January 2004 Archive
December 2003 - February 2004
Links- internally where there are follow-up stories we try, at the end of each story, to put a pertinent link to the top of the next relevant story. Regarding external links see note at end of page.
RNW January comment - Suggests that convergence in media is a delusion when it comes to programming since human senses have not changed even if the signal if just a data stream en route to the eyes and ears.
RNW December comment - Looks at our wish list for 2004.
RNW November comment - Looks at the relationship between regulatory penalties and the importance attached to things.
2004-01-31: Citadel is expanding its Tennessee holdings with a USD100 million purchase of Barnstable Broadcasting's Memphis Radio Group comprising four FMs - country format WGKX-FM (KIX 106), smooth jazz WJZN-FM, Classic Hits WSRR-FM (The Cat) and Urban Oldies WRBO-FM.
Citadel already owns stations in Chattanooga, Johnson City and Nashville, and overall will now have some 210 stations.
In mid week, Citadel announced that it was putting 28 million of its shares up for sale, 8 million new shares and 20 million from stockholders, primarily affiliates of Forstmann Little & Co., which bought Citadel in 2001 but took it public again last year.
In addition, the Company said it expects to grant the underwriters- Credit Suisse First Boston LLC, Goldman, Sachs & Co., Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co - an over-allotment option to purchase up to an additional 4,200,000 shares from the Company. It said it intends to use all of its net proceeds to redeem a portion of its outstanding 6% subordinated debentures.
Citadel stock fell heavily on news of the sale and they ended the week at USD18.95, just below their USD 19 Initial Public Offering (IPO) price and a high since the IPO of USD 22.80.
In other US radio deals, Iowa-based NewRadio Group is buying news, talk and sports WFHR-AM and classic rock WGLX-FM-Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, from Bliss Communications for an undisclosed sum.
NewRadio already owns central Wisconsin stations in Marshfield and Stevens Point and its CEO Mary Quass said, "We're delighted to have the opportunity to add these great radio stations to our current group and to continue to build a strong relationship with the communities and their listeners... The addition of WFHR and WGLX is a logical fit."
NewRadio is to operate the stations under a time-brokerage agreement until the deal gets FCC approval.
Wayne Ripp, general manager of the Marshfield and Stevens Point stations and future manager of the Wisconsin Rapids stations, told the Ironwood (Michigan) Daily Globe, which is owned by Bliss, that the deal "just made sense. These stations have a great tradition of broadcasting and do great local radio. They just believed in a lot of the same things we did, and they're great broadcasters and staff members."
There will be some minor changes behind the scenes, but the staff members and radio programs will not change, Ripp added.
Ironwood Daily Globe report:
2004-01-31: According to the UK Telegraph, SMG is challenging the latest UK ratings on the basis that RAJAR's diary system was under-represented amongst the key demographic of males aged 15 to 35 for its Virgin Radio channel.
The ratings showed that Virgin had lost audience in the final quarter of last year (See RNW Jan 30)
RAJAR had already said it was taking steps to deal with the problem of this demographic (See RNW Jan 24), which is also high amongst the audience for talkSPORT whose owner the Wireless Group has been challenging the RAJAR figures and also sponsored alternative meter ratings from GfK Media.
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Telegraph report:
2004-01-31: Eastlan Resources, which earlier this month made its first radio ratings foray outside the US with a ratings deal in Montreal (See RNW Jan 21), has now added Gainesville, Florida, its first top 100 market.
Gainesville will also be Eastlan's first continuously rated market starting with this spring's survey.
2004-01-31: Former Hawaiian radio DJ Michael Saragosa, who broadcast as Wili Moku, has died aged 47 when his heart stopped during a dialysis session.
He began his radio in 1975 running errands at KORL-AM and by the end of the year, he had a show of his own after which he moved to KKUA-AM in the early 1980s and finally to KQMQ-FM, where he worked for 13-years. He also co-hosted "AJI Magic City," Japan's No. 1 weekend show.
He left the islands in the late 1990s and in California his Moku's health failed and doctors had to amputate his legs and two of his fingers. He returned to Hawaii in 2000 and went public with his disease to bring more awareness to diabetes.
John Matthews, program director for Oldies 107.9 (Cox's KGMZ AM/FM), where Moku had been for the past two years on a Sunday evening show, told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "He could do it all. He could be wild. He could be charming. He could be funny as hell. It all matched the tempo of the show."
2004-01-30: A clampdown on "indecent" broadcasts in the US now seems to be on the cards following yesterday's hearing on the matter by the Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications at which a letter of support signed by Commerce Secretary Donald Evans for a bill that would increase penalties tenfold was distributed.
The proposal has also been publicly backed by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K. Powell who is also amongst those calling for a reconsideration of a ruling that singer Bono's use of the F-word during the Golden Globe Awards show was not in breach of the commission's rules. The FCC enforcement bureau had said there should not be a penalty because the word was not used in a sexual context.
The sub-committee chairman Michigan republican Rep. Fred Upton had also raised the potential of licence revocation with a comment suggesting the FCC could adopt a "three strikes and you're off'' rule (See RNW Jan 29).
No one had opposed the bill during the sub-committee hearings although concern about First Amendment issues was raised.
FCC enforcement bureau chief David Solomon had told the hearing that since Powell became chairman in January 2001 the commission had issued fines totalling USD 1.4 million compared to a total of USD 850,000 in fines over the previous seven years.
2004-01-30: Around a thousand BBC staff on Thursday staged protests at the resignation of Director-General Greg Dyke in the wake of severe criticism of the corporation in the Hutton report on the death of scientist Dr David Kelly, who committed suicide after being revealed as the source of a BBC story that said the British government had "sexed up" intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction before the attack on the country.
The report exonerated British Prime Minister Tony Blair and had already led to the resignation of BBC chairman Gavyn Davies.
Amongst the protests, one small station went silent for a minute to protest both the resignation and the unreserved apology by acting chairman, Lord Ryder, on behalf of the board of governors, who also confirmed the appointment of Greg Dyke's recently appointed deputy, Mark Byford, as acting director general.
Staff at Somerset Sound decided to end the afternoon show early and go to silence in protest.
Assistant Editor Simon Clifford said: "Staff said they felt flat, deflated, shell-shocked and wanted to make their point. We may be a small station and it may have been a small protest but it was heartfelt."
"We took a carefully thought-out protest designed to make a point while having minimal impact on the licence-fee payer. Staff were upset and saw this as a way to make a protest. We immediately received messages of support from the public."
2004-01-30: A technical problem stopped the US Federal Communication Commission's planned web cast of its hearing on localism in San Antonio on Wednesday although the commission says, "an archived version of the hearing will be available in the near future."
The hearing was broadcast live on digital channel 5.2 by KENS, channel 5 in San Antonio and on channel News 9 San Antonio.
The latter reported that there were a number of comments that the commission was perceived as unfairly singling out San Antonio-headquartered radio giant Clear Channel for criticism and saying it should be re-directed to the big TV networks. There were also demonstrations outside against Clear Channel and inside concerning its practice of voice tracking, which one speaker said many announcers couldn't even give the weather at a particular time because the show had been pre-recorded hours earlier in a distant city.
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-01-30: Latest official UK radio ratings from RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) for the final quarter of 2003 show BBC Radio 1 continuing to lose listeners and Radio 2 to gain them; it has more than double the listening share of Radio 1 and had a weekly audience of 13.15 million, only a little down from its record of 13.26 million.
The BBC had a strong quarter overall, taking its share of listening up from 51.8% the previous quarter and 52.5% a year ago to 52.9% but commercial fared less well with its share down from 46.2% the previous quarter and 45.5% a year ago to 45.3%.
Within the commercial sector the figures gave hope for Capital FM in London which is shown as regaining its crown from Chrysalis-owned Heart-FM; there was cold comfort for the Wireless Group whose flagship talkSPORT station was shown as losing 500,000 listeners a week over the year, ending up with 1.87 million. It did better in the final quarter, losing only 38,000 listeners a week compared to the previous quarter.
The ratings were reflected on the markets where Capital ended the day up 4.28% at 548 pence whilst Chrysalis was down 2.73% to 240.25 pence and GWR, whose Classic FM channel lost 253,000 listeners a week, was down 3.73% at 284 pence. Wireless Group stock was unchanged.
The Radio 1 findings are in line with those from GfK's unofficial ratings (See RNW Jan 29) but the unofficial ratings, sponsored by the Wireless Group, show talkSPORT doing much better.
Commenting on the figures for the BBC, Jenny Abramsky, Director of Radio & Music, said, "Overall radio listening is increasing in the UK which is really good news, showing the strength of radio in this country. Every quarter there are new stations coming on air, but we are heartened by the continued good performance of BBC Radio."
In year-on-year terms, BBC Radio 1 lost more than a million listeners weekly - down from 10.51 to 9.44 million with share down from 8,4% to 7.7%; BBC Radio 2 was down slightly in reach - from 13.26 million to 13.15 million - but increased its listening share from 15.8% to 16%; BBC Radio 3's reach was slightly up - from 2.15 million to 2.19 million with share up to 1.4% from 1.2%; BBC Radio 4's reach was down from 9.80 million to 9.51 million with share unchanged at 11.5% and BBC Radio Five Live, including numbers for digital sister station Five Live Sports Extra, had a reach up from 6.15 million and 4.7% share compared to 6.27 million and 4.7% a year ago when there were no digital figures.
For the main commercial networks the figures were all down - Classic FM's reach went from 6.657 million to 6.210 million with share unchanged at 4.3%, talkSPORT's reach was down from 2.415 million to 1.866 million with share down from 1.7% to 1.4% and Virgin's reach, for AM and FM, was down from 2.817 million to 2.574 million with share down from 1.6% to 1.4%.
Within the figures, compared to the previous quarter:
*BBC Radio 1 lost 411,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.85 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 20%, and a listening share of 7.7%, down from 8%.
*BBC Radio 2 gained 548,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 13.15 million, a weekly reach of 27%, up from 26%, and a listening share of 16%, up from 15%.
*BBC Radio 3 lost 22,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 2.192 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 5%, and a listening share of 1.4%, up from 1.2%.
*BBC Radio 4 lost 12,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.513 million, a weekly reach of 20%, as before, and a listening share of 11.5 %, up from 11.3 %.
*BBC Radio 5 Live gained 409,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6.125 million, a weekly reach of 13%, up from 12%, and a listening share of 4.4%, up from 4.2%.
*BBC World Service lost 52,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.296 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 3%, and a listening share down from 0.7% to 0.6%.
*BBC Asian Network lost 42,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 453,000, an unchanged weekly reach of 1% and an 0.3% share, down from 0.4%.
On the commercial side for national networks:
*GWR's Classic FM lost 253,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6.210 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 13%, and a listening share down from 4.5% to 4.3%.
*The Wireless Group's talkSPORT lost 38,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.866 million an unchanged weekly reach of 4% and a listening share of 1.4%, down from 1.5%.
*SMG-owned Virgin (total including all AM and FM) lost 281,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.574 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 6%, and a listening share of 1.4%, down from 1.7%.
Digital national commercial networks:
*Core, in its second ratings, had a weekly audience down from 162,000 to 98,000, too small for reach and share to be rated.
*Kerrang lost 142,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 722,000 a reach down from 2% to 1%, and an unchanged listening share of 0.2%.
*Oneword gained 5,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 64,00, too small for reach and share to be listed.
*Planet Rock in its second ratings had a weekly audience of 199,00, down from 247,000, a reach too small to be rated and an unchanged of 0.1%
*Q, in its second ratings, lost 175,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 378,000, an unchanged reach of 1% and an unchanged share of 0.1%.
*Smash Hits lost 226,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 751,000, an unchanged reach of 2%, and a listening share of 0.2%, down from 0.3%
*The Hits, in its second ratings, lost 212,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 824,00, an unchanged reach of 2% and a share down from 0.4% to 0.3%
*The Storm, in its second ratings, lost 3,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 74,000, to small for reach and share to be rated.
*Mean Country is no longer rated: The station was sold to Sunrise Radio
Previous GWR (Classic FM owners):
Previous RAJAR ratings:
Previous SMG (Owns Virgin):
Previous Wireless Group (TalkSport owner):
RAJAR web site (links to quarterly reports):
2004-01-30: First Broadcasting Company is entering the Cincinnati market with the purchase of three stations, - WAXZ-FM, Georgetown, and WAOL-FM, Ripley, which are being bought for USD 4.06 million in cash from Plessinger Radio Group - and WOXY-FM, Oxford, which is being bought from Balogh Broadcasting Co. for £5.64 million. Doug and Linda Balogh bought the station in 1981 for USD 375,000.
The latter sale has aroused most comment because WOXY-FM, "97X The Future of Rock and Roll", is moving onto the Internet.
The format was changed to format to alternative rock in 1983, and made a national reputation for itself with its music mix and attacks on corporate radio conglomerates.
An announcement on the web site said, "We're a little stunned ourselves to announce the sale of WOXY to First Broadcasting Investment Partners of Dallas. The FCC approval process takes about three months, so the switch should occur sometime around May 1st. So that's a big change..."
"But! Our plans are to continue 97X The Future of Rock and Roll right here at woxy.com, including our internet broadcast. Over the next 90 days we'll be looking for sponsors or investors who will enable us to make this site and stream better than ever. We may be the first terrestrial radio station ever to make the full-time jump to the Internet!"
(RNW note: Not so. In 2000, KACD, Los Angeles, was left with staff but no frequency when owners Clear Channel sold the signal to Entravision for USD85 million: It then made a move to the Internet as worldclassicrock (See RNW July 17, 2000).
The site now redirects to kbco.com's classic rock site but this is no longer streaming. Although WOXY has a fairly strong Internet following we would not put that much money on it being around in a couple of year's time.)
2004-01-29: A US Congressional hearing on indecency has heard calls for broadcasters to increase their efforts to keep indecent comments of the air and said the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had not enforced its rules strongly enough.
Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the House Telecommunications Subcommittee, who is pushing legislation that would increase penalties for indecent broadcasts tenfold from their current USD 27,500 maximum, said that a number of stations had been penalised as repeat offenders which proved "the point that the fine under today's law just isn't enough.''
Upton said the Bush administration had indicated it will back the House's effort to raise indecency fines, and hoped the FCC will move more aggressively in penalizing a station for each "utterance" of an allegedly indecent statement, adding, "Perhaps we should also consider having a policy of 'three strikes and you're off the public airwaves."
The prime concern, he said, was protecting children from indecency and had nothing to do with censorship; he cited a number of examples of cases including the Opie & Anthony "sex in St. Patrick's Cathedral" stunt.
Rep. Jim Davis (Democrat, Florida) said he was "disappointed" that Clear Channel representatives were not present at the hearing, adding that if they had been someone could have read into the official Congressional Record a description of what was considered indecent or obscene by the FCC a day earlier when it proposed fining Clear Channel USD 715,000 for indecency offences
Parents Television Council President Brent Bozell called Clear Channel's arguments that it has no intent to shock and titillate its audiences "preposterous."
Bozell also attacked the FCC, saying, "Looking at the FCC's track record on indecency enforcement, it becomes painfully apparent that the FCC could care less about community standards of decency or about protecting the innocence of young children.''
A number of committee members also said they were dismayed that the FCC enforcement bureau had declined to fine NBC for airing the F-word, uttered by rock star Bono during the Golden Globe Awards show last year.
2004-01-29: Latest unofficial UK radio ratings by GfK Media show BBC Radio One continuing to lose audience - down more than a million compared to the end of 2002 - and GfK comments that the channel's new breakfast host "self-styled savior of BBC Radio One Chris Moyles has a lot of saving to do."
GfK's figures make BBC Radio 1 the third most listened to channel in the UK, behind leader BBC Radio 4 and Radio 2.
GfK notes that since its previous ratings a month ago BBC Radio 2 breakfast host Terry Wogan added some 300,000 more listeners a week and that BBC Radio Five Live added 350,000 and says that among commercial networks talkSPORT, owned by the Wireless Group which sponsors the ratings, consolidated its lead with more than a million listeners a week above Classic FM and almost 3 million more than Virgin.
In the latest official RAJAR ratings to the end of September last year talkSPORT was behind Classic FM and Radio One was ahead of Radio 4: the RAJAR ratings for the final quarter of 2003 are due out today.
In London, Heart FM kept the pressure up on Capital FM: GfK's figures show it was only 75,000 listeners a week behind Capital compared to 200,000 in the previous ratings.
Overall the weekly reach figures for the main UK networks from GFK for the period from September 15th to December 14th (with in brackets GfK prior period, running from September 15th to December 14th, and then RAJAR figures to the end of September) in rank order were:
BBC Radio 4 -million 16.37 (16.35million; 9.53 million): Unchanged 36% of potential national 45 million adult audience.
BBC Radio 2 -15.32 million (15.01 million; 12.477 million): Up from 33% to 34%.
BBC Radio 1 -11.80million (12.51; 9.85 million): Down from 28% to 26%.
BBC Radio Five Live -9.44 million (9.09 million; 5.716 million): Up from 20% to 21%.
BBC Radio 3 -3.27 million (3.51 million; 2.214 million): Down from 8% to 7%.
talkSPORT -million 6.66 (6.58 million; 1.904 million): Unchanged 15%.
Classic FM -5.48 million (5.56 million; 6.46 million): Unchanged 12%
Virgin - 3.68 million (3.80 million; 2.86 million): Unchanged 8%.
GfK figures for the London area showed that for the period from June 16th to December 14th (in brackets previous figures from May 12th to Nov 16th) the three most popular stations were:
BBC Radio 4 with 3.87 million (3.99 million): Down from 39% to 38% of the potential 10.25 million audience.
BBC Radio 2 with million 2.87 (2.8 million): Up from 27% to 28%.
Capital FM with 2.56 million (2.49 million): Up from 24% to 25%.
For the same period the top five London stations (in brackets previous figures from May 12th to Nov 16th) in terms of weekly audience were:
Capital FM with 2.56 million (2.49 million): Up from 24% to 25%.
Heart FM -2.49 million (2.41 million) - unchanged 24%.
Magic FM 1.91 million (1.93 million) - unchanged 19%.
talkSPORT 1.56 (1.52 million)- unchanged 15%.
Kiss FM 1.51 million (1.67million) - down from 16% to 15%.
*Virgin Radio (AM and FM combined) was down to sixth with million 1.50 (1.56 million) - Unchanged 15%
BBC Radio London was eighth with 1.30 (1.30 million) - unchanged 13%.
Previous GfK ratings:
Previous RAJAR ratings:
2004-01-29: Sirius Satellite Radio has reported large revenue increases and subscribers up in the final quarter of 2003 by 111,449 to 261,061 at the end of the year but operating losses were also up significantly.
For the quarter Sirius had a net loss of USD 147.8 million (14 cents a share), up 10.2% on a year earlier on revenues up from USD 685,000 to USD 5 million; its operating loss was up 38% to USD 125.1 million and adjusted EBITDA loss was up 37% to USD 92.3 million.
For the full year, revenues were up from USD 805,000 to USD 12.9 million, the operational loss was up 40% to USD 437.5 million and adjusted EBITDFA loss was up 39% to USD 330.7 million including USD 1.4 5 million of charges linked to disposing of its previous management subscriber system. The full year's net loss, which included a USD 256.5 million gain associated with its restructuring and a deemed dividend of USD 79.5 million linked to the elimination of its convertible preferred stock was down from USD 468.5 million to USD 314.4 million, 38 cents a share.
The company said it had a strong cash position and had ended the year with $550 million in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities.
During the quarter of 2003, Sirius raised $150 million through a common stock offering and also reduced debt through the exchange of common stock for USD65 million of the company's outstanding convertible notes.
Sirius said it had strong sales in the holiday season in the final quarter and President and CEO Joseph P. Clayton commented that the appeal of new products had helped to make Sirius popular holiday gift item. "We had a great quarter, increasing our share of satellite radio retail sales to approximately 32% at the end of November, according to the NPD Group, up from approximately 11% at the end of 2002," he said.
During the fourth quarter of 2003, Sirius added over 24,000 subscribers through its automotive, boating and trucking partnerships and it says by year-end Daimler Chrysler, Ford, BMW, Nissan, Infiniti and Audi offered SIRIUS Satellite Radio in more than 50 different vehicle models and this year the company's automotive partners are expected to offer SIRIUS in nearly 80 vehicle models, with 50 of those offered as a factory option.
The latest links announced yesterday are with Penske Automotive Group, Inc., United Auto Group, Inc., Penske Truck Leasing Co. L.P. and Penske Corporation, which together own and operate some 144 auto dealerships in the US and include the largest truck renting and leasing company in the United States.
Sirius rival XM has announced the closure of its underwritten public offering of 20,000,000 shares of its Class A Common Stock, at USD 26.50 per share.
It has also announced that at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention & Exposition in Las Vegas at the end of this month it will be showing XM Direct satellite radio vehicle kits designed to enable specific Ford and Chrysler vehicles with satellite-ready radios to receive XM Radio and will also will showcase XMCommander, a universal receiver that can deliver XM Radio to any new or used vehicle with an FM radio.
On the programming side it is to add the 24-hour news network MSNBC and a wide array of national talk-radio shows syndicated talk radio hosts Michael Savage, Matt Drudge, Laura Ingraham, and Ed Schultz.
XM Chief Programming Officer Lee Abrams commented, "Talk radio is a big part of our appeal. People love the fact that they can get a wide variety of talk and news with a diverse mix of opinions, and they can listen from coast to coast without fadeouts or static. Adding these new hosts to our current talk stars like Sean Hannity, Dan Patrick, Tony Kornheiser, George Noory, Glenn Beck, Art Bell, Phil Hendrie, and Tony Bruno is a big plus for XM subscribers."
2004-01-29: Conservative US talk host Rush Limbaugh has again been attacking the Florida prosecutors involved in action against him over his painkiller drug purchases.
Under particualr attack is Palm Beach State Attorney Barry Krischer whom Limbaugh's attorney Roy Black says should be investigated concerning release of letters from him. Krischer had released the latter's last week in response to Public Records Act requests from a newspaper and a non-profit legal foundation.
Black says that a "January 26, 2004 letter from the Florida Bar shows that despite statements by Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer to the contrary, neither the Florida Attorney General nor the Ethics Department of the Florida Bar told the prosecutor that confidential letters from Rush Limbaugh's attorney [RNW note: Related to a possible plea bargain - see RNW Jan 24) must be released to the public."
Limbaugh's site carries a link to Black's statement as well as a copy of Krischer's memo about the reasons for the release and of a letter from the Florida Attorney General's Office to Assistant State Attorney Ken Selvig that says his purpose in contacting the office " may have been not to obtain impartial advice on an open government issue but rather to use part of our conversation to justify your office's decision that the documents should be released
2004-01-28: Just before Congress today begins to scrutinise the US Federal Communications Commission's enforcement of broadcast indecency violations and the FCC holds it "localism" hearing in San Antonio where Clear Channel has its headquarters, the FCC has proposed a record USD 755,000 fine on Clear Channel over "indecent material" broadcast on the syndicated "Bubba the Love Sponge" programme broadcast on Florida stations WPLA-FM, Callahan, WCKT-FM (formerly WRLR-FM), Port Charlotte, WXTB-FM), Clearwater and WRLX-FM, West Palm Beach, and also over Clear Channel's apparent failure to maintain certain required documents in the public inspection files of these stations.
The penalty relates to seven broadcasts and 26 indecency offences for which the maximum penalty is USD 27,500, and four public file violations for which penalty proposed totals USD 40,000.
Separate statements were issued by FCC chairman Michael K. Powell, Republican Commissioner Kevin J. Martin and Democrat Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael J. Copps, the latter dissenting and saying there should have been a hearing on the revocation of the stations' licences.
Powell termed the decision "yet another example of this Commission's commitment to enforce its rules and regulations-especially as it relates to indecent programming engulfing our broadcast airwaves and warned that the "Commission will soon begin considering fines for each separate utterance found indecent in a broadcast."
" In addition," he added, "we will continue to look to Congress to dramatically increase the enforcement penalties available to us to prosecute clear indecency violations."
"As the Commission continues the challenging task of balancing the protections of the First Amendment with the need to protect our young, these increased enforcement actions will allow the Commission to turn what is now a 'cost of doing business' into a significant 'cost for doing indecent business.'"
Clear Channel responded by Calling for an "industry-wide "Local Values Task Force" to develop indecency guidelines that would apply fairly and evenly across all media platforms that distribute content into people's homes - including television, radio, cable and satellite networks."
Clear Channel president and COO Mark Mays said, "Indecency is not a simple concept. Congress, the FCC, and the courts all have struggled to define it for years," said Mays. "However, we believe all content providers have a responsibility to shield our audiences from indecent programming."
"While the government's role is important in this area, there are limits established by the First Amendment to our Constitution. The task of developing guidelines about what is and what is not appropriate is the job of every one of us that delivers content into the home."
