March 2004 Archive
February 2004 - April 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 March comment - More US moralizing - does the country really want to step back in time? We look back at a previous time of mass moralizing in the US and UK.
RNW February comment - Straws, camels and regulators - has the US lost its marbles over a breast? We consider what regulation concerning indecency makes sense and would be legal in the US in First Amendment terms.
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.
2004-03-31: Two BBC radio veterans - Alistair Cooke, best known for his Radio 4 Letter from America series and Hubert Gregg, presenter of Thanks For The Memory on BBC Radio 2 since 1972 - have died aged 95 and 89 respectively.
Cooke, who filed his last "Letter" last month and gave up the series because of illness (See RNW March 3) had been presenting the long-running series - originally commissioned as The American Letter for a 13-week run - for 58 years during which he missed only three broadcasts. In a prescient comment in one of his Letters he had remarked, "I have noted. If you retire, you keel over."
He was born in Salford in Lancashire as Alfred Cooke and won a scholarship to Cambridge and then in 1932 a place at Yale on a Commonwealth Fund scholarship. Subsequently, after a brief spell as the BBC's film critic in the UK, he moved to the US in 1937, becoming a citizen in 1941.
He was present at the 1945 conference in San Francisco that led to the founding of the United Nations in- and had commented after recent reports of bugging of UN officials in the run up to the Iraq war that the same had been happening in San Francisco.
He was also known in the US as a host of Masterpiece Theatre on the Public Broadcasting System, for his work on the Omnibus TV series in the 1950s and for the BBC-produced "America: A Personal History of the United States" programme that ran in the early 1970s and won four Emmy Awards.
He was awarded an honorary knighthood in 1973 for furthering Anglo-American relations and in 1974 addressed Congress on its 200th anniversary.
The news of his death at his New York home at midnight on Monday was broken by his daughter and speedily attracted tributes from a wide range of people.
Amongst them was British Prime Minister Tony Blair who said, "He was really one of the greatest broadcasters of all time, and we shall feel his loss very, very keenly indeed. He was a remarkable man who was broadcasting the Letter from America right up to a few weeks ago. He will be deeply, deeply missed."
The BBC's Acting Director-General Mark Byford said, "Alistair Cooke was one of the greatest broadcasters ever in the history of the BBC - an outstanding commentator of the 20th Century.
"His insight, wisdom and unique ability to craft words enabled millions of listeners in the UK and around the world to understand the texture of the United States and its people. All of us at the BBC are saddened today."
Jenny Abramsky, Director of BBC Radio, added, "With his superb voice and masterly turn of phrase, Alistair Cooke, was the most brilliant radio chronicler of his age. His contribution to BBC Radio over decades was unmatched. Above all, his relationship with his listeners was unique. "
"BBC Radio is grateful for the decades of contributions from Alistair Cooke and we will miss him greatly."
BBC Radio 4 broadcast an hour-long tribute programme "Remembering Alistair Cooke" and posted a wide range of messages from listeners from round the world - his broadcasts aired on the BBC World Service as well as Radio 4 in the UK -on the BBC web site as well as a tribute from his official biographer Nick Clarke. All the British broadsheet newspapers have obituaries on their web sites including one from Clarke in the UK Guardian.
In the US, Current Magazine has a 1998 article on Cooke on its web site and obituaries are in a number of papers including the New York Times and Washington Post.
They are mostly encomiums although the UK Press Association report in the UK Independent notes that he came under attack when he questioned the wisdom of racial integration in the Sixties and in 1996, Cooke had to defend himself on air after protests from Radio 4 listeners about his "sexist" comments on rape in the American armed forces. In his later broadcasts there were comments that he was too party-political Republican in some remarks and a number of comments in the BBC's hour-long tribute suggested that his work lacked "sharpness".
Cooke's archives have been left by Boston University, going there as his official biographer noted, for "tax relief" reasons.
The other veteran who has died, Hubert Gregg, had worked on and off for the BBC for some 70 years and was a screen and stage actor, theatre director, author and songwriter as well as a broadcaster: He wrote two novels and was known for writing more than 100 songs, particularly "I'm Going To Get Lit Up When The Lights Go Up In London" - his first song which was written in 1939 and became a wartime hit - and "Maybe It's Because I'm A Londoner".
BBC Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas commented, "Hubert Gregg was not only an extraordinary person but he was also a unique broadcaster."
"As a musician he was responsible for memorable songs such as 'Maybe It's because I'm a Londoner', and in Radio 2's Thanks for the Memory, he painted pictures of a bygone era with wit and style. He will be greatly missed by the Radio 2 audience - young and old alike.'
BBC web site - Cooke obituary:
BBC web site - Listener tributes:
BBC web site - biographer Nick Clarke tribute:
Current Magazine 1998 report on Cooke:
UK Guardian Nick Clark obit:
UK Independent/PA report:
2004-03-31: Salem Communications has announced that it is to move into Detroit with the USD 4.75 million acquisition of Urban AC WBAH-AM from Queens Broadcasting Corp.
Salem President and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III noted that with the acquisition Salem will become only the fourth US radio broadcaster to have a presence in every one of the US top ten markets.
"This is significant because these markets reach more than 31 percent of the U.S. population, generate approximately 37 percent of U.S. radio revenues, and are regarded by many as the most sought after properties in the U.S. radio industry," he added.
2004-03-31: Former Infinity President and COO and Clear Channel Regional SVP John Fullam has joined Greater Media as market manager for its Philadelphia cluster.
Fullam, who stepped down from his Infinity post in April 2003 (See RNW April 29, 2003) will continue to work for management firm EPG that he co-founded and which has agreed a two-year contract for him with Greater Media.
He said that although he planned to stay involved with the management business he would "devote most of my time over the next two years to helping Peter [Greater Media President and CEO Peter Smyth] and his team win - and win big - in Philadelphia.
Greater Media has also announced that Bill Weston, Program Director of Cox Radio's Classic Rock WKLR-FM and Operations Manager of its Alternative WDYL-FM in Richmond, Virginia, is to join it as Program Director of rock WMMR-FM. in Philadelphia.
2004-03-31: Two UK advertising buying agencies, ZenithOptimedia and PHD Group, have come out in favour of GfK's meter system of radio ratings in preference to the diary system used by main ratings body RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research).
According to a report in the UK Guardian that presents the report as a "blow" to RAJAR in the run up to its court battle with The Wireless Group, which is claiming GBP 66 million (USD 120 million) in damages on the basis that the diary system severely under records its listening (See RNW Mar 17), the agencies conducted tests of the GfK system and found the figures to be "significantly more accurate" than those from the diary system.
ZenithOptimedia and PHD found the GfK audience figures to be significantly more accurate than those produced by RAJAR, which requires listeners to fill in a diary of their listening.
PHD, reports the Guardian, concluded that the GfK system allowed them to spend less money on radio advertising to reach the same number of listeners and a poll conducted following a test campaign run on behalf of Transport for London based on GfK and RAJAR figures found that the same level of consumer awareness was achieved for half the spend using the GfK system.
Wireless Group chairman and chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie told the paper he would use the findings in his court action, saying, "This is a real step forward because we now have findings of two independent agencies. I look forward to receiving by return a banker's draft from RAJAR for £66m, the amount of money I am due in lost revenues."
"NOP, PHD and TfL have proved the one thing we have been unable to prove regarding this technology: that it's an accurate, effective and economic system."
The paper reports that RAJAR said it was "intrigued" by the findings and added, "We are unable to comment on the findings of the research until we have access to the full details and we hope and expect that GfK will be prepared to supply then as soon as possible."
PHD director of strategic services Justin Gibbons said the findings could shock the radio industry into action adding, "This research definitely makes me more confident about using GfK to place radio campaigns, especially if it is coming in at half the price."
"This should hurry them [RAJAR] towards approaching the issue speedily. If radio stations think they are going to get their budgets halved, that will be a wake-up call. It is not that anyone has taken sides, it's that both agencies and radio stations are interested in this now. This makes it an industry issue."
ZenithOptimedia director of strategy and resources Frank Harrison said he now had a "great deal more" confidence about the use of meters but added that for the moment it would continue to use RAJAR data for decisions on radio advertising.
He added that it was vital that RAJAR move soon to a metering system, commenting, "It is important it doesn't drag as it does look like the technology is pretty much there. There isn't a reason for this to drag on for years."
"The diary system is a very blunt measure. The radio industry as changed dramatically since the diaries were introduced."
RNW comment: RAJAR dismissed the Wireless Group claims as "ludicrous" and whatever the Guardian may suggest it seems to us that the comment should stand. As we commented at the time, nobody is forcing advertisers to use the RAJAR figures and the obvious way forward is proper testing of systems allied with competitive pressures. If the GfK system is clearly superior and RAJAR sticks to diaries then GfK will take market share irrespective of lawsuits.
We stick to our judgment that the courts should toss the Wireless Group claim out on its ear, preferably with suitably biting comments about it.
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Guardian report:
2004-03-31: The Virgin Group and Australia's Macquarie Radio Network have turned out to be behind two of the shelf companies that have entered bids for new Sydney and Brisbane for which keen bidding is anticipated (See RNW Mar 25).
