October 2003 Archive
September 2003 - November 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 October comment - Considers whether talk radio need be the province of bigots and the crude.
RNW September comment -Meters are likely to replace diaries for ratings soon. We consider the ratings future.
RNW August comment - Considers how different regulatory regimes have affected the success of digital radio.
2003-10-31: In further third quarter results from the US, Interep has listed a greatly increased loss, mainly related to the impact of Citadel's move to Katz Media (See RNW Oct 4), and Salem a profit that would have been slightly up but for a one-off boost of USD 17.9 million from the sale of WYGY-FM.
Interep had a loss for the third quarter of USD18.9 million (USD 1.85 per common share) compared to USD 3 million (USD 0.31 per share) a year earlier on commission revenues up 3.7% to USD 23 million.
For the nine months to the end of September, Interep's commission revenues are up 1.2% to USD 64.2 million and it has made a net loss of USD 32.4 million (USD3.16 per share), up from a loss of USD 6.5 million (USD 0.69 per share).
Interep says some USD 11.6 million of the loss in the third quarter relates to the write-off arising from Citadel's move to Katz and its chairman and CEO Ralph Guild commented, "National radio business in Q3 was healthy, particularly in the first two months of the period."
He added, "Visibility remains low with advertisers booking spots 2-3 weeks in advance. Pacings have slowed to the low single digits for October and November."
"We are hopeful that the holiday shopping season will help improve business for the remainder of 2003 and many advertisers are convinced that budgets should open up in 2004. Interep will continue to market the benefits of radio to advertisers that have not been heavy users in the past, in an effort to increase billings for our client stations."
For the full year Interep expects revenues of USD 86-7 million and operating EBITDA of USD 14-15 million.
Salem reported third quarter net broadcasting revenues up 6.8% to USD 42.6 million, operating income just up from USD 7.4 million to USD 7.6 million after a one-time write-off of $0.7 million due to the cancellation of a contemplated debt offering, and net income of USD 1.5 million (USD0.06 per diluted share) compared to USD 18,1 million (USD 0l77 per share) a year earlier when it gained USD 17.9 million from the WYGY-FM sale.
Commenting on the results, Salem president and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III said it had "outperformed the radio industry in the third quarter, achieving revenue growth of 6.8% and station operating income growth of 10.1%."
"These impressive results," he added, "were fuelled by high growth at our start-up and development stage stations, which is driven by the success of our Christian music format, combined with the consistent and stable performance of our block programming business. Salem's results to date and outlook for the future demonstrate Salem's ability to deliver both predictability and growth. Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, we are seeing an up-tick in our business as demonstrated by our projected 12% same station revenue growth for the month of October. In total, we expect our fourth quarter same station revenues to be up in the high single digits setting the stage for another year of growth in 2004."
2003-10-31: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rejected an application - with Democrat Commissioner Michael J Copps issuing a dissenting note - from a California man to deny the licence renewal of Infinity's WXRK-FM, New York (K-Rock) because of its "origination of origination of a radio show [the Howard Stern Show] containing allegedly indecent material."
The complaint from Al Westcott of Ojai, California, related to his listening to the show on KLSX-FM and FCC staff had renewed the licence "after fully considering Westcott's submission as an informal objection. "
The FCC says " staff dismissed Westcott's petition for reconsideration based on the principle that informal objectors are not parties in interest and thus have no standing to seek reconsideration" but Westcott had argued that he should have been accorded "standing as a "listener" of the New York station.
The Commission rejected this argument but Copps dissented, commenting, "Westcott fails to establish standing because he is a listener of his local California station, not of station WXRK, New York, New York, and fails to demonstrate that Californians like himself are aggrieved by renewal of the distant station's license."
It added," In the present case, Westcott has not shown even transient contacts with WXRK. Westcott cannot receive WXRK's broadcast signal but merely one WXRK-produced program, which a distant station, KLSX, procures by non-broadcast means for delivery to its own listeners and which does not reflect the WXRK-unique editing of the program that is heard only in New York.
In his dissent, Copps notes that the Commission had dismissed an attempt to deny the renewal of KLSX-FM on the basis that the complainant had "relied on printed excerpts from the show and therefore did not demonstrate knowledge that the program actually aired on KLSX-FM" and additionally denied his challenge to WXRK, "concluding that he did not prove the material had actually been broadcast on WXRK-FM."
Copps then continues, "In both cases, the Bureau apparently made no effort of its own to ascertain the facts of the broadcast I find the majority's decision troubling, especially as we enter a new license renewal cycle this fall. It is the Commission's affirmative responsibility under the statute to determine whether a broadcaster is serving the public interest and deserves to have its license to use the public's airwaves renewed. Unless a citizen or some other outside party complains, licenses are almost automatically renewed. The message from today's decision is that, even when the public raises issues, this agency will look for procedural vehicles to avoid our substantive responsibility to ensure that a licensee is serving the public interest." "The process by which the Commission carries out its statutory duty places inordinate responsibility upon the complaining citizen. That's wrong. It is the Commission's responsibility to examine whether a station is serving the public interest. I hope we will do better in the upcoming license renewal cycle."
The Commission has also reduced from USD 10,000 to USD 2,000 a penalty against Access.1 Communications Corporation, licensee of KCUL-AM and FM, Marshall, Texas, for failure to clear or repaint the station's tower so as to maintain good visibility.
The FCC inspected the tower in April 2002 and Access had argued that it had judged the tower to be within FCC regulations at the time and had budgeted to have it repainted in mid 2002, the work being done in June that year. It also argued for a reduction on the basis of a past history of compliance.
The FCC went part of the way with the argument and trimmed the penalty to USD 4,0000 on the basis of good faith attempts to comply with regulations that had begun before the notice of apparent violation was received and then cut it again to USD 2,000 on the basis of the company's past history of compliance.
2003-10-31: The managing director of UK radio ratings organization RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research), Jane O'Hara, is to leave at the end of the year to go long- distance sailing; She has a 38-foot steel ketch that has been refitted over the past 18 months and is to leave the UK in Spring, initially bound for Spain, Portugal and the Caribbean.
Commenting on her decision she said it had been "very difficult", adding, "I thoroughly enjoy my role at RAJAR, which is interesting, challenging and exciting. I wish I could do both, but as I can't live two parallel lives I have decided to take the opportunity now to try my hand at ocean sailing and the different challenges and excitement full time sailing presents. "
"This is an appropriate time for a change. RAJAR has completed the major tests into electronic measurement and keenly awaits the opportunity to start testing again on the next generation equipment. The RAJAR contract is not out for tender at the present time and therefore my successor will have an opportunity to get their feet under the table before that process begins. "
Lord Gordon of Strathblane, chairman of RAJAR and also of Scottish Radio Holdings, said, "Losing a chief executive in whom one has complete confidence is any chairman's nightmare. It's made worse if one enjoys working with them, but I recognise that for Jane this life changing decision is the fulfilment of a dream. Jane has done a great job for RAJAR, sometimes in very difficult circumstances. She will be sorely missed."
Tributes also came from the BBC and UK commercial radio with Jenny Abramsky, director radio & music BBC, and a RAJAR board member, saying, "Jane's even-handed approach and communication skills have impressed everybody at the BBC involved with RAJAR. We will miss her steadying hand on some complex decisions that need to be taken."
UK Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) chief executive Paul Brown, also a RAJAR board member, added, "Messing about in boats myself I'm aware that nobody buys a steel yacht simply to go pottering around the Solent. Thus when Jane told me she had bought such a boat, a couple of years ago, a great adventure seemed to be beckoning. She has helmed RAJAR well through difficult waters. The commercial radio sector will miss her."
Previous Lord Gordon:
2003-10-31: MUSICMATCH and AOL retained their top station and network rankings in the latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings, which show a little chair-swapping at the very top allied with a pattern of more people listening for less time.
For the week to October 19, Arbitron'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 (*Non Commercial) - TTSL 686,301 (721,752); CP - 227,032 (224,084). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
2: Country format AOL Top Country (Commercial) - TTSL 290,244 (290,748); CP 120,488 (111,934). Up from third despite slightly lower listening although reach was higher.
3: Contemporary Christian K-LOVE (Non commercial) - TTSL 286,111 (315,800); CP -45,239 (44,956). Down from second with lower listening although reach was up.
4: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 264,499 (268,802); CP - 53,458 (52,201). Same rank with lower listening although reach was up.
5: Smooth Jazz AOL Smooth Jazz (Commercial - TTSL 258,561 (208,679); CP - 58,916 (40,706). Up from seventh with higher listening and reach.
5: Top 40 AOL Top Pop (Commercial) - TTSL 256,888 (249,171); CP 161,679 (149,173): Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
* Smooth Jazz AOL Smooth Jazz (Commercial) fell from fifth to sixth with TTSL 253,382, down from 258,561 and CP -61,942, up from 58,916.
The top five networks for the week to October 19 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 6,260,894 (6,237,229); CP - 1,648,163 (1,554,149). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
2: LAUNCH TTSL (Commercial) - 3,997,369 (4,263,808); CP - 885,439 (866,264). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 2,084,285 (2,123,567); CP - 485,056 (479,514). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 1,093,999 (1,249,879); CP - 144,451 (156,058) - Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) TTSL - 515,374 (528,971); CP - 81,774 (78,326) - Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
Arbitron does not now rank Content Delivery Networks (CDN) alongside other networks but does report on them; for the week the top Content Delivery Networks were Live365 with TTSL 2,493,391, up from 2,468,217and StreamGuys with TTSL 532,723, up from 516,836.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings:
2003-10-30: New York-based satellite radio operator Sirius has cut its net loss in the third quarter by 10.9% to USD 106.7 million, as its revenue grows with the addition of new subscribers; it had 149,612 subscribers at the end of September, up 42% on the total at the end of the second quarter.
The loss amounted to USD 0.11 per share compared to USD 1.56 per share a year earlier when far fewer shares had been issued.
Revenue in the quarter was USD 4.3 million double that of the USD 2.1 million in the second quarter, and 250 times the USD 17,000 of a year ago.
For the nine months to the end of September, Sirius has revenues of USD 7.9 million and reported an operating loss of USD 312.4 million, compared to a loss of USD222.3 million a year earlier; its net loss applicable to common stockholders was USD166.6 million, (USD 0.22 per share) compared to USD 334.4 million, (USD 4.41 per share) a year earlier. The loss included a USD 256.5 million gain in connection with the completion of the company's restructuring in March 2003, and a deemed dividend of USD79.5 million associated with the elimination of its convertible preferred stock in March 2003.
President and CEO Joseph P. Clayton said he believed the company was well placed to take advantage of the Christmas season, commenting, "During a seasonally slow third quarter at retail, SIRIUS showed strong signs of consumer acceptance this summer. Based on data from NPD Group, our retail unit share increased by 48% over the previous quarter, which reflects both better products, more brands, and increased consumer awareness."
Sirius says it had USD 479 million in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities available at the end of the quarter and CFO David Frear said," With a solid cash position and very little debt, our balance sheet remains the strongest in satellite radio. We have the working capital necessary to continue to execute our business plan and grow our subscriber base."
Sirius has also announced that it is to be offered as a factory-installed option in Daimler Chrysler's 2004 Dodge Durango beginning next month.
Returning to earth, Westwood One has reported revenues in the third quarter up 0.7% on a year ago to USD134, 7 million for the third quarter but took net income up 4% to a record USD 27.7 million whilst net income per share was up 10% to a record USD 0.27 as a result of its continuing stock repurchase programme.
Year to date figures were worse, however, with revenues down 2% to USD393.2 million, primarily as a result of the effects of the 2002 Winter Olympics and a weak economic climate associated with the war in Iraq; Net income for the period was down 8% to USD 68.9 million and net income per diluted share was down 3% to USD 0.66 per share.
President and CEO Shane Coppola said the record bottom line results indicated "the improvement we have seen in the national advertising marketplace."
He added, "We anticipate that 2003 full year revenues and operating income will be at the same level as the nine-month results stemming from the softness in local advertising that is continuing into the fourth quarter. In anticipation of a recovery in advertising markets in 2004, we continue to increase our audience and program offerings, while at the same time, controlling costs."
He also noted that the company "continues to generate substantial free cash flow, which we have used to repurchase our Common Stock and build value for shareholders."
In cyberspace--related business, RealNetworks has reported third quarter revenues up 14% on a year ago to USD 51.8 million and a net loss of USD 3.7 million (USD 0.02 per share) compared to nearly ten times that - USD 34.4 million (USD 0.22 per share) - a year earlier.
In particular it has highlighted the growth of its digital music services business, including both Rhapsody and premium radio; these grew to over 250,000 subscribers, an increase of over 46% over the combined music subscribers of RealNetworks and Listen.com at the end of the prior quarter with total premium digital media subscription services paying subscribers now 1.15 million, up 15% over the number at the end of the second quarter.
Chairman and CEO Rob Glaser said, "These results demonstrate both our continued momentum in paid content services and how well our model fits when applied to music."
"With over a quarter million subscribers, we're clearly the leader in music subscription services and believe that we are building a strong foundation for future success in digital music services."
Real says it expects fourth quarter revenues between USD 52 million and USD 56 million with gross margins flat to slightly lower than the third quarter as the lower margin music subscription business continues to grow. It is forecasting a net loss per share for the fourth quarter to be in the range of USD 0.01 to USD 0.04.
Previous Westwood One:
2003-10-30: The 2002-03 Annual Report of the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) shows investigations leading to a finding that regulations had been breached by broadcasters were down 55% compared to the previous year; it also highlights the auction of the new Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast commercial FM licences and the allocation of 28 new community radio and 39 new open narrowcasting licences during the year.
Investigations where a breach finding was made totalled 50 out of 106 compared to 91 out of 163 in the 2001-02 year, a year when there had also been a large fall on the previous year (See RNW Oct 25, 2002).
18 of the breaches related to TV, and 32 to radio of which two showed breaches by commercial stations, down from five the previous year, both concerning the handling of complaints.
Both related to Queensland stations, one concerning a 4BC Brisbane broadcast in which the complainant alleged that a caller said she was named as having an affair with a married man and the other against 4TC, Townsville, concerning racially motivated jokes said to have been made by presenter Steve Price about Aboriginal people.
There was one investigation resulting in a code breach in relation to ABC radio in 2002-03, compared with six for ABC radio and television in 2001-02. The breach concerned the manner in which ABC radio handled a complaint, down from five in the previous year.
Among community complaints were two breaches of codes related to complaints handling. This was down from six in the previous year and the ABA notes that in the previous year conflict resolution was the most problematic area in relation to codes breaches by community stations but following the registration of a revised Community Broadcasting Code of Practice by the ABA in 2002-03 only one of the nine complaints concerning dispute resolution in the year warranted an investigation.
There were also cases of alleged broadcast of obscene language and failure to tag political matter appropriately.
There were also 15 cases in which community stations were involved in breaches of licence conditions, 13 of which related to broadcasting of advertising and five of which involved Sydney Arabic service 2000FM.
Open narrowcasting stations were involved in one case of breach of licence conditions and two cases in which they were found to be offering an unlicensed commercial service in breach of Australia's Broadcasting Services Act.
During the year, the Authority also suspended for 14 days the licence of 6GS Wagin in Western Australia after licensee (Cybervale Pty Ltd) breached a condition of its licence in relation to providing audited accounts for the financial year; 6GS operates on a nonbroadcasting services bands commercial radio licence and transmits on a frequency just outside the AM band.
It found no breaches, however, regarding complaints over host Sydney 2GB breakfast host Alan Jones' holdings in Macquarie Radio Network stations 2GB and 2CH (See RNW May 14).
Previous ABA Annual report:
ABA web site (page links to reports - 1.37Mb PDF, appendices including complaints rulings - 745 kb - and financial statements 1.04 Mb TIF):
2003-10-30: Members of the US Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) have voted overwhelmingly - by 94% to 6% - to ratify a new 3-year contract for radio and TV commercials to take effect at the end of this month.
The boards of the two organisations had recommended last month that their members agree to ratify the deal, which includes a 1% pension and health plan contribution increase from 13.3% to 14.3% and a 7% gain in session, holding, foreign, theatrical/industrial and internet fees for both radio and TV performers, and a 7% increase in wild spot use and the creation and implementation of Standard Employment Contracts for radio performers.
"We applaud SAG and AFTRA members for approving these solid contract gains by such an overwhelming margin," said SAG President Melissa Gilbert and AFTRA President John Connolly.
"This ratification enables commercial performers to work uninterrupted while building on the meaningful gains of previous contracts"
The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) also welcomed the vote.
AAAA President and CEO O. Burtch Drake said, "This agreement evidences the ability of both sides to work together constructively and efficiently in their mutual best interests."
2003-10-30: Interep, which earlier this month announced that Citadel Broadcasting had moved representation of its 211 stations from Interep to Katz Media. (See RNW Oct 4), has now said it has started legal action against Citadel for damages "relating to Citadel's unilateral termination of its exclusive representation agreement with Interep."
Interep had a contract running to 2010 with Citadel ans says it is entitled to termination fees topping USD 30 million over three and a half years under the terms of that contract, which over the past 21 months amounted to some 7% of its business.
Interep says it had to take action because Citadel's refused to make the payments required by the contract and had failed to abide by the stated terms of the contract.
Citadel says the claim is without merit and that it is likely to counter-claim for damage to its finances because of the way Interep handled its national business.
Previous Katz Media:
2003-10-30: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 7,000 penalty on Radio Centre Inc., licensee of WAGC-AM, Centre, Alabama, for failure to involve its antenna within an effective locked fence.
The Commission had issued a notice of apparent violation in April but received no response and has additionally ordered Radio Centre to submit a report to the Enforcement Bureau within 30 days outlining what measures it has taken or will take to correct the violation and ensure that it does not recur.
2003-10-29: Following in the wake of Astral and Corus, Canadian media company CHUM has posted significant improvements on last year's results.
For the final fiscal quarter, running to the end of August, the company recorded a CAD 2 million (USD 1.5 million) profit compared to a CAD 4 million (USD 3 million) loss a year earlier with revenues up 9.4% to CAD 177.7 million (USD 97.1 million); for the full year it increased its profits by 80% from CAD 15million (USD 10.8 million) to CAD 25 million (USD 19 million) on turnover up 12.6% to CAD 540 million (USD 411 million).
CHUM owns and operates 29 radio stations, eight TV stations and 18 specialty channels and has been significantly helped by improvements at its digital TV channels, whose losses were halved from CAD 4 million (USD 3 million) to CAD 2 million (USD 1,5 million) for the year.
Radio revenues for the year were up 6.2% to CAD 118 million (USD 90 million) but for the final quarter they fell by 4.3% to CAD 28.7 million (USD 21.8 million) partly due to the impact of the SARS outbreak and power blackout in August that hit Ontario and much of the north eastern US.
CHUM says the full year radio revenues exceeded its expectation and that it was ahead of the Canadian industry growth as reported by Trans-Canada Radio Advertising by Market Report (TRAM) in the nine months to the end of May and for the subsequent period to August kept pace with industry averages in the markets in which it operates but was not buoyed by strong results in Alberta, where it has no stations.
It adds, "In an economic environment that was sluggish at best, many of the Company's stations in Ontario were also affected by SARS, mad cow and the blackout."
CHUM's AM stations continued to lose money, but expenses were trimmed by 8% in the year, largely as a result of the decision to end the Team all-sports radio programming on six of the nine AM stations that had taken the service and change them to music formats.
In the US, Jefferson-Pilot Corporation reported a 14% in earnings per share to USD 0.91 before realized investment gains and a 9% increase in net income per share to USD 0.88 in a strong third quarter within which it said its Communications' division results were "excellent".
The division's earnings were up 17% to USD 11.4 million in the quarter with broadcast cash flow up 14% to USD23.6 million; for the first nine months, the division increased earnings 12% to USD 30 million and BCF was up 8% to USD 62.5 million.
In Mexico, Grupo Radio Centro, S.A. de C.V has reported third quarter broadcasting revenues up 15.2% on a year earlier to Ps. 175,915,000 (USD 15.9 million), mainly thanks to a general improvement in radio advertising.
The Group's broadcasting income (broadcasting revenue minus broadcasting expenses, excluding depreciation, amortization and corporate, general and administrative expenses) was up 82.2% to Ps. 48,111,000 (USD 4.35 million) and it cut its net loss to less than half the 2002 figure, from Ps. 33,710,000 (USD 3.1 million) to Ps. 13,644,000 (USD 1.2 million).
Grupo Radio has also launched Mexico's first digital radio signal using iBiquity's HD in-band-on-channel system; it went on the air from dance format 3 XHFAJ-FM "Alfa 91.3", Mexico City, under an experimental licence.
Previous Grupo Rado:
2003-10-29: Australian commercial radio broadcasters have strongly criticized the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) policy for dealing with applications for trials of digital radio released on Tuesday.
Under the policy, described by ABA chairman Professor David Flint as "intended to provide greater clarity and transparency" about how its policy of encouraging trials of new technologies applies to digital radio trials, the ABA has endorsed the conducting of digital radio trials in Sydney and Melbourne by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) and Broadcast Australia (BA) respectively using VHF channel 9A in both cities, for a period of up to eighteen months.
It adds that other applications from CRA and BA, or applications for extensions of the Sydney or Melbourne trials, will be considered in accordance with the revised policy framework."
It is the latter that has upset commercial radio operators and Joan Warner, CEO of industry body Commercial Radio Australia, commented, "The ABA is pre-emptively trying to set Government policy by stealth. It is short-sighted and deliberately provocative and fails to take into account the billions of dollars of investment by existing broadcasters in free to air radio in Australia."
"The announcement which grants a digital trial license to Broadcast Australia - a tower operator - establishes a dangerous policy precedent which effectively devalues our licences, destabilises the LAP system and threatens the industry's future."
"The ABA's decision to grant scarce digital VHF Band 3 spectrum to a tower operator and third-party, Broadcast Australia, is unprecedented. We have stated to the ABA on numerous occasions that the existing broadcast community must have the major voice in its own future and the key role in developing the technology that is best for the Australian market. We were under the impression that the Government also shared this view. "
Commercial Radio Australia has called on the Communications Minister and the Prime Minister to "intervene immediately" to overturn the decision and points out that commercial broadcasters had formed a consortium with the ABC and SBS to launch a consumer trial of digital radio services in Sydney from next month and had also, on three separate occasions, applied for spectrum to roll out trials around the country, with a trial in Melbourne planned to start next year (See RNW Sept 27).
In its document, the ABA notes that in its 2001 election platform, the Government "affirmed the expectation that existing commercial radio services would be able to conduct trials of digital radio" and that it would "continue to work with the commercial radio industry in developing an appropriate framework for the introduction of digital radio in Australia."
It goes on to say that it will make spectrum temporarily available free of charges apart from administrative fees but then goes on to say " The commercial radio industry has indicated that it wishes to the entitlement to conduct trials is not limited to commercial radio or indeed to present broadcasting services bands incumbents. The ABA will consider legitimate requests to trial digital radio systems from any person. It will also consider requests to trial any digital radio technology that makes use of the broadcasting services bands of the radio frequency spectrum."
"This potentially includes Eureka 147, Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), In-Band On Channel (IBOC), ISDB-TSB and any other existing or emerging system that makes use of the broadcasting services bands."
It goes on to say," The ABA reserves the right to consider each particular trial proposal on its merits While the ABA takes a wide view of who may trial digital systems, permission to conduct a trial in no way pre-empts or constrains future policy" and says this in particular means that an organisation taking part in trials will not necessarily be "permitted to operate digital broadcasting services if permanent digital radio services are introduced."
It also says the trials are not limited to technical purposes and may be designed to test market or other aspects of digital radio but the ABA "reserves the right to decide that a proposed trial does not have an appropriate trial purpose or that the location, duration or other attributes of the trial proposal are not consistent with the expressed purpose of the trial."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
ABA web site - trials document (44kb PDF):
2003-10-29: The latest report of the BBC Complaints Unit, covering the period from July to September this year, shows seven complaints concerning items on radio were upheld compared to eight in the previous bulletin with ten more TV complaints upheld, one of which was a promotion for digital radio.
In all, the unit dealt with 289 complaints concerning 177 items in the quarter compared to 645 complaints relating to 227 items in the second quarter of this year, upholding 25, two of them partly 8.5% of the total, which compared to 48.5% in the previous bulletin that was skewed because of 182 complaints about one TV promotion.
Of the total complaints, 76 related to matters of fairness and accuracy, down from 87 and they related to 62 items, down from 65.
A further 210 related to matters of taste and standards, down from 555; they related to 112 items, down from 159. The remaining three complaints about three items concerned other matters, the same as in the previous quarter.
In a foreword to the bulletin BBC Director-General Greg Dyke notes that today's report is the last to be published before new media regulator Ofcom assumes its full powers, including considering complaints about breaches of editorial standards.
He additionally notes that the BBC was the first broadcaster to set up a system for investigating serious complaints impartially and independently of programme-makers, and publishing details of upheld complaints and actions taken as a result and comments, "We're not proceeding on the basis that it's perfect already, and we're looking at what we can do to improve it. The signs are that Ofcom will be looking to the broadcasters to take more responsibility for the way complaints are handled, and we intend to be ready to meet the challenge."
Radio complaints upheld were:
* Infringement of the complainant's privacy - A complaint against BBC Radio 4 concerning a report on age discrimination in which a complainant, who had given an interview only on the basis of anonymity, was named in the item's introduction in error by a subsequent team on duty.
* Other bias - a complaint about a BBC Radio Five Live discussion of the Bush presidency in which all the guests had been critical of the US President and the presenter was said to have "seconded the criticisms in a way which led to imbalance." The BBC held that the guests represented a proper range of viewpoints but the producer had reminded the presenter of the responsibility to maintain balance during discussions.
*Factual inaccuracy - A complaint against the Radio 4 Farming Today programme in which it was said that hundreds of people had died as a result of exposure to radiation from the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power station. The BBC said that only 30 deaths could be demonstrably attributable to the explosion and the figure used, in terms of continuing problems since the explosion, should have been presented as an estimate.
Bad language - three cases which were:
*A complaint about the use of the word fuck by a guest on the Johnnie Walker programme on BBC Radio2; the presenter did not comment at the time to draw further attention to the comment but had apologised at the end of the item.
*A complaint about the inclusion of an Eminem track on Mark Radcliffe's Radio One afternoon show; the record company version of the track had been played rather than a more edited version. An audit is being conducted to ensure correct versions are aired in future.
*Four complaints over the language used by a guest on the Jonathan Ross show on BBC Radio 2; the programme producer now routinely reminds guests to bear in mind the make-up of the Saturday morning audience, and to confine their language within acceptable boundaries.
*Sexual conduct - A complaint concerning a version of 'Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer' in which Rudolf's "shiny nose" was replaced by an explicitly sexual term on Mark Radcliffe's Radio 1 show. The regular feature of which this was an instance has been dropped, and the presenters and programme team instructed to exercise greater care in their choice of material.
In addition, a promo for digital radio was found to be in poor taste. It was one in a series in which people used comically unlikely time-saving expedients in order to make more time to listen to digital radio service. The promo that led to the complaint had been broadcast in Northern Ireland onceonly in error and had not been approved.
It featured a man economising on time during his working day by not visiting the lavatory and consequently wetting his trousers
In the same quarter, the BBC Governors Appeals Committee considered two appeals in July and more in September but the later decisions have yet to be ratified and will be published in the October to December Bulletin. In the previous quarter it considered seven appeals, five on matters of matters of fairness and accuracy and two of matters of taste and decency, upholding one appeal in full and one in part.
Only one appeal was upheld; this involved complaints from their relatives about a TV broadcast "Correspondent: Al-Jazeera Exclusive "that showed the bodies of the two men. The Appeals Committee said it recognised the decision was very finely balanced between that of public interest and private distress of the families but concluded that the former argument in this case was not sufficiently compelling.
Previous BBC Complaints Bulletin:
BBC web site - complaints bulletin (450Kb PDF):
BBC web site - Appeals report (440Kb PDF):
2003-10-29: The Indian Government, whilst pushing ahead with its plans for the development of FM radio, is holding back as far as community radio plans are concerned, in part because it says it is concerned that the medium could be misused if it "falls into wrong hands."
Officials say they think community radio has great potential, especially in rural areas, but there is concern about the implications of foreign funding, as by non-governmental organisations, and also about possible abuse of licences by sectarian interests.
As far as FM radio is concerned, however, the government is soon expected to accept the recommendations of Amit Mitra Committee [Mitra is secretary -general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)] is and free up the rules for foreign investment, allowing up to a 26% holding as for other media.
The report is expected to be finalised this month and other recommendations are expected to include scrapping the current auction system for licences over a period and replacing it with a one-time fee, combined with a revenue- sharing arrangement.
The government is also expected to allow news broadcasting on privately-owned FM channels (See RNW Oct 2).
Previous Indian Radio:
2003-10-28: XM Satellite Radio has announced that it has now topped 1 million subscribers in less than two years since its commercial launch, reaching the "milestone" in less time than other communication technologies such as satellite TV, cable television or online subscription services.
XM notes that the only technology that managed a million sales inside two years - just beating XM - was the DVD player, where a million were sold inside 21 months of its introduction. CD players took 28 months, as did MP3 players, whilst Videocassette recorders took nearly five years to reach the total.
XM president and CEO Hugh Panero commented, "With more than one million subscribers, XM has firmly established a new mass-market entertainment medium for consumers nationwide", adding, "XM's success is particularly evident when compared to other media, from the inception of radio to today's latest technology."
Shares in both XM and rival Sirius ended higher on Monday: XM ended the day 3.5 % up at USD18.84 and Sirius stock was up 2.5 % at USD 2.44.
In terrestrial US radio business, Milwaukee-headquartered Journal Communications, which went public last month (See RNW Sept 25) has reported third quarter net earnings up 16.3% to USD 22.8 million on essentially flat continuing operating revenues of USD 245 million. EBITDA was up 11.3% to USD 53.4million.
For the year to date, continuing operating revenue was down 1% to USD 604.9 million, but net earnings are up 9.9% to USD 47.9 million.
Total broadcasting operating revenues were up 0.7% in the third quarter to USD 47.1 million with radio operating revenues up 1.2% to USD 25.4 million and radio operating earnings up 9.6% to USD 5.7 million, whilst TV operating revenues were essentially flat at USD 21.7 million and TV operating earnings were down 28.3% to USD 3.3 million, primarily because of an increase in programming costs and expenses related to organizational changes made at the Las Vegas station.
Previous Journal Communications:
2003-10-28: The UK Radio Authority, which is to be subsumed into the new British Ofcom super regulator at the end of this year, has announced that it is to close its Reading Room on November 14.
The Authority has used the room to allow viewing of all eight-year local analogue radio licence applications and digital multiplex applications but will award its last licence a week before the closure.
Ofcom has already started taking soundings regarding a number of proposed changes, including a call for consultation on future regulation of broadcast advertising under a plan that would remove the regulators from their current role of overseeing UK advertising and put matters into the hands of an advertising industry body operating "under the banner" of the current Advertising Standards Authority.