Mays added that "indecency is not just a radio problem, a television problem or even a cable problem. It is an industry-wide challenge, and we all must take responsibility to make sure it is addressed on a fair and consistent basis" and commented that by continuing to deal with this issue on a case by case, platform by platform basis, the government is creating an atmosphere of confusion and uncertainty.
Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan commented, "We work hard every day to entertain, not offend our listeners," said, of. "None of us defend or encourage indecent content - it's simply not part of our corporate culture," he said.
"Our employees live and work in the communities they serve. They work hard to make sure the line is not crossed - but that line can get very fuzzy," Hogan added.
In their separate statement all of the Commissioners suggested that higher penalties could be applied in future.
Commissioner Adelstein noted, "Clear Channel and, indeed, this particular 'Bubba the Love Sponge' program have been the subject of repeated Commission indecency actions in the past. "
" Given the explicit nature of the broadcast material and the history of prior offences, this is the type of serious repeated behaviour that I believe would warrant initiation of license revocation hearings. "
He added, "In fairness, however, this material was broadcast in 2001. The Commission clarified in an April 2003 order that it was broadening its range of enforcement approaches and tools to combat indecency on our nation's public airwaves. For this reason, I approve of today's Order as legally appropriate. "
The strongest statement came from Commissioner Copps who said, "The extreme nature of these broadcasts and the fact that the show at issue has been the subject of repeated indecency actions gives the FCC the obligation to take serious action. Instead, the majority proposes a mere USD27,500 fine for each incident. Such a fine will be easily absorbed as a "cost of doing business" and fails to send a message that the Commission is serious about enforcing the nation's indecency laws. "Cost of doing business fines" are never going to stop the media's slide to the bottom."
"To fulfil our duty under the law, I believe the Commission should have designated these cases for a hearing on the revocation of these stations' licenses, as provided for by Section 312(a)(6) of the Communications Act. I am discouraged that my colleagues would not join me in taking a firm stand against indecency on the airwaves. .. If the Commission can't bring itself to go to a revocation hearing, at least the Commission should have used its current statutory authority to impose a higher and meaningful fine. The Commission could have proposed a fine for each separate "utterance" that was indecent, rather than one fine for each lengthy segment. As Commissioner Martin points out, such an approach would have led to a significantly higher fine. "
Commissioner Martin said he wrote "separately to emphasize again that we could, and should, be placing higher fines on those who broadcast indecent programming during the hours when children may be watching or listening, in violation of our rules and statute In this case, I would have found numerous violations, for a total indecency fine significantly higher than that proposed (it appears there were at least 49 indecency violations, for a total forfeiture exceeding $1,000,000).
In its Notice of Apparent Violation, the FCC comments that the proceedings arose out of "a series of formal complaints filed on behalf of Douglas Vanderlaan against Clear Channel alleging: (1) indecency violations; (2) public inspection file violations; (3) improper intimidation by Clear Channel against the complainant; and (4) the promotion and glorification of the use of illegal drugs in Clear Channel's broadcasts and on its web site."
The notice gives basic details of the seven programme segments, transcripts of three of which were admitted by Clear Channel to be accurate although concerning the remainder it said it had not retained tapes or transcripts and refused to admit or acknowledge that the material in the transcripts provided by Mr. Vanderlaan aired as he alleges." The FCC accepted that all the transcripts - which range from purported "cartoon characters" talking about drugs and sex to a male applicant for a job as an underwear model describing his "perfect penis" and a number of comments concerning oral sex.
RNW comment: Hogan's comment to us is clearly baloney as regards the broadcasts at issue and Clear Channel's response seems in part an attempt to muddy the waters in that there is a clear distinction to be made between services on public airwaves that anyone can receive and subscription services where a positive decision has to be made to access the material.
In the end, whether one agrees with the decision or not, Powell is right in that this decision, and possible future penalty increases, will increase the cost of doing "indecent business" and we suspect the accountants at broadcasters round the US will be looking closely at the effects on the bottom line of such penalties; If in the end, the penalties on offending shows are so large as to put them into the red or close to it, the companies will curb the hosts whereas if the profits are large they are unlikely to take action. At the moment, we expect to find curbs being imposed and we rather suspect that the negotiating powers of a number of prominent hosts and their agents have been significantly decreased already.
Previous Bubba the Love Sponge:
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2004-01-28: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that an answer to a Moslem-related question in a multiple-choice quiz aired on CJAY-FM, Calgary, in which the answer "c" was also correct, "constituted a racist comment."
A listener had complained about three questions on the quiz that day: The CBSC said that two of the questions were on the edge of acceptability but that on Moslems was a breach of Canadian codes.
The question concerned related to why "Moslems around the world continue to travel to Mecca on the week-end to celebrate" and gave as a correct answer, " just a way to build up some frequent flyer miles so you don't have to pay the next time you want to ram an airplane in the stronghold of the Western civilization."
The CBSC commented that after 9/11 and "the proliferation of incidents of terrorism both before and after that date, it has been all too easy to target the Moslem communities with comments that are generalizations which are negative, hurtful and utterly unjustified."
"That was the case with the challenged program. The humour in this broadcast was singularly unacceptable. The implication that all Muslims (how else could one interpret the words "Moslems around the world"?) might travel to their holiest city in order to fund terrorist activities is outrageous. To put it in perspective, the failure to distinguish between the Moslem community and terrorists is no more acceptable or justifiable than a failure to distinguish between (to choose one of many possible examples) white persons and the Ku Klux Klan."
The other two complaints, ruled as on the "edge of acceptability" were a question over complaints by Michael Jackson "over the recent documentary saying that people think that he's a paedophile" to which the correct answer was that the interviewer had no right to " portray him accurately" and another about men who didn't shave daily to which the answer was that they would "give their girlfriends a nasty beard burn on their taints."
CJAY's Vice-President and General Manager had responded to the complaint by saying, CJAY was "an adult radio station targeting a listening audience of males between the age of 18 to 49 years of age. Much of the programming aimed at that target group, is meant to be of a humorous nature, similar to the humour on many of the mainstream television shows such as The Simpsons, Saturday Night Live or the Comedy Network."
"I'm sure you can appreciate that humour is a very subjective issue. I'm sorry if we may have offended you with this comedy bit, but we certainly did not mean to do that. The contest was meant as comedy entertainment only."
The CBSC responded by saying, "The comment was racist. Dressing this type of comment up in the veil of subjective humour for a target audience does not alter that fact. Comparing the show to programs such as The Simpsons does CJAY 92's program too much, and the Simpsons too little, credit. The Simpsons and other satirical programs are funny in large part because they manipulate stereotypes and poke fun at the assumptions people hold. [The] quiz show lacked any such subtlety or cleverness. Anti-Moslem is not an appropriate target audience."
2004-01-28: Arbitron has reported revenues for 2003 up 9.5% to USD 273.6 million, EBIT up 8.1% to USD 92.7 million and per share income up 14.8% to USD 1.63 ; it performed more strongly in the final quarter when its revenues were up 13.2% on a year earlier to USD 57.8 million and EBIT was up 14.2% to USD 16.1 million; expenses were up 13.8%, making net income up 33.8% to USD 8.7 million, with per diluted share income up to USD 0.28 from USD 0.21. .
Commenting on the results Arbitron president and CEO Stephen Morris said, "2003 was a very demanding year. Yet despite the challenges, we still met the guidance for revenue, EBIT and earnings per share that we established at the beginning of the year. Equally important, we worked hard to help our customers weather a difficult year and prepare to take advantage of an improving environment in 2004."
"We also devoted considerable time, effort and money to our programs to enhance the willingness of the public to take part in our surveys, and continued our effort to improve how we manage the representation of Hispanics by their language preference."
"We also enhanced the technical capabilities of the Portable People Meter system and continued to explore new ways to use that technology to meet the needs of marketers and advertisers."
"Given the overall strength of the core ratings business, we believe Arbitron remains well positioned to deliver solid growth in revenue and profitability in 2004. At the same time, we expect to continue our investments in new services that have long-term growth potential for our company and for our customers." During Arbitron's conference call, Morris let out that its second call centre, whose location it had not previously divulged, was to be in Houston, which ahs a significant Hispanic population.
2004-01-28: UK GWR has appointed Patricia Hodgson, Chief Executive of the Independent Television Commission for four years, until the creation of Ofcom, and prior to that head of policy at the BBC as a non-executive Director: She will sit on the company's Remuneration and Audit Committees.
GWR Executive Chairman Ralph Bernard said of the appointment, "Patricia has extensive experience in broadcasting and media regulation with the BBC, the ITC, the Monopolies and Mergers Commission and more recently the Competition Commission. At a time of rapid change in the radio industry, her expertise and knowledge will be invaluable to GWR."
GWR is expected to be a buyer in expected consolidation of UK media following a relaxation of regulations although earlier this week it dismissed weekend speculation that it was having formal discussions with Capital Radio, saying no discussions were being held with Capital.
The UK Sunday Express had said GWR and Capital were talking about an 840 million pound ($1.55 billion) merger and were confident of a deal by the middle of this year.
2004-01-28: Infinity has confirmed that Andy Schuon, who rejoined the company in 2002 as its President, Programming (See RNW Aug 21, 2002), has left the company; his duties will be taken over by Sr. VP, Programming, Steve Rivers, who now reports directly to Infinity President and COO Joel Hollander.
Announcing the change to Infinity employees, Infinity Radio Chairman and CEO John Sykes, who brought Schuon back, said in a memo "Andy was an early Infinity employee as program director at KROQ in Los Angeles and rejoined the company in the summer of 2002. I want to thank Andy for his contributions and wish him the best in his next venture."
2004-01-28: Ron Britain, ("King B", the Chicago radio veteran) who came out of retirement to help launch oldies station Clear Channel's WRLL-AM, Chicago, has stormed out over a call for his on-air material to be kept under a minute and the editing of one of his bits according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Feder says that in a resignation letter to WRLL program director Tommy Edwards, who is also morning personality at the station, Britain wrote, "I really don't mean to insult you, Tommy, but your particular talent is of little or no use to me. You should save it to impress or intimidate one new in radio, someone without experience or confidence, one in need of direction."
"In clear terms to help you understand, can you imagine what the world would have missed had Picasso's creative expressions been restricted to painting on postage-sized canvases only?"
"I may lack the acclaim given to Picasso, but I do relate as an artist, and my mind does not respond to writing within a 60-second time frame as you were demanding on Friday.
"I promised myself that when I could take control of my life, I would. I promised myself that I would no longer remain silent when inept management tried with their lack of knowledge to reinvent me one more time."
Edwards told Feder he had a long talk with Britain last Friday because some of Britain's bits were cutting into commercial time but didn't expect him to quit.
"I told Ron he could still do all his characters and all his stuff, but he just had to edit them down so they didn't go so long. The unfortunate thing is that I thought he was really having a great time on the air," said Edwards.
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2004-01-27: Toronto-based CHUM has reported a solid fiscal first quarter to the end of November last year during which profits were up slightly from CAD 13.56 million (USD 10.32 million) a year ago to CAD 13.62 million (USD 10.37 million) on revenues up 4.3% to CAD 155.48 million (USD 118.38 million). EBITDA was up 5.6% to CAD 24.6 million (USD 18.73 million) but earnings per share were down from CAD 0.58 to CAD 0.50 as the result of a share split.
CHUM said that its radio operations has revenues up 0.6% during the quarter compared to a year before and noted that for major and some medium markets Canadian radio revenues were up 5.5% during the quarter. It said its expectations were for "for a modest increase year over year given CHUM Radio's very strong first quarter last year which outperformed average radio sales for major and some medium markets by 7.9% It should be noted that radio has seen an unprecedented number of format changes in almost all of the major markets over the last nine months. With these changes, advertisers were hesitant to commit funds prior to the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement ratings results for the Fall of 2003. In addition, advertising placement lead times and campaign windows have been shorter than normal."
"On the plus side, the radio segment is seeing growth in the packaged goods and automobile categories and it is expected that the Company's radio stations should reach their objectives for the year.
At its conference call, CHUM's President and CEO Jay Switzer said the company's priorities continued to be improving operating margins, minimise losses on its AM stations and better maximise radio and TV strengths across the countries and to actively look for strategic growth opportunities."
For fiscal 2004, he said, bookings are ahead of last year and CHUM was seeing earlier than normal advertising commitments.
CHUM has also announced that it is paying CAD 7.5 million (USD 5.7 million) for the radio assets of Seacoast Communications Group Inc. in Victoria, British Columbia.
Seacoast owns and operates C-FAX AM, the second highest rated news/talk radio station in the province, and CHBE FM (B107.3, with a music-based format offering hits from the 80's, 90's and today.)
Seacoast's principal owner, Chairman and CEO Mel Cooper has agreed to enter into a three-year contract with CHUM Limited to continue working with the stations as Chair of Community Affairs and all current Seacoast staff will be offered posts with CHUM.
"C-FAX AM and CHBE FM are very attractive and strategic acquisitions for CHUM," said Paul Ski, CHUM's Executive Vice President, Radio. "Victoria has been a solid growth market and we hope to build on the legacy Mel Cooper and his team have created over almost 30 years."
2004-01-27: UK Wireless Group chairman and chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie has yet again attacked UK radio ratings organization RAJAR over its failure to adopt the electronic audience measurement system that he has sponsored and that gives his group's talkSPORT flagship much larger audiences than does RAJAR.
Responding to RAJAR's announcement last week that it had extended a research contract in anticipation of possible adoption of electronic metering (See RNW Jan 24) he told the UK Guardian, seemingly his regular mouthpiece, that he doesn't "believe that RAJAR has any intention of ever introducing a technology unless it is ordered to do so by a judge."
MacKenzie added that his group is to press ahead with legal action seeking "substantial" damages from RAJAR and also hit out at new RAJAR managing director Sally de la Bedoyere saying, "said she would "have to do rather better than this if she will not soon be taking a rather long boat trip around the world like her predecessor [Jane O'Hara - who after leaving went long-distance sailing - see RNW Aug 31, 2003]".
RNW comment: As we have commented before, we cannot see any merit in legal action by MacKenzie and we suspect he may not either, which may be why so far it is all wind and no action from him over the matter.
Previous de la Bedoyere:
Previous Wireless Group:
2004-01-27: Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) is selling its news format WMNN-AM in Minneapolis to Advance Acquisition Inc., a subsidiary of Starboard Media Foundation Inc., which distributes the Roman Catholic Relevant Radio format fur USD 6.75 million.
The sale is part of a disposal of commercial operations that also includes the sale to Saga of The Minnesota News Network and The Minnesota Farm Network for USD 3.25 million by Greenspring Company, MPR's for-profit affiliate (See RNW Jan 24).
The Minneapolis-St Paul Business Journal reported that Larry Bentson, who gave WMNN to MPR in the early 1980s, said he is extremely disappointed with the sale.
"The intent of our gift to Minnesota Public Radio was that it be used as an additional voice to the community by a non-profit organization," said Bentson, chairman of the board of Midcontinent Media Inc. in Edina. "It's a real disappointment that the station we donated to MPR ... is now being sold by them for a substantial amount of money."
MPR spokeswoman Suzanne Perry said they were " very sorry that Mr. Bentson was disappointed because we really appreciated" that he offered his station to MPR at a bargain price.
"But when he entered his transaction with us there were no conditions attached. We subsequently used the station to support the mission of Minnesota Public Radio and we are pleased that this sale of the station will enable us to further support the mission of MPR."
Bill Kling, president of both MPR and Greenspring, said the properties had provided a revenue stream for more than 25 years to support MPR.
"These sales will allow us to convert this revenue stream into a permanent asset, helping to assure MPR's financial health far into the future," he commented.
WMNN, the only all newsstation in the Twin Cities market, will continue to broadcast its current format until Starboard takes over operations and switches to Relevant Radio programming round mid-February.
Business Journal report:
2004-01-27: SMG has confirmed that its Non-Executive Chairman, Don Cruickshank, has decided to step down following the Group's Annual General Meeting, which is scheduled for 4 June 2004. The group says it has hired consultants to look for a replacement and expects a successor will be identified before the AGM.
2004-01-26: As digital radio take-up increases in the UK and begins in terrestrial broadcast terms in the US, we start our look at the past week's comment on radio with an article from the North County Times by Randy Dotinga that poses a question current in the UK around a year ago: "Digital radios on sale, but why buy now?
Dotinga notes that current HD radio are not cheap - "a new car stereo system from Kenwood has a list price of $500" and then continues, "For another thing, no one seems to know how many stations are broadcasting in digital. And it looks like it will be another year or two before digital radio appears in San Diego."
The problem, he says is the cost of introducing digital when at the moment the spending will benefit a potentially tiny number of listeners and quotes local Clear Channel executive Mike Glickenhaus as saying, "It's a chicken-and-egg thing" as to which should come first ---- listeners equipped with digital radios or radio stations equipped with digital signals?
[RNW comment: A response that is total nonsense given a moment's thought. There is no point at all in buying a receiver before digital transmissions are available. The initiative has to come from the broadcasters!]
Clear Channel says Glickenhaus will start introducing digital in larger markets and then work down to smaller ones but there was more enthusiasm from public radio in the form of said Doug Myrland, general manager of the KPBS stations.
They of course, as we have already noted (See RNW Jan 21) can use digital to add an extra service within their existing spectrum, something from which commercial stations, which in many areas have virtually saturated markets with formats and advertisers would benefit comparatively little.
Further north in California, Art Vuolo Jr. in The Daily Oakland Press gave a plug to the digital audio already being taken up in the US, satellite radio.
After noting the interest satellite radio attracted at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show and detailing the services of Sirius and XM, Vuolo notes the positive reception both have generally had from their subscribers and looks at the potential effect on terrestrial broadcasters.
After mentioning the concerns of the National Association of Broadcasters, particularly concerning services such as weather and traffic services, he notes the promotions from NAB that are being run on local stations stressing the benefits of terrestrial broadcaster with messages such as "certain things should remain free ... like this radio station."
Steve Stewart, operations manager of local station WJR-AM, which is running the promos, commented "While I think satellite radio will grow in popularity, particularly as a music medium, I don't think it will ever replace the need for a station like WJR, where people can get the latest local news and information, and hear and interact with compelling personalities who talk about the issues that matter to them on a local and national level."
Vuolo also notes that two mainstays of the stations, hosts Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura, are available only on traditional terrestrial radio so far.
Writing this, we are as it happens listening to radio from the Internet, via Real Player, but Real's practice of making it easier to buy their fancier products or subscription services attracted a definitive thumbs down last week from the National Public Radio programme Car Talk that has moved from Real to Window's Media Player.
The site's newsletter said it was "unceremoniously dumping Real Media" because of the number of complaints received from people having trouble trying to download the free Real Player, and noted that a number had complained of paying for software mistakenly instead of downloading the free version.
Real, of course, had a different perspective and spokesman Matt Graves said the company had introduced a new version of its software, and users could easily find the free version on Real's web site where it was promoted in the upper right corner.
We would concur with Graves about that, albeit recently we had problems getting the free player to install for someone (We went and got it via CNET instead of directly), but also note that the latest version got a pretty dim review from the Washington Post under the headline "RealPlayer 10 Adds New Mistakes to Old."
Back to terrestrial radio, however, and some worrying comment came from Neil Strauss in the New York Times that is in part related to the impact of the Internet.
In an article headed, "Forget Radio, Musical Path to Success Is TV, TV, TV" Strauss compares the success enjoyed by Kelis with her single "Milkshake", which is getting much radio play, and the comparative failure of her full-length CD whilst John Groban has sold some two million CD's of his operatic pop release, based largely on TV appearances.
"As the Internet changes the distribution of music," he comments, "it is also changing the way fans respond to marketing. As Kelis's chart position shows, a smash hit single is no longer enough to guarantee strong CD sales. After all, it is easy for a music fan to hear almost any single on demand online free and legally or even to see the video at sites."
Strauss comments that the television show "American Idol" is perhaps the greatest pop franchise of the moment, and notes a different use of TV in Groban's success, based in part through being cast in "Ally McBeal" and appearances on "Larry King Live," the "Today" show, the N.F.L. Thanksgiving Day game (he sang the national anthem) and even "The View."
Many labels, notes Strauss now hire so-called TV pitchers, whose job is to find ways to get their artists on television shows and he says that with radio formats closed to many types of popular music, labels have only two options for promoting many releases. One is to force radio to widen its scope, an unlikely possibility in the wake of widespread consolidation, and the other is to find other promotional outlets for the music.
After that to some programmes still available on the Internet, starting with BBC Radio 4 and The Best of Dead Ringers, the first of six [weekly] episodes of which aired last Friday (18:30 GMT). Still with BBC Radio 4, Filling the Void last week carried a report by Faynia Williams on the story of how in 1939 every trace of Judaism was wiped out from the town of Sejny, three-quarters of whose population were Jews in the 19th century.
It also dealt with how theatre director Krzysztof Czyzewski, has been involved in refurbishing buildings and also in ensuring that young Poles learn more of their past- including the involvment of Poles in the murder of uch of the country's Jewish population.
For the Jazz Fans, former British chancellor Ken Clarke's Jazz Greats series continues - tomorrow the subject of the programme (13:30 GMT) is Bessie Smith whilst last week's edition on saxophonist Dexter Gordon is still available today on the Listen Again part of the Radio 4 web site.
And for those more interested in pop, Seven More Days That Rocked The World on BBC Radio 2 last week [still available until Wednesday] focussed on the making of "Good Vibrations" whilst this week's edition (Wednesday, 22:00 GMT) is on the murder of John Lennon.
Finally from the US, an interesting discussion for those interested in photography from "All things Considered" on "The Fate of Photography in a Digital Age" (Sunday edition).
Car Talk web site:
New York Times re Car Talk:
New York Times - Strauss:
North County Times - Dotinga:
Oakland Press - Vuolo:
Washington Post - Real Player review:
2004-01-26: Long-time New York classical music host Harry Fleetwood has died aged 86 according to the New York Times. Fleetwood, who worked for WNBC from 1954 to 1975 and then for WNCN until the late 80's, also read poetry on another program, sang folk songs on still another and travelled America to profile interesting people on still another and, thanks to fluent French, hosted programmes for French and Belgian television
Fleetwood graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia, where he majored in education and later earned a master's degree in Romance languages from the University of Pennsylvania.
He made his start in the radio business in 1938 in Camden, New Jersey, but after serving with the US army in Europe during the Second World War stayed on in France to study at the Sorbonne.
He subsequently returned to the US and began working for a Philadelphia radio station in 1948; In 1953 he got his big break when he was chosen from more than 1,500 would-be announcers who applied to become the host of "Music Through the Night" on WNBC
New York Times obituary:
2004-01-26: SMG chairman Don Cruickshank is expected to quit at the company's annual meeting according to the UK Observer, which tips former BBC 1 controller and Channel 4 TV chief executive Michael Grade as a likely successor.
The paper says Cruickshank is understood to be keen to scale back his workload after being appointed to the board of specialist publisher Taylor & Francis; he is to start the job in March.
UK Observer report:
2004-01-25: Yet again last week was fairly quiet for the regulators with nothing from Australia and Ireland, and a fairly low level of activity from the UK and North America.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved an application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to change the authorized contours of CBN-FM-1 Grand Falls, as a result of an increase in the effective radiated power (ERP) from 57,000 watts to 100,000 watts following the installation of a new antenna and also issued two public notices, each with an intervention deadline of February 26, that include a number of radio applications.
The radio applications in the public notices included:
Manitoba - application to add a 24.7 watts FM transmitter in Snow Lake to broadcast the programming of CINC-FM Thompson.
Ontario - application to amend the licence of CHKT-AM, Toronto, by deleting various conditions relating to the maximum programming broadcast directed to the Chinese community; As an alternative, the licensee says it would accept a condition of licence to broadcast a minimum of 52% of its weekly programming in Chinese languages.
Application to change the frequency of CHCD-FM, Simcoe, and increase its power from 420 watts to 14,370 watts.
The Commission has also announced that it has received applications for a new commercial service for Ottawa, Ontario/ Gatineau, Quebec, and called for other applications for a licence.
Quebec - application to amend the licence of CHME-FM, Les Escoumins, to add a 50 watts FM transmitter at Forestville.
- Application to convert rebroadcasting station CRFP-AM, Forestville, to FM.
Yukon Territory - application from CKRW-AM Whitehorse to add a 380 watts FM transmitter (maximum effective radiated power 1,000 watts/effective antenna height 364 metres) at Whitehorse to broadcast the programming of CKRW. The CRTC notes that the purpose of the proposed transmitter is to enable the applicant to remain competitive in the local market by providing FM stereo service to the city of Whitehorse and surrounding area
In the UK, Ofcom has appointed Simon Crine, currently Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations with political and media communications consultancy APCO UK, as its Director for England, effective from 26 February.