In a 50-50 joint venture, Virgin Radio Australia, that is behind the GTShelfCo 1 Pty. Ltd. and GTShelfCo 3 Pty. Ltd. applications the two are trying to form a new FM network in the country and Macquarie Radio Chairman Sam Chisholm predicted to the Dow Jones wire that Virgin Radio would "significantly change the national radio landscape."
The Sydney Morning Herald quoted him as saying, "The recipe is there for Virgin Radio Australia to be something special and we believe the market is crying out for the type of network we can deliver. Macquarie's news and sales teams are acknowledged as leaders in this market and Virgin's brand and track record in radio is second to none. "Virgin Radio Australia will reap the benefits of this combined expertise."
Chisholm is to be deputy-chairman of the new company with Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson as chairman. Virgin already has a radio network in Thailand, Virgin Radio Thailand - Soft, Hitz, Smooth and EazyFM.
Macquarie owns two AMs in Sydney, 2GB, home of top-rated breakfast talk host Alan Jones, and easy-listening 2CH
The new Australian company says it will also bid for a Melbourne FM licence to be auctioned later this year and will consider other options to build a network.
It is expected to opt for an all-music format as has DMG with its Nova network, which already has a station in all major Australian capital cities except Bribane.
RNW comment: Laying aside the standard Branson hype, we rather doubt that the group will be committed enough to put in the funds necessary to build a successful network unless it is very fortunate in picking up some stations at the right price AND somehow managing to develop a format that can really succeed against Ausereo and Nova. We wouldn't invest a cent in it but suspect Branson will manage to profit somehow.
Previous Virgin Radio:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2004-03-31: Eastlan has now added Clear Channel as a customer in an eighth market, Yuma, Arizona, where I has been measuring the audience in spring since 2002.
Last month Eastlan announced contracts for spring surveys in six markets (See RNW Feb 19) and earlier in the year gained its first top 100 market contract - for Dix Communications in Gainesville/Ocala, Florida (See RNW Jan 31) - and its first Canadian contract (See RNW Jan 21).
Commenting on the latest deal, Eastlan President Mike Gould said his company was "excited that the largest broadcaster in the United States continues to see value in Eastlan data."
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-03-30: February US radio revenues were up 1% compared to a year ago according to latest figures from the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) that comments that "In a surprising twist, local Radio revenue figures are rebounding faster and stronger than national, the sector that traditionally signals the healthy return of advertising."
Within the 1% rise, local sales in February were up 3% on a year earlier but national ones dropped 4%; RAB's sales index for February, which is based on pre-dot com boom year 1998, was 143.3 for local, 133.6 for national and 141.5 for combined revenues.
On a year to date basis local revenues are up 1%, national revenues are down 2% and combined revenues are up 1%.
The indices for the year to date are 141.2 for local, 141.6 for national, and 141.3 for combined revenues.
RAB President and CEO Gary Fries, who last month had suggested the "beginning of a levelling out for radio" to be followed by growth after the first quarter, commented, "Radio's stronghold in the local marketplace has sustained the medium through the early part of 2004. We anticipate national growth to accelerate as the year progresses."
Previous RAB US monthly figures (for January)
2004-03-30: Adelaide morning host Leon Byner returned to the airwaves on Monday following eight-weeks of suspension by 5AA over alleged cash-for-comment arrangements (See RNW Feb 14).
Byner, who had failed to disclose payments he received to provide media training and other assistance to various companies and the city's mayor, Michael Harbison, admitted in a statement read out at the start of his programme that he broke Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) regulations by failing to disclose details of the arrangements but denied they were cash-for-comment deals and said he had only given advice.
"I am deeply sorry that I have failed to comply with these requirements because I've let down my employer here, I've let down myself and most importantly I've let down you, my listeners," Byner said on his morning show."
"An announcer who agrees to make favourable comments, or to refrain from making unfavourable comments about a particular business or person in return for cash, must disclose that arrangement to the station and to his listeners," he said. "These are sometimes called cash-for-comment arrangements. "I have never entered into any such arrangement and would never dream of doing so"
"Now I can't explain why I didn't disclose these arrangements perhaps, because they in no way involved cash for comments or anything close to it. Perhaps I didn't because I was under enormous stress through last year."
"Many of you may know that I've had major eye surgery and there was a very real risk last year that I might go blind."
Byner says he has now cancelled the deals and now only has two: the station web site under its "Presenters Interests" that has three entries for him, all in the AUD 10,000 to AUD 10,000 range (USD 7,500 -75,000) - to promote Peter Page-Holden, the Navi-safe company and Wallis Cinemas.
The matter is still under investigation by the ABA.
ABC Online report:
Adelaide 5AA web site:
2004-03-30: Progress Media's new "liberal" American talk network Air America is to be on XM's satellite services when it launches tomorrow.
An announcement said that it will be on XM America Left, Channel 167, along with shows from Ed Schultz and Alan Colmes and XM President and CEO Hugh Panero commented, "We are excited to provide a national audience to progressive superstar Al Franken and his spirited cohorts at Air America."
"Challenging our listeners, and giving them the best and broadest choices possible is our daily mission at XM. Where else are you going to find Al Franken and Bill O'Reilly, or opera and punk for that matter, living under one roof?"
Mark Walsh, CEO of Progress Media, which is launching Air America, said, "There is a great underserved market of Americans who want to hear compelling and funny talk voices expressing viewpoints long absent from the radio airwaves. Air America on XM will go a long way to correcting this imbalance at a particularly opportune time."
Previous Progress Media/Air America:
2004-03-30: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it proposes to collect just under USD 273 million in regulatory fees for its 2004 fiscal year. The total is 1.5% up on the Commission's 2003 figures and as that year the Commission intends to publish general information only on its web site and not distribute it through surface mail.
Radio licences total around USD 19.3 million of this and of the radio total some USD 6.25 million will come from AM licensees, USD 12.75 million from FM licensees and USD 300,000 from construction permits.
Radio licence fees in some AM cases are unchanged and the lowest fee for a station is USD 350 for a class C AM in a market with a population fewer than 25,000; the largest is USD 8,775 for various classes of FM in markets with more than 3 million people in them.
Fee-assessment notifications to licensees in five categories - Media Services Licensees, Satellite Space Station Licensees, Interstate Telecommunications Service Providers, Cable Television System Operators, and Commercial Mobile Radio Service Operators - will, however, be sent by surface mail.
The FCC notes that in fiscal year 2003 it mailed fee assessment notifications to media services licensees for the first time but notes that in many cases licensees had erroneously submitted fee payments with an attached copy of the assessment notification they received rather than a completed Form 159 and also sent payment to FCC headquarters rather than to the Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh.
This, it says, resulted in delayed payments that resulted in some attracting a 25% late payment penalty and this year it says it will include in the mailing a specific notice advising that payments sent without the completed form or to the wrong address may attract the late-payment penalty.
The FCC has also confirmed a fine of USD 3,000 on non-profit NRS Enterprises, Inc., licensee of WJIG-AM, Tullahoma, Tennessee, for failure to register its antenna structure.
NRS had sought cancellation or reduction on financial hardship grounds and also said that the general manager who submitted a response to the original notice of violation in 1999 had resigned and it was unable to find out why registration had not been completed. It also said current management had taken steps to register the tower as soon as they became aware of the situation and the structure is now registered.
The FCC found the financial details supplied did not justify a reduction and also noted that no registration number was provided by NRS. It confirmed the penalty and also gave NRS 30 days to provide proof, including a registration number, that the tower is registered.
2004-03-30: According to the New York Post Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia), whose show was taken off air in 2002 following the sex in St Patrick's Cathedral stunt (See RNW Aug 24, 2002), have told comedian Jim Norton, who was a regular on their show, they'll be back on air from June 1.
Although the show was taken off air the duo are under contract to Infinity until June this year and Infinity has continued to pay them.
Norton did not say who would be hiring the pair but said Opie and Anthony would be back on air everywhere else in the US on June 1 broadcasting out of New York, and start airing in New York on October 1.
Opie and Anthony's agent, Robert Eatman, was less definitive, telling the paper no firm deals were yet in place and saying, "That's not necessarily the case. I hope it is the case, we're hopeful that's going to happen."
Opie and Anthony on their web site carry details of the New York Post report but do not add any details: Earlier this month they were on stage at Caroline's Comedy Club for the "roasting" of Norton.
Previous Opie and Anthony:
Opie and Anthony web site (RNW note- As well as links to the New York Post report this also carries a scan of the report that will be there when the Post link is outdated and other items including Opie's report on what happened when Infinity cancelled their show and Anthony's comments on the indecency hearings. He makes a better case against the FCC in our view than the FCC has made against the broadcast.)
New York Post report:
2004-03-29: With Air America's "liberal " talk network due to debut in two days time - at noon ET on Wednesday, March 31 - there has been a spate of articles concerning it and we have devoted this week's look at print comment on radio to the topic.
In the case of Air America some were doubtful about its likely success, others pro, the Washington Post noted that it won't be able to be heard in the District, and the New Yorker posted a mock job application form.
First a view from the "liberal" UK Guardian in which columnist Gary Younge starts by asking if a "group of liberals" can beat Rush Limbaugh at his own game.
Limbaugh, he notes was made an honorary member of the US Congress when Republicans won the House in 1994 and two years earlier found his bags carried to the Lincoln Room personally by then President George Bush.