Currently sensitive radio adverts and most national radio advertising campaigns are vetted by the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RAAC) whilst the Radio Authority handles complaints; a similar system operates for TV.
Ofcom says under its plan "The ASA would become a 'one-stop-shop' for all advertising complaints, thus simplifying the current fragmented regulation of advertising across media."
Ofcom would retain responsibility for non-content related advertising matters such as the number of minutes permitted within a period and sponsorship related matters and could be asked by the new co-regulator to impose penalties up to and including licence revocations if it were felt more severe sanctions than those of the co-regulator were required.
In addition it would have a back-stop role and should the new system fail to meet standards could, as a last after exhausting other approached, suspend the system and take advertising regulation back into its hands directly.
Ofcom has also issued a call for public comment on criteria for transferring functions to co-regulatory bodies and has set a deadline of January 9 next year for comments in each case.
Ofcom site - advertising proposals (647 Kb PDF):
Ofcom site - criteria proposals (250 Kb PDF):
Previous UK Radio Authority:
2003-10-28: The financing of Sky Radio Network, which produces programming for audio channels available on flights on various US airlines, is highlighted in an article in the New York Times.
Sky has become the subject of a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission following a call made to Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the non-profit consumer rights organization the Center for Justice and Democracy, asking her if she would be interviewed for a talk show on the issue of tort reform.
She agreed, only to be told it would cost her organization USD 5,900, an amount that the caller suggested might be reduced to USD 3,500 when she balked at the idea.
Doroshow told the Times, "I was furious. I thought this was another way corporations are dominating what people hear, and are getting only their side presented because they're willing to pay for it.''
She asked the center's lawyers to draft a complaint asking that Sky Radio be required to disclose prominently that its news-style programs are actually little more than paid advertisements.
According to the paper an FTC spokesman said he was not sure if airline programming fell under its purview, that of the Federal Communications Commission or the Department of Transportation.
Doroshow said she wanted to ensure that producers of airline programming - available to three million passengers a month on American Airlines, a unit of the AMR Corporation, according to Sky Radio - were held to the same disclosure standards as Web search engines (which have been directed by the F.T.C. to disclose if a company has paid for high placement) or infomercials (which generally are supposed to announce whether guests have been paid).
The call to her related to an interview for Forbes Radio, for whom Sky produces programming that, according to Sky founder and chief executive Marc Holland comprises 30 minutes of actual news content (supplied to Sky Radio by Forbes editors) followed by about 90 minutes of "public-affairs programming" known as "The Business and Technology Report''
Holland said that hundreds of companies - " Oracle, Dell, every tech company, most of the pharmaceutical companies, all the big energy companies'' - have agreed to make their representatives available for interviews, for a similar fee although some VIP's were not charged - he instanced former US President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright.
He also said an announcer says at several points in the latter part of the broadcast that "the guests on the show may have paid a fee to appear'' but acknowledged that no disclaimer appears in the programming guide in the back of the airline's magazine; the only clue that the Forbes programming is separated from the paid programming is a thin line.
The guests' fees are important revenues for Sky, which pays the airlines an undisclosed fee for its airtime and does not accept more conventional advertising.
RNW comment: As with the Australian commercial radio cash-for-comment affair, this practice underlines the fact that there are few free lunches in the world and that there is a real price to pay when broadcasting is paid for by advertising, just as there is when financing is through sponsorship or via licence fees. In some cases the financing is clearly attributable - as with a licence fee, in others obvious - as with advertisements and sponsors announcements, whether or not all listeners are sophisticated enough to sort out the hidden biases in some cases - and in others in our view it is certainly tinged with deceit if not at times downright dishonest. A Forbes spokeswoman told the Times the thin line made it clear there was a distinction between the sections of Forbes material and the segment that followed but admitted it might not be to a passenger. Her comment would seem a reasonable guide to the ethical standards of her organisation just as Holland's comment are of his organizations.
New York Times report:
Sky Radio web site:
2003-10-27: After weeks when Rush Limbaugh dominated print stories about radio in the US, another conservative talk host - Bill O'Reilly - has moved up in print cover over the past week - this time as a result of the National Public Radio (NPR) ombudsman's ruling following his walking out of an interview with Fresh Air host Terry Gross.
The ombudsman, Jeffrey Dvorkin, said of Reilly's interview, " I believe the listeners were not well served by this interview. It may have illustrated the "cultural wars" that seem to be flaring in the country. Unfortunately, the interview only served to confirm the belief, held by some, in NPR's liberal media bias."
Dvorkin included in his ruling a number of e-mails he had received about the walk-out, which happened after a long spell of questioning by Gross about accusations made against him Al Franken's book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.
Franken had been interviewed by Gross two weeks earlier and O'Reilly said in the interview that he felt Gross had given Franken an easy ride and accused her of uncritically repeating falsehoods about him by Franken; he also said he had no part in the lawsuit that Fox launched- and lost - against Franken's use of the term "Fair and Balanced", which it had tried to claim as its copyright.
Dvorkin said he was particularly disturbed "when Terry Gross was about to read a criticism of Bill O'Reilly's book from People magazine. Before Gross could read it to him for his reaction, O'Reilly ended the interview and walked out of the studio. She read the quote anyway."
"That was wrong. O'Reilly was not there to respond. It's known in broadcasting as the "empty chair" interview, and it is considered an unethical technique and should not be used on NPR."
In the conservative media, Gross came under attack with a typical comment coming from Brent Bozell on TownHall.com: Bozell started by using the Dvorkin judgment to launch an attack on NPR - and immediately in our view, conflated a number of different issues - before going on to say of the Gross, "Gross recently became a hot topic on journalism Web sites for first having a friendly, giggly interview with 'satirist' Al Franken, promoting his obnoxious screed against conservatives on Sept. 3, and then on Oct. 8, unloading an accusatory, hostile interview on Bill O'Reilly's show. She pressed the Fox host to respond to the obnoxious attacks of Franken and other critics."
He then broadened the attack, writing, ". Under the guise of "objective news" reporting, the left is actively advancing its political agenda. On the Oct. 17 "Morning Edition," host Bob Edwards launched into a long "news" report on the flaws of the Bush foreign policy, observing: "Overall, the policies of the United States are still very unpopular around the world. The Bush Doctrine, a preference for unilateral military action and a disdain for multinational diplomacy, is under scrutiny more than ever." The Middle East "road map" was "in tatters," Iraq and Afghanistan were "highly unstable." NPR may as well have suggested it was time for a different president."
RNW comment: Using the standard journalistic practice of inserting antonyms to see if an original made sense, the Bozell point of view comes out as something like...the policies of the United States are still very popular round the world. The Bush Doctrine, a preference for unilateral military action and a disdain for multinational diplomacy, is no longer considered worthy of scrutiny." The Middle East "road map" is proceeding smoothly and Iraq and Afghanistan are now stable." We suggest Bozell needs to read some newspapers from around the world concerning the first point and only needs a very low IQ to realize his criticisms of NPR in this case were ill judged. He is, however, on firmer ground (assuming he is giving all the facts) when he later lists the "experts" on the show, whether or not NPR presented them as non-partisan and even more so, again assuming he has presented rather than invented "facts" in his comments on remarks made by NPR's legal reporter Nina Totenberg at various times.
From Wisconsin, a strongly opposing view came from John Nichols in the Capital Times; he suggested that NPR should dump Dvorkin, writing, "National Public Radio is an imperfect but exceptionally necessary part of the American media landscape."
" For any democracy to function, it needs strong public broadcasting networks. And while NPR is not nearly so well-financed or so intellectually adventurous as it should be, the network merits more praise than criticism. "
"Much of what ails NPR has to do with what it lacks in staff. The network has been starved financially for far too long. But that doesn't mean that all cuts are inappropriate. For instance, NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin definitely needs to look for a new line of work."
" Dvorkin's criticism of Gross for the "crime" of asking tough questions does far more damage to NPR than O'Reilly ever could. Instead of complimenting Gross for hosting an aggressively hostile guest, Dvorkin took her to task for failing to conduct a vapid celebrity interview. "
"When veteran interviewers get the message that they are not supposed to ask the questions they think appropriate - either to avoid criticism from ideologues or to thwart threats of funding cuts from NPR's enemies in Congress - the pressure to soften the edges and narrow the discourse increases."
"The last thing America needs is another broadcast network that refuses to ask tough questions and instead practices stenography to the famous and powerful.
And O'Reilly himself? Well our view from listening to the interview is that he knew exactly what he was doing, is quite capable of handling things, was certainly well-briefed and has a good memory, and in all probability had pre-planned his options however the interview went to ensure he benefited.
Indeed he as good as said so in a comment made to Anthony Violanti of the Buffalo News: "I did it as an experiment, just to show everybody, because I have been critical of NPR, exactly who they are and what they do," he said. "I put myself on the firing line because I knew I could handle it. I knew this was going to be this way."
O'Reilly welcomed the Dvorkin ruling, saying, "We're happy there's an honest voice over there at NPR that took a look at this interview and saw it for what it was - a hatchet job."
Of the Gross interview itself, he said, "I don't do interviews like that, I back up my stuff with facts."
"I don't carry anybody's water. I don't try to embarrass people on the air. I ask tough questions and people are held accountable for their answers. But we're fair."
And of the point when Gross began to read a very unfavourable review of his book "Who's Looking Out for You" he said, "It was done in a way to try and embarrass me," O'Reilly said. "I would never, ever read a bad review of somebody's book on the air, without balancing it with a good review."
O'Reilly then went on with his attack on NPR, adding, "I believe they're a left wing outfit. They're certainly entitled to that, by the way. I think we need more strong, point-of-view analysis in this country, on both the left and the right. But I don't want to pay for it. I don't think it's right for taxpayers to fund an outfit that is coming from the progressive point of view."
RNW comment: Although on the surface the latter comment seems fine, in practical terms the likely effect of withdrawing funding from NPR would in our view be to reduce the range of political discourse in the US and in our view, formed from a wide reading of US papers and working experience of US broadcasters, that discourse is already far too narrow and conformist. We were also a little surprised by his comment on balance - almost a defence of the former FCC rules on fair comment.
Gross commented of the Dvorkin criticism that she had continued to read the review after the walkout," "O'Reilly gave his answer by walking out," she said. "I think I owed it to my listeners to let them know what all the fuss was about."
After that, a link to some real conversations by US politicians that are contained in a new radio documentary on NPR, "White House Tapes: The President Calling."
The documentary is an American RadioWorks special and includes recordings of historic conversations by US Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.
The series is to air on US public radio stations next month, is already in part now on the American Radio Works site, and will be released as a companion book-and-CD set in November in collaboration with The New Press
And finally, a recommendation for the final part of Tolstoy's Hadji Murat, the Sunday Classic Serial which we recommended last week, and which will be on the BBC web site until Saturday and also for another BBC programme (Both from Radio 4) available online. It's "A Man as Strong as a Crocodile" and deals with the rituals of the Niowra tribe from New Guinea. The tribe's main deity is the crocodile and young men of the tribe undergo a two-month ritual in which tribal elders cut their backs and legs into ridges like those of a crocodile, paint the wounds with mud, and beat the youths daily to make their skin tough and scaly. Anthropologist Benedict Allen was initiated by the tribe and made tapes describing the rituals: Not for the weak hearted!
Also on the site, a fascinating look at the way barley contributes to ales and whiskies - from the Food Programme - is a must for anyone who fancies starting a micro brewery or their own distillery.
Buffalo News - Violanti:
Capital times - Nichols:
National Public Radio - Dvorkin ruling:
American Radio Works site:
BBC "Listen Again" web site (Links to audio of programmes recommended above)
NPR site (page links to audio of Terry Gross interviews with Bill O'Reilly and Al Franken).
TownHall.com - Bozell:
2003-10-27: The problems of Capital Radio's London flagship Capital FM and the fall inthe group's market value after the latest UK ratings showed it had dropped behind Heart FM in terms of listening (See RNW Oct 24) has brought renewed speculation that it could end up being taken over, possibly by a US broadcaster.
There has been speculation that Clear Channel could be interested but this was dampened down in July by Roger Parry, chief executive of Clear Channel's international arm, who at the time said it was overpriced (See RNW July 19) and who said after the ratings release that the figures were unlikely to affect its long-term strategy.
Parry added that Clear Channel was interested in UK radio but suggested that the company would be keener on European operators at the moment.
Analysts think Capital is now more vulnerable but the UK groups most likely to be interested - Chrysalis and Emap - would be constrained by competition authorities; Chrysalis owns Heart FM and Emap owns Kiss FM and Magic FM.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-10-27: The latest attempt to sell a US radio station - or rather a construction permit for a Central Florida AM - WREY-AM, Mulberry - via an E-bay online auction has ended without any bids being made; the starting price was USD 100, 000.
The listing said the station on 780AM had been previously sold "but the buyer couldn't follow through due to personal reasons.
It added "His loss could be your opportunity to purchase the last new radio station to serve the Metro Tampa and Lakeland, Florida areas" and said all was in place for an immediate start to construction after the deal was closed.
Those interested were asked to contact broadcast attorney Dan J. Alpert for any further details.
2003-10-26: Yet again the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was involved in controversy last week over the loosening of media regulations with the topic figuring at is first localism public hearing and in a lawsuit filed in an attempt to reverse the Univision takeover of Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation. Elsewhere matters were more matters of routine.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has been concerned only with community licences as far as radio was concerned.
In Queensland, it allocated a new community FM licence for Blackwater to Blackwater Community Broadcasters Association Incorporated (BCBA), the sole applicant.
It has also advertised three new community licences in New South Wales. One is for Murwillumbah, with a deadline for applications of November 25th, a second for Glen Innes, with a deadline of December 15, and the third is for Lismore, with a deadline of December 23.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been involved in a number of renewals and amendments as well as holding a public hearing in Gatineau, Quebec, that considered an application for a new hot adult contemporary format FM in Vermillion Bay, Ontario, with transmitters at Dryden and Kenora, also in Ontario.
Other radio matters dealt with included (in order of province):
*Approval of a request by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to replace its existing AM transmitter at Ste. Rose du Lac with a 5,420 watts FM to rebroadcast national French-language network service La Première Chaîne from CKSB-FM, St. Boniface. Simulcast of the AM and FM services will be allowed for three months.
* Approval of power increase to 11,390 watts and contour changes in connection with this and increased antenna height for CIWV-FM, Hamilton/Burlington.
*Administrative renewal until February 29, 2004, of licence for CKEY-FM Fort Erie and its transmitter CKEY-FM-1 St. Catharines. The commission said it would not be able to rule on the full renewal until the current licence expires on December 1.
*Renewal until August 31, 2010 of licences of CIHA-FM, CIHQ-FM and CIGP-FM, Baie James (formerly Radisson) (Champion Camp and LG2 Camp).
*Renewal until August 31, 2010 of licence for CJAB-FM Saguenay (formerly Chicoutimi). The Association québécoise de l'industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo (ADISQ) had queried whether there was sufficient information on performance available to justify streamlined approval of the renewal concerning which the CRTC said the station was in compliance with regulations and it therefore felt the streamlined renewal was justified.
*Extension for 18 months, rather than six months as requested, of deadline for start of operations of new AM at Lévis (formerly Saint-Nicolas).
*Extension until 25 July 2004 of time limit for start of operations for new transmitter of CJMC-FM Sainte-Anne-des-Monts at La Martre
The Commission also renewed until August 31, 2010, La Magnétothèque's licence for its national French-language reading service, provided via satellite and approved an application from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to rebroadcast on the secondary channel of the digital radio station associated with CBF, Montreal, looped information from the main channel, specifically weather, traffic and news programming on its secondary channel seconds after its original broadcast on the main channel.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has given in principle approval to Scottish Radio Holdings purchase of FM104, Dublin (See RNW Oct 25); it is also involved with Irish ratings, which were released this week (See RNW Oct 22)
In the UK, the Radio Authority published its quarterly complaints bulletin (See RNW Oct 25) and assessments of the award of two licences, the new West Midlands regional FM licence, which went to Kerrang! (See RNW Oct 3), and the Cambridge digital multiplex to Now Digital Ltd., which is proposing to launch with five services in addition to carrying BBC Radio Cambridgeshire (See Licence News, Aug 31).
In the case of Kerrang!, the licence was awarded against competition from ten other applications, and members commented that in terms of broadening choice, "the station was aimed at catering for the tastes and interests of young men, a section of the population that research had shown to be relatively underserved by local commercial radio in the coverage area concerned."
Members considered that Emap, the sole owner of Kerrang! Radio, was extremely well placed to establish and maintain the proposed service and had demonstrated local connections.
The Cambridge multiplex had only attracted one application and members the applicants business plan was sustainable but added that they "recognized the difficulties of attracting programme providers to digital multiplexes in areas with limited population coverage, and considered that a good start had been made with the provision of a variety of services." They noted, however, that "most of them were aimed at a youth market however, and expressed the hope that as digital penetration increased, services aimed at broadening choice for an older audience could be encouraged to seek carriage."
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission held its first "localism" public hearing (See RNW Oct 24 ) and was also involved in the issue of a number of penalties for antenna-related offences (See RNW Oct 21 and Oct 23 ), public inspection file deficiencies, for unlicensed operation (See RNW Oct 24); it also reissued an order for Citadel to show why WYSE-FM, Birmingham, Alabama, should not be reclassified as a class CO (AlsoRNW Oct 24).
It is also involved in a lawsuit, filed by the New York-based Hispanic advocacy group, the National Hispanic Policy Institute, which is arguing that the Univision takeover of Hispanic Broadcasting violates federal laws on media concentration and "diminish the diversity of sources available to Spanish-language speakers."
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-10-26: SMG-owned Virgin Radio and WorldSpace have announced an agreement for the Virgin to become the first content provider on WorldSpace's International Expatriate and Military Subscription Service.
The Virgin content will initially be available free during a promotional period but after that WorldSpace says it will become a "cornerstone of WorldSpace's new international premium subscription service "Home Team Radio," specifically created for US and UK expatriates as well as military stationed overseas."
Different targeted versions of "Home Team Radio" will be offered to customers in the various geographic markets covered by WorldSpace's two satellites: AfriStar (the Middle East, Africa and Western Europe) and AsiaStar (Asia and the Middle East) and the Virgin service will start on AfriStar only.
2003-10-25: Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) has announced a Euro 26 million (GBP 18 million, USD 31 million) deal to buy Capital Radio Productions Limited, which operates Dublin station FM104; the exact amount to be paid will be adjusted depending on Capital's net level of debt on completion and 45% of the funding will be in around 955,000 new SRH shares based on a mid-market level price of the shares in the three days up to October 23. The remaining 55% will be in cash.
SRH already owns five newspapers and the national commercial station Today FM in the Republic of Ireland as well as the Cool FM and Downtown stations in Northern Ireland.
FM began operations in 1989 and its licence was recently renewed for a further ten years (See RNW Licence News, July 20); in the year to the end of June it had revenues of Euros 7.56 million (USD 8.9 million) and operating profits of Euros 779,000 (USD 918,000) after accounting for one off extra expenditure during the year of Euros 374,000 (USD 441,000).
Commenting on the deal, which has been given approval in principle by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) but still has to be approved by the Republic of Ireland Competition Authority and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, SRH chief executive Richard Findlay said his company has "made a very significant commitment to the Republic of Ireland."
"The quality of Today FM and FM104," he continued, "is clearly demonstrated by the total of five prestigious awards won by the two services at last week's PPI [Phonographic Performance Ireland] Radio Awards. I am confident that FM104 staff, listeners and advertisers will benefit greatly by the addition of FM104 to the SRH family, as will the SRH shareholders."
2003-10-25: Montréal -headquartered Astral Media has announced full year profits to the end of August up 18.7% to CAD 57.1 million (USD 43.7 million - CAD 1.25 per share) on revenues up 23% to CAD 476 million (USD 364 million); Net earnings from continuing operations for the year were up 42% CAD 71.3 million (USD 54.5 million) and EBITDA was up 37% to CAD130.1 million (USD 99.5 million).
For its fiscal final quarter, revenues were up 27% on a year earlier at CAD 125.2 million (USD 95.8 million) and EBITDA for the quarter was up 26% to CAD 36.5 million (USD 27.9 million). Net earnings in the quarter were up 68.6% to CAD 17.7 million (USD 13.5 million- CAD 0.32 per share).
Commenting on the results, Astral president and CEO executive Ian Greenberg said, "Astral recorded a superb year in Fiscal 2003, one that not only surpassed high expectations, but continues an extended period of growth in long-term value for our shareholders."
"We delivered on our promises of last year, and we are proud of our record financial results and of the strong performance of our business units. It was an exceptional year for our Radio and Television groups, and a strong year for Outdoor, which performed well despite a challenging year."
"The Radio group's results for the year, including the contribution of the stations acquired from Télémédia for 10 months, showed an increase of 130% in revenues and a 198% increase in EBITDA."
Astral listed the completed disposals of its Cleveland, Ohio, outdoor advertising and pending disposals including its investment in Artech Digital Entertainments Inc. and the sale, required by the regulators, of its Québec AM radio stations plus CFOM-FM in Quebec (See RNW Sept 3); there had been suggestions it would have to renegotiate the CAD 12 million (USD 9.2 million) price following the announcement that top talk-show host Paul Arcand is to leave CKAC - AM in Montréal next summer but the group said no call had been made for a renegotiation and it was just awaiting regulatory approval to complete the disposal.
In the US, Clear Channel has announced a quarterly cash dividend of 10 cents a share on its common stock, payable on January 15. It will go to all stockholders of record at the close of business on December 31.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-10-25: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 2,000 penalty to Chatterbox Inc, licensee of WQXB-FM, Grenada, Mississippi, for failure to carry out emergency alert system (EAS) tests. It had issued a notice of apparent liability in April this year but received no response.
The Commission has also re-issued an order to Citadel Broadcasting Company, licensee of WYSF-FM, Birmingham, Alabama, to show cause why it should not be reclassified from Class C to Class CO status to allow Calhoun, Georgia, to gain its first local commercial FM.
WYSF currently operates with a power of 100 kilowatts at 309 meters height above average terrain (" HAAT"), which is below the minimum Class C antenna height of 451 meters HAAT.
2003-10-25: The latest Complaints Bulletin, running to the end of September this year, issued by the UK Radio Authority shows that the Authority considered and upheld around the same number of complaints as it did a year earlier.
In all it considered 98 complaints compared to 96 a year earlier, upholding 18 compared to 17.
Of the total 43 were programming compared to 46 a year earlier and 89 in the previous bulletin; seven were upheld compared to eight a year earlier and 11 in the previous bulletin.
The remaining 55 complaints were advertising related compared to 50 a year earlier and 77 in the previous bulletin; 11 were upheld compared to nine a year earlier and 26 in the previous bulletin.
Of the programming complaints upheld, none related to balance, bias and fairness, six concerned taste and decency, and a further one was in the "other" category.
Of the advertising complaints upheld, one concerned matters considered harmful, eight those that were misleading, and two that were considered offensive.
The Complaints Bulletin shows a breakdown (Q1, 2002 figures in brackets followed by second quarter 2003 figures in square brackets) of programming complaints as follows:
* Accuracy - Two (One)[One] of which none (none) [none] was upheld:
*Balance/Bias and Fairness -Four (Six), of which none (none) [eight] were upheld; two of these concerned one matter.
*Taste and decency -19 (26)  of which six (five)[three] were upheld; two of these concerned one matter.
*Promise of performance or format - three (eight)[five] of which none (none)[none] was upheld; two of these concerned one matter.
* Other - 15 (five)[nine] of which One (three)[none] was upheld.
The advertising complaints breakdown (again with 2002 figures in brackets followed by first quarter 2003 figures in square brackets) was:
* Harmful - Seven (three) [five], of which One (none)[four] were upheld; four of these concerned one matter and two another.
* Misleading - 32 (21) of which eight (four) were upheld; of these four were on one matter, three on another and two each on three others.
* Offensive - 14 (20) of which two (two)[none] were upheld; of these three were on one matter two on another matter.
*Other -Two (six)[two], of which none (two)[one] was upheld.
Among programming complaints that were upheld were:
*A complaint against Magic 1548 (Liverpool) by a West Indian who was incensed at comments by a host who said a caller was "a little bitch", made a threat to give her "a good slapping" and told a subsequent caller to the show, who objected to the language, that "calling someone a bitch is not swearing all coloured people call their girlfriends bitches."
The panel listened to the tapes, which included a segment in which caller said to the presenter "you're a load of shit and you're gay" and the presenter said, allegedly in response to obscene off-air comments, "you're a dirty little foulmouthed bitch" several times.
The panel said the comments "were both untrue and totally unacceptable and likely to have caused offence" and wrote "to the station management in the strongest terms warning that there must be no recurrence and that we were recommending to the Ofcom Content Board that any further similar breaches be brought before them to consider regulatory sanctions."
*Two complaints against Southern FM (Brighton/Eastbourne & Hastings) over a regular feature in a broadcast which one complainant said, "always has racist comments against people of German nationality."
The second complainant said he was "offended because the presenter mentioned that he got into trouble because someone reported him because he did German jokes "
The station said the feature was meant to be humorous and had been discontinued but the panel commented, "Although we were doubtful about the humorous element of the first German story, we would have considered the issue resolved, as the station had decided to discontinue the feature. However, listening to the output related to the subsequent complaint, we heard the presenter mockingly continue with the feature while referring to details of the earlier complaint."
"It was clear that the issue of offence to listeners had been given scant regard: we therefore upheld the complaint and told the station that we were recommending to the Ofcom Content Board that any further similar breaches be brought before them to consider regulatory sanctions.
*A Taste/decency complaint against Virgin over a broadcast in which the presenter had used inaccurate beeping during a play on words about swearing by Greg Rusedski at a judge during Wimbledon tennis. Virgin had already reprimanded the host.
*A taste/decency complaint against Galaxy 102 (Manchester) over a Saturday lunchtime programme in which the term "shagging" had been used at least four times.
*A partially upheld taste/decency complaint against Forth 2 (Edinburgh) over a programme in which the presenter had become involved in sexual banter with a regular caller who was undergoing treatment for cancer and also has problems with alcohol. The panel was told the presenter had not expected the graphic outburst that occurred at the end of the talk.
There were a number of complaints against talkSport, none of which were upheld including one in which a presenter describing an incident he had witnessed on the motorway, in which he felt a police officer had acted recklessly while trying to set up a speed camera and referred to him as a 'dickhead'. The panel said it felt that in view of the time this was broadcast, "...on balance, we did not think that the term would have caused offence to the general audience."
Advertising complaints upheld included:
* A complaint against 103.4 The Beach (Great Yarmouth & Lowestoft) over a series of Department of Health adverts including one on the subject of sexually transmitted diseases that the panel said should not have been aired when young children might be listening (Harmful category).
* A complaint against Wave 105 FM (Solent Area) that a presenter had blurred the distinction between programming and advertising when referring to a competition winner's trip to a local restaurant and had not made it clear that the restaurant had sponsored the competition (Other category).
Four complaints against a Proctor & Gamble "Sunny D" advert carried by a number of stations "which claimed that there was less sugar in a [200ml] glass of 'Sunny D no-added sugar' than "in two bowls of spinach".
The company provided evidence to substantiate the claim scientifically but the panel felt that the advert compared spinach and the drink competitively and thus breached its rules.(Misleading category).
*A complaint against 2CR FM (Bournemouth) over an advert which described the advertiser as the "leading conservatory company in Bournemouth", something that the competitor complaining said was incorrect (Misleading category).
*A complaint against Q97.2 Causeway Coast Radio (Coleraine) over a Department of the Environment advertisement concerning road safety that was found not to have gone through the required clearance procedure (Misleading category).
*A complaint against 107.5 Sovereign Radio (Eastbourne) over an advert by Eastbourne General Hospital for a private healthcare suite that was found not to have gone through the required clearance procedure (Misleading category).
* A complaint against LBC 97.3 (Greater London) over a Eurotunnel advert that was unclear about when a special fare began(Misleading category).
*A complaint against 96 Trent FM (Nottingham / Derby) over a car wipes advert whose sexual innuendo was held to unsuitable for broadcast when children might be listening (Offensive category).
*A complaint against 96.2 The Revolution (Oldham) over an advert for travel services that had not gone through the necessary clearance (Offensive category).
The panel also upheld two complaints restricted service licence holders.
One was a Balance/Bias/Fairness against Radio Pak (Leeds) over complaints that it had promoted just one party in an election; the station did not provide tapes or comments and the panel issued a warning to Radio Pak that we would take these failures to comply into account if they applied for further licences.
The other was a taste/decency complaint against Sunny Govan (Glasgow) over playing musical tracks with bad language including tracks with the words
'motherfucker', 'fuck' and (from one black singer to another) 'nigger'.
A similar complaint was upheld against digital station Liquid (on Greater London III multiplex).
Previous UK Radio Authority:
Previous UK Radio Authority Complaints Bulletin:
UK Radio Authority web site (Links to Bulletin - 672 Kb PDF):
2003-10-24: Viacom has reported third quarter revenues up 5% on a year ago to a record USD6.60 billion with Operating Income Up 7% to USD1.38 billion and net income up 9% to USD 700 million, USD 0.40 per diluted share.
Of its divisions, video has a 25% increase in operating income, followed by 20% in cable networks and 19% in television but radio lagged behind with a 3% increase to USD 266 million.
Radio revenues were up 2% to USD 552 million with President and COO Mel Karmazin commenting on a conference call that Infinity's Los Angeles and Chicago stations had recorded 11% increases, more than twice those of their markets.
In New York, however, he admitted to a 1% fall in revenues, mainly down to the problems at WNEW-FM although he defended the axing of the Opie and Anthony Show (hosted by Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) following the sex in St Patrick's cathedral stunt, saying that what they did was "not acceptable to Viacom at any price, so we had to make a decision and take them off the air." Karmazin said they "would make that same decision again; we will not tolerate that kind of programming."
Karmazin also said that he wanted - and expected - radio to lead growth in Viacom, not hold it back as it had done in the first half of this year.
Overall he focussed on the other divisions, saying, "Viacom delivered the best third quarter performance in its history with segment operating income gains of 20% in Cable Networks, 25% in Video, and nearly 20% in Television. We continue to see positive momentum in our national advertising platforms, which are benefiting from a strong upfront at CBS, MTV Networks and BET and significant growth in syndication markets. With our management focus and our superior creative and operational execution, Viacom is extraordinarily well positioned to benefit from an improving economic environment which will lead to continued growth in the national advertising markets and a resurgence of local ad markets."