He will be part of the UK External Relations team with special responsibility for representing Ofcom to stakeholders in the English Regions.
It has also announced the result of a number of legacy cases regarding complaints made to its predecessor regulators including one Radio Authority case in which government adverts relating to student finances were ordered off the air by the Authority on the basis that it breached a rule relating to Political, Industrial and Public Controversy in the Radio Authority Advertising and Sponsorship Code.
The authority said it "believed that the advertisements mixed the present and proposed situation by the use of tense and portrayed an enthusiasm that clearly represented one side of what had become a political debate" and "showed undue partiality in a matter of political controversy."
Ofcom has also announced yet another consultation, this time concerning its annual plan for its first year of operation, which had already taken into account a number of consultations.
The 30-page plan say chairman David Currie and chief executive Stephen Carter in their introduction "sets out our overall approach to regulation, our priorities for 2004/5, and how we will be audited, measured and evaluated."
It is in 3 parts with nine sections in all, including a final section about responding to the plan. Matters dealt with include the regulator's complaints system, the concept of spectrum trading, the move to digital broadcasting, Ofcom's approach to regulation, and its finances.
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released further details of its planned second hearing on localism, to be held in San Antonio on January 28 (See RNW Jan 24) and also confirmed two penalties for tower offences (See RNW Jan 23).
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2004-01-25: A survey carried out in December last year by India's largest research agency IMRB International for ENIL (Entertainment Network India Ltd) has shown rapid radio growth in the capital Delhi with almost half the population above 15 - some 4.25 million people - listening to radio every day.
ENIL's Radio Mirchi dominates the Delhi market with around 1.4 million listeners each day massively ahead of second-ranked Red FM with 22,000 for and 19,000 for third-ranked Radio City.
Listening has almost doubled since a survey in June 2003, a month after the launch of private FM's in the city and radio listeners spend on an average 103 minutes daily listening to the medium, not far behind the 137 minutes of time spent viewing television.
Radio did well amongst the better off with around 53% of those in socio-economic classes A, B and C now listening to radio, up from 31% in June last year.
ENIL COO Prashant Panday said the penetration of radio is as high as 70 % in socio-economic classification A and noted differences in listening patterns though the day.
"Early morning is developing as a family band for radio, while late night is developing as a students' band. Housewives enter late in the morning but stay tuned till late in the afternoon. Radio TSL is higher than time spent viewing television till about 3:00 pm," he added.
The increase, however, has yet to produce corresponding income for the media said Panday, commenting that although advertising as up as were the number of brands advertising "revenues are still poor."
Panday said that in Chennai, Indore, Ahmedabad and Pune the retail sector accounts for almost 50 % of advertising income but in Delhi it was currently about 17 % in Delhi although it should rise to 25-30 % in 1-2 years.
Previous Indian Radio:
Business Standard, India, report:
2004-01-24: The propaganda war between conservative US talk host Rush Limbaugh and Florida prosecutors has bubbled up again with Limbaugh's attorney Roy Black describing as "ludicrous" an offer to end their investigation of the host's drug-related activities if Limbaugh pleaded guilty to a single felony for "doctor shopping" and agreed to a three-year term of probation.
According to the Florida Sun-Sentinel prosecutors had rejected an overture last month from Rush Limbaugh's attorneys that would have allowed the conservative commentator to enter drug rehabilitation rather than face criminal charges for prescription drug abuse and said they thought they had have evidence that Limbaugh committed at least 10 felonies by illegally obtaining overlapping drug prescriptions.
Black in a statement commented, "My letter to Mr. Krischer [Palm Beach State Attorney Barry Krischer] regarding Mr. Limbaugh's case asked that Mr. Limbaugh be afforded the treatment anyone else would receive."
"The State's response was preposterous, but consistent with their double standard in this case. The facts are: Mr. Limbaugh went to these doctors to relieve chronic, intractable pain; there was no doctor shopping. Mr. Limbaugh never considered accepting the State's ludicrous offer. He was not going to plea to something he did not do. We sent them a letter suggesting Mr. Limbaugh be treated in a similar manner that others had been treated. They responded with a preposterous offer. Discussions ended at that time. At no time was there ever a plea agreement of any kind."
He then went on to attack the attorneys for releasing the information, saying, " before we could draft a letter responding to the State, we received a phone call from a newspaper reporter, as a result of a leak by the State Attorney's office, asking us whether Mr. Limbaugh had agreed to enter a plea. As I told the court last month, we think the State Attorney's Office should be investigated for journalist shopping."
"What is most troubling here is the continued violations of Florida law and bar ethics by the State Attorney's Office. One need look no further than the bold caption on top of my letter alerting everyone to the confidential nature of the communication. The disclosure of these highly confidential communications violates the Florida statutes, the rules of procedure and evidence, and the Florida Bar Rules governing professional conduct. Because the State has no case against Mr. Limbaugh they continually seek to discredit him in the media."
The Sun-Sentinel said prosecutors declined to comment on the letters, which were released to it in response to a request under the state's public-records laws.
It added that prosecutors consulted with the Florida Attorney General's Office and the Florida Bar before determining the letters are not confidential and had to be released as public records.
The paper said that the prosecution offer involved an admission by Limbaugh of doctor shopping, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
It added that Limbaugh would be placed on three years of probation, required to undergo a treatment program approved by a judge and subjected to random drug tests during that time. And noted that since Limbaugh does not have a criminal record, the prosecutors' offer would have allowed the judge to withhold a formal finding of guilt, meaning Limbaugh would not be a convicted felon if he successfully completed all terms of his probation.
"Mr. Limbaugh would provide community service during his probationary period in a manner approved by the court," Martz [James Martz, the prosecutor heading the investigation] wrote. "We would suggest that those efforts be utilized to raise public awareness of the dangers of prescription drug addiction."
The paper said it was unclear if the prosecution offer was still on the table.
RNW comment: One wonders whether Limbaugh, on whose web site the story carried the headline" Palm Beach State Attorney's Office Dances Atop Their SUV, Releases Confidential Communications" has ever heard of "Pot" and "Kettle." From a distance, his strategy seems potentially high-risk with the downside of a few years in jail against an upside that so far may get him off the charges but to the non-devotees is probably damaging his reputation more than the suggested deal. It certainly seems potentially off base for his attorney to launch such a strong attack for records released under public-records laws, the same laws that are being used to try and obtain evidence to be used against the prosecution. Did we mention "pot" and "kettle"?
Florida Sun-Sentinel report:
2004-01-24: UK radio ratings organization RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) has extended for a year its contract with research contractor IPSOS-RSL that was due to expire at the end of 2004 saying the decision was made "given the very real possibility that pending audiometer tests will yield a credible alternative to diary measurement."
New managing director Sally de la Bedoyere commented that the extension would "afford us greater flexibility, particularly when we review the results of the second set of audiometer tests due out later this year. We undertook extensive work on the measurement of digital listening in the latter part of 2003 and are continuing to safeguard the currency by minimising any possible respondent confusion regarding equipment, platform and brands."
RAJAR has earmarked £500,000 for the testing, to start in July, of second-generation Arbitron and Radiocontrol audiometers. The date was the earliest both developers could provide their respective devices to RAJAR and results should be known by the end of the year.
RAJAR is also investigating a number of alternative devices, which display potential but have yet to reach the production stages of the established brands.
RAJAR, which has been attacked by the Wireless Group for not introducing meter systems, announced in July last year that it would not introduce electronic measurement of radio listening in the immediate term because of a number of concerns including the lack of consistency of results in the audiences recorded in terms of meter versus meter.
The Wireless Group, whose flagship is the national talkSPORT station, has threatened to take RAJAR to court over the low figures it gets in official ratings and has sponsored ratings using the Radiocontrol system, which show it as having a much higher audience than the official ratings.
RAJAR says it has also taken steps increase its base sample of 15-34 year old males, which it terms a "traditionally difficult demographic group to access" (RNW note: Coincidentally this audience is one heavily represented in talkSPORT's listeners.")
RAJAR also notes that it is now rating 25 national digital services and says it is examining a number of options to see how it might best measure listening via platform, either as part of the existing survey or as a separate exercise
Previous de la Bedoyere:
Previous Wireless Group:
2004-01-24: XM satellite radio has priced at USD 26.50 the 20 million shares it is putting up for sale - seven million new shares for company financing and 13 million from existing shareholders: Earlier this month it had announced that 18 million shares were to be put up for offer, seven million new ones and 11 from existing shareholders (See RNW Jan 14).
In addition, one of the selling shareholders has granted the underwriters - Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc., Goldman, Sachs & Co., Banc of America Securities LLC, Citigroup, Credit Suisse First Boston, Merrill Lynch & Co, and UBS Investment Bank an option to purchase up to 3,000,000 additional shares to cover over allotments.
In other US radio business, Saga Communications has agreed to buy The Minnesota News Network and The Minnesota Farm Network for USD 3.25 million from Greenspring Company, the for-profit affiliate of Minnesota Public Radio (MPR).
Saga President and CEO Edward, K. Christian said of the deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of this year, "The acquisition of the Minnesota News Network and the Minnesota Farm Network is a nice addition to our existing ownership of the Illinois Radio Network, the Michigan Radio Network and the Michigan Farm Radio Network. Saga intends to continue building its radio, television and network business with acquisitions such as this."
2004-01-24: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has named the panellists to take part in its second hearing on localism, intended to determine how well US broadcasters serve their local communities.
The meeting is to be held in San Antonio on January 28 and FCC chairman Michael K. Powell and commissioners Kathleen Q. Abernathy, Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps are scheduled to attend.
The panel members will include Ray Benson, co-founder of Asleep At The Wheel and Recording Academy member; John Freeman, Southern Development Foundation COO and a LPFM licensee; Tom Glade, Clear Channel/San Antonio VP/Market Manager; Jerry Hanszen, who owns stations in Marshall and Carthage in Texas; Joe Linson, NAACP San Antonio Branch VP and Oscar Moran, League of United Latin American Citizens senior adviser.
2004-01-23: Montreal-based Astral Media has reported a strong fiscal first quarter performance with profit up a quarter to CAD 20.7 million (USD 16 million) on revenues up 15% on a year earlier to CAD 128.2 million (USD 98.9 million) but Toronto-based Corus Entertainment because of a tax change showed profits down 31.3% to CAD 5.7 million (USD 4.4 million) despite revenues being up 11% to CAD 185 million (USD 142.8 million).
Astral's figures, covering the quarter to Nov 30 last year, were boosted by acquisitions including two months revenue from stations acquired from Telemedia but it also had a strong performance from both its TV and radio divisions although revenues from its outdoor division were down 6.6%.
In contrast TV revenues were up 9.2% to CAD 93.1 million (USD 71.8 million) and radio revenues were up 56% to CAD 25.8 million (USD 19.9 million).
Astral President and CEO Ian Greenberg commented, "Driving hard on the heels of an excellent year in Fiscal 2003, we are pleased to begin Fiscal 2004 with a solid first quarter. "
"Subscription revenues for our Television division have increased by 7% while advertising revenues have grown 23% for the quarter. Radio advertising revenue grew 56% for the quarter and the fall radio BBM ratings position our two key networks Énergie and RADIO RockDétente in the top echelons with listeners in Québec."
"For our Outdoor Advertising division, it has been a challenging quarter but we are expecting performance to rebound over the course of the year."
Commenting on the impact of Astral's acquisition of 19 French-language stations in Quebec and New Brunswick from Telemedia, eight of which have now been sold, Greenberg commented, "The positive impact of the radio assets acquired from Telemedia for an additional two months this quarter drove radio revenues up by 56 per cent from last year, with organic revenue growth continuing to be solid at seven per cent."
He also told analysts at the company's conference call that the company was well placed for acquisitions, saying, "We have our eyes open. We're diligently examining every opportunity that arises, but as in the case of our past acquisitions we're looking for properties within our core businesses that have the right culture and fit."
For Corus, a change in Ontario tax rates increased its income tax expenses and future liabilities, taking what would have been a profit of 55 cents a share to 13 cents a share and its president and CEO John Cassaday noted that before tax all of its divisions had delivered higher profits.
"Excellent ad growth from specialty television, solid expense control in radio and continued strong Beyblade results coupled with a disciplined business approach from our Content division were the major contributors to our strong results," he said.
In the US, Saga Communications has announced the acquisition of two more stations in North Carolina.
It's spending USD 10 million to purchase WISE-AM, Asheville, and WOXL-FM, Biltmore Forest. It already provides programming to WISE-AM, for which it is paying USD 2 million, under a Time Brokerage Agreement and to WOXL-FM under a Sub-Time Brokerage Agreement.
Saga bought WOXL-AM in Asheville in March last year.
2004-01-23: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a penalty pf USD 6,000 on a North Carolina AM for failing to post its antenna structure registration number and to exhibit red obstruction lighting on its antenna structure between sunset and sunrise and another of USD 3,000 on a Kentucky FM for failure to register its antenna structure.
The higher penalty went to Media Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of WAAA-AM in Winston-Salem, which had asked for reconsideration of the penalty - already halved from USD 12,000 at first proposed - on the grounds of financial hardship and the "expeditious dismantling" of its antenna structure warrant reconsideration
The FCC noted that Media had filed its petition after deadline and added that even if it had been timely the petition would have been rejected because it had already halved the penalty on financial hardship grounds and had received no information to support further reduction and also because
"Media did not in fact dismantle its antenna structure expeditiously" but around a year "after being notified of the violations - an unacceptably long delay."
In the case of the USD 3,000 penalty, on Meade County Communications, Inc., licensee of WMMG-FM, Brandenberg, Kentucky, Meade had asked for a reduction on financial hardship grounds and on the grounds that its violation was not wilful because the registration "slipped through the cracks" but the FCC, after examining financial information provided, rejected the first argument. It also dismissed the second and confirmed the penalty.
2004-01-23: Latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings show the old favourites back at the top and listening up again now that the holiday period is truly over; In the network ranks there were no changes but in the station ranks Virgin was up to second from fourth although MUSICMATCH retained its top ranking.
For the week to January 11, 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 761,815 (566,864); CP - 248,569 (229,016). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 313,572 (138,345); CP - 59,365 (38,529). Up from fourth with higher listening and reach.
3:Contemporary Christian K-LOVE (Non commercial) - TTSL 278,276 (146,250); CP 32,704 (22,308). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: Smooth Jazz AOL Smooth Jazz (Commercial) - TTSL 241,715 (136,321); CP - 52,1531 (41,073). Up from eighth with higher listening and reach.
5: Country format AOL Top Country (Commercial) -TTSL 238,863 (151,331); CP 86,583 (72,947). Down from second despite higher listening and reach.
*Top 40 AOL Top Pop (Commercial) fell from fifth to seventh with TTSL 205,383 (137,735); CP 109,250 (98,161).
The top five networks for the week to January 11 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 6,058,658 (4,133,906); CP - 1,474,930 (1,343,739). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: LAUNCH (Commercial) TTSL - 3,676,479 (2,385,397); CP - 863,683 (702,934). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 2,115,851 (1,569,207); CP - 501,775 (467,272). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 698,556 (539,469); CP -113,276 (91,653) - Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) TTSL - 552,999 (248,349); CP - 86,798 (58,459) - 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 2,682,070, up from 1,941,839 and StreamGuys with TTSL 573,247, up from 387,130.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings (Month of December):
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Weekly Ratings:
2004-01-22: UK GWR chairman Ralph Bernard has called upon the British government to set a date for the switch-off of analogue radio so as to boost the take-up of digital radio.
Speaking to the first digital radio forum of a series to be hosted by the company, Bernard, who is the chair of the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB), said, "I take the pan-industry view - what we need Is a path to digital switchover for radio, just like the path which has been set out for Digital TV."
"it's my belief that the time has come for government to announce a digital switchover for radio, as it has for television now we have digital radio on a roll, it's the right time to give the industry a boost with a plan for digital radio switchover. It may take 10 or 15 years - Germany has announced a target date of 2015 - but the sooner we start the sooner we'll finish."
"Now is the time for government to recognise that success and start to plan for digital switchover for radio, the same as we have for digital TV. By setting a date when they will start to consider digital switchover for radio, government will provide a target for manufacturers to bring in new products, give broadcasters a timescale for building our new digital brands, and give us the prospect of stopping the waste and expense of broadcasting our signals on both analogue and digital."
Bernard also said that although new spectrum was available that could carry DAB broadcasts, it could go to other users such as mobile phone groups and commented, "The first thing we must do is to unite as broadcasters to press home the point that DAB offers the best use of this spectrum - for society, for industry, for education and communities of every size across the UK."
He noted that Ofcom Chief Executive Stephen Carter said at the Oxford Media Convention last week that there should be a "Switchco" set up to manage the transition to digital TV in much the same way as you would manage an Olympic bid - drawing together the parties in pursuit of a common goal" and said that he had written asking that "radio should be included in his Switchco vehicle."
Bernard also said that DAB spectrum should be used to fill in gaps where DAB was not available and said the idea of a new national commercial multiplex should be rejected in favour of using the spectrum for local and regional DAB services. He added that there was no "obvious demand" for additional national stations and that the services they would carry are already available as local and regional digital stations to most of the country.
Bernard brought up the topic of UK radio industry consolidation citing the deals in which the Wireless Group bought Forever Broadcasting and Emap took a holding in Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) ( See RNW Jan 20).
Regarding the first he said that he had predicted that the "first wave of consolidation would come amongst the smaller groups, and that's what is happening here" and said such deals were easier to get through "the minefield of rules than a big group merging with another group."
The Emap move, he said, "sets down a marker for consolidation at the larger end of the industry, with big companies aiming to direct the consolidation in the direction they favour - Emap's holding in SRH is at a similar level to DMGT's share in my own company, and these strategic holdings will be key to the direction that deals take in the future."
"Of course, both Emap and DMGT are subject to the cross-media rules as well as the radio ownership controls, and it may be easier for them to realise their ambitions through this sort of significant shareholding than by going all-out as a 100% owner of radio stations."
RNW comment: Although Bernard and his group would benefit financially through a switch-off of analogue, the decision in our view should be made in terms of the interests of listeners rather than companies. We doubt that Bernard is generous enough to offer to pay for new digital receivers to replace all the hundreds of millions of analogue radios that would become redundant and see no compelling reason for a rush on this matter. Equally we doubt that government will pledge monies raised through sale of the spectrum made available by the analogue switch-off towards paying for such receiver replacements.
Our view therefore is that until there is much wider - in world terms - implementation of DAB technology (and we have already made our feelings clear about avoiding divergent national standards such as Eureka for most of the world and iBiquity's HD system for the US) analogue should be kept going.
2004-01-22: Commercial radio advertising revenues in metropolitan areas of Australia was up 7.8% over a year earlier to AUD 267 million (USD 207 million) in the six months to December 2003 according to latest figures from Commercial Radio Australia (CRA).
Figures compiled by Pricewaterhouse Coopers showed commercial radio growing in all five capital city markets in December 2003, with double digit growth in Brisbane and Perth.
CRA's CEO Joan Warner commented, "Radio performed better than most analysts had predicted and demonstrated its resilience during an extremely competitive year."
"The result should also be viewed in the context that commercial radio was the only medium that experienced revenue growth through the recent advertising downturn of 2001 and 2002. Radio is seen as a reliable and cost-effective advertising medium which attracts a consistent and broad audience and these strengths will help the industry maintain market share in 2004 during another year of what is expected to be fierce competition."
Australian commercial radio broad casters have now launched the second phase of the industry's $20 million national campaign aimed at attracting increased advertising revenue and Warner commented, "We have been extremely pleased with the impact the campaign is having on getting the advertising industry and advertisers themselves to rethink they way they use radio in the marketing mix."
She also noted that in the UK a radio awareness multiplier study found that if 10 per cent of a given television advertising budget is redeployed onto radio, the efficiency of the campaign in building awareness increases on average by 15 per cent.
"We are very interested in undertaking similar research in Australia, where commercial radio commands the bulk of radio listening," she said.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2004-01-22: Florida broadcasters are calling for laws to make operating pirate radio stations a state offence as well as a federal crime according to the Miami Herald.
The paper quotes C. Patrick Roberts, president of the Florida Association of Broadcasters as saying, ''I believe it's better to use a Mack truck than a flyswatter" and it notes that since 1997 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has shut down 400 pirate stations in the state.
Under current legislation, FCC penalties range from equipment seizure and USD 11,000 in fines for a first offence and up to USD 100,000 and a year in jail for repeat offenders but it has to catch the operator transmitting and then has to bring in the U.S. attorney and a federal judge before a station can be closed down.
Miami Herald report:
2004-01-22: Nashville, Tennessee, top 40 station WQZQ (The Party), which last week suspended morning DJs Billy Breeze and Marco after an interview on January 15 with a woman they called "Britney" led to fans turning up at the station to meet pop star Britney Spears, has put the two back on air.
A statement posted on the station web site says the return was permitted after "lengthy internal discussions" concerning the incident.
"Station management," it continued, "strives to maintain an environment that fosters creativity by giving our employees a great deal of leeway in the creative content of their respective programs."
"It is the opinion of station management however that the incidents from Thursday morning went a little too far and we have dealt with it internally. As a matter of company policy, we cannot discuss specific internal actions where our employees are concerned."
"We fully recognize the enormous talent that both Billy and Marco bring to the morning show and we are very proud of their accomplishments during the holidays by raising thousands of toys and over $30,000 for needy families in our community. This, along with many other factors, weighed heavily on our ultimate decision for them to return to the morning show."
WQZQ web site:
2004-01-22: 2004 01 22: Holiday listening resulted in substantial changes in the Arbitron Internet Broadcast ratings for December that show AOL Classic Holiday taking top station honours and the eleven holiday stations with a total of 7 million hours of listening: In all seven of the stations were in Arbitron's top 50.
The network ratings in contrast had no changes in ranks at the top.
The top five stations for December were (November figures in brackets):
1: AOL Classic Holiday (commercial) - TTSL 3,206,211 (769,608); CP 849,840 (378,032). Up from ninth with higher listening and reach.
2: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH (non-commercial) - TTSL 2,998,150 (2,546,302); CP 792,786 (736,608). Down from first with higher listening and reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin Radio (commercial) - TTSL 1,209,936 (1,107,150); CP 167,540 (160,178). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: K-LOVE Contemporary Christian (non-commercial) - TTSL 1,007,382 (1,115,624); CP 93,314 (113,213). Down from second with lower listening and reach.
5: AOL Pop Holiday (commercial) - TTSL 957,766; CP 326,834. Not in November ratings.
* AOL Top Country (commercial) - fell from fourth to sixth with TTSL 827,722 (1,100,055); CP 327,559 (415,100) and AOL Top Pop (commercial) fell from fifth to seventh with TTSL 788,389 (985,327); CP 446,891 (543,844).
The top five networks for December were (November figures in brackets):
1: AOL Radio Network (commercial) - TTSL 26,235,642 (24,974,530); CP 4,530,338 (4,358,877). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Yahoo LAUNCH (commercial)- TTSL 15,554,967 (15,663,452); CP 2,598,710 (2,498,870). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (non-commercial) TTSL 9,028,512 (7,766,068); CP 1,638,587 (1,550,181). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: Adsertion (sales network) -TTSL 3,027,913 (4,420,878); CP 312,169 (380,571). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) - TTSL 2,182,112 (2,133,025); CP 244,674 (246,356). Same rank with higher listening but slightly lower reach.
Arbitron is not now ranking content delivery networks but it does list the top two -- Live365.com, which had a TTSL of 10,265,588 hours, down from 10,469,202 in November, and StreamGuys with a TTSL of 2,139,438 hours, down from 2,161,912.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings:
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast monthly ratings:
2004-01-21: Despite current doubts about digital radio in various countries, a report by In-Stat/MDR says that the long term future is healthy and predicts that, including satellite and terrestrial receivers, the worldwide digital radio market will grow to more than 19 million unit shipments in 2007.
The report notes that interest in DAB (Digital audio broadcasting) has increased as prices have come down and senior In-Stat/MDR analyst Michelle Abraham commented, "The conversion from analogue radio to digital has been a long, slow process that will take many more years."
"When the first digital broadcasts became available in Europe, receivers were too expensive for the mass market. Over five years later, receiver prices have come down, but many countries are still trialing digital broadcasts, waiting for the regulatory framework to be in place and digital coverage to expand."
The report also notes that, as Sirius has planned in the US, providers in South Korea and Japan want to provide video as well as audio streams on their systems.
In the US, iBiquity adds its first commercial HD service in the nation's capital today when Howard University's Urban AC WHUR-FM commences digital transmissions at 11:00.
The latest issue of Current Magazine reports on the ability to transmit two separate signals in one FM channel using HD and the Tomorrow Radio technology developed and promoted by US National Public Radio (NPR) , Harris Corp. and Kenwood USA (See RNW Jan 14) and notes that public radio stations are keen to double up their services but adds "Commercial broadcasters, meanwhile, have shied away from a development that might not bring them many more ad dollars in markets where they believe viable formats are exhausted."