Limbaugh has around 20-million listeners a week who Younge comments, "tune in five days a week for three hours at a time to hear him berate "feminazis" and "commie symps".
"It is," adds Younge, "a mix of liberal-baiting, sarcasm, wit and bile that has proved remarkably successful, allowing Republicans to dominate talk radio since the early 90s."
He then quotes Al Franken, whose show will be going head-to-head with those of Limbaugh and his much-less successful conservative rival Bill O'Reilly, as saying, " Political talk radio has come to mean rightwing radio, but that doesn't have to be the case. I plan to take what they say, use it against them and hold it up to scorn and ridicule. That's my job. That's what I do."
Then moving into the politics of the matter, Franken adds, "I'd be lying if I said this wasn't part of the contribution to getting Bush out." On the style of the show, he continues, "I think our audience will want something different from the bile you get from the other side. People want to hear reason with passion and humor."
In the end though, although they may be hopeful for success for the show, many liberals are not confident according to John Nichols, author of Our Media Not Theirs, who is quoted by Younge as saying, "The liberal base is not a radio base. They tend to choose cable TV, the internet and frankly, they also have a social life."
Nichols then adds, "The left misunderstand the source of [Limbaugh's] success. He is a great radio personality. If you listened to him, you got the issues of the day. He was very timely."
And on what might lead to success for Franken, "People aren't going to listen if it gives the right message. They'll listen if it's great radio."
Unsurprisingly conservative Salem talk host Hugh Hewitt writing for Worldnet comes straight in with a biased approach, saying of Franken and his show, "The nation's news media is working overtime to help him succeed The cover story of the New York Times Magazine this past Sunday was an extended appeal to the readers to give Franken a shot and to explain why he ought to succeed. I can recall no parallel attention ever being lavished on Rush, Sean Hannity or any other center-right host on radio or television. Clearly there is a lot riding on Franken."
Hewitt then says there are positives either way: Should Franken succeed it will boost AM radio but he then continues, "it is more than likely than Franken will fail, and that scenario as well has a silver lining: With all this hoopla and all this cheerleading from the bigs like the Sunday Times, if Franken still falls on his face, there will be no excuses. A lesson will be written in stone. That lesson: The left doesn't have a popular following, only special interests addicted to benefits or power or both."
Setting up the coconuts, Hewitt defines success in terms that pretty-well guarantee failure: "The first set of ratings to judge Al by will be available in early July after a 3-month period elapses. Given the push he's getting from free ink, he won't have any excuse for not starting strong."
Later Hewitt goes on to make more political points before descending towards abuse with the comment, "One example: A large segment of the left's coalition in America is the African-American vote. Does anyone seriously believe that Franken - the lily-white, privileged Minnesota boy turned acidic voice of west-side Manhattan - is going to bring south-central Los Angeles or downtown Detroit to his station?"
From south Florida came a whiff of perdition to both their house from Tom Jicha in his Sun-Sentinel column.
"Air America," he commented, "might be an attempt to start leveling the broadcast playing field. But given that the country is more polarized politically than ever before, the new radio network figures only to exacerbate the situation, since it's likely to shed more heat than light on the political process."
He then added, "The big name on Air America is Al Franken, who transformed himself from Saturday Night Live fringe player to political pundit with the publication of Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and its follow-up, Lies and Lying Liars Who Tell Them."
And of another host on the new network:" Randi Rhodes, is a familiar voice to South Florida listeners from her stints on WIOD, AM 610, and now WJNO, AM 1290. Rhodes is a hysterical shrieker who never heard a conservative conspiracy theory she found too far-fetched to share with listeners."
Jicha then quotes Tom Taylor of Inside Radio: "I think they're going to have an impact politically because radio has never had a daily rejoinder from the liberal perspective. However, talk and news are slow-build formats. A new music station can catch on more quickly because young people are always looking for what's new and hot."
And what might help it along? Taylor said. "You always tell the hosts at the established leader, `Don't respond.' But they'll be unable to resist the temptation. It happens every time." Every mention of the competition is free publicity, something a start-up with limited reach needs mightily. Backbiting also might induce some listeners to sample the rival to see how they respond to the response.
However South Florida's highest-rated and most prominent liberal talk host, Neil Rogers, was more skeptical, saying, "I wish them luck but I don't see it succeeding. Hard-core conservatives gather around the radio to listen to Rush. Liberals are too busy having a life for that."
In the Washington Post, Marc Fisher notes that until Air America puts its show on the web nobody in DC will be able to hear it because lack of potential outlets.
Fisher also comments on the nature of talk radio, writing, There are two kinds of talk radio, AM and FM. The AM kind is usually political talk, aimed at an audience that's generally too old to care much for pop music. AM talk is nationally syndicated conservatives such as Limbaugh, Schlessinger and Sean Hannity, and the dwindling ranks of local talk hosts, such as WMAL's Chris Core and WTNT's Paul Berry."
"FM talk is known in the industry as "hot talk" -- that's the ever-raunchier stuff inspired by Howard Stern and designed to appeal to young male listeners. (A very few talk hosts manage to bridge the two categories, most notably Don Imus, whose New York-based show airs on both AM and FM stations around the country.)"
And after running through what's on the AM and FM dials he concludes, "In Washington, Air America has nowhere to land."
From the New Yorker came Bruce McCall's take on the nature of the people likely to be working for the network with a mock - and mocking - employment application that began, "We are an equal-opportunity, pro-choice, antiwar, non-smoking, non-sectarian network with a fifty-fifty male/female staff that recycles. Always remember to buckle up for safety!"
"We respect your civil rights and your right to privacy and do not ask you to reveal any personal information. We rely on the honor system to inform us if you are a pervert, terrorist, or carrier of mad-cow disease."
He then ran through a questionnaire - see link below for the questions.
And finally from Chicago, Ed Schwarz's column with what we rather suspect is an accurate summary of the prospects for both Air America and a show from former Education Secretary and Drug Czar Bill Bennett whose "Morning In America" which is scheduled to hit the air from April 5th.
"My personal feeling; I will be surprised if Franken and Bennett are still sitting on their radio shows one year from start-up," writes Schwartz. "Neither has the commitment or the interest in being a radio talk show host for the rest of their professional lives. They're using the medium for cross purposes. A year from now we won't remember either was here."
But on to programming to listen to and different kinds of talk from the BBC: First two jigsaw items, one from BBC World Service whose The Jigsaw in Pieces presented by Edward Stourton attempts to document the three years after 9/11 by talking to as many of those directly involved as possible
Its final part The World After Iraq considers the situation in that country and its dependency on the US electoral process and together with the three previous segments is still on the BBC web site.
Jigsaws of a different kind - the puzzle ones - were the subject of a BBC Radio 4 feature, The World's Most Difficult Puzzle, on Saturday that looked at the launch in 1965 by Springbok Editions, subsequently bought by Hallmark, of a jigsaw of Jackson Pollock's Convergence. Its success changed the world of the jigsaw puzzle in the US.
Also worth a listen from Radio 4 is the last edition of Law in Action to be hosted by Marcel Berlins, a look over the programmed during the 15 years he hosted it.
But back to America and politics, the Friday Play this week at 2000 GMT will be Monica and Linda, research for which involved playwright Laura Streusel in sifting through 2,000 pages of telephone transcripts for a reconstruction of what happened when Monica Lewinsky confided in her friend Linda Tripp about her liaison with President Clinton.
And with current US politics, Saturday's weekend edition on National Public Radio considered among other issues an assessment of Richard Clarke's testimony on 9-11 discussed by Linda Wertheimer with guests Vincent Cannistraro, a senior counter-terrorism official in the Reagan administration, and Daniel Benjamin, who directed counter-terrorism for the National Security Council under President Clinton.
And finally back to Air America and yesterday's Broadcasting House on BBC Radio 4, which came from New York and included a report on Air America including comments from Al Franken and right-wing host C Gordon Liddy who apparently will be calling in to the first show.
Chicago Ed - Ed Schwartz:
New Yorker - McCall:
S. Florida Sun-Sentinel - Jicha:
UK Guardian - Gary Younge:
Washington Post - Fisher:
Worldnet - Hewitt:
BBC World Service - Jigsaw in Pieces Index:
2004-03-29: Former and current staff of Britain's first pirate offshore radio station, Radio Caroline, which marks its 40th anniversary today, have been marking its birth over the past weekend.
The station is now available on the Internet, the Sky digital TV platform, and WorldSpace and was also until Saturday on terrestrial airwaves through a restricted service licence (RSL) that began on February 29th; the last day of broadcasts included The Steve Merchant Show co-hosted by Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais, co-creators of Golden Globe award winning TV series The Office.
Another terrestrial broadcast period using an RSL is planned for later this year.
At the time Caroline was launched the BBC had a monopoly of UK radio and Irish entrepreneur Ronan O'Rahilly - for a short period before Andrew Oldham took them over a manager of the Rolling Stones in conjunction with a friend - found it impossible to get airtime from the corporation or pop station Radio Luxembourg for artists on the record label he had created.
He was given the idea of going offshore at a time when international waters began three miles off the British coast through hearing of the Voice of America, which was operating at sea from the official US vessel the MV Courier. Subsequently O'Rahilly gathered information about this operation from the US Embassy and also from Jack Kotschack, the owner of the marine station, Radio Nord and the owners of Radio Veronica, a Dutch offshore radio station.
