster in the United States, I am confident that they will continue to maintain the high standards that El Mundo Broadcasting has demonstrated for decades."
Hispanic President and CEO McHenry Tichenor, Jr. commented, "We are very aware of the importance of these stations in the hearts of Puerto Ricans and we pledge to continue the excellence in programming and community service that have made Radio Reloj and KQ-105 such revered institutions."
Previous Hispanic Broadcasting:
2003-02-14: Arbitron, which came under attack from the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) earlier this month for low response rates from its diary keepers (See RNW Feb 5) has now been hit with another complaint about the response rates, this time from the Network Radio Research Council (NRRC) that was formed by four radio networks in 2001.
NRRC chairman, and Premiere President and Director of Research, Ken Klatt said they were challenging Arbitron to "undertake an aggressive plan to improve their diary response rates."
"As radio researchers, we have all been troubled for a long while over the impact that sagging response rates have had on Arbitron's nationwide and local markets."
Klatt said there was increasing concern over the network radio ratings service RADAR, bought by Arbitron in 2001 (See RNW July 3, 2001).
Arbitron is switching this from its former telephone survey method, that had a response rate of around a half, to its diary method, with a response of around a third, and Klatt commented that concern was compounded "for the NRRC as this problem now extends to the RADAR service, which, in the past under the telephone methodology of previous ownership, sported response rates that were almost fifteen to twenty percentage points higher,"
Arbitron's president US Media Services Owen Charlebois said that response rates were a serious concern to the company and it was spending more than it ever had to stop the decline and deal with the consequences.
2003-02-14: Current political events seem to have boosted the audiences of UK Asian radio stations, with a particular increase in the hours that their listeners are staying tuned.
Small Leicester independent AM station Sabras Radio has topped the listening in the city, which has a large Asian population, for the first time, beating rivals GWR's Leicester Sound and BBC Leicester.
It took a 17.2% share of listening compared with 14.3% for Leicester Sound and 11.6% for BBC Radio Leicester.
Sabras, which was founded in 1980, has a format of latest this and favourite oldies combined with a mix of local and international news aimed at listeners of Asian-origin; it broadcasts in English, Hindi, Gujurati, Punjabi and Bengali, but has recently emphasised English and English pop music more then previously so as to attract young British Asians .
In the latest ratings, it had a weekly reach of only 56,000 listeners compared to 184, 000 for BBC Radio Leicester and 173,000 for Leicester Sound but they stayed tuned for far longer - 22 hours a week for Sabras compared to 10.9 for Leicester Sound and 10.4 for BBC Radio Leicester.
In the previous ratings, Sabras had a weekly reach of 44, 000 with their listeners staying tuned for 18 hours week, giving it an 11.5% share compared to a Radio Leicester's reach of 193,000 with listeners staying tuned for 11.1 hours to give it a 13% reach and Leicester |Sound's reach of 170,000 staying tuned for 11.4 hours to give it a 15% share.
Sabras' managing director and founder Don Kotak told the UK Guardian the figures were "an amazing breakthrough", and put them in part down to the heightened interest among British Asians in the current political climate.
"The political situation has created more interest although we don't do a lot of news and heated discussions," he said.
Kotak also said his station had benefited from the BBC Asian network "because they are so bad. It has a 2.7% share of our area even though the BBC has sunk millions into promoting it," he said.
The BBC Asian network, which was launched as a national digital network last year (See RNW Oct 29, 2002), still broadcasts on analogue in the Leicester area. It had a weekly national reach of 156,000 in the latest ratings - its first entry - with listeners staying tuned an average 9.3 hours a week.
London Asian station Sunrise Radio also did well in the latest ratings, again mainly because of increased listening hours. Its weekly reach was up a little, from 426,000 to 430,000, but listening jumped from 9.7 hours a week to 12.5 hours, taking its share of listening up from 1.9% to 2.4%.
Previous Sunrise Radio:
UK Guardian report:
2003-02-14: The University of Southern California says it is to go ahead with its forum on US media regulation next Tuesday that had been put into doubt by the re-scheduling of yesterday's Federal Communications Commission meeting to next Thursday (See RNW Feb 13); this had led two Republican commissioners to drop plans to attend the event, which was to have been a bi-partisan meeting including Commissioners and media executives..
Both Democrat Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein are expected to attend and Republican Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy, who had pulled out of the trip to Los Angeles, is now planning to take part through a video link.
2003-02-14: Seattle-based Fisher Communications Inc. has turned down buyout proposals it has received and is to remain independent and restructure itself; the offers from LIN TV Corp. and media investment firm Sonoran Capital were said to have valued it at USD430-470 million, around USD 50 million less than it had been hoping for.
CEO William Krippaehne Jr. said in a statement, "After reviewing potential alternatives, the board concluded that the alternative of aggressively pursuing our strategic restructuring plan is in the best interest of the company and its shareholders."
The group has debts of around USD300 million and last month announced the sale of its two Georgia TV stations for USD 40 million (See RNW Jan 31). It has also sold real estate to the value of some USD60 million and it says its plan is now to focus on core businesses, streamlining its operations, further cutting operating expenses and increasing its revenue base.
"In addition," says Fisher, "the company expects to use the majority of the proceeds of selected asset sales to further reduce debt and strengthen its balance sheet. "
Fisher also announced its final quarter and full year results showing a net income for the quarter of USD3.165 million (USD 0.37 per share) including a net gain of USD7.16 million on real estate sales and an after tax loss on derivative instruments of USD3.76 million; this compared to a net loss for the final quarter of 2001 of USD 1.76 million (USD0.20 per share).
For the full year, Fisher had a loss of USD 1.99 million (USD 0.23 per share) including an after-tax gain on real estate sales of USD10.9 million, a net gain on derivative instruments of USD 1.03 million and costs related to the wind-up of Fisher's discontinued milling operations of USD 500, 000; this compares to a loss of USD8.26 million (USD 0.96 per share) in 2001.
2003-02-14: UK Chrysalis has announced two more signings for its LBC talk station, re-launched on FM last month. Both are personalities well known for their party going in London - Meg Mathews, ex-wife of Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher with whom she had a daughter, Anais, and Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, most recently in the headlines for her sting on "I'm A Celebrity, get Me Out of Here!".
The latter will be a regular contributor on Friday afternoons to David Prever's news and entertainment show with news of what she had been doing and Mathews will be a regular Sunday afternoon contributor to Charlie Jordan's Sunday Supplement show; her brief will be lifestyle and fashion reports.
Mathews, who four years ago hosted a dance music show on the Emap network, said, "I'm really looking forward to joining Charlie to chat about all things that people love to hear about on a Sunday - this show is the perfect Sunday supplement and I can't wait to get involved."
2003-02-14: Interep's fifth "Power of Urban Radio" symposium held on yesterday in Atlanta was attended by more than 300 advertisers and media ad marketing executives as part of February's Black History Month.
It heard Bill Lamar, Executive Vice President for McDonald's Corporation comment on the importance of the African-American market and also stress that black consumers have distinct lifestyle, language and fashion preferences. Lamar termed Urban Radio vital to African-Americans and said radio was vital to reaching these consumers.
RNW comment: Noting that recent research has shown that there is virtually no crossover between the favourite TV viewing of Black and white Americans, it would seem that a little research in radio might be called for. Certainly Radio 1 Inc has done fairly well by understanding their market.
2003-02-13: Viacom has exceeded expectations with a turnaround from a loss of USD 43 million (USD 0.02 per share_ in the final quarter of 2002 to a profit of USD652 million (USD 0.37 per share) in the final quarter of last year; revenues for the quarter were up 12% to USD 6.8 billion, led, says the company by a 15% growth in advertising revenues, and EBITDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization) was up 42% to USD1.5 billion
For the full year, Viacom turned a loss of USD 224 million (USD 0.13 per share) into a profit of USD 726 million (USD 0.41 per share) on revenues up 6% to USD 24.6 billion; EBITDA increased 22% to USD 5.5 billion.
Chairman and CEO Sumner M. Redstone, saying the "performance in 2002 is but a forerunner of what we expect to accomplish in 2003", commented. "Our fourth quarter and full year results are yet another indication that Viacom has the right assets, the right management and the right strategy to continue to grow year after year. We built momentum throughout the year, culminating with an outstanding performance by most of our core businesses in the fourth quarter."
"We also continued our strategic program of opportunistic acquisitions and used our strong balance sheet to enhance value for our shareholders through share repurchases."
His bullish stances was backed up by President and CEO Mel Karmazin who commented that the year was on of "accomplishments creatively, operationally and financially in every division of the Company."
"We are off to a strong start in 2003 and we intend to continue to focus on combining new efficiencies with smart investments in programming that will drive revenue growth particularly in our high margin, high growth businesses, " he added.
Karmazin, whose relationship with Redstone has been under public scrutiny for some time, also announced at Viacom's conference call that he would be selling around USD 10 million of Viacom stock over the next few days. He linked this to the expiry of options granted ten years ago that expired at the end of the month and that he needed to exercise and noted that there were only around a fiftieth of his Viacom stock holdings.
In making the statement he referred to now wanting investors to "think anything else was going on", a comment linked by many to his relations with Redstone.
Redstone told the call that they were sensitive to the fact that a "timely resolution" of uncertainty about the renewal of Karmazin's contract and said he and Karmazin were working co-operatively with a committee of independent Viacom directors to arrive at a speedy resolution.
For the full year, Viacom is sticking with its forecast of mid-single digit revenue growth resulting in double-digit EBITDA growth and mid-teen growth in operating income and earnings per share.
Within its divisions, Infinity, which covers radio and outdoor, reported fourth quarter revenues up 6%, the same as its TV increase, to USD 998.3 million; Infinity EBITDA in the quarter was up 5% to USD 398.2 million
Radio revenues were up 8% led by growth in the New York and Los Angeles markets and Viacom says that but for transactions with its Westwood One affiliate, they would have increased 11% for the quarter.
Full year revenues for Infinity were up 2% to USD3.8 billion with radio revenues up 5% although Viacom says there were partially offset by higher programming expenses principally associated with sports rights; full year EBITDA was down 4% to USD 1.5 billion.
Viacom shares dropped primarily because of concerns over its cable TV results, even though the overall figures were at the high end of analysts expectation; Viacom fell 98 cents and closed down 2.6% down at USD36.55, ranging down as low as USD 35.10 during the day.
2003-02-13: UK Capital Radio shares on Wednesday lost most of the gains they had made a day earlier on the back of bullish comments by JP Morgan analyst Simon Mays-Smith who responded positively to changes the group is making and the re-launch of its Capital FM breakfast show.
Shares, which rose 4.05% on Tuesday, were down 3.3% on Wednesday to end the day at GBP 4.35 (USD6.88); this compares to a peak value just under GBP 20 (USD31)in March 2000. Its high in the past year has been GBP 8.69 (USD 13.7).
As well as its changes at flagship London station Capital FM, the group is re-launching the breakfast show on its Capital Gold network; it will be sponsored - for the first time - by Telewest's Broadband's Talk Unlimited service when it airs on February 24 with Mick Brown as host in place of Mike Osman.
Telewest is also sponsoring shows on Capital's BRMB in Birmingham and Century FM in Manchester.
2003-02-13: Next week's public forum in Los Angeles on future US media regulation has been weakened through the announcement that a US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) meeting on US telecom rules in Washington, DC, has now been postponed to next Thursday (February 20).
As a result, the two Republican FCC commissioners, Kathleen Abernathy and Kevin Martin, have cancelled plans to attend the Los Angeles meeting at the University of Southern California's Center for Communications Law & Policy on Tuesday (Feb 18).
FCC chairman Michael Powell, who has said he does not see the need for public meetings (See RNW Feb 7) had already said he would not attend and it is thought Democrat Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein may also decide to stay in DC.
That would leave the Democrat Commissioner Michael J Copps, who has been pushing the idea of public meetings, as the only Commissioner going to the USD event.
The USC had wanted its meeting to be a bi-partisan discussion involving the commissioners, a number of senior media executives and the public audience. It has yet to announce how to react.
2003-02-13: KQED-FM talk host Michael Krasny, who is also an English Professor at San Francisco State University, today marks his 10th anniversary as host of the station's morning public affairs show "Forum" with a Gala show before an invited audience. It is also the show's 15th anniversary.
He began in radio on San Rafael low-power station KTIM hosting a once-a-week Marin County talk show and then had a spell with KGO-AM, where he landed a weekend spot and then moved to host a nigh-time talk show for eight years. He is also
Unlike the big-name commercial US talk hosts, Krasny's show goes for a calmer style allowing guests and callers to have their say and interjecting questions rather than being confrontational.
Commenting on his style, he told the San Francisco Chronicle, "I want to promote free, wide-ranging discussion of ideas, stuff that nobody else does. With an election, for instance, we might want to go into the bond measures or the totally unglamorous assessors race. We want to go off the beaten track and try to avoid that pack journalism mentality."
KQED radio web site:
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2003-02-13: Holmes 'Daddy-O' Daylie, who was the first African American to host a regularly scheduled network radio show in Chicago, has died aged 82 after suffering a stroke.
Daylie worked as a bartender at the DuSable Lounge on the city's South Side during the 1940's, befriending many jazz greats including Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Billie Holliday; his radio break came as a result meeting host Dave Garroway when working at the El Grotto Supper club at the Pershing Hotel.
Garroway needled him about wasting his talent as a rhyming bartender and Daylie took classes and got his first radio break with WAIT-AM in the late 1940's He joined WMAQ-AM in 1956, playing contemporary jazz, and later worked for WAAFAM and WJPC-AM.
Chicago Sun-Times obituary:
2003-02-12: In more strong US radio results, Entravision has reported final quarter net revenues up 17% to USD 62.5 million and full year net revenues up 14% to USD 238.5 million; EBITDA was up 18% for the quarter at USD16.2 million and up 16% at USD 58.7 million.
On a same-station basis Entravision's net revenues were up 16% to USD 45.8 million for the quarter and up 17% for 2002 at USD 177.2 million.
Overall it trimmed its loss for the quarter to USD 1.9 million (4 cents a share) from USD 21.9 million (24 cents a share) in the final quarter of 2001 and for the year it cut its loss from USD 65.8 million (66 cents a share) to USD 10.7 million (18 cents a share).
Commenting on the results, Chairman and CEO Walter F. Ulloa said, "During the fourth quarter, the Company continued to generate impressive revenue growth of 17% and EBITDA as adjusted growth of 18%. For the full-year 2002 our revenue improved 14% and EBITDA as adjusted was up 16% over the previous year, driven by our focus on local news programming, improved sales efforts, and strong broadcast ratings. "
He was bullish about this year, saying, "We expect 2003 to be another exceptional year as we capitalize on our market leadership and leverage our efficient cost structure. We predict that our TeleFutura stations will continue to see significant upside as they benefit from strong ratings growth and their duopoly operating structure. We expect all of our TeleFutura stations launched in 2002 to be positive contributors to cash flow in 2003."
"At our radio group the ratings momentum continues, led by the success of our new programming formats."
"In addition, our new six-station cluster in the greater Los Angeles market positions us to capture additional advertising and revenue share of the nation's largest Hispanic market."