NPR's vice president of engineering Mike Starling said the full HD Radio 96 kbps signal sounds almost as clean as a compact disc and when divided into 64 kbps and 32kps streams the the 64 kbps channel sounds almost as good as a 96 kbps feed, and a 32 kbps channel sounds closer to today's analogue FM.
"There's definitely a trade-off involved in splitting the channel," he added. "You do take a slight quality hit, but I think most people would probably not notice it."
RNW comment: We would note that the FM receiver we have outperforms a 32kbps stream and that on music we can certainly tell the difference between 96kbps and 128kbps, although for speech it is not significant. However, for anyone listening in an automobile where extraneous sounds significantly degrade things or on a portable receiver the difference will be much less.
Current Magazine report:
In-Stat/MDR web site (Note: Full report is USD 2,995):
2004-01-21: UK Chrysalis Group is to ask shareholders to approve an "exceptional award" to chief executive Richard Huntingford to keep him with the group after his pay dropped by GBP 304,000 (USD 553,000) last year.
Chrysalis says the salary of GBP 508,000 (USD 925,000) paid to Huntingford is insufficient" to keep him with the company and it is to ask shareholders to approve the award at its annual general meeting on annual general meeting on February 4.
Huntingford's 2003 pay was made up of a basic salary of GBP 327,000 (USD 595,000) plus bonuses and benefits making up the GBP 508,000; in the previous year he had been paid GBP 812,000 (USD 1.48 million), made up of a base salary GBP 10,000 (USD 18.200) lower but with GBP 495,000 (USD 900,000) in bonuses and in 2001 he received a total of GBP 526,000 (USD 957,000)
In the remuneration committee's report to the board, it says, "The ongoing policy of the Committee is to provide a competitive remuneration package to enable it to attract, retain and motivate executives of the calibre and experience required and the need to cost effectively incentivise executives to deliver long term shareholder value At the forthcoming Annual General Meeting we will be asking shareholders to approve an exceptional award to the Group Chief Executive."
"Due to his leadership the Group delivered outstanding results in 2003 and it is imperative that the Group retains his services. In the Committee's view the current arrangements in place to incentivise and retain the Group Chief Executive are insufficient and in particular the existing options and super performance bonus awards made in 1999 will not sufficiently reward him for exceptional performance."
The committee notes that Huntingford would waive his entitlement to a "super performance bonus "of up to GBP 1.25 million (USD 2.27 million) in recognition of the award.
Apart from radio division chief executive Phil Riley, whose bonus is tied to the value of the division and whose total pay was up GBP 71,000 (USD 129,000) to GBP 425,000 (USD 773,000) Chrysalis's five executive directors' pay was down on 2002: Chairman Chris Wright was paid GBP 346,000 (USD 629,000) in 2003, down from GBP 500,000 (USD 909,000)
Chrysalis's music revenues for the year were up 12% to GBP 71.4 million (USD 129.9 million), book revenues down 9.3% to GBP 30.7 million (USD 55.8 million) while radio revenues, including GBP 3.6 million (USD 6.6 million) from acquisitions LBC and Galaxy 101 were up 14.3% to GBP 56.1 million (USD 102 million). Chrysalis sold its TV operations last year (See RNW Nov 18, 2003).
2004-01-21: Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) Midmorning show host Katherine Lanpher has resigned and is to become satirist Al Franken's co-host on his daily three-hour show on Progress Media's new politically liberal radio network that is to go on air some time this spring.
She had been hosting the show since 1998 and paying tribute MPR Senior Vice President for News Bill Buzenberg said, "I can say that from the very start, whether listeners agreed or disagreed with her, they listened to her," he said. "The audience was engaged, and every guest had to be on his or her toes to share the microphone with Katherine. She made compelling radio and was a fabulous host."
Before joining MPR she was at the St. Paul Pioneer Press for 16 years, six of them as a columnist, and had also had 16-months previous radio experience as the liberal voice on Twin Cities conservative talk radio station KSTP-AM. There are currently no plans for her new shot to air in the Twin Cities.
Franken, himself a Twin Cities native, said of her in an interview with Newsweek that the co-host he had in mind (but who hadn't signed at that time), was "really good. She's done public radio. I actually chose her for her laugh."
Previous Progress Media:
2004-01-21: Eastlan Resources is to conduct its first survey outside the US following agreement with Martz Communications to provide an annual radio survey for the West Island area of Montreal, Canada.
The first survey will be conducted during the established Spring Canadian survey period of February 16-April 11, 2004 and Martz Communications President Tim Martz said they were "excited about our new relationship with Eastlan."
He added, "With two Montreal suburban signals, the bulk of our audience is in the affluent and economically distinct West Island area. BBM surveys the entire 3.6 million person Montreal market but does not have the ability to split our specific postal codes, denying us the ability to highlight our geographic strength."
"Eastlan offers this critical piece. Additionally, Eastlan's separate Anglo-Franco data will provide our Montreal sales staff with a powerful selling weapon and agencies with a consistent analysis tool. Finally, the most significant difference from BBM is the fact that Eastlan shows all stations not just member stations so media buyers will have a real look at the market for the first time."
2004-01-21: A new study by Paragon Media Strategies shows that a majority of those polled say they don't think that voicetracking doesn't affect a station's appeal although 41% said it made it less appealing to them.
The survey of four-hundred 15-64 year-olds who either listen to the radio for music regularly (76%) or occasionally (24%) consisted of 26 percent "DJ Listeners," 46 percent "DJ Neutrals" (sometimes listen to the DJs but mostly listen for the music), and 25 percent "DJ Avoiders" (tune out the jocks when they come on the station)
Of those who listened in part for the DJs, 54% said voice tracking made radio less appealing and 39% that it made no difference but 77 % of the total sample agreed with the statement that stations should have "DJs or personalities that live in and are part of their community" and 74 % agreed that stations should use "DJs and personalities that broadcast live, not recorded broadcasts.
However in a seeming contradiction, 66 % agreed with the statement that stations should have "the most entertaining DJs or personalities, regardless if the DJs are live or pre-recorded." And 59 % agreed that stations should use "the most entertaining DJs or personalities, regardless if they live in other cities or parts of the country."
Paragon Media site:
2004-01-20: Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) has formally hit out at its former shareholder SMG, which on Friday after trading had closed announced the sale of its holding in SRH to UK Emap (See RNW Jan 17) with a statement, noting that Emap had said it had not intention of mounting a takeover but saying it was "disappointed that SMG ignored our offer to assist in placing the shares."
"Nonetheless," it continues, "we look forward to a more constructive and mutually beneficial relationship with Emap."
SMG had been pushing SRH to merge with it before it admitted defeat last week and sold the stake for GBP 90.5 million (USD 163 million): SRH would have preferred the holding to have been split between a number of smaller shareholders.
The markets reacted favourable to the deal on Monday with Emap ending up 2.14% at GBP 9.55 and SRH up 4.44% at GBP 9.40.
In other UK radio business the Wireless Group, which already held 16% of the group, has acquired the rest of Forever Broadcasting's capital in a deal worth GBP 8.1 million (USD 14.5 million).
Forever had already sold its Juice stations in Brighton and Liverpool to reduce its debt (See RNW Oct 4, 2003), leaving it with three local stations, Peak 107 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, The Wolf in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, and Tower in Bolton and Bury in Lancashire.
Its annual report last year, which showed operating losses of GBP 4.6 million (USD 8.2 million), down from GBP 8.2 million (USD 14.6 million) for 2002, and had revenues up by nearly half at the three remaining stations which had a single format and were "in aggregate profitable."
The Wireless Group had pre-tax losses of GBP 20.3 million (USD 36.2 million) in the year to December 31, 2002 and had also made a number of sales to cut debt but in November reported a strong recent growth in revenues (See RNW Nov 25, 2003) .
Wireless Group shares closed up 3.79% at GBP 1.095 on Monday whilst Forever's shares, for which the Wireless Group is paying 37.6 pence last traded up 44.9% at 35.5 pence.
Previous Forever Broadcasting:
Previous Wireless Group:
2004-01-20: Colorado Public Radio (CPR) has been given a building worth USD 2.75 million, its largest gift ever, by local entrepreneurs Barbara Bridges and Rutt Bridges.
The building in the Denver Tech Center is to become CPR's new headquarters in place of its current HQ in an old sorority house in S. Josephine St.
CPR president Max Wycisk said it had long out grown its current HQ and had been severely limited in attempts to improve its programming. "For the first time, Colorado Public Radio will own a building that is equipped with state-of- the-art radio equipment," he added. "It's an incredible opportunity."
Rutt Bridges, who recently stepped down as chairman of Colorado Public Radio's board of directors so he could donate the building without a conflict of interest, told the Denver Post, "Colorado Public Radio is an important asset in the community. It's one of the few places where we get great music and broad-perspective news and information."
CPR has so far raised USD 1.85 million out of USD2.5 million required to pay for the move, renovations and new equipment for the building.
Denver Post report:
2004-01-20: Although Sydney radio stations began trials of digital broadcasts last month (See RNW Dec 21, 2003) according to the Sydney Morning Herald those involved are still expressing caution about how long it will take to become profitable.
The paper notes that the industry is to spend an estimated AUD 350 million (USD 264 million) on digital technology in the hopes that it will increase radio's appeal to listeners but so far nobody has worked out how to make any money from it.
There are also the hurdles of persuading people to buy digital receivers and issues of regulation, about which no policy has yet been decided .
The industry, represented by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), has expressed dissatisfaction with the policies adopted for the trials (See RNW Oct 29, 2003) and wants the government to put existing broadcasters' needs before those of any potential new broadcasters.
Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner also sounded a note of caution about interest in the extras that digital could offer.
"Over the next 12 months we will gather a lot of information that will determine what the final product will be because there is no point offering bells and whistles if people don't want them and advertisers don't see them as an enhancement," she told the paper.
Among issues listed as yet to be resolved by the paper are whether listeners, especially those driving cars, want to be distracted by text and still pictures and what companies will think if listeners miss their advertisements because they have hit the replay button to hear their favourite song a second or third time.
PricewaterhouseCoopers' Australian media lead partner Steven Bosiljevac said, "Some of the applications are pretty exciting . . . but we don't think there will be killer applications."
Also cautious about take-up of digital was DMG chief executive Paul Thompson who commented, "The industry . . . has to be prepared to lose money for an appreciable period of time and that is why it is absolutely crucial for the practical future of digital radio that existing operators have automatic and no-cost conversion."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2004-01-19: Since today is Martin Luther King Day, the obvious starting point for us this week is a radio programme on Dr King.
We didn't pick up reviews of it but Tavis Smiley's show, broadcast live from Atlanta on January 15th on US National Public Radio (and still available on the NPR web site - follow links to show and then to previous shows), was certainly worth a review and is worth a listen.
In particular we noted Dr King's sister, Christine King Farris, not only reminiscing in general and commenting on how she still missed him but also saying that as a child he had "beheaded all her dolls."
Next to South Africa, where in a different way the problems currently being faced would have posed a major problem to Dr King had he been involved: An estimated 600 plus people die in the country daily as a result of AIDS and one of them last week was one of the country's best known DJs
As Stephanie Nolen reported in the Toronto Globe and Mail, former Soweto taxi driver Fana Khaba, known as DJ Khabzela, was notable not only for his success as host of the most popular weekend show - Jam Shack aired on YFM; he also had a spell as YFM's breakfast host before taking up his last role in the 0900-1300 time - in Johannesburg but also for the fact that he had gone public - in May last year - about having the disease in a society where most sufferers keep such things quiet.
As a result, when he died this week, writes Nolen, "Khaba left more than a nation in mourning. He had South Africans talking, even reluctantly, about a subject that many consider taboo.
"I cried and I cried," recalled Moloisi Mabeba, 26, a television production manager who was a devotee of Jam Shack. "It was such a shock. We don't talk about these things. Yes, there is AIDS, but nobody mentions it."
Sanza Tshabalala, a DJ colleague YFM, said that, on the surface, it seems odd that no more than one or two other public figures in South Africa have admitted to having the disease, but that the stigma and shame of AIDS remains too large.
"He was hugely criticized for coming out, it was not well-received," Tshabalala said. "People couldn't even find the words to come and say, 'You did the right thing.' I think it didn't help him, that there was no support. People didn't want to know him. They called him the AIDS DJ."
Khaba's fiancée Sibongile Radebe said that although she and all her friends admire Mr. Khaba's courage, she does not think his public death will make life any easier for South Africans with AIDS.
On the station site, manager Greg Maloka commented, "Fana is a prime example of someone who made something out of his life from nothing and whom we should all strive to emulate. He taught most of us - colleagues and listeners - that life is important and now that he's gone, it is up to us to complete what he started".
Unlike Khaba, Omani shock-jock - in Omani terms - (Her Excellency) Sayyida Zawan al-Said, who was the subject of a UK Times report by Mark Wallace, started off with mostly advantages.
She is a member of the country's royal family, first cousin to the Sultan, who studied English literature at Oxford, England and joined Radio Oman in 1991.
She went on to take a graduate degree in broadcast journalism, is BBC-trained, and now hosts the Early On breakfast show on Oman's only English-language station as well as producing the drivetime Later On show.
Wallace writers that she fields listeners' calls on everything from male injectable contraceptives to women's rights and that her candour has been widely appreciated by listeners who call in to her shows.
Zawan took over the breakfast show after approaching Oman's Minister of Information and was eventually offered it with no support and no pay. She now has sponsorship from her shows from two banks and is currently drafting a proposal for an English-language television entertainment show.
Zawan commented to Wallace that her lineage had not given her more latitude and said that anyone could say what she says on Omani radio.
Sticking with jocks, the Wall Street Journal expressed a similar degree of scepticism that we feel about that last comment in relation to the prospects of Al Franken's liberal talk show on US radio.
It quoted Michael Harrison, founder and editor of Talkers magazine, as saying Rush wasn't built in a day and going on, "The physics of the market tells us it takes years to build up radio programs, much less a network " and noting that America's two top talk-show hosts -- Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity -- are longtime radio guys.
The paper describes the announcement of a Robert F. Kennedy Jr. show called "Champions of Justice," about the corporate world as less like an answer to Rush or Sean than fodder for some future Saturday Night Livesketch and cites Harrison's opinion politics is a bad prism for measuring the prospects of radio success.
Many of those who listen to radio conservatives, says Harrison, listen because they hate the host, noting that while Michael Savage would never be elected mayor of San Francisco, not least because of his views on homosexuality, it didn't stop him from getting the top rating there.
After which some recommendations for shows still available on the web. Apart from the Tavis Smiley show mentioned at the start - an interesting and thoughtful programme that did credit to all those involved - the first mention goes to BBC radio 4's Afternoon Reading from last week (All of these still available although the first gets overtaken tonight by this week's reading). The five stories, "After the Revolution" came from writers in countries that have been through revolution - Grenada, Hungary, Iran, Nicaragua and Uganda.
From BBC Radio 2, we chose Seven Days that Rocked the World, Stuart Maconie's new series about songs that changed the face of rock. The record last week was Joe Meek's 1963 hit Telstar, which apparently was former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's favourite record.
Meek, whose mother wanted a daughter, was brought up as a girl for his first four years. Depressed and on barbiturates, he ended up killing his landlady and himself in 1967 butbefore then, as well as making the world's top selling instrumental, he created some of the most distinctive sounds in pop.
Toronto Globe and Mail - Nolen:
UK Times - Wallace:
YFM site - announcement and tributes to Fana Khaba:
Wall Street Journal on liberal talk network:
*For BBC and NPR web sites follow links on side bar*
2004-01-19: In Australia, Melbourne's second sports radio station, Sports Entertainment Network, went on the air this morning amidst scepticism that it can pay its way against competition from Sport 927 and also from 3AW, which has a heavy concentration on football and 774 ABC.
SEN, which is using the AM frequency formerly used by talk station 3AK, and which it has leased for three years for AUD 3.55 million (USD 2.71 million) from Data & Commerce and its managing director Danny Staffieri said he was confident it could make its way in the market.
"We're focusing on a male audience, aged 25 to 54. This is a well-known format that has had huge success in the United States. Furthermore, this is a sports mad city," he said. "Let's just say we're planning to do lot better than 1.2 per cent of the available audience [1.2% was the share that 3AK had]."
He added that SEN, whose air-talent includes [football coach] Gary Lyon, [former footballer and now author and sports commentator] Dermott Brereton, and [cricket commentator] Tim Lane, intended to be the authority on all things sport for Melbourne but it has the problem of lacking any live commentary rights for major sports such as Australian Football League (AFL), cricket and racing.
Staffieri played the problem down, commenting, "Sure, we can't do the AFL next year but AFL isn't everything. I don't think you need that much live sport. This isn't just about who won or lost, we want to get behind the stories."
He also said a decision to outsource the station's advertising force had been successful and it already had a number of major sponsors. Staffieri pointed out that the Australian sports sponsorship market is worth AUD1.24 billion (USD 946 million) a year and commented, "You put your thinking cap on and ask how many people want to reach that 25-to-54 target. It's not just a shotgun approach. We believe the advertisers will come to us."
Sport 927 general manager Noel Crowe was more dismissive of the newcomer's chances, saying Melbourne was already well served by sports radio and adding, "It doesn't matter if (SEN) has signed [British soccer player] David Beckham or [American golfer]Tiger Woods, there is simply no market for a 24-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week sport format."
Melbourne Age report:
2004-01-19: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that a song "My Ex-Boyfriend" aired by rock station CJAY-FM, Calgary, in February 2003 was unduly sexually explicit and breached Canadian Codes but that a second "joke" song and a parody aired on the show consisted merely of sexual innuendo and thus did not breach the codes.
The song that was in breach consisted of a list of epithets directed at a former lover and the CBSC Prairie Regional Panel commented, "...there may come a point in descriptive commentary when the accumulation of individual metaphors, any one of which might be sufficiently subtle to be excusable, becomes obvious and inexcusable. At that point, the body of subtleties loses any characterization as forgivable innuendo and crosses the line into sexual explicitness. That is the case with "My Ex-boyfriend", which, line-by-line, finds a different metaphorical treatment for sexual acts, principally of the anal variety. Heard, or read, cumulatively, they are, without doubt, explicit."
The other song, a whistling tune about one man's cure for "the blues", which is to look at his "enormous penis", and a parody advertisement "for a product called 'Mr. Big, the Wiener Wizard' which "doubles the size of that wiener" and produces results that "anybody would be proud of" did not go as far as the first song.
2004-01-18: Last week was yet another quiet period for the regulators as regarded radio with no decisions from Australia, Canada, or the UK and not much elsewhere.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has signed a contract with County Kildare FM Radio Limited (KFM) for the new franchise area of County Kildare. KFM will go on the air on February 1, broadcasting a mix of music genres and with a strong emphasis on news and current affairs.
Commenting at the signing, BCI Chairperson Conor Maguire said, "We are delighted to sign this ten year contract with KFM for the new franchise area of County Kildare. When the Commission began its round of re-licensing it was conscious of the significant social and demographic changes which had taken place in the county over the preceding fourteen years."
"We felt that a dedicated service for the people of county Kildare was necessary. We are confident that KFM can deliver listener choice and diversity and wish the station every success in the challenges of a new set-up and a new service."
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was also fairly quiet regarding decisions although its division's annual reports were presented during the week. They showed a large increase in indecency complaints (See RNW Jan 16), largely related to TV although radio notched up some significant penalties.
The largest penalty proposed last year - of USD 375,000 against Infinity's WNEW-FM in relation to the Sex in St Patrick's Cathedral stunt that led to the firing of Opie and Anthony (See RNW Aug 24, 2002) - is being contested as is also a USD 27,500 penalty against Infinity's WKRK-FM, Detroit, concerning a discussion of sexual practices aired on the Deminski and Doyle show (See RNW April 4, 2003)
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
FCC web site:
2004-01-18: Canada's broadcast ratings service, the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement (BBM), has voted to adopt Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) as its standard technology for electronic measurement.
The BBM board voted unanimously to is encouraging "BBM members to develop a strategy (in appropriate markets) to adopt PPM as an alternative to diary measurement as it feels that the PPM technology will more accurately capture audience exposure and will be able to deal with new home entertainment technologies."
BBC President and CEO Jim MacLeod said, "We are ecstatic about the Board's decision. It solidifies what we have long believed is the only way we can address the next generation of wireless technologies in the marketplace and the changes in the viewing and listening habits of our audiences. The ability, in a wireless world, for audiences to view or listen while being mobile, makes PPM the only technology which will accurately capture the data. It's time for audience measurement to get out of the home."
Ron Bremner, BBM's Vice President of Television, added, "BBM has believed strongly in the potential of PPM since we first acquired the exclusive rights to the technology in 1992. The market trials in the U.S. and the favourable results of our ramp-up in Montreal and the balance of Quebec have shown PPM to be stable and reliable."
2004-01-17: UK Emap has taken a first step into radio consolidation with a GBP 90.5 million (USD 163 million) purchase of nearly ten million shares in Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH), 27.8% of the latter's issued share capital, from SMG , the former Scottish Media Group, which has abandoned its hopes of taking over its Scottish rival.
Emap, which paid 930 pence per share, 30 pence above SRH's closing price on Friday and a 5% premium on the price of the shares when it began the offering, says it has no intention to extend its holding but would reconsider if a third party makes a firm bit for SRJ or acquires a holding of 20% or more of SRH.
Its Group Finance Director Gary Hughes said Emap believed " there will be opportunities for consolidation within the UK radio sector now that the Communications Bill has been enacted. Against this background, we regard the stake in SRH as an attractive strategic asset."
SMG had acquired its holding in SRH in late 2000 and early 2001 in the hope of an agreed takeover but put its shares on sale when it became apparent there was no hope of this. It has not disclosed details of other bidders in the three-day auction of the holding. It is to use the proceeds to reduce its debt of around GBP 245 million (USD 443 million).
Commenting on the deal, SMG noted that when it bought the holding both it and SRH were both in the radio, newspaper and outdoor advertising sectors but since then "SMG has exited the newspaper market and SRH has sold its outdoor business."
"As a result of the consequential reduction in the level of synergies capable of being secured in a combination of the companies, together with the inability to secure an agreement on terms that deliver value to SMG shareholders," it added, "the Board of SMG takes the view that, notwithstanding the relaxation of media ownership regulations, it is in the best interests of SMG's shareholders to dispose of the stake. The proceeds of the sale will be used by SMG to reduce debt."
SMG Chief Executive Andrew Flanagan said, "We have explored all the options for the stake and it is clearly now better for our shareholders that we sell the shareholding, reduce our debt and move on. We continue to focus on operating and developing our profitable, strong brands in radio, television, outdoor and cinema across national markets."
SMG also said SMG said its profits for the year should be within market expectations, and that it would hold its 2003 dividend in line with a year earlier.
2004-01-17: US advertising expenditure, boosted by the summer Olympics and political advertising for the elections, is expected to increase by 7.8% this year to USD 138.4 billion according to a forecast by strategic advertising and marketing information group TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.
Its president and CEO Steven J. Fredericks added, "Additionally, as the economy improves, all leading categories of media will see improvement in advertising spending, with Spanish language television, the Internet, and Spot TV showing the strongest year over year gains."
Quarter by quarter the report forecasts a steady growth - up 6.5% on a year ago for the first quarter, 7.1% for the second quarter, 8.4% for the third quarter and 8.9% for the fourth quarter.
In media segment terms, radio is forecast to see a 9.5% growth, just behind 9.6% for network TV; the highest growth is forecast for Spanish language TV - of 15.7% - followed by 12.1% for the Internet and 10.8% for Spot TV. The lowest growth forecast is of 5% for outdoor.
2004-01-17: BBC Radio 1 has signed Emap's Manchester Key 103 breakfast duo JK & Joel to host a new weekend show from the summer.
They are to replace either Scott Mills, who has the weekend 1300-1500 slot, or Colin Murray and Edith Bowman, who have the preceding slot from 10 a.m.
One slot will become vacant when its host(s) takes over Radio 1's weekday drivetime show when Sara Cox goes on maternity leave. Final details are to be confirmed within a fortnight or so
Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt said the style of the two was "cheeky but sharp, exactly right for our new daytime sound."
JK and Joel commented, "We have had a great time working in Manchester but the chance to reach a national audience is just something we could not ignore. Radio 1 looks like a really exciting place to be at the moment - it's going to be great to be a part of it."
Key 103 has been a breeding ground for talent; former hosts who have moved on to national stations include Chris Evans, Scott Mills, and Steve Penk.
At BBC Radio 5 according to the UK Guardian former Prime Ministerial aide Alastair Campbell and Xfm breakfast show DJ Christian O'Connell are the leading contenders to take over from Johnny Vaughan as host of BBC Radio 5 Live's Fighting Talk Saturday morning sports show.