He bought an ex-ferry Fredericia - later renamed after US President John F Kennedy's daughter Caroline - which was converted at the Irish port of Greenore, which was owned by his family.
The first broadcast was made on Easter Sunday, March 29, 1964 with a pre-recorded announcement from Chris Moore and then unknown actor Simon Dee of "This is Radio Caroline on 199, your all day music station" followed by the Rolling Stones' Not Fade Away that was dedicated to O'Rahilly
Others who were on Caroline in its history included Tony Blackburn, Kenny Everett, John Peel, Johnnie Walker, and now-
hypnotist Paul McKenna.
Recordings played that year included The Animals' House of the Rising Sun; The Beatles' Can't Buy Me Love; Chuck Berry's No Particular Place to Go; Swinging Blue Jeans' Good Golly Miss Molly and The Zombies' She's Not There
The effects of Caroline's informal style of presentation were revolutionary at the time and it became very popular with listeners, at one time claiming to have an audience greater than that of BBC radio.
The British government took a very different view and a combination of legislation in the form of the 1967 Marine Broadcasting Offences Act, which speedily shut down other pirate operators who had gone on air in the wake of Caroline, financial pressures and new competitors including BBC Radio 1, which took on many of its DJs, eventually took Caroline off air when the company that serviced its ships seized them and took them to take them to Holland to be impounded for debt.
It had a brief reincarnation two years later when O'Rahilly persuaded two Swiss businessmen who had equipped the vessel Mebo 2 as the base for Radio North Sea International to rename their station Caroline but again ran into political problems, finding the government jamming its signal.
O'Rahilly was unable to fight the effects of this but claims that the campaign he ran against the then-ruling Labour Party was a factor in its subsequent unexpected defeat.
Caroline was then off air for years although land-based pirate stations in the UK -the first two were Radio Free London and Radio Free Caroline - continued on air, and being closed down. It had another rebirth as an offshore station, mainly through an arrangement with Dutch owns who broadcast to Holland in the day and Radio Caroline in the evening but in 1974 the Dutch also passed anti-pirate laws and the ship - Mi Amigo , the second ship to be completed at Greenore - was moved.
It continued to broadcast for another six years until, by now almost a floating wreck, it Mi Amigo broke anchor again on March 19th 1980 and eventually sank; all the crew were rescued by the lifeboat Helen Turnbull.
There was yet another rebirth in 1983 on a converted side trawler, the Ross Revenge, which was redundant following the British cod wars with Iceland, but after other sagas of storms, boarding by the authorities, destruction of equipment, and yet more hostile legislation the last broadcast was made from the Ross Revenge in November 1990.
Caroline was subsequently re-launched on land and now operates legally from studios in Maidstone, Kent, via its website, Sky satellite and WorldSpace satellite services.
Previous Radio Caroline:
Radio Caroline web site:
2004-03-28: Last week was fairly quiet for the regulators in general with the main news from Australia where the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) announced details of the auction of new commercial FM licences for Sydney and Brisbane (See RNW Mar 25); it has also made a number of other radio announcements.
They include an invitation for applications for a new community licence for the Gosford area of New South Wales.
The ABA also announced that it is proposing to make FM channel capacity available in Kyogle, New South Wales, for Lismore commercial station 2LM-AM and also in Lismore for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in Lismore for a future national radio service.
In addition, the ABA has put on its web site its Broadcasting Planning Manual (BPM), which replaces the Authority's Interim Australian Broadcasting Planning. Sections in the manual include those on Technical Planning Guidelines, Broadcast Planning Instructions, and Technical Planning Parameters and Methods for Terrestrial Broadcasting. As well as being available for download - some 30 MB in all - a CD-ROM is also obtainable for a "nominal " fee.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has had a fairly quiet week as regards radio announcements and decisions.
Those it has announced (in order of province) include:
Ontario: Notice of application to change the frequency of CFWC-FM, Brantford, and increase its power from 50 to 250 watts, which would change its status from a low power unprotected service to a protected class A1 FM station.
Quebec: Notice of application, with deadline for interventions of April 27, for contour change and power increase from 567 to 2,559 watts for CHME-FM, Les Escoumins.
The Commission has also published a list of ownership transfers and changes of effective control authorized between November 1, 2003, and February 29 this year under its streamlined procedure.
There was nothing from Ireland or the UK and no new indecency penalties proposed in the US.
There the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has however has denied an application by Country Mountain Airwaves, L.L.C., licensee of KTHQ-FM, Eager, and KQAZ-FM, Springerville, Arizona, for a review of the FCC staff's grant of a Modified Construction Permit, License to Cover Permit, and Minor Modification of Licensed Facilities for KWKM-FM, St. Johns, to KM Radio of St. Johns, L.L.C.
KWKM had constructed its tower approximately 900 feet away (280 metres) from the coordinates approved by the Commission but staff had accepted that this was an error and not a case of misrepresentation as alleged by CMA.
It also concluded that, because construction had not been completed by the permit expiry date, KM had operated the station without authority and has proposed a penalty of USD 4,000 for this breach of its rules.
In Kentucky it has denied an application by Kentucky Public Radio, Inc. for review of a May 2000 decision that granted Educational Media Foundation ("EMF") permission for a new FM translator station at New Albany, Indiana.
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
2004-03-28: The antics of "Jackass" TV personality Steve-O (Stephen Glover) during a stunt on a Toronto's The Edge has led to the station suspending morning hosts Dean Blundell, Jason Barr and Todd Shapiro without pay.
According to the London Free Press, Steve-O, Chris Pontius and Weeman of MTV's Jackass, who were in the city promoting the Don't Try This at Home tour, were scheduled to co-host the Dean Blundell show shortly after 7 a.m. but turned up late and according to program director Alan Cross reneged on promises they had made to adhere to guidelines on graphic content and foul language.
The paper says Steve-O urinated on the studio floor and performed a gag he called Unwrapping the Mummy, using duct tape and his genitalia.
It says the station is to levy an internal fine on the show and management will meet this weekend to discuss how long the suspension will last and whether the show will return Monday.
Steve-O's lawyer Jason Berk said that given the group's reputation - the stunt should not have come as a surprise, commenting, "If you want to run an ultra conservative radio show or even a safe, conservative show, be careful about the people you pick to come on."
RNW comment: We'd tent to agree, particularly since a quick check of the reccord would have shown previous arrests but of course we suspect the group would soon whinge if if stations then sensibly gave no publicity to them.
London Free Press (Ontario) report:
2004-03-28: Clear Channel has applied to move the transmitter for its 50,000-watt News/Talker WWVA-AM, The Big One, out of Wheeling, West Virginia, to Stow, Ohio, some 130 miles (200 Km) away.
Station general manager Scott Miller told the Akron Beacon Journal that the signal, which can be heard from as far away as Toronto, would still be heard in Wheeling, saying, "We'd just be under a different signal strength here in Wheeling. The call letters and the talk-radio format would remain the same, but I don't know how it will take shape in the Ohio market.''
The station, which went on the air in 1925, is best known for broadcasting, Jamboree USA, which started in 1933 and is the second-oldest country music program after the Grand Ole Opry.
WWVA switched formats from country to talk in 1996.
There is almost certain to be local opposition to the move since Clear Channel is already involved in controversy over its decision at the end of last year, shortly after its licence renewal, to axe two local talk radio programs hosted by George Kellas and Jim Harrington and also eliminate the news director position at Wheeling.
One local web site is carrying a draft letter to be sent to all FCC commissioners asking for an investigation. In part it says, "In the Ohio Valley, Clear Channel Wheeling has taken control of the local airwaves, holding licenses to seven different radio stations in this metro area."
"Serious, balanced coverage of important Ohio Valley issues is now greatly diminished because of recent actions by Clear Channel Wheeling. The station's former commitment to local news is now compromised with the elimination of a full time local, professional news department and the absence of local programming during key hours."
"The FCC recently renewed the license of WWVA - AM 1170, its 50,000 watt station formatted as news/talk. A stipulation for licensure is a station's ability to serve the public interest. Significant changes have occurred in recent weeks which challenge the mandate of WWVA to serve the interest of the Ohio Valley public."
RNW comment: Bearing in mind the flak over indecency and the money US broadcasting takes out of politics via election adverts, it would seem to us that the FCC has it's priorities in the same shape as its knickers. As logical a concern as indecency in a healthy democracy would be news services and on this basis it would seem more reasonable to remove all Clear Channel's Ohio Valley licences on the basis of fitness than to levy heavy fines for indecency.
In this case we rather hope against hope that enough of a stir is created in Ohio over both the transmitter and news moves to force the FCC do give Clear Channel a shot across the bows. Let's see if Michael Copps does take up this one, which will get less publicity than his anti-indecency campaigning.
Previous Clear Channel:
Akron Beacon Journal report:
Ohio Valley site calling for Clear Channel investigation:
2004-03-28: Whatever the results of the US Presidential election may be in the long term, in the short term it's good for income for US broadcasters and particularly, as pointed out in an article in Hispanic Business, for the Hispanic media.