Asked about pressures Entravision might come under when the Univision takeover of Hispanic Broadcasting is completed, Ulloa said Entravision did not intend to reformat any stations because of the deal. Saying changes would be made to adjust to changes in people's taste and a market.
He also noted that KLYY-FM in the Los Angeles area is to be reformatted to a new Spanish-language format, aimed at an older audience than the recently launched English-language dance format that is simulcast by KDLD -FM and KDLE-FM. He said they would both complement its Spanish contemporary "Super Estrella" format that it simulcasts on KSSC-FM, KSSD-FM and KSSE-FM.
Radio One Inc has reported record results for the fourth quarter and like Entravision has also trimmed its losses, in its case cutting these after payment of preferred dividends to USD 2 million (USD 0.02 a share) compared to USD 20.4 million (USD 0.22 cents a share) in the final quarter of 20001.
For the quarter its net broadcast revenue was up 14% to USD 76.9 million, BCF was up 19% to USD39 million, and EBITDA was up 20% to USD 35.7 million. Net income before preferred stock dividends and accounting change were taken into consideration was a positive USD 9.6 million (USD 0.09 per share) compared to a loss of USD 15.4 million (USD 0.16 a share) in the final quarter of 2001.
Net revenues for the year were up 21% to USD243.8 million, operating income was turned round from a negative USD 16.45 million to a positive USD119.98 million, and there was net income after extraordinary items and accounting changes of USD 7.05 million compared to a loss of USD 55.25 million in 2001.
Commenting on the results, Radio One President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III said, "This quarter showed yet again that Radio One's business model and strategy allow us to grow faster than the radio industry in general, post one of the industry's highest BCF margins and to generate a tremendous amount of free cash flow. This strategy is long-term in its focus, provides consistent results and is, we believe, highly sustainable. Overall, 2002 was the best year in the Company's history. We fully integrated the acquired Blue Chip radio stations, saw significant ratings improvements across the portfolio, grew considerably faster than the industry and significantly de-leveraged our balance sheet. 2003 is off to a great start for us and we are optimistic that, barring world events outside of our control, we should have another record-setting year."
Looking ahead, Radio One says it expects the first quarter of this year to net broadcast revenue of approximately USD64.6 million, BCF of approximately USD29.1 million, EBITDA of approximately USD25.7 million, and net income per share (before preferred dividends of USD0.05 per share and one time and/or extraordinary items, if any) of approximately USD 0.05. This would represent double-digit growth in same station net revenue and BCF for the quarter.
In its results, syndication company Westwood One reported final quarter net revenues up 10% to USD149.8 million, operating cash flow up 15% to a record USD 59.2 million and net income, assuming accounting standard SFAS 142 had been adopted in 2001, up 18% to record USD34.5 million with the per share figure, boosted by a buy-back programme, up 21% to USD 0.33 per basic share and USD 0.32 per diluted share.
For the full year, net revenues were up 7% to USD550.8 million, operating cash flow was up 19% to a record USD190.4 million and net income, again assuming accounting standard SFAS 142 had been adopted in 2001, was up 24% to USD109.1 million; the per share figure was up 26% and 28%, USD1.03 per basic share and USD 1.00 per diluted share.
Westwood said the revenue increase was due principally to a combination of higher rates, better inventory management and the Winter Olympics revenue.
President and CEO Joel Hollander, commented "We delivered record operating results in nearly all financial measurements in 2002 by creating new and innovative programming and focusing on the development of new business, while at the same time controlling our costs. I am particularly pleased that we achieved these record results in what was a difficult advertising climate for most of the year."
Looking ahead, Westwood is forecasting 2003 mid-single digit revenue growth and double-digit growth in Operating Cash Flow and Free Cash Flow per Share Operating Cash Flow with operating cash flow for the year in the range of $210 - $215 million.
Westwood One has also announced an agreement with CNBC to launch CNBC Radio Business Reports from the end of March this year. The reports will be anchored by CNBC reporters and anchors and will comprise one-minute business reports fed hourly from 0500-2200 ET in the week and ten vignettes to be fed on Fridays for use through the weekend recapping the past week and looking ahead to the next week.
Previous Radio One Inc.:
Previous Westwood One:
2003-02-12: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled against the Brother Jake Morning Show on radio station CFMI-FM (Rock 101, Vancouver) in the case of a complaint about a satirical sketch but rejected a complaint about two contests on the show, saying that the content of the latter was "of a sexually suggestive nature" rather than being too explicit.
The satirical sketch contained unrelated comments made by United States President George W. Bush that had been together to produce the humorous effect of making him look foolish.
One line in the sketch, about which there was a complaint, referred to giving each member of the military a fourth grade girl.
The Panel found this line in breach of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Sex-Role Portrayal Code, which prohibits the sexualization of children.
It commented that it considered "neither explicit nor suggestive references to the sexualization of children (under 12) in the flippant, offhand way evident in this satirical broadcast are acceptable. There is neither reason nor excuse for the inclusion of that reference in the Bush satire."
CBSC web site:
2003-02-12: Latest Irish radio ratings released by the JNLR/MRBI survey show the medium continuing to attract the same level of listening in 2002 as in 2001, reaching 88% of the country's adult population each week.
The national figures show state broadcaster RTÉ with an unchanged reach for its RTÉ1, 2FM and Lyric channels of 54%, 30%, 27% and 4% respectively, and commercial station Today FM increasing its "listened-to-yesterday" figure by 2 points to 17%.
In terms of market share, RTÉ Radio held on to its 26%, 2FM lost 1 point to 18% and Today FM gained 1 point to reach 10%.
Among local stations the biggest gainers were Highland Radio with reach up 5% to 77% and Mid-West Radio reach up 8% to 71%; Highland Radio also took its market share up 2% to 65%.
In the Dublin area, RTÉ Radio 1 increased it's reach 2 points to 36%, Today FM held on to its 12% reach and Lite FM lost a point to fall to 12%. Newcomers Spin and NewsTalk, which were rated for only the second half of the year, had a reach of 5% and 2% respectively.
In Cork, County Sound and Cork FM took their reach up 1 point to 57% but RTÉ, 2FM and Today FM all recorded decreases in their listened yesterday figures, falling to 25% (-2), 21% (-4) and 15%(-3) respectively.
Previous Irish Ratings:
JNLR web site:
2003-02-12: In what the Chicago Tribune terms "the latest fallout from the ever-consolidating radio world" the paper reports that Viacom's Infinity radio is expected to cut several general manager posts in Chicago, where it owns seven stations.
The paper notes that, Paul Agase, the former general sales manager of Infinity Top 40 station WBBM-FM 96.3 who left to join rival Clear Channel Communications' WKSC-FM 103.5 in September, has returned to Infinity to become senior vice president, director of sales for Infinity in Chicago, a new post to which all Infinity's seven general sales managers in Chicago will report.
Already out is Steve Ennen, a 13-year veteran at country music station WUSN-FM where he was vice-president and general manager; From Monday next week he will move to new duties as president and chief operating officer of Spark Network Services, the Infinity subsidiary that he created to initiate non-traditional revenue programs for local stations.
The Tribune said that Infinity senior vice president/market manager for Chicago Rod Zimmerman, confirmed Agase's but refused comment on a possible reorganization of the company's general managers that the paper says could leave only one or two general managers left to handle the day to day operations of Infinity's stations.
At Tribune-owned WGN-AM, Mark Krieschen, who has been director of sales at the station for some five years, steps up to become vice-president and general manager. He succeeds Steve Carver, who is moving to Tribune's WATL-TB in Atlanta.
Chicago Tribune report:
2003-02-11: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is looking for a mathematical formula to help it determine when a media merger is too large according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
The paper reports that FCC chairman Michael K. Powell is offering a reward to the first FCC economist who can bring him an objective scientific formula that will accurately measure the diversity of media voices in a local market.
It adds that Powell, a former antitrust attorney, says he wants something akin to the widely accepted index used by the Justice Department when reviewing whether mergers create a monopoly.
The paper calls the idea "quintessential Powell" and says success could lead towards "transforming a rancorous legal and social debate that has preoccupied generations of FCC commissions into a simple, neat algebraic equation that is blind to political interpretations and consistently applied." "Simply drop in a few numbers based upon the specifics of a local market and let the index tell you whether diversity is strong or weak."
The paper quotes Susan Eid, Powell's legal advisor for media issues as saying, "The chairman has challenged everyone in this process to base the rationale for the rules on empirical evidence and data versus intuition, personal opinion and taste."
"If we could create a diversity index, it would be something that would survive time so that every other commission doesn't have to go through the same intensive fact-gathering process that we are."
Others are more sceptical and actor Richard Masur, a former Screen Actors Guild president, commented, "This isn't something that can be figured out to the tenth of a decimal point. Explain to me how we can quantify something as subjective as diversity or quality.... An index is a fine idea, if you could do it, but one of the reasons we have a commission is so that the members exercise their judgment."
Powell wants the index in part because of court rulings against current FCC regulations and his concept is based upon the Herfindahl-Hirschman index (HHI), based on work performed more than 50 years ago by Orris Herfindahl and Albert O. Hirschman; it works on a fairly straightforward formula - in general if the sum of the squares of the market share of each company in an industry exceeds 1800, that market is considered dangerously concentrated.
A media diversity index, points out the paper, is a more difficult as it measures a more abstract concept taking in ideas such as "freedom of speech, civic discourse, news slant or the quality of TV shows" rather than the effect of concentration on prices.
"The issues here are complex and subjective," said Dean Baker, an economist at the Washington-based Center for Economic Policy and Research who has criticized the FCC's recent research into media ownership. "They don't lend themselves to an index."
Mark Cooper, research director for the Consumer Federation of America, supported the idea of using a diversity index, but said the critical issue will be what factors are included in the formula. "This isn't just commodity analysis," he said. "It's not shoes or soap we're talking about. This is about democratic discourse."
RNW comment: Whilst fully supporting the idea of trying to create such an index on the basis that it must necessarily lead to constructive analysis, we are concerned lest in any such exercise as this the search for a simple solution produces simplistic and inappropriate conclusions.
The danger to us is that of valuing that which we can measure rather than measuring that which we value.
For once, however, the litigious nature of the US could provide some safeguards in challenging decisions that are too simplistic although we always have concerns about the extent to which the legal process favours the wealthy rather than those with a just case.
There is also the danger that once something works reasonably well it stays in operation through inertia rather than because improvments cannot be made.
This is an idea we'll watch with interest.
Los Angeles Times report:
2003-02-11: In more healthy US radio results, Pennsylvania-headquartered Entercom Communications has more than tripled its profits in the final quarter to USD 18.8 million (USD 0.37 a share) from USD 5.6 million (USD 0.12 a share: USD 0.28 cents a share had it not been for accounting changes) in the final quarter a year earlier. Revenues were up 22% to USD101.9 million while same-station revenues were up 13% and same station BCF was up 17 percent in the quarter.
For the full year, the cumulative effect of an accounting change knocked nearly USD140 million from Entercom's bottom line, taking it into a net loss of USD83 million, compared to a profit of USD17.3 million a year earlier. Full year revenues were up 18% to USD391.3 million,
Entercom president and CEO David Field said the results had exceeded expectations and added, "Looking ahead, geopolitical events raise concerns, but overall business conditions remain strong, and we are highly confident of our team's ability to continue to outpace the industry and deliver superior results to our shareholders."
Entercom says it expects first-quarter same station revenues this year to be up 8% to USD 82 million and BCF to be up 11% to USD 30 million.
In Tennessee, Nashville-headquartered Gaylord Entertainment, owners of Grand Ole Opry and WSM-AM, WSM-FM, and WWTN Radio, has reported final quarter revenues up 32% to USD 111.9 million and cut its operating loss to USD3.6 million compared to a USD13.5 million loss in the final quarter of 2001 and its net loss to USD 2.6 million (USD 0.08 per share) compared to USD 22.7 million (USD0.67 per share) a year earlier.
For the full year its revenues from continuing operations were up 36.3 % to USD 414.4 million, consolidated operating income was a positive USD 8.4 million compared to a USD 41 million loss a year earlier and net income was USD 95.1 million (USD2.82 per share) compared to a loss of USD47.8 million (USD1.42 per share) a year earlier.
Revenues for its media division from continuing operations was up 26.7% in the final quarter to USD 3.2 million and the division moved into a profit of USD 200, 000 compared to a small loss a year earlier whilst for the full year media revenues were up 19.1% to USD11.2 million and for the full year operating loss was trimmed from USD 500, 000 to USD 200, 000.
This month Gaylord received a USD 225 million three-year, floating-rate financing commitment, expected to close in March, and its long-term debt at the end of 2002 was down to USD 340.6 million compared to USD469 million at the end of 2001; it also had a cash balance of USD98.6 million at the end of the year compared to USD 9.2 million a year earlier.
Chief Financial Officer David Kloeppel commented that the company was "now in a much stronger financial position than at the beginning of the year" and added, "Our asset disposition program, which contributed more than $275 million in capital to the Company during 2002 and streamlined our operations, will also continue to be a source of liquidity."
In other US radio business moves, Interep, the independent sales and marketing company, has moved its class A common, still under the symbol "IREP", to the NASDAQ SmallCap Market instead of the NASDAQ National Market, which along with the New York stock exchange handles companies with higher capitalization than the SmallCap market.
Interep says it believes the move will have "no effect on the number of market makers, trading volume, or institutional interest in its Class A common stock, or its ability to raise capital."
2003-02-11: Capital Radio's XFm station in London is staging an "on-air" vasectomy on St Valentine's Day (Friday Feb 14) for one of its producers - and offering another as a prize for a listener.
Facing the cut, under a local anaesthetic at a Marie Stopes clinic, is Roque Segadevieito and giving the description will be DJ Christian O'Connell who joked, "In this current climate of economic cutbacks it has saddened me that my producer couldn't afford to have more children or indeed a vasectomy."
Segadevieito commented," Some women get flowers, but my wife is getting my vasectomy. She's got to be one of the luckiest women in London, it's the most romantic thing I've ever done for her."
He and his wife Isis have two children: Only last year they were married on-air by O'Connell, who was ordained online and flew the show to Los Angeles for the ceremony.
2003-02-11: The UK Radio Authority has fined GWR station Chiltern FM GBP 5,000 (USD 7,900) because it was unable to produce recordings of its output for two days in November.
The Authority had requested the tapes, required to be kept for 42 days after broadcast, following complaints about its output following complaints about its output in relation to the UK firefighters' strike; it was unable to rule on the complaints in the absence of the recordings.
The station also has to pay an extra GBP225 in dubbing and carriage costs and the Authority commented that in imposing the penalty it had taken into account the station's previous record of compliance and representations from the station.
Radio Authority Chair, Richard Hooper said the retention of tapes was "fundamental to any system of broadcast regulation (RNW comment: Tell that to the FCC!) and would become even more important when the new super-regulator Ofcom began its operations since is had made clear its wish to encourage more co-regulation.
"This is a clear failure of compliance," he added, "and the Radio Authority has fined the radio station accordingly. Fair and impartial coverage of political and industrial matters is a bedrock of British broadcasting."