Vaughan is moving to Capital FM in the spring to replace Chris Tarrant in the breakfast slot and the paper says that, although he has an option to continue presenting the show for a second series, his radio and TV workload may be too heavy for him to do so.
Previous Bowman and Murray:
Previous JK & Joel:
UK Guardian report:
2004-01-17: Conservative US legal advocacy group The Landmark Foundation has stepped into the Rush Limbaugh case and asked Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer's office for "all public records" held by the office or individual's working for it that refer to the case.
The request makes specific reference to Krischer spokesman Michael Edmondson, who has been accused by Limbaugh's attorney Roy Black of leaking confidential information about the investigation to the media.
It was made under Florida laws that make government records open to the public and notes that "It is unlawful for a public servant, with intent to obstruct, impede, or prevent a criminal investigation or a criminal prosecution, to disclose active criminal investigative or intelligence information" before asking for "any and all communications, information and records in the possession of Michael Edmondson, spokesman for and assistant to the State Attorney for the County of Palm Beach."
The Palm Beach Daily News says that Landmark's president Mark R. Levin had said he wrote to the Attorney's office on his own initiative after seeing Black speak on TV and say that he heard, from a reporter, that Edmondson had been leaking information about Limbaugh and "planting stories in the press."
Levin said he is trying to determine if Edmondson committed "journalist shopping" - leaking investigative information to the media that is not considered public, a felony under Florida law.
Edmondson responded, "To my knowledge, the only person discussing the case is defence attorney Roy Black in his paid position with MSNBC and NBC and Rush Limbaugh on his talk show."
"My position, as a public information officer, requires me to respond to any inquiry from the press, while at the same time, limiting information to whatever is public record at the time of the inquiry."
RNW comment: The more this case goes on, the cloudier things seem to become. Should the State Attorney's Office have been breaking the law, then Edmondson should obviously be prosecuted; Unfortunately should the record show that he did not leak information, there would appear to be no counter measures that can be taken against Black should he have made the allegation without any evidence.
Fairness in that case in our view would demand that in such a case any attorney making such allegations without due evidence should be both prosecuted and struck off.
In each case, our view is that those who are involved in the legal system should be held to higher standards than ordinary citizens or indeed radio hosts.
Landmark Foundation letter:
Palm Beach Daily News report:
2004-01-16: Los Angeles-based Entravision is to leave Chicago in two deals in which it is selling its three stations in the area for a total of USD 29 million in cash; Chicago-based Newsweb Corporation is buying WRZA-FM and WNDZ-AM, Portage, for USD 24 million and Denver-based NextMedia is paying USD 5 million for WZCH-FM, Dundee.
The two FMs had been used by Entravision to simulcast its "Super Estrella" Spanish hits format.
Entravision chairman and CEO Walter Ulloa said the sale was "in line with our strategic goal of divesting non-core assets to focus on strengthening existing clusters as well as expanding into emerging markets" and added,"Proceeds from this transaction will be used to reduce debt."
Newsweb already owns four AMs in the Chicago area - WAIT, WCFJ, WCSN & WSBC; it bought WAIT recently from NextMedia for USD 8.25 million (See RNW Nov 4, 2003)
NextMedia owns ten stations in the Chicago area. It expects to close its USD 14 million purchase of country format WCCQ-FM from Three Eagles Communications later this month and Samuel "Skip" Weller, President and Co-Chief Operating Officer of its Radio Division, said WZCH was "the perfect complement to our suburban Chicago cluster, as it will extend our listener reach and strengthen our leading position in the Chicago suburban market."
2004-01-16: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recorded a massive increase in indecency complaints last year - up from 13,922 in 2002 to 240,342 in 2003 - according to figures given on Thursday during presentations at the Commission's annual meeting.
Most concerned TV - only around 100 were radio complaints - and many complaints were identical, resulting from campaigns by supporters of groups such as the Parents' Television Council.
In all the FCC enforcement bureau said it levied penalties for indecency offences totalling USD 440,000; this compares with proposed penalties of USD 780,000 for Do-Not-Call violations, USD 1.7 for slamming violations, USD 5.4 million relating to junk faxes, USD12 million in damages for failure to pay reciprocal compensation and USD 15 million in consent decrees for premature provisioning and marketing of long distance service.
Under the heading of protecting public safety, the bureau lists penalties of USD 850,000 for tower safety violations, USD 280,000 relating to tower fences, and USD 40,000 relating to radio frequency radiation.
Media enforcement actions, as well as the penalties for indecency, included USD 83,000 relating to public file violations and USD 35, 0000 relating to main studio violations. In addition three licences were revoked.
2004-01-16: UK UBC Media has announced agreement with the Guardian Media Group (GMG) for its Entertainment News programming to be broadcast on all GMG radio stations in the UK; they are Jazz FM in London, Smooth FM in the North West and the Real Radio services in Wales, Scotland and Yorkshire.
The addition of the stations takes the total audience for the network, which is funded by advertising sold within the programmesby UBC, up by more than a fifth to nearly 7 million.
UBC has also re-signed both GMG and all GWR stations to its traffic and travel service "AA Roadwatch" for the next twelve months.
Its chief executive Simon Cole commented, "As we reported last November we are seeing a strong recovery in the advertising market and this has continued into the New Year. This is a great time to be building our available audience by bringing new affiliates to our networks as well as extending the relationships we already have."
2004-01-16: The departure of the holiday channels brought most of the former top stations back up in the latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings just released with MUSICMATCH heading the station rankings and AOL holding on to top network spot.
For the week to January 4, 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 566,864 (499,552); CP - 229,016 (223,843). Up from second with higher listening and reach.
2: Country format AOL Top Country (Commercial) - TTSL 151,331 108,397); CP 72,947 (63,260). Up from ninth with higher listening and reach.
3:Contemporary Christian K-LOVE (Non commercial) - TTSL 146,250 (96,415); CP 22,308 (19,098). Up from 12th with higher listening and reach.
4: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 138,345 (179,130); CP - 38,529 (37,115). Down from third with lower listening but higher reach.
5: Top 40 AOL Top Pop (Commercial) - TTSL 137,735 (108,141); CP 98,161 (91,841): Up from tenth with lower listening but higher reach.
*In the previous week there were three holiday channels in the top five: AOL Classic Holiday,
AOL Pop Holiday and MUSICMATCH Traditional Christmas.
The top five networks for the week to January 4 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 4,133,906 (4,174,593); CP - 1,343,739 (1,380,271). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
2: LAUNCH (Commercial) TTSL - 2,385,397 (2,403,350); CP - 702,934 (768,573). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 1,569,207 (1,484,708); CP - 467,272 (474,690). Same rank with higher listening but lower reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 539,469 (403,967); CP - 91,653 (82,658) - Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) TTSL - 248,349 (282,253); CP - 58,459 (51,911) - Up from sixth with lower listening but higher reach.
* AccuRadio (Commercial) fell from fifth to seventh with TTSL -180,675 (382,068); CP - 65,997 (152,258)
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 1,941,839, up from 1,788,942 and StreamGuys with TTSL 387,130, up from 345,563.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Weekly Ratings:
2004-01-15: Although nearly all the publicity went to U2 singer Bono's use of the F-word during last year's broadcast of the Golden Globes Awards, the implications of a call by US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell for his fellow commissioners to overturn a ruling that the use was not indecent or obscene because the word was used as an adjective rather than to describe a sexual act run much wider, especially when coupled with other comments made by Powell on Wednesday at a National Press Club luncheon.
Powell also said that the penalties that could be levied - currently a maximum of USD 27,500 per incident- were far too small and called them, as Democrat Commissioner Michael Copps has previously said, "just a cost of doing business."
Powell said the fines, which had not been updated by Congress for decades, were now "peanuts" and called for a ten-fold increase so as to deter the broadcasting of obscenity.
The comments were in line with past speeches by Powell as was a call also made at the lunch for US radio to adopt digital broadcasting. He said that youngsters of today, the customers of the future, would want much more from their media when they grew up and commented that radio had around four or five years to make its services up to date.
RNW comment: In the current climate, we anticipate that Powell's call for an increase in penalties for obscene or indecent broadcasts is likely to gain widespread legislative support; a hearing on the matter had already been scheduled for next week by the House Commerce Committee although we doubt it will go as far as Copps would like - he wants the ultimate penalty to be the revocation of licences.
As regards digital broadcasting, we still retain our concerns about the lack of a universal standard. At the moment anyone travelling can expect to be able to use a short-wave/AM/FM portable receiver anywhere in the world but the US is out of step with the rest of the world in its adoption of iBiquity's in-band one-channel system that uses the same frequency to carry analogue and digital signals compared to allocating different frequencies for digital broadcasts. We see the commercial imperatives behind the US decision and have noted that tests have shown that the system can allow the broadcast of additional channels through SACs (supplemental audio channels) (See RNW Jan 14).
We still however prefer the DAB system as implemented in the UK - in a manner that gave existing broadcasters a strong incentive (their licences were renewed automatically if they provided a channel on the relevant digital multiplex) to provide new programming rather than just simulcast existing services as its currently mandated in Canada and likely to be the practice in the US.
2004-01-15: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has given Sook-Yin Lee, host of Radio One's Saturday Definitely Not the Opera show, the go-ahead to appear in a sexually explicit film Short Bus by U.S. director John Cameron Mitchell.
Last year CBC radio VP Jane Chalmers was reported to have urged the host to reject the role in the film in which she is to play a relationship counsellor whose marriage is a shambles and who lies to her husband and fakes orgasms, but then resolves to achieve self-help orgasm.
CBC spokeswoman Ruth-Ellen Soles, confirming the go-ahead, said "I think that there was a concern on behalf of CBC about the nature of the film and the intent of the film, but it was before the required amount of information was provided. And I think that once all the information was tabled, it was not a tough decision to make."
Sook-Yin Lee had been backed in her desire to take the role by a number of high-profile personalities including filmmaker David Cronenberg.
2004-01-15: Former WNEW-FM hosts Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) in an interview in the February issues of FMH Magazine, which went on sale this week, express no remorse over the sex in St Patrick's Cathedral stunt that led to the axing of their show by the Viacom-Infinity station.
If anything Hughes potentially exacerbates the offence by commenting "I can't help but think if the couple had sex in a mosque, we would have gotten a raise. That would have been a patriotic thing to do for your country."
Cumia commented, "I don't know if there's much of a lesson to be learned from what happened to us. If you're going to do something, there will be consequences. And in some cases, there's no way to prevent the consequences."
"We could have been fired for 20 other things before the final Sex for Sam contest if the cards had fallen a certain way. Like the Voyeur Bus, where we had a transparent bus full of nude women driving through midtown Manhattan."
The duo are still under contract with Viacom until June and say they are keen to return to radio; in an excerpt of the interview posted by FHM on its web site Cumia comments, "We really don't have much of a window to do any kind of work because we're still under this contract. Viacom [the company that controls the contract] doesn't want us working for them or anyone else at this point."
He adds, "It's amazing. There is nothing going on in radio now. And I don't say this as a poor schlep who isn't on the air. I don't have anything to listen to. There's nothing on in New York to make you turn your head from the road and look at your radio and go, "What!" Where's the controversy? Where's the fun? Where's the stuff people either loved or hated but at least talked about? It's gone."
On their future prospects, Hughes says, "We know going into a new job that eventually we'll get the boot" and Cumia adds, "It's a shame to have that attitude, but it's the nature of the beast. We have learned a few things though. Like not to send a couple to have sex in a church. That's a good example. There's a different climate now. There are a few people who can make a huge noise if they're offended by something. And they can negate what millions of people enjoy. They take the threat of economic warfare to the corporation, who listens to them like it's gospel."
RNW comment: Current suggestions are that Sirius is considering taking on the duo but Hughes comment suggests to us that taking them on could involve it in considerable controversy at some stage and Cumia does sum up what is likely to happen.
In view of pressures for high regulatory penalties from the Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell that have been backed in the past by other commissioners, we think they will be likely to have a hard time getting much of a run on terrestrial radio.
Just putting the figures together - Infinity is currently disputing a penalty of USD 375,000 for the WNEW stunt (See RNW Nov 20, 2003) but Powell would like to have the maximum upped ten-fold - we think most managements would be very cautious about putting millions at risk when they next overstep the mark and their interview indicates they are pleased rather than upset over the reaction to the various stunts they have pulled.
Previous Opie and Anthony:
FHM interview extract:
2004-01-15: For those who like a little silence - or rather near silence - the BBC Symphony Orchestra will have the answer tomorrow when it plays for the first time in the UK, John Cage's silent work 4'33" in the opening concert of "John Cage Uncaged: Cage In His American context" event that runs at the Barbican venue in London from January 16 to 18.
The work was said by Cage, who died in 1992, to demonstrate is view that all sound is music and that, "Wherever we are what we hear mostly is noise" and had its world premiere in Woodstock, New York, on August 29, 1952, before an audience supporting the Benefit Artists Welfare Fund.
In effect, the extraneous sounds heard whilst the orchestra plays nothing become the piece, which is in movements.
To enable it to be broadcast BBC Radio 3 is to switch off its emergency backup systems, designed to cut in when there is apparent silence on air.
The programme begins at 1925 GMT with William Schuman's New England Triptych (1956), Cage's
The Seasons (1947) and Henry Cowell's Piano Concerto (1928) and after a 20-minute break in the concert during which Cage talks about his life and work in recordings from the BBC Archives continues with George Antheil's Jazz Symphony for 22 players (1925/55, Charles Ives's Central Park in the Dark (1906), Aaron Copland's El Salon Mexico (1936) and then ends with Cage's 4'33" for large orchestra (1952).
At 22:00 GMT there will be a further live broadcast, in which Nicolas Hodges (Piano) plays works by John Cage's teacher Schoenberg (2 Pieces for Piano, Op 33a & b (1928-9/1931)), his pupils Christian Wolff (Bread & Roses (1976) and Morton Feldman (Piano (1977)), and Cage's Solo for Piano (1957-8)
Further concerts in the event will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 at the weekend.
2004-01-15: Conservative US radio host Rush Limbaugh has welcomed a ruling by the US Fourth District Court of Appeal that his medical records have to be turned over to the court by Florida state prosecutors investigating him in connection with allegations of doctor shopping.
The ruling, to which Limbaugh has until January 20 to respond, also keeps the records sealed from prosecutors, and Limbaugh's attorney Roy Black issued a statement welcoming the ruling and adding, "The state's seizure of Mr. Limbaugh's private medical records without following the due process defined in Florida law is a threat to everyone's fundamental privacy right."
Limbaugh himself commented on his show on Wednesday about getting "some more good news from the Florida legal system" and noted that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had been allowed to file its amicus brief to keep the records confidential (See RNW Jan 13).
He also attacked the prosecutors concerning earlier suggestions that he was being investigated for drug trafficking and money-laundering.
Limbaugh web site (Currently links to audio and transcript of host's comments on his show.)
2004-01-14: Progress Media is reported to have agreed a deal with comedian and author of books including "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot," Al Franken to host a live three-hour daily broadcast that would form the lynchpin of its planned liberal radio network.
Franken said in an AP interview that the format of his show was still evolving but it would include a mix of interviews, calls from listeners and scripted comedy and he would have a co-host with long experience in radio although the role had not been finalized.
He said the show would not by like that of Rush Limbaugh whose show he described as just Limbaugh "railing for three hours."
However he said, he would call up his rival for advice since Limbaugh has often said he wonders why new radio hosts don't seek out his counsel.
"I'll ask him advice: how he approaches a show, how he frames an issue. If it doesn't happen it will be - very understandably - because he won't take my call," Franken said.
Franken's show has not yet been given a name but it will air from noon to 15:00 E.T., directly competing with Limbaugh.
He said his contract with Progress Media would last just one year, after which time both sides would reassess how things were going. He also said he very much wanted to do the show during a presidential election year.
"I'm interested in doing what I can to affect this election," Franken said. "I've thinking about what's the best use of my energies - I hope this is it."
Progress Media president Mark Walsh said the new network had reached its first distribution agreement with Multicultural Broadcasting's WNTD-AM, Chicago, adding that he expected to announce at least three other deals shortly.
He also said that about 65 percent of the network's programming has been decided, but he declined to elaborate beyond disclosing another new show to be co-hosted by the environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. called "Champions of Justice."
Mercury News/AP report:
2004-01-14: British Prime Minister Tony Blair turned radio host on Tuesday in a live morning programme - repeated in early evening - on Chrysalis's LBC-FM that was part of the ruling Labour Party's "Big Conversation", described by Blair as "the biggest consultation exercise ever with voters" but derided by critics as a gimmick.
The Big Conversation also includes a website aimed at giving people a chance to air their views on policies and which lists "big issues" such as education, getting the young interested in politics, tackling drug abuse, and tackling climate change.
As well as fielding calls on various topics, Blair introduced callers, jingles and traffic news and generally acquitted himself adequately although at one stage he became confused by computer screens computer screens indicating which caller to take and saying: "Can I go to ... oh, it says Tony here - oh, that's me!" and at other times being helped by an LBC presenter when there was overlong silence. He also seemingly managed to cut off at least one caller in error but in a number of other cases cut off potentially problematic calls efficiently.
On the topic of Iraq, he told a caller who said he believe the UK had been misled into war that he wouldn't enter into argument about misleading and that "the important thing is to realise we are trying to rebuild Iraq now."
LBC managing director, Mark Flanagan, said of the show, 'We wanted to elevate the debate from the usual bun fight between interviewer and politician. Our listeners are more than capable of holding their own with the Prime Minister and having a serious debate about the issues."
RNW comment: We have serious doubts about the idea of genuine debate or dialogue with anyone who continually interjects phrases like " the important thing" as a way of moving the agenda to a statement of their position rather than dealing with the issues raised and certainly don't think there was much genuine debate or indeed anything new of government commitments in what was said.
As a performance it was adequate, in content certainly a little deeper than some of the late-night phone-ins on the station, not that this is a high hurdle to jump, but it certainly wasn't much of a listening exercise for the Prime Minister - preponderantly transmission with not much reception.
In fairness, however, we doubt that many other Presidents or Prime Ministers could have bettered the Blair performance.
And as for British politicans on radio on Tuesday, we'd rather opt for former Chancelor of the Exchequer [Finance Minister} Kenneth Clarke hosting a jazz greats show about Duke Ellington on BBC Radio 4. It's still on their web site.
Big Conversation web site:
2004-01-14: Sirius has said that it does not think it needs permission from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to add video programming to its product line next year; the comment was made following a request for more details of the proposed service by the FCC, which noted that its has licensed Sirius to provide radio and some secondary services but did not mention TV.
"The FCC has initiated discussions about whether Sirius' planned video programming is permitted under our current rules, or whether it would require a formal request from Sirius and a regulatory decision from the commission," FCC spokesman David Fiske told Reuters on Monday.
Sirius spokesman Jim Collins told Reuters, "Our licenses from the FCC permit us to offer satellite radio and other ancillary services over the radio spectrum that has been licensed to us."
"Our offering of the video will be ancillary to our satellite radio service and doesn't require any other licenses, approval or other actions by the FCC," he added.
The plan to offer video services, primarily as entertainment for passengers, particularly children, was announced last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (See RNW Jan 8).
Both Sirius and rival XM are currently still operating under temporary FCC authorisation awaiting the finalisation of rules.
XM has announced the start of a public offering of 18 million of its shares, seven million being offered by XM to raise new finances and the remaining 11 million being sold by existing holders.
2004-01-14: US National Public Radio (NPR) says that tests conducted with Kenwood USA and Harris Corporation's Broadcast Communications Division as part of its Tomorrow Radio Project show that iBiquity's HD Radio FM digital system can satisfactorily provide multiple programme channels on one frequency.
NPR VP, Engineering and Operations Mike Starling said, "Multi-casting on SACs (supplemental audio channels) is real and it works better than we anticipated. HD radio is no longer just a hypothetical construct. Tomorrow Radio is here today."
"Having the ability to broadcast multiple channels using existing spectrum means that non-profit radio stations can do more with what they already have, and lessens the pressure to compete for scarce and expensive new frequencies. And listeners could be the biggest winners, with even more public radio and services at their fingertips."
Tomorrow Radio's field tests in the fall and winter of 2003 field tests involved four NPR member stations - KALW-FM, San Francisco, KKJZ-FM, Long Beach, California, WETA-FM, Washington, DC and WNYC-FM, New York, plus Kenwood USA (who provided the test receivers and mobile test lab for the field test) and Harris Corp. (who provided transmission equipment to each of the participating field test stations).
2004-01-14: UK UBC Media Group has announced that it is in discussions with Hong Kong-based conglomerate, USI Holdings Limited, its joint venture partner in digital speech channel Oneword Radio, to buy out from the half of Oneword that it does not already own.
It has also announced a restructuring of Oneword to cut costs significantly and says this will involve redundancies.
The buy-out would be financed by the issue of new UBC shares: The deal values Oneword at around GBP 1.4 million (USD 2.6 million) and the new shares would amount to around 1.5% of UBC's issues share capital.
UBC chief executive Simon Cole commented, "We now know that Christmas saw very strong sales of digital radios in the shops. There is now no doubt that the future of the radio industry is digital and UBC has, since IPO in 2000, built up a range of digital radio assets."
"The challenge now is to consolidate these assets and deliver profit from them. This deal restructures the cost base at Oneword in such a way that UBC expects to able to take total control of the only national commercial digital speech service in the UK without increasing the level of investment this year. We can now fully integrate Oneword within UBC as we concentrate on building revenue."
In other UK radio business, the UK Guardian reports that Venture capitalist Advent International plans to enter the UK radio market and says private equity investors may be prepared to pay a premium on radio stocks if they had former Emap executive Tim Schoonmaker on board. Schoonmaker resigned last week (See RNW Jan 9).
Advent bought GWR's Hungarian radio assets last year (See RNW May 23, 2003) and it told the paper that the emergence of Mr Schoonmaker as a possible partner for private equity bids could make all the difference in the UK,
Advent director Fred Wakeman said Schoonmaker "may be a catalyst to unlock the value" of acquisitions and added that the Virgin Radio group [owned by SMG] would be a viable acquisition target for a venture capitalist despite being valued at 12-15% above its market capitalisation because radio's share of revenue is growing and, in a market ripe for consolidation, there is ample opportunity to sell stations on at a profit.
"It's a business with a lot of growth in it as a result of the small proportion of advertising that goes through radio. Spend will increase as TV becomes more fragmented."
UK Guardian report:
2004-01-13: Conservative US radio host Rush Limbaugh who on Monday turned 53 has gained the support of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in his dispute with Florida attorneys about the seizure and possible public release of his private medical records.
ACLU Florida has asked the Fourth District Court of Appeal to allow it to submit an "Amicus Curaie" (friend of the court) brief saying that the state infringed on Florida's constitutional right to privacy when it failed to follow well-established protocol, mandated by law, when confiscating Limbaugh's medical files.
Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida, commented, "While this case involves the right of Rush Limbaugh to maintain the privacy of his medical records, the precedent set in this case will impact the security of medical records and the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship of every person in Florida."
"For many people, it may seem odd that the ACLU has come to the defence of Rush Limbaugh. But we have always said that the ACLU's real client is the Bill of Rights and we will continue to safeguard the values of equality, fairness and privacy for everyone, regardless of race, economic status or political point of view."
Ft. Lauderdale attorney Jon May, who is serving as counsel for the ACLU, said, "The legislature has enacted procedures that carefully balance the interests of law enforcement against the right of every citizen to maintain the privacy of their communications with their physician."
"In this case the State Attorney has circumvented this carefully crafted scheme. If the state can do this to Rush Limbaugh, then the privacy rights of every citizen in Florida are in jeopardy."
Limbaugh's attorney Roy Black said they were pleased by the action and added, "The issues raised in this appeal effect all Floridians, regardless of their political inclinations."
The support has not yet been posted on Limbaugh's web site and the ACLU made it clear that it maintains its opposition to the US administration's "War on Drugs" that it says has led to a dramatic increase in the nation's prison population, while doing little to curb the drug trade.
RNW comment: Obviously our intention to hold off further Limbaugh stories while awaiting developments is likely to be overturned by events.
In relation to the issues raised here, it would seem consistent with its general policy for the ACLU to file this brief.
At the same time we noted a Palm Beach Post editorial that significantly undercuts the line that Limbaugh has been touting on his web site, namely that the whole matter is one of political persecution.
The paper notes that Charlie Crist, Florida's attorney general, who is a "very conservative Republican" is urging action to create a computer network to allow better tracking of the abuse of prescription painkillers, that he is backed by "the very conservative Republican state senator who is sponsoring the bill" and the "state's drug czar -- who was appointed by the very conservative Republican governor."