The report says that the report from the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute showed that up to 6.7 million Hispanics are expected to vote in the November election, up 700,000 since last time.
Entravision president and COO Philip Wilkinson said the Hispanic sector's growth has changed the parties' ad budgets for the Hispanic media over the last 20 years.
"They have gone from not spending anything during the 1980s and 1990s to making their first efforts (to influence Hispanic voters) in the 2000 elections and those of 2002," he said.
In the 2002 legislative elections, notes the report USD 16 million was spent in the Hispanic media but this only accounted for 2.3 percent of the television ad investment from political parties during the campaign whereas Hispanics make up 6 percent of the electorate.
Hispanic Business report:
2004-03-27: Following a two-day meeting in Washington DC, the Arbitron Advisory Council has expressed its support for Houston tests of the company's Portable People Meter but noted that the company still faces challenges with the 18-24 male demographic in its diary keepers and the cost of surveys "bounce" in small markets where only two surveys a year are conducted.
Arbitron has proposed to smooth the "bounce" factor by using the same number of diaries but releasing results on a rolling, 12-month average similar to that it uses in its RADAR surveys.
Regarding the diary keepers, it is planning a payment incentive in the markets with lowest responses.
2004-03-27: Victoria, Australia, racing station Sport 927-AM has launched legal action against radio rating service A.C. Nielsen demanding compensation for the effect of the publication of low ratings in the first survey this year.
According to the Nielsen figures, Sport 927 had only an 0.6 share of Melbourne listeners in the survey, a drop of 60% between December last year and February this year but Sport 927 managing director Noel Crowe told The Australian that independent research conducted by Newspoll showed a 22 per cent lift in the cumulative audience.
He said the figures - Nielsen gave the station, which is owned by the racing industry, a cumulative audience a 1.6% share and weekly audience of 147,000 at the end of last year whilst Newspoll ratings in January and February this year showed it with 221,000 in Melbourne alone and a total of 327,000 throughout Victoria - had reduced revenues by "hundreds of thousands of dollars."
Sport 927 dropped out of the official ratings surveys five years ago because of cost - around AUD 100,000 (USD 74,000) a year and what it called unacceptable methodology for measuring the audiences of special interest or niche stations.
Crowe argues the diary system doubly punishes stations that do not officially participate in surveys because diary keepers have to write in the names of stations they have listened to with the aid of a list when it comes to participating stations but from what they can recall when it comes to other stations, thus putting the latter at a disadvantage.
"For years advertisers and media buyers have been demanding that radio gets fair dinkum about accurate audience measurement," Crowe told the paper. "The diary measurement system is archaic, yet the commercial radio industry last year decided to keep going with the system instead of switching to electronic people meters.
He then referred to discrepancies between meter recording systems and official diary figures in the UK where the Wireless Group is suing ratings organization RAJAR for GBP 66 million (USD 120 million) in damages for revenues that it claims were lost because RAJAR underestimates his audience (See RNW Mar 17).
In the case of 927 he conceded that new rival sports station SEN 1116, could have affected the audience for its breakfast program but not at other times when his station has exclusive cover of racing.
"Racing audiences do not fluctuate like that," he says. "We know that from the people in pubs and TAB agencies listening to us, and from TAB turnovers."
The station is making three demands from Nielsen - that it is not referred to in any future surveys in which it is not participating, acknowledge that its methodology for measuring the station's audience in Survey 1 this year was flawed and produced an inaccurate result, and payment of damages for lost revenue.
Nielsen Media Research managing director Peter Cornelius told the paper his company was working with industry body Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) on a response.
The paper says that any resolution or agreement about future practices is likely to be extended to cover other non-participating stations such as Sydney racing station 2KY.
The Australian report:
2004-03-27: Yet another UK radio company has reported strong results in a trading update, this time Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) which says like-for-like group revenues for the half-year until the end of March will be up 10% with radio revenues up 12% and print ones up 8%. When acquisitions are included both radio and press revenues are expected to be up 14% on a year earlier.
The like for like revenue came from a 10% increase in national revenues, 13% in local ones and 12% in sponsorship and promotions income.
SRH says it is too early to forecast how the full year will turn out but the group has had an encouraging first six months with good performances and it looks forwards to a satisfactory result for the financial year to 30 September 2004.
It adds that it is in a strong position to continue to develop organically and by acquisition, and that the group's prospects remain attractive.
The figures follow a report of strong radio revenues from GWR (See RNW Mar 26) and Emap (See RNW Mar 24)
2004-03-27: Interep has cut its losses in the final quarter of 2003 from USD 11.3 million (USD 1.16 per share) to USD 6.3 million (USD 0.61) per share a year earlier despite a 2% fall in commission revenues to UD 23.6% but for the full year losses increased from USD 17.8 million (USD 1.88 per share) to USD 36.7 million (USD 3.77 per share) on commission revenues up 0.4% to USD87.8 million.
It put the revenue fall in the final quarter down to a general softness in advertising and the effects of Citadel's decision to move its business to rival Katz Media (See RNW Oct 4, 2003) .
The full year figures included a USD11.6 million write-off on deferred representation contract costs related to Citadel and a USD1.2 million write-off on deferred financing costs.
Commenting, Chairman and CEO Ralph Guild said, "I am proud of our performance despite a challenging year in which we faced unusual circumstances and an uncertain economic climate." "We expect 2004 to be a growth year for our industry and our company. Interep is committed to increasing our broadcasting clients' share of national radio advertising this year by bringing more and new customers to radio advertising through aggressive new business initiatives. Radio is unsurpassed in its ability to drive sales, and I am confident that advertisers will continue to allocate more dollars to this medium."
In other US radio business, XM says DirecTV is selling its holding in the satellite radio company. DirecTV owns 9 million shares in XM, some 5% of the total, and is expected to get around UD 230 million.
XM has also announced plans to redeem USD 50 million of its 12% Senior Secured Notes due 2010; this will be done with funds from XM's equity offering that was completed in January and follows the elimination of USD 135 million in debt earlier this month.
2004-03-27: The 4th District Court of Appeal has now set April 7 as the date for oral hearings on whether conservative talk host Rush Limbaugh's medical records can be used in a case for doctor shipping against him.
Both sides have now filed briefs with the appellate court citing cases in support of their cases.
Limbaugh lawyers argue that under Florida law, the prosecutors should not have seized the records as they did but should have used subpoenas, giving Limbaugh notice that prosecutors were seizing his medical records and giving him a chance to respond.
Palm Beach Post report:
2004-03-27: Quebec City radio talk host Robert Gillet who was amongst those arrested at the end of 2002 in "Operation Scorpion", a crackdown on a juvenile prostitution ring (See RNW Dec 21. 2002) has been found guilty of paying for sex with a 17-years-old prostitute but cleared of charges of paying for sex with and forcibly sodomizing a 15-year-old prostitute.
Gillet had admitted having sex with the 17-year-old but said she had told him she was 19 and the prostitute had told the court she had told clients she was 18. The prosecution had argued that Gillet had not taken reasonable steps to assure himself of her age.
The trial was moved to Montreal from Quebec City because of publicity surrounding it and Gillet said as he left court that he "didn't know what had happened."
He later told Radio-Canada, "You cannot imagine the 15 months I've been through" and added that he had contemplated suicide, saying, "If I had had a gun at home I wouldn't be here today."
Gillet has been allowed to remain free until pre-sentencing arguments are heard on March 30: Because of a clean record, is expected to be fined or given a conditional jail sentence although the maximum penalty is five-years.:
2004-03-26: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has come out strongly supporting legislation out forward by Representatives Chip Pickering and Gene Green that would formally prohibit the satellite radio companies from ever putting out local content through their terrestrial repeater network and also directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to investigate whether plans by Sirius and XM for dedicated traffic and weather services for specific regions of the US are against their FCC authorizations (RNW comment: Hardly surprising since NAB has been pushing this line for some time: Indeed it wouldn't be surprising if NAB had virtually drafted the text!)
Green says one goal of the proposal - the "Local Emergency Radio Service Preservation Act" - is to ensure that satellite companies do not "endanger the vital public service local radio broadcasters provide during emergencies" and NAB President and CEO Eddie Fritts picked up on this saying, "Localism is the hallmark of our free, over-the-air radio system, and this bill will ensure that satellite companies be held to the standard upon which their licenses were granted."
The satellite companies say the move is unnecessary since they have no intention of transmitting locally and add that forbidding them to carry the planned traffic and weather services would be a disservice to the public.
They point out that, as required under FCC rules, all the services are put out on their satellite transmissions.
2004-03-26: A new study by Arbitron and Edison Media Research has added further impetus to the development of online "radio" which so far this month has seen AOL involved in an online advertising deal and a former UK radio executive move to download site Napster.
The report, "Internet and Multimedia 12: The Value of Internet Broadcast Advertising," is based on a January 2004 survey of 2,290 telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of Arbitron's Fall 2003 radio diary keepers.
It says that some 51 million people a month are now using Internet broadcasting in the US and that half are in households with an annual income of USD 50,000 plus: In all it says those involved account for more than 40% of online expenditure.
Bill Rose, vice president and general manager, Arbitron Internet Broadcast Services, comments,
"Internet broadcast consumers spend more time online, shop more often online and spend more money when they do shop."