Viacom chairman and CEO Sumner M. Redstone commented, "Viacom's record third quarter results, including a double-digit increase in earnings per share, demonstrate our continuing ability to generate returns for shareholders. We delivered top line growth in nearly every business area and brought in significant operating income gains, all despite slower than expected growth in local advertising that did not keep pace with gains in the national ad market. Viacom also continued to deliver value to shareholders by using our strong free cash flow to purchase our stock and to declare a quarterly dividend. Looking ahead, we remain confident that 2004 will be the best year in Viacom's history, led by expectations of a continued economic resurgence, a return to the historic mix of growth in advertising markets and the favourable impact of unique programming and political events during the coming year."
For the year as a whole, Viacom is saying it still expects mid- to high-single digit growth in revenues and operating income with low- to mid-teen growth in earnings per share and for 2004 it says it expects revenue growth of 5% to 7%, resulting in operating income growth of 12% to 14% and earnings per share growth of 13% to 15%.
In Canada, Corus Entertainment has announced consolidated revenues for its fourth quarter ending August 31, 2003 up 2% on a year ago at CAD175 million (USD 134 million), EBITDA up nearly ten-fold from CAD 4.4 million (USD 3.4 million) to CAD 41.7 million (USD 32 million) and net income of
CAD 12.4 million (USD 9.5 million, CAD 0.29 per share) compared to a loss of CAD 189.9 million (USD 145.5 million, or CAD4.45 per share).
For the full year, Corus had net income of CAD 40 million (USD 30.7 million or CAD 0.94 pr share) compared to a loss of CAD168.6 million (UD 129 million or CAD3.96 per share) on revenues that were down 5% to CAD 643.9 million (USD493.5 million) following several business divestitures in 2002 and 2003 and the planned reduction in Nelvana's production slate. On a pro forma basis, revenues were up 2% over the previous year reflecting the advertising growth from Corus' core radio and television assets.
Corus's radio division saw a 4% increase in the final quarter to CAD 57.7 million (USD 44.2 million) aided by a &5 increase in national advertising sales with radio EBITDA for the quarter up 9% to CAD 16.6 million (USD 12.7 million); for the full year, radio revenues increased 7% to CAD 226 million (USD 173 million) with EBITDA up 10% to CAD 58.1 million (USD 44.5 million).
President and CEO John Cassaday commented, "This has been an excellent year for Corus," said John Cassaday, President and CEO. "We delivered top line growth, despite the negative impact in Canada of a number of unforeseen events, including war uncertainties and SARS. Our exceptional performance in growing earnings and delivering cash flow of CAD35.0 million for the year reflects our efforts to integrate our assets and focus the entire organization on operational improvement."
Executive Chair Heather Shaw added, "Corus set clear targets and strategies at the outset of this fiscal year and we're very pleased that we've exceeded these targets."
"The Company has demonstrated its ability to integrate and effectively operate the assets it has assembled and deliver value to its shareholders. Corus is well positioned to benefit from continued growth in the Canadian advertising sector.
Previous Opie and Anthony:
2003-10-24: US radio giant Clear Channel came under repeated attack from cyclists at the first US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Field Hearing On Broadcast Localism held in Charlotte, North Carolina with a number of interventions coming close to a call for revocation of its licences.
The calls followed comments made last month on WDCG-FM, Raleigh, by disc jockeys Bob Dumas and Madison Lane, who were said by one speaker to be involved in "Inciting class A felony encouraging intentional assault and harm to cyclists."
References were made to other anti-cyclist comments on Clear Channel stations (See RNW Oct 15) and a number of speakers attacked the company, one speaking of amazement that "these two clowns are still employed" and another terming a host "provocative and callous."
FCC chairman Michael Powell said there had been formal complaints about the incident that were being investigated.
The hearing also heard a number of expressions of concern about consolidation of ownership,including one concerning voice-tracking, and others linked to statements that this automatically reduced local power.
Amongst those taking this line was panellist John Rustin, the Director of Government Relations for the North Carolina Family Policy Council, who said that a "station owner who resides in his or her local community is more likely to understand and respond to local standards than someone making programming decisions from hundreds or thousands of miles away."
He had praised local owners for keeping some shows off the air and in his introductory remarks Charlotte's Mayor Pat McCrory had cited the failure of the Howard Stern show in the local market as an example of localism at work.
Other complaints came on matters such as the need in a democracy for coverage of local news and politics with North Carolina Rep. Mel Watt, who is supporting the call for the repeal of the FCC's June 2 media regulations commenting that "The best citizen is an informed citizen."
Another panellist, singer/ songwriter Tift Merritt brought up the issue of issues of local artists getting air time and commented on the need for promotional muscle to get on air; she responded to a statement from FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein that payola was illegal by saying that it was "absolutely naïve to assume pay-for-play doesn't go on."
On the other side of the fence, various panellists and contributors from the broadcasting industry giving speeches on how much their stations did for the local community and how they stayed local and representatives of a number of organisations such as the Red Cross offering praise for the help they got from broadcasters.
Previous Clear Channel:
FCC streaming (Real) audio of hearing:
2003-10-24: A survey of conservative US radio host Rush Limbaugh's audience conducted by polling firm Burke Incorporated for Critical Mass Media and posted on its site by Premiere Radio Networks, which syndicates the Rush Limbaugh Show, shows 99% of respondents saying they expect his show to be as good if not better than before when he returns to the airwaves after treatment for drug dependancy.
Nearly as many - 95% - agreed with the statement, "Rush is human, he has made mistakes, and is entitled to a second chance with a clean slate" and more than a fifth said that news of his drug dependency problems had increased their respect for him because of the "way he is handling his problems."
Only 8% said they had less respect for him and most continued to have great trust in him - more than half rated him between 9 and 10 on a ten point scale of no trust (0) to complete trust (10), with his mean score among the sample being 8.2.
The survey also showed that loyalty to the host extends to his advertisers with more than half responding that they would they would be "more likely to use products and services offered by advertisers who stick with the show despite Limbaugh's current difficulties."
Limbaugh himself was said by his brother David in conversation with stand-in host Tony Snow of Fox News to be "in good spirits" and "doing very well."
His brother added that Limbaugh was "genuinely happy that he's having and going through the treatment - and he wants you to know, the audience, that he is touched deeply by your prayers and well wishes, which continue to pour in at a phenomenal rate he wants to get back in the saddle and do what he loves the most, which is, you know, conversing with his listeners. "
Premiere web site:
Limbaugh web site:
2003-10-24: Latest UK radio ratings from RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) show the BBC and commercial radio more or less retaining their shares of listening but with many big names losing audience and a shock in London where Capital Radio's flagship Capital FM, the long time leader, lost around 355,000 listeners a week since the last ratings; parent Capital radio saw nearly GBP 26 million (USD 43 million) wiped of its stock market valuation as its shares fell by 6.5% to GBP4.49 on Thursday.
Capital FM retained the lead in London in terms of listener numbers - some 2.269 million per week, a reach of 22% compared to 2.624 million and a 25% reach in the previous ratings but its share of listening fell from 8.9% to an all-time low of 7.0%, a total 15.6 million hours a week, allowing Chrysalis Group's Heart FM with a 7.2% listening share - up from 6.7% and now a total listening of 16.1 million hours a week - into the top rank on that metric.
Capital also had bad news from the crucial breakfast show, which lost some 340,000 listeners a week compared to the previous quarter; Capital in part attributed the fall to the variation in the show as host Chris Tarrant took generous holiday allowances to which he is entitled in his current contract.
Tarrant, who is to hand over the reins of the breakfast show to Johnny Vaughan in April next year (See RNW Oct 1), has also cut back the times he hosts the show. In the previous ratings, which related to a period when it was hosted for much of the time by stand-in Neil "Dr" Fox, the breakfast show put on some 77,000 listeners.
In its response to the figures, Capital chose to emphasise the strength of the group nationally, with the Century FM network recording a best ever reach of 1.8 million, with a share of 7,5% and also national figures for Xfm, which now has 634,000 listeners a week outside London; in London it said, "the group's leading position has been maintained with strong performances from Xfm, Choice and Capital Gold."
Commenting on the figures, Capital Radio Chief Executive David Mansfield said, Capital FM was "going through a transition period which has been reflected in these results."
"However," he added, "Capital Radio is a national group and I am pleased to see that within this current RAJAR period, there have been some significant successes in our long-term strategy to increase our national presence. We are encouraged to see the strengthening of our position outside of London, reducing our reliance on our flagship station."
Of rival commercial groups, Chrysalis and Emap recorded notably strong performances.
Chrysalis, as well as seeing the success of Heart, has seen its Galaxy network increase its reach by some 4% on the past quarter and share up from 7/2% to 7.6%; it also recorded a strong performance from its London talk FM, LBC, which in its first year under the group's ownership has seen its reach up by 16.3% to 558,000 a week (in the last quarter its audience rose by some 41,000) and progress in attracting younger listeners although its AM sister saw its audience down (by some 165,000 in the quarter).
Group chief executive Richard Huntingford commented, "This is a fantastic result for everyone at Chrysalis Radio. We always had high ambitions for Heart 106.2 and to have achieved the No1 position in the key London market ahead of plan is a wonderful reward for all the hard work, professionalism and passion that everyone has put in. We now look forward to monetising this success for the benefit of our shareholders."
Emap also performed well and indeed in a news release said that for the first time it had overtaken Capital in terms of listening hours; this was corrected by RAJAR, which pointed out that the Emap official total listening hours figure is 68.6 million and Capital's total listening hours are 71.9 million.
RAJAR also added that neither of these figures included data from national services, which reported for the first time, since group totals are based on six months of research and RAJAR only has one quarter results for these new national services - Capital Gold UK, The Hits and Q.
Despite the hiccup in its comment, Emap recorded strong performances from its Big City stations plus Kiss and Magic and its other national brands on digital platforms -- Kerrang!, Smash Hits!, Q, and the Hits; the last two plus Magic as a national brand were measured for the first time in the latest quarter.
Emap Performance Chief Executive Tim Schoonmaker said, "The strength of our brands and distribution is winning us listeners across the country. Recent digital station launches, increased DAB distribution and the advent of Kerrang 105.4 FM in the West Midlands next year mean that Emap will continue to have its mojo working."
SMG-owned Virgin held its ground but doing less well among the commercial national channels were GWR's Classic FM, which lost some 105,000 listeners a week with reach down from 14% to 13% and the Wireless Group's talkSPORT which retained its 4% share but lost some 256,000 listeners a week.
At the BBC, the most listened to channel in the UK, BBC Radio 2, fell back, dropping some 548.000 listeners a week over the previous ratings as all its domestic networks except Radio 3 lost audience to varying degrees.
At Radio 2, Terry Wogan's breakfast show lost 570,000 listeners a week compared to the previous quarter. Radio 3 bucked the trend and gained 214,000 listeners a week.
The BBC's new digital channels also attracted fairly low audiences although still pronounced a success by BBC Director of Music and Radio Jenny Abramsky who noted that because it was funded by a licence fee the BBC had a responsibility in terms of digital broadcasting.
In all the BBC digital channels 1Xtra, 5 sports Xtra, 6 Music, BBC 7 and the Asian network had a recorded weekly audience of just over 1.5 million compared to just over 1 million for Emap's The Hits commercial digital channel, just under 1 million for its Smash Hits channel and 864,000 for Kerrang! BBC World Service adds around 1.4 million more listeners a week.
Abramsky noted, however, that there were significant extra numbers of children listening to its services taking the audience to some 2.5 million a week, with 110,000 children listening to BBC 7 on top of the recorded figure of 236,000 listeners a week and said the figures were "very heartening" when compared to the number of DAB receivers bought. She express particular pleasure that the Asian Network was now estimated to reach one in five of the Asians in the UK.
"Apart from Sports Extra, designed to give Five Live listeners greater choice, the new networks," said Abramsky, "were created to reach new and underserved audiences and contribute something completely distinctive in the ever more crowded radio marketplace."
"I am particularly pleased, " she added, "with the signs that 1Xtra, like the Asian Network, appears to be reaching sections of the community who have felt marginalized by the BBC and I'm delighted that children are turning to BBC 7."
Within the figures, compared to the previous quarter:
*BBC Radio 1 lost 19,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.85 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 20%, and a listening share of 8%, up from 7.6%.
*BBC Radio 2 lost 548,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 12.477 million, a weekly reach of 26%, down from 27%, and a listening share of 15%, down from 16.3%.
*BBC Radio 3 gained 214,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 2.214 million, a weekly reach of 5%, up from 4%, and a listening share of 1.2%, up from 1.1%.
*BBC Radio 4 lost 170,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.525 million, a weekly reach of 20%, as before, and a listening share of 11.3 %, down from 11.4 %.
*BBC Radio 5 Live lost 87,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.716 million, a weekly reach of 12% as before, and a listening share of 4.2%, down from 4.4%.
*BBC World Service lost 52,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.411 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 3%, and an unchanged listening share of 0.7%.
*BBC Asian Network gained 74,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 495,000, an unchanged weekly reach of 1% and an 0.4% share, up from 0.3%.
On the commercial side for national networks:
*GWR's Classic FM lost 105,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6.463 million, a weekly reach of 13%, down from 14%, and an unchanged listening share of 4.5%.
*The Wireless Group's talkSPORT lost 256,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.904 million, a weekly reach of 4%. Down from 5%, and a listening share of 1.5%, down from 1.6%.
*SMG-owned Virgin (total including all AM and FM) gained 59,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.855 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 6%, and a listening share of 1.7%, up from 1.6%.
Digital national commercial networks:
*Core, in its first ratings, had a weekly audience of 162,000, to small for reach and share to be rated.
*Kerrang gained 91,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 864000, an unchanged reach of 2%, and a listening share of 0.2%, down from 0.3%
*Mean Country gained 56,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 182,000, a reach too small to be rated and an unchanged listening share of 0.1%
*Oneword lost 2000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 59,00, too small for reach and share to be listed.
*Planet Rock in its first ratings had a weekly audience of 247,000, a reach of 1% and a share of 0.1%
*Q, in its first ratings, had a weekly audience of 553,000, a reach of 1% and a share of 0.1%.
*Smash Hits gained 124,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 977,000, an unchanged reach of 2%, and a listening share of 0.3%, up from 0.2%
*The Hits, in its first ratings, had a weekly audience of 1.036 million, a reach of 2% and a share of 0.4%
*The Storm, in its first ratings, had a weekly audience of 77,000, to small for reach and share to be rated.
Previous GWR (Classic FM owners):
Previous RAJAR ratings:
Previous SMG (Owns Virgin):
Previous Wireless Group (TalkSport owner):
RAJAR web site (links to quarterly reports):
2003-10-24: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a USD 10,000 penalty on a Florida pirate operator and another of USD 3,000 on a Kansas station for failing to maintain all required material in the stations' public inspection files.
In the first case, Patrick S. Green of Naples, Florida, had failed to respond to a notice of apparent liability in connection with the operation of a station in Fort Myers and in the second Davies Communications Inc., licensee of KBBE-FM and KNGL-AM, McPherson, has failed to response to a notice issued in April.
The Commission commented that it was not clear what steps, if any, had been taken to correct the violations and required Davies to submit a report to the Enforcement Bureau within 30 days outlining what measures it has taken or will take to correct the violations and ensure that they do not recur.
2003-10-24: MUSICMATCH and AOL retained their top station and network rankings in the latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings with the latter, which had suffered server problems, increasing its listening by nearly a third and pulling away from rival Launch, which again increased its listening in second place.
For the week to October 12, Arbitron'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 (*Non Commercial) - TTSL 721,752 (708,802); CP - 224,084 (220,439). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Contemporary Christian K-LOVE (Non commercial) - TTSL 315,800 (285,013); CP - 44,956 (52,998). Up from third with higher listening although reach was down.
3: Country format AOL Top Country (Commercial) - TTSL 290,748 (215,988); CP 111,934 (65,219). Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
4: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 268,802 (285,013); CP - 52,201 (52,998). Down from second with lower listening and reach.
5: Smooth Jazz AOL Smooth Jazz (Commercial- TTSL 258,561 (208,679); CP - 58,916 (40,706). Up from seventh with higher listening and reach.
*Classical WQXR-FM (Commercial) fell from fourth to ninth with TTSL 222,268, down from 228,647 and CP of 29,220, down from 29,480, and News / Talk WLS-AM (Commercial) fell from fifth to seventh with TTSL of 236,217, up from 226,928 and CP -43,786, down from 44,722.
The top five networks for the week to October 12 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 6,237,229 (4,737,212); CP - 1,554,149 (951,006). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: LAUNCH TTSL (Commercial) - 4,263,808 (3,958,611); CP - 866,264 (845,908). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 2,123,567 (2,088,883); CP - 479,514 (472,453). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 1,249,879 (1,266,150); CP - 156,058 (152,209) - Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) TTSL - 528,971 (539,215); CP - 78,326 (78,264) - Same rank with lower listening and reach.
Arbitron does not now rank Content Delivery Networks (CDN) alongside other networks but does report on them; for the week the top Content Delivery Networks were Live365 with TTSL 2,468,217, up from 2,487,968 and StreamGuys with TTSL 516,836, up from 478,917.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings:
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Weekly Ratings:
2003-10-23: In its first such action, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing to fine four US radio licensees a total of USD 40,000 for together exceeding maximum permitted radio frequency radiation (RFR) levels although each individual licensee was operating within permitted levels.
The transmitters involved on Mt. Wilson, in Los Angeles, are operated by Clear Channel ( KBIG-FM, licensed to AMFM), Infinity (KRTH-FM), Radio 1 Inc (KKBT-FM), and Telemundo (KWHY-TV).
The commission is proposing USD 10,000 penalties on each under a rule that, where the total exposure limits are exceeded, all licensees whose transmitter exceeds " 5% of the power density exposure limit applicable to their particular transmitter share responsibility for reducing RFR to permissible levels."
In the case of the Mt Wilson complex, the FCC says tests determined that RFR levels "in a publicly accessible area, located approximately 100 feet from a U.S. Post Office, exceeded the maximum permissible exposure limits by 60.5%."
It notes that when this was brought to the stations' attention they took steps to limit public access to the relevant area.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Radio 1 Inc.:
Previous Viacom-CBS- Infinity:
2003-10-23: Reacting to criticism in a Washington Post article (See RNW Oct 21), Susan Clampitt, Executive Director of Washington DC public broadcaster WAMU-FM, has posted an open letter on the station's website that accuses the paper of presenting a "biased and one-sided view of WAMU."
Clampitt says she is writing "in hopes of putting to rest any potential concerns or misunderstandings about the state of our station that may have arisen from the Washington Post article" and goes on to say she must "underscore that, despite the economic challenges of recent years, WAMU is doing well."
She adds that the station now has more than 560,000 listeners a week, 38% more than three years ago, and is now "among the top news stations in the Washington region."
"Our achievements," she writes, "have just been acknowledged and rewarded by more than 7,000 individuals who contributed over $1 million during the on-air membership campaign we completed on October 16th. We are supported by more public and private foundations than at any time in our history. And, our corporate underwriting availability is often sold out in our most popular programs."
Clampitt goes on to say that the American University, the station's licensee, had decided three years ago - just before "the downturn in the national economy" - to make a strategic investment in developing the station and "Based on the results of extensive market research, we moved to a news, talk, culture program format that was built around our well-loved talk and news magazine shows plus more news programming from NPR."
After listing some of the developments at the station, Clampitt says that revenues have not risen as quickly as projected not kept pace with the cost of the strategic investments but goes on to add
"Happily, as our strategic changes have begun to take root and the financial confidence in the general economy has improved, we have begun recently to see an exciting upswing in revenues. We have every expectation that this will continue and that we will be in the black by the end of this fiscal year."
WAMU - Clampitt letter:
2003-10-23: Clear Channel, which already offers such information as song titles, artist information and traffic updates on modern radios with a suitable display through RDS (Radio Data System) technology at its Los Angeles stations is to invest in adding it to 192 of its FM stations in the top 50 US markets.
Clear Channel is working with Florida-based Audemat-Aztec to install RDS generators at the stations and its Senior VP/Engineering Jeff Littlejohn noted, "Clear Channel is always searching for new ways to enhance our radio broadcasts to bring listeners the most comprehensive, local entertainment and information. We're excited to be the first company to introduce this innovative twist to an existing technology."
"The dynamic RDS technology gives Clear Channel the edge in providing radio listeners with even more information about the station, songs on the air and other important messages."
Audemat-Aztec VP/Business Development Christophe Poulain said, "As more cars are equipped with RDS, we've seen a steady increase in interest for this technology. Audemat-Aztec has worked with the RDS forum since 1987 to improve the technology and we're proud to be a world leader in RDS generator manufacturing.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-10-23: Dylan Thomas fans are in for bonus next month when BBC Radio 3 and 4 mark the 50th anniversary of the poet's death with a season of stories and features and a "new" production of Under Milk Wood to be aired on November 15.
The latter is, like the original poem, which began on radio but made it all the way to the big screen, a landmark but in a remarkable manner - it marries the First voice of Richard Burton (who died 19 years ago) from the first production that went on air in January 1954 on the then Third Programme (now Radio 3) with new renditions including Sian Phillips as the Second voice and those of a cast that includes Matthew Rhys as Mog Edwards.
The production was put together by digitally re-mastering the Burton voice from the original Douglas Cleverdon production and then recording the new voices to match in with him.
Producer Alison Hindell made the new version in surround sound, which is still not available over the air but will be available from a special dedicated web site to those with suitable set-up computers.
She commented of the production, "Having started with Richard Burton, I'd set myself a challenge to cast the other parts with equal, or almost equal, talent. My main aim in the casting was to get a very rich variety of voices, and I hope that the combination of the different textures and sounds of the voices, and the actors' different characterisations, will mean that the piece will be very clear in terms of which character is speaking at which point."
BBC Wales site re new production:
2003-10-23: AOL, which reported server problems, still held on to its top radio network rank in the Arbitron Internet Broadcast ratings for September, but Yahoo's Launch yet again closed the gap while newcomer, Educational Media Foundation's K-Love Contemporary Christian station took second place in the station rankings (and was seventh network), behind MUSICMATCH, which retained its top spot.
The top five stations for September were (August figures in brackets):
1: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH (non-commercial) - TTSL 2,972,685 (2,644,975); CP 673,624 (645,444). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: K-LOVE Contemporary Christian (non-commercial) - TTSL 1,259,669; CP 111,751. Not listed in August rankings.
3: AOL Top Country (commercial) - TTSL 1,211,885 (1,202,027); CP 354,798 (438,960). Down from second despite higher listening although reach was down.
4: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin Radio (commercial) - TTSL 1,170,770 (1,104,233); CP 172,152 (164,407). Down from third despite higher listening and reach.
5: AOL Smooth Jazz (commercial) - TTSL 1,126,959 (1,089,513); CP 190,864 (209,479) Down from fourth despite higher listening although reach was down.
**AOL Top Pop (commercial) fell from fifth to sixth with TTSL 998,923, down from 1,074,353 and CP 430,291 , down from 597,391.
The top five networks for September were (August figures in brackets):
1: AOL Radio Network (commercial) - TTSL 26,050,947 (25,936,299); CP 3,850,491 (4,288,679). Same rank with higher listening although reach was down.
2: Yahoo LAUNCH (commercial)- TTSL 15,725,817 (14,481,309); CP 2,130,136 (1,993,451). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (non-commercial) TTSL 8,432,371 (7,629,301); CP 1,393,128 (1,348,466). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: Adsertion (sales network) -TTSL 4,774,733 (4,913,206); CP 379,779 (360,549). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) - TTSL 2,061,693 (1,955,148); CP 236,915 (226,538). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
Arbitron is not now ranking content delivery networks but it does list the top two --
Live365.com, which had a TTSL of 10,551,161 hours, up from 9,997,750 in August, and StreamGuys with a TTSL of 2,219,870 hours, up from 2,007,132.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings:
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast monthly ratings:
2003-10-22: US radio ratings and media and marketing research firm company Arbitron has reported third quarter revenues this year up 8% on a year ago at USD 75.3 million with net income up 10.4% at USD 17 million and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) up 5.5% at USD 30.6 million; it also says it has cut long term debt in the quarter by USD 20 million to USD 115 million.
Commenting on the results president and CEO Stephen Morris, president and chief executive officer of Arbitron, said, "Our financial results for the quarter were substantially in line with our expectations and we remain on track to meet our guidance for the year. We have also made significant progress in our previously announced efforts to enhance the quality of our core services and to develop our opportunities for long-term growth."
Morris also took up the thorny issue of falling response rates, saying, "Our programs to address response rates in our radio diary service are yielding positive results. We saw a small but gratifying increase in response rates in the top ten markets during the Summer 2003. These are the markets where we are currently focusing our efforts to get more consumers to say "yes" to the Arbitron survey process."
He also said in conjunction with A.C.Nielsen methods had been developed to increase the rate at which consumers can be recruited for Portable People Meter (PPM) surveys and in a conference call said the PPM could have wider appeal than just measuring listening.
Among examples he cited was allowing retailers to relate advertising expenditure with attracting consumers to a store through tracking codes.
Morris said that ultimately its marketing panels would be able to cover radio, TV, cable, Internet, print and potentially outdoor, to allow companies to see the relationship between media consumption and product purchase.
2003-10-22: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has said that a court decision to uphold streaming fees for over-the-air stations that stream their signals "serves to stifle efforts by hometown radio stations to better serve listeners" and promised to explore "all of our legal and legislative options to overturn this decision, which we believe misinterprets the intent of Congress."
The decision came from a three-judge-panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia that declined to overturn a US Copyright Office that broadcasters were liable to the fees over and above the amounts they pay to music licensing organisations for the rights of composers, songwriters, and music publishers.
In its ruling, the broadcasters had argued that these streams should be classed as "nonsubscription broadcast transmissions", which were exempt from these charges but the judges said, that although two of the three required conditions - being noninteractive and nonsubscription - were met, the third, of being "broadcast", was not and concluded "the purpose of Congress was to limit the exemption for nonsubscription broadcast transmissions to traditional, over-the-air broadcasts."
The court said that the arguments put forward would mean that "any entity that operates at least one FCC-licensed radio station would have carte blanche to digitally perform recordings via any
conceivable transmission medium (in a noninteractive, nonsubscription manner) without limitation or copyright liability " and that such entities could "hypothetically expand their webcasting to include original programming unrelated to their AM/FM programming, and their interpretation of
"nonsubscription broadcast transmission" would serve to exempt that webcasting from the digital audio transmission performance copyright as well."
The judges also pointedly commented, "Another ramification of the broadcasters' interpretation
about which they are quite pointedly silent, is that the meaning of the modifier "terrestrial" becomes absurd."
"Under the appellants' argument, a terrestrial broadcast station means a business entity that is earthbound-in contrast, we must assume, to one that is space-borne. To our knowledge, there are not, presently, any broadcasting companies incorporated in outer space-nor can there be."
They also said that the term nonsubscription applied automatically to analogue broadcasts, which could not be subscription.
Court ruling (25 Page 114 Kb PDF):
2003-10-22: Latest Irish radio ratings released by the JNLR/MRBI survey covering the six months from April to September this year show listenership in the country at 86% of the population, down 2% on the same period a year ago.
Compared to national figures from a year earlier independent local stations recorded a listenership down 1 at 53%, with state broadcaster RTÉ's Radio One down 1 to 28%, 2FM down 2 to 25%, and Lyric FM down 1 to 3%. National commercial channel Today FM was down 2 at 15%.
Of Dublin's local stations, FM104 achieved a listenership figure of 20% (unchanged), while 98FM reached 22% (+2) but Lite Fm fell back badly with a listenership of 7% (-5). On the up were Spin 1038 at 5% (+2) and Country 106.8FM and Newstalk 106 FM, which each had 4% listenership (+2).
In Cork, 96FM/County Sound recorded a listenership figure of 49% (-6) and Red FM recorded a reach of 16% (-4).
Although all suffered drops, notable performances from individual local stations included those from WLR FM, which had a listenership of 55% (-6), South East Radio with 45% (-5), and Galway Bay FM with 43% (-17).
Previous Irish Ratings:
JNLR web site:
2003-10-22: Sydney 2GB's breakfast host Alan Jones has won this year's Australian Commercial Radio Award for Best Talk Personality for the second year in a row and also took the Best Current Affairs Commentator award in a year in which his former partner John Laws, still with 2UE, which Jones left to join his current station in a deal with Macquarie Broadcasting, was inducted into the industry's Hall of Fame.
The Best News Presenter award went to Glenn Daniel of Sydney's WS FM for the second year running and Bathurst station 2BS Gold morning presenter, Janice McGilchrist, won the country Best Talk Personality for the fourth year in a row, Rex Hunt won the Best Sports Presenter award for 3AW's football coverage and The Brian White Memorial Award, honouring excellence in radio journalism, was won by 2GB's Justin Kelly.
2UE, now owned by Southern Cross Broadcasting, took the Best Documentary award for Alec Campbell's The Last Anzac, Austereo's Hot 30 team of Kyle and Jackie O won the Best Music Special for The Grammy's, and the Best on Air Team award went to Merrick and Rosso (Merrick Watts and Tim Ross), the breakfast hosts at DMG's Nova station in Sydney
Two new awards were introduced this year, those for Best Networked Program, which was won by 3AW's "Nightline" in the Metropolitan section and RG Capital's - "The Nite Mix with Dani Torresan" in the Provincial section, and the Most Played Australian Artist on Commercial Radio Award, which was won by Kylie Minogue.
Delta Goodrem took the Best New Artist on Australian Commercial Radio award.
Previous Merrick and Rosso:
2003-10-22: Boston hosts John Dennis and Gerry Callahan of Entercom sports station WEEI-AM's Dennis & Callahan show went back on the air yesterday following a two week suspension imposed following protests at their comparison of an escaped gorilla to minority students taking part in a bussing programme.
Both hosts denied that their comments were intended to be racist with Callahan commenting, "I never made a racist connection in my mind, which certainly makes me careless, inconsiderate and clearly out of touch, all of which I plead guilty to on every single count. But it does not make me a racist. That's not who I am, it is not what's in my heart."
Dennis also said that the potential for racist connotations had escaped him when he made his remark, adding, "Do you honestly think if I made a racist connection in my mind about an escaped zoo animal and a school program that I would be stupid enough to say it, and commit professional suicide?"
Previous Dennis and Callaghan:
Attleboro Sun Chronicle/AP report ( AP also carried by the Boston Globe and Boston Herald):
2003-10-21: The BBC's Director of Radio and Music Jenny Abramsky has told the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) European Conference that radio will have to go digital to avoid long-term decline; she also admitted that the BBC's early digital radio listening figures will be "modest" and that the BBC will lose share as audiences in the UK gain more choice through the move to DAB.
In the speech, delivered on Abramsky's behalf and in her absence by Simon Nelson, who is in charge of BBC Radio & Music Interactive, Abramsky commented that while radio in Europe "flourishes today we cannot complacently assume it will tomorrow."
"If radio were the only medium not to go digital it would soon become obsolete for future generations."