"Doctor-shopping" it points out was made a felony by Florida's Republican-controlled Legislature, and that that Sen. Mike Fasano, Republican, New Port Richey, said the state is in "crisis mode" on the issue of painkiller abuse with estimates that Florida is losing USD1.3 billion from its Medicaid program because of related fraud. In other words, whatever the motivation for action against the host, Limbaugh's fellow gamekeepers set the gin trap not his political opponents.
ACLU news release:
Palm Beach Post editorial:
2004-01-13: Around 100,000 digital radio receivers in the UK in December last year according to figures collected by the Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB); this is around a quarter of the total number of receivers sold in the country since they went on general sale under two years ago and was around a quarter higher than forecast.
As a result analysts have raised their forecasts for sales for the rest of this year and say that the total could near a million by the end of 2004 aided by a continuing announcement of new models and reductions in prices.
2004-01-13: Chicago WLS-AM afternoon co-host Garry Meier has been taken off the air by the Disney-ABC station that is still locked in negotiations with him about renewal of his contract, which ends in five weeks, four months before that of his afternoon drive partner Roe Conn.
According to Jim Kirk in the Chicago Tribune, WLS has taken the action now because it thinks the risk is less than waiting. Meier and Conn are second-rated in their slot: In the latest ratings they had a 5.2 share, just behind Sam Sylk at Clear Channel's WGCI-FM with 5.3, having pulled up from 4.5 in the summer when Sylk had 5.9.
Meier was teamed up with Steve Dahl, currently hosting afternoons on Infinity's WCKG-FM, for nearly 15 years at WLS-AM/FM and WLUP-FM until a bitter break in 1993. Dahl was not in the top ten in the latest ratings, although he led in the financially important 25-54 demographic.
In New York, Lynn Hoffman and Gregg Daniels have now taken over the morning slot at Infinity' WNEW-FM (Mix FM), now an AC format after a spell as Blink FM following the furore over the Sex in St Patrick's cathedral incident that had led to WNEW firing hosts Opie and Anthony.
Earlier this month Daniel's former station WBMX-FM in Boston gained itself some useful publicity by advertising for a replacement for Daniels on its web site.
The advert, which advises hopefuls to "Send MP3 and resume via e-mail" to Workafternoons@mix985.com says, "Join the legendary Mix 98-5 Boston for PM drive. Understand how to deliver popular culture and music that Hot A/C listeners crave? Can you deliver a fun, reality-based afternoon show? Can you stand out from the norm and be a part of the future? Top 40, Adult T40, or Hot A/C experience preferred."
Chicago Tribune report:
WBMX web site:
2004-01-13: Berea, Ohio, sports-talk host Chuck Galeti will soon be in jail following his conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol, drug possession and other charges. It was his third conviction, thus meaning he faces a mandatory jail sentence of up to a year although the minimum is 15 days plus 55 days of house arrest.
Galeti, who works for WTAM-AM, drove off a road, knocked down a mailbox and hit a telephone pole before leaving the scene last August He was initially charged with DUI, resisting arrest, hit-and-run, driving while his license was suspended, drug possession - for a small amount of marijuana - and driving off the road.
In a plea bargain, prosecutors dropped charges of driving under suspension and hit-and-run. Resisting arrest, a first-degree misdemeanor, was reduced to disorderly conduct, a minor misdemeanor that carries a maximum 30 days in jail.
Galeti, who is divorced and has three children, has spent the last four months in a drug and alcohol program and commented, "I've hurt a lot of people, my family, my friends," he said. "My kids, I've hurt them bad . . . I've lost everything."
"I have to pay the price. The most important thing for me to do is stay sober."
Cleveland Plain Dealer report:
2004-01-12: We start our look at print comment on radio this week with a thought-provoking article by Gerry Cagle in MusicBiz.com that suggests that US radio, to use his words and emphasis "is in HUGE trouble, but doesn't know it."
He starts by saying that the recording industry has now moved "out of the wilderness, if not quite out of the woods" with the combination of legal action against pirate downloaders and introduction of legal Internet music services and then continues, "Meanwhile, the industry most dependent upon the record business has been standing on the sidelines as if it was bulletproof. Radio not only didn't try and help the record industry, it didn't care what happened."
"'It isn't our problem,'" was the rallying cry of a group of broadcasters who knew nothing about the symbiotic relationship between the two industries that made both prosperous."
Cage then refers to a holiday spent in the Far East and writes, "Japan, and the surrounding Asian countries, are so technological advanced that it is difficult to compare with what's happening in the United States. In Asia, teens are flocking to computers and cell phones for entertainment in unprecedented numbers. Radio, as an advertising or entertainment medium, doesn't exist. There is no need for it anymore."
"News? It's on the cell phone. Sports? Cell phone. Information? Cell phone. Entertainment? Cell phone."
He then comments, "Practically since its inception, radio has offered its audience a variety of reasons to listen. Those reasons are dwindling almost by the day. At one time, information was key. No longer. Traffic and weather are available "right now" on the Net and your cell phone."
"What about the latest music? Radio used to play new music. Want to find out what's going on with your favourite acts? The scoop is easier to find on the Internet. Most Internet users know more about the artists than the disc jockeys? assuming the personalities are allowed to speak."
"Satellite programming outperforms radio stations in almost every category. It's growing daily and, along with Internet radio, will inevitably overtake terrestrial radio as a primary music medium. Is there anything a radio station can offer listeners that they can't access quicker and easier from other outlets? There was a time when radio could offer localization...but not any longer."
RNW comment: As we write, we are listening to radio on the Internet - not live as it happens but time-shifted (in our case using Replay Radio) - and frequently do listen to stations from round the world. American stations feature fairly low on our list: That could be a matter of our interests but, with the notable exception of PBS , which not only carries a wide range of programming aimed to inform as well as stimulate but also has an on-demand service on its web site, we find short bites of the commercial stations are as much as we can bear and for music we can certainly get enough services from the UK and elsewhere - without adverts and often with input from the DJ as opposed to a computerised play list with links - to kill interest in paying for a subscription service.
We don't have enough experience of available local stations in much of the US to contradict Cagle but those with satellite radio would appear to have a reasonable choice and anyone with an Internet broadband connection can access a very wide variety of radio from round the world that we can't see any cell phone matching. Perhaps the fault isn't the medium but the accountants ruling!
On however, to some comments on what is and has been on air, starting off in the US with a few more about Rush Limbaugh.
From Human Events the title "The Network War against Rush" over an article by Sherry and Steven Eros sums up the host's attitude-he'd being picked on, and to quote the man himself, ", "I know where the story comes from. I know who's behind it. And I know what the purpose of the. . . story is. And I'll be able to tell you at some point."
And summing up media cover and comments by Democrat politicians about Limbaugh's drug taking, the Eros article concludes that these "comments signify nothing less than an all-out "War Against Rush Limbaugh" jointly being waged by the elite media and Democratic Party politicians.
A different view came from WorldNetDaily where Bill Press's article, headlined "Rush Limbaugh is a big cry-baby" comments at one point, "Rush Limbaugh is sounding more and more like Michael Jackson. Now it's Rush's turn to weep: 'I'm a victim!' His attorney, Roy Black, even had the gall to ask: 'Why is Rush Limbaugh the only person treated like this in America?'"
"Whom does he think he's kidding? Thousands of Americans are treated like that every day. The only difference is: Most of them aren't zillionaires. Most of them can't afford to hire lawyers like Roy Black. And most of them go to prison, not to some fancy Arizona rehab resort."
"Whether Limbaugh is cured of his drug habit or not, there are still serious, unresolved issues. Was he, as his former maid alleges, buying drugs on the black market, using her as an intermediary? Was he also, as his medical records indicate, seeing four different doctors at the same time to get more of the same pills? Was he, as his bank records suggest, laundering money in order to buy the drugs?"
"We don't know the answers. But we do know those actions are felonies and Rush is suspected of every one. The district attorney would be derelict in his duty if he dropped the Limbaugh matter without investigating possible criminal activity. That's law enforcement's job. It has nothing to do with politics. After all, as Rush never tired of reminding us, not so long ago, not even a president of the United States is above the law."
Press then gives examples of other areas about which Limbaugh is complaining, particularly the ability to look at records under the Patriot Act, which Limbaugh supported, and quotes Limbaugh in 1995: "Too many whites are getting away with drug use... The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them, and send them up the river."
"We'll know Rush Limbaugh is really cured of his problem," writes Press, "when he stands up like a man and admits: 'I was wrong. Drug addiction is a medical problem, not a criminal problem. It makes no sense to put non-violent drug offenders in jail. Every drug addict deserves a chance at rehabilitation, just like me.'"
In similar vein in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Jay Bookman under the headline, "Limbaugh Strikes Blows He Can't Take" writes, "For years, Limbaugh has preached the importance of personal responsibility: Don't rely on others; don't blame others if you fail. His own success he attributes to hard work and unparalleled genius, what he calls "talent on loan from God." Limbaugh has been particularly hard -- and often with good reason -- on those who have been caught in crime or corruption yet claim to be victims of discrimination."
He later commented, "'I'm not whining about it,' he [Limbaugh] recently told his radio audience, before proceeding to do just that.
Bookman also picked up on Limbaugh's comments about invasion of his privacy in examining his medical records and then quoted the host speculating about why Private Jessica Lynch had needed spinal surgery: "
"One of the things that we do know about, from anecdotal evidence from previous captures of female POWs, is that the Iraqis hang them naked by their feet," Limbaugh said. "Now, you take it from there -- but she did suffer from some lumbar spinal injuries that required surgery."
"He also noted that Lynch had suffered two broken ankles. 'Yeah, two broken ankles, which might have come from the being hung naked upside down by the ankles.'"
The military had refused to release further medical information, citing respect for Lynch's privacy, but Limbaugh wanted to know if Lynch had been raped, he said, not out of voyeurism but because it might shut up those feminists who are always griping about letting women serve alongside men in the military.
RNW comment: Until any further developments we think it's time to call a moratorium on Limbaugh. He, like Jackson and many more Americans in the public eye, is certainly attracting a lot more attention on the basis of celebrity and we can certainly believe that the bigoted would rush to judgement on the basis of political alliances - just like Limbaugh does - but we prefer to wait for a decision on charges and evidence.
Crossing the Atlantic, host changes on a number of shows attracted significant media cover, most of it devoted to Chris Moyles, who took over the BBC Radio 1 breakfast show from Sara Cox, who moved to drive time.
First comment from the UK Observer's Sue Arnold, who summed up Moyles fairly well: "From now on I'll cut the comment and stick to the facts. Chris Moyles's show plays some terrific music. The weather forecasts are pleasingly concise - 'Today's weather is rubbish', was one bulletin. Moyles is rude and raucous with greasy hair and spots."
"He advised Victoria Beckham that her arse was too skinny, that she was a lazy cow and a whore. He reprimanded Rachel, one of the presenting team, for burping loudly in the middle of a news bulletin. She explained she had just eaten a Creme Egg."
"He described at length his daily cleansing routine to get rid of his spots: 'My forehead is like a Braille bible." Several listeners, including his girlfriend's mother, have given him acne cream and witch hazel wipes."
"Having applied Vaseline, he told us, to various unspecified parts of his body, he puts Virgin V wax on his hair. He interrupts, contradicts, slags off or ignores comments from the other members of the presenting team, none of whom he appears to like much."
"He swears, calls people silly buggers and is greatly amused by his own jokes. He also regularly wins the listeners' Most Popular Broadcaster awards and in the five years that he presented Radio 1's drive time show he put on a million listeners, thereby justifying his reputed £350,000 salary.
Paul Donovan in the UK Sunday Times picked up a different perspective, noting the number of plugs for products made by Moyles "Chris Moyles made his debut as Radio 1's new breakfast host the next day by commending not one brand, but several. On day one, Mars, Twix and Snickers. On day two, John Lewis, McDonald's, Tango and Heat magazine ("Still a great bargain at £1.45"), which Sara Cox also plugged (twice) in her first half-hour later in the day, and which, strangely, you can also find pictured on Radio 1's website. Who says the BBC doesn't take advertising?"
"Interspersed among the tracks by Sugababes and Lightning Seeds, and banter with his studio posse, Comedy Dave, Aled and Rachel (all noticeably more fluent, knowledgeable and sweeter than the self-styled "saviour of Radio 1"), Moyles showed he had no intention of being any more charming than he was on the drive time show. Cameron Diaz, for example, looked "like a bag of peas"; Wes Butters, the charts host, was "rubbish" and a "big girl"; J.Lo "hasn't just got a big arse, she is a big arse", a spectacular example of the pot calling the kettle black."
"For someone who has broadcast for six years on Britain's main youth station, Moyles was surprisingly ignorant. He did not realise that Britney Spears's marriage had been reported the night before he remarked on it, and he had never heard of the heart-throb actor Orlando Bloom. He also seemed not to know the country he was broadcasting to, opening with "Good morning, Great Britain" and thus ignoring Northern Ireland."
Donovan however ended on a positive note "on Monday, Shelagh Fogarty also made her debut, as Nicky Campbell's regular breakfast partner on Five Live. She is as polished as Moyles is rough. I heard not a single fluff, mispronunciation or catachresis. Nemone, too, moving from Radio 1's weekend lunchtime to weekday dawn, did well. She "basked in her newness", an appealing phrase. It was, on the whole, the women's week."
RNW comment: We'd second that and add the name of Fi Glover, who made an excellent start when she took over as host of the 0900 GMT BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme "Broadcasting House" yesterday - The BBC most unfairly still listed Eddie Mair as the host on its web site
And finally some programmes worth a listen and still available online. First the Saturday edition of US National Public Radio's "Weekend Edition", which included items on the briefly-lived US state of "Franklin" (in part of what is now Tennessee) and also from the 18th Century a look Thomas Paine's pamphlet 'Common Sense', the influence of religion in US politics and the difficulties of finding an authentic haggis in southern California.
From the UK, the first Fi Glover Broadcasting House programme is on the BBC Radio 4 web site as is Tim Pigott-Smith 's reading of Tom Holland's Rubicon on the rise and fall of the Roman Empire (the first episode will be online until tonight- this week's book is Jane Juska's A Round-Heeled Woman). For those who are interested, a week's supply of Chris Moyles' Breakfast Show is online (including his Friday show that has digs at Nemone and his chat with Victoria Beckham).
And coming up at 20.30 GMT tomorrow on BBC Radio 2 is part one of the two-episode "The James Taylor Story" for those who want a near warts-and-all version of the guitarist, singer and songwriter.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Bookman:
Human Events - Sherry and Steven Eros:
MusicBiz.com - Cage:
UK Observer - Arnold:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
WorldNet Daily - Press:
2004-01-12: Emap Performance's former chief executive Tim Schoonmaker, who resigned from the company last week (See RNW Jan 9) is planning to mount a bid for a UK radio group in conjunction with venture capitalists according to a story, attributed to City sources, in the UK Observer.
It says Schoonmaker has told colleagues he wants to take advantage of the deregulation of the radio market and suggests possible targets could be Capital Radio and GWR.
The paper also says that Emap insiders are suggesting that Schoonmaker's departure could lead to a restructuring at the group, which is best known for its magazines.
UK Observer report:
2004-01-12: This week's Barron's Magazine carries a comparison of the valuations of the two US satellite radio broadcasters, Sirius and XM, that it calculated shows the former's value equal to roughly 110 years of service and the latter's equal to roughly 48 years of service, making a Sirius subscriber more than twice as valuable as one to XM [RNW comment - maybe reflecting a perception that over time Sirius will cut into XM's lead in subsciptions since as it does the difference narrows].
The Sirius valuation is calculated from its market valuation of USD 4.5 billion, roughly USD 17.200 per subscriber for a service with a monthly fee of USD 12.95; that of XM is based on a valuation of USD 7 billion, roughly USD 5,100 per subscriber for a service costing USD 9.95 a month.
Barron's comments, "Neither Sirius nor XM is currently profitable. Both are growing quickly, so the market right now doesn't seem to mind -- but you have to think the valuation discrepancy between the two will close, one way or the other."
Barron's Online (Subscription only):
2004-01-11: Last week was again very quiet for the regulators with nothing of radio interest from Australia or Ireland and nothing specific to radio as such from the new UK regulator Ofcom, although it was involved in a number of consultations. Canada and the US were also quiet with the sole radio related announcement from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) contained in a public notice related to two applications with deadlines for interventions of February 7.
The first related to an application by CFVD-FM Dégelis, Quebec, to change the contours of CFVD-FM-2 Pohénégamook by increasing its power from 15 watts to 294 watts (maximum effective radiated power 975 watts) and by decreasing the effective antenna height of 73 metres to 50.7 metres and to change the contours of CFVD-FM-3 Squatec by increasing its power from 10 watts to 301 watts (maximum effective radiated power 957 watts) and by increasing the effective antenna height of 76.5 metres to 139.9 metres.
The increase in power would result in a change of the CFVD-FM-2 Pohénégamook and CFVD-FM-3 Squatec status from a low power unprotected service to a regular Class A station.
The second related to an application by Rogers Broadcasting Limited to renew the licence of the English-language radio network, which expires 29 February 2004, that will broadcast the baseball games of the Toronto Blue Jays during the 2004 season, originating from CJCL Toronto.
In the UK, Ofcom has extended for 20 days until January 29 the closing date for responses to its public consultation on The Future Regulation of Broadcast Advertising and also announced a consultation on guidance relating to the public interest test for media mergers with a deadline for responses of March 12.
The first related to Ofcom's plans for regulation of advertising through a partnership with an industry body and the second to the situations where it would carry out a further investigation of a number of mergers of newspaper or broadcasting companies, particularly in relation to plurality of control of media organizations.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is to hold an open meeting on Thursday with an agenda that includes presentations by senior agency officials regarding implementations of the agency's strategic plan and a comprehensive review of FCC policies and procedures.
The presentations will be made in five panels.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2004-01-11: Boston hosts John Dennis and Gerry Callahan of Entercom sports station WEEI-AM's Dennis & Callahan show who last year were suspended over comments made on their show comparing an escaped gorilla to minority students taking part in a bussing programme (See RNW Oct 8) are again in trouble for "racist" remarks.
The latest controversy involved discussion of a sex scandal involving the Chinese national table tennis team during which they chose to include a sound bite from the movie Full Metal Jacket'' in which a Vietnamese prostitute tells a G.I. "me so horny.''
The comment led to a protest from local man John Quintal whose wife is to a Chinese-American and who commented, "Even if there was a sex scandal, to tie in an audio tape that is 20 years old of a fictitious Vietnamese prostitute just perpetuates an image in the minds of people about Asian women.''
Quintal complained to the station and also contacted various organizations including Metco, which organizes the bussing programme; he told the Boston Herald, "The fact that WEEI made public statements [after the Metco row] about being more considerate of minorities would make people assume there has been a wholesale change of conduct and procedure, but it appears it hasn't.''
The paper reported that WEEI general manager Julie Kahn had spoken with Quintal said that the matter was now a "non-issue'' but Quintal disagreed, saying, "Nothing could be further from the truth.''
Previous Dennis and Callahan:
Boston Herald report:
2004-01-11: Two top civil servants have been named to head India's state broadcasters, Doordashan (TV) and All India Radio (AIR) and are expected to take office later this month.
The two - members of the class of '75 at the IAS (Indian Administrative Service) academy - were selected by the Prasar Bharati Broadcasting Corporation, which oversees the two broadcasters.
Neither has media experience: Naveen Kumar, named to become director general of Doordarshan is from Bihar cadre and is a joint secretary in the ministry of heavy industry and Brijeshwar Singh, named to become director general of All India Radio, is from Tamil Nadu cadre and has been with the agriculture ministry.
Previous All India Radio:
Previous Indian Radio:
2004-01-10: New York broadcaster John A Gambling, who took in 1959 over the morning radio show "Rambling with Gambling" on WOR-AM (founded in 1925 by his father John B. Gambling) and whose own son John R. Gambling continued to host it after his father's 1991 retirement until it was axed in 2000 (See RNW Sept 12, 2000) has died of in Florida of a heart attack aged 73.
John A., who was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2000, once commented, "You could always turn on the radio and find old John, young John, or in-between John."
"If people wake up and hear about problems -- a strike, a war, assassination, whatever -- they turn us on and know the world hasn't come to an end."
John A's son John R. is still in radio, hosting the "John Gambling Show" on WABC-AM and also the mayor's weekly show on Fridays.
Previous John A. Gambling:
Previous John R. Gambling:
New York Times/AP obituary:
2004-01-10: For the week including Christmas Day, three holiday-only stations made it into the top five in the latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast ratings just released and K-Love, the one Christian station normally in the top five, went down to 12th against a background of significantly reduced listening. There were no changes in rank among the top networks.
For the week to December 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: AOL Classic Holiday Miscellaneous (*Commercial) - TTSL 551,950 (835,972); CP - 212,923 (258,087). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
2: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH (*Non Commercial) - TTSL 499,552 (712,561); CP - 223,843 (242,629). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 179,130 (323,916); CP - 37,115 (56,090). Same rank with higher listening but lower reach.
4: Miscellaneous AOL Pop Holiday (Commercial) - TTSL 165,282 (253,484); CP 75,493 (93,161). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: MUSICMATCH Traditional Christmas (Non commercial) - TTSL 122,600 (171,740); CP 49,486 (60,825). Up from ninth despite lower listening and reach.
*Contemporary Christian K-LOVE (Non commercial) dropped from fifth to 12th rank with TTSL 96,415 (238,992); CP 19,098 (32,239).
The top five networks for the week to December 28 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 4,174,593 (5,849,554); CP - 1,380,271 (1,572,043). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
2: LAUNCH TTSL (Commercial) - 2,403,350 (3,774,269); CP - 768,573 (953,191). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 1,484,708 (2,159,869); CP - 474,690 (520,539). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 403,967 (754,035); CP - 82,658 (110,084) - Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: AccuRadio (Commercial) TTSL - 382,068 (681,780); CP - 152,258 (65,685) - 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 1,788,942, down from 1,974,514and StreamGuys with TTSL 345,563, down from 505,198.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Weekly Ratings:
2004-01-09: Emmis Communications has announced third fiscal quarter results showing that its radio operations were the prime factor in propelling net revenues for the quarter to the end of November last year up 3% to USD 160 million; pro-forma net revenues for the period down 1%.
Diluted earnings per share were held at USD 0.16 and Emmis noted that its results exceeded guidance and noted that a year earlier its figures included around USD 13 million of political advertising revenues compared to less than USD 2 million this time, hitting its TV division performance; for the quarter, TV revenues were down 10% and pro forma television net revenues down 9% whilst radio net revenues were up 15% and pro forma radio net revenues were up 5%. Publishing net revenues and pro-forma net revenues were up 7%.
Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said its divisions continued "to outperform their markets and industries" adding, "We again exceeded guidance. In radio, we outperformed our markets by 1%, while in the 3rd calendar quarter in television we outperformed our markets by 3%. As ratings rise, our position moving forward only strengthens."
Outside the US, Emmis had radio revenues of USD 3.7 million compared to operating expenses of USD2.9 million for the quarter, subsequent to which it has announced that it is selling its Argentine radio interests but boosting its presence in Belgium where it has gained nine more FM licences (See RNW Dec 24, 2003).
For its final quarter, Emmis says it expects US revenues to be up on a year ago between 4% and 6% - in the region USD 60 million to USD 61.1 million with total radio revenues, including its international operations in the range USD63 million to USD 64.2 million.
Smulyan also took up the question of local traffic and weather services on satellite radio, which has upset the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) - see below- during the company's conference call.
He dismissed the idea that they posed any " significant threat" to terrestrial radio stations although he accepted that everything that competed for the time of listeners was a competitive threat."
"The reality is that a pay national service - even with some local inserts for traffic - doesn't change the fundamental nature of the universally distributed, locally based business that we're in," he said.
Commenting on the overall threat from satellite radio, Smulyan mixed his species and commented, "We have a motto around here: 'Never ever have your head in the sand and be a dinosaur.' If they get their 20 million [satellite radio's possible total according to some projections], it will have some erosion [on terrestrial radio]. But that's a number of years away and right now the aggregate is a little over 1 million people."
In other US radio business, Radio One Inc. has updated its previously issued Q4 2003 guidance, and says it expects "slight" growth in net revenues and station operating profit to be up in the mid-single digit range. In November last year it predicted net broadcast revenues to be flat to up 2%, and that station operating expenses would be flat to down 2%. Radio One is to report its results on February 10.
On the deals front, Cumulus has agreed a USD 7 million purchase of seven stations in Virginia: the stations involved are being bought from New River Valley Radio Partners and Bedford Radio Partners and are WBRW-FM, WBWR-FM, WFNR-AM and FM, WPSK-FM, WRAD-AM and WWBU-FM , all in Blacksburg. Payment will be in cash or stock at Cumulus's option and it also gets USD 300,000 in working capital as part of the transaction.