"The irony is that these consumers also go out of their way to eliminate most advertising from their online experience. Internet broadcast commercials may be the best way to reach these key consumers while purchasing decisions are being made."
The report also showed Internet broadcasting to be comparatively effective in reaching the younger male demographic and Larry Rosin, president, Edison Media Research commented, "Internet broadcast consumers skew younger and are more often male. They also spend ten percent less time with television on a daily basis, making Internet broadcasting a key medium for reaching this hard to reach audience."
There is particular optimism about internet audio from AOL which has just announced an online audio advertising deal (we hesitate to call it radio since much of it is downloading items chosen by would-be listeners rather than programming in the traditional sense) with Ronning Lipset Radio that will involve the fledgling Internet radio advertising agency in selling advertisements to marketers who want to reach the audiences of Internet audio services from AOL, Yahoo, and Live365.com.
Announcing the deal AOL Music VP and GM Evan Harrison, who oversees the AOL Radio@ Network, said, "The growth of Internet radio in the past year has been explosive, it is quickly becoming the soundtrack to our members online experience. Ronning Lipset is poised to help advertisers extend their reach across a vast network and kick-start what is sure to be a blossoming audio advertising business."
Eric Ronning, one of Ronning Lipset's principals says that one of the things holding back Internet audio broadcasting has been that most media buyers demand audiences above a certain size and individually those streaming audio are below this. Together, however, they exceed the cut-off point.
"[The] Timing has never been better to bring traditional advertisers to the online radio table," he commented. "Online radio now replicates traditional radio in terms of TSL. But since this medium exists on the Internet, the audience has easy access to search, shop, share and anything else they regularly do online."
In the UK, former Capital FM programming controller and BBC Radio 1 Executive Jeff Smith has moved to Napster, which has been turned into a legal download service and will launch in the UK later this year. He will become Napster UK programming director with responsibility for sourcing music for its site and liasing with record labels.
He noted that record companies were already releasing songs for download before they went into retail and said what he would be doing was an extension of what he had done in radio in that it helped people find their way through a huge range of tracks.
Another area likely to be exploited by download services is that of ring-tones with versions of some music already collecting more from ring tones than track sales.
Various radio companies have moved into this market already, some of them seeing it as an ideal companion to music sales.
In the UK Chrysalis earlier this month announced that is was forming a standalone company to sell digital downloads for mobile devices (See RNW Mar 16) and GWR announced a "hear it, buy it, burn it" service (See RNW Mar 3).
In the US Clear Channel announced this week that it has teamed with ClearSky Mobile Media, Inc. to offer special musical ring tones and other wireless services to Top 40 radio listeners.
The web sites of Clear Channel's chart stations have been customized with a ring tone selection that is specific to the play list and audience of each station, marking the wireless industry's first direct tie-in with radio.
Clear Channel Radio SVP Linda Byrd said it wanted to "become the clear leader in offering ring tones from all genres and formats
"Every day, millions of people discover new music and enjoy their old favourites by listening to Clear Channel Radio stations," she added "Connecting our radio listeners with their favourite ring tones and screen savers is the logical next step for Clear Channel. Through our radio stations and their Web sites, we have an unprecedented way to educate consumers on these value-added services and drive purchases."
[RNW comment: The use of the term "educate" in this context would in our view indicate that Ms Byrd could do with some "re-education" - or maybe she's so far into "B sh.." she only recognises it when FCC'd. We'd prefer a plain "tell people about" and let them decide if they also want to become consumers.]
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Edison Media Research:
2004-03-26: UK GWR in a trading update says it expects its like-for-like analogue radio revenues to be up 8% on the previous year in the 12 months to the end of March and up 7% in the final quarter.
Its local radio group, which generates some 70% of total revenues, expects revenues up 6% in the quarter with local revenues for the group up 8% for the year whilst national revenues for it up 3%.
National station Classic FM did even better with final quarter revenues up 13% on a year earlier and GWR says the overall trading outlook continues to improve with strong advance booking levels that give it a positive start to the next financial year.
It also notes that GWR's Classic FM and national rock station Planet Rock were the most frequently cited commercial stations in responses to a survey by the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB) that showed nearly three-quarters of those who had bought a digital receiver saying they did so to receive new digital stations with 45% also citing improved reception quality as a reason.
The DRDB says the UK leads the world in terms of DAB digital radio with more broadcasters, products, and listeners. So far around half a million receivers have been bought with the total expected to top a million by the end of this year.
DAB is also growing elsewhere in the world with expansions of Dab approved in Sweden, an Italian law passed year that will set rules for digital broadcasting now waiting final signatures and DAB transmitters already in operation in parts of Tuscany, Bologna and Naples with Palermo, followed by Perugia and Pisa to follow.
The Netherlands has also started regular DAB transmissions and in France the National Assembly has now voted on a bill to set a framework for the start of digital transmissions.
2004-03-26: US radio companies are continuing to boost their non-traditional revenues (NTR) according to the fifth Annual NTR Survey just released by the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
The survey indicated that there was a dramatic increase in NTR activity in mid-sized markets but a fall in the largest ones.
Nearly nine out of ten respondents said they planned to boost NTR efforts even more during 2004; within the sector event marketing was the most popular form of NTR with 93% of stations and nearly three-quarters of respondents saying they expected increases in this activity although the survey noted a 2% decline in training related to this area. The pattern for this was of more attention to main events but a decrease in the total number of annual station events.
Cause-related marketing also increased but again there was a training fall, this time by 4%.
For the fourth year in a row, time management was identified as the biggest hurdle to overcome in NTR selling.
RAB President and CEO Gary Fries commented, "NTR continues to be a vital part of radio revenue growth. Radio has traditionally delivered results with events in the local marketplace, and the acceleration we are seeing in that direction is a natural progression that will be of benefit to the industry and its clients."
2004-03-26: Salem Communications is building up its Atlanta cluster to five stations with a USD 16.4 million purchase of Christian teaching/talk format WAFS-AM from Moody Bible Institute.
Salem President and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III said of the purchase, "Atlanta continues to be perceived by the radio broadcast industry as one of the most attractive radio markets in the country. The opportunity to acquire a strong coverage station on either band -- AM or FM -- has been extremely rare. WAFS-AM is an excellent facility with a good quality signal both day and night. This station represents a substantial opportunity for Salem."
2004-03-25: A survey of rock radio listeners in the US conducted by Jacobs Media and Edison Media Research shows the vast majority of them, although many are concerned about indecency on US airwaves, think the government should not be involved in regulating radio programmes.
Of the 13,700 rock listeners interviewed in the survey 70% said the investigation of some radio shows was an overreaction to the Janet Jackson incident and few are ever offended by what they hear on the radio.
Fred Jacobs, President of Jacobs Media said the survey argued, "quite convincingly that while some of the material on the radio may be shocking, it's what the audience wants."
"These Rock radio listeners are telling us in overwhelming numbers," he said, "that they want to decide for themselves whether to listen to a radio program or not, and they believe that the marketplace, not the FCC or 'watchdog groups' should make the decision on what's available on the radio. The study implies the people being offended by edgy morning radio shows are not the people listening."
Among the findings of the study were that 55% of rock listeners said they were never offended by what they hear on morning shows with only 11% offended more than rarely, that nearly three-quarters were of the view that people should be allowed to listen to Howard Stern if they wished to and a majority in all sub-groups, including women and parents agreed with this view.
Nor did many want to take "offensive" material off the air to protect children - nearly 80% were opposed and only 11% supported the idea: In addition, nearly 90% of those polled took the view that it is the parents' responsibility to keep material they find indecent away from their children.
Previous Edison Media Research:
2004-03-25: Keen bidding is expected for two new commercial FM licences - in Sydney and Brisbane - that the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) is to auction on April 15th and 22nd respectively with figures up to AUD 200 million (USD 150 million) being touted.
The ABA has received six applications for the Sydney licence and eight applications for the Brisbane licence.
For Sydney they were:
Daily Mail (UK Radio 1) Pty Ltd;
Harbour View Radio Pty Ltd;
Sydney Radio Company Pty Ltd;
GTShelfCo 1 Pty Limited;
Southern Cross Communications Limited and
HR Broadcast Investments 2004 Pty Ltd.
In Brisbane the applicants were:
Daily Mail (UK Radio 2) Pty Ltd;
River View Radio Pty Ltd;
Brisbane Radio Company Pty Ltd;
Star Broadcasting Network Pty Ltd;
ARN Brisbane Pty Ltd;
Hot Tomato Australia Pty Ltd;
GTShelfCo 3 Pty Limited; and
HR Broadcast Investments 2004 Pty Ltd.
Each licence has a reserve price of AUD 1 million (USD 750,000) but they are expected to fetch far more with the Sydney licence expected to fetch around AUD 100 million (USD 75 million) the Brisbane licence value being touted as around AUD 70 -100 million (USD 52 -75 million).
The last Sydney licence fetched a record AUD 155 million, paid by DMG for its Nova FM (See RNW May 25, 2000) and the last Brisbane licence - now 97.3 FM - fetched AUD 67 million (then USD 53 million-See RNW May 31, 2001) by ARN - a joint venture between APN News and Media and Clear Channel International,
This time bidding is expected to be particularly from DMG, which lacks a Brisbane station for its Nova network.