"Given the extensive representations being made by the radio industry that it should be trusted with more self-regulation, I am particularly disappointed that a major radio company was unable to demonstrate its innocence in the face of a potentially most serious allegation."
Previous UK Radio Authority:
2003-02-11: Florida pirate operator Benjamin Leroy Carter, also known as Malik "Copafeel" Abdul, has been sentenced to 18 months probation, four months of it to be served as home confinement, following action by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after receipt of complaints of interference in Orlando in 1999.
Carter pled guilty to seven counts of unlicensed radio operation and agreed to forfeit all equipment used in connection with the unlicensed operation in November last year.
The FCC has also confirmed a penalty of USD 7,000 on Marshall County Radio Corp., licensee of WAXQ-AM, Lewisburg, Tennessee failure to enclose its antenna tower within an effective locked fence or other enclosure. The company had not responded to a notice of apparent liability sent to it in November last year.
Also in Tennessee, the FCC has confirmed a USD 3,000 penalty on P & G Properties Inc for failure to register an antenna in Rockwood. P&G has not responded to a notice of apparent liability sent to it in September last year.
In DC, the Commission has announced increased security precautionsat its headquarters following last week's stepping-up of the US homeland security alert to "Orange" status.
It is closing its Maine Avenue lobby and insisting that visitors use the 12th Street lobby and have an escort at all times when in its building. In addition it has closed its Reference Information Center until further notice although Filing and docket information will remain accessible online.
2003-02-11: Two of Citadel's Maine stations, WPKQ-FM, Conway (which simulcasts WOKQ-FM programming) and WHOM-FM, Portland, were knocked off the air by a fire in a generator building on Mount Washington on Sunday afternoon along with National Weather Service programming transmitted from Mount Washington in New Hampshire,
A large number of transmitters, including those of the Citadel stations, are operated from the 6300 feet (1915 metre) high mountain and a number of safety agencies had to switch to back-up systems. There were no injuries in the fire, but power was cut off to the weather observatory and Sherman Adams visitors' centre on the mountain.
Previous Forstmann-Little (Citadel owner):
2003-02-10: Another mixed bag in our look at print comment on radio over the past week, starting with a personal view of weather reports on British radio from Chris Campling in his UK Times radio columns.
"It seems strange," he writes, "that one of the great obsessions of this country should be served so badly by radio. This is not to say that the medium ignores the weather - not at all, the updates are relayed at least once an hour, usually twice."
"It is just that they are hidden. Unlike, say traffic news, which has "personality" presenters bigging up their little moment of glory with every nerve, sinew and droplet of background music, the weather comes in on little cat feet, like Carl Sandburg's Fog, and creeps out again, hoping nobody's noticed. And all too often we haven't. "We listen with half an ear, and usually miss the bit that refers to us. Why, sometimes the weather information is deemed so minor that it is entrusted to the regular broadcaster to impart, as he or she fills in the remaining seconds before the news."
"Weather people are, it seems, the dentists or tax assessors of broadcasting, forever delivering bad news. As a result, they tend to be slightly defensive when they come to the mic, after an introduction that should more properly go: "And now here is X, come to spoil the party and tell us what a lousy weekend we are going to have, thanks a lot . . . "
Another Campling column makes a point about another area of British radio, that of political correspondents and reporters; the point made is valid in most places and the principle underlying it applicable on a wider scale.
"When the great playwright Tom Stoppard was young," writes Campling, "he went for a job as a reporter on a regional newspaper. The editor asked him if he was interested in politics and Stoppard, keen to ingratiate himself, said he was. 'Right,' the editor said. 'What's the name of the Chancellor of the Exchequer?' Stoppard stood up, said, 'I said I was interested in politics, not obsessed by it,' and left."
"True or not," as Campling notes, "the story makes a valid point: there are people who are interested in politics, and there are those who are obsessed by it. The former constitute the vast majority of the population, and the latter comprise politicians and political correspondents."
"Which is fine," says Campling. "Someone has to tell us what is going on politically, and it may as well be people who are into it big time."
"Where the wheels come off is when people who not only know the name of the Chancellor but go to lunch with him present general interest programmes on the radio."
The individuals referred to in his column are mostly little known outside the UK, but one paragraph we feel deserves further dissemination if only for the phrases used.
"The apotheosis of the misapprehension that politics and politicians are somehow fascinating came with the now-departed and unlamented Sunday Service, with its cast of poligroupies led by Charlie Whelan, one-time spin doctor for Gordon Brown turned expert on . . . well, Charlie Whelan, really."
"I have this faint niggle that he had it written into his contract that his name should be mentioned, in full, every 30 seconds, in return for which he would be prepared to put up with any abuse going. So: "Charlie Whelan, you are a flatulent bubble of marsh gas" would be met with a complacent giggle. "You are a flatulent bubble of marsh gas," on the other hand, would lead to possible legal action."
In the US, the segmentation that caught our eye was that of audiences not within programmes.
In DC, Washington Post writer Krissah Williams looked at Radio 1 Inc., based in Lanham, Maryland. The report again starts with an anecdote, this time with comments by Russ Parr, whose morning show tops the ratings for the 18-34 demographic in the DC area, that show a marked difference in perceptions between the black American focus of Radio 1 and that of most US radio companies.
"When Bush started talking about North Korea, they flashed to a Japanese guy in the audience. He was sitting there going, 'I'm freaking Japanese. I'm not Korean,' " Parr said sarcastically.
Other excerpts given from his show would have been equally unlikely to appeal to the Rush Limbaugh audience.
The article looks at the company's move into television in a joint-venture with Comcast (See RNW Jan 14) and notes that "if past is prologue, Radio One has a struggle before it", adding that "with $650 million in long-term debt, Radio One has more debt than the average radio company."
The Post also notes that the new venture is being started at a time of economic uncertainty and that the Wall Street reaction to the move has been lukewarm, quoting one analyst as saying it dilutes the company's "existing focus on radio."
The paper also comments that its TV venture will have to find the "right balance between news, opinion, sports and entertainment" and quotes journalist Todd Burroughs, whose dissertation at the University of Maryland was on black media, as saying, "When it comes to African Americans owning media, there is a tremendous expectation. People say they want public affairs and information, but what they really want is entertainment. Other than serving the public interest, there might not be enough audience for these programs to survive on the ratings economic model."
It then notes that it took a long while for Catherine Hughes, who with her then husband Dewey Hughes in 1980 bought her first station, WOL-AM, to get radio operations running.
Her son, Alfred C. Liggins III, who is now Radio 1's CEO, says that its growth has been methodical. It's stations are nearly all in metropolitan areas with large numbers of blacks and have some form of urban format.; before it enters a market or changes what it is doing in one, it randomly calls thousands of people and conducts 20-minute surveys of those who tune in to its radio stations.
That approach has helped it increase ratings, and helped by advertisers increased interest in the black market, advertising share in its markets. It's also helped by demographics as the US black population grows at a faster rate than the nation as a whole and its spending power goes up accordingly.
The same demographic benefits are benefiting another US audience segment in the US, this time the Hispanic audience, featured in a report by Dick Woodbury in the Denver Post that centres on the expansion of his empire by veteran Denver radio entrepreneur Zee Ferrufino.
Ferrufino is betting on the ability and desire to speak and listen to Spanish by Hispanics in the area in the 18-44 demographic and also amongst older "third- and fourth-generation Coloradans, for most of whom English is the primary language", says the report, adding that there is agreement about the first group, not about the latter one.
Ferrufino indicated that his actions were not just business but were also a matter of concern about consolidation in Spanish-language radio broadcasters.
"I worry that someday the small independents are going to disappear, and all we will have left is syndicated stations," said Ferrufino, a civic activist and power-player in Denver politics, who has formed his own mini-chain, Spanish Radio Group. "Local radio is so important, and it's fading away."
The paper says a focus on homegrown roots and local news and weather has served Ferrufino well in Denver, where "where KBNO, which began originally as KFSC, has been an AM mainstay, with brief interruption, since 1954."
The question is how far it can grow continues the report, noting the strength of Entravision Communications, which dominates the Colorado radio market with its three Denver stations and a fourth acquisition in Aspen.
Of Ferrufino's planned move into Pueblo, Rob Quinn, Entravision's general manager for Colorado, commented, "If he's betting on an older market in Pueblo, he hasn't done his research. They tend not to speak Spanish."
Others offered varying degrees of scepticism and support but, as the paper concluded, "Sink or swim, Ferrufino and other small independents face more deep-pocketed competitors as buy-ups and mergers accelerate. By one estimate, all but about 35 of 350 Spanish language radio stations are owned by chains or public companies."
Denver Post - Woodbury:
UK Times - Campling on political reporters:
UK Times - Campling on weather reports:
Washington Post - Williams:
2003-02-10: The move to afternoons of former Los Angeles morning host Renán Almendárez Coello and the chances of his success on the US east coast are featured in the New York Times, which notes his morning success on Hispanic Broadcasting's KCSA-FM in Los Angeles.
His morning show was on the air in Washington, South Carolina and New York City, but the move to drivetime at the start of last week has cost him his New York outlet; "El Cucuy de la Manãna" was starting to build on audience WLXE-AM, where it began running in September, but the will not be carrying the afternoon show, "El Cucuy de la Tarde".
Juan Tapia, the station's programming director, told the Times it wanted to stick to its Mexican music format during the evening hours when the show would be on in the East and the Times comments, "A key question has followed him across the country: can Mr. Almendárez Coello's brand of humour, delivered in a Spanish drenched in Mexican slang, cross over from the Mexicans and Central Americans who are his core fans to the Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Cubans and Colombians who dominate Eastern markets?"
Coello's popularity, says the paper, is tied to the large Hispanic population in Los Angeles, but also reflects the way he connects with his audience and Juan Moreno, a radio columnist for the Spanish-language daily El Diario/La Prensa in New York, said that success in the city would be difficult for "El Cucuy" under any circumstances.
"If the themes don't have anything to do with us, they are not going to work," he said. "When you bring someone who doesn't know New York's reality, it stands out like a sore thumb and turns people off."
Hispanic's operations manager in New York, Eleazar García, said that New York was the only market so far that had dropped "El Cucuy."
New York Times report:
2003-02-10: Against the homegrown trend in the US to criticise its radio stations for being too limited in the composition of their playlists, some praise for US radio music output compared to that in Canada has come from the Toronto Star.
Its entertainment columnist Gregg Quill says that the Americana chart, tracking "generic roots" music is showing albums by Canadians Stephen Fearing, Kathleen Edwards and Sean Hogan are "all either well established on the high end of the chart, or "breaking out" as they're picked up by more and more American radio stations."
In contrast in Canada itself, he writes, "their music might get a bit of airtime on CBC or college radio or Alberta's CKUA public radio service, but not enough to measure. It's certainly not happening in Toronto, because no radio station format in this city makes room for roots artists."
Quill notes that no major Canadian broadcaster has ever applied for an Adult Alternative Album licence and that the last application for this format was made by True North Records chief Bernie Finkelstein in conjunction with Ottawa entrepreneur Harvey Glatt, and "their bid was turned down in favour of first an all-out New Country station (long since gone) and then an urban station, specializing in hip-hop and rhythm 'n' blues."
He comments on the success of the format in the US and concludes that the radio support created demand for live music and greatly benefits " Canadian artists and performers who are virtually locked out of work in their own country because commercial radio finds it too easy to earn money with record-company-driven American pop formats for teenagers and easy listeners."
Toronto Star report:
2003-02-10: The University of Pune in India is to set up its own FM station later this year, following a similar radio station launch by the Pune-based Film & Television Institute of India (See RNW Dec 26, 2002).
The signal is planned to have a range of around 8 K (5 miles) and will also be distributed to colleges at Nagar and Nashik that also come under the aegis of the university.
The Film & Television Institute of India station is expected to go on air in May this year.
Previous Indian Radio:
2003-02-09: Last week was another when the main regulatory story was the continuing debate on the future of US media regulation, concerning which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is to hold its public meeting on February 27; Democrat Commissioner Michael Copps has announced two further meetings but chairman Michael Powell doesn't see a need for them (See RNW Feb 7). Elsewhere there was a steady flow of business.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority has announced that it is to extend indefinitely the period for which three of its commercial radio standards, due to cease operation on April 2, will apply.
The three standards relate to disclosure of commercial agreements by presenters of current affairs programs, the need to distinguish advertisements from other programs and the establishment of compliance programs by commercial radio licensees and compliance with them is a condition of a broadcaster's licence.
They were placed on all Australian commercial radio licensees in November 2000 in the wake of the country's cash-for comment affair that related particularly to a number of talk hosts accepting payment from companies without disclosing this. Favourable comments were made about a number of the sponsors involved, although the hosts said they had not been influenced by the payments (See RNW Feb 22, 2001 and earlier).
ABA chairman Professor David Flint commented that when the standards were imposed, "the ABA expected the commercial radio industry to develop and submit to the ABA for registration, codes of practice to operate from 3 April 2003 that would provide at least the same level of community safeguards as are contained in the standards."
The standards are being continued because "current investigations into matters in relation to compliance with the commercial radio standards will not have been concluded before the cessation of operation of the standards on 2 April 2003", said Flint
The ABA has also allocated a new community licence for Port Hedland in Western Australia to the sole applicant, Port Hedland Indigenous Media Aboriginal Corporation (PHIMAC), which is currently broadcasting on the frequency under a temporary community licence. In Lithgow in New South Wales it has opted not to allocate a licence for the moment but will review the situation in 12 months. The sole applicant for the licence had been Lithgow Community Broadcasters Incorporated, which proposed a service for "the mature and senior citizen community of the Lithgow licence area."
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), has had a quiet start to the week but ended up much busier as far as radio was concerned.
Decisions during the week included:
*Approval of an application by CHUM Limited to allow CFRW, Winnipeg, to broadcast a lower level of Canadian popular music.
*Approval of an application for a third extension of the deadline to commence operation of a Type B Native- and English-language FM radio programming undertaking at the Opaskwayak Cree Nation, near The Pas. The deadline is now October 25 this year.
*Approval of an application by CHUM Limited to allow CJCH, Halifax to broadcast a lower level of Canadian popular music.
*Approval of an application by Radio CJLS Limited, licensee of CJLS Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and its transmitters CJLS -FM Barrington and CJLS -FM -1 New Tusket, Nova Scotia, to change ownership through allowing two of its current shareholders to purchase the holding of the third on his retirement.
*Approval of an application by Way of Life Broadcasting for a new 50-watts low-power English-language Christian music FM Dryden.
*Approval of an additional 500-watts FM transmitter in Peterborough, Ontario, to broadcast the programming of Trust Communications Ministries' Christian music station CJLF-FM that serves Barrie, Ontario.
*Renewal until August 2009 of the licence for CKBY-FM Ottawa
Also in Ontario, the CRTC refused an application by Blackburn Radio Inc. for a 21, 200 watts rock format English-language FM in Wingham.