Although she did not predict large audiences for the BBC's digital output, Abramsky was positive in her text about the listening which she thought likely to be much larger than when digital stations were first proposed, saying, "The phenomenal growth of listening through the internet and digital television as well as the recent rapid rise in sales of DAB digital radio sets means that we will surpass my own original expectations by a huge margin."
2003-10-21: Univision is claiming top ratings in morning and afternoon drive in Los Angeles in the latest ratings; In the morning, it says, Eddie Sotelo's "Piolin por la Manana" on KSCA-FM ("LA Nueva"), which has been on the air for only eight months, is now the top rated FM in its slot in the city; the show is also simulcast in Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, Salinas, Monterrey, Santa Cruz, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Houston and Dallas.
Sotelo's predecessor in the morning slot, Renan Almendarez Coello, 'El Cucuy De La Tarde,' is now topping the ratings in afternoon drive. He moved over from mornings in February this year (See RNW Feb 10) after topping ratings as KSCA morning host for six years when the station was owned by Hispanic Broadcasting, now taken over by Univision..
2003-10-21: American University's Washington National Public Radio station WAMU-FM is coming under criticism for overspending and cutting into its cash reserves despite seeming success that has seen its success in attracting a record audience according to reports in Current Magazine and the Washington Post.
According to the magazine, corporate attorney and former president of the station's community advisory council Forbes Maner says that the station's expenditures for management and fundraising have more than doubled since 2000 and are now nearly half the station's income.
Maner crossed swords on the air with WAMU Executive Director Susan Clampitt who insisted that the station's finances are healthy; he said since she joined the station WAMU had cut deeply into the cash reserve of USD 4-5 million she inherited as a result of losses that rose from USD 153,00 in 2000 to USD 1.4 million in 2002.
For 2003, Maner said, he had learned losses will be around USD 1.5 million and he asked Clampitt, "What are your plans for bringing WAMU back to financial health? And how do you plan to control spending that appears to be out of hand?"
Clampitt responded by saying spending was "not out of hand" and adding, "It's been a difficult time for many, many non-profit organizations. We've had a slip in the economy, but we're doing very well."
Current also reports that it had been told that Clampitt had asked NPR to examine a reduction in its fees because it couldn't afford them, something that WAMU's spokeswoman Ruth Thompson denied, although the magazine says it has obtained documents that indicate that WAMU did ask for a break from the network.
Thompson in a statement to the magazine wrote, "It is no secret that public radio and television stations throughout the country have been significantly affected by the nation's economic woes over the past few years."
"Even as it[WAMU] has made dramatic increases in ratings, listening audience and industry awards, its operating costs have exceeded revenues during this period."
The Post says there is widespread dissatisfaction amongst station employees and quotes nationally syndicated NPR talk show host Diane Rehm, the flagship voice of the station, as saying, "I have literally never seen such low morale as I have seen in the past year."
". . . I figure if they want to fire me, they will, but I think what Susan Clampitt has done to this station is truly sad."
There is also feeling against Clampitt's new program director, Mark McDonald, and new news director, Kevin Beesley, who are the subject of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint filed against American University by former deputy news director Susan Garraty.
Garraty alleges that during a meeting with the two men, "discriminatory comments and remarks were made about how to get around affirmative action. Such comments were made about a black employee having a chip on his shoulders and interviewing other black applicants for affirmative action purposes, but still being able to hire whomever they want."
Garraty says she was demoted from deputy news director to a producer on morning news programs and her benefits were reduced after she reported the comments to Clampitt. The University has a policy of not discussing personnel matters and Garraty said eh was "not at liberty to discuss any details of the settlement" of her EEOC complaint" but McDonald described the allegations as "completely false."
RNW comment: The situation at WAMU on the face of it seems to have parallels with the disputes at Pacifica, whose internal disputes cost it heavily. In the case of WAMU, the crucial element would seem to be whether the "investments" that Clampitt says she has made in building the station into a news-talk outlet have been accompanied by excesses in other areas that are not sustainable should economic hard times continue or worsen.
We suspect that ultimately the University will back Clampitt if the figures are acceptable but dump her should donors pull out and she be unable to pull back spending.
Current Magazine report:
Washington Post report:
2003-10-21: Clear Channel has signed a four-year deal with Eastlan Resources to provide ratings in the Missoula market in Montana, where it owns three AMs and three FMs.
Eastlan, now in its fifth year, has more than 300 radio station subscribers in some 75 markets and says it expects to reach 100 markets by late next year.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-10-21: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued forfeiture orders totalling USD 40,000 for tower-related offences, the largest single penalty of USD 20,000 being imposed on FBS Wireless Corporation, licensee of WFBS-AM, Berwick, Pennsylvania, for failure to register and light the antenna structure for WFBS and to enclose that antenna structure within an effective locked fence.
The penalties followed an inspection in March 2000 when FBC president Kevin Fennessey told an FCC agent that the tower's red obstruction lighting had not been operational since FBS acquired the station in February.
The agent also noted that the gate to the fence surrounding the antenna structure was unlocked and determined that the antenna structure was not registered.
During a further inspection in April 2002, the agent found that the antenna structure was still unregistered and that the gate to the fence surrounding the antenna structure was still unlocked.
Subsequently FBS, which has argued that the tower did not need lighting since it was under 200 feet high (the FCC found it to be just over 200 feet) obtained from the Federal Aviation Authority No Hazard determinations that indicate that no painting or lighting is now required for the antenna structure and it sought cancellation of the penalty on the grounds that it had not wilfully or repeatedly broken the rules, had worked hard to remedy the situation and had financial difficulties.
The FCC noted that no evidence of financial problems was produced, held that the tower should have been lit until the No Hazard determination was made and also that there had been failure to enclose the antenna. The Commission confirmed the full penalty.
The next largest penalty - of USD 13,000 - went to Hill Country Real Estate Development Corp. for failure to clean and repaint and also to light a tower in Texas; it rejected argument for a reduction based on a history of overall compliance with regulations.
The third penalty, of USD 7,000 went to Cumulus, licensee of WNAM-AM, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for failure to maintain an effective locked fence around its antenna array. The violation was observed during an August 2001 inspection when it was noted that a fence surrounding one structure had fallen over; Cumulus, which had erected a new fence in September 2001, had argued against the penalty on the basis of a past history of compliance and because its "engineer did not notice the fencing problem because the tower at issue is located about a quarter mile from the main tower site and is surrounded by tall corn which hinders the fence's visibility during the months of August and September." The FCC rejected the arguments and confirmed the penalty.
2003-10-20: Another week when Rush Limbaugh managed to keep the print busy, but first from the Washington Post an article on Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K Powell by Frank Ahrens that looks at the principles that guide Powell.
Ahrens notes that Powell is sticking to his guns over the new FCC media rules announced on June that have led to widespread criticism and opposition and adds, "By digging in and sticking to his policy prescriptions, Powell is following the advice of one of his closest confidants: his father, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell."
The two Powell men and the rest of the family keep in close touch writes Ahrens and quotes Powell as saying of the media regulations' decision his father told him, " 'Look -- this is a tough and controversial decision. You're the easiest [way] to make this issue accessible. The issue is very complex; have you heard the opposition express their criticism in a complex way? No. It's a lot easier to blast the messenger than deal with the substance of the issue.' "
Ahrens also says that the military background of both - the younger Powell was an army lieutenant when e was seriously involved in an accident in West Germany in 1987 that ended his army career - is crucial to understanding their approach and quoted the FCC chairman as saying, "You can't know us if you don't know the soldier's ethic."
Powell's father, as keeper of the Great Seal of the United States, signed the presidential commission that granted his son the FCC chairmanship in 2001, and, reports, Ahrens, close inspection of the framed document, also signed by President Bush, shows that Colin Powell has punctuated his signature on the august and official decree with a smiley face.
He also, reports Ahrens is a continuing source of support and quotes Michael Powell as saying, "He helps me keep things in perspective. "He'll say, 'Oh, you got hit in this article; ha, ha, ha, ha. Well, here are 20 articles from 10 years ago that said I was dead. When you get this, call me.' "
After Powell, El Rushbo, who in his way has had even more influence over US radio, but is now attracting most comment because of his addiction to painkilling drugs and allegations that he suborned an employee to illegally obtain them for him.
Apart from many US Conservatives, who to judge by a comparison of their comments on former President Clinton and those on Limbaugh and regarding allegations made against Arnold Schwarzenegger of sexual harassment of women are significantly partial, there has also been a fair smattering of condemnation of the Rushbo message but without calls for legal retribution against him.
(Limbaugh's web site has links via "Great Columns and the great one" that are mainly to conservative columnists but also includes some of the "liberal" commentators who have expressed sympathy and support concerning the host's drug addiction).
Among the comments we noted was an article "Double Standard on Drugs" from the San Francisco Chronicle in which Matthew Briggs, director of publications at the Drug Policy Alliance, comments, "when it comes to the criminal investigation of him for allegedly buying thousands of prescription painkillers, his politics are irrelevant. As long as no one else was harmed as a consequence of his drug use, Rush Limbaugh should not face incarceration or be punished for what he chose to ingest in his own body. Neither should any other American, regardless of class, age or race."
North of the border, Heather Mallick in the Toronto Globe and Mail also opposed the idea of jailing Limbaugh although being much harder on the host; her article began, "Regular readers will be taken aback to find me defending Rush Limbaugh, American radio's bloated, pig-ignorant, racist, woman-hating blowhard, a man with the brains of a tub of microwaved suet combined with the social graces of a hyena fighting with a vulture over the rotting remains of a leftover meerkat leg."
Mallick suggests that Limbaugh's deafness could have resulted from his drug taking, writing, "Deafness is a well-known side effect of OxyContin, the painkiller called "hillbilly heroin" because it's popular in the Appalachians where heroin isn't attainable or possibly fashionable."
She then goes on, "Which brings me to a distasteful point. Heroin is basically morphine with decadent glamour."
"OxyContin is the legal and medical equivalent of heroin. But all these codeine-type drugs have one truly unfortunate side effect: severe constipation, which means that Mr. Limbaugh hasn't been to the bathroom in four years. No wonder the man screams at people. "
"Furthermore, OxyContin and Mr. Limbaugh's pals Vicodin, hydrocodone and Lorcet, are legal. They are good drugs that will indeed kill intense pain for people such as cancer patients. The fact that they bring with them brief intense pleasure -- I assume it's like orgasm in pill form -- doesn't make them wrong. It makes them helpful to humans in physical and emotional pain."
Her conclusion relates to the law not Rush as such:" Americans should give Rush Limbaugh another (admittedly useless) shot at rehab. It already has two million prison inmates, 60 per cent for federal drug offences. Most of them are black and Hispanic. Let them out. Treat them. Get them jobs. Send them to police Afghanistan, land o' opium poppies."
"Believe it or not, it's cheaper. It's a practical solution for a country where money is the measure of all things."
RNW comment: We'd certainly go along with Briggs but not necessarily with Mallick, and also accept the point made by many of the conservative commentators that there is a difference between becoming addicted to painkillers initially taken for medical reasons and to taking drugs know to be addictive to gain pleasure. We'd also note for the edification of the aforesaid conservative commentators that many years ago we remember reading a right-wing libertarian argument that no drugs should be illegal but there should be harsh penalties for those who committed crimes to support a habit, an argument that has logic although the devil of its practicality might well be affected by the details of its effects.
On then a real crime by any standards, and a most horrendous one that was the subject of Finding Adam, last Thursday's programme in BBC Radio 4's "It's my story" series (Still available for the moment through the BBC's Listen Again service - see link below): It certainly made anything Limbaugh was involved in seem a minor peccadillo at most.
To quote some of Sue Arnold's review of the programme in her weekly column in the UK Observer, "The details of the crime revealed in the pathologist's report were horrific. Adam's throat had been cut in a singular manner and all the body's blood drained out, suggesting that the child had been suspended upside down before his limbs and head were skillfully removed, pointing to ritual murder. This theory was strengthened by the discovery in the child's stomach of a poisonous substance which would have paralyzed him."
"How the detective tracked the child's origin to Nigeria and linked the poison to centuries of witchcraft and sorcery in West Africa, is an extraordinary story. Hard graft, sheer luck and hunch all play their part as do geologists, botanists, bone maps, DNA and, most recently, a promising connection between an illegal immigrant apprehended in Glasgow and two known practitioners of ritual killings. A key suspect is currently awaiting extradition in Dublin and O'Reilly is confident the case should be cleared up before too long. It was a gripping programme which left you admiring the dogged tenacity of the CID and respecting the integrity of officers such as O'Reilly."
And while with the BBC's Listen Again service, the current Classic Serial that began on Sunday, still has resonance today: it's Tolstoy's Hadji Murat, the tale of a Chechen warrior who offers to fight for the Russians if they will help rescue his family, held captive by the Imam Shamil.
The conflict takes in religion and race as is still true in Chechnya today and the play, well worth a listen just as a drama, gains in impact from the contemporary problems in the region.
San Francisco Chronicle - Briggs:
Toronto Globe and Mail - Mallick:
UK Observer - Arnold:
Washington Post - Ahrens:
BBC "Listen Again" web site:
2003-10-20: This year's US National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) European Conference gets down to its first full day of sessions in London today with a "Branding Session" and workshops that include developing air talent through airchecking and Building Maximum Broadcast Wealth as well as a Digital Update and an address by the Jenny Abramsky, the BBC's Director of Radio and Music
It continues tomorrow with activities that include a workshop on Business Strategies for Digital Audio Broadcasting, and session on Legendary Morning Show Hosts and London Programming Superstars.
Among the speakers as well as Abramsky are Capital Radio Chief Executive David Mansfield and Capital FM breakfast host and TV presenter Chris Tarrant, Clear Channel Worldwide President and COO Mark Mays, UBC Media Group Chief Executive Simon Cole, UK Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) Chief Executive Paul Brown, Virgin Radio Programme Director Paul Jackson, and Danish Radio Managing Director Leif Lonsmann.
2003-10-20: UK Emap expects a quarter of listening to its radio stations to be to digital signals by spring next year according to a report in the UK Guardian; it says that Emap Performance chief executive Tim Schoonmaker has set the target ahead of the release this week of the latest UK radio ratings, in which a number of Emap digital channels will.
The paper adds that Schoonmaker, seen as an evangelist for digital listening because it allows Emap's stations to increase their potential audience dramatically, admitted that revenues would suffer while advertisers caught up with the shift to digital.
"They're being cautious with their clients' money and we can respect that," he said. "But it's an issue because on some stations listeners will hear eight minutes of advertising an hour while on others they'll hear one minute of advertising an hour."
Schoonmaker believes Emap stole a march on its rivals by signing up to take eight channel slots on the Freeview digital TV service, commenting, "Others were prevaricating but we saw its potential. Free is such a powerful word and we've been proved right," he said, adding that Emap has been granted approval from the Independent Television Commission to be the first radio company to run an interactive service alongside its radio channels on digital TV.
He was also dismissive of the future of analogue and said radio stations would have to come to terms with the new digital environment: "
"Analogue is already dead and I don't see anyone in the investment community truly thinking in those terms," said Schoonmaker. "Promiscuity is going up and the programming will have to change to reflect that. In that world, we know that you've got to have a brand to stand as a signpost. We've got those brands, we've got the distribution now it's time to work on the content."
The comments come as receiver manufacturers continue to put more effort into promoting their products on the UK market. Amongst the latest is JVC, which is promoting a special automobile pack at a third off the price of the individual components.
UK Guardian report:
2003-10-19: Last week was fairly quiet for all the regulators in the English speaking world with few decisions being made and no major issues being raised.
Australia recorded no radio related decisions and in Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) made only one radio decision, a time extension for the third time for CHIM-FM, Timmins, Ontario, to commence operation of a new transmitter at Kapuskasing. The deadline is now February 11 next year.
The CRTC also issued a public notice, with a deadline of Nov 17 for submissions, calling for comment about planned changes to its community-based media policies.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the award in principle of the new Tipperary South West community licence to Tipperary Mid West Community Radio and has also said it is to call applicants for licences in a number of other areas to oral hearings.
The franchise areas and applicants involved are
West Dublin - Ballyfermot Area Community Radio Group·
Roscommon Town and Environs - RosEqual Limited ·
Dundalk Town and Environs - Dundalk Media Centre ·
Lucan and Environs - Liffey Sound Communications Co-operative Society Limited·
West Limerick - West Limerick Resources Limited on behalf of West Limerick Community Radio
In the UK, the Radio Authority has announced preliminary determination of short form public interest tests for the new local radio licence for Glasgow, for which it has received 13 applications.
Three of the applicants already hold licences within the area; they are
Smooth FM Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian Media Group plc. Which already owns Real Radio, which broadcasts to Central Scotland on FM.
Glasgow Gold Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Capital Radio plc., which owns the Beat 106, which broadcasts to Central Scotland on FM.
3C Glasgow Ltd, in which Scottish Radio Holdings plc has a controlling interest. Scottish Radio Holdings plc already owns three licences which would significantly overlap with the proposed coverage area of the new Glasgow FM licence: Clyde 1 FM and Clyde 2, which both broadcast to Glasgow, and West Sound AM, which broadcasts to Ayr. Scottish Radio Holdings plc has said it intends to dispose of the West Sound AM licence if 3C Glasgow Ltd is awarded the new Glasgow FM licence.
The Authority says it is minded to make a positive determination in relation to all of these applications in line with the Authority's published policy, as all of these applications would comply with the ownership rules proposed in the Communications Act 2003 which are expected to be in force at the time this licence would be granted but before making a final determination it is seeking comments, which have to be submitted by October 24.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seems set to be mired in more disputes over low-power FM policy following submissions by the National Association of Broadcasters, which is strongly against removing third-adjacent channel protections and National Public Radio, which also has reservations, especially in relation to its reading services.
The FCC has also announced that the first of six public hearings to be held by its Localism Task Force will take place on October 22 at the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Government Center Meeting Chamber, Charlotte, North Carolina.
On the penalties front, the Commission has been in a lenient mood, dropping one penalty and reducing two others related to tower offences (See RNW Oct 16).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-10-19: BBC Radio 4 breakfast "Today" show host John Humphrys threatened to quit the programme in a dispute over its decision to cut out comments concerning Iraq from an interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, according to a report in the UK Guardian, which has acquired a transcript of the segment that was dropped.
The paper says the incident has deepened conflict between Humphrys and the programme editor Kevin Marsh.
The BBC said it edited out the comments because the Archbishop had only agreed to be interviewed about this week's Lambeth Conference (See RNW Oct 18).
The crucial section of the interview followed a question about Dr Williams' putting his name, before he became Archbishop, to a statement that called the war on Iraq "immoral".
Asked if he still felt that way, the Archbishop replied, "Since the war has drawn to a close of military operations, I have been reflecting on where we are now, and my view is still that there are major questions about that enterprise. "
Humphrys: Was it immoral?
(A 12-second pause)
Archbishop: It seems to me that the action in Iraq was one around which there were so many questions about long-term results, about legal justification that I would find it very hard to give unqualified support to the rightness of that decision.
Humphrys: You hesitated a very long time before you answered that, Archbishop.
Archbishop: Immoral is a short word for a very, very long discussion.
RNW comment: Bearing in mind that the Archbishop, like other public figures who appear on radio and TV shows is neither a child nor a simpleton, we feel the BBC chickened out on this one. It disturbs us that such figures should be so insecure as to bar topics in advance in any situation and we further feel that it would be very healthy were figures who did so to be kept off the airwaves anyway (Oh dear! Where would that leave the US President and British Prime Minister?) - they are surely intelligent enough to politely refuse to answer if they judge an answer would be inappropriate. Having once answered, however, we feel they should have no right to call for censorship of their response although they would still have the right to protest that an agreement had been broken and they always have the choice to retreat from public comment in future.
UK Guardian report:
2003-10-19: Toronto-based Rogers Communications has cut its third quarter losses this year to around a fifth of what they were a year ago - from CAD 99.8 million (USD 75.8 million) to CAD 17.4 million (USD 13.3 million).
The company says that in the quarter to the end of September revenues were up 10.8% to CAD 1.22 billion (USD 930,000) and operating profits were up 28.7% to CAD 400 million (USD 305 million); in terms of its divisions, Rogers Wireless did best with a 15.3% revenue rise, followed by 9.1% for Rogers Cable and, lagging behind, 3.9% at Rogers Media, where Rogers says it was affected by "weakness in the Publishing and Radio divisions due to continued softness in selected advertising markets and the temporary impact of reformatting initiatives at certain of its radio stations." The corresponding rises in operating profits were 19.9 percent growth at Cable, 38.2 percent growth at Wireless, and 11.7 percent growth at Media.
Commenting on the figures, President and CEO Ted Rogers said, "Continued double-digit quarterly operating profit growth and disciplined capital spending resulted in another strong quarter. The focus across Rogers on consistent operating performance and profitable growth is apparent, with each of Cable, Wireless and Media producing year-over-year double-digit operating profit growth, which combined with our highly strategic set of assets, is positioning our business increasingly well for continued success".
Previous Ted Rogers:
2003-10-18: The BBC Radio 4 "Today" weekday breakfast show, which was at the centre of the row over the "sexing up" by the British government of its Iraqi arms dossier, is again mired in controversy over Iraq, this time after cutting from its Friday broadcast a section of an interview by host John Humphrys in which he asked the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, about the morality of the war in Iraq.
Listeners to the show just before 8am heard Humphrys trail his interview and say it would include a discussion on the war in Iraq and the issue of homosexuality for Anglicans but when the interview aired it dealt only with the latter issue.
During the news summary broadcast at 8a.m., the time when Humphrys was told of the decision, raised voices could be hear on air and the interview segment aired at 8:10 did not mention Iraq.
According to the BBC, Dr Williams complained when the interview was over that he had only agreed to be questioned about the issue of homosexual clergy, the subject of a Lambeth Conference, and after negotiations it agreed to drop the offending section.
2003-10-18: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and National Public Radio (NPR) have now each submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) concerning the field study of Low Power FM (LPFM) interference to third adjacent channel full power and translator stations conducted by the Mitre Corporation and Comsearch; NPR in August had asked for an extension of the deadline to submit its comments (See RNW Aug 19).
The NAB submission is stridently critical of Mitre and against LPFM whilst NPR supports a "trial implementation" subject to certain interference safeguards.
NAB says the study "entirely fails to address two key Congressional mandates: (1) that independent audience listening tests be conducted to establish what is objectionable interference; and (2) that an economic analysis be performed to determine the impact on full power FM stations if third adjacent channel protections were eliminated."
It adds that Mitre's report is also "fraught with major technical flaws, including site selection, frequency selection, receiver selection, receiver characterization and testing methodology, so that the resultant test data could in no way support any recommendation regarding the feasibility of relaxing third adjacent channel spacing requirements for LPFM stations" and continues later " the Report actually demonstrates the contrary of its purported conclusion, showing that listeners within a full power FM station's protected contour will experience harmful interference from LPFM stations located on third adjacent channels."
In NPR's case there is still criticism of the Mitre report but it is more measured with NPR commenting, "The field tests conducted by Mitre and Comsearch, though flawed in a number of respects, provide a basis to proceed in a measured way to authorize third adjacent LPFM stations."
" In the case of radio reading services, however, flaws in the how the study was conducted are fatal to its conclusion that 100 watt LPFM stations can be authorized on third adjacent channels to stations that carry radio reading services without materially impairing the reading service. Accordingly, we encourage the Commission and the Congress to grant the same protections in the future for radio stations providing radio reading services that are provided today."
"We believe that the best way for policy makers to implement LPFM is to begin with a measured trial period of interim LPFM service introduction. We believe such a trial period would be important in documenting the successful strategies of interference remediation and avoidance where it counts - in the real world; and, will greatly benefit all listeners who value public and community radio."
RNW comment: Although a number of NAB's criticisms of the Mitre report are scientifically well founded (tests, for example, were not blind tests but ones where the listening engineer was aware if LPFM was or was not present - which could have led to more reporting of interference if listening was keener, less if there was a predisposition to allow LPFM to go ahead - we suspect from NAB's past record that it will oppose LPFM come what may.
The NPR approach seems to us to be more balanced and sustainable but for NAB's lobbying power.
NAB submission (51 pages - 1.19 Mb PDF)
Link to Mitre report on LPFM (730 pages - 4.7 Mb PDF):
2003-10-18: South west London FM Thames 107.8 is to be re-launched tomorrow as Radio Jackie, run by the management team that put Jackie on air as a pirate station from March 1969 to February 1985; it was then was forced to close following complaints from Radio Mercury and raids by the authorities, allied with a change in the laws that closed a loophole it had exploited..
The team applied for the frequency in 1996 but it went to Thames Radio, who sold it to Jackie in March this year for GBP1 (USD 1.7). Since then the new owners have moved the station to new studios and revamped its output.
Radio Jackie web site
2003-10-17: US national radio advertising revenues in August were flat compared to a year earlier as national figures rose 5% and local ones declined 2% according to the latest figures from the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
The figures flesh out details released at the US National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) radio show in Philadelphia earlier this month (See RNW Oct 4)
On a year-to-date basis, total revenues are now up 2%; national sales are up 8% and local sales up 1% compared to a year ago.
In RAB's Sales Index, which takes 1998 year as a base equated to 100, the August combined index was 127.4; the national index was 127.9 and the local index 127.2; the corresponding year-to-date index figures were a combined total of 136.4, a national total of 143.3 and a local total of 134.5.
Commenting on the figures, RAB President and CEO Gary Fries said, "Radio continues to work its way through the erratic economy. "
"While business is being placed very close to the start time, it appears that September will be a positive month and the remainder of fourth quarter continues to strengthen."
Previous RAB monthly figures:
2003-10-17: NextMedia has announced agreement to buy WCCQ-FM serving Joliet, Illinois, from Rolland Johnson's Three Eagles Communications, Inc. for USD14.0 million in cash in a deal that would take it up to four stations in the market.
NextMedia radio President and Co-Chief Operating Officer Samuel "Skip" Weller said the acquisition was "consistent with our suburban radio strategy and strengthens our leading positions in Joliet and suburban Chicago", adding, " We look forward to continued success in Joliet as we integrate WCCQ-FM into our station portfolio."
Also in Chicago, Univision is expected to change formats at two of its stations according to Robert Feder of the Chicago Sun-Times; he says that WIND-AM, which had been a Spanish news/talk format when Univision took over Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation is expected to switch to an adult-contemporary music format, featuring Spanish oldies and ballads primarily from the 1980s and '90s.
Most of WIND's news/talk and information programs, says Feder, are expected to shift to Univision Radio's other AM, WVIV-AM, whose signal has been used to simulcast the "Viva" pop music format, which also airs on north suburban WVIV-FM and the recently acquired southwest suburban WJTW-FM.
2003-10-17: The Australian Commercial Radio National Conference is being held in Sydney today with astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who landed on the moon with Neil Armstrong in 1969, giving the keynote address on "Power and influence of media in the space age" before going on to speak at the Radio Charity Luncheon for Children's Cancer Institute Australia.
Among the sessions are a political panel, which will be addressed by Australian Federal Minister for Communications, Senator Daryl Williams, his shadow Lindsay Tanner MP, and Senator John Cherry, the Australian Democrats spokesperson on Communications; Williams will speak live by satellite from and present an overview of what he sees as the key policy issues for media in general and radio in particular in the short, medium and longer term.
There is also a regulatory panel to be addressed by Prof. David Flint, Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Authority,
Richard Hooper, Deputy Chair of Ofcom (the new British converged regulator of broadcasting, telecoms and spectrum), Dr Bob Horton, Acting Chair of the Australian Communications Authority, and Jonathan Levy, Deputy Chief Economist, US Federal Communications Commission.
The conference will also hear from Nick Piggott, Digital Content Manager, Creation with GWR Group plc, the UK's largest commercial radio broadcaster, about programming and content for digital radio - the future of broadcasting.
On Saturday, the winners of the 15th annual Australian Commercial Radio Awards are to be announced at a gala ceremony being hosted by Austereo's Hot 30 Countdown host Kyle Sandilands; Awards include those for Best On Air Team, Best Talk Personality, and Best New Australian Artist on Commercial Radio Award.
2003-10-17: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and federal marshals have closed down San Francisco Liberation Radio, which has been on the air for 10 years, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The paper says that an antenna on the roof, computers, tape and CD players, turntables, a mixing board and other equipment. Were seized in the raid on the station in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood.
FCC investigators had warned of a potential fine of up to USD 17,000 in July when they were refused entry to the station.
Shortly after this week's raid, Liberation Radio attorney Mark Vermeulen told the federal marshals that the station had applied to the FCC for a license in 2000 and had never been officially told it had been denied.
Charlotte Hatch, who along with her husband, Jim Hatch, has provided space in their building for the station for the past year, commented, "The airwaves belong to the people as of the 1934 Communications Act."
"They're like the national parks and the seashores, but they have been pre-empted by vast corporations. In this day and age, to get a legal station on the dial, you have to have millions of dollars to buy one."
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2003-10-17: Although MUSICMATCH and AOL retained their top station and network rankings in the latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings just released, AOL's listening fell back again and Launch increased its listening in second place; in the station rankings, a news/talk format was back in the first time for a long while as WLS-AM came in at fifth rank.
For the week to October 5, Arbitron'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 (*Non Commercial) - TTSL 708,802 (743,843); CP - 220,439 (224,249). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
2: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 285,013 (259,792); CP - 52,998 (52,779). Up from third with higher listening and reach.
3: Contemporary Christian K-Love (Non Commercial) TTSL 283,852 (350,980); CP - 45,507 (46,054). Down from second with lower listening and reach.
4: Classical WQXR-FM (Commercial) - TTSL 228,647 (228,588); CP - 29,688 (29,480). Up from fifth with slightly higher listening and reach.
5: News / Talk WLS-AM (Commercial) - TTSL 226,928 (204,244); CP - 44,722 (36,972). Up from eighth with higher listening and reach.
*Contemporary Hit Radio / Top 40 MUSICMATCH Top Hits (non-commercial) - fell from fourth to eighth with TTSL 206,040 (down from 234,339 (208,186); CP - 90,379 (102,220).
The top five networks for the week to October 5 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 4,737,212 (4,976,994); CP - 951,006 (960,585). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
2: LAUNCH TTSL (Commercial) - 3,958,611 (3,967,371); CP - 845,908 (841,075). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 2,088,883 (2,105,914); CP - 472,453 (472,497). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 1,266,150 (1,162,225); CP - 152,209 (144,521) - Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) TTSL - 539,215 (464,739); CP - 78,264 (75,652) - Same rank with higher listening and reach.
Arbitron does not now rank Content Delivery Networks (CDN) alongside other networks but does report on them; for the week the top Content Delivery Networks were Live365 with TTSL 2,487,968, up from 2,463,424 and StreamGuys with TTSL 478,917, down from 515,406.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings:
2003-10-16: DC-based private equity firm Arlington Capital Partners has announced that it is forming Cherry Creek Radio to create an" industry leading radio company serving small markets throughout the western United States" and as a first move is paying USD 41 million for Commonwealth Communications, which currently operates 24 stations in 9 markets.