Should ARN win it plans to switch its 4KQ AM station to FM band as was done with Gold 104.3FM in Melbourne and then sell the AM licence.
So far no announcements have been made about who is behind the bids by shelf companies HR Broadcast Investments 2004 Pty Ltd, bidding in both cities Brisbane Radio Company, which is only bidding in Brisbane, GTShelfCo 1 Pty Limited, which is only bidding for the Sydney licence, and GTShelfCo 3 Pty Limited, which is bidding only in Brisbane.
Company searches show them to be registered to two firms of solicitors -Mallesons, Gilbert and Tobin and Holding Redlich.
2004-03-25: US National Public Radio (NPR) has announced that Bob Edwards, host of Morning Edition since it began in 1979 and an 30-year NPR veteran, is to leave the show at the end of April to become senior correspondent for NPR News.
Although he made positive statements about the programme Edwards was not enthusing about the move and was quoted in the Washington Post as saying, "I would have loved to have stayed with 'Morning Edition' But it's not my candy store."
The paper also reported the host as saying NPR's announcement that he would become a senior correspondent for NPR News was premature, "
Now 56, Edwards joined the three-years old NPR in 1974 as a newscaster and later co-host of All Things Considered before moving to Morning Edition
From May until a permanent replacement is named, the show will be co-hosted on an interim basis by Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne.
He has won two Gabriel Awards, the 1984 Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for "outstanding contributions to public radio"; an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for excellence; and the 1999 George Foster Peabody Award for his hosting duties at Morning Edition.
Commenting on the move in an NPR statement Edwards said, "I am proud to have served with my Morning Edition colleagues, who perform a daily miracle at ridiculous hours when resources are not abundant. I am grateful for the many years of support from NPR member stations and look forward to continuing to visit them and meet our listeners. That audience is the best and the brightest in broadcasting, and it's a challenge to meet its expectations."
NPR's senior vice president of programming Jay Kernis described Edwards as "a true pioneer in public radio" adding, "his distinctive presentation style has been a hallmark of NPR."
He added that Edwards in his new role "will have more time to pursue stories that are of interest to him, place those stories on different NPR news programs, and get to wake up at a normal hour for the first time in a quarter of a century. We are fortunate that his unique voice and reporting style will now be heard on many NPR programs, including Morning Edition."
Edwards gave the news to Morning Edition staff on Tuesday at a planned meeting after the show's first live run had ended, saying he had known for two weeks but had been asked not to make the news public.
Later he told the paper he thought Kernis had been primarily responsible for his "ouster" and added that he thought Kernis did not like his style but did not think he would actually lose his job.
"I think it's a style thing," Edwards said. "I think he's tired of listening to me."
About NPR he was more positive, saying, "The great thing about NPR is that everyone else is closing [foreign] bureaus. TV news and newspapers are hurting while commercial radio stations have stopped doing news -- and we've been growing."
Washington Post report:
2004-03-25: Clear Channel has fired another DJ, this time for remarks made concerning interracial dating.
The comments came from Raqiyah Mays, a Saturday host at New York WWPR_FM, Power 105, while she was running a station contest in which listeners could win tickets to an Usher concert by making a confession.
"I made a confession of my own," Mays told the New York Daily News. "I said I was concerned about interracial relationships when the African-American community has our own inner work and healing to do. If I see a white woman dating an African-American man, I feel, as do many African-American women, that there is one less black man available to us."
A transcript of the "confession" on air read, "My confession this hour is that... I'm a racist. I really am. I have a problem with white people. Not all white people, but a lot of white people.... I can't tell if they are being real with me or not. And then I hate when the black guy is walking down the street with the white girl. I hate both of them. C'mon, there's a man shortage."
Power-105 officials said in a statement that the station "decided to release her based upon inappropriate remarks she made to listeners during her broadcast on Saturday.
"The station received many E-mails, phone calls and messages from listeners who were displeased and felt alienated as a result of her actions."
RNW comment: Honesty, it would seem, doesn't always pay, and Mays has been treated harshly for it. The sentiments cannot be that uncommon and we'd rather people admit prejudice honestly than be hypocritical, a reason why we abhor the current use of "discrimination" when "bigotry" or Prejudice" would be far more honest even if sounding more ugly.
Better news however for Sandra Tsing Loh, who was fired by Santa Monica public station KCRW-FM after the word "fuck" was not beeped out of a commentary (See RNW Mar 6). She was offered her post back when details were clarified but declined to return.
She has now been hired by Southern California Public Radio 's Pasadena public station KPCC-FM.
In a statement Southern California Public Radio president and CEO Bill Davis commented, "We're thrilled to have someone of Sandra's calibre join the KPCC family. While she's made a lot of people laugh over the years, her essays have considerable depth and insight as well."
Loh is also to continue her occasional work on Minnesota Public Radio's "Marketplace" programme
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Daily News report:
2004-03-25: The UK commercial radio trade body, the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) has appointed former Channel 5 TV chief executive and BskyB Head of Programming David Elstein to succeed Lord Eatwell as its chairman.
Elstein takes over on April 1 from Eatwell, who has been chairman since January 2000. He said in a statement issued by the CRCA "I am delighted to become CRCA Chairman. Despite my background in television I have a keen interest in radio and I look forward to working with CRCA as new legislation, under the guardianship of a new regulator, opens up exciting possibilities and challenges for the UK commercial radio industry."
CRCA chief executive Paul Brown commenting on Lord Eatwell's departure said the CRCA was "enormously grateful for the valuable contribution John [Lord Eatwell] has made to the Association specifically and to commercial radio in general over the past four years."
Of Elstein's appointment, he said, "His deep knowledge of the UK media industry and obvious enthusiasm for broadcasting creativity make him ideal for the role."
Among his other roles Elstein is Elstein is chairman of Screen Digest, the British Screen Advisory Council and Really Useful Theatres; is on the boards of NTL, the Sports and Leisure Group and Kingsbridge Capital as a non-executive director; and is also a Visiting Professor at Stirling University and Westminster University.
Recently he chaired the panel set up by the Conservatives to look into the future funding and organisation of the BBC: Last month it recommended replacing the licence fee with a subscription.
2004-03-25: In to its last month before Arbitron drops the service, its Internet Broadcast Ratings has recorded no changes at the top in the latest release with MUSICMATCH retaining top station spot and AOL top network and only a little shuffling in the top five stations
For the week to March 7, 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 1,025,612 (1,007,128); CP - 324,143 (323,392). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 375,120 (314,943); CP - 73,146 (71,567). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: Country format AOL Top Country (Commercial) -TTSL 260,092 (271,818); CP 104,546 (107,490). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
4: Smooth Jazz AOL Smooth Jazz (Commercial) - TTSL 243,183 (246,670); CP - 53,598 (52,926) Up from fifrth despite lower listening although reach was up.
5: AOL Top Pop (Commercial) -TTSL 238,842 (250,178); CP 53,598 (132,282). Down from fourth with lower listening and reach.
*AOL Love Songs (Commercial) fell from fifth to eighth with TTSL 211,862 (247,354); CP - 63,374
The top five networks for the week to March 7 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 6,001,034 (6,214,854); CP - 1,495,474 (1,515,208). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
2: LAUNCH (Commercial) TTSL - 4,761,826 (4,904,173); CP -1,063,599 (1,049,561). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 2,508,816 (2,477,555); CP - 577,379 (579,131). Same rank with higher listening but lower reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 899,635 (747,450); CP - 104,592 (101,167) - Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) TTSL - 618,823 (532,842); CP - 96,847 (96,204) - 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 2,955,042, up from 2,942,736 and StreamGuys with TTSL 612,159, up from 534,118.
Previous Arbitron Internet Ratings (month of February):
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast weekly ratings:
2004-03-24: In a case of the biter bit, syndicated Emmis Chicago host Erich "Mancow" Muller is expected to file a USD 3 million law suit against a man who has lodged 66 complaints against him according to Robert Feder in his Chicago Sun Times column.
The paper notes that David Edward Smith's complaints have led to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) citing Emmis and Muller for indecency offences six times. Recently the FCC bluntly rejected an Emmis ple for reconsideration of USD 28,000 against it (See RNW Feb 20)
Feder says the lawsuit is to charge Smith among other things with business interference and filing "spurious complaints" with the FCC that are "repetitive, malicious, untrue, and designed merely for the purpose of harassment [and] to cause [Muller] economic ruin."
In a statement, Muller commented, "Judgment day has come for those who hide in the shadows, twisting Bible verses and hiding in government offices while using another government office to attempt to destroy my radio station, my wife, my widowed mother and my future children."
"Although I studied to be a minister, my time of 'turn the other cheek' has now ended. I firmly believe the 'zealots' have done numerous illegal things that will be revealed in the courts. I have garnered a massive war fund and will not quit until my First Amendment right to free speech is restored. I ask for everyone's prayers during this tough time. All profits from this battle will be donated to the Boy Scouts of America and other Mancow charities."
Smith commented, "Why is the focus on the guy who's blowing the whistle instead of the guy who's breaking the law? I am simply following the procedure set up by the FCC to file grievances. Mancow is trying to censor his critic, which is ironic for a free speech advocate in a democratic society."