The application had been opposed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation, which owns three radio stations in Owen Sound, Ontario: CIXK-FM, CKYC-FM, and CFOS-AM and had said the proposed station would reach listeners in Owen Sound to its detriment. The CBC objected on the grounds that the frequency requested would conflict with the CBC's Long Range Radio Plan (LRRP), in which FM channel 233B is designated for the future implementation of the French-language service, La Première Chaîne, at Walkerton, Ontario. The Commission felt that both objections had merit.
The CRTC also held a public hearing in Montreal, Quebec to consider a number of competing proposals for radio services for the Montréal, Saguenay, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières markets; an application by Astral Media to amend conditions of licences regarding weekly news broadcasts and the amount it pays into an eligible Fund that were applied as a condition of approval of a number of acquisitions in Quebec province and joint applications by TVA and Radio Nord Communications to acquire the assets of CFOM-FM, Radio Etchemin, as well as of a number of AM radio stations in Quebec currently held by Astral Media. This transaction includes two digital radio stations and three radio networks.
It has also given notice, with a deadline for March 15 for interventions, of:
*An application by Jim Pattison Industries Ltd. to renew the licence of radio station CHHK-FM Taber, Alberta, that expires in August. The Commission noted the apparent failure of the licensee to meet requirements relating to the broadcast of 35% Canadian content.
*An application by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church In Newfoundland And Labrador to change the frequency of transmitter VOAR-1-FM, Bay Roberts, that carried the signal of VOAR, Mount Pearl. This would avoid a possible future conflict with the frequency.
*An application by Blackburn Radio Inc. to renew the licence of radio station CHYR-FM Leamington, Ontario, that expires in August. The Commission noted the apparent failure of the licensee to meet requirements relating to the broadcast of 35% Canadian content.
*An application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to change the contours and decrease from 3,400 to 2,700 watts the power of its authorised new transmitter for CBMG-FM Cowansville, Quebec, because its original site was unavailable.
Ireland was fairly quiet with the only action by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI), being the announcement of the winners of its New Adventures in Broadcasting 2003 scheme (See RNW Feb 6).
In the UK, the Radio Authority has pre-advertised the FM licences for the Borders area, currently held by Radio Borders Ltd., and Dumfries & Galloway, currently held by South West Sound Ltd.; in each case, should no other expression of interest be received the holders will be invited to apply under the Authority's fast-track procedure.
The Authority also announced that by its deadline for declarations of intent to be received for the Taunton & Yeovil area FM licence, it had only received an expression of interest from existing holder Orchard FM Ltd. Orchard will be invited to re-apply under the fast-track procedure.
On the digital front it has advertised the digital multiplex for Reading and Basingstoke and awarded the local digital multiplex service licence for the Stoke-on-Trent area to the sole applicant, TWG Emap Digital Ltd. (see Licence News Dec 15, 2002)
It has also confirmed the award to Itis Holdings of the Additional Services Licence, which uses the RDS (Radio Data System) sub-carrier of the Independent National Radio (INR1) service (See Licence News Oct 10, 2002).
In the USA, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , as well as the debate on future media regulation already noted, has been handing out a number of red-flags and penalties as already reported (See RNW Feb 7; RNW Feb 5; and RNW Feb 4).
It has also been announced the budget proposed for it in fiscal 2004, very little up on the current budget (See RNW Feb 5).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-02-09: BBC Radio 5 Live may still be facing legal action from Adrian Ogun, the manager of the world champion Lennox Lewis, according to the UK Guardian.
The threat follows its broadcast of an interview with American boxing promoter Don King in which King was critical of Ogun and the manner in which he handled the proposed fight against Vitali Klitschko, the No1 contender to Lewis's crown
Ogun's lawyers threatened legal action and the BBC withdrew the report from its web site and sent a warning message to all staff to say that it should not be rebroadcast or posted back on the site.
Despite this, says the paper, the manager is still considering further action.
UK Guardian report:
2003-02-08: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now announced that its previously announced public hearing on US media regulation is to be held at the Greater Richmond Convention Center from 1000-1600 on February 27.
Information gathered at the meeting will be used to supplement the information already gathered by and submitted to the FCC.
Among the submissions is a Clear Channel filing that opposes any radio-only ownership limit and argues that the use of Arbitron markets to define a local market would be W completely inconsistent with the 1996 Telecommunications Act's presumption of deregulation" because it would decrease the number of stations that a party could hold in a local market.
Clear Channel says that the "vast majority" of those who have addressed the issue have opposed the use of Arbitron standard and that using it would result in "numerous anomalies."
Clear Channel says, "Empirical data demonstrate that any concern about competition in local radio markets is misplaced. In light of this evidence, the FCC cannot justify retention of its local radio ownership restrictions."
It says if there is to be any kind of cap it should take into consideration other media that competes with radio including TV, cable and print and also argues that the FCC must allow free transferability of all existing holdings at the time of any rule change as to do otherwise would be "fundamentally unfair."
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-02-08: Former CBS radio reporter Larry LeSueur has died aged 93 at his home in Washington. He was one of the "Murrow Boys", the corps of CBS correspondents recruited by Edward R. Murrow to cover Europe during the Second World War.
He reported from Belgium and France in the run-up to the Dunkirk evacuation, from London during the blitz, went ashore to Utah beach with US forces in the first waves of the D-Day invasion, made the first radio report of the liberation of Paris without the approval of the censor, losing his credentials for a month as a result.
He also reported from the Russian front, reports that formed the basis of his book "Twelve Months That Changed the World."
After the end of the war, LeSueur covered the United Nations, winning a Peabody Award as moderator of the TV programme "United Nations in Action".
He was also among the CBS correspondents who interviewed frontline troops in Korea in 1952 for "See It Now".
After disagreements with CBS executives that had already led Murrow to leave CBS to head the United States Information Service, LeSeur followed in its footsteps to join its Voice of America arm at Murrow's invitation.
He worked for the VOA from 1963 until 1984 as White House Correspondent and news analyst.
New York Times obituary:
2003-02-08: The latest complaints bulletin issued by the UK Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) upheld two complaints against radio compared with three in its previous bulletin (See RNW Jan 2).
In all the Commission dealt with 95 complaints, four more than in the previous bulletin. 13 of these concerned radio and 82, including advertisements, concerned TV compared with 15 and 75 respectively a month earlier.
Of four fairness complaints compared to five in the previous bulletin, three against TV and one against radio, none were upheld compared to two, one radio and one TV.
Of the remaining 91 standards complaints, 12 were against radio and 79 against TV compared to 14 and 72 a month earlier; no statements were required from broadcasters in 63 cases, 49 TV compared with 56 TV a month before and three radio compared with seven.
One radio complaint was resolved and two upheld, and in a reversal of the previous month when all the upheld complaints were against commercial radio, this time the upheld complaints all involved the BBC.
The resolved complaint was about sexual conversation and innuendo on Jonathan Ross's BBC Radio 2 show. The BBC said that it was the guest who moved the conversation into a risqué area and some of the comments were inappropriate; it had subsequently reviewed its guest list so as to avoid repetition.
The upheld complaints involved BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 5 Live.
The BBC Radio 1 complaint upheld concerned "inappropriate remarks" by afternoon presenter Chris Moyles concerning a television celebrity boxing show that had encouraged a rival presenter (Neil "Dr Fox of Capital FM - See RNW Oct 31, 2002) to raise the prospect of a match between them.
The BBC agreed that Moyles comments had developed from acceptable goading to the point where it "lost its comic justification, instead becoming tasteless and threatening."
That against BBC Radio 5 Live concerned a complaint of swearing that the BBC described as "a light-hearted play on words from a presenter who was known for his comic style and whose "analyses" had been intended to lighten the mood as (Soccer) World Cup coverage gathered momentum and tension. He had not used strong language, but a made-up word that had sounded as if it included such language."
The panel said that the "the apparent use of language that was regarded as strong by the majority of respondents to the Commission's research had exceeded acceptable boundaries for transmission."
Previous BSC and complaints Bulletin:
BSc web site (Links to report 93 kb PDF)
2003-02-08: Former Galaxy FM, Newcastle, morning host Wes Butters takes over from Mark Goodier tomorrow as the host of BBC Radio 1's Chart Show following a year that has seen the 30-year-old show - it's been going since 1967 - lose nearly 300, 000 listeners, although it still pulls in a weekly audience of around 2.6 million.
At 23, Butters is little more than half the age of Goodier (42); born in Salford, he took a diploma course in TV and radio at Salford University and then joined Wigan station Wish FM when he was 19.
Goodier is now hosting EMAP's competing Smash Hits interactive chart show.
2003-02-07: The differences of opinion between US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell and Democrat Commissioner Michael J Copps concerning public hearings on future regulation of US media have come increasingly into the open.
Powell has issued a statement expressing gratification at the number of comments - "13,000 from the general public alone" - received and saying that there was no need for multiple public hearings.
"It is gratifying to witness first hand the unparalleled opportunities technology now provides the American public to participate in the democratic process," said Powell. "
"This record clearly demonstrates that in the digital age, you don't need a 19th century whistle stop tour to hear from America."
Powell will attend the FCC's February 27 public hearing in Richmond, Virginia, but is resisting calls for additional public meetings.
Copps, who has been pushing the ideas of meetings, has now called two more, one in Seattle in early March at the University of Washington; and a second in Durham, North Carolina later in March at Duke University.
Copps said he had invited all the other Commissioners to each meeting and says, "We can't pretend everyone reads the Federal Register or has lobbyists to make their voice heard at the FCC. We have a responsibility to reach out."
Copps has also called for the FCC to take action to protect people testifying against media consolidation. In a statement, he said, "It has been a revelation to me that there are media professionals with strong feelings about the downsides of consolidation for the American people who are afraid to speak for fear of retribution. I hear privately that speaking out on this issue would cost many people their careers. If this is true then we need to find a way for them to be heard without fear of retribution. I am working with my fellow Commissioners to establish an anonymous testimony procedure for any producer, writer, musician, actor, broadcaster, or other media professional who feels threatened. I recognize that this presents challenges for a public proceeding, but so, too, does a climate of fear that chokes off needed input for important decisions."
RNW comment: Should there be serious retribution, as opposed to unjustified fear of such action, against media employees who give an honest opinion opposing further de-regulation, we feel that offering anonymity is a cop-out in any reasonable democratic society.
The airwaves are public and to us, any company that carried out such action and was found guilty of it in a court case brought against it should automatically have all its broadcast licences revoked.
Were that the rule, we don't think there would be retribution but on matters of public policy discussion it should be made clear that such actions are unacceptable..
2003-02-07: In a statement marking the start of their fight against the plan, US public broadcasting executives Robert T. Coonrod, President and CEO, Corporation for Public Broadcasting(CPB), Pat Mitchell, President and CEO, Public Broadcasting Service, Kevin Klose, President and CEO, National Public Radio and John Lawson, President and CEO, Association of Public Television Stations have warned that the President Bush's proposals for their 2004 budget would "seriously compromise" public broadcasters' ability to meet their legal obligations.
They said said that they understood that the "combination of a war on terrorism and a weakened economy will have a serious impact on federal appropriations, including our own."
"Nonetheless," they then continued, "the President's budget would, if enacted, seriously compromise our ability to deliver the services we are required by law to provide to the American people."
The four specifically noted the implications of the May 2003 federal deadline for public television to convert to digital transmission and the pressures on public radio stations to move to digital because of marketplace and technical pressures.
These pressing needs, it says, are recognized in the budget but it "provides no funding for these purposes" and also suspends "funding for the Department of Commerce's Public Telecommunications Facilities Program, which has funded public broadcasting infrastructure since 1962."
The public broadcasters say that the budget instead would authorise the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to spend up to $100 million of its general appropriation for these priorities thus reducing federal support by this amount, which itself is far short of the amount required.
In addition, they say, "this budget proposal makes no provision for advance funding, ending a 29 year tradition that has allowed public broadcasters leverage for raising non-federal funding; adequate lead time to plan, design, create and support the programs and services we are mandated to provide; and a buffer from the political process."
"We hope that Congress will continue to recognize public broadcasting's unique needs by providing an advance appropriation. The bottom line is that public broadcasters are able to set priorities and live within strict budget parameters, but without additional funding, we cannot build an entirely new, federally mandated technological infrastructure while also delivering the public services required of us by the Public Broadcasting Act."
NPR News release:
2003-02-07: A second attempt by Australian tycoon John Singleton to fold the Macquarie Radio Network into his advertising group, STW Communications, formerly Singleton Group Ltd, has failed.
In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, STW chief executive Russell Tate said the parties were unable to agree on term and the STW board would not ask shareholders to approve the bid for Macquarie that it had said in October last year was being prepared.
No figures were released but a sum of around AUD60 million (USD 34 million) was widely rumoured.
John Singleton owns 60 per cent of the stock in Macquarie Radio Network and Alan Jones, breakfast host at its Sydney flagship station 2GB, owns 20%, a holding that was part of his agreement to move from Southern Cross Broadcasting's 2UE in Sydney (See RNW Feb 8, 2002).
2UE had led Sydney talk ratings for years with the combination of Jones and morning host John Laws but 2GB has since overtaken it in the Australian ratings (See RNW Dec 4, 2002).
Although STW did not give a reason for pulling out, it is widely thought that, as with a previous failed attempt, institutional investors were concerned about the risk of buying the network and in particular this time because its success is seen as heavily dependent on Jones' performance.
Previous Southern Cross:
2003-02-07: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been issuing penalties for technical offences again, this time to a non- broadcaster and two broadcasters.
The largest penalty was of USD20, 000 to the non-broadcaster, Accessory Connection Inc, of Palm Bay, Florida, for operation of radio transmission equipment without the required Commission authorization and use of a radio frequency device that failed to comply with Commission regulations.
Accessory had not responded to a Notice of Apparent Liability issued in August last year.
Next down the financial scale was a penalty of USD 10,000 issued to Piedmont Radio Co., licensee of WPID-AM, Piedmont, Alabama, for failure to register its antenna structure and failure to maintain a presence at its man studio during its normal business hours.
Piedmont had not responded to a Notice of Apparent Liability issued in October last year.
In Ohio, the penalty was of USD 5, 000 issued to J4 Broadcasting of Cincinnati, Inc., licensee of WCN-AM, for failure to keep a record of the efficiency factor "F" used to determine operating power and operation of WCIN with power in excess of 105% of the authorized power.
J4 had responded to a notice of apparent liability issued in June last year, admitting the offences but requesting cancellation on financial grounds. After looking at the figures submitted the FCC held that the company's gross revenues were sufficient to enable it to pay the full forfeiture.
2003-02-07: In more US radio deals, Qantum Communications Inc. is paying USD32 million in cash to Makkay Group Broadcasting for its only three stations, Classic Rock WCIB-FM, and charts/pop WRZE-FM in Falmouth and Rock WPXC-FM Hyannis, all in the Cape Cod, Massachusetts market.
In California, KQED is paying USD 3 million to extend the reach of its public station KQED-FM into Sacramento through the acquisition of non-commercial religious station KEBR-FM from Family Stations Inc.
The deal is subject to FCC approval and concern has been expressed by Sacramento public station owner Capital Public Radio.
KQED executive vice president and chief content officer John Boland told the San Francisco Chronicle that the station jumped at the opportunity because non-commercial stations come up for sale so infrequently. "This just worked out beautifully because it extended our reach in a contiguous way," Boland said.