The stations are in California, Washington, Montana, Arizona, Colorado, and North Dakota and Cherry Creek says it is also pursuing "additional station acquisition opportunities with complementary profiles."
Cherry Creek CEO Joe Schwartz said the "acquisition of Commonwealth Communications represents the first big step in building our radio group."
"Commonwealth," he added, " operates the #1 radio cluster in 8 of its 9 markets, with heritage stations and an exceptional employee base and station management."
In other recent US radio deals, Clear Channel is paying USD 10.5 million to Webster Communications to add KEFM-FM, Webster's sole radio station, to its existing four-station cluster in Omaha, Nebraska.
In Ohio, Maverick Media is paying Forever Broadcasting USD7 million for four Lima stations -- WLJM-AM, WFGF-FM, WUZZ-FM and WZOQ-FM, and also in Ohio Saga Communications is paying USD2.2 million to Scantland Broadcasting for Oldies-talk WBCO-AM and Classic Rock WQEL-FM, in Bucyrus.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Forever Broadcasting (US):
Previous Saga Communications:
2003-10-16: UK radio ratings company RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research Limited) is to launch a second stage of meter tests in July next year for which it has agreed a development budget of GBP 500,000 (USD 836,000); in July this year it announced that, following 15 months of testing, neither the Arbitron or Radiocontrol systems was capable of meeting its needs.
In particular it noted concerns that the different systems produced different results with reach results varying by a factor of nearly two in one case and listening hours by a factor of more than seven in the same case.
RAJAR has been in discussions about its findings with the developers of each system and its managing director Jane O'Hara commented, "I am pleased to announce that both Arbitron and Radiocontrol are developing exciting new generation technology which we hope will prove to be more suitable for the UK market. We are keen to begin tests with both of them; however, disappointingly but understandably, neither company can deliver test equipment to us until July 2004."
"We are also actively seeking additional suppliers of new technology that may provide a cost efficient and effective measurement system. We remain hopeful that a meter can be found which is able to meet the requirements of RAJAR's stakeholders - BBC Radio, Commercial Radio, the IPA and ISBA."
"These include the monitoring of listening across all platforms. Only then can we responsibly consider the possibility of moving to electronic measurement. Until that time we are happy to stay with the diary system in line with the rest of the world's top radio markets."
The announcement combined with a further release of radiocontrol meter figures by Gfk media (see below) spurred yet another attack on RAJAR by Wireless Group chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie whose flagship talkSPORT fares much better with the Gfk ratings; he yet again accused the official ratings body of finding any way to delay the inevitable introduction of electronic metering and yet again threatened to take RAJAR to court. (RNW comment: As we commented last month - see RNW Sept 3 - we rather wish MacKenzie would put his money where his mouth is on this one. Other companies as in the US where there are reservations about Arbitron's Portable People Meter are quite entitled to decide for themselves where to go for audience measurements and, we suggest, are quite capable of rational decisions about the strengths and weaknesses of the competing systems available and also what changes they feel are required to give them the information they feel they need from them.
It is a matter of regret for us, however, that the information RAJAR has been allowed to give out by Arbitron and Radiocontrol doesn't give us a clue which is the Station M with the widest divergence between the two systems - 6.1% reach on "Meter Y" compared to 12% on Meter "X" and corresponding listening of 3,843,000 hours 482,000 hours on the other.
Whichever station it is, we can't see Kelvin rooting for electronic metering per se (as opposed to the favourable one) were his station the one with the much lower figures.)
MacKenzie also attacked RAJAR over its refusal to give details of its tests and regarding this, O'Hara commented, "Since our announcement last July we have received many requests for information about the tests that we undertook into the two audiometers, the Arbitron Portable People Meter (PPM) and the Radiocontrol wristwatch."
"Unfortunately it has not been possible to answer all the queries as RAJAR has been held to confidentiality agreements with both developers."
She added that both organisations had given permission to release an example of the differences: as already noted, it showed major differences between the two systems.
The RAJAR announcement coincided with the latest release of Gfk's Broadcast Media Survey, this time running up to September 14.
The Gfk results, based on results from some 2000 individuals using the radiocontrol meter system, showed that for the period June 23rd - September 14th, BBC Radio 4 remained the most listened to UK network but dropped back a little and talkSPORT held on to its lead in the commercials sector but again had fewer listeners.
Overall the weekly reach figures for the main UK networks from GFK for the period from June 23 - Sept 14 (with in brackets Gfk prior period, running from May 19 to August 17, and then RAJAR figures to the end of June) in rank order were:
BBC Radio 4 - 17.99 million (18.05 million; 9.70 million): Unchanged 40% of potential national 45 million adult audience.
BBC Radio 2 - 16.10 million (15.74 million; 13.03 million): Up from 35% to 37%.
BBC Radio 1 - 12.98 million (12.62 million; 9.87 million): Up from 28% to 29%.
BBC Radio Five Live - 8.79 million (8.82 million; 5.80 million): Down from 20% to 19%
BBC World Service - 4.75 million (4.75 million); Unchanged 11%.
BBC Radio 3 - 3.91 million (4.0 million; 2 million): Unchanged 9%.
talkSPORT (The Wireless Group 0 - - 6.20 million (6.28 million; 2.16 million): Reach unchanged at 14%.
Classic FM (GWR) - 5.75 million (6.12 million; 5.57 million): Reach down from 14% to 13%.
Virgin (SMG) - 4.11 million (4.34 million; 2.80 million): Reach down from 10% to 9%.
Gfk also released, for the first time, listening figures for the London area; these showed that for the period from March 10 to September 14 Chrysalis's Heart FM was listened to more than Capital FM, although the latter retained its lead in reach with some 200,000 more in its audience each week.
It said Heart had a total of 7.7 million listening hours per week, compared to 7.4 million for Capital, giving the former a 17.6% share of listening and the latter 17%. Third placed was Magic FM with 14.2% of listening.
The top five London stations for the period in terms of weekly reach were, according to Gfk,
Capital FM - 2,63 million (26% of the potential 10.25 million audience).
Heart FM - 2.42 million (24%).
Magic FM 1.99 million (19%)
talkSPORT 1.68 million ( 16%)
Kiss FM 1.67 million ( 16%)
BBC Radio London was eighth with 1,29 million (13%).
Previous Gfk and GfK ratings:
Previous RAJAR ratings:
2003-10-16: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has cancelled a USD 15,000 penalty for antenna lighting offences, reduced another from USD 7,000 to USD 5,500 and trimmed a third from USD 3,000 to USD 2,400.
Cancelled was a notice of apparent liability served on NextMedia, licensee of WJER-AM, Erie, Pennsylvania, which was alleged to have failed to make an observation of an antenna structure's lights at least once each 24 hours, to notify the Federal Aviation Administration (" FAA") that the obstruction lighting was improperly functioning, and to exhibit obstruction lighting from sunset to sunrise.
The Commission said that, based on NextMedia's response, it concluded that there had not been a wilful violation of two rules and, based on Nextmedia's good faith efforts to comply and its history of overall compliance, no forfeiture should be imposed regarding a breach of a third rule.
Reduced from USD 7,000 to USD 5,500 was a penalty imposed on Commonwealth License Subsidiary, LLC, licensee of Station KLMR-AM, Lamar, Colorado, for failure to provide effective locked fences enclosing the station's two antenna structures.
The offence related to a wooden fence around towers that was only around four feet tall and had missing wooden pickets and also an unlocked gate in the fence to one of the towers.
Commonwealth had argued for cancellation saying that the towers were in a remote area and the fences had for thirty years "been of sufficient height to protect anyone near the base of the towers."
The FCC rejected the arguments but reduced the penalty on the basis of a history of compliance.
Also reduced on the basis of a good record, in this case from USD 3,000 to USD 2,4000, was a penalty imposed on Sutro Corporation of Payette, Idaho, for failure to register an antenna structure that is used for various communications purposes including broadcast stations.
Sutro had argued fro cancellation because it had made unsuccessful attempts to register the structure and had a history of compliance. The latter gained it a reduction, the other arguments were rejected.
2003-10-16: BBC Radio Five Live has confirmed that Victoria Derbyshire, currently its breakfast co-host, is to take over its mid-morning show from next summer when she returns to work after maternity leave; she is expecting her first child next year.
In the meantime Julian Worricker will continue to host the 0900 to noon weekday slot on the station.
Derbyshire said of her new role, "I'm thrilled; the people who listen to this show make it the best phone-in programme on British radio... some of the most priceless moments I've ever heard on the airwaves have come from the callers to the programme.
"Next year will be special with a huge year of sport for Five Live so it's a brilliant time to be taking over the phone-in."
Of her current role - she has co-hosted the breakfast show first with Worricker and then with Nicky Campbell - she said, "It's been a privilege to work on Breakfast for five years and I've loved every minute of it.
Bob Shennan, Controller of Radio Five Live, said: "Victoria has been a mainstay of the station for over five years and I am delighted that she has agreed to host the phone in programme from next summer."
"2004 is a massive year for Five Live with two key sporting events, Euro 2004 and the Olympics, so it's great that Victoria will be in her new role to be part of that."
No announcement has yet been made as to who, if anyone, will replace Derbyshire on the breakfast show.
2003-10-15: North Carolina highway patrolman and "avid cyclist" Kevin Bray has filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against Clear Channel's WDCG-FM, Raleigh, following comments by disc jockeys Bob Dumas and Madison Lane against cyclists last month.
In one programme on September 22, according to the Chicago Tribune, one caller boasted that her father intentionally hit a cyclist while they were on the way to church and one of the hosts promoted the joys of hitting cyclists with Yoo-hoo bottles.
Bray found that three Clear Channel stations had engaged in anti-cyclist diatribes, starting with WMJI-FM in Cleveland where DJs suggested cyclists be rammed off the road.
Lois Cowan, who co-owns four bike shops in the Cleveland area, called to defend cyclists and said the response was that she "was repeatedly called a buffoon, an idiot and a PMS sufferer who couldn't take a joke. Then there were three hours of calls from people saying, `Yeah, you guys are right.'"
She responded by organising a bombardment of protests to the station that eventually agreed among other things to broadcast hundreds of public-service announcements about the need to share the road.
Cowan said she doesn't believe that Clear Channel is encouraging the anti-cycling venom and thinks it more probable that word spread among disc jockeys that knocking cyclists is sure to push emotional buttons with their listeners.
After the Cleveland controversy, DJs at KLOL-FM in Houston went on an anti-biking rampage shortly after an incident in which a woman driving a pickup truck had lost control and slammed into a 20-bike pace line, killing two riders and injuring eight others.
Bray commented that there seemed to be an ominous pattern and added, "All I can say is, `Who's next?' What these people are doing is some sort of sick marketing ploy."
He wrote an e-mail to the shock jocks, warning them they were instructing the motoring public in how to commit assault with a deadly weapon -- their cars and said he was reporting them to the FCC.
"I don't know much about radio broadcasting," he wrote. "But I have enough sense to know that these acts are either illegal or contrary to the code of ethics you should be bound by when the FCC allows you to go on the air."
The station initially responded by referring to the show as "animated banter" but later issued an apology on air after a demonstration and threats by advertisers to withdraw their adverts.
Clear Channel said each station was "operated and produced independently" and "each station is working to correct the problem in their city."
RNW comment: Much as we support a policy of giving local stations as much autonomy as possible, we would not let a corporate parent off the hook in a case where criminal behavious is encouraged.
In such a case we take the view that if DJs who support calls for motorists to attack cyclists are not penalised the corporate owner is unfit to hold licences.
It won't happen but if action by a broadcaster's employee that could reasonably be held to encourage criminal acts that could cause death is not taken very seriously and penalised, we think the broadcaster should almost always lose its licence for the station concerned and have to demonstrate why all its licences should not also be revoked. Losing one licence would be a mere drop in the ocean for Clear Channel but the effect of such a loss would certainly reverberate to good effect throughout the industry. Compared to this kind of incitement, indecency offences in our view are comparatively harmless: They may offend but they can't kill.
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Tribune report:
2003-10-15: Although the Rush Limbaugh Show is now airing without Limbaugh, his web site continues its normal diet together with links to articles in his support and a message asking supporters who have asked how they could help to "stay tuned to your local affiliate radio station, listen, and participate as always."
Premiere Networks, who syndicate the Limbaugh show, says only a handful of the advertisers have held off their spots for the host's return.
On others' airwaves Limbaugh has not always fared as well with Don Imus being among the most vitriolic. Imus, who was himself off air in the 70s and 80s because of cocaine and alcohol addiction, said on his WFAN-AM "Imus in the Morning" show that, "Rush is a fat, pill-popping loser and an undisciplined slob who was turning his maid into a drug pusher, and she's the one who's gonna go to prison, and - as soon as he gets caught - he starts whining."
Sympathy came more form fellow conservatives with Sean Hannity saying he wished Limbaugh a speedy recovery and then adding on his own syndicated radio show, "I know the Rush critics out there - the 'those who want to see any conservative fall on their face' crowd - will probably meet the news with glee and joy and happiness."
Among those who apparently did was Al Franken, the political humorist and author of "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot" who told CNN has had no sympathy for Limbaugh whom he termed a "dishonest demagogue."
Previous Premiere Networks:
2003-10-15: The US Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) has announced the award of more than USD 3 million in "matching" grants for digital radio investment by 42 public radio stations in 13 "seed markets", its first digital transition grants.
The markets were identified by iBiquity Corporation, whose HD IBOC (in-band-on-channel) system has been adopted in the US; they are Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Miami, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Atlanta, Detroit, Las Vegas, and Washington, DC.
CPB Broadcasting President and CEO Robert T. Coonrod commented, "We are ushering in a new era of public service radio for the American people. Digital public radio holds great promise to serve listeners in ways never before possible. For the first time, radio will be able to provide data in addition to sound - which could change how everyone uses radio."
In addition to the grants CPB has earmarked USD 6.75 million in second round funding (allocated by Congress for Fiscal Year 2003) to assist stations, including those serving rural and minority markets, in making the digital transition. Stations will be able to apply for this second round of digital funding later this fall (autumn).
2003-10-14: Australian commercial radio revenues in September this year were 14.3% up on a year earlier at AUD 43.8 million (USD 30 million) according to figures from Pricewaterhouse Coopers that show advertising revenue was up by double digit figures in all of the five capital city markets of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
Commenting on the figures, which are out just before Australia's commercial radio industry holds its annual conference (In Sydney on October 17), Commercial Radio Australia chief executive officer Joan Warner said, "The result was the strongest monthly growth figure since August 2000 and augurs well for the December quarter, which is traditionally a peak period for radio advertising in the lead up to Christmas."
"This is certainly a good indicator that the advertising recovery is beginning to flow through to commercial radio. The strong economic conditions, coupled with the success of the industry's brand campaign in raising awareness of the benefits of radio advertising are likely to see good results continue into the next quarter."
Warner added that there had been a strong response, particularly in regional areas, the Australian commercial radio industry's campaign to increase the sector's share of advertising revenue.
An evaluation of the campaign is to start this month and Warner said, "In an increasingly competitive market, it is essential that we increase radio's share of the spend of current radio advertisers and to bring new advertisers into radio. Industries targeted include finance and banking, real estate and telecommunications and also the youth market."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2003-10-14: Nashville sports host George Plaster has now moved to host a new sports show on Citadel's talk format WGFX-FM (formerly a classic hits station) following a court ruling against his former employers, Gaylord Entertainment, who had obtained an injunction to prevent the former host of WWTN-FM's "SportsTalk" from working for another station in the Nashville market.
The injunction had followed a dispute between Plaster and Gaylord, which in July sold WSM-FM and WWTN-FM to Cumulus Media for USD 65 million (See RNW July 23).
Gaylord said the host was still under a four-year, USD 600,000 contract but Plaster, who filed a USD 3.6 million counter suit, claims his contract became null and void when Gaylord sent him a notice of termination in April following its decision to sell both WWTN and WSM-FM to Cumulus.
In making the ruling, Davidson County Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman said no irreparable harm would be done to Gaylord if Plaster were to broadcast for WGFX-FM but the host could suffer harm in the event he was kept off the airwaves for a two-year period.
Nashville City Paper report:
2003-10-14: BBC Radio 1 has announced that it has completed the re-vamp of its weekend line-up with the signing of Vernon Kay, best known as the presenter of Channel 4 TV's T4, to host its Sunday 1500-1600 slot from January next year; until then Nemone's current show has been extended by an hour to run from 1300-1600.
BBC Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt said that Kay was, "a magnetic presenter who'll be bringing a massive dose of energy to the Sunday afternoon show."
Parfitt, whose channel has been dogged by falling ratings, has told the UK Guardian in an interview that he isn't over concerned about the drop in audience and is sticking to a two-year plan that has been backed by the Corporation's board.
"The change is evolutionary rather than revolutionary," he told the paper. "We are changing not to satisfy the restless media magpies of London but listeners around the country. I'm not going to be blown off course by journalists who are not our target audiences."
Parfitt, who has been in his job for five years, has changed the station significantly over the past year; the paper lists among them his role swap that is to move Sara Cox from breakfast to drive time and Chris Moyles the other way (See RNW Oct 8), axed Steve Lamacq's long-standing Evening Session (See RNW Dec 11, 2002),replaced Mark Goodier with Wes Butters on the chart show (See RNW Feb 8), ditched Sarah HB and KC, and hired Zane Low from Xfm (See RNW March 28)
Parfitt says that had Radio 1 not had the past tag of being the UK's most popular network, people would marvel at how it reaches half the country's youngsters and an audience that "dwarfs any other youth brand in this market".
"People talk a lot about Xfm in London, he said. "It's a fine station, but its whole audience (437,000) is about the same size as the audience for Sunday Surgery, our emotional advice programme. Radio 1 is huge still, it's an enormous influence and big service among young people."
Parfitt also commented on Radio 1's public service remit, saying, "Every day we walk this tightrope between critical mass and actually reaching forward and doing something which is what public money should do, which is invest in the future."
" I absolutely don't get someone wagging their finger, saying 'put some bums on seats'. I think that would be outrageous because we are a quintessentially public-service organisation where it's not first and foremost about putting bums on seats."
The paper also reports that Mark and Lard (Mark Radcliffe and Marc Riley), Radio 1's 1300-1500 show hosts, are being lined up for a move to BBC Radio 2, currently the UK's most listened to network with a weekly audience of some 13 million compared to just under 10 million for Radio 1.
Parfitt, asked about the possible move, said the duo were "happily ensconced" " in their slot but ducked a direct answer and continued, "I think that as Radio 1 has been put centre stage, broadcasters that are on Radio 1 have lives after Radio 1 and it's inevitable that presenters move on."
"It's always my intention, if a presenter wants to move on, or I want a presenter to move on, for them to find a place within the BBC if they're really talented."
UK Guardian - Parfitt interview
UK Guardian report on Mark and Lard:
2003-10-14: Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) has announced a new regional arts programme, as yet to be named, to go on the air from November 21 on all its stations.
The show will air on Fridays at 10a.m. and will build on the foundation created by MPR's weekly Friday evening half-hour arts round-up Word of Mouth, which ends its run on November 14.
Host of the new show will be Marianne Combs, who was the producer of and a frequent reporter for Word of Mouth whilst Word of Mouth host Chris Roberts will be the primary contributor of feature stories for the new programme and will assume a prominent role as arts reporter for all Minnesota Public Radio newsmagazines.
2003-10-13: In a week in which Rush Limbaugh left the US airwaves for treatment for drug addiction, his story has dominated media cover relating to radio in the US, with a air smattering of cover elsewhere in the world, much of it still relating to his comments about black quarterback Donovan McNabb that led to his departure from ESPN's Sunday sports show.
In general El Rushbo has been getting a much easier ride than he has given people in similar predicaments in the past. As Clarence Page put it in the Chicago Tribune, "Memo to Rush Limbaugh: Hey, Rush, we're counting on you, pal. Now that you might be feeling the hot breath of drug prosecutors on your neck, perhaps you might speak out for more enlightened treatment of non-violent drug offenders."
Page went on to comment that drug addiction is a disease and add, "If someone has an addiction problem and he or she hasn't hurt anybody with it, I think treatment will do the drug user and society a lot more good than throwing the person into the slammer."
He also noted that the non-profit Drug Policy Alliance supported Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's call for respect and privacy regarding the arrest of his 26-year-old daughter, Noelle, for trying to buy Xanax without a prescription last year but then added, "Gov. Bush has cut drug-treatment and drug-court budgets. He also flatly opposes a possible ballot initiative like the one California passed a few years ago that would divert non-violent drug offenders away from prison and into treatment programs."
Page goes on to note Limbaugh's comments in the past "wavered on the drug issue between the libertarian and authoritarian wings of the conservative movement", varying between statements at one time that drug takers "ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up" and at another of drug cartels, Make them taxpayers and then sue them. Sue them left and right and then get control of the price and generate tax revenue from it. Raise the price sky high and fund all sorts of other wonderful social programs."
At the Chicago Sun-Times, columnist Richard Roeper was somewhat less supportive of Limbaugh and his acolytes, commenting on feedback to him from them, "hardly any of the dittoheads who contacted me even mentioned the scandal. I guess they're waiting for all the facts to come in before passing judgment -- just as they'd do if Al Franken were the one who might have been popping OxyContins like Skittles."
And as for ESPN? "Curiously, few of Limbaugh's defenders talked about his jelly-spined resignation from ESPN."
"On Wednesday, Limbaugh told his radio audience, "All this is really oriented around the fact that I was right," and, "The point is, I'm right about it. I'll say it again today. I'm dead right about it... "
"And then, hours later, Limbaugh quit. You'd think his position would have been: "If ESPN has a problem with me, they can fire me." But El Rushbo said he didn't want to make life difficult for the fine folks at ESPN, so he was stepping down."
"Geez. What a wuss."
And as for racially biased comments by Limbaugh, Roeper gives chapter and verse of his source for a number of statements made by Limbaugh and then ends, "However, I will say that if I erred, it was in not going with some of Limbaugh's equally appalling but more easily confirmed quotes about race. Lord knows they're out there."
"But I am heartened to learn that so many of Limbaugh's fans are such sticklers for accuracy and accountability. I'm sure they hold their guy to the same standards, day in and day out."
At the Buffalo News, Rod Watson called for a "Resurrect Rush" campaign, going on later to write, "My fear is that confining folks like Rush to some little talk-radio corner of the world is keeping them much too far away for safekeeping. "
"Limbaugh has 20 million "dittohead" fans for his daily radio show. In a nation of 281 million, that leaves 261 million rational residents who probably have only a vague idea how ridiculous Limbaugh and his ideological brethren really are. "
"That kind of mass ignorance among us non-dittoheads is dangerous. It lets ideas from people like Limbaugh fester and grow, like mold in a dark, dank corner: Before you know it, it's out of control."
"Having him expose himself (intellectually, so to speak) on mainstream television lets middle America learn all it needs to know about the far right in an easy-to-digest fashion in a medium no one's ashamed to tune in to."
" We need a rotating stable of "big, fat idiots" - Rush Limbaugh, G. Gordon Liddy, Armstrong Williams et al. - who take turns popping up on mass-audience programs so that middle America can easily keep abreast of what the far right is up to while getting the latest scores, soap opera updates or whatever else we're really interested in."
"The pundits will get whacked down when they say something stupid - like Rush did - disappear for a while, and then pop up somewhere else. But at least we'll be able to keep an eye on them without going to a whole lot of trouble."
There were of course some defenders for Limbaugh but we suspect the links on his site will get you to most of them so will move on to an article from the Free Times in Cleveland in which John Gorman says that Clear Channel's recent decision to concentrate on the bottom line rather than ratings (See RNW Aug 27) is a "prescription for disaster."
After running through some of the company's history, Gorman writes, "Since the beginning of the radio industry, success was measured by ratings. Survey results determine what a station charged for advertising by its audience share, listening patterns and demographics. A ratings drop translates to a management overhaul, a format change or both."
"Hogan [Clear channel radio CEO John Hogan] now claims that ratings have nothing to do with a station's revenue and that market share does not automatically equal more profits. 'One of the things long important to and characteristic about radio has been market share,' said Hogan in a recent statement. 'But while we want to be focused on competing against other radio stations, we want to be even more focused on profitability than market share now.'"
"The obvious comparison is the automotive industry in the '70s, best chronicled by author David Halberstam's The Reckoning. In it, he says, 'The public was not the people who bought the car, the public was the people who bought the stock.'"
"Substitute the word car for radio," continued Gorman. "Detroit automakers were convinced that no one would ever buy a car that was labeled Made In Japan."
"Clear Channel corporate CEO Lowry Mays probably didn't read Halberstam's book. Earlier this year, he told Fortune Magazine, "We're not in the business of providing news and information. We're not in the business of providing well-researched music. We're simply in the business of selling our customers' products."
Like the automobile industry, that thought it had a captive market, Gorman concludes, "Clear Channel views radio listeners as a captive audience. In their world, since the majority of radio listening is done while commuting, people have no choice but to listen to their product - good or bad. Their hubris blinds them to the fact many vehicles are equipped with CD players and cell phones and satellite radio and Internet radio via Wi-Fi, all offering significant alternatives to their insipid fare."
Those comments about the nature of radio would have been very different more than half a century ago and those days were recalled in a New York Times article by Joseph Berger about veteran Himan Brown who worked on such popular radio programmes as Dick Tracey, which was based on the cartoon character created in 1931 and ran from 1935-48, the radio horror show Inner Sanctum Mysteries that began on the NBC Blue network in 1941 and ran until 1952, and Grand Central Station that ran on CBS from 1937-54.
The shows have long been gone but Brown fought a worthy rearguard action and in the 1970's pestered CBS into letting him produce a revival of "Inner Sanctum" called "CBS Radio Mystery Theater" that lasted from 1974 to 1982.
Even after that he didn't give up and is now at the age of 93 still producing radio dramas about influential Americans that are broadcast on Brooklyn College's tiny radio station, WBCR-AM.
"I am firmly convinced that nothing visual can touch audio," Brown said. "I don't need 200 orchestra players doing the `Ride of the Valkyries.' I don't need car chases. I don't need mayhem. All I need to do is creak the door open, and visually your head begins to go. The magic word is imagination."
On radio today, he commented, "There is no such thing as radio anymore. Radio is nothing more than 24 one-minute commercials an hour with a minute and a half between commercials."
Brown's own life story would be worthy of a radio drama: the son of a tailor from a shtetl near the Ukrainian seaport of Odessa, he got into the business as a result of an enthusiasm for what was then the next new thing.
"I was in knee pants, and a shop teacher at Boys High School said, `There's a new thing now, radio,' " Brown recalled. "You bring in a Quaker Oats box and wrap copper wire around it and you heard WLW in Cincinnati. What a revelation that was right here in Brooklyn."
He began by persuading NBC station WEAF-AM that he could read a newspaper column in a Yiddish dialect, moved on to create the live 15-minute drama "The Rise of the Goldbergs" with Gertrude Berg then, after being told "to get lost" by her sold an Italian version "Little Italy" as well creating a pre-Passover show about a matchmaker called "Bronx Marriage Bureau."
He also studied to be a lawyer and by then a lawyer, Mr. Brown also discovered that he could buy the rights to characters from the comics or novels, like "Dick Tracy" and "Bulldog Drummond."
"The Thin Man," whose rights he bought from Dashiell Hammett's agent, breathed new life into the long-married but still flirtatious couple who in bed hash out the solution to a murder then bid each other a suggestive good night with a pull on a lamp chain.
After television came along, Brown turned his hand to the new medium but failed to achieve the success he had with radio, and moved sideways to buy studios in Chelsea that for 35 years were used as sets for TV series like "The Phil Silvers Show."
After the above it would seem only reasonable to note that radio drama may be dead in US commercial radio but it still goes on in other countries where there is licence fee funding.
In the UK, the BBC has an afternoon play, a Friday Play and a Saturday play as well as the Classic Serial, the daily farming soap, The Archers, and many readings - and they are all available online live or for up to a week after their airing. See the link below if tempted to sample the service.
BBC Radio 4 arts web page - links to various plays etc.
Buffalo News - Watson on Limbaugh:
Chicago Tribune - Page on Limbaugh:
Chicago Sun-Times - Roeper on Limbaugh:
Cleveland Free Times - Gorman:
New York Times - Berger:
2003-10-13: Harris Corporation says it has won a transmitter contract from Mexican broadcaster Grupo Acir to install its Z-CD FM Series, HT FM Series, DX(TM) AM Medium Wave Digital Series and DAX(TM) AM Digital Series transmitters in several of the group's AM and FM stations.
It is hopeful for further orders from Grupo ACIR, which has more than 160 radio stations in Mexico.
Harris says its DAX AM digital transmitter delivers the cleanest analogue sound in the 1-6 KW power range and also the most accurate reproduction of iBiquity's he In-Band, On-Channel (IBOC) HD Radio signal and that for higher powers the transmitters "provide unsurpassed audio performance, improved coverage, simple operation, the lowest cost of operation, and the highest reliability of any medium wave transmitter."
Previous Grupo Acir:
2003-10-13: The launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota of HAMSAT, India's first communication satellite exclusively for Indian amateur radio operators (HAMs),has been postponed.
It was originally scheduled for October 10 but some problems were observed on the 40 kg micro satellite that was to have been an auxiliary load on the RESOURCESAT mission, which itself has been delayed.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is now readying the launch vehicle for a RESOURCESAT launch window that begins on October 16 but is to put the HAMSAT on a later mission.
HAMSAT, also known as VUSAT, will have a UHF uplink and VHF downlink and two HAM stations from Lucknow are expected to go on air using it.
Previous Indian Radio:
2003-10-12: Last week was fairly quiet for the regulators with nothing of radio interest from Australia, Ireland or the UK and only a low level of activity in North America.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in a few routine changes; in order of province they included:
Approval of new 40 watts transmitters in Sun Peaks for CKBZ-FM and CIFM-FM Kamloops.
Approval of new 1000 watts transmitter in MacKenzie for CKDV-FM Prince George. Linked with this was approval of request for revocation of the licence of CKMK MacKenzie
Approval of frequency for new Rogers Broadcasting 's 70,000 watts Winnipeg FM
Denial of application to change contours of low-power Christian Music CKOE-FM, Moncton, by changing its frequency, increasing power from 50 watts to 2,800 watts, relocating its transmitter and increasing the antenna height. The Commission said it took the view that the applicant has not, as required when a licensee of a low-power radio station files an application to change its operating class to that of a higher-powered, protected station, presented compelling evidence of either economic or technical need for the proposed changes.
Denial of application to change contours of low-power commercial station CJUK-FM, Thunder Bay, by increasing power from 37 watts to 15,000 watts, relocating its transmitter and increasing the antenna height. The Commission said it took the view that the applicant has not, as required when a licensee of a low-power radio station files an application to change its operating class to that of a higher-powered, protected station, presented compelling evidence of either economic or technical need for the proposed changes.