The deal is expected to close in the first half of this year and Cumulus' Chairman and CEO, Lew Dickey, commented, "In this transaction, we are acquiring a very strong and completed cluster with significant upside potential."
Previous Radio One:
2004-01-09: Tim Schoonmaker, chief Executive of UK Emap's Performance division, which takes in its radio operations, music magazines and digital music TV channels, has announced his resignation from the company.
Schoonmaker is to set up his own consultancy and will be back working for Emap as a consultant from March
His duties will be taken over by Emap Performance's managing director Dee Ford, who oversees Emap's radio operations, and Marcus Rich, who is in charge of Emap's music magazines and music TV.
Emap in a statement on the move said Schoonmaker had "done an incredible job over the last ten or more years in leading Emap's emergence as a major force in UK radio" and had "been at the forefront of developments in music TV, digital radio and the pioneering cross-media brand creation that has been at the heart of Emap Performance."
Emap's chief executive Tom Moloney in his tribute added, "I am delighted we have been able to retain the benefit of Tim's knowledge and experience. His advice will be invaluable at what is a pivotal time for Emap in digital radio and music TV."
Schoonmaker joined Emap in 1983 after gaining an MBA at the London Business School and in 1991 founded Emap Radio where he was instrumental in its purchase of pirate station Kiss FM in London and later of Melody FM, which was converted to Magic FM.
In 1999 he founded Emap Performance and was a prime mover in its success through synergy between its radio, magazine and later digital radio and TV operations.
Despite Emap Performance's success - it accounts for around a fifth of the group's profits- Schoonmaker was not on its main board.
The UK Guardian quoted Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein media analyst Richard Menzies-Gow as saying the news was "very strange indeed, a bolt from the blue."
"When I last saw him he was animated about Emap radio, where they were going and what they were doing. Emap's a big company with money to invest," said Menzies-Gow. "I don't see what he will gain from leaving. This could be the most exciting year ever for UK radio the timing seems really bizarre."
"Perhaps there has been a disagreement over potential acquisitions. Tom Moloney [chief executive] and Gary Hughes [finance director] say that radio assets are overpriced and won't pay up for them - perhaps Tim thought they should be leading that, possibly he was frustrated."
Another analyst Paul Richards of Numis Securities said, "It's an extraordinary time for him to move given that there is deregulation. Emap has a strong balance sheet and is in a position to lead consolidation. It is an excellent time for Emap's radio business and I'm very surprised that he has left."
Emap has denied any rift over acquisition strategy and Schoonmaker himself said, "I've been mulling over this for a while, the right thing for me is to do the next thing. I'm fascinated by the way that content and digital stuff is merging - from Microsoft to News International down, the whole world is changing. The next couple of years in UK radio will be fascinating.
"It's a lot like looking at a picture - if you are really close to it and look at one part of it, and then you step back, you see there's a whole canvas to play with," he said.
"For a long time Emap has been good for me and I've been good for Emap. We have created a lot a good stuff and I feel we have got the most profitable radio business in the UK."
Emap shares were not hit by the news: They ended Thursday up 1.84% at GBP 8.865.
UK Guardian report:
2004-01-09: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has responded swiftly, strongly, and negatively to XM Satellite Radio's announcement yesterday (see below) that it is planning to provide weather and traffic reports to a number of major markets.
Terming the plan "an appalling back-door attempt to bypass the FCC's [Federal Communication Commission's] intent to limit satellite radio to a national service only," NAB adds that it "also violates the spirit of a terrestrial repeater agreement NAB recently negotiated with XM barring XM from local programming delivery."
NAB continues by saying that it "will explore the legality of XM offering this program service. But there is no doubt the 175 million daily listeners of local radio stations know that the best and most reliable source for news, school closings, and weather and traffic alerts continues to be their local broadcasters."
RNW comment: NAB should consider carefully the logic and emphasis of its comments. It is obviously concerned for self-interest reasons lest the satellite radio companies make inroads into local markets, less so about the effect on "localism" of syndication and voice tracking.
And if it is really confident listeners know that local stations are their best source for local information, why need it become so excised about the satellite companies providing some of these services: Surely the logic would be that local listeners would listen to local stations if they compete well although others on long-distance journeys might well stick to satellite and find local information on weather and traffic - but not particularly on local events and news - of value.
2004-01-09: Sirius has come up with another run of product announcements on the second day of the Consumer Electronics Show ( CES) in Las Vegas.
They include a boom box package from Pana-Pacific that is designed to operate with the latter's Streamer receiver that is designed for use by truckers and two Blaupunkt receivers - a tuner module for use with Blaupunkt's top-of-the-line audio/video entertainment system, and a separate composite video connection for use with any Blaupunkt in-car audio/video system and plug and play system with a wireless interface.
For home use it has agreed deals with Tivoli Audio to manufacture receivers for the home market and with Crestron to incorporate Sirius capabilities into home-based audio products manufactured by Crestron; the latter deal is to the growing number of customized homes being built in the United States.
For home and office use, it has a deal with Niles Audio Corporation, which plans to begin incorporating SIRIUS technology into both its next generation of keypad-controlled multi-zone receivers and preamplifiers.
2004-01-08: Both the US satellite radio companies have reported strong subscription growth at the end of last year but investors, who had bid up their stock prices over the past few weeks chose to take profits on Wednesday: Sirius ended the day down 5.65% at USD 3.17 with some 222 million shares traded and XM was down 6.45% at USD 27.10 with much the same number of trades.
XM had reported a total of 1.36 million subscribers at the end of 2003, up more than a million on a year before; it added 430,000 during the final quarter and says it expects to have 2.8 million subscribers by the end of this year.
Sirius, whose commercial launch was later, had 261,000 subscribers, compared to only around 30,000 a year earlier, with around 110,000 being added during the final quarter of the year. It says it expects to reach 860,000 by the end of this year.
The announcements were made at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and Sirius President and CEO Joseph P. Clayton commented, "Satellite radio was clearly one of the outstanding items at retail this holiday selling season. Sirius products sold nearly as fast as stores could get them on the shelves, and our new transportable Plug & Play products sold exceptionally well."
In its presentation Sirius as well as noting its subscriber success stressed the absence of adverts on all its music channels - a practice that XM is to follow from February when Sirius is introducing a promotional campaign with the first three months free to new subscribers - and the strength of its sports offerings.
"During 2003, we not only refined our 100% commercial-free music offering, but we also added more sports to our line-up, which now includes the NBA, NHL and NFL," added Clayton. "Sirius is now the official satellite radio broadcaster of the NFL, and we'll be broadcasting their games beginning next football season. We believe that our tremendous selection of music, news, sports and original programming firmly positions SIRIUS as the premium content provider in satellite radio, and we also believe that this is increasingly being recognized by consumers."
It also emphasised high satisfaction with its service in all areas and said that it was doing particularly well with its core audience - the 35 year old male with a "healthy income and education" and noted that those with Sirius in their automobiles listened to it for around three-quarters of the time.
Sirius also made a whole swathe of announcements coinciding with the opening of CES: they included programme enhancements including eight New Music Streams and two New Comedy Streams as well as a suite of data services that will be offered as part of the company's satellite radio service. This will commence with sports scores and financial information and Clayton commented, "We will not stop at just sports scores and stock tickers, but this is an excellent first step to offering our subscribers an enhanced entertainment experience."
Among other new services due will be real-time traffic information that is to be combined with weather forecasts and introduced next year: XM has already stolen a march in this area and says it is to introduce its Instant Traffic & Weather in March in cooperation with Mobility Technologies. The service will launch first for New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Dallas-Ft. Worth, Chicago, Houston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Orlando, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis with services for Boston, Atlanta, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Seattle, and San Diego to debut later in the year.
Sirius also announced a variety of new product lines from various manufacturers and a link-up with Delphi to develop in-car mobile video transmission over its system and surround sound capabilities, using the Dolby Pro Logic II as the standard for encoding, that will be compatible with virtually all surround sound audio systems already on the market for both the home and the car.
For homes, offices or retail, Sirius is now offering a wireless signal distribution system.
XM went skywards with one of its extra outlets - it is to be a standard service on JetBlue Airways and AirTran Airways utilizing a system provided by a subsidiary of JetBlue; it also announced the introduction of new wireless FM audio adaptors for both automobile and home use.
The adaptors transmit XM to an FM radio or feed XM's signal to home audio equipment.
XM President and CEO Hugh Panero commented, "XM has established itself as the ultimate destination for music lovers. With our new content line-up, the music lover can now get more high-quality music, commercial-free, on XM than on any terrestrial or satellite radio alternative," Panero said. "The New York Times says XM is the 'HBO of satellite radio.' When you combine XM's live programming with the most commercial-free music channels in satellite radio, it's clear that XM programming will be even more amazing in 2004."
2004-01-08: BBC digital urban music channel 1Xtra has announced a live monthly showcase to be broadcast from the corporation's Maida Vale studios on Ras Kwame's "Homegrown" show starting on Sunday, January 18.
The weekly show has a policy of playing only music from UK talent - it airs three tracks from talent that has not yet been signed up each week - and talking to key industry figures.
The channel is also trying to boost itself and digital radio with a month of giveaways of DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) receivers. Details are on its web site and winners will be able to choose a portable, in-house or in-car DAB radio.
BBC 1Xtra DAB giveaway site:
2004-01-08: iBiquity's HD digital radio, which earlier this week saw an Iowa man, Nathan Franzen, purchase the first commercially available receiver (See RNW Jan 5), made its official commercial debut on Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
The first receiver was fitted to Franzen's automobile and tuned in to Cedar Rapids hits station KZIA-FM; Cedar Rapids was chosen for the launch in part because of its association with Arthur Collins who in 1925 aged 15 received radio transmissions from Greenland and went on to found the Collins Radio Company.
Among features of HD being demonstrated at CES were live traffic information displays shown directly as text-based reports and overlaid on a GPS navigation system; other information that can be displayed includes song titles, artist names weather forecasts, and sports scores and, albeit not currently being plugged by iBiquity, adverts.
iBiquity president and CEO Robert Struble said of the demonstration, "This telematics demonstration shows one of many innovative ways the FM band can be used to transmit digital information at a fraction of the cost of conventional wireless systems. As we continue to work with service and content providers, we foresee numerous telematics applications derived from HD Radio digital broadcast technology."
Manufacturers of HD receivers represented at the show were JVC, Kenwood, Onkyo, Panasonic and Visteon and there were also representatives of a number of broadcasters who have installed HD transmission equipment including Beasley Broadcast Group, Greater Media and National Public Radio (NPR).
Beasley Broadcast, which is now broadcasting in HD on several of its stations said it had been "extremely pleased with the feedback that we are receiving from these stations and feel that listeners will be dazzled by the great sound quality that HD Radio delivers."
NPR's vice president for engineering and operations Mike Starling commented that while they were
Sure that HD would improve the quality of AM and FM broadcasts they were working through the Tomorrow Radio Project to test supplemental audio channel (SAC) technology that could allow public radio stations to broadcast more programming and content using their existing spectrum.
2004-01-07: US radio revenues fell 4% in November 2003 compared to the figures a year previously according to the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), which said the US "economy continued to stall before the Holiday shopping boost."
For the month local revenues were down 4% and national ones down 6%; RAB's sales index, which takes pre-boom 1998 as the base year, for November stood at 122.6 overall with the local index at 123.6 and national index at 118.7.
October revenues had also been down - by 1% overall on a year earlier with local revenues, which are around 80% of the total, down 2% and national increasing but only by 1%.
For the first 11 months of 2003, US radio's overall revenues were up 1%, its national sales were flat, and national was up 6%; the indices for the period were 136.8 overall, 135.5 for local, and 143.2 for national.
RAB President and CEO Gary Fries commented, "Radio will increase its revenue performance as we move into 2004. Consumer confidence is on the rise and Radio will be an early recipient of advertisers return to spending."
2004-01-07: Univision, which is now the largest Spanish language radio broadcaster in the US, has announced its intention to sell nearly 16 million shares of its common stock and use the proceeds to buy out Clear Channel's chares in it.
The stock - 15,815,999 shares - will be sold under Univision's shelf registration statement filed last month and will purchase the same number of shares, the total currently held by Clear Channel. They were acquired when Univision took over Hispanic Broadcasting, in which Clear Channel was a minority shareholder, and are currently values at just above USD 600 million.
The repurchased shares will be cancelled leaving the overall transaction neutral on Univision's earnings and cash flow per share.
In other US radio deals, Wisconsin-based Starboard Broadcasting, which is the parent company of Catholic-oriented talk format "Relevant Radio" has agreed to acquire Chicago suburban WAUR-AM from Catholic Radio Network for USD 3.5 million.
Starboard broadcasts Relevant Radio in the Chicago area on WWCA-AM, which it bought from Willis Broadcasting and converted to the format last year and also on Newsweb Corporation's time-brokered WCSN-AM (see RNW Nov 24, 2003). It had earlier been involved in a deal to buy WJOB-AM in Hammond, Indiana, but backed out after local opposition (See RNW Feb 7, 2003).
The deal supersedes an earlier agreement by Midwest Broadcasting to buy WAUR for USD 4 million.
In other US radio business, Michigan-based Saga Communications has filed to transfer its stock from the American Stock Exchange to the New York Stock Exchange.
Saga President and CEO Edward K. Christian said "trading on the NYSE will increase Saga's visibility in the investment community and provide an opportunity for Saga to reach a broader investment base."
Previous Catholic Radio Network:
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-01-07: Chicago WGN-AM, which in 1982 became one of the first US AMs to broadcast in stereo, has quietly slipped back into mono broadcasts.
RNW note: The Federal Communications Commission, which had refused approval to AM stereo systems in the 1950's finally approved stereo AM on March 4, 1982, when there were four competing systems to choose from, designed by Motorola, Magnavox, Kahn/Hazeltine, and Harris. In 1993 the FCC chose the by-then dominant Motorola system as the sole approved US system.
The move was made when WGN installed a new transmitter and opted not to equip it with stereo although a number of other US stations, including Disney-ABC News/Talk WLS-AM in Chicago continue to broadcast in stereo.
Contributors to a number of forums argue that WGN should bring back stereo, which they claim also improves the mono signal.
As of November last year, amstereoradio.com listed ten Illinois AMs as broadcasting in stereo including WGN and WLS. Its forum pages include comments on AM stations and the site provides some MP3 samples.
Its forum on WGN includes a response from WGN Director of Engineering Jim Carollo that says that the station's decision not to continue stereo was made "because WGN is a News/Talk station that plays almost no music and because there are no new AM Stereo radios being produced"
amstereoradio.com web site:
[The amstereo site is still under construction - this link will take you to the current home page]
amstereoradio.com - forum post by Carollo:
2004-01-07: Musician and radio producer Steven Van Zandt, host of the internationally syndicated Little Steven's Underground Garage that runs on stations in North America and the Voice of America is to join Sirius with the title Creative Advisor and is create and programme a full-time channel for the satellite radio company.
The channel,Underground Garage is to debut later this year.
Van Zandt, a founding member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band who has also released five solo CDs, says the channel will feature older garage rock by artists like The Yardbirds and Easybeats, as well as newer artists such as The White Stripes and The Strokes and added, "The potential synergy between my syndicated show on terrestrial radio and the 24-hour Underground Garage format on Sirius will be tremendous."
He has also recently been on TV as Silvio Dante, one of Tony Soprano's henchmen on The Sopranos.
Another former member of the Sopranos cast, Vincent Pastore, who played Big Pussy, has also made a move to radio. On Monday he hosted the first edition of a weekly show What's Goin' On? on Talk/Variety WVOX-AM, "The Voice of Westchester", New Rochelle, New York.
2004-01-07: Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings just released for the week to December 21 show the top Christmas channels retaining their rankings although AOL stations reported lower listening because of server problems; In the network ranks, AccuRadio moved into fifth, pushing Virgin down a rank.
For the week to December 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: AOL Classic Holiday Miscellaneous (*Commercial) - TTSL 835,972 (963,431); CP - 258,087 (309,344). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
2: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH (*Non Commercial) - TTSL 712,561 (757,608); CP - 242,629 (245,098). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 323,916 (318,015); CP - 56,090 (59,005). Same rank with higher listening but lower reach.
4: Miscellaneous AOL Pop Holiday (Commercial) - TTSL 253,484 (287,567); CP 93,161 (115,313). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: Contemporary Christian K-LOVE (Non commercial) - TTSL 238,992 (276,364); CP 32,239 (39,601). Down from fourth with lower listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week to December 21 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 5,849,554 (6,898,781); CP - 1,572,043 (1,827,455). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
2: LAUNCH TTSL (Commercial) - 3,774,269 (4,098,752); CP - 953,191 (943,267). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 2,159,869 (2,314,880); CP - 520,539 (533,967). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 754,035 (455,127); CP - 110,084 (88,849) - Same rank with much higher listening and reach.
5: AccuRadio (Commercial) TTSL - 681,780 (149,693); CP - 65,685 (84,068) - Up from eighth with significantly higher listening and reach.
*Virgin Radio (Commercial) TTSL - fell from fourth to sixth with TTSL 580,116 (586,160); CP - 65,685 (86,626) - Down from fourth 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 1,974,514, down from 2,769,915 and StreamGuys with TTSL 505,198, down from 561,190.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Weekly Ratings:
2004-01-06: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in a brief filed to the Philadelphia appeals court that is considering whether to repeal the Federal Communication Commission's media-ownership rules argues that the FCC cannot justify the tightening of radio regulations that it has proposed and in its defence of the regulations both "flies in the face of controlling statutory language and ignores NAB's central arguments."
"With respect to local radio ownership restrictions," the brief continues, the Commission drastically tightened the existing restrictions by changing the way "radio markets" are defined. That action was extraordinary. Throughout the Order, the Commission, consistent with the deregulatory intent of Section 202, relaxed or maintained existing ownership restrictions; only in local radio markets did the Commission tighten them."
It then goes on to say that the FCC's views on its powers are "flatly inconsistent " with the "deregulatory thrust" of US legislation and that its adoption of Arbitron's radio-market-definition methods is flawed and that the FCC "fails to show - as it must - that the new methodology is superior, in that it better serves the public interest and improves competition."
The brief also attacks local TV market ownership regulations, saying, "The Commission's cursory two-paragraph defence of its top-4 restriction on co-ownership in local television markets fares no better. The Commission acknowledges that common ownership provides substantial benefits to struggling stations in small and mid-size markets, yet defends as rational a top-4 rule that precludes common ownership in almost all those markets."
2004-01-06: BBC Radio 1's self-proclaimed saviour Chris Moyles launched his first breakfast show on the station on Monday with a five-minute jingle that harked back to the launch of the station and also poked fun at his immediate predecessors, Zoë Ball and Sara Cox, who is moving to his former drive time slot today.
The jingle began with a reference to the 1967 launch of Radio 1 by DJ Tony Blackburn and then after sideswipes at Noel Edmonds, Dave Lee Travis and Simon Mayo -described as remembered only by his jingle- continued "and the breakfast show since 99 has had a notable lack of men - So goodby to Zoe, See you later to Cox, your contract has expired so get back in your box. Those days they have all gone now but do not shed a tear for now, until they fire his ass, the Saviour is here, the Saviour is here " After multiple repetitions of the refrain "The Chris Moyles Show" [we got bored and stopped counting after 20] the first song played was 'Flowers In The Rain' by The Move, the same song that Blackburn, who is still on British radio, used to launch the station more than 35 years ago.
Later choices were rather newer - tracks by U2, Justin Timberlake and Pink's "God is a DJ".
Moyles was featured in a UK Guardian profile on Monday, which quotes him as commenting that he is "just a bloke who comes on the radio, and that's the bizarre thing - I'm the saviour of Radio 1 but I don't go to showbiz parties." It also notes his description of himself as characterized in the newspapers as "an egotistical, racist, homophobic, bigoted, sexist scumbag who surrounds himself with sycophants who laugh at his every word and agree with everything he says".
Moyles said he told Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt, he would only take the job on his own terms. "Not in a stamp-my-foot, ego way, but in the sense that it wouldn't be worth doing it if they were going to say, 'We want you to do the breakfast show but obviously you can't do what you do now, you can't talk as long, and you can't say this or that, and you have to play more records.' I said, 'You need to be able to trust that I'm not going to drop you in the shit.'"
[RNW comment: An appropriate fear since Moyles garnered significant numbers of complaints about his language to the Broadcasting Standards Commission]
Moyles also commented that he felt his main competition was Terry Wogan on Radio 2 and said of competition from Capital FM's breakfast show where Chris Tarrant is being replaced by Johnny Vaughan, "I'd rather go up against Johnny Vaughan than Chris Tarrant. That'll do me quite happily, thank you very much. Johnny doesn't bother me at all. My main competition in London will be Kiss for the young kids, and Heart, I suppose. Because it's such a powerful force, even though Jono's [Jonathan Coleman, Heart Fm's breakfast co-host] a bit rubbish."
Moyles also indicated to the paper that he saw the half-million listeners a week slot in the slot by Sara Cox as a reflection of changes in UK radio, commenting, "The more choice there is, the smaller the slices of the cake get."
RNW comment: We suspect after his first show that Moyles may yet have to pray that he doesn't fare as badly as he did with a venture into TV; There his live daily show, produced by another predecessor, Chris Evans, flopped and he was dumped after three months.
UK Guardian - Moyles interview:
2004-01-06: Conservative US radio host Rush Limbaugh's medical records have been sealed for an extended period by Palm Beach (Florida) Circuit Judge Jeffrey A. Winikoff to allow his attorneys to pursue their appeal against the earlier decision by the judge to allow prosecutors to examine them for evidence of illegal purchase of painkillers by Limbaugh.
However prosecutors revealed at the hearing that their investigator had already looked at the records after Judge Winikoff ruled that they could and before he froze the order to allow an appeal (See RNW Dec 24, 2003).
Assistant State Attorney James Martz told Judge Winikoff that the information would remain confidential until the legal battle over the records is completed.
Limbaugh attorney Mark Shapiro said that there is no evidence of wrongdoing in the records, but their release would be a violation of Limbaugh's privacy rights.
"They (the rights) certainly include those most private of conversations between a patient and his physician. It doesn't get any more private than that," said Shapiro.
Investigators seized the records under a warrant after they found out that Limbaugh had received more than 2,000 painkillers on prescriptions from four doctors: The host and his attorneys are accusing the prosecutors of being politically motivated and at the weekend the Palm Beach Post reported that the charge of "doctor shopping" - illegally acquiring overlapping prescriptions - has only been levied once in the past five years by Palm Beach County prosecutors.
In addition a case of doctor shopping was transferred from St. Lucie County this year and another was transferred from Martin County.
"The Post's research confirms what we have been saying all along. Rush Limbaugh has been singled out for special prosecution because of who he is," said Limbaugh's attorney, Roy Black, in a written statement. "We believe the state attorney's office is applying a double standard."
Black told a court hearing on December 22 last year that Limbaugh received pills from doctors in the same office and was being treated for a spinal condition as well as for ear surgery.
"This was legitimate treatment by legitimate physicians for major medical reasons," Black said.
Limbaugh's web site lists news of the further sealing of the records under the title News the Press Won't Report: Judge Reseals Records with a link to an AP story in the Washington Post.
A quick search showed the same story being carried by ABC News, CNN, Fox News, the Miami Herald, Newsday, the New York Times, USA Today and the San Francisco Chronicle, which also carried the story of the rarity of the charge as did a large number of other US papers and broadcasters.
RNW note: The American Daily carries what to us is an aptly titled column "Shut Up, Rush! " by Thomas Lindaman. In many countries, Limbaugh would already be in jail for his comments about the case on his show, comments that would be regarded as contempt of court and are inherently contemptuous about the quality of US courts to sort out the truth, and we suspect Lindaman's reading of the likely effect of the host's whining is probably accurate to all but the moronically faithful.
He commented in part, "Perhaps the most damning aspect of this defence [that the charges are a political conspiracy against him] is that it puts into question whether Rush learned anything in rehab. I've never been addicted to drugs and I hope I never will be, but one of the things every rehab program worth its salt does is to get the addict to take responsibility for his or her actions." "Rush admitted he was addicted to Oxycontin on air, but that's not the same thing as taking responsibility for all aspects of the addiction, including any legal action that came as a result of it. The "vast left wing conspiracy" defence leads me to believe Rush may have gone through the motions to get out of rehab, which means he didn't learn anything. "
"From a man who made a lot of money off telling people to take personal responsibility for their actions, it is the height of hypocrisy."
"Sorry, Rush, but I can't defend you on this one. You've done one hell of a job in screwing up your best chance to get through your legal woes with a minimum amount of cost and damage to your credibility. If the prosecutors are truly guilty of letting political biases taint their case, then let Roy Black make that case in court! Don't go on your radio show and make claims that you won't be able to back up under oath."