Concern at the deal was expressed by Capital Public Radio, which has two public radio stations in Sacramento, classical format KXPR-FM and KXJZ-FM, which airs news dayside and jazz format after 7 p.m.
"We're certainly concerned because there's so much overlap in programming," said Michael Lazar, president and general manager of Capital Public Radio's president and general manager.
He added that KQED and KXJZ would broadcast some identical programming, including "All Things Considered," "Morning Addition" and "Talk of the Nation", saying, "It's not really giving the listeners an alternative."
Lazar said his station had tried to buy KEBR but was outbid.
In Hammond, Indiana, the opposition to a sale is coming from the local Mayor.
According to the Northwest Indiana Times Mayor Duane Dedelow Jr. wants to block the USD3.5 million sale of St George Broadcasting's community news and sports format WJOB-AM to Starboard Broadcasting.
The deal was announced last month by Media Services Group, which had been appointed by the Indiana Superior Court to act as the receiver for the St. George.
Wisconsin-based Starboard offers religious programming and Dedelow says the loss of local programming is not in the public's best interest.
Dedelow pays to have his own call-in show on WJOB on alternating Saturdays allowing listeners to speak directly to him and allowing him to provide information regarding events in Hammond.
In Georgia, Santillana Broadcasting Inc. is paying USD208, 000 in cash to Dana Communications for its first station, oldies format WKTF-AM, Vienna.
In other US radio business, Radio Unica has opted not to make a USD9.3 million interest payment on USD158 million (including accrued interest) of 11.75% senior discount notes due 2006, that was to have been paid at the start of the week. Instead it is to use its 30-day grace period running to March 3 and meet with bondholders.
Northwest Indian Times report:
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2003-02-07: Changes in Clear Channel's streaming activities have now taken it out of the Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings until new arrangements have been made, leaving MUSICMATCH again the clear leader in the network ratings.
The ratings just released are for the weeks to January 19 and January 26, and in the latter Radioio has picked up the top station ranking from previous leader MUSICMATCH's artist-match.
For the week to January 19, 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 294,926 (291,602); CP 133,619 (129,662). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Adult alternative Radioio Eclectic - TTSL 272,273 (184,238); CP 47,722 (56,601). Same rank with higher listening but lower reach.
3: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 239,113 (242,298); CP 33,334 (33,174): Up from fourth despite lower listening although reach was up slightly.
4: Classical format WQXR-FM- TTSL 231,608 (226,620); CP 35,201 (35,080). Up from fifth with higher listening but reach was slightly down.
5: Top hits MUSICMATCH. TTSL 178,908 (150,527) ; CP 103,814 (90,529). Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
*Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM dropped from third to sixth with TTSL down from 278,136 to 166,452 and CP down from 43,357 to 34,053.
The top five networks for the week to January 19 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,253,860 (1,221,801); CP 383,079 (370,441). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: StreamAudio TTSL 881,553 (1,004,167); CP 148,184 (154,569). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
3: WARP Radio TTSL 593,357 (617,326) hours: CP 102,869 (102,556) - Up from third despite lower listening and reach.
4: Internet Radio Inc TTSL 540,223 (485,723); CP 201,767 (189,285) - up from seventh with higher listening and reach.
5: Moontaxi TTSL 517,008 (505,149); CP 75,667 (72,623) - up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
*Clear Channel, previously third ranked is currently not being rated as noted above.
* StreamGuys fell from fifth to sixth with TTSL down to 504,842 from 511,787 and CP up to 121,742 from120,288
For the week to January 26, 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: Adult alternative Radioio Eclectic - TTSL 297,916 (272,273); CP 60,958 (47,722). Up from second with higher listening and reach.
2: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 295,771 (294,926); CP 133,041 (133,619). Down from first with lower listening and reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 271,022 (166,452); CP 46,336 (34,053). Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
4: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 250,829 (239,113); CP 32,100 (33,334): Down from third despite higher listening but reach was down.
5: Classical format WQXR-FM- TTSL 216,346 (231,608); CP 35,240 (35,201). Down from fourth with lower listening but reach was slightly up.
*Top hits MUSICMATCH dropped from fifth to sixth with TTSL down from 178,908 to 172,278 and CP down from 103,814 to 96,844.
The top five networks for the week to January 26 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,257,558 (1,253,860); CP 388,095 (383,079). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: StreamAudio TTSL 959,806 (881,553); CP 150,368 (148,184). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: WARP Radio TTSL 583,626 (593,357) hours: CP 104,068 (102,869) - Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
4: Moontaxi TTSL 505,351 (517,008); CP 80,681 (75,667) - up from fifth despite lower listening but reach was higher.
5: Stream Guys TTSL 484,404 (504,842); CP 119,134 (121,742) - up from sixth despite lower listening and reach.
*Clear Channel, is currently not being rated as noted above.
* Internet Radio Inc/, which had been fourth with TTSL 540,223 and CP 201,767 was not in the top ten.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings:
Arbitron web site
2003-02-06: Around 10,000 fans who subscribe to the mailing list of the BBC Radio 4 soap opera, The Archers, have been e-mailed a copy of the Sobig worm along with their news of the programme.
The worm, which normally appears to come from the email address email@example.com, is relatively harmless; it spreads itself by scanning hard drives for email addresses and attempts to send itself to any of them it finds.
Anti-virus companies have been supplying protection against it since mid-January and a BBC spokeswoman said that they thought those affected were in the tens rather than hundreds or thousands.
The worm was sent out on January 29 to all 10,500 subscribers to the Archers list despite the Corporation's own anti-virus procedures; it was speedily spotted and an e-mail sent to all the subscribers warning them of the infection and suggesting methods to get rid of it.
The BBC is conducting an investigation to tighten up procedures so there can be no repetition but is especially embarrassed as its networks were infected with the ExploreZip virus only a short while ago.
The story is not being given any prominence by the Corporation on its web service: A search using Google produced a number of reports but another of the BBC's service produced none.
2003-02-06: Former St Louis talk host Charles Jaco, who was fired by Viacom-Infinity's KMOX -AM last November, now has two jobs in the city.
He's to host the morning show on Emmis 's KTFK-FM and will also KTVI (Channel 2) on Feb. 18 as a full-time reporter.
His radio show will air late this month or early next month according to the St Louis Post-Dispatch.
Jaco cannot work in St Louis until February 18 because of a non-compete clause in his KMOX contract; it was initially six months but was reduced to three months in the agreement reached when he challenged his dismissal (See RNW Dec 10, 2002).
Jaco had been working mornings at Entercom's KIRO-AM in Seattle and there were reports he was to take a post with them (See RNW Jan 23).
St Louis Post-Dispatch report:
2003-02-06: Vancouver broadcaster John Conners has been fired by all-sports station The Team 1040 following on-air comments he made on Thursday last week (Jan 30) about Julie Bertuzzi, the wife of Canucks All-Star forward Todd Bertuzzi.
The Canucks had pulled all advertising from the station and revoked the accreditation of all its reports after the incident in which Conners had said to his morning-show partner, "Hey, you said you'd like to blank, blank, blank Todd Bertuzzi's wife."
Bertuzzi was told of the comments and contacted the Canucks public relations staff. As a result Team 1040 reporters were prevented from attending that night's game against Edmonton.
Conners told the Associated Press that the comments weren't intended to be malicious and said, "I'm bitter it was taken out of proportion. I had no intent of going after Todd Bertuzzi's wife. It was more of a comedy bit.''
He also said that had Bertuzzi hard the tape "I think he would have had a completely different opinion. He might not have been 100 percent happy but he wouldn't have been as mad.''
Conners had a previous run-in with the Canucks in the Fall last year when during an interview with former Canucks captain Trevor Linden, he suggested that Linden played soft and was overpaid.
On that occasion, the station ran advertisement apologizing to Linden and suspended Conners.
New York Times/AP report:
2003-02-06: Western Illinois University junior Ryan Kuro, who has been blind since birth, will do the colour commentary to the university's basketball game against Valparaiso on Saturday as part of a new classroom program that gives students on-air experience on campus radio station WIUS-FM.
According to the Associated Press, he commented that he didn't see his action as unique, saying, "I'm just another person doing what I love to do."
The AP says Kuro will rely on the play-by-play announcer for scores, the clock and descriptions and a second colour commentator will help on disputed calls and other visually oriented calls.
"My role is to inform the audience, giving them information about the players and describing the surroundings," Kuro said. "It's all about people being entertained, getting away from their lives and their jobs and whatever."
In preparation for the game, he has translated basketball media guides into Braille, providing information to share with listeners and he will also collect tidbits (English titbits) from players and coaches, and work on his mental picture of the court and auditorium.
San Francisco Chronicle/AP report:
2003-02-06: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the winners of its "New Adventures in Broadcasting 2003" scheme, for which a total fund of 100, 000 Euros (USD 105,000) was provided by the BCI.
The scheme has now been running for five years and this year a total of 20 entries were funded in two strands, the first for one-off programming and the second for regular programmes.
Two awards were made in the first category this year, to Clare FM's "Living with Autism" that dealt with a County Clare family with three sons, one of whom has autism and to Noteworthies from Connemara Community Radio, a series of programmes linked by a common musical thread.
In the second category the award went to Tipp FM for "The Ryans", a Tipperary based soap opera that involved local writers, local actors and local radio. In addition in this category, an honourable mention was given to Clare FM's "Crafted Contributions", a series of ten-minute features created for use as inserts in its morning programme.
2003-02-05: UK Chrysalis Group in a trading update has singled out the performance of its radio business, described by chairman Chris Wright as "the UK's fastest growing radio group" in a positive report.
Radio revenues for the five months from the start of September last year to the end of January were up 18.6% on a like-for-like basis; those for its original Heart and Galaxy networks, excluding the acquisition of LBC and disposal of Galaxy 101 in September last year, were up 18.8%.
Wright also commented that progress at LBC had been good, saying they had "attracted a strong line up of presenters and feedback in the first 4 weeks since re-launch has been very positive."
LBC revenues under Chrysalis ownership he said were up 15.55 on the same period a year ago.
Wright described the strong performance as "is particularly pleasing in the light of the difficult trading environment our industry continues to face."
"Our out-performance under these conditions." Said Wright, "demonstrates not only the ability of the group to continue delivering market share gains, but also our ability to convert this audience growth into revenue growth. Chrysalis Radio's significant position in the London market coupled with strong positions in other local markets is increasingly attractive to advertisers in offering them both broad geographic and demographic exposure and should ensure our ongoing industry out-performance."
Performance of Chrysalis's other divisions was said to be "in line with expectations" including that of the TV unit, which has warned that the current year will be particularly tough for independent operators.
Chrysalis's strong results are in marked contrast to the problems at a number of major UK radio operators, and were helped by strong ratings performances.
The reverse is true of SMG, the former Scottish Media Group that owns Virgin radio; its shares fell 3.5 pence to 69.5 pence, the level of its 1991 low, at the start of this week following comments by UBS Warburg expressing concern at "significant audience declines." The bank cut its target price for SMG from 105 pence to 79 pence.
2003-02-05: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Committee on Local Radio Audience Measurement (COLRAM) has expresses "serious concern" about the decline in Arbitron diary response rates and challenged the company to develop a comprehensive plan to improve the situation.
Saying that the rates are "at critically low levels, particularly in some of the largest markets", COLRAM says it wants a plan to deal with the problem to be presented to it at its spring meeting in March.
COLRAM Chairperson Charlotte Lawyer, director of Sales Research at Susquehanna Radio, commented, "The committee is alarmed by the continued decline in response rates, and Arbitron's equally alarming lack of aggressiveness in implementing measures to stem these declines."
"We feel a responsibility to the radio broadcasters we serve to alert them to the seriousness of the situation, and urge them to communicate their concerns to Arbitron."
"When response rates are as low as they are today, especially in some of the largest markets that Arbitron serves, we're less confident that the people who participate in the survey have similar listening patterns to those who don't participate. As a result, there's less confidence in the accuracy of the audience estimates."
2003-02-05: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been in disciplinary mode again, slapping a fine of USD15, 000 on a Georgia station for emergency alert system and tower offences and another of USD 10,000 on a Florida pirate.
The USD 15, 000 penalty was to Small Town Radio, Inc., licensee of WDGR-AM, Dahlonega, Georgia, for failing to maintain operational emergency alert system equipment, and for failing to enclose the station's antenna tower within an effective locked fence. Small Town has not responded to a Notice of Apparent Liability sent to it in November last year.
The USD10, 000 penalty was imposed on Marcel Charles, also known as Marcel M. Charles, Mariel M. Charles, Joseph M. Charles of Immokalee, Florida for unauthorised operation. Charles had not responded to a Notice of Apparent Liability sent to him in August last year.
2003-02-05: Its broadcasting operations have proved the bright spot for Jefferson-Pilot in the final quarter with earnings up 32% from USD9.9 million the year before to USD 13 million and broadcast cash flow up 31% to USD 27 million from USD 20.6 million.
For the full year, Jefferson-Pilot communications earnings were up 19% to USD 39.8 million and broadcast cash flow was up 15% to USD84.7 million.
The company as a whole saw a fall in its final quarter earnings fall from USD 96.5 million (USD0.64 a share) to USD 66.6 million (UD0.46 per share) when investment losses and litigation costs were included; without them its operating profit was
USD 0.75 per share compared to fourth-quarter 2001 earnings of USD 0.82 before realized losses. Its full year earnings were USD 3.14 per share before realized investment losses, compared to USD 3.06 per share for year 2001; Net income per share for 2002, including net realized investment losses of USD 0.10 per share, was USD 3.04, compared to USD 3.34 for 2001 after investment gains of USD0.28 per diluted share.
In other US radio business, Cumulus has closed its USD35.5 million cash acquisition eight stations in the Macon, Georgia, market from US Broadcasting. Cumulus has been operating the stations - WDDO-AM, WDEN-AM, WAYS-FM, WMAC-AM, WDEN-FM, WPEZ-FM, WMKS-FM and WMGB-FM - under a local marketing agreement since the start of October last year.
2003-02-05: The latest report of the BBC Complaints Unit, covering the period from October to December 2002, shows nine complaints (including website ones) concerning items on radio were upheld compared to only two in the previous bulletin.
There were more than twice as many complaints in the quarter than in the previous quarter and in a foreword, BBC Director-General Greg Dyke notes that, following a slow start after it introduced the facility to lodge a complaint by e-mail, more than half of the total of 458 complaints received in the quarter were received in this manner.
In all the 458 complaints concerned 266 items compared to 195 complaints concerning 160 items in the previous quarter. Of these, 149 concerned matters of fairness and accuracy (80 in the previous quarter), 299 were about matters of taste and standards (108 in the previous quarter) and the remaining ten (seven in the previous quarter) were on "other matters."
In the period 45 complaints were upheld (10 of them partly) -9.8% of the total compared to 16 upheld (6 partly) - 8% of the total; in all 266 items were investigated.