Approval of power decrease from 740 watts to 510 watts and contour change for new transmitter in L'Anse-Saint-Jean for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's CBJ-FM, Saguenay.
Extension of deadline until August 31 next year for CJAD-AM and CJFM-FM Montréal, to implement authorities for transitional digital radio undertakings at Montréal and Laval.
In the US, the main story of interest from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) related to a new tougher policy concerning the keeping of public files; it fined 28 stations a total of USD 3,000 each although it did renew their licences (See RNW Oct 9).
The Commission also levied a USD 4,000 penalty on an Arizona FM over the broadcast without advance notice of a conversation between radio host Beau Duran and Flynn Kile, the widow of St. Louis Cardinals' baseball pitcher Darryl Kile, in October last year (See RNW Oct 8)
In Colorado it as issued a show cause order to Pilgrim Communications to show why its Station KVLE- FM, Gunnison, Colorado, should not change channels so as to allow Mayflower- Crawford Broadcasters to provide Crawford, Colorado, with its first local station.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
2003-10-12: In a further sign that US satellite radio is moving towards the mainstream, Delphi Corporation has announced that it has now shipped more than 1.2 million receivers for Sirius and XM.
The total was made up of 475,000 retail units and 770,000 factory- installed satellite radio units and Delphi chairman and CEO J.T. Battenberg, III, commented, "The satellite radio market has just taken off at an amazing rate. This technology takes radio to the next level of sophistication, convenience and owner-satisfaction. It is great to be out in front of the rest of the market."
2003-10-12: Maritime Broadcasting Ltd in Canada is broadcasting a six-hour fundraising drive on its 26 radio stations in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island today as part of a drive to restore the Public Gardens in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which were severely damaged by hurricane Juan last Monday.
Maritime chairman Bob Pace, who has a sentimental reason to aid the restoration because his wedding photographs were taken in the park, says he hopes to get support from both members of the public and corporations.
Maritime itself has started the campaign with a CAD 100,000 (USD 75,000) donation.
2003-10-12: Long time California DJ Bill Collins, who was with KNEW-AM, Oakland, for 26 years until he retired in 1997, has died aged 67.
He began his radio career at WOIO-AM at Ohio State University, and worked at three Cleveland stations before moving to the Bay Area and landing a job at KNEW. After he retired he fulfilled a lifelong dream by getting a pilot's license.
In October 1989 when the Loma Prieta earthquake struck in the middle of his afternoon drive-time show he switched from country DJ to newscaster, broadcasting news and taking phone calls from listeners through most of the night.
San Francisco Chronicle obituary:
2003-10-11: Drug addiction has now done what legions of critics failed to do and taken conservative US talk host Rush Limbaugh off the air; he announced on his show on Friday that he was taking a month off immediately to "to once and for all break the hold this highly addictive medication has on me."
Limbaugh is reported to be under investigation for allegedly buying thousands of addictive painkillers from a black-market drug ring.
The host, who has posted on his web site an MP3 audio track of the comments on his show, told his listeners that he is "addicted to prescription pain medication."
He continued, "I first started taking prescription painkillers some years ago when my doctor prescribed them to treat post surgical pain following spinal surgery. Unfortunately the surgery was unsuccessful, and I continued to have severe pain in my lower back and also in my neck due to herniated discs."
"I am still experiencing that pain. Rather than opt for additional surgery for these conditions, I chose to treat the pain with prescribed medication. This medication turned out to be highly addictive. Over the past several years I have tried to break my dependence on pain pills and, in fact, twice checked myself into medical facilities in an attempt to do so. I have recently agreed with my physician about the next steps. Immediately following this broadcast, I am checking myself into a treatment centre for the next 30 days to once and for all break the hold this highly addictive medication has on me."
Regarding the investigation, he said, "At the present time the authorities are conducting an investigation, and I have been asked to limit my public comments until this investigation is complete. So, I will only say that the stories you have read and heard contain inaccuracies and distortions, which I will clear up when I am free to speak about them."
"I deeply appreciate all of your support over this last tumultuous week. It has sustained me. I ask now for your prayers. I look forward to resuming our excursion into broadcast excellence together."
The story concerning Limbaugh's addiction first appeared in the National Enquirer, which says it just "reported the facts."
While Limbaugh is off the air his show, which is syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks, is to continue what Limbaugh terms "with an array of guest hosts you have come to know and respect."
Limbaugh Web site (has links to comments in Windows Media streaming format and MP3):
Limbaugh comments (1.78 Mb MP3)
Premiere web site:
2003-10-11: Lesley Douglas, currently Head of Programmes BBC Radio 2 and deputy to its controller Jim Moir, has beaten off stiff competition from applicants from commercial radio and been named to succeed him in the role of running the UK's most listened to radio station - it has some 13 million listeners each week - after he retires at the end of this year.
She will also be responsible for the BBC's new digital music station BBC 6 Music.
Douglas, who will take over at the beginning of January next year, said she was "absolutely thrilled" about the appointment, adding, "Radio 2 is a wonderful station that is passionate about its listeners and music and I'm glad that I've been involved in its evolution over the past few years."
"Taking over the controllership is a huge responsibility but immensely exciting with the bonus of having the chance to develop BBC 6 Music into a mature digital radio station. There can't be a better job in broadcasting."
Douglas began her BBC career as a Production Assistant, first in a research department then moving in 1985 to the David Jacobs show. After this she was a producer in the Music and Promotions department before being promoted to Editor, Radio 2 Presentation and Planning in 1993, Managing Editor, BBC Radio 2 in 1997, and Head of Programmes in 2000.
Commenting on the appointment, Jenny Abramsky, Director of BBC Radio & Music, says: "Lesley Douglas has played a major role working alongside Jim Moir in making Radio 2 the phenomenal success it is today. "
"She is absolutely the right person to take the network forward, cherishing its combination of a broad range of quality music output with a variety of current affairs, comedy, arts and religious programming."
Still with the BBC, the UK Daily Telegraph says the Radio 4 breakfast "Today" programme host John Humphrys is seriously considering a lucrative radio and TV deal involving London talk station LBC, although Humphrys himself did not comment and LBC has denied approaching him.
Humphrys, who is now 60, is reported to earn some GBP 250,000 (USD 415,000) a year from Today and has been with the programme for 17 years; his current contract ends soon and, although he has in the past turned down other offers, he is now said to considering a move outside the BBC more seriously.
In part this is attributed to unhappiness with the programme in recent times, the possibility of a clampdown on presenters' outside activities after the row over allegations made on Today by its defence correspondent Andrew Gilligan that the British government "sexed-up" a report on the threat from Saddam Hussein that could threaten a lucrative weekly column with the UK Sunday Times, and also because of the change to priorities brought on by fatherhood - he has a three-years-old son.
On the row, Humphrys commented that they had covered "a very, very, very important story" and added, "In the broad terms of it we have nothing to reproach ourselves with."
"Let's not forget that the programme got into trouble primarily because Alastair Campbell (Aide to the British Prime Minister) chose to pick a fight. He told us what he wanted to do - he wanted to fuck Gilligan. He held an immensely senior position and for him to devote so much energy to trying to fuck a reporter seemed to me to be less than proper."
UK Daily Telegraph report:
2003-10-11: An insider trading case involving four defendants who were alleged to have used confidential information about Univision's plans to take over Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC) to purchase or advise others to purchase HBC stock has now been settled according to the Dallas Business Journal.
In all the four will pay more than USD 450,000 in the settlement, the largest single payments being made by Stephen White, a broker in the Dallas office of Stephens Inc.; he is to pay USD195, 333 in profits earned as a result of people buying Hispanic Broadcasting stock based on his advice, an USD11, 825 prejudgment interest and a USD195, 333 fine, and is barred from associating with brokers or investment advisers for four years.
His brother William is to pay USD10, 339 in profits and interest and a USD14, 685 fine whilst Ernest Bieling, a former worker in Univision's corporate finance department, will pay a USD1, 000 fine and USD528 in trading profits and Robert Hughes, an HBC board member, will pay a USD13, 060 fine as well as USD13, 850 in profits.
Dallas Business Journal report:
2003-10-11: Australian radio company WorldAudio has secured access to radio licences in Melbourne and Sydney, crucial for its plans for a nationwide AM network, following a ruling in the New South Wales Supreme Court.
The case related to an agreement with Melbourne-based GB Radio Australia which last year agreed to grant a lease, with an option to purchase them, on the licences on the basis that it became the registered owner of them; at the time GB was involved in a legal dispute over ownership with another party.
WorldAudio says it is now on track to roll out stations in all major capital cities and many regional centres; in July its stockholders voted overwhelmingly to support the raising of AUD 7 million (USD 4.64 million) to be used in part to speed up the network's rollout (See RNW July 26).
2003-10-10: In further signs of expansion in the Spanish speaking market in the US, Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has announced plans to raise around USD 75 million through a stock offering and Univision, fresh from taking over Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation, is raising some USD 700 million through a bonds issue.
SBS has said it will use the funds from a private offering of cumulative exchangeable redeemable preferred stock (without a specified maturity date) together with funds from additional senior secured credit facilities - expected to consist of a $125 million term loan facility and a $10 million revolving credit facility - to complete its USD 250 million purchase of KXOL-FM in Los Angeles from the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.
SBS also says it expects to repay a portion of its borrowings under the senior credit facilities with proceeds from the previously announced sale of certain non-core radio stations in San Antonio and San Francisco.
Univision is to raise its funds through the offering of Senior Notes due 2006, Senior Notes due 2007, and Senior Notes due 2008 with Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and UBS Securities LLC acting as joint book running managers for the offering.
It says it will use the funds raised to refinance some of the its USD 1.4 billion in outstanding debt.
Fitch Ratings has assigned a 'BBB-' rating to the planned notes, saying this reflects an improvement in Univision's credit metrics, its position as the leading U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster, favourable U.S. Hispanic demographic trends and attractive long-term television programming agreements.
The rating also reflects the acquisition of Hispanic Broadcasting Corp. (HBC). It adds that previous acquisitions at Univision and HBC have periodically weakened credit protection measures and that acquisition risk is still present. Other concerns include rising competition, potential cost/integration risks associated with the transaction and dependence on advertising revenues.
2003-10-10: In a further promotion of digital radio in Britain, the BBC is to launch a second marketing campaign this year starting in late November and running until the end of the year. In part it is intended to boost receiver purchase at Christmas: a year ago digital radio got a major boost in the UK through seasonal purchases.
In addition to promotions on its TV and analogue radio channels and online that were used in the first campaign -- Make Time For Digital Radio- in June, this campaign will add a poster campaign.
Jenny Abramsky, Director of BBC Radio & Music commented, "Through our new digital services we've doubled the number of BBC national radio stations, found new ways to exploit our extensive archive and made a huge addition to public service broadcasting."
"The impact of our first promotional activity was considerable - following the campaign, awareness of DAB digital radio now stands at over 45% of the UK population."
The BBC is currently upgrading its national digital radio transmitter network, which so far covers some 70% of the UK population, to bring the level up to 85% by the middle of next year.
2003-10-10: Conservative California radio talk hosts have been gloating over their part in the state's gubernatorial recall that led to the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger and also arguing who deserves the credit for starting the "recall" ball rolling according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The paper says analysts and insiders generally acknowledge KSFO-AM morning host Melanie Morgan, San Diego host KOGO-AM host Roger Hedgecock, Mark Williams, who hosts shows on KFBK-AM in Sacramento and KNEW-AM in San Francisco, Eric Hogue of KTKZ-AM in Sacramento and John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou (John and Ken) on KFI-AM, Los Angeles) as the chief mouthpieces
It quotes Morgan as saying, "Vindication is a powerful word. Almost from the beginning, every liberal media outlet in the state referred to us as right- wing fanatics, a fringe political movement. We were derided as complete nutballs. "So I'm feeling really damn good today."
Most major newspapers in California opposed the recall and Shawn Steel, a former California GOP chairman who was one of the recall's early leaders, commented, "Historians will look back on this election as the time that the combination of the Internet and talk radio overtook the power of daily newspapers."
The paper says the hosts swung over time from being cheerleaders for the recall to Schwarzenegger legitimizers at its midpoint, to eventually assuring listeners it was OK to follow their heads (supporting the moderate, electable Schwarzenegger) instead of their hearts (voting for conservative state Sen. Tom McClintock).
Recall sponsor Ted Costa, who voted for McClintock, commented, "That was the biggest surprise to me in this election -- that the die-hard conservatives jumped over a candidate they agreed with more (McClintock) for a higher purpose."
He played down the effect of talk radio, saying the Internet that transformed the chatter into signature power, with more than a million recall petitions being downloaded and adding that this, combined with San Diego Republican Rep. Darrell Issa's dropping USD1. 8 million on the recall campaign, eventually got more than 2.1 million signatures on petitions to dump Gov. Gray Davis.
RNW comment: Time will tell but it seems from afar that Californians have behaved more like spoilt children who want to have their cake having eaten it than mature adults who are facing up to problems. The same in our view could probably go for most of the talk hosts, who would be more accurately linked to rabble rousing than constructive political effort.
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2003-10-10: MUSICMATCH and AOL retained their top station and network rankings in the latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings just released show but AOL's listening dropped dramatically and two of their stations fell out of the top five.
For the week to Sept 28, Arbitron'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 (*Non Commercial) - TTSL 743,843 (704,892); CP - 224,249 (213,866). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Contemporary Christian K-Love (Non Commercial) TTSL 350,980 (318,273); CP - 46,054 (42,883). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 259,792 (274,385); CP - 52,779 (54,776). Up from fifth despite lower listening and reach.
4: Contemporary Hit Radio / Top 40 MUSICMATCH Top Hits (non-commercial) - TTSL 234,339 (208,186); CP - 102,220 (93,364). Up from 12th with higher listening and reach.
5: Classical WQXR-FM (Commercial) - TTSL 228,588 (220,157); CP - 29,480 (30,093). Up from
tenth with higher listening although reach was slightly down.
*AOL Top Country (Internet-only) Country format (Commercial) fell from third to sixth with TTSL 224,880, down from310,551 and CP - 66,033, down from 112,364 Smooth Jazz format AOL Smooth Jazz (Commercial) fell from fourth seventh with TTSL 219,415, down 279,689 and CP 44,024, down from 63,480.
The top five networks for the week to Sept 28 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 4,976,994 (6,660,202); CP - 960,585 (1,569,446). Same rank with much lower listening and reach.
2: LAUNCH TTSL (Commercial) - 3,967,371 (3,834,259); CP - 841,075 (807,235). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 2,105,914 (1,990,783); CP - 472,497 (453,431). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 1,162,225 (1,154,291); CP - 144,521 (144,651) - Same rank with higher listening but slightly lower reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) TTSL - 464,739 (482,305); CP - 75,652 (77,163) - Same rank with lower listening and reach.
Arbitron does not now rank Content Delivery Networks (CDN) alongside other networks but does report on them; for the week the top Content Delivery Networks were Live365 with TTSL 2,463,424, up from 2,444,023 and StreamGuys with TTSL 515,406, up from 508,821.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings:
2003-10-09: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced fines of USD 3,000 each on 28 radio stations in Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC and West Virginia for not adequately complying with its public file requirements; in all cases the FCC says standard penalties of USD 4,000 were revised downwards because of the licensees' voluntary disclosures of the violations as part of the three-year nationwide broadcast station license renewal process that began recently for Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia radio stations.
All the licences were renewed.
The Commission says the actions "mark a change in policy from the last renewal cycle (1995-1998) and reflect the Media Bureau's effort to enforce public file rules in a meaningful way as part of the renewal process."
Its Media Bureau chief Kenneth Ferree commented, "Our decision to fine these stations reflects the seriousness of the violations, and it is consistent with FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell's initiative to promote and protect localism in broadcasting. The public file provides citizens with important information about broadcasters' service to their communities. Make no mistake about it - the FCC will not tolerate less than diligent efforts to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of that information."
The stations involved were:
WWGB-AM, Indian Head:
WYRV-AM, Cedar Bluff:
The FCC has also been sent a 45-page filing from Saga Communications and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) recommending that it use a modified service-contour-based method for defining non-Arbitron-rated markets rather than using geographically-defined markets as proposed in its new media regulations issued in June but still held up by the courts.
The filing says that extensive research into various geographic market definitions showed clearly "that these various geographic markets do not reflect radio service in a consistent, predictable or accurate manner."
"Each of these options, "it adds, "would result in far more 'anomalies' and distortions than would retaining the modified contour overlap market definition recently approved by the Commission in its biennial review of the broadcast ownership rules."
It adds of the two existing definitions - Metropolitan/Micropolitan Statistical Areas ("MAs"), defined by the Office of Management and Budget based on population and commuting patterns, and the Cellular Market Areas ("CMAs"), defined by the Commission for the granting of cellular licenses, that "both suffer from very serious drawbacks that make them unsuitable for defining radio markets."
Nearly a fifth of US radio stations are not in an MA and "Quite large numbers of MAs and CMAs also overlap Arbitron metros."
" most seriously, neither MAs nor CMAs reflect actual patterns of radio service nor,
indeed, have any relation to the radio industry. Consequently, adoption of CMAs or MAs, as
shown by the BIA study, would create innumerable anomalies."
2003-10-09: European commercial television and radio broadcasting group SBS Broadcasting S.A. has confirmed its position as the largest radio operator in Scandinavia in terms of market share with the completion of the merger of its Swedish radio operations with of Bonnier Radio AB into SBS Radio AB, which is 51% owned by SBS and 49% owned by Bonnier.
This follows the previously acquisition of the Danish and Norwegian radio operations of Clear Channel and Norsk Aller (See RNW July 18).
SBS now operates 52 stations in the four Scandinavian countries; in Sweden it has a 42% share (*All shares are 2002 figures) of radio advertising revenues from its 22 stations followed by MTG Radio with a 28% from 28 stations and NRJ with a 14% from 21 stations.
SBS Radio is also the market leader in Denmark with radio advertising share of 52% from its 14 stations: Nearest competitors Sky Radio and ANR with four stations each have shares of 9.4% and 8.4% respectively.
It is second placed in Finland and Norway: In Finland the nationwide commercial channel Radio Nova leads with a weekly reach of 1.9 million listeners and a radio advertising share of 34.5% compared to 29% for the 12 stations of SBS and 10.9% for NRJ's 13.
In Norway the country's only national commercial radio network P4 leads with a 61% share of national radio revenues compared to 24% for SBS's four stations and 4% for the four stations of NRJ.
Commenting on the acquisitions SBS CEO Markus Tellenbach said, "Through these strategic acquisitions we have transformed the SBS radio division into the largest operator in Scandinavia, with more than twice the reach of our nearest competitor."
"With market leading positions in Sweden and Denmark and a strong second in Finland and Norway, our regional footprint provides a unique marketing vehicle for international advertisers by enabling them to reach the entire Scandinavian radio market and provides SBS with the opportunity to capitalize on the benefits of radio consolidation."
In the US, Salem Communications has announced the completion of its USD 1.5 million acquisition of KZNT-AM (formerly KKCS-AM) from Walton Stations and also of a CP for a new FM in Grass Valley, Sacramento, California.
KZNT is to be a news-talk format and will be one of three Salem stations in the market - the others are Christian teaching station KGFT-FM and contemporary Christian music KKFS-FM.
In other US radio business, Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan has said in a Q&A posted on the company's web site that Emmis is succeeding through "working hard, listening to our audiences, and recruiting the very best people to come work for us."
He added that Emmis had turned round its stations in New York where it was no longer lagging the market, turned in a stellar performance from Los Angeles with much the same true for other market and got off to a great start in Austin, Texas, whereit spent USD 105 million to buy LBJS Broadcasting's 50.1% interest in six stations for USD105 million (See RNW March 4).
"We knew that this was an excellent group of stations, and if the 2nd quarter is any indication, it was a great acquisition," said Smulyan, adding, " The integration of the Austin stations has probably been among the smoothest I have ever witnessed."
Previous SBS SA:
2003-10-09: India's first Amateur Radio Satellite, 'Hamsat', is be launched in mid-October by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) to provide satellite-based Amateur Radio Services to both national and international Amateur Radio Operators (HAMs).
The satellite will operate in the UHF/VHF band-based Satellite Radio Communication Channel and will meet the need of the Amateur Radio operators in the South Asian region; the previous satellite providing this type of service ceased operating in August this year.
The satellite will provide low-cost, readily accessible, reliable means of communication during emergencies and calamities like floods and earthquakes.
Previous Indian Radio:
2003-10-09: XM Satellite Radio has announced that the latest Delphi receiver, the Delphi XM "Roady" is now available in stores for under USD 120.
The "Roady" is a compact unit that plugs into the cassette player of a vehicle's stereo system - a wireless adaptor is to be made available for vehicles without cassette players.
2003-10-08: Entercom's WEEI-AM in Boston has suspended hosts John Dennis and Gerry Callahan without pay for two weeks following a two-day suspension for Dennis after racially charged comments he made that likened inner city children to gorillas (See RNW Oct 4).
WEEI issued a statement in which it said that it initially thought only Dennis had made "hurtful remarks" but then further discussions showed that his co-host also made "unprofessional and unacceptable" remarks.
The initial furore had been over a John Dennis comment on a picture of a runaway gorilla at a bus stop outside the Franklin Park Zoo that he termed a "Metco gorilla'' -- Metco is a programme that busses inner-city children to suburban schools; Callahan, it is now revealed had added, "heading out to Lexington.''
The suspension follows a decision by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts to pull USD 27,000 of advertising in protest and donate the money to Metco.
Blue Cross Blue Shield executive director Peter Meade told the Boston Herald, "We've pulled our ads from WEEI because what was said was outrageous. It's beyond the beyond, and the tepid response by management compounds the egregious statement.''
"We're trying to show support for people who were assaulted by the comments and to say to the Metco students and everybody in our community who was outraged by what was said that we support them.''
Metco executive director Jean McGuire, who had earlier said that a dismissal of the hosts would not be productive, commented, "I think when Blue Cross pulled the contract, that really sent a message . . . to the culture that has soured talk radio. . . . We're going to bring the Democratic National Convention here (next summer) with people talking like that? You can't do that. It's going backwards.''
"WEEI is already realizing it needs to make basic changes regarding its sensitivity to race and gender, and I really want to lean on their hiring practices.''
Meanwhile, the other talk host in the news for racially charges remarks, Rush Limbaugh, remains unrepentant and convinced he did nothing wrong. On his web site, he says the criticisms of him made by the ESPN Countdown hosts on Sunday (See RNW Oct 7) "Disappoints, Does Not Surprise."
Limbaugh also accused either the hosts or ESPN Executives of being liars when he commented of remarks by Tom Jackson that "it was not our decision to have Rush Limbaugh on this show" that he understood the position of the show hosts but "Every - I was told, anyway - that every one of them had signed off on the concept before ESPN executives even approached me. And that wouldn't have happened...they wouldn't have forced me on this cast without the cast's full knowledge that I was going to be talked to about joining the program."
" They were in a sort of no-win situation yesterday. I know it's difficult to not be angry at them, but I didn't expect them to come out and at all support me. That wasn't in the cards. That would have only furthered the trouble they think they're in - and they weren't in any, but they thought so. So they were doing what they had to do for themselves. I was already gone. There was no bringing me back. There was no attempt to even make it look like that was in their cards. Yeah, I was somewhat disappointed by it when I heard about it because I thought we were all friends and we did all get along - production meetings, on the set, on the show itself, and I think that was clear to people who watched the program."
Boston Herald report:
Rush Limbaugh web site:
2003-10-08: BBC Radio 1 has announced that it is to move Sara Cox from her breakfast show next year to the weekday drive time slot currently hosted by Chris Molyes and move Moyles to the prestigious breakfast role.
The swap comes in the wake of a severe audience decline for Cox - the latest ratings showed a loss of around half a million listeners a week, whose contract has another three months to run.
The changeover is to take place some time in January and BBC Radio 1 Controller, Andy Parfitt, said of the move: "I am absolutely delighted that Chris has agreed to host the new breakfast show. "He was my first and only choice as successor to Sara who has done a great job over the last three and a half years. In a market that is getting more competitive by the month, I think Chris is going to be just what our audience is looking for."
Cox commented: "I have had a great time doing the breakfast show over the last few years but I have to say the thought of finally being able to have a lie-in is extremely appealing" and Moyles welcomed the move, saying," I am really chuffed - I've said for ages that I am the saviour of Radio 1, now it looks I am finally going to have the chance to prove it!"
At BBC Radio 5, where Nicky Campbell moved into the breakfast slot in January from his morning phone-in, the UK Guardian says that Victoria Derbyshire, currently the breakfast co-host, has emerged as the favourite to take over the morning slot.
The morning show was subsequently hosted by Fiona Glover, who left to go to the US and is now to host a Chrysalis show segment from there (See RNW Oct 3), after which it has had stand-in hosts Julian Worricker, John Pienaar and Juliet Morris
Derbyshire, who is to take maternity leave soon, is expecting a child with her partner Mark Sandell, who is Glover's former husband.
UK Guardian report:
2003-10-08: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a penalty of USD 4,000 on an Arizona FM over the broadcast of a conversation between radio host Beau Duran and Flynn Kile, the widow of St. Louis Cardinals' baseball pitcher Darryl Kile, in October last year (See RNW Oct 9, 2002).
Duran called Ms Kile and in a short conversation told her she was "hot," asked her whether "she had a date for Thursday's game," broadcasting the conversation without advance notice in breach of FCC regulations.
The station, KUDP-FM, owned by Tempe Radio, Inc., said the conversation was broadcast live and that Duran, who initiated the call, was the only person to speak to Ms Kile and that he had not sought permission to air the conversation,
It subsequently suspended then fired Duran, had not re-broadcast the call, and had subsequently issued a reminder of the rules to staff, warning them of "immediate termination" in case of a breach.
2003-10-07: A write-up of US satellite radio services Sirius and XM in the Washington Post, based on truckers us of the services, says that they have now proved their value for a niche audience but their future may "depend, in part, on how much the typical driver has in common with truckers" and adds that XM estimates that in the US, 94 million people spend an average of 35 minutes driving to work, three-quarters of them alone.
Truck drivers, says the report "are not generally thought of as the vanguard of gadget geeks, but they have signed up for satellite radio in droves to break the tedium of their routes." In all some
7% of XM's nearly one million subscribers are truckers and Sirius estimates that they are nearly a fifth of its customers.
It cites one example as trucker Roy King, who bought satellite radio for his 60th birthday, as commenting on his problems receiving signals before in some states and adding, from a stop in South Carolina, "I'd be listening to something for an hour and I'd lose it. Now I can listen to something from here to Seattle."
Another truck driver, Richard Edge, from Pennsylvania, said satellite radio keeps him from succumbing to "white line fever" after several hours on the road. With XM, he said, he zones out less. "I actually get through 150 more miles a day," he said.
XM in particular targets trucks through its Open Road channel and says more listeners call into this than any other channel - a fifth of the total for one channel from 100 - and chief executive Hugh Panero said, "Attrition and quality of life issues are huge issues in the trucking industry. We are a companion to a lot of our subscribers."
Bill "Midnight Cowboy" Mack, host of one of the channel's shows, commented that truckers called to warn others of bad weather and other problems and also to pass on family information, saying, "I can't count how many times the wife of a trucker called me and said, 'Tell Joe it's a boy' or 'Tell Joe it's a girl,' "
"Somebody told me I had at least a dozen kids named after me because I got the news about the baby before the trucker did."
The companies are also trying to make it easier for drivers who switch vehicles frequently. Last week, at a trade show for truckers, Sirius introduced a portable radio system (See RNW Oct 2) and XM plans to introduce a portable and wireless radio system in November.
Washington Post report:
2003-10-07: Conservative US talk show host Rush Limbaugh got little sympathy from the four remaining on-air personalities of ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown" show, when its first edition since his resignation (firing?) aired.
Their regrets were expressed not about his departure but because they hadn't challenged him earlier over his remarks that quarterback Donovan McNabb being over-rated because he was black and "the media wanted to see a black quarterback succeed''
Host Chris Berman as well as Tom Jackson, Steve Young and Michael Irvin, all attacked Limbaugh to various degrees with Berman saying, "I'm the host of the show, and I missed it. I've been kicking myself all week. We all missed it."
"It angers me. I'm angry for all the hurt, angry for hurt of the show, for us, sure, but more for you, the viewer. I'm angry for the hurt it caused African Americans. I'm angry for the hurt it has caused all people. I've never looked at Donovan McNabb as a black quarterback."
Jackson, who was the most severe, said, "Rush Limbaugh is known for the divisive nature of his rhetoric. He creates controversy. What he said is the same kind of thing he has said on radio for years" and then added, "Let me just say it was not our decision to have Rush Limbaugh on this show."
"A player in this league who has a young son called me and his son now wants to know if it is OK for blacks to play quarterback. Rush Limbaugh's comments could not have been more hurtful."
"He was brought in to talk football, and he broke that trust. Rush told us that the social commentary for which he is so well known would not cross over to our show. He said instead he would represent the intelligent, passionate fan. We know few fans, passionate or otherwise, who see Donovan McNabb, a three-time Pro Bowler, with two championship game appearances, being somehow artificially hyped because of the colour of his skin."
"The fact that Donovan McNabb's skin colour was brought up at all was wrong. Especially in the context of the brotherhood of this show."
Jackson also commented on not taking issue with Limbaugh at the time, saying, "Much has been made about the fact that we did not speak out this week. No one prevented us from speaking. We chose this forum, our show. I've asked myself a thousand times, how could this happen, how could we miss it?"
Limbaugh also failed to find defenders on other TV sports shows and came in for more print criticism, including that from the San Francisco Chronicle in an editorial and from a columnist.
In its editorial, the paper commented, "In a sport in which the vast majority of players are African American, Limbaugh was uniquely unqualified to serve as a commentator, since themes of racial resentment have played on his radio show for years. The Disney-owned sports network apparently thought Limbaugh's roughing of the airwaves would translate to television - even though the mighty windbag is a lot more familiar with "femi-Nazis'' and card-carrying liberals than screen passes."
"When he was hired, the network said that the bombastic Limbaugh was brought in to "provide the voice of the fan '' - apparently the boorish, obnoxious ones. Limbaugh's undignified political commentary may be a hit on talk radio, but it will never have a place in televised sports."
Columnist Harley Sorensen in his View From The Left column damned the host through faint praise, writing, "In defence of Limbaugh, I wouldn't classify him as a racist, regardless of what he said last week. What he is is an elitist. He doesn't think he's better than just black people. He thinks he's better than everybody. "
"Limbaugh is down on blacks, to be sure, and anybody with skin darker than the pasty white he's cursed with. But he's also down on children, women, poor people, liberals, immigrants, socialists, Muslims, environmentalists, Democrats, foreigners -- you get the picture. "
"If life hasn't been kind to you, don't expect Limbaugh to be. He worships success, and does his best to ride its coattails. When one is a chronic apple polisher of his ilk, the size of your cheque book, not the size of your heart, is what matters."