American Daily - Lindaman comment:
Palm Beach Post report on infrequency with which charge is filed:
Palm Beach Post report on records re-sealing:
Washington Post-AP story on records re-sealing:
2004-01-06: Sirius Satellite Radio has announced that it is to add English and Spanish services from the EWTN Global Catholic Network to its output from January 19.
EWTN is already aired on television in 110 countries as well as on short-wave and the Internet; its English and Spanish short wave services were started in 1992 and in 1996, using its satellite TV network facilities, it made its radio service available for re-broadcast by local stations.
2004-01-05: Some looking forward and a few glances back marked much of the comment on radio in print over the past week, with Rush Limbaugh still managing to garner some comment in the US - perhaps a sign of things to come should the worst for the host come to pass and he end up in jail.
That eventuality is amongst those considered in a Miami Herald column by Fredd Grimm whose general tenor is against both the idea of treating those addicted as criminals yet at the same time tinged with a feeling that of all people Limbaugh comes high on the list of those deserving whatever he might get.
"It would help considerably," writes Grimm, "if Rush hadn't spent the past 15 years railing against lenient treatment for drug-induced miscreants, advocating the very state and federal get-tough legislation that has packed some 300,000 of his fellow non-violent druggies into federal, state and county jails. The average federal drug conviction now nets 78 months in prison, compared with 30 months for your average manslaughter rap Conjuring up sympathy for Rush Limbaugh takes a mighty effort."
Grimm then quotes Broward County's chief assistant public defender Howard Finkelstein, someone who, years ago, fought his own addiction, as saying, "''I probably understand as much as anybody how addiction takes place. That it's a medical problem and never should be treated as a criminal justice problem'' and then admitting that he struggles to come to the defence of ``a sanctimonious son of a b---- who, for years, has been excoriating people who have used drugs. I have to fight my immature, emotional response and forget all the pain he has brought to others.''
Summing up the essence of the legal case, Grimm comments, "Limbaugh has admitted his addiction problem on his radio show, but he seems to intimate that a fellow can score 2,000 prescription painkillers without breaking a few laws. It might be easier for us bleeding hearts if Limbaugh would just admit that he has been ensnared in the same unfair, mindless get-tough antidrug legislation that has been used to prosecute hapless addicts for years Poor pathetic, muddled Rush. He can't seem to face up to the unkind reality that got him into all this trouble. It wasn't all those hanging chads. It was all those OxyContins."
Rush supporters, or some of them, don't see it that way of course. A letter in the Arizona Republic from William P. Stollar sums up the case as a waste of time and public money.
"Does anybody except the Palm Beach County prosecutor give a rat's patoot whether Rush Limbaugh went "doctor hunting" for drugs?" he asks. "I can't figure out how society is better served or protected by looking into this matter."
"I could understand the prosecutor's zeal if some person or persons were harmed by Rush's action. However, as near as I can tell, Rush hurt only himself, has taken the necessary steps to ameliorate his addiction problem and there appear to be no victims."
RNW comment: The logic of Stollar's letter could be applied with equal force to alcohol, once illegal in the US -remember prohibition, tobacco or marijuana. We wonder if he would do this however. If not, then we are slowly coming to the conclusion that the best thing that could happen for the US if a case against Limbaugh were proven would be that he got the harshest sentences possible with the maximum jail time thus arousing some serious thought on current drug policies. The main problem is who'd take over his crown in his absence: Michael Savage, for example, makes Limbaugh seem a model of calm rational argument!
From Canada, we picked up another paragraph from the William Burrill radio column in the Toronto Star that we mentioned earlier ( See RNW Jan 1) as an example showing that there is some justice in the world. Burrill noted the unceremonious dumping of morning host Erin Davis at CHFI-FM in Toronto and her replacement with the duo Mad Dog & Billie who had been moved in from KISS FM when it changed formats and became the DJ-less JACK FM (See RNW June 22. 2003).
Her fans launched an e-mail campaign and to quote Burrill, "The whole Davis saga had a fairytale ending of sorts when she landed an acting part in the Elgin Theatre production of Cinderella while once first-place CHFI's rating turned into a pumpkin almost overnight, prompting the station to go for the first time with an "All Christmas Format."
Over the Atlantic, Paul Donovan in his UK Sunday Times column chose to look forward, in his case to what will happen this year with a particular reference to a number of women who will be involved in changes.
They include Lesley Douglas who succeeds Jim Moir and today takes over as controller of BBC Radio 2, which is officially Britain's most popular station, plus Sara Cox on BBC Radio 1 and Kelly-Anne Smith on Virgin who go head-to-head for the drive time audience tomorrow.
Of the three it is Douglas to whom he pays most attention, noting that, unlike commercial stations in the UK, BBC channels are not subject to restrictions on how they change formats. He says of Douglas, she may want to ease out older presenters, and then goes on, " The real question is whether she should be allowed to change anything, given that a) listeners are usually never asked if they want it, and b) commercial stations are not free to do so."
Moir, notes Donovan, "altered Radio 2 and built its audience to a record-breaking 13m, by turning it into a rock-and-pop station, not just in the weekday daytime, but also on Saturday nights; cutting its arts coverage from three nights a week to one; axing the Young Musician of the Year contest; and dropping Jimmy Young and others because of their age, which will become illegal in 2006. He has also done much good, maintaining book readings and religious programmes, launching jazz and folk awards and nurturing the peerless Terry Wogan."
"The point is that he changed Radio 2 to reposition it for a younger audience. This was a strategic goal he and the BBC set themselves, not something demanded by listeners. Other controllers on other networks have also made big changes - altering music policy or abolishing children's programmes."
Donovan then says, "All who care whether controllers should retain these powers in the new Ofcom era should take part in the government's huge new national survey to find out, among other things, what we licence-payers think of the way schedule changes are made."
Over at sister paper The Times, Chris Campling before looking ahead, gave his New Year resolutions:
"1) Listen to more drama.
2) Don't shout at the receiver when someone says something you disagree with. They can't hear you and it's childish.
3) Stop listening to so much sport. You don't even like football.
4) Don't leave your earphones in and radio switched on when you're talking to someone. They know you can't hear them, especially when they tell you that their cat has died and all you do is nod and smile vaguely."
Having got them out of the way, he went on to give some pet likes and dislikes, all on BBC Radio 4 the latter a put down for Just a Minute, whose 4,000th edition is to be broadcast by BBC Radio 4 today at 18:30 G.M.T.
He went further ahead for his likes, which included the return - for its final series - of Absolute Power (February 5, 18:30 G.M.T.). The show, looking at the machinations of the PR world, has now made a successful transition to TV.
Campling's final plug came for the Now Show, which returns to Radio 4, also at 18.30 G.M.T., on March 5.
Finally our own plugs for some programmes still available via the Internet and the BBC's Listen-Again feature: They're all from BBC Radio 4 - the second half of the News Quiz of the Year and the first part of the classic serial Pilgrim's Progress from yesterday [the second part is broadcast next Sunday at 15:00 .M.T.] and finally from New Year's Day the Afternoon Play, The National Theatre of Brent's Complete and Utter History of the Mona Lisa.
Arizona Republic - Stollar letter:
BBC Radio 4 Listen Again site:
Miami Herald - Grimm column:
Toronto Star - Burrill column:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Times - Campling column:
2004-01-05: iBiquity's HD radio receivers finally go on commercial sale in the US today when a Kenwood KTC-HR 100 model kicks off HD's commercial introduction in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and will probably make local hits station KZIA-FM the first station in the US to add HD radio listeners to its usual audience.
The more formal introduction of commercial HD is to take place on Wednesday during the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
2004-01-05: Small Northern Ireland radio station Radio Cracker in Ballymena, which since 1991 has raised money for third world projects over the Christmas period, has over the past holiday beaten its record and raised more than GBP 100,000 (USD 178,000), up some GBP 15,000 on the sum raised a year ago.
In total, spurred by appeals from Ballymena Mayor Joe McKernan to break the GBP 100,000 barrier, they raised GBP 102,000 (USD 182,000).
The funds will in part be used to fund the Ballymena Wing of the Priya Hospital in India, where people with eye problems are looked after, A TEARFund venture at a home for girls and boys rescued from child prostitution in India, an Oasis project for fitting our workshops to teach useful trades to young people in Bangladesh and equipping the hospital boat the MV Ballymena that was built with funds sent from Ballymena and will provide medical care for hundreds of small villages on the upper reaches of the River Amazon that can only be reached by boat.
Radio Cracker web site:
2004-01-05: US National Public Radio (NPR) and the WOI Radio Group of Iowa on Tuesday are to stage a radio only debate between Democratic presidential candidates in the current primary season, the first radio-only debate between candidates in a primary for more than half a century.
The debate is to be held on the Iowa State University campus and will be hosted by Neal Conan, host of NPR's Talk of the Nation and broadcast on around 250 US radio stations as well as streamed on the Internet by NPR.
There will be no audience in the studio during the debate from which TV cameras and photographers are also barred. Conan said of the decision, "Without the intrusion of cameras, a debate can focus on ideas instead of style and presentation. Radio is an intimate medium, not just because people sometimes listen in the solitude of their kitchens and cars, but because there is nothing between the speaker and the listener."
According to NPR the event will be the first radio-only debate of its kind since the 1948 debate between Republican candidates Harold Stases and Thomas Dewey.
2004-01-04: The past week was very quiet for the regulators with all losing days to the holidays and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issuing no releases from before Christmas until January 2.
There was nothing from Australia or Ireland either and in the UK, where the new regulator Ofcom has taken over from its predecessors (See RNW Dec 30, 2003) there was also nothing on the radio front.
The US was also quiet although the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) did levy one confirms one USD 25,000 fine and cancel another for USD 8,000. (See RNW Dec 31 2003).
The FCC, which closed its Reference Center to the public last month in view of heightened security has also now announced that this is to re-open on Monday, although visitors will have to be accompanied inside the building and may only use one entrance to the building (See RNW Jan 2).
Previous Licence News:
FCC web site :
Ofcom web site:
2004-01-04:The BBC is to drop plugs for Coca Cola from its Radio 1 charts show, Radio 2 album chart, and TV Top of the Pops show falthough the shows, which start with today's Radio 1 show, will carry the credits for the time being: Last month the Corporation was criticized for a deal with the Official UK Charts Show that involved on-air credits for the sponsors of the chart (See RNW Dec 3, 2003).
Details of the arrangement came out in December as Britain's Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell called for tougher regulation of the advertising of children's food as part of action to cut down on obesity.
In an announcement it said that its Producers' Guidelines permit factual credits for the sponsors of events that it covers but it no longer felt that the revelation of details of the weekly music chart was an "event".
It added that the move is being taken in direct consultation with The Official Chart Company and commented, "In the light of the views expressed by others when the deal was announced, we have decided this sort of sponsorship is not something we want for the BBC."
The credits are expected to go in February when there is a break clause in the contract but the BBC could potentially create its own charts.
The credits are expected to go in February when there is a break clause in the contract but the BBC could potentially create its own charts.
BBC Radio 1 Controller Andy Parfitt said, "The original deal with the OCC that agreed on-air mentions of chart sponsors was done four years ago."
"The broadcast market has moved on considerably since then."
"Taking this into account, and recent events, we no longer feel it is appropriate to allow on air mentions of sponsors of the chart. We are therefore working with The Official Chart Company to resolve this situation without breaking any of our contractual obligations that are currently in place."
Coca-Cola will still get credits in newspaper and magazine rundowns of the chart.
2004-01-04: Indian state broadcasting is considering following the lead of various western radio stations and try to exploit its music archive commercially, but with the aid of private enterprise. Prasar Bharati, the body that oversees the function of All India Radio (AIR) and Doordashan (TV) is in discussions with Music Today, a division of The India Today Group, over marketing music from its archives in the form of CDs, tapes and possibly DVDs.
Prasar Bharati has already marketed songs by artists such as Begum Akhtar and Pannalal Ghosh on its own by bringing out CDs and audio cassettes but the venture had limited success.
Previous Indian Radio:
2004-01-03: A number of US radio companies are about to commence using Radio Data System (R.D.S.) technology that allows text information to be transmitted with a conventional FM signal to boost advertising revenue according to reports in the New York Times.
Recently Clear Channel has been outfitting 192 of its stations in the top 50 markets with R.D.S., Entercom has deployed the technology to 60 of roughly 100 stations it owns nationwide and Infinity, Cumulus Media and many smaller broadcasters have also begun adding the capability to some of their stations.
It cites a successful experiment with the technology in Seattle where Tom McGinley, the director of engineering for Infinity's five stations, ran a test of the technology by putting a contest with a DVD as a prize out as text message rather than as a broadcast expecting few responses but received far more.
"Station general managers and salesmen would rent cars when they went out of town and they started seeing this R.D.S. capability on the stations that had enough vision to put R.D.S. encoding on early," said McGinley. "It might have been a competitor's station, and they would say, 'they've got it; why can't we have that?' "
The system has been widely used in Europe for decades, particularly for widely used to transmit traffic information, but has made little progress in the US so far: Now however, it is attracting interest as a way to add strength to advertising.
Allen Hartle, president of the Radio Experience, based in Bellevue, Washington, which has worked with Entercom and other broadcasters to install R.D.S, said he had seen renewed interest in the technology and added, "I would not be surprised if truly enterprising individual radio stations found a way of capitalizing upon this to add value to what they already are doing for their customers."
Amongst organizations taking up the idea is small North Carolina bank First Charter, which was persuaded by Charlotte agency Planet Central that was preparing the bank's radio campaign that it could get extra attention to its audio advertisements by adding text messages.
"It's a crowded marketplace. Any way we can stand out, we will do it, " commented First Charter's executive vice president and marketing director J. Kevin Toomb.
The bank plans to keep the text messages short and clear with messages such as: "CALL NOW", "FREE CHECKING" or "FREE GIFT" and the bank's toll-free number scrolling across the screen when its advertisements are aired.
Another organization that has taken up the idea is DMarc Networks of Newport Beach, California, which provides R.D.S. content to a dozen stations, including five Clear Channel stations in the Los Angeles area, and has started selling "radio text" advertisements.
Its president Ryan Steelberg accepted however that some people might find such adverts annoying, commenting, "A listener of classical music may disapprove of these ads more than pop radio listeners" but then adding, "There's a big opportunity for advertisers and marketers who are trying to get through to consumers through another medium."
Concern was expressed by Gary Ruskin, executive director at Oregon consumer advocacy group Commercial Alert who called the text ads "the newest invasion of ad creep."
"A lot of people enjoy a moment of solace in the car," Ruskin said. "Predictably, this will drive plenty of people nuts."
There've also been reservations on a different basis from consumer advocates concerned about further distractions to drivers with Ralph Nader saying that already dashboard devices such as Global Positioning Systems and large map displays already took drivers' eyes off the road.
"Anything that keeps the eye off the road increases the risk of a crash," told the Times. "All these kinds of distraction add up to the following: the driver is paying more attention to the inside of the vehicle than the dynamics outside."
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Times - report 1:
New York Times - report 2:
2004-01-03: A poll initiated by the BBC Radio 4 Today breakfast show in which listeners could vote for a one of five suggestions for legislation from a shortlist drawn up from ideas sent to the programme may have backfired as the winning proposal would allow property and home owners to do to do anything up to and including killing an intruder to protect the property.
The programme had lined up Labour MP Stephen Pound to introduce a Bill in the UK parliament to put the winning suggestion forward to go on the statute book; until late on the leading suggestion was a proposal to allow organs from the dead to be used for transplants unless someone had opted out in advance.
The BBC said it had no evidence of organized lobbying for the winning suggestion, nicknamed the "Tony Martin Bill" after Norfolk farmer Tony Martin who was jailed for fatally shooting a teenage burglar in the back with an illegally held shotgun.
However movement on the plan is likely to founder speedily since Pound has to persuade one of the 20 MPs who won the right to introduce private members' bills to take up the measure and Pound now says he hopes the measure will fail.
Pound initially reacted to the result by saying, "The people have spoken... the bastards" and later described the proposed legislation as "ludicrous, brutal, unworkable blood-stained."
He commented to the UK Independent, "We are going to have to re-evaluate the listenership of Radio 4. I would have expected this result if there had been a poll in The Sun [The tabloid newspaper owned by News Corporation]. Do we really want a law that says you can slaughter anyone who climbs in your window?"
The Sun itself ran the story under a headline, "Voters demand right 'To do a Tony Martin'" but said or Pound only that he "vowed to bring the winning idea before MPs."
Making matters even worse for the MP is the fact that the suggestion would only give the rights to immunity from prosecution to "property owners" and "homeowners", leaving those who rent property subject to the existing law that allows the use of reasonable force in resisting an intruder.
Of the votes cast - only 26,007 - 37% went to the "Tony Martin Bill", 30% to the organ transplant bill, 20% for banning smoking in all work places including bars and restaurants, 9% to limit the number of terms a Prime Minister can serve to two - an idea based on the limitations on US Presidents' terms, and 5% for a ban on Christmas advertising and municipal Christmas decorations before December.
UK Independent report:
2004-01-03: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which before Christmas closed its Reference Information Center because of the increased Security Alert in the US (See RNW Dec 23) is to open it again on Monday, January 5.
It is adding some extra security, with only the FCC's 12th street lobby to be used to get to the centre and in addition insisting that staff escort visitors to the Center after passing through security screening.
2004-01-02: An Illinois entrepreneur is starting to produce equipment to allow automobile radios to receive television audio, betting on the desire for TV companies to add extra audience for their adverts and those on the move to keep up with their favourite TV programmes or sports games that are on TV only.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Oak Brook-based Nugent Vitallo, who made his fortune through National Computer Services Inc., a company that sold time-sharing for mainframe computers, has already nested some five years and around USD 825,000 in the idea.
The paper reports that a quarter of a century ago Vitallo, who preferred listening to TV rather than radio, had rigged a TV set to work in his car but his current device is much more user friendly; it comprises a device that scans for TV channels strong enough to provide clear audio and then lists them. The unit, priced at around USD 130-150 converts their audio into an FM signal that can be routed into an existing car radio.
Vitallo's long-time friend and business attorney Rick Del Giudice sampled the device for a weekend, among other things listening to a college basketball game that he had been watching at home.
"As somebody who enjoys sports, that's a particularly good thing to have," he said. "A lot of times, games on TV are not on radio."
Vitallo himself perceives the idea as a way of keeping in tough with a TV programme when they have somewhere to go and listens to a soap opera on the way to picking his daughter up from school.
"There's no reason why a housewife shouldn't be able to listen to her soap opera just because she's picking up her kids or running errands," he said.
Limited support for the idea came from TV executive Larry Wert, president and general manager of WMAQ-Ch. 5 in Chicago, who said the content could appeal to those tuned in to a program and interested, for instance, in hearing a guest on the "Today" show, Wert said.
"You're still able to stay engaged in the content," said Wert. "It gives them an alternative to stay with it."
However he doubted that the device would produce substantial advertising revenue and thought a major hurdle was that it would be competing with a growing number of alternatives.
Chicago Tribune report:
2004-01-02: Austereo has appointed its Group Program Director Jeff Allis as an alternate director to its board. Allis has been with the company since 1986 and is currently heavily engaged in its fight back against inroads into its dominance made in particular by DMG's Nova network.
After changes at 2-Day FM, Allis is now turning his attention to sister Triple-M, which has already launched of a listener-loyalty program called the Freq (pronounced freak) Club, an idea imported from the US and involves listeners registering via the internet and then earning points by noting code words announced on air; they then get instant prizes or points for a chance to win a major prize.
Changes are also in store for Triple M's breakfast show whose host Amanda Keller is leaving for TV; she has already been absent last year on maternity leave; it also has a new networked morning show hosted by comedian/actor Mick Molloy.
2004-01-02: The latest Indian National Readership Survey (NRS) shows radio gaining most among media in the capital Delhi over the past year; its penetration was up from 9% to 45% with the next highest rise being for cable and satellite with a 5% increase to just under 60%.
The Internet also had a rise - of 2% to 8% - and cinema held on to its 6% but print overall saw a drop of 6% to 52%.
For daily papers the drop was 5% and for magazines it was 9%, it was primarily the language segment that contributed to the drop of print in Delhi Metro. The Hindi press did worst with a 5% fall compared to a 1% fall for the English press.
Previous Indian Radio:
2004-01-01: The two US satellite radio companies ended 2003 on a fairly high note, with Sirius continuing this week's runs of gains and XM holding on to most of its recent advances although it fell back a little on Wednesday.
Over the past year, Sirius, which gained 4.5% on New Year's Eve to end at USD 3.189, has seen a mixed year with a March low of USD 0.389. Since December 2002 its stock has risen nearly four-fold; Over the past five years, affected in part by the issue of new stock as it refinanced, it started at around USD 40, peaked in early 2000 at more than USD 80 and then fell to this year's low. Its current price is its highest since June 2002.
XM has seen a fairly steady rise over the past year from a starting low of USD 2.40 to end Wednesday following a 1.24% on the day, at USD 26.39; over the five years after starting around USD 13 and hit a peak of more than USD 40 in 2000. XM stock is up nearly nine-fold since December 2002.
The satellite radio stocks were among the most active media stocks over the past few days and each made significant gains over the last week of the year, spurred by comment on their subscriber growth.
Among the terrestrial broadcasters, Univision, which now owns Hispanic Broadcasting, has outperformed competitors with its stock up 68% since the end of 2002; it was followed by Cumulus, which was up 49%; Of the giants, Clear Channel stock was up 25% whilst that of Viacom was up only 7.4% against a background in which radio stocks overall were up by around 18% and TV by around 14%. Citadel managed an increase of 7.2% since going public in September.
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-01-01: The run up to the end of 2003 has seen a few more deals in the US radio business including a USD8 million North Dakota cash acquisition by Clear Channel.
This was of country format KBMR-AM and KQDY-FM plus Classic Rock KSSS-FM, all in Bismarck, from James Ingstad's Radio Bismarck Mandan, LLC.
Clear Channel is also buying in Ohio where it is paying Ohio Valley Communications Inc. USD 930,000 cash for Oldies WEEL-FM, Shadyside in the Wheeling market.
In Florida, newcomer to radio Jablamo LLC is paying USD 8 million in cash to Pamal Broadcasting for nine Florida stations - WRGO-FM, Cedar Key, WYNY-AM and WKZY-FM/ Cross City, WLUS-AM and WTMN-AM, Gainesville, WRZN-AM, Hernando, WHHZ-FM, Newberry, WDJY-FM, Trenton and WTMG-FM,Williston.
In Georgia, Styles Media Group is paying Convergent Broadcasting USD 2 million for WBBK-AM and WBBK-FM, Blakely and WSEM-AM and FM, Donalsonville. The deal is comprised of USD 350,000 for the rights and the remainder for the Convergent's obligations in its earlier purchase of the stations from Merchant Broadcasting including the USD 1.65 million purchase price in the deal that was announced last July (See RNW July 10, 2003).
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-01-01: Looking back at radio over 2003 in Toronto, the Toronto Star's radio columnist William Burrill succinctly sums up one major strength of the medium with his introduction: "The highlight of the year in Toronto Radio 2003 was, ironically, a definite lowlight. In fact no light at all."
"Radio's finest hour of this past year, and of many recent years, came during the Great Black Out of August, 2003. It was then that radio - and only radio - remained on the air as the GTA's [Greater Toronto Area's] only live lifeline, allowing some savvy but otherwise-powerless citizens to feel safe, informed and in touch while others all around them were losing their heads in panic."
At the start, the blackout took all but one of the Toronto stations - MOJO-AM - off the air, giving MOJO 11 minutes before other stations started to come back.
DJ Mike Stafford who was first on the air - "with just a live mike, nothing else" - told the Star, "We went right to the phones (on backup power) and I started to hear about power out in North York, Brampton, Newmarket ... When a caller in North Bay reported darkness, I knew it was huge."
."Without reporters, it made much more sense to just take calls from people who needed help, or wanted to report water shortages, etc."
Toronto Star report:
2004-01-01: Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) says it is to launch a variety of products this year beginning with the launch of MAYAH's DRM2010 Receiver.
This first second-generation DRM receiver, will be on sale in early 2004; it was developed by DRM member Coding Technologies, AFG and Chinese manufacturer Himalaya.
The receiver, said to offer near-FM quality sound and excellent reception, can decode mono and stereo signals and also receive analogue MW/AM, LW, SW and FM signals. Its display indicates station name, frequency, field strength and the number of service components of the received DRM signal.
No price has been published but the receiver is expected to be around Euros 700 (USD 875) with delivery to start in the first quarter.
DRM says more than 50 broadcasters are now transmitting DRM signals; broadcasts began in June 2003 by 16 broadcasters. Details of transmissions are listed on the DRM web site.
DRM Web site
Mayah-DRM web site:
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December 2003 - February 2004
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