The three fairness and accuracy complaints involving radio that were upheld, from a total of five complaints, involved:
*A complaint about a BBC Radio 5 Live programme that included criticisms of Boeing that was said to have made a promotional film showing an attack on a fictional
Islamic city; the remarks were based on a report in a national newspaper but in fact the film had been made by the US Army, not Boeing, and concerned a fictional Balkan city with a mixture of religions and cultures. A correction was broadcast.
*A complaint by the Board of Deputies of British Jews about Poetry Proms broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and the BBC website that it said contained poems that were offensive in their one-sided treatment of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, used "violently anti-Israel and anti-Jewish language" and in one case compared Israeli actions to those of the Nazis.
In its finding, the Complaints Unit said," The two poets concerned had been commissioned to write in response to the themes of that year's Proms, one of which was the Old Testament. In giving their theme a current application, they did not use violent or anti-Jewish language, and the comparison complained of was more in the nature of a prophetic warning (in a poem which adopted a modern-day equivalent of the prophetic tone of Isaiah). However, both expressed condemnation of the policy of the current Israeli government."
"Although the poems had a place on a cultural radio network that, across a range of speech programmes, reflects the many ways in which culture and politics are related, more should have been done in the programmes to show awareness of the breadth and depth of the controversy on which the poets were commenting."
*Complaints about a BBC Radio 4 Today Show item that said a report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) had shown that Britain had slipped down the list of the Inward Investment table, whereas Ireland had gone up whereas he main UNCTAD table had shown that, far from falling, Britain had risen to second in the list of countries attracting inward investment. Both said that the item was in effect propaganda in favour of Britain joining the Euro because they said the item had attributed the differences to Britain being outside the euro zone.
The unit noted that comments about the euro zone were made by the Chief Economist of the Irish Intercontinental Bank and that presenter John Humphrys had challenged a claim by the Liberal Democrats about the beneficial influence of the euro by pointing out that several euro zone countries had not come out well in the list. It accepted that the report had not made it clear enough that the slip was in UNCTAD's new Performance Index, which measures inward investment in relation to a country's GDP as opposed to the main UNCTAD table.
Of the standards complaints upheld, five concerned radio, including a radio website item, eight TV, and one the BBC's web site.
The radio complaints were:
*Of poor taste in Mark Radcliffe's Radio 1 programme where a listener complained of excessive sexual explicitness in a game in which callers were invited to supply the missing word from a song title. The Unit said a caller supplied a word, which gave an obscene sense to the song title, and his jocular insistence on justifying his suggestion went beyond what was acceptable in the context.
*Of racism concerning a remark about gypsies made by a panellist in a highlights programme of an earlier Gardeners' Question Time programme on BBC Radio 4.
The unit said the remark, made in a light-hearted context during the recording of a live event, did not give rise to complaint on first transmission. As the producer had not initially understood it in a derogatory sense, he had seen no occasion to remove it. With hindsight, however, he accepted that it had a sense that was not originally apparent to him, and should not have been rebroadcast.
*Of sensitivity and portrayal in the availability on the BBC Radio 2 web site of the Elephant Man song Log On, which called for a gay man to be burnt and then danced on. The unit commented that it was not the policy of the BBC to broadcast songs that incite violence against homosexuals and the song, which had been removed when the nature of its content was realised, should not have been put on the site.
*Of standards of interviewing/presentation in a BBC Radio 5 Live programme where the complainant thought a caller who disagreed with the presenter had been treated with unwarranted rudeness. The unit aid the presenter had cut off "abruptly and angrily " a caller, whose "tone was entirely reasonable" and said this was "entirely unwarranted." *Of commercial concern regarding a "Freebies at Five" feature in Chris Moyles show on BBC Radio 1 that asked companies to send in products in exchange for a mention on the programme. The complainant said this was effectively advertising and the unit found that, although Chris Moyles and his colleagues usually managed to avoid mentioning any brand names or particular suppliers, two such were inappropriately named on this occasion.
In addition one "other" complaint was upheld; this was against Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4 and concerned its serial on the late Alma Cogan that a relative said had presented a distressingly false picture of Ms Cogan and her family. The unit said the serial had not set out to be strictly biographical but it had included invention that "went beyond what was compatible with the record, and into areas which surviving family members might have found hurtful."
In addition to the latest rulings, the BBC has also issued the latest report of findings in cases where rulings were appealed to the BBC Governors. In all rulings were published relating to 12 appeals, six relating to radio and six to TV, plus a ruling concerning the complaints unit's remit. None of the latter was upheld but one case relating to radio was upheld and another partly upheld.
Upheld was a complaint against BBC Leeds concerning references to a degree to which mentions of a specific book on Boyd's Sunday Brunch, presented by John Boyd had breached BBC Guidelines concerning undue prominence of commercial products.
Partly upheld was a complaint related to Middle East coverage on the PM and Today programmes concerning events in Beit Jala on April 1 last year when Israeli troops had opened fire on a peace demonstration. The complainant said the report had not made it clear that the troops had fired at the feet of protesters and the injuries caused were not grave, that the PM programme interviewed armed defenders in Bethlehem who were from the Al Aqsa Brigade and had treated them as "gallant defenders" and not linked them to bomb attacks carried out by the group in Israel, and that a subsequent interview with sympathy, without challenging him on his support of the Palestinian position.
The complaint was originally rejected because the complainant had not heard a previous ten-minute interview with Israeli Deputy Prime Minister, Natan Sharansky, who put the Israeli case for its military offensive against the Palestinian terrorists in strong terms and because the Head of Programme Complaints did not accept the complainant's characterization of the reports.
The governors upheld the complaint only in that it noted that that the usual practice in News was that when an interviewee was a member of a terrorist group, there should be a brief explanation of the group's involvement in terrorism and said it considered that it would have been appropriate to refer to Al Aqsa's role in the suicide bombings when interviewing the gunman. It specifically noted, however, that the coverage on PM had clearly stated, both in the 5pm news bulletin and in a two-way interview, that the shots had been fired at the protestors' feet.
Previous BBC Complaints Bulletin:
Previous Greg Dyke:
BBC web site re complaints - Complaints report is 76Kb PDF and Governor's Appeals report is 95Kb PDF:
2003-02-05: Compared to proposals submitted to Congress last year for fiscal 2003 (See RNW Feb 6, 2002), the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fiscal 2004 budget is increased by only USD 2.7 million from USD 278.1 million in proposals submitted to the US Congress by President Bush.
In all the funding proposed comes to USD 280,798,000, an increase of USD12.47 million on the USD 268.3 million that the FCC now lists as its 2003 estimate and of USD35.8 million on the budget actually enacted for 2002.
The increase, says the FCC, will cover mandatory increases for salaries and benefits and other areas, inflationary increases for contract services, and funds for additional staff to provide engineering expertise.
FCC 2004 budget proposal report:
FCC web site - links to budget proposals (4 Mb PDF)
2003-02-05: The BBC has appointed Mike MacFarlane as Executive Editor for BBC London; he carries responsibility for radio, TV and online output in London.
He first worked for the BBC in 1984 when, as a student, he spent a period with Radio Highland, later working for BBC Scotland in radio and TV before becoming a BBC trainee.
MacFarlane then joined The World at One as a producer, working in BBC radio on that programme and The Today Programme until 1993 and was in the original launch team for BBC Radio Five Live.
He was Elections Editor for BBC network radio in 1998 and has most recently been weekend editor of BBC TV news.
2003-02-04: Saga Communications' planned purchase of WODB-FM, Columbus, Ohio, is being delayed because of a USD 2 million tax lien placed on the station by the US Inland Revenue Service according to report on Bizjournals.
Saga was to have bought the station for USD 9 million plus its Gospel format WVKO-AM in Columbus but the IRS says WDOB's owner, Youngstown-based Stop 26 Riverbend Inc., owes it the money in back payroll taxes and the lien blocks closure of the sale until the tax matter is resolved.
Stop 26 Riverbend co-owner Percy Squire has filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the use of the lien as a collection method adding, "Stop 26 doesn't dispute it has a tax liability. It's one of the reasons WODB is being sold - to eliminate debt.
"We're hopeful we can come to an understanding with U.S. government and continue to advance the business."
The sale completion is not affecting the operation of the stations because most day-to-day operations of the two stations have been transferred under an operating agreement.
In other US radio business, NextMedia has completed its acquisition of four Oklahoma stations for USD 5.5 million from Chuckie Broadcasting.
They are KVCS-AM and KKAJ-FM , both in Ardmore; KYNZ-FM in Lone Grove; and KTRX-FM in Dickson.
NextMedia has also completed its exit from the Panama City market in Florida with the USD5.7 million sale of four FM stations and one AM station - WILN-FM, WQJM-FM, WYOO-FM, WYYX-FM and WPCF-AM - to Styles Media Group, LLC.
Biz Journals report:
2003-02-04: Sirius has launched a national brand advertising campaign - hinged on attacks on current US terrestrial radio output - for its satellite radio service.
It highlights the music services it offers and the absence of commercials carried by other stations; unlike rival XM, which takes advertisements on a number of its music channels, Sirius says it intends to keep all its 60 music channels free of commercials.
Previous national campaigns by Sirius stressed such areas as incentives on receiving equipment and the current campaign, by created by Crispin Porter & Bogusky in Miami, is the first to stress the brand.
The brand campaign features the tagline -- "it's_ON" - and, says the company, "demonstrates in all its components SIRIUS' philosophy about being true to listeners, not corporate agendas."
"At Sirius, we present music in a way that has never been done before. It is delivered uncut, uncompromised, commercial free and with digital clarity -- the way artists meant the music to be heard," said Mary Pat Ryan, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Sirius. "SIRIUS stands for passion about music and entertainment, and our new brand campaign brings that passion to life."
The adverts highlight the annoying things - such as adverts, limited playlists, and limited geographical reception limitations - about current US terrestrial radio that listeners can leave behind them by tuning in to the range offered by Sirius.
The company has not said how much it is spending on the campaign, saying that its lawyers have forbidden disclosure whilst it is in the middle of financial restructuring, but it has a long way to go to catch up on the USD100 million spent by rival XM in its campaign that began with its national launch last August and has also gained from the promotion of its service by GM, its largest shareholder, in adverts for its automobiles.
Sirius also has a long way to go to catch up in subscribers; it only has around a tenth of the 360, 000 XM subscribers and is also charging a USD 12,95 a month subscription compared to just under USD10 per month for XM.
XM also has the advantage of having completed its refinancing whilst Sirius is in the middle of an offer to exchange its debt for shares (See RNW February 1).
Sirius has also announced that its founder David Margolese, the man who first came up with the idea for a US satellite radio service, is leaving from its board along with another director, Joseph Vittoria, a former Avis CEO. They are to be replaced by directors to be selected by Sirius creditors.
Margolese still owns some 1.6 million shares in the company with options for nearly 8 million more. He received a pay-off of around USD 5 million when he stepped down as Sirius Satellite Radio CEO in October 2002 (See RNW Oct 23, 2001) but then remained on the board as non executive chairman.
2003-02-04: US radio advertising figures now formally published by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) show a 6% total increase in revenues last year - USD 19.575 billion up from USD18.369 million in 2001; national revenues were up 15% to USD3.275 billion and local ones 4% to USD 15.280 billion.
For the final quarter the increases were 11% for combined revenues, 24% for national revenues and 8% for local revenues and for December they were 9% combined, 25% national and 4% local.
For December, RAB's sales index, which equated base year1998 to 100, was 124.4 for the combined index, 126.8 for the national index, and 123.0 for the local index; on a year-to-date basis, the index was 135.6 combined, 136.3 national and 135.5 local.
Commenting on the figures, RAB President and CEO Gary Fries commented, "Radio has made a full recovery and continues to lead ahead of other media." "Radio remains strong, due in part to its diverse advertising categories, its ability to change and adapt to the constantly evolving advertising landscape and its success in delivering results for clients. The outlook for 2003 is more than promising for continued acceleration and growth."
1600 people attended RAB2003, the Radio Sales, Management & Leadership Conference held in New Orleans, twice the total for last year, and Fries told them that the year had not begun strongly but momentum had developed as it continued and ended with "one of the strongest finishes" the industry had seen.
For this year, RAB is predicting 6%-8% revenue growth, and Fries commented that broad category growth was "the healthiest" he had seen, covering a number of major segments.
Fries also noted that Radio attained 8.2% of the total advertising pie in 2002.
"We crossed the 8% barrier in 2000 and when we did so, we started to gain momentum on other media," he said. "The total ad pie is huge, $260 billion. When you take that number and you gain 1/10 of 1%, for example, you are adding a tremendous amount of revenue to the Radio stream at the expense of existing media."
He also said every market-size shared in the total revenue growth of 2002, commenting, "When I see this type of market spread, it is very exciting to understand that we are seeing growth at all levels."
Previous RAB (US) :
2003-02-04: The UK Guardian, reporting on the launch this week by SMG of a GBP 3 million (USD 4.9 million) campaign to boost its Virgin station, looks at the station in the two years since it fired Chris Evans (See RNW June 29, 2001) and speculates on what is ahead.
"The two years since Evans's departure," it writes, "have seen Virgin's on-air line-up change almost as fast as Evans could down pints, amid panic shifts in music policy as the station attempts to stabilize listener numbers.
Audience figures released last week underline just how far Virgin's star has fallen over the past three years. Since spring 2000, the number of people listening to it has slumped by more than a quarter. Those that do remain are spending 27% less time tuning in."
It contrasts the losses of national medium- wave station Virgin AM, which has seen a sharp drop, with the gains of the Wireless Group's national AM station TalkSport whose audience is now higher than that of the Virgin AM station.
In London market, where Virgin broadcasts on FM, it says the picture is not much better, noting that listening hours have fallen from 6.6m per week to just over 5m.
"Extraordinarily for such a recognizable brand name, " notes the Guardian, "it is outperformed by both the medium-wave oldies station Capital Gold and Sunrise FM, a niche station aimed at Asian listeners."
"Virgin's financial performance is also poor, although the industry-wide recession in advertising revenues has hardly helped its cause. In 2001, profits effectively halved to £8.7m, according to accounts filed in Companies House Bought from Evans for £214m, Virgin is now valued by SMG at what it believes is a conservative £160m."
"At the heart of Virgin's problems," concludes the paper, "there's been a deceptively simple question - how to find a credible breakfast-show host to replace Evans?"
"For any commercial radio operator, breakfast is the most important show," says Andrew Walsh, an analyst at Altium Capital. "It sets the tone for the day for both listeners and advertisers and helps define the identity of the station."
Since Evans left, Virgin has tried and failed with Steve Penk, described by the Guardian as "a high-profile, short-lived and expensive fiasco for the station" and Daryl Denham.
Now it's giving a chance to former drivetime duo Pete Mitchell and Geoff Lloyd.
Early feedback says the paper suggests that listeners are responding, and Virgin is optimistic that the moves could spark a turnaround.
"Clearly we are not where we think the station should be," Virgin chief executive John Pearson admits. "But after a difficult period which led to some tough decisions, we believe we've got a formula that will allow us to stage a strong recovery."
Pearson says that despite the fall in overall listeners, Virgin has been able to increase the number of advertiser-attractive 20- to 44-year-olds tuning in. He describes the new morning team as " world class, " adding, "I'd be surprised if there was anyone else in that breakfast show seat five years from now."