Sorensen then took up the reports of Limbaugh's involvement in illegally purchasing painkilling drugs and, after saying he hoped they turned out to be true, continued, " I'd like to see sympathetic attention drawn to the problem of painkillers, prescription or otherwise."
"If Rush used too many painkillers, it was because he was in too much pain. If he became addicted, and if his addiction led to his hearing problems, that's punishment enough for the man."
"Sooner or later, folks, we have to become civilized enough to take the un-Limbaugh-like position that we don't punish sick people for being sick. If Limbaugh's potential legal problems lead him to that conclusion -- for others as well as himself -- then they'll have turned out to be a good thing."
San Francisco Chronicle -editorial:
San Francisco Chronicle - Sorenson column:
2003-10-07: Commercial radio in Britain turns 30 tomorrow when LBC, now owned by Chrysalis and which has over the years gone through a number of hands and changes, marks the anniversary of its first broadcast at 6am on Monday, October 8, 1973, with the words "This is London Broadcasting, the news and information voice of independent radio."
Its first programming, breaking a 50-year BBC monopoly, was then a two-hour news and features programme presented by former BBC reporter David Jessel, now better known for his TV work but still in radio, again with the BBC.
At the time Britain was in economic crisis and the second station, Capital Radio, which followed on air eight days later, nearly went out of business and LBC also went through various crises and changes of owner; it was taken over last year by Chrysalis, which re-launched it at the start of this year.
In the 30 years the fledgling commercial radio sector, which had to compete with four BBC networks and BBC local stations, has grown to take around 45% of the national audience each week with the share rising to around two-thirds for the under 40s and three quarters for children.
Most have a pop format although legislative action in 1990 when the broadcasting act reserved the single national commercial FM service for a non-pop station led to the commercial sector having a strong classical component with Classic FM acted as a counterbalance.
Commercial stations in the UK also pioneered 24-hour broadcasting, only being followed at the end of the 70's by the BBC, as well as influencing the style of BBC talk stations.
2003-10-07: US public radio is to broadcast what it terms an "unprecedented examination of the health of democracy in America" next month with up to 300 public radio stations taking part in a collaborative effort according to Minnesota Public Radio (MPR).
Michael Skoler from MPR is directing the project and there will be contributions from abroad from the British and Canadian Broadcasting Corporations (BBC and CBC) as well as from US stations; it will include 60 feature reports, town hall meetings, call-ins, commentaries and cultural programs, as well as documentaries, investigative reports
Among the topics to be covered in the "Whose Democracy Is It?" week running from November 3-9 are the California gubernatorial recall election (including a one-hour programme from KPCC-FM, Los Angeles "California Recall: Democracy or Power Grab?"), and the problems faced by many Americans in exercising their vote because of such factors as state laws many consider outdated or discriminatory and faulty technology, poorly trained poll workers, and out of date voting rolls said to contribute to a 3 to 4 percent error rate in the election count (including "Whose Vote Counts?" from Minnesota Public Radio, Minnesota Public Radio's American RadioWorks and the Center for Investigative Reporting).
There will aso be a live 2-hour global call-in show hosted by Robin Lustig of the BBC World Service and WNYC-FM host Brian Lehrer on November 8 that is to explore the U.S. role in Iraq, the differences between U.S. and European forms of democracy and the legacy of colonialism.
2003-10-06: In view of the influence Rush Limbaugh has had on radio in the US, being widely credited with the shift of AMs to a news-talk format over the past two decades, it is a no-brainer to devote most of our look at the past week's print cover of radio to what has been said by and about him in a week when he was dumped by ESPN - or resigned of his own volition - and also been accused of being addicted to prescription drugs and buying them on the black market.
The latter will probably do him most damage amongst his followers and certainly would if they were to adopt his own viewpoint: As he once said, "There's nothing good about drug use. Drug use destroys societies. Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up.'
So is he likely to change his views or stand self-condemned? Judging by his responses so far he'll weasel both about drug taking and also about the nature of his comments on NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb on ESPN (See RNW Oct 3).
The row about Limbaugh's suggestion that McNabb was actually a mediocre player but was praised in the media because he was black has run longer, and so far wider than the story saying that he was being investigated because of addiction to the prescription drugs hydro-codone and OxyContin.
The latter painkiller in particular could potentially play badly with his fans, commonly known as "dittoheads" since it is derived from heroin, indeed is known as "Hillbilly heroin" because it is popular with drug addicts in poor areas of the American south.
Unsurprisingly Limbaugh is devoting little attention to the drugs issue on his web site as opposed to the McNabb comments( about which he is unrepentant) where he can fill up space with more of his views and support - not that many of his supporters, we venture to suggest, would defend drug taking!
Before going further, for the benefit of any dittoheads, we should perhaps give the Webster dictionary definition of bigot - "a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices."
Against that definition, comments describing El Rushbo as a bigot would seem reasonable, a conclusion that a visit to his own site would go a long way towards confirming.
An excerpt from his the site sums up his response and attitude to contrition: " Look it, I know I'm right about this. I'm not going to retract anything. I'm not - oh, they're cringing in there. Don't cringe over this. They're not cringing; I'm just kidding. I'm not going to back off of there. Absolutely. Not yet in this country is there anything to apologize for in expressing an opinion - particularly about sports, for crying out loud!
More defense of Limbaugh came from from Slate - courtesy of a link on his site again. It's from Allen Barra who wrote, "Rush Limbaugh didn't say Donovan McNabb was a bad quarterback because he is black."
"He said that the media have overrated McNabb because he is black, and Limbaugh is right. He didn't say anything that he shouldn't have said, and in fact he said things that other commentators should have been saying for some time now. I should have said them myself. I mean, if they didn't hire Rush Limbaugh to say things like this, what they did they hire him for? To talk about the prevent defense?"
In the Washington Post, E.J. Dionne Jr. was in the anti-Limbaugh camp, noting, "ESPN got exactly what it deserved,"
Dionne then continued "Limbaugh was a football commentator because of politics. ESPN was hoping to add to its ratings by drawing on the vast right-wing audience Limbaugh has built on his radio show. Did ESPN figure that the only people who like football are conservatives of the Limbaugh persuasion?"
He then says of a number of other commentators, "These guys are not on the air because of politics but because they are hugely knowledgeable about the sports they cover and are gifted at explaining to the less initiated what is going on."
"In fact, I'd applaud ESPN if the network decided to hire conservative columnist George Will to talk about baseball. Some years ago my wife gave me Will's classic baseball book, "Men at Work," as a birthday gift. Believe me on this, my wife disagrees with Will's politics even more than I do. But she knew that Will had devoted years to understanding baseball and that I would love the book. And I did."
And on politicisation:" Politicising everything from literature to music to painting and sports was once a habit of the left. The Communist Party's now-defunct newspaper once had a sports column called "Out in Left Field."
"Now, it's the turn of the right to politicise everything. Limbaugh simply could not resist using a black quarterback as a vehicle to criticize "social concern" -- I guess he thinks "social concern" is just an awful thing -- and make a racial point."
"Imagine the grief a liberal sports commentator would rightly get for saying that because of his race or his politics, a white conservative Republican quarterback "got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve."
And from a New York Times editorial, "Instead of more sex, violence or even a nude sportscaster like the one who appeared on another sports show, ESPN brought in Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing radio commentator. He was there to give his hot-button views on one thing: football. And if the idea was to raise ratings, it worked. At least, it worked for one month."
"As any television pro could have warned ESPN, it turned out that Limbaugh was not ready for the big leagues. He stands more in the class of Jimmy (the Greek) Snyder, who made insensitive remarks about blacks, and Michael Savage, fired from MSNBC for wishing AIDS on a gay caller."
"On ESPN's "Sunday N.F.L. Countdown" this week, Limbaugh said the kind of thing that wins him legions of tub-thumping fans on radio but that understandably offends most other people."
Later it added on Limbaugh's claims that he was "right" " He is not right, especially since football now has a number of excellent black quarterbacks, including McNabb. But that fuss brings the issue back to ESPN and raises the question of whether network executives will learn the right lesson. Limbaugh's appearance should make television managers realize that racially loaded remarks only demean debate. That is especially important since some in television may also focus on another piece of news: Limbaugh's last show had the highest rating for the program in seven years."
And also from the paper, a reflection by Richard Sandomir whose title sums up Limbaugh's current status, "Limbaugh Still Has a Fallback Position."
Sandomir notes that Limbaugh "may never get a sports job again, but he can return to his millions of radio listeners who have heard tougher, more incendiary comments on his talk show than those he made Sunday about Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles."
Sandomir then continues, "He is luckier than others in the sports business who have made racially insensitive or misogynistic comments, and lost their careers. Jimmy (the Greek) Snyder, a CBS football analyst, and Al Campanis, a longtime Los Angeles Dodgers executive, made disparaging remarks about African-Americans in sports. Ben Wright, a CBS golf commentator, made remarks about the impact of lesbianism on women's golf."
He then lists others who fell victim to their comments, a list to which we would add the recent case of former Clear Channel host Bob Lonsbery, fired for his comments (See RNW Oct 1) and possibly yet of Entercom sports host John Dennis who is still not in the clear after his remarks (See RNW Oct 4).
And our own views? Certainly by the dictionary definition, Limbaugh qualifies as a bigot. Certainly from times we have looked at his comment on various issues in the past, he doesn't worry too much about getting his facts right if it would spoil a good prejudice. How far this makes him ignorant, another of the epithets attached to his comments, we leave to others who want to spend more time pondering his utterances.
In the immediate term, if reports are correct, Limbaugh's supporters go all the way up US President George Bush, who is reported to have told aides, "'Rush is a great American. I am confident he can overcome any obstacles he faces right now.'" What this says about Bush and his judgment - or partiality to those who benefit him - we also leave to others but we would, in view of the sympathy some have expressed with Limbaugh because of his hearing problems in the current context (Not sure what this has to do with comments on race, albeit it may have been sloppy reporting that conflated the McNabb story with the one on drugs) move on to a programme reviewed by Sue Arnold in the UK Observer.
"Once in a while," she wrote, "you hear a programme on radio that makes you drop everything and really listen. If ever a programme opened your ears to the nuances of sound, it was The Listeners. "
"Presenter Peter White is blind. When he describes the rain falling as he leaves for work, you know you're listening to an expert. 'The day sounds damp. Rain falls on to the trees at the bottom of my garden - tick, tick, thump, it goes as fat rain slaps on to the broad leaves.' "
"White has the friendliest voice on radio. You can always hear a smile in it. The Listeners was about three men who listen for the sounds of life - an astronomer listening through a giant Lovell telescope for the sounds of ancient stars, a cardiologist listening intently to a computer monitoring heart murmurs, and a fisherman whose expertise in locating mussels underwater helps him to find people buried by earthquakes. "
"Now, at last, I know what Shakespeare meant about the music of the spheres. This was a radio classic, every detail honed to perfection, that only a station like Radio 4 has the resources to achieve. "
Unfortunately this programme does not appear on Radio 4's Listen Again menu but then again neither when we checked did the 50th edition of "Dead Ringers" comedy programme and this does turn up on the Radio 4 home page and through a search. A niggle, therefore, not so much about the listen again service but the comprehensiveness of the listings.
And looking ahead, another Radio 4 programme worth a listen this week. It's "Jollywood" at 1030 GMT on Thursday - a look at the Film Studios Manchester - yes, they did have studios in Manchester as well as Ealing - that made slapstick comedies in the 40's and 50's and became known as the Hollywood of the North.
And from BBC World Service on Wednesday, the start of a four-part series "Our Street" that takes a look at Bruce Grove in London, a single road in an area where more than 160 languages are spoken. More than enough for presenter Vera Frankl to garner some fascinating stories.
New York Times - editorial on Limbaugh:
New York Times - Sandomir on Limbaugh:
San Francisco Chronicle - Miller on Limbaugh:
Slate - Barra on Limbaugh:
UK Observer - Arnold:
Washington Post - Dionne on Limbaugh:
BBC -Dead Ringers web site:
BBC "Listen Again" web site:
2003-10-06: Among the failures revealed by the recent Hurricane Isabel according to the Washington Post was the policy of using radio to give emergency alert information; although authorities had issued instructions in advance for people to "Keep your battery-operated radio tuned to a local station" it turned out to be pointless when the power was cut to all major stations in southern Maryland at the height of the storm on September 18-19.
Other plans such as using cable TV and a reverse 911 system, which can call residents in targeted areas with a pre-recorded message also failed to deliver to requirements, leaving authorities without mass media to spread word of evacuations and dangerous flood levels.
The major Southern Maryland radio stations, to which residents were told to tune for local government alerts, are all owned by Somar Communications whose president Roy E. Robertson told the Washington Post he would need at least two generators -- one for a transmitter and one for a studio -- to ensure at least one radio station remains on during widespread outages.
Such generators, which cost from $35,000 to $50,000 each, are too expensive for his company he said, commenting, "We're small-market radio. We're not like the big D.C. stations. It's a situation where we just can't afford it."
Maryland Del. John L. Bohanan Jr. (D-St. Mary's) said the problem stems in part from the "unique situation" in Southern Maryland, where Somar owns all of the local radio stations. "Most other regions in the state are served by multiple broadcasting companies," he said.
Robertson called for government aid for back-up generators, saying," "I think that, for smaller markets, I think it would be nice if the federal government gave all radio stations a grant. If the county or state government wanted to provide the generators and put restrictions on when we can use them, that would be fine."
This however raised objections from some, with State Sen. Roy P. Dyson (D-St. Mary's and Calvert) saying it would be "somewhat inappropriate" to spend taxpayer money on a generator for Somar.
"It raises a lot of questions, particularly at a time when there are tremendous fiscal restraints," Dyson said. "This is a private business we're talking about."
RNW comment: Unless a station is very small, we can't really see how public funds can be used in such cases, particularly since a licence is a lease on a public resource that allows a company to carry out its business. The logic to us is that licence conditions, which require Emergency Alert Systems to be operable, should be tight enough to insist on suitable back up with revocation and re-offering of a licence being an automatic penalty if checks show the system is not being maintained. Only if there are then no bids that offer suitable assurances in this matter should there be consideration of public funds and in this case the logic would be that it would be reasonable that authorities should have a right to impose additional public interest conditions on a licence in return for the provision of such funds.
Washington Post story:
2003-10-06: BBC World Service today launches a Latin American Season with Jazz And The Latin Connection, the first of four programmes in which Pablo Aguirre explores the origins of Afro Cuban rhythms, from the arrival of African slaves in Cuba to the beginnings of this fusion in the 20th century.
He follows this five days later with a second programme from Cuba that looks at the production of Latin jazz there and then on October 18 discusses some of the legends of Latin jazz including Tito Puente, Machito, Chico O'Farrill, Mongo Santamaría and Ray Barretto.
The final programme on October 25 looks at current trends, and considers the future and the new generation of Latin jazz musicians.
The season also includes Living Beneath The USA, another four part series starting on October 13 in which Peruvian reporter Javier Lizarzaburu looks at the spread of American political ideals by Mexican migrants, the United States' war on drugs in Peru, the impact of American farm subsidies in Brazil and the cultural influence of Latinos in the USA.
In the first programme, Democracy Mexican American Style, on 13 October looks the economic and political impact of Mexican migrants in the US on their home country; it is followed on October 20 by Drug Control In Peru on 20 October, which looks at how American policies are affecting the lives of coca-growing farmers.
The third programme In Cotton Wars, to be broadcast on 27 October, investigates America's subsidising of its cotton industry and the effect this has had on Brazil, and the final programme on November 3 looks at how Latino immigrants are changing American culture in Latino USA.
BBC World Service web site:
2003-10-05: Last week saw two more significant new FM licences in the news, one in Australia and the other in the UK and swingeing fines for indecency offences from the US, although some there felt they were not enough and would have preferred the rules to have allowed them to be larger or even that licence revocation should have been considered.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) received nine applications for an auction at the end of the month for a new commercial FM for Adelaide, one of four licences - the others are for Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney - in the current round in the country (See RNW Sept 30).
The ABA also issued results of its latest survey of the state of radio in the country, finding that levels of satisfaction with radio have improved over the past eight years (See RNW Oct 3).
On more routine licence matters the ABA has allocated a new community radio licence for Moranbah, Queensland, to Rock FM Association Inc., which had already been broadcasting under a temporary community licence. It was the sole applicant.
The Authority has also announced proposals for variations to its licence area plans in a number of locations.
In New South Wales it is proposing to vary the conditions of DMG's new commercial licence for Gosford so as to allow the station to transmit with the same radiation pattern and power as the existing commercial radio services, 2GGO and 2CFM.
Associated with this is a change in frequency for existing community radio service, 2BOB Taree, which had agreed to this.
In South Australia, the ABA has allowed an extension until the end of the year of the deadline for community radio service 5GTR to change its frequency.
In Remote Western Australia, the Authority is inviting comments on plans to make capacity available for a community radio service for the Cocos Islands.
The Voice of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Inc. (VKW) currently operates on a temporary community broadcasting licence and has submitted an application to the ABA requesting two frequencies, one on the West Island and a second on the Home Island, to adequately serve the Cocos Islands. VKW is also interested in obtaining a permanent community radio licence for the Cocos Islands.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has again been involved in a number of routine licence renewals and changes including, in order of province:
Approval of power increase from 84 watts to 540 watts and contour change for CKUA-FM Edmonton's transmitter CKUA-FM-14 Banff.
Renewal for four years instead of the maximum seven of the licence of CJTK-FM Sudbury and its transmitter CJTK-FM-1 North Bay; the shorter term was imposed because an examination of the station's logger tapes for a week in January 2001 had found them to be incomplete and because in the week concerned the station had indicated that it broadcast only 13% of category 3 music selections when the licence had a condition requiring 20%.
Power increase from 3,420 watts to 14,370 watts and frequency change for CHCD-FM, Simcoe.
Power increase from 2,400 watts to 15,200 watts and contour change for CKWR-FM Waterloo.
Frequency change for transmitter CJMC-FM-5, Gros-Morne, of CJMC-FM, Saint-Anne-des-Monts.
The Commission has also issued a notice with a deadline for interventions of November 5 concerning various streamlined renewals for licences due to expire next year. Broken down by category and province they included:
Commercial Station Applications:
CKGR-AM, Golden, and its transmitter CKIR-AM, Invermere.
CHSU-FM, Kelowna, and its transmitter CKBL-1-FM, Big White Mountain.
CKKC-AM, Nelson, and its transmitters CKBS-FM, Kakusp, CKKC-1-FM, Crawford Bay, CKZX-FM, New Denver, and CKZX-FM-1, Kaslo.
CJOR-AM, Osoyoos and its transmitter, CJOR-FM, Oliver.
CIGV-FM, Penticton, and its transmitters CCIGV-FM 1 Keremeos, BCCIGV-FM 2 Princeton.
CJMG-FM, Penticton, and its transmitter CJMG-FM-2, Oliver.
CJAT-FM Trail, and its transmitter CCFKC-AM, Creston.
CIVH-AM, Vanderhoof and its transmitters, BCCIFL, Fraser Lake, and BCCIFJ Fort St. James.
CICF-AM, Vernon, and its transmitter CICF-4-FM, Armstrong/Enderby.
CFRY-AM, Portage La Prairie and its transmitter CFRY-1-FM, Portage La Prairie.
CJEM-FM Edmundston and its transmitter NBCKMV-FM Grand-Sault.
CFBC-AM, Saint John.
CJYC-FM, Saint John.
CIGO-FM Port Hawkesbury.
CKFX-FM, North Bay.
CHAS-FM, Sault Ste. Marie.
CJQM-FM, Sault Ste. Marie.
CJOA-FM Thunder Bay, and its transmitter CJOA-FM-1, Candy Mountain.
CJWA-FM Wawa, and its transmitters CJWA-FM-1, Chapleau, CJWA-FM-3,Michipicoten.
Prince Edward Island:
CIEU-FM Carleton, and its transmitter QCCIEU-FM-1 Paspebiac.
CJMD-AM, Chibougamau and its transmitter QCCFED-AM, Chapais.
CIMF-FM Gatineau, and its transmitter QCCIMF-FM-1, Hawkesbury, Ontario.
CJMM-FM Rouyn-Noranda and its transmitter QCCJMM-FM-1, La Sarre.
CFIX-FM Saguenay, (Chicoutimi).
CIME-FM Saint-Jérôme, and its transmitters QCCIME-FM-1, Val-Morin, and QCCIME FM-2, Mont-Tremblant.
CJMV-FM, Val d'Or.
Community Type B:
CIEU-FM Carleton and its transmitter, QCCIEU-FM-1, Paspebiac.
CFIN-FM Lac-Etchemin, and its transmitter CFIN-FM-1, Armagh.
Church station VF8015 Shawinigan, (Shawinigan Sud).
Community Type A Native:
CKQN-FM, Baker Lake.
The CRTC has also approved a number of new ethnic specialty audio services across Canada.
They were MediaNet Canada Radio Ltd services for:
*Odin Golos, a new Russian and English-language service.
*Deutsche Stimme, a new German and English-language service.
*VOT Toronto, a new Tamil and English-language service.
*TamilMusic One, a new Tamil-language specialty service.
*TamilMusic Two, a new Tamil-language specialty service.
*Radio Sinhala,, a new Sinhalese and English-language service.
*Voice of Tamils, a new Tamil, English and French-language service.
*Persian Vision Radio, a new Farsi and English-language service.
Plus the following services:
*St. Sava's Radio Station, a new ethnic Serbian-language station.
Radio Maria, a new Italian- and English-language, ethnic, single-faith religious specialty service.
*Forerunner Radio Network, a new balanced, English-language, religious specialty service.
There was nothing of radio note from Ireland but in the UK the Radio Authority awarded its last regional FM licence before it is subsumed into the Ofcom super regulator- that for the West Midlands - to Kerrang! (See RNW Oct 3)
The Authority also awarded the digital multiplex for the city of Cambridge to the sole applicant, Now Digital Ltd.
Now is proposing to launch with five services in addition to carrying BBC Radio Cambridgeshire (See Licence News, Aug 31).
In addition is has published its assessment last month of the award to South West Sound Ltd. against competition from D-G-Radio Ltd. of the re-advertised Dumfries & Galloway licence (See Licence News Sept 14).
The authority comments that "South West Sound has proved itself to be a viable operation within the Scottish Radio Holdings group, and it was evident that the station has attracted a substantial audience during its current licence period. Members considered that the station has enjoyed substantial financial benefits from sharing resources with West FM and West Sound AM in Ayr, and that there was no doubt that the service would be sustainable for a further licence term."
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) handed out indecency penalties totalling USD 412,000 to Viacom and Clear Channel over two incidents, of which more below.
For once these greatly outpaced penalties for technical offences; this week the agency confirmed a USD 10,000 penalty on a South Dakota station (See below).
It also launched a new web page dedicated exclusively to environmental and historic preservation issues whose entries include information regarding studies of the impact of communications towers on migrating birds (See RNW Aug 22).
The big fines were of USD 357,000 proposed on Viacom's Infinity Radio in relation to the infamous Sex in St Patrick's Cathedral stunt that led to the firing of then WNEW-FM hosts Opie and Anthony and of USD 55,000 on Clear Channel for the questioning on WWDC-FM (DC101) of two high school girls about their sexual activities. (See RNW Oct 3)
In its ruling on the Opie and Anthony case the Commission had commented that it was proposing "a forfeiture for the maximum statutory amount because of the egregious nature of the material, the involvement of many Infinity employees and managers in planning the marketing event, and Infinity's recent history of the airing of indecent or apparently indecent broadcasts, including the Opie and Anthony Show, over Station WNEW(FM) in November 2000 and January 2001."
The Commission has made up the fines by levying the maximum USD27,500 fine for each "incident of airing" the material, thus imposing an extra penalty for the stations airing through syndication - 13 aired the Opie and Anthony show.
In dissenting from the decision Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps had pointed out that the Commission had warned Infinity already over a broadcast by WKRK-FM in and warned then that "repeated serious violations by Infinity could result in the revocation of station licenses."
"The majority repeats that same warning again in this decision," added Copps, who concluded that," The message to licensees is clear. Even egregious repeated violations will not result in revocation of a license. Rather, they will result only in a financial penalty that doesn't even rise to a serious cost of doing business."
His fellow Democrat Jonathan Adelstein spoke of the penalties as "stepping up our enforcement" and added, "Once again, we give fair warning that the Commission can and will avail itself of a range of enforcement sanctions, including the initiation of proceedings that could result in the revocation of these stations' licenses."
Republican Commission Kevin J Martin did not mention revocation but did say he would "have proposed a higher fine" and added, "As I have said in similar cases, we could have found that each time the show's hosts started talking about an indecent topic or had a separate distinct conversation, the ensuing conversation constituted a separate violation. In prior cases, the Commission has acknowledged that we have the discretion to consider each indecent utterance a separate violation."
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
Ofcom web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-10-05: Radio Unica has announced a USD150 million cash deal to sell its radio stations to Arthur Liu's privately held Multicultural Radio Broadcasting, Inc. as part of a pre-packaged bankruptcy; it has also announced that it is in discussions with other parties to sell its radio network and its promotions company, Mass Promotions, Inc.
The deal is subject to bankruptcy court approval, regulatory approvals and other conditions. It is expected that the transaction will be completed by the second quarter of 2004.
Under the bankruptcy deal, holders of the Company's 11 3/4% Senior Discount Notes would receive approximately $700 in cash per $1,000 principal amount, all other creditors would receive 100% of their claims, and stockholders would receive the remainder currently estimated to be between $0.47 and $1.03 per share.
Unica says Holders of approximately 93% of the Company's outstanding Senior Discount Notes have agreed to support the transaction and vote in favour of the pre-packaged bankruptcy.
2003-10-05: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD10, 000 penalty imposed on Mount Rushmore Broadcasting, Inc. concerning operation of an unlicensed studio to transmitter link for KAWK-FM, Custer, South Dakota.
Mount Rushmore had argued that the violation was not wilful, that it had corrected the violation and that the $10,000 forfeiture was "a huge fine for a small operator" but the agency concluded that it did know it was operating an unlicensed link, pointed out that correcting this did not remove liability and added that the financial information provided did not make the case for a reduction. It therefore upheld the penalty:
The FCC originally proposed penalties of USD 13,000 on Mount Rushmore for two offences in October last year (See RNW Oct 30, 2002); it has already reconfirmed the USD 3000 penalty for the other offence, relating to transmitter offences at its KZMX-FM, Hot Springs, South Dakota (See Licence News, June 15).
2003-10-04: US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) President and CEO Gary Fries has told the US National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) radio show in Philadelphia that revenues in August were essentially flat compared to a year ago.
He added that he anticipated that September and October would see year-to-year increases between 2.5% and 3% and that the final two months could see increases of up to 4%.
Fries also called for better verification and overall accountability concerning figures that were provided to advertisers so that they could see how effectively their money had been spent.
He also called for rewards to be based on effort as well as success, commenting that there should be rewards for energy in "trying to innovate and getting out of the safe zone."
2003-10-04: Last week saw new Spanish language radio giant Univision, which has just taken over Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation, amongst the most active dealers in US radio. It was involved in purchases topping USD 80 million.
One was the completion of a previously announced deal, the USD 21 million purchase from NextMedia of WJTW-FM, serving Joliet/Chicago, Illinois. The deal leaves NextMedia still owning ten stations in the greater Chicago market.
The other was the announcement of a USD 60 million purchase of WLIR-FM Garden City (Long Island), New York, from Jarad Broadcasting Co. Inc. and the Morey Organization, Inc.
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year and McHenry T. Tichenor, Jr., President of Univision Radio, who was formerly president and CEO of Hispanic Broadcasting, commented, "The acquisition of WLIR (FM) further demonstrates our commitment to serve the New York Hispanic community. We are very pleased to be able to offer listeners on Long Island and south-eastern Connecticut access to our programming."
The Morey organization owns three other FM radio stations in the market and its CEO Ronald J. Morey added, "We are pleased to announce that as part of the acquisition, Jarad Broadcasting will continue to serve Long Island by moving the modern rock WLIR to a new dial position."
Also in the Spanish-speaking market, Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has announced agreement to sell its English dance format KPTI-FM, San Francisco, to Three Point Media-San Francisco, LLC. for USD 30 million.
SBS President and CEO Raúl Alarcón commented, "I am pleased to announce the sale of our San Francisco station, which completes our strategy of redeploying certain non-strategic stations in order to strengthen our leading clusters in the nation's largest Hispanic markets. We intend to invest the cash proceeds from this sale to fund our growth in Los Angeles, the nation's largest Hispanic market."
In Missouri, Cumulus Media has announced a USD 25 million deal to purchase KCHZ-FM and KMJK-FM, serving Kansas City, from Syncom Radio Corporation and Allur-Kansas City, Inc.
Cumulus has the option of paying in cash or in shares of Cumulus Media Inc. Class A common stock with closing at the end of this year or in the first quarter of next year. The stations will be Cumulus's first in Kansas City.
Other deals in the week included a USD 14.25 million cash purchase by Citadel Broadcasting Corporation of 222 Corporation's Hot AC WCKW-FM, Laplace, in the New Orleans market, a USD 5.4 million cash purchase by newcomer Woman's World Broadcasting of Southern Broadcasting Companies' country WTSH-FM, Rockmart, in the Rome, Georgia, market, and a USD 2 million cash purchase by Broadcast Communications Inc. of Tschudy Communications Corporation's country format WNTR-AM and WROG-FM, Cumberland, Maryland.
Citadel has also moved its representation of its 211 stations from Interep to Katz Media. Announcing the cessation of its deal, Interep chairman and CEO Ralph Guild commented, "We were unable to resolve certain business issues with Citadel, and we regret that we will not be working with Citadel any longer. We wish them nothing but the best of success."
Interep noted that Citadel business accounted for some 7% of its commission revenues in recent years and added that it had a long-term contract running to 2010 under which it is entitled to termination fees in excess of USD30 million, payable over approximately 3.5 years.
In the UK, Forever Broadcasting has again been in the selling mould with sale of Juice FM Brighton to its original owners for GBP 450,000 (USD 750,000) and of its 35% stake in Splash FM, Worthing, for GBP 250,000 (USD 415,000).
It had already sold Juice FM in Liverpool to Absolute Radio (UK) Limited for GBP 3.1 million (USD 5.2 million) and has now trimmed its debt to around GBP 800,000 (USD 1.33 million).
Previous Forever Broadcasting:
2003-10-04: Entercom's WEEI-AM, Boston, morning host John Dennis has now been suspended for two days without pay following remarks he made (See RNW Oct 3)comparing children who were bussed from an inner city areas to a suburb school in a programme termed "Metco" to "gorillas"
Despite this calls are now coming from Boston City Council for him to be fired if he won't quit, with at least eight councillors calling for his dismissal.