Pearson also says that he wants to ensure that Virgin never again becomes over-dependent on any one show or presenter.
"It's a dangerous position to be in when you have a breakfast show that is so big it dominates the station," he says. "Capital are finding that with Chris Tarrant. Radio 2 have got that issue with Wogan. What will they do when they go? There's no easy fix. There isn't much talent about. It's a problem for the whole industry."
He is upbeat about where Virgin is going though, saying, "The music policy we are at today is absolutely right," says Pearson. "This station's listeners don't know and don't care what is number one any more. Singles are no longer important but millions of albums are being sold by the likes of Coldplay, Travis and the Chili Peppers. That's what our listeners want and we will focus on that."
Previous Mitchell and Lloyd:
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Guardian report:
2003-02-04: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has red-flagged on revenue and ownership concentration grounds, deals involving purchases by Regent Communications and Forstmann-Little-owned Citadel.
The Citadel deals are proposed purchases from AAA Entertainment of WAKX-FM and WWKX-FM, Rhode Island, and WMOS-FM, Montauk, New York, a USD 16.5 million deal announced last month (See RNW Jan 10).
The Regent deal is the planned USD 7.75 million acquisition from AGM-Nevada, LLC (American General Media ) of KKPL-FM and KARS-FM serving the Fort Collins-Greeley, Colorado market from AGM-Nevada, LLC; KARS is currently in the process of moving its tower but Regent commenced operation of KKPL on February 1 under a local marketing agreement.
Regent is already in the process of acquiring three other stations in the market - two in operation and a CP for a third - in its USD62 million purchase of stations from bankrupt Brill's Media (see RNW Aug 24, 2002).
The Commission has, however, allowed Triad Broadcasting subsidiary Monterey Licenses, LLC to take over KBMW-AM, Breckenridge, Minnesota, from W- B Broadcasting, Inc.
A call to deny had been submitted by Randy K. Holland Investments, LLC, licensee of KGBZ- FM) Harwood, North Dakota, on the competition grounds in the Fargo-Moorhead (North Dakota - Minnesota) metro but the FCC said Holland had not provided any evidence that convinced it of a case to answer.
The FCC has also issued a number of penalties for technical offences. In descending dollar order they were of:
*USD 9,600 to AGM- Nevada, LLC, licensee of booster station KYLZ- FM1, and former licensee of studio- to- transmitter link ("STL") stations WMV815 and WMW873 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, operation of WMV815 and WMW873 from an unauthorized location and of KYLZ- FM1 in excess of authorized transmitter power output limits.
The Commission had originally issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for USD12, 000 in June last year and AGM had responded, noting that it was in the process of correcting the violations.
The FCC pointed out that this did not affect the case but did reduce the penalty after considering AGM's history of overall compliance with its regulations.
*USD8000 to WHYZ Radio, L. P., licensee of WCSZ-AM, San Souci, South Carolina, for failure to have operational Emergency Alert System equipment. WHYZ had failed to respond to a Notice of Apparent Liability issued in April last year.
The FCC has also seen a US Federal Appeals Court uphold its rules that barred former pirate broadcasters from ever obtaining a low-power FM licence or being involved with one.
The rule was held last year to be unconstitutional as a violation of First Amendment free-speech rights by a lower court but this decision was later reversed and the latest decision re-affirms the reversal.
2003-02-03: We start this week with an anecdote, courtesy of Chris Campling's radio column in the London Times, that is a good illustration of he parts radio can reach that big brother television misses out on; it's timely since this week saw the last of the current series of Dead Ringers (BBC Radio 4 and still available online for a few days).
"Nearly 50 years ago," writes Campling, "the great American comedian Stan Freberg demonstrated the difference between the then-nascent television and the all-powerful radio by concocting a sketch in with the Canadian Air force dropped whipped cream, chocolate sauce and a maraschino cherry on a mountain."
"The whole operation was performed with sound effects and, at the end of it, Freberg crowed: 'Now try doing that on television.'"
"Of course, over the years," continues Campling, "the import of this story has been lost since, these days TV can do all that and more. " (RNW comment: But only with much more expense and in a manner that corrals the audience into a vision dictated to them by someone's imagination.)
"But at the time Freberg had a point: radio, which allowed the listener to use his imagination, was a more powerful medium than TV, which laid everything out in front of him."
Campling then goes on to develop his theme, noting that he still finds Monty Python sketches that have palled on TV to be amusing on radio "because the Pythons did not make visual comedy. Most of their best sketches concerned one bloke talking to another bloke, or blokes."
"The Pythons made radio comedy, "writes Campling, "but they did it on television, because by the time they came along radio was in decline. "
He then concludes, taking us to Dead Ringers: "But now radio rules again. People listen to it for longer than they watch TV. But still there is at least one great radio comedy show that yearns to make it on the Box, but dies on its feet every time. Yes, Dead Ringers, learn the lesson of Python and get back to where you once belonged."
In similar vein, we also noted last week the announcement of the launch in the US of the National Recording Registry with 50 recordings of moments of "cultural, historical or aesthetic" significance in the history of the United States.
The registry, set up under the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, is currently accepting nominations for its archive, which we note approvingly is for sound recordings since in many cases to us the impact is preserved far better in many cases in audio only, even if TV or film recordings still exist.
The current archive ranges from recordings made on cylinders in 1888-1889 and field recordings made in 1890 by Jesse Walter Fewkes of the music of the Passamaquoddy Indians to a 1982 recording by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five of early rap, "The Message"
Between those are recordings of a cultural nature such as early recordings of the Metropolitan Opera, of Enrico Caruso and Scott Joplin ragtime compositions; of historical significance such as Booker T. Washington's 1906 recreation of his controversial 1895 Atlanta Exposition speech in which he promoted inter-racial cooperation as well as African-American self-reliance, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's radio "Fireside Chats" that ran from 1933-1944, General Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1944 D-Day radio address to the Allied Nations, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1963 "I have a Dream! Speech.
Radio examples include the first recorded radio performance of an famous Abbott and Costello routine and Orson Welles's, "War of the Worlds", both broadcast in 1938, the first Grand Ole Opry network radio broadcast in 1939,
Regrettably, and inexplicably to us, the archive, although it does provide links to other audio archives does not provide simple online listening to the recordings nor links to sources where they can be found online (You can for example listen to Mercury Theatre recordings, including the War of the Worlds at the Mercury Theatre's web site).
Having had our gripe, on to a gripe from the US that forms the peg for a Los Angeles Times article by Steve Carney relating to DJs who do not mention the title of a song that has been played.
"The complaint is so common among listeners," writes Carney, "that satellite radio companies have made it a selling point, boasting that their equipment always shows what's on the air. And a new survey shows how badly the audience wants to know -- 82% said it was important that DJs give song and artist information for the music they play, compared with 17% who didn't really care and 1% who answered "don't know."
The survey was conducted by Denver-based Paragon Media Strategies, whose CEO commented that the "primary reason" for omitting the information "is there are only 60 minutes in an hour, and these broadcasters need to sell as much advertising as they can. The economics have become much more important to them."
Nearly two-thirds of listeners, according to the survey, want all songs identified and 55% wanted identification after they had been played.
The call for identification unsurprisingly has support from the recording companies and Hilary Rosen, chief executive officer of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) noted that unlike other outlets, US radio stations don't have to pay royalties to artists for playing their songs (only to the songwriters) -- the rationale being that the airplay is free advertising.
"But if listeners don't know what's being played, the promotional value is lost," Rosen said. "When they're not front- and back-announcing, they're not holding up their end of the bargain."
Lee Abrams, a former programming consultant who is now chief programming officer for Washington-based XM Satellite Radio, commented that the DJ's role as narrator and companion "has always been a key ingredient in radio history." He commented that there needed to be a balance between talk and music, having in the XM service as Carney noted, the advantage of display technology that like digital terrestrial broadcasts, allows the songs to be identified as they are being played.
Digital radio, this time its present and future, not the extras on the display, was the subject of Paul Donovan's Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times.
It was pegged to the first anniversary of the first BBC digital channel, Five Live Sports Extra, which by law is a part-time service acting as an overflow for the BBC's sports rights in football, cricket, rugby, tennis and Formula One.
The BBC now has four other digital-only channels but, notes Donovan, for them and commercial digital stations it is currently impossible to find out how many people are listening to them.
"Nobody knows, because nobody is doing any measuring and nobody wants to speculate," writes Donovan. "You can get estimates of casualties in a nuclear war more readily than estimates of listeners to digital radio."
The reason, he goes on to say, is that people don't want to guess and get things wrong, a reasoning that ha led to caution amongst commercial national digital channels.
"While stations such as Core (a commercial chart hits channel (were claiming 100,000 listeners and more a year ago, they are now being quite coy because they expect to sign up to RAJAR, the audience-measuring body, later this year," says Mandy Green, the spokeswoman for this company. "If RAJAR shows they have only got 10,000 and they've been claiming 10 times that, it looks bad. All the national stations are being cautious."
So the only reliable figures at present, notes Donovan, are for online use but there will be RAJAR figures in May for commercial speech channel OneWord, Kerrang! and Smash Hits, which have now signed up for RAJAR figures. He also notes that when the number of digital receivers sold reaches a million, expected around Christmas 2004, the BBC is also to submit its stations for RAJAR ratings. In the meantime, the absence of figures hey can provide to advertisers is making things hard for the commercial stations, three of which, the Bloomberg and ITN national channels and the Ministry of Sound London channel closed down last year.
"Our advertising revenue is negligible, and we are running at a loss of about £800,000 a year," reveals Ben Budworth, the managing director of Oneword.
The advent of digital for radio was also the subject of a technologically focussed article in the San Francisco Chronicle by Henry Norr.
Noting that technology had, until now, had little effect on US radio programming, he continued, "A flurry of recent developments, however, suggests that 2003 could be the year that efforts to revamp the century-old medium for the digital age move out of the labs and into the mainstream."
He then went on to note the commercial launch last year of US satellite radio, the approval of iBiquity's HD system, and the development of Internet radio.
On the last, he reviewed various systems for scheduling recording off the Internet from free programmes to low cost shareware that allows audio in any format, including RealAudio and Windows Media to be recorded in a number of standard formats including MP3.
Los Angeles Times - Carney:
San Francisco Chronicle - Norr:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Times - Campling:
US National Recording Registry web site:
2003-02-03: Plans by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell for the future of communications and media regulation in the US are featured in a New York Times article "Dream Nears Reality: Ease Up at the F.C.C."
Powell's vision, described as "long-held" in the paper, will according to its supporters "will encourage tremendous new investment and promote innovation and competition through a heavier reliance on market forces. "
On the other hand, says the paper, "his detractors, including consumer groups and smaller companies, say the Powell agenda will simply make big companies bigger. By relaxing rules now, they assert, the government will stifle competition, reduce the diversity of media voices and play into the hands of the largest companies, which are trying to shut down their rivals."
Powell himself insists many rules will remain and commented, "I don't know what anybody is talking about when they say this is deregulation," he said. "We are talking about a paradigm of competition, but in a very regulatory way. This is not an Adam Smith market. This is industrial management."
In opposing that view at a recent Senate hearing, South Carolina Senator Ernest F. Hollings (Democrat) told Powell in relation to telephone rules, "You are supposed to promote competition. Just at the time that the Telecommunications Act is really beginning to work - because of the delays of the Bell companies - now you are going to reward them and expand their monopoly."
Considering the positions of other Commissions, the Times describes Republican, Kevin J. Martin as having "articulated a more pragmatic form of deregulation, which calls for the government to move cautiously in markets dominated by a few players."
Democrat Michael J. Copps,the Times says, has "begun to marshal opposition to any broad changes in the media ownership rules", saying that he has helped "lead an influential coalition of conservatives and liberals who fear the consequences of eliminating rules they say have fostered diversity and local input in broadcasting and prevented media companies from becoming too large."
Powell says his actions will not simply permit entrenched monopolies to grow stronger but critics point to the consolidation of US radio as a warning sign.
To that Powell says there have never been so many outlets and views on the airwaves and brings up the First Amendment to support his argument.
"The First Amendment means something to me," he said. "It's well and good to be concerned about Citizen Kane, but not at the consequence of returning to King George."
New York Times report:
2003-02-03: Maryland gospel music station WYCB-AM is continuing to buck the US radio trend of "canned music and programs scripted by corporate consultants" according to a report in the Washington Post centred on the morning show of Winston Chaney.
Chaney has been with the Lanham station for 23 years of its 25-year life and morning man since 1984.
The paper says his "down-home show is a relic from an era when most big cities had a gospel AM radio station that was a sounding board for the African American community, a time when the DJs shouted out blessings and played all the gospel legends in between reading spots about family-owned cafes, funeral homes and beauty shops."
Chaney is the sole individual hold-out on WYCB although the station still broadcasts taped sermons of local ministers every night; when it was bought by Radio One in 1988 all the other DJs were replaced by programmed music.
"WYCB is a heritage station, and Winston Chaney brings a viable spirit to the airwaves," said Jeff Majors, Radio One's vice president and director of gospel programs, explaining why Chaney was kept on.
The paper says that spirit is invariably upbeat and genial and, unlike talk show hosts who enjoy taking provocative stances and arguing with their audience, Chaney tends to look up to his regular callers, often treating them as experts on various issues.
He takes pains not to alienate anyone who might be listening and writes and reads many of the ads on his show.
Chaney, who grew up in a Danville public housing complex with a father who was "in and out" of his got his start in radio at WKIE-AM, Richmond, moving to DC in 1980 and managing to get a part-time job at WYCB as a DJ on Friday nights and Sunday mornings.
He says he misses the role that radio DJs played in the days when they routinely helped launch local talent. In today's radio climate, it's very hard for new artists to get their music played, he said.
"I think that the jocks should have a little more input. At one point, we had more input. But Radio One has hired consultants. We have a whole research department in Atlanta that asks people what they want to hear."
Majors said most of the gospel music for Radio One's stations, including WYCB, is chosen by the researchers, but the station will also take requests from listeners.
Previous Radio 1 Inc:
Washington Post report:
2003-02-02: Last week's main regulatory story was again the issue of future media regulation in the US (See RNW Jan 31) but the Federal Communications Commission was also busy dealing with a number of technical rule violations. Elsewhere there was a steady flow of activity.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority has allocated a new community radio licence for Break O'Day in north-eastern Tasmania to BOD FM Inc..
BOD is currently broadcasting a wide ranging local community service on the allocated frequency under a temporary community licence that expires at the end of February.
Canada was fairly quiet with the main activity from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) being the issue of notice of a public hearing in Quebec on April 8 to consider a number of licence applications. On the radio side, they include
In Nova Scotia:
* An application on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated (Hope FM Ministries) for a 50-watts English-language commercial (specialty) FM in Truro offering a Christian music service.
* Application by Fondation Radio Enfant for a licence to operate a 1,000 watts daytime and 100 watts nightime
French-language AM radio station in Ottawa/Gatineau with a format dedicated to children and youth.
*An application by Battlefords Tourism And Convention Association Inc. to operate a 47 watts an English-language tourist information FM.
The CRTC also issued a report on ethnic services in the country, concluding that the country was well served in this regard. It noted that, in addition to various digital services and analogue services carried by cable or satellite, the country had 14 over-the-air radio stations serving ethnic communities in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the receipt of 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 (See RNW Jan 28).
It has also announced the signing of a contract with Cashel Community Radio, Co. Tipperary, in relation to its five-year community radio licence.
Cashel is to commence broadcasting on February 14; its licence is one of three allocated in July 2001. The other two went top Knock Community Radio, County Mayo, and to Waterford Institute of Technology for a service for the student population of Waterford City.
In the UK, the most important Radio Authority announcement was the advertisement of a new regional licence for the West Midlands (See RNW Jan 31) and it also issued a number of licences and an assessment of a recent award.
Licence awards were :
The re-award of the Birmingham licences for BRMB-FM) and Capital Gold-AM , currently held by Midlands Radio plc as a wholly owned subsidiary of Capital Radio plc. These were renewed automatically as Capital provides two digital sound programme services on the Birmingham digital multiplex.
The re-award of the Wrexham & Chester area AM and FM licences to the existing holders Classic Gold Digital Ltd., and Marcher Radio Group Ltd.; both awards were made under the Authority's fast-track procedure after pre-advertisements produced no other declarations of interest in either licence.
The re-award of the local licence for Oban to Oban FM. This was also made under the special fast-track procedure.
The assessment was of the award of the Barnsley local licence to Dearne FM last month (See RNW Licence News January 12) ; the Authority singled out for comment Dearne FM's "realistic and achievable" programming proposals and said that its "business plan contained sensible revenue and cost estimates which were consistent with a company which knows its business and the local constraints on the market."
Dearne FM, it nored, is wholly-owned by Lincs FM plc, a radio company with considerable experience of managing popular small-scale radio stations in this region, such as Ridings FM in Wakefield and Trax FM in Doncaster.; it had conducted three trial broadcasts in the area since 1999.
The authority also announced that it had received only one application for the West Lothian FM service; this was from River FM, which is proposing a local news, sports, community and music service.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as well as being busy with the issues of future media regulation, has been very active in disciplinary mode against companies and individuals breaching current technical regulations.
They included forfeitures, in descending monetary value, of:
*USD17, 000 to Metro Birch Enterprises, Inc., licensee of KBPA- AM), Pine Bluff, Arkansas, for failure to enclose the station's antenna tower within an effective locked fence and failure to maintain all of the required items in the station's public inspection file. Metro Birch did not respond to a Notice of Apparent Liability issued July last year.
*USD10, 000 to Josie Alums of Naples, Florida, for unauthorised operation of a radio station. Alums did not respond to a Notice of Apparent Liability issued in August last year.
*USD 10, 000 to Ian R. Walker of Jacksonville, Florida for unauthorised operation of a radio station. Walker did not respond to a Notice of Apparent Liability issued in November last year.
*USD 7,000 to Coffee County Broadcasting, Inc., Licensee of Station WMSR-AM, McMinnville, Tennessee, for failure to maintain a presence at its main studio during normal business hours. Coffee County failed to respond to a Notice of Apparent liability issued in September last year.
* USD 7, 000 to Tralyn Broadcasting for failing to conduct weekly tests of the Emergency Alert System and failing to maintain all of the required items in its public inspection file at WIGG-AM, Wiggins, Minnesota. Tralyn failed to respond to a Notice of Apparent liability issued in October last year.
* USD 4,000 to North American Broadcasting Company, Inc., licensee of Station KFNX- AM, Cave Creek, Arizona for failure to reduce transmitter output power in accordance with its station authorization. North American did not respond to a Notice of Apparent Liability issued in August last year.
* USD 3,000 to Brewer Broadcasting of Cleveland, LLC. for failure to register its antenna structure in Dayton, Tennessee. Brewer had not filed a response to a Notice of Apparent Liability issued in September last year.
Forfeitures were also issued to non-broadcasters International Car Service, Inc. of Brooklyn, New York, (of USD 10, 000) for operating unlicensed transmitters; to Verizon Wireless (of USD 10,000) for failure to comply with the painting specifications required for a registered antenna in Colorado Springs, Colorado and failing to repaint the structure as often as necessary in order to maintain good visibility ; and to Qwest Corporation, Littleton, Colorado , (of USD 2,000) for failure to failure to post the registration number for an antenna near Winterset, Iowa. None had responded to Notices of Apparent Liability,
The Commission also denied a review requested by Birach Broadcasting Corporation of its decision to refuse additional time to build new station WIJR- AM, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, or to a waiver of the Commission's construction period rule.
It also ordered that the call sign, which was forfeited upon permit expiration, should be deleted from its records.
It also denied an application for review of a ruling that Family Vision Ministries, Inc., licensee of non-commercial station KAYH-FM, Fayetteville, Arkansas, broadcast an advertisement in violation of applicable regulations; no sanction had been applied.and KERM Inc. had argued that it should have been.
The FCC rejected arguments that in a number of other instances, KAYH had been in volation of its rules and said the incident in question was an isolated one..
In Georgia, the FCC has ordered Jefferson- Pilot Communications Company , licensee of WSTR- FM, Smyrna, Georgia, to show cause why it should not be re-classified as a class CO facility to allow SSR Communications Incorporated a new Class A in Opelika, Alabama as its second local FM transmission service.
SSR says the move would result in short spacing unless WSTR is reclassified and the commission notes that WSTR-FM currently has an antenna height of 311 metres above average terrain (HAAT) , short of the minimum Class C antenna height requirement of 451 meters HAAT.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-02-02: Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) says it is to appeal against the decision of the judge assigned in the Miami District Court to its anti-trust lawsuit against Clear Channel and Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC) to grant the defendants motion to dismiss the suit.
SBS had launched suit in June last year (see RNW June 13, 2002) claiming both state and federal antitrust violations and business interference; it said the two had engaged in anti-competitive practices that affected its ability to raise capital and carry out transactions, acted to depress its share price and damaged its reputation.
The federal claims were dismissed "with prejudice" and the state claims "without prejudice" but SBS says it will continue to "prosecute this case vigorously and have every confidence that SBS's claims will be reinstated and vindicated upon appeal."
Clear Channel chairman and CEO Lowry Mays said, "Last June when this suit was filed I said `it was false and frivolous' and committed to defend our company and our employees. We prevailed in court. This is good news for Clear Channel."
"Folks are making inaccurate claims about our company that have no basis in reality. We have risen above the chatter and proven that we are a good company, with ethics, integrity and sound business practices. We'll continue to stay focused on our business and work hard for our customers and our communities."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Hispanic Broadcasting:
Previous Lowry Mays:
2003-02-02: Veteran US foreign correspondent Bill Delaney tomorrow takes up his role as co-host on Boston public station WBUR-FM's noon show ''Here and Now.''
He takes over the slot left vacant in August last year Bruce Gellerman and will be working alongside current co-host Robin Young.
Delaney, who made his name in television working for ABC, Christian Science Monitor TV (now folded) and CNN, has two children, a 14-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter. He says his family was a major factor in his decision to move to WBUR.
''Here and Now'', which is now taken by more than 30 public stations in the US, was first offered to other stations by WBUR in September 2001, a week after the attacks on the World Trade Centre. It has more of an international news focus than most US news programmes.
2003-02-01: The past week saw a steady flow of US radio station deals with the largest, a USD 25.5 million cash purchase by Forstmann-Little -owned Citadel, coming towards the end and the next largest, a USD 10 million Massachusetts purchase at the beginning.
For its money, Citadel is getting the last four stations of Stockton (California)-based Silverado Broadcasting.
They are adult contemporary KJOY-FM and chart/rhythmic KWIN-FM in Stockton, KWIN's simulcast sister station in Modesto, KWNN-FM, and 80's format KNVQ-FM in Reno, Nevada. Once the deal is completed, Citadel will have five stations in Reno and six in Modesto.
The Massachusetts deal is a purchase by Bradford Bleight of 82.5% of the common stock in Langer Broadcasting, owner of business format WBIX-AM, Natick, in the Boston area
In Arkansas, Max Media Properties is paying USD6.7 million in cash to River Valley Radio Group for Classic rock KVLD-FM, Atkins; News KCAB-AM and Country KCJC-FM, Dardanelle; News KVOM-AM and country KVOM-FM, Morrilton; and adult contemporary KWKK-FM, Russellville.
Lower down the money scale, Mega Communications is selling in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
The Maryland sale is a USD1.5 cash purchase by new radio owner Metro Radio Inc. of regional Mexican format WPLC-AM, Silver Spring, in the DC market and that in Pennsylvania is a USD4.25 million sale of miscellaneous format WURD-AM, Philadelphia. To another new owner, Levas Communications LLC.
In Minnesota Three Eagles Communications Inc. is paying Johnson Broadcasting Corp USD 3.2 million for Country and talk KRBI-AM and classic hits FM, St. Peter, in the Mankato-New Ulm market. Three Eagles already has one station, KEEZ-FM, in the market.
In Indiana, Crossroads Investments LLC, which already has four stations in Terre Haute, is paying Bomar Broadcasting Corporation USD 2.09 million cash for soft adult contemporary WLEZ-FM in Terre Haut.
In Texas, First Broadcasting Company is paying USD1.4 million in cash to M&M Broadcasters Ltd. for country KCLE-AM, Cleburne, in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market.
First Broadcasting has five other stations, including KRVA-FM & KRVF-FM in Dallas-Ft. Worth.
In Alabama, new radio owner Great South RFDC LLC is paying Williamson Broadcasting Inc. USD 1.25 million in cash for oldies WSSY-FM, Talladega.
And way down the scale, Mapleton Communications LLC is growing again in California. It's paying RocGlo Communications USD370, 000 in cash to add news/talk KGLW-AM, San Luis Obispo, to its existing three stations in the market.
On the results front, Disney has reported revenues up 6% to USD 7.47 billion but profits down 42% to USD 256 million in the first quarter, largely because of a USD 114 million (USD 83 million after-tax) write-down of losses in connection with aircraft- related leases with bankrupt United Airlines.
ABC Broadcasting revenues were up 7% to USD 1.6 billion, its operating income went USD38 million into the black from a loss of USD77 million in Disney's first quarter a year ago, and broadcasting EBITDA was also back USD58 million in the black compared to a year-earlier loss of USD 52 million.
Disney says an improved advertising environment boosted its radio and TV operations.
2003-02-01: US broadcasters and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell have welcomed the re-introduction by Arizona Republican Senator John McCain of his Telecommunications Ownership Diversification Initiative.
McCain's proposal would give tax-deferral and other financial incentives to help female and minority-owned small businesses.
McCain introducing his proposal at Senate Commerce Committee hearings said, "Wherever possible, we should look to market-based approaches to ensure there is diversity in media ownership" and called for other members of the committee to join him in putting forward the legislation.
Amongst those welcoming the plan was Clear Channel chairman and CEO L Lowry Mays (See RNW January 31) and National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) chairman and CEO Eddie Fritts, who commented that, "Increasing employment and ownership opportunities for new entrants in broadcasting continues to be a priority for the NAB. We look forward to working with Sen. McCain in helping pass this legislation."
Powell in a statement described McCain's legislation as "well crafted and much needed."
"I wholeheartedly support this effort," he continued, and added, "I again thank Senator McCain for consistently showing leadership in this important effort. Like him, I believe it is essential that we promote greater inclusiveness in our media and communications delivery sectors."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
2003-02-01: The US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) has indicated at its New Orleans Conference that the final quarter of last year saw an overall rise of 9% in radio advertising revenues. This would take the figures for the whole year to a 6% overall increase.
2003-02-01: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) radio veteran Bill McNeil has died aged 78. McNeil, who spent 42 years with the CBC, began as a reporter and was later host of current-affairs shows including Fresh Air and Voice of the Pioneers. He retired in 1992.
In California, veteran broadcaster, comedian and actor Cliff Norton, whose 65-year career began as a disc jockey in 1937 in his Chicago hometown, worked in a range of radio shows including "Hilltop House", "The FBI in Peace and War," "Captain Midnight," "Jack Armstrong" and "The Tom Mix Straightshooters."
He moved to New York and into TV in 1952 and then ten years later moved to Los Angeles where he appeared in a number of major movies.
Los Angeles Times - Norton obituary:
Toronto Globe and Mail - McNeil obituary:
2003-02-01: Sirius has launched an offer to exchange all its outstanding debt for its common stock, a move that already has the commitment of nearly four fifths of the satellite radio company's debt holders.
Under the plan debt holders will receive 779.5 shares of common stock for each thousand dollars of obligations they hold and completion is subject to acceptance from holders of not less than 97% of Sirius outstanding debt, although the condition may be varied with the consent of debt holders.
The offer, part of Sirius's previously announced recapitalisation, ends on March 4 and Sirius president and CEO Joseph P. Clayton commented, "Once we complete this important transaction, we will have the strongest balance sheet in this new and exciting industry to take us forward."
2003-02-01: Australia's largest regional publisher and printer Rural Press Limited, which in 1997 sold all but its half-interest in two Southern Australian radio stations to DMG Regional Radio Pty, has moved back into the radio business by taking control of Star Broadcasting Network through purchasing the 49.9% holding in the company of its joint venture partner, Unitel Media group.
Star Broadcasting currently owns nine stations including River 94.9 FM, Ipswich, Queensland, and eight other AM and FM stations in South Australia; it also has a licence for a new FM for the Whyalla, Port Augusta, Port Pirie and Clare markets that should come into operation later this year.
Rural's managing director Brian McCarthy said he was pleased the ownership of the stations was now "under the one roof", adding that this would enhance the company's long-term strategy of once again developing a radio broadcasting network in Australia.
2003-02-01: Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) today launches a new weekend schedule featuring four new programmes and an extended jazz evening.
The new show on Saturdays is evening show American Routes, which features a wide range of music including blues and jazz, roots rock and soul, Tejano and zydeco interwoven stories and conversations with musicians and everyday people. It is followed by an extended show The Jazz Image, which now runs until 2 a.m. on Sunday.
On Sundays, the new shows are afternoon Studio 360 looking at the influence of art in everyday life, followed by financial matters programme The Motley Fool Radio Show and in the evening The Next Big Thing, which MPR describes as quirky, fast-moving radio mosaic
2003-02-01: Mom Sonando, owner of Beehive FM in Cambodia, has been arrested and charged with three counts of broadcasting false information, inciting acts of racism and instigating people to commit crimes following rioting that led to mobs setting fire to the Thai Embassy and Thai-owned businesses in Phnom Penh according to Reuters.
The rioting followed reports that a Thai actress, who is also the face of Miss Teen, a Thai cosmetics brand that is a best seller in Cambodia, had said that the Angkor Wat temple complex, a national icon for Cambodia, belonged to Thailand.
The actress denied making the remark and there are suggestions that she may have been smeared by Cambodian cosmetics companies hoping to trigger a boycott of the Thai cosmetics brand.
Mom Sonando, whose independent station was banned last year from re-broadcasting items from Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, has accused Cambodian authorities of violating the right to free speech.
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