One, Councillor Michael P. Ross, was quoted in the Boston Herald as saying, "I know it's a very serious call we're making, but it's in response to an even more disturbing statement. A person in a responsible position making such an irresponsible statement, that really is a key here."
Dennis had apologized on the air saying that his remark "was extremely insensitive, and I am truly sorry to anyone who was offended. I in no way meant to cause any student, parent, graduate, or employee of the Metco program any offence."
The station had refused direct comment but issued a statement saying, "John Dennis has been an outstanding employee at WEEI for the past seven years," the station said in a statement. "During that time, he has never said or done anything that has caused even the slightest negative reaction. He is as charitable with his time as any employee we've ever had, having been involved with numerous charities supporting children of all races. We know that this comment was completely out of character for John, and he regrets it terribly."
WEEI General Manager Tom Baker, who also apologised for the comment, has offered Metco free public service announcements to highlight the programme's accomplishments.
Metco executive director Jean McGuire said the organisation had been flooded with calls since the broadcast but said his dismissal would not cure anything.
"He gave me an apology on my voice mail. We accepted John Dennis' apology. All that stuff we accept,'' she said. "An apology, as long as it's heartfelt, is accepted. But what we want to get to is what informed him. We don't want the kids in Lexington calling the Metco students there, `Hey, Gorilla . . . hey, Little Joe.'"
Boston Herald report:
2003-10-04: Although continuing Taliban activities and attacks on girls schools by zealots opposed to women's education make the news more frequently from Afghanistan than stories of changes following the Taliban's overthrown, a Reuters story concerning Arman FM in Kabul indicates that many Afghans do appreciate the changes, even if only in private.
Arman (Hope in the Dari language) broadcasts a mix of music, chat and jokes and was set up at a cost of around USD 500,000 by USAID, the development arm of the U.S. government, in conjunction with Afghan-Australian brothers Saad, Jahid and Zaid Mohseni and their cousin Najib Thamas.
Not only does it broadcast Indian music such as songs from Bollywood movies, it also plays western pop including songs from Shakira, Madonna and Kylie Minogue.
In addition, in a conservative Muslim environment, half its presenters are women, including morning co-host, Zarlasht Madad, who was recently voted the station's most popular.
Saad Mohseni, a former investment banker from Melbourne, says the station is already making a profit from advertising and he plans to expand to other parts of Afghanistan when funding permits.
"We just wanted to give people what they want," he said. "But the response has been phenomenal, beyond our belief."
"Most people believe they don't have to hear about religion on the radio. I'm sure on other outlets they can hear more politics and religion, so we concentrate on general information and music."
When the station started, it ran into criticism because of use by broadcasters of slang Dari and its irreverent attitude.
Massood Sanjer, the morning co-host with Zarlasht Madad, says things are different now. "The criticism is like a drop in the ocean," Sanjer insists. "It was the first time Afghans listened to a radio station with men and women chatting and laughing, but now they have got used to it. We don't get criticised any more."
2003-10-04: The latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings just released show generally no changes in the top ranks with listening generally down a little. MUSICMATCH and AOL retained their top station and network rankings.
For the week to Sept 21, Arbitron'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 (*Non Commercial) - TTSL 704,892 (697,286); CP - 213,866 (206,309). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Contemporary Christian K-Love (Non Commercial) TTSL 318,273 (326,935); CP - 42,883 (42,691). Same rank with lower listening but slightly higher reach.
3: AOL Top Country (Internet-only) Country format (Commercial) - TTSL 310,551 (315,784); CP - 112,364 (112,741). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
4: Smooth Jazz format AOL Smooth Jazz (Commercial) - TTSL - 279,689 (295,668); CP - 63,480 (63,303). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 274,385 (276,311); CP - 54,776 (63,480). Same rank with lower listening although reach was slightly down.
The top five networks for the week to Sept 21 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 6,660,202 (6,730,160); CP - 1,569,446 (1,542,096). Same rank with lower listening although reach was up.
2: LAUNCH TTSL (Commercial) - 3,834,259 (3,731,526); CP - 807,235 (742,351). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 1,990,783 (1,969,762); CP - 453,431 (442,689). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 1,154,291 (1,062,648); CP - 144,651 (134,010) - Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) TTSL - 482,305 (485,076); CP -77,163 (74,785) - Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
Arbitron does not now rank Content Delivery Networks (CDN) alongside other networks but does report on them; for the week the top Content Delivery Networks were Live365 with TTSL 2,444,023, down from 2,501,976 and StreamGuys with TTSL 508,821, down from 519,492.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings:
2003-10-03: The US Federal Communications Commission has asked for the statutory maximum fine of USD357,000 on Viacom-Infinity over the Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia)"Sex in St Patrick's Cathedral" stunt that led to the ending of the duo's show on WNEW-FM just over a year ago (See RNW Aug 24, 2002).
It's also gone for the maximum penalty, in this case USD 55,000, over a complaint against Clear Channel's WWDC-FM (DC101) over a broadcast in which the hosts questioned two high school girls who called the station in response to an on-air promotion, about "their sexual activities at the school and made repeated and graphic references to oral sex."
In each case there were dissenting statements with calls for higher penalties. Democrat commissioner Michael J Copps said the penalties were "decisions to provide no more than a slap on the wrist to Infinity (owned by Viacom) and Clear Channel rather than take serious action to address indecency on our airwaves."
"Today, the majority proposes a $27,500 fine for each incident of airing what the majority agrees appears to be indecent programming at a time when children likely composed a significant portion of the audience," he added.
"Neither of these cases is a difficult call. Both are outrageous and both were run by stations whose owners knew better and whose parent companies have had previous indecent broadcasts brought before this Commission. I believe we should designate these cases for a hearing on the possible revocation of these stations' licenses, as provided for by section 312(a)(6) of the Communications Act."
His fellow Democrat Jonathan Adelstein, who said the commission had taken too long to come to a decision, commented, "Unfortunately, the statutory constraints on our ability to level fines are currently inadequate, as the low fines can be considered by broadcasters as a cost of doing business and not a serious deterrent" and also suggested that in future he would "not hesitate to consider such revocation proceedings for serious violations that occur after the explicit notice we provided in April in WKRK-FM" while Republican Kevin Martin said he would have "would have proposed a higher fine" in these cases.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Opie and Anthony:
2003-10-03: Conservative US radio host Rush Limbaugh kept a low profile on his presence in the news on Thursday when he gave a keynote address to the US National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) radio show in Philadelphia, avoiding any mention of allegations that he is being investigated for allegedly buying thousands of addictive painkillers from a black-market drug ring and only making a low-key reference to his resignation from Disney-owned ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown" after comments that came under criticism as racist.
The drug allegations surfaced in the National Enquirer and were then carried by the New York Daily News, which referred to the host as a "moralizing motormouth" and said he was "was turned in by his former housekeeper - who says she was Limbaugh's pill supplier for four years."
She told the Enquirer Limbaugh was hooked on the potent prescription drugs OxyContin, Lorcet and hydrocodone - and went through detox twice. She said she wore a wire during her last two deliveries to the conservative commentator and gave the tapes to authorities.
She said that the host had originally asked her for hydro-codone 750 in 1998 when he found out her husband was taking it after being hurt in a fall but the next year, after the doctor stopped prescribing them, became "nasty and bullying" about getting him further supplies.
The Daily News said it confirmed independently that an enquiry was being conducted but Limbaugh's lawyers refused to comment on the accusations and said any "medical information" about him was private and not newsworthy.
According to the Associated Press, Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Networks, which syndicates the "Rush Limbaugh Show," issued a statement from the host saying: "I am unaware of any investigation by any authority involving me. No government representative has contacted me directly or indirectly. If my assistance is required, I will, of course, cooperate fully."
The ESPN comments, suggesting that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was unduly favoured because he was black had simmered for three days after being made on Sunday but were carried by all three US TV networks on Wednesday night.
Initially Limbaugh played down the incident and posted a version of the comment on his web site home page on Wednesday, saying, "Liberal sportswriters have pushed the notion that it's unfair that there haven't been more black quarterbacks, and I agree with that. I simply said that their desire for McNabb to do well caused them to rate him a little higher than perhaps he actually is."
The site also carried links to further comment entitled, "Rush Is Right: Only NFL, Liberal Sportswriters Can Mention McNabb's Race?" and "Rush Is Right: Some Speech is More Free Than Others".
On his show, syndicated by Clear Channel's Premiere Networks, Limbaugh said critics were over-reacting, adding, "There's no racism here, there's no racist intent whatsoever," he said.
Later after his resignation, he issued a statement saying, "My comments this past Sunday were directed at the media and were not racially motivated."
"I offered an opinion. This opinion has caused discomfort to the crew, which I regret. I love 'NFL Sunday Countdown' and do not want to be a distraction to the great work done by all who work on it."
"Therefore, I have decided to resign. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the show and wish all the best to those who make it happen."
ESPN, owned by Disney, was quoted on ABC, also owned by Disney, as saying the comments were "insensitive and inappropriate."
The original comment was, "I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defence carried this team."
McNabb said the comments "upset" him and calls for ESPN to fire the host came from a number of quarters including included Democratic presidential hopefuls Howard Dean and Wesley Clark who termed the remarks "hateful and ignorant speech."
NFL executive vice president of communications and public affairs Joe Browne said, "Donovan's stature as a top quarterback reflects his performance on the field, not the desires of the media... ESPN knew what they were getting when they hired Rush Limbaugh. ESPN selects its on-air talent, not the NFL."
RNW comment: Whilst possibly having some sympathy with Limbaugh should it turn out he took drugs in connection with his hearing problems and then became addicted, any such sympathy is tempered by his behaviour towards those with whom he disagrees. The McNabb comments, and the defence that he had criticized white players (he does not mention whether it occurred to him to link the criticism with the colour of their skin!), whether he is big enough to recognise it or not, suggest an arrogance and inability to see others views that certainly involves prejudice and probably bigotry. His faithful are almost certain to rush to his defence; we suggest they should carefully consider the NAACP description of the comments as "bigoted and ignorant"
The Limbaugh controversy comes as two other US talk hosts have recently been involved in controversy over allegedly racist remarks. One of them conservative midday talk host Bob Lonsberry from Clear Channel's WHAM-AM in Rochester, New York, was eventually fired after initial support from the station (See RNW Oct 1).
The other, John Dennis, co-host of the weekday morning show on Entercom's WEEI-AM in Boston, has apologised on air after comparing inner-city students on a voluntary bussing programme, "Metco", to "gorillas".
Dennis made the remark after seeing a newspaper photograph of the gorilla standing by a bus stop; he said the animal was "probably a Metco gorilla waiting for a bus."
Metco board chairwoman Kahris White-McLaughlin said, "brought back all of those stereotypical images of Jane and Tarzan and the negative things that people used to say about the continent of Africa" but added that the apology was satisfactory and she was not seeking his resignation.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Premiere Networks:
Limbaugh web site:
New York Daily News report:
2003-10-03: Emap was won the new West Midlands regional FM licence, the penultimate major analogue licence and the last regional licence that is to be awarded by the UK Radio Authority before it is subsumed into Britain's new Ofcom super-regulator; only a new Glasgow licence is now left for award.
The winning bid by the Kerrang! rock format was competing against ten other applications (See RNW May 13). Kerrang! is already on the Freeview digital terrestrial channel in the UK and had a weekly reach of nearly 750,000 in the last UK radio ratings.
Commenting on the award, Radio Authority Executive chair David Witherow said, "A variety of proposals were submitted from a wide range of applicants and they were generally of an impressively high standard, making our decision all the more difficult. At the end of a long discussion, Members decided that Kerrang! Radio best met the statutory criteria, and its programming aimed at an under-served segment of the younger population will clearly widen choice in the region."
Emap Performance Chief Executive Tim Schoonmaker added, "A big thank you from Kerrang! to everyone in the West Midlands who supported this license application. We are going to give them a great radio station."
The West Midlands is the only UK area that will have three regional licences once Kerrang! Is on air - it already has a service targeted at the over-50s from Saga and a middle-of-the-road rock format from Heart FM, owned by Chrysalis.
Chrysalis itself has announced signing two more names at its London talk FM, LBC. They are Jennie Bond and Fiona Glover, both former BBC personalities.
Bond, formerly the BBC Royal Correspondent (RNW note- they mean Royalty; She is not a member of the royals!) had retired after 14 years in the role, saying she wanted to spend more time with her family and make a clean break with reporting royalty.
She has now gone back on this and will be LBC's royal correspondent. Her husband Jim Keltz, a former radio journalist, worked for LBC for many years.
Glover has also reversed an earlier decision to take a break from radio; in May she had taken a sabbatical from the BBC, where she took over BBC Radio 5 Live's morning show from Nicky Campbell in January when he moved to a breakfast slot (See RNW Jan 13), to move to New York (See RNW May 31).
That departure had followed a series of clashes with Victoria Derbyshire, co-host of Campbell's breakfast show and who is partnered with Glover's former husband, Mark Sandell.
Glover is to provide a weekly 'Fi-Mail from America' segment in Krishnan Guru-Murthy's Sunday morning current affairs show.
At the BBC, veteran journalist Dan Damon, who has been working on BBC Radio 4 and World Service since 1996 following a spell freelancing in various war zones, has been named as the new presenter on the World Service's World Update programme from November 3.
Previous UK Radio Authority:
2003-10-03: More signs of a potential take-off of digital radio in the US have come with announcements timed to coincide with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Radio Show in Philadelphia; they included an announcement by iBiquity that more than 280 stations in more than 100 markets reaching more than two-thirds of listeners in Arbitron rated markets are set to begin broadcasting using its HD in-band-on-channel digital technology and by Beasley Broadcasting that five of its six radio stations in southeast Florida are now broadcasting in HD Radio
The Beasley stations involved are four AMs and an FM and commenting on Beasley's move into digital technology Chairman and CEO George G. Beasley said, "When FM radio stations first appeared, the industry and the general public were slow to adopt the new technology. Today, however, FM is clearly the band of choice for high-fidelity broadcasting."
"As an early adopter of HD Radio technology, Beasley believes that with fidelity and reception improvements, HD is the future of radio, and we eagerly anticipate the dramatic benefits it is expected to bring to our industry."
IBiquity president and CEO Robert Struble referred to Beasley as a "forward-thinking, technology savvy company executing a plan to bring its radio stations into the digital age."
"HD Radio technology," he added, "will provide Beasley's listeners with new and exciting digital services: incredible sound fidelity, crystal clear reception and data services capable of providing basic and advanced information - all of which have become the norm in consumer's lives."
Of the national move to digital, he said, "It is a phenomenal achievement to have reached this level of nationwide penetration prior to receivers even reaching consumers. Based on the size of the audience that we'll be able to reach as well as the wide variety of formats represented, we're extremely confidant that the introduction of HD Radio receivers will be enthusiastically received by consumers."
IBiquity also announced a number of agreements and technical developments related to the use of multi-media features of HD technology. Among them was an announcement that the broadcast call-in "Wine Country Live!" show have agreed a joint marketing agreement between the two organizations designed to identify and establish new approaches to programming that utilize HD Radio's data services capabilities to create new interactive features for the show's listeners.
The show is hosted by Gina Gallo and Michael DeLoach and DeLoach added, " we discuss and recommend wines from many different wineries on Wine Country Live! HD Radio's graphical display will allow us to more clearly identify the variety of vintages and labels that we are discussing so that consumers can more easily find these wines at their local merchant.
iBiquity also announced a deal to integrate HD date services into the VELOCITY satellite service of Capitol Broadcasting-owned Microspace Communications, Corporation, the largest business satellite broadcasting network operator in the world, which delivers business music to more than 100 million people daily.
iBiquity's Director, Wireless Data, Joe D'Angelo, said , "This agreement will be especially important as we prepare to roll out second generation data services such as on-demand news, traffic and weather as well as expanded informational listings featuring text and rich media dynamically synchronized with the audio programming."
For developers of multimedia services, iBiquity has the initial availability of its Advanced Application Service application programming interface (AAS API), and the release of version 1.0 of the HD BML (Broadcast Multimedia Language) protocol, which will serve as the primary building blocks for developers creating such services that utilize the wireless data capabilities of HD Radio technology.
Previous George Beasley:
2003-10-03: Australians are significantly keener on listening to music rather than other formats on radio and are happier now with the music they receive from their stations than they were eight years ago according to research by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA).
The survey, commissioned to coincide with a review of the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice, which is currently being undertaken by Commercial Radio Australia, showed news and information stations in second place in choice of listening with local news and information in third place although those in rural areas were significantly more interested in - and satisfied with - local news and information than those in metropolitan areas.
The research, Understanding community attitudes to radio content, was produced by Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) and involved a series of eight group discussions with radio listeners in four states followed by a nationally representative survey of 1254 people aged 15 years and over.
94% of survey respondents regularly listened to radio and 70% % regularly listened to commercial radio services; the survey says 63% listened to the same station most or all of the time and the remaining 37% were 'switchers' who either alternated between two or three stations or listened to whatever sounded good at the time.
90% of radio listeners were at least fairly satisfied with the choice of radio stations available to them, only 8% were dissatisfied 58% were extremely or very satisfied.
In terms of the feature of radio they most liked or enjoyed 72% spontaneously nominated music, compared to 44% in a 1994 study, followed by 39% for news and information and 18% for talkback.
More said they were interested in general news and information - 79% - than local news and information - 62% - and more of them - 55% to 45% were extremely or very satisfied with what they heard.
Sixty-nine percent of commercial radio listeners said there was about the right amount of local news and information broadcast on commercial radio, but 27 %) said there was not enough.
ABC Radio was seen as the most important source of local news and information (38 % extremely/very important) followed by commercial radio (30 %) and community radio (22 %). Newspapers and commercial television (53 % and 44 % respectively) were perceived as more important sources of local news and information than radio.
In terms of satisfaction, programmes with comedy or humour, although they attracted interest from more than half of listeners, did worst with only 29% being extremely or very satisfied; for talkback, where 46% expressed interest, 43% pronounced themselves extremely or very satisfied.
In terms of taking offence, a tenth said they had heard something that concerned or offended them in the past week, the same as in a 1997 survey, although when asked about concern over a longer period a higher level of concern was noted.
The most common concerns raised spontaneously were swearing or coarse language (4 % radio listeners), discriminatory language (4 %), and bias (4 %) with the highest level relating to general radio (8%) followed by talkback (7%) and news and information reporting (6%).
Compared to the 1997 survey there was an increase in the percentage of listeners who were prepared to accept swearing or coarse language and talkback presenters were perceived to have improved their treatment of callers.
Concern remained, however, about the influence of radio announcers with more than half commercial radio listeners and 60% of commercial AM listeners saying some radio announcers had too much influence and 85% saying that radio personalities' opinions should not be influenced by their personal sponsorship deals and more than three quarters of commercial AM talkback listeners saying it was at least fairly important for radio personalities to inform listeners of any personal sponsors.
2003-10-02: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Radio Show has opened in Philadelphia with suggestions that the new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ownership rules could lead to further consolidation rather than less.
Cumulus chairman and CEO Lew Dickey told a session on the effects of the new regulations that the new Arbitron-based radio market definition rules will allow companies to now build clusters in adjacent markets, whereas the old service-contour based regulations prevented such types of cluster building.
Cumulus could be amongst the companies who benefit, as the new rules would permit expansion in some markets although it is also involved in some pending deals that do not meet the new rules.
On the other side of the argument Qantum Communications CEO Frank Osborn said the new regulations might limit companies like his from building clusters in some markets where there has already been a degree of consolidation.
Radio 1 Inc President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins III commented to a Broadcasting Financing Seminar that the decision in the new rules to count joint sales agreements when determining a company's station count might cause problems for some larger owners and prompt sales by owners. He added that this could make it easier for smaller companies to compete with larger companies.
Previous Radio 1 Inc.:
2003-10-02: XM satellite radio says it now has nearly 930,000 subscribers and is on target to reach 1.2 million by the end of the year and also to reach break-even on cash flow by the end of next year.
It added 237,395 new subscribers in the third quarter of the year to end with 929,648; in the second quarter it had added more than 209,000 subscribers to reach 692,253 at the start of July.
XM President and CEO Hugh Panero commented, "The third quarter represented our largest quarterly increase in net subscriber growth and one million subscribers is around the corner."
On the programming side, XM has announced that from this month it is to begin broadcasting special comedy events live from Carolines on Broadway, the New York comedy nightclub, now in its 20th year.
Rival Sirius has also announced an addition to its line-up with the addition of liberal talk host Lynn Samuels to its SIRIUS Left, stream 145; The Lynn Samuels show launches on October 11 and will air at lunchtime on Saturdays and Sundays.
Sirius has also added another portable radio system to its line-up with the STREAMER from Pana Pacific. The plug and play receiver is designed for truck use and connects with existing in-dash radios or home stereo amplifiers, allowing use in a wide variety of locations. The system, which includes a quick release mount and wireless FM-transmitter for easy installation and removal will be priced from around USD110 upwards through participating OEM truck dealers and truck stops.
2003-10-02: According to the Times of India, recommendations due out soon from the country's Radio Committee and likely to be ratified by the government, will sweep away All India Radio's (AIR) monopoly and allow private FM stations to carry news, which is currently barred to them.
The paper says that as well as removing the prohibition the government will also allow foreign development and investment in radio on a similar basis to that currently permitted for TV and print media.
For entertainment channels not carrying news, says the paper, foreign investors will be allowed to own up to 74% but for those with news the cap will be 26%.
It adds that the current AIR code will be used as the content regulation code for private FM stations and stations defying the code may lose their licences.
The government is also forecast to be preparing to abolish the current radio sector licence fee and replace it with a one-time entry fee and a fee of 2.5% of revenue per annum thereafter.
FM stations will be allowed to network to a limited extent but full networking to create a national broadcaster would not be permitted.
Previous Indian Radio:
Times of India report:
2003-10-02: The latest complaints bulletin issued by the UK Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) upheld two complaints against radio, plus another partly upheld, compared with one upheld in its previous bulletin (See RNW Aug 4).
In all the Commission dealt with 186 complaints, 75 more than in the previous bulletin. 21 of these involved radio and the remaining 165, including advertisements and trailers, concerned video compared with six and 95 a month earlier.
There were 16 fairness complaints compared to five in the previous bulletin, 12 concerning TV and four radio whereas all concerned TV in the previous bulletin; of these four were was upheld, one involving radio, compared to one upheld in the previous bulletin and one TV case was partially upheld.
Six cases were considered resolved, two of them radio cases, compared to one TV in the previous bulletin. The other five cases, one radio, were not upheld.
The radio fairness case upheld involved an edition of LBC's breakfast show in which the presenter had denigrated Automotive Supplies after an incident in which she had locked possessions in her motorcycle. She said employees of the company had refused to allow her to use their telephone to contact a locksmith but neglected to mention that she had been allowed one free phone call before others were refused. The presenter repeatedly named the firm and said she wanted to "make them squirm" and, although a colleague had suggested that the company be given the opportunity to respond and said this would be done later, an editorial decision was taken that this was unnecessary.
Two radio complaints in the fairness category were considered resolved; they both involved complaints of infringement of privacy by the BBC Radio 4 Today programme and had already been upheld by the BBC complaints unit, which the complainants considered a satisfactory conclusion.
Of the remaining 170 cases involving standards, 17 involved radio, one being upheld, another partly upheld, two resolved and 123 not upheld; of the 153 video cases, seven were upheld, one part upheld, nine resolved and 136 not upheld.
Upheld was a complaint against the News Quiz on BBC Radio 4 in which there had been a play on words in the context of a question about in which the term "pansy" had been used in a manner that led to a complaint about a homophobic reference.
Partly upheld was a complaint against the Jonathan Ross Show on BBC Radio 2 in which a remark about children on a "Variety Bus" in connection with the "lack of obvious physical strength of a colleague" had led to a complaint about offensive remarks concerning children with disabilities; another complaint over comments about farting was not upheld but, although the comments about the children was said to have been meant in a good-humoured way and not directed at disabled children, it was held to have exceeded permissible boundaries.
The resolved cases both concerned the BBC, one about the questioning on the Ed Douglas Show on BBC Southern Counties Radio of whether depression was in some cases as serious as people made out; the presenter had already made an apology later in the programme.
The second involved swearing by football fans in BBC Radio Sheffield's Football Heaven show in which fans talked about recent matches. The BBC had already considered the programme and said a first decision to let a word go by was correct but the second was unsuitable and the presenter had been told that there should have been an apology and distancing the station from the language.
Previous BSC and BSC Complaints bulletin:
BSC web site (Links to report 177 kb PDF):
2003-10-01: UK Capital Radio has announced that Johnny Vaughan is to take over the breakfast show on its flagship London station Capital FM from Chris Tarrant in April next year.
Vaughan, best known for his TV work as host of Channel 4's Big Breakfast, has signed a three-year deal rumoured to be valued at between GPP 5 million to GBP 6 million (USD 8-10 million).
Tarrant, who is also host of the TV "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" show in the UK is rumoured to earn around GBP1.3 million (USD 2.2 million) a year from Capital. He has been hosting his radio show for 17 years but has already cut down the time he spends on it.
He commented, "I love Capital. It's the only station I've ever worked for and I'll miss the great friends I've made here. But I won't miss the alarm going off every morning. Johnny is a great choice and he'll bring a lot to the show."
Vaughan, who only a day earlier had been named to head a new BBC Radio Five Live Saturday show (See RNW Sept 30) has previously worked for the now defunct BBC London station GLR and BBC Radio 5.
He said of his new post, "I'm used to early mornings so getting up won't be a problem - my only hope is that I look as good as Chris does in 15 years' time."
Capital FM managing director Keith Pringle, said: "I'm delighted Johnny will be joining the team at 95.8 Capital FM to head up the UK's most prestigious breakfast show."
"Johnny has perfect credentials for the job; he's funny and spontaneous, down to earth and most importantly a real London guy who fits in perfectly with how our listeners want to be."
Capital Chief Executive, David Mansfield said the decision had been "incredibly important", adding, "Chris Tarrant has been with the company for 17 years and he's certainly an impressive act to follow. However, I believe that Johnny is simply the best presenter to take over the biggest show on London's leading radio station. I'm looking forward to welcoming him to Capital to make what's already a hugely successful show his own."
The appointment leaves doubt over the future with the station of Capital drivetime host Neil "Dr" Fox, who also hosts the Pop Idol TV show and has stood in for Tarrant in the breakfast slot.
He told the UK Guardian, "I think I was probably led to believe it may be my job. I do have a window of opportunity now if I need to leave Capital. If the breakfast show did not happen and I wanted to go somewhere else, I could."
"I don't think they want me to leave, the share price might fall even further if I did (RNW note Capital's stock was down 5% on Tuesday, ending at 472.50 pence but analysts indicated this may have been to do with investors tidying up portfolios on the final trading day of the quarter). But Pop Idol has opened up an amazing shop window for me to go on and do more TV shows." he added.
The paper said one of its sources had said Fox has a get-out clause in his contract allowing him to leave if he did not land the breakfast show but another said hr was likely to stay as he had a lucrative clause in his GBP 700,000 plus (USD 1.2 million) a year contract giving him a lump sum if he stayed with Capital.
Mansfield told the paper Fox was an important member of the station's team, adding, "I think Foxy does a fantastic job in drivetime and is an extremely accomplished broadcaster. He stood in for Chris and did a great job and added listeners."
UK Guardian report:
2003-10-01: Emmis Communications has reported profits for its second quarter, running to the end of August, of USD7.5 million (14 cents a share) compared to a loss of USD 6.8 million (13 cents a share) in the same quarter a year ago.
Its pro forma net revenue was up 7% to USD158.2 million, and reported radio revenues were up 16% while pro forma radio net revenues increased 10%. Television net revenues in comparison increased by only 1% and pro forma television net revenues increased 3%, largely due to the absence of political advertising revenues this year compared to some USD 2 million of such revenues a year ago. Publishing net revenues were up 3%.
Overall Emmis net revenue was up 9%, to USD155.7 million (7% on a pro-forma basis to USD158.2 million) and operating income rose 4%, to USD37.2 million. Station operating income was up 5%, to USD60.1 million.
Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan commented of the results, "This quarter is the continuation of a very good year at Emmis, as our divisions continue to outperform their industries. In radio, we outperformed our markets by 4.5%, while in television we outperformed our markets by 3.8%. The audience share gains we realized this quarter continue to position Emmis for future growth."
Looking ahead, Emmis is forecasting third quarter radio revenue between USD 74.9-76.4 million and company revenue between USD157.8 million and USD160.2 million with corresponding ranges for the final quarter of USD 64 million to USD 65.2 million and USD 137.2 million to USD 139.8 million.
Full year revenues are forecast at an overall total of USD 593-598 million with radio revenue from USD 284.6 to 287.3 million.
2003-10-01: Clear Channel has fired conservative midday talk host Bob Lonsberry from WHAM-AM in Rochester, New York, despite last week saying they intended to stick by him following a row over remarks he made that were seen as alluding to Rochester's African American Mayor as an "orang-utan" (See RNW Sept 27). He has also lost his talk-radio show in Utah.
WHAM says that following his remarks, which initially led only to a suspension. The host convinced them he was willing to face his mistakes and learn from his behaviour but it "became obvious that he is not embracing diversity or the beliefs of the station."
The comment is thought to relate to remarks that Lonsberry posted on his web site on Monday taking shots at those who had attacked his remarks but Lonsberry in a new posting on his site on Tuesday said he did not think this was the case.
The original posting decried church leaders, "social activist," government leaders and others as "Pharisees and Inquisitors" and the new one took up the issue of his dismissal.
Saying that after 20 years "the safety of a speaker phone, two cogs in a corporate wheel told me I was fired", Lonsberry went on to add, "I figured all along they were going to fire me. They said otherwise, but they didn't act otherwise. I think they fired me by inches, by little bits over a week. But that's their right. It's their radio company, not mine."
He then expressed some concern about the possible impact on radio consolidation on his future chances of getting a job, writing, "I think with mounting criticism in Congress over giant radio companies, the biggest of them all - my former employer -- didn't want any brush fires anywhere." "So I think some suit on the other end of a conference call made a decision. I don't have anything against radio consolidation, but it will make it hard for me to get more work. I lost jobs at two radio stations, but will be black balled at more than 1,000 others, and in the nation's largest syndication company. And I'm not sure where that leaves me."
Previous Clear Channel:
Lonsberry web site:
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle report:
WHAM web site:
2003-10-01: BBC World Service's BBC Afrique marks its 65th anniversary tomorrow with more than 12 hours of uninterrupted French programming and the launch of a new schedule starting from 0600 GMT with a re-launch of the morning Londres Matin programme, which will be extended to 90 minutes.
The new programme will include news, current affairs, phone-ins, features, interviews with special guests and a review of newspaper headlines from across Africa; other highlights of the day will include a number of live debates and discussions on political topics and features on African singers and footballers in Europe.
BBC Afrique web site:
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