Previous Erich "Mancow" Muller:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2004-03-24: Entercom is strengthening is WEEI-AM, Boston, sports station with agreement on a USD 14.5 million purchase from FNX Broadcasting of alternative rock WWRX-FM in Providence, Rhode Island.
WWRX will then simulcast the WEEI signal - which already extends to Rhode Island and Eastern Connecticut - and add some programming specific to Providence in periods when Boston Red Sox games, which are already heard on Citadel's talk WPRO-AM in Providence, are being broadcast.
Citadel also owns sports format WSKO-AM and AM, which covers games of the New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, New York Yankees, Bruins (both Boston and Providence), and Pawtucket Red Sox.
The deal is subject to FCC approval, which is expected in the second quarter of this year, but Entercom is to start programming WWRX from May 1 under a time brokerage agreement.
Entercom is also expected to seek a change in the station's call letters.
Entercom President and CEO David J. Field said, "We are pleased to be able to extend the powerful WEEI Sports Radio brand, bringing leading coverage of New England sports and provocative sports talk into the Providence area. WEEI, Boston, is the nation's leading sports talk radio station and has an extremely strong following throughout the northeast."
Earlier this month Entercom announced a USD 9 million deal to acquire Sports WNSA/FM-Buffalo from Adelphia Communications subject to final approval by the Federal Bankruptcy Court overseeing Adelphia's assets, as well as FCC approval.
Other recent US radio deals announced include:
* A USD 2.25 million purchase of Wyoming stations News/talk KRAE-AM and Oldies KRRR-FM, Cheyenne, and classic rock KREO-FM, Pine Bluffs, also in the Cheyenne market, by Northeast Broadcasting Company from Mountain States Radio Inc. Northeast already owns KIMX-FM in Cheyenne
*A USD 1.5 million Alabama purchase of gospel/talk WATV-AM, Birmingham, by Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation from Birmingham Ebony Broadcasters and
*A USD 1.5 million Texas purchase of AC KLRK-FM, Marlin, and News/talk KRZI-AM and KRZX-AM, Waco, by Simmons Media Group from KRZI Inc.
2004-03-24: In a trading update, UK Emap, which reports its final figures in May, has reported group revenues for the year to the end of March up 9% (5% on a constant currency basis) with underlying revenues up 3%; In divisional terms Emap Communications had 9% growth (6% underlying), Emap Consumer Media has 3% (6% underlying), Emap France with 18% growth (2% underlying) and Emap Performance, which takes in its radio and TV operations, had 3% growth (down 2% underlying).
Within the Performance division, Emap says radio airtime revenues from its analogue and digital stations have shown solid growth of 7%, with a strong improvement towards the end of the year driven largely by the national advertising market. This was offset by TV, whose revenues were down 3%, attributed to declines in advertising revenue that were largely offset by with carriage fees and interactivity revenues.
Emap recently cut staff at the Performance Division in a reorganisation that followed the resignation of Tim Schoonmaker as the division's chief executive (See RNW Jan 9) and who is not being replaced (See RNW Mar 12).
2004-03-24: Les Hollander, brother of Infinity president and COO Joel Hollander, is to join the company at the end of this month as Senior VP/Regional Manager with responsibility for operations in Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, West Palm Beach and Hartford.
Hollander is leaving Clear Channel where he was Director of Sales, New York, among other role.
In his new post he will report to Executive VP/Eastern Region Scott Herman who commented, "Our commitment to hiring the best in the industry is clearly exemplified in this announcement. Les is without a doubt one of the strongest radio executives in America. Having competed against him for many years in New York, I can attest to his business foresight and strong leadership skills."
In another Infinity appointment, Executive VP/Western Region Brian Ongaro is to take on operational oversight of Infinity's seven stations in Los Angeles.
New York stations and Vice President, Mid-Size Markets, for the Eastern and Western regions respectively, Don Bouloukos and Lisa Decker, continue to report to Joel Hollander, who commented, "Infinity's regional management team is the best in the industry. They've done an impressive job of managing our operations across the country and I'm extremely proud of their contributions. Under this regional market distribution, Infinity is truly positioned to take our stations to the next level."
Previous Joel Hollander:
2004-03-24: Tom Rivers, operations manager for Infinity's country-format WUSN-FM, Chicago, and former WQYK-FM, Tampa, on-air personality and programmer, who was 38, has been found dead at his Chicago home, apparently as a result of bronchial asthma.
He was also a member of the board of the Country Radio Broadcasters (CRB) whose President R. J. Curtis said the entire board was "shocked and saddened by the news of his untimely passing."
2004-03-23: US radio revenues in 2003 increased by 3.1% over a year earlier according to the latest report from BIA Financial Network, Inc. that also shows Clear Channel's New York "Lite Rock" WLTW-FM remained the top billing station in the US with a total of USD 69.6 million. All the top-ten stations were from either New York or Los Angeles.
Second placed was Infinity's News-Talk WINS-AM, New York, with USD 60 million billed, up from second in 2002, and third was former number two Clear Channel's top 40 KIIS-FM, Los Angeles, with 59.8 million.
It was followed in an unchanged fourth spot by Infinity's Alternative KROQ-FM, Los Angeles whilst fifth rank went to Emmis's rhythmic/chart KPWR-FM, Los Angeles, up from seventh.
Below it in the same sixth rank was Infinity's WCBS-AM, New York, with former fifth-ranked Infinity Sports/Talk WFAN pushed down to eighth just below Clear Channel's Los Angeles talker KFI-AM, which moved up from 18th.
BIAfn Vice President Dr. Mark Fratrik, PhD, commented that although radio had slower growth in 2003 he expected revenues to increase 5.5% this year.
"Radio had slower growth in 2003, but is poised to show strong growth in 2004, with revenues anticipated to grow by 5.5%."
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-03-23: Figures filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission show Clear Channel CEO L.Lowry Mays more than doubling his pay in 2003: Mays received a total of USD 7.2 million up from USD 3.08 million in 2002 when no stock options were in his package; in 2003 USD 2.01 million was salary and bonuses in addition to which he received stock options worth USD 4.27 billion and "restricted stock" worth USD 915,000 that he can sell in five years.
May's sons, Clear Channel President and COO Mark P. Mays and vice president and chief financial officer Randall T. Mays each received the same stock options and stock as their father plus salary and bonuses totalling USD 1.69 million.
Their company reported 2003 revenues up 6% on 2002 to USD8.93 billion with net earnings up 58% to USD1.15 billion (See RNW Feb 25).
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
Previous Mark Mays:
Previous Randall Mays:
2004-03-23: Arbitron's RADAR 80 (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) Radio Network Audience Report just released covering January 2, 2003 - December 10, 2003 again shows no changes in rankings at the very top with ABC Daytime Direction Network again retaining first rank followed by Westwood CNN Max Radio Network but ABC Morning News Radio Network has moved up to third place pushing Premiere Pulse Network down one into fourth.
Further down there were more changes as Jones MediaAmerica TWC Radio Network, one of three networks making its debut in RADAR, came sixth: The other new networks were CrystalNet Prestige (26th) and Premiere Urban One Radio Network (34th).
In the top five places, top-ranked ABC Daytime network lost 534,000 listeners a week to end up with a weekly audience of 8.92 million, down from 9.45 million in the RADAR 79 survey; its AQH rating fell from 4.0 to 3.7
Second-ranked CNN Max lost 114,000 listeners a week to end with a reach of just fewer than 7.33 million and AQH rating up down from 3.2 to 3.0.
Moving up one rank from fourth to third ABC Morning News Radio Network gained 320,000 listeners a week to end up with just above 5.6 million and AQH up from 2.2 to 2.3.
Premiere Pulse Network fell one rank to fourth although it also gained - up some 50,000 listeners a week to end up with 5.47 million and AQH down from 2.3 to 2.2.
In fifth rank Premiere Morning Drive AM Network gained 112,000 listeners a week to end up with just fewer than 5.13 million and the same AQH of 2.1.
During the RADAR 80 survey period, 76 percent of U.S. consumers, age 12+, heard one or more network radio commercials in the course of a week, up a percent on the RADAR 79 figure.
Among the prime audience demographics sought by advertisers, the commercials that aired on the 40 radio networks now rated reached percentages 77% of Adults, age 12-34 (up 1%); an unchanged 78% percent of Adults, age 35-49; and 73% of Adults, age 50+ (up 1%).
As in the past, radio did better among upper-income adults with 79% - 1% up on RADAR 79 - of adults living in households earning USD 75,000 a year or more are in the network audience each week.
The survey for RADAR 80 is based on more than 70,000 diary keepers across the US.
Previous Disney/ABC, America:
Previous RADAR release (RADAR 79):
Previous Premiere Networks:
Previous Westwood One:
2004-03-23: The BBC Asian network is to launch "Silver Street", its first "Radio Soap Opera" to which it has committed spending of more than GBP 1 million (USD 1.85 million) on May 24.
Created by British Asian writers and producers, ten-minute segments will air on weekdays with a weekend omnibus.
The programme follows the lives of young Asians living in a fictitious street in a Midlands city and will deal with issues involving the Asian community in a drama whose characters include Property developers, club promoters and a potential Asian football star.
Vijay Sharma, Head of The Asian Network, said the drama was "great news for The Asian Network as we expect Silver Street to become a key part of how we explore the lives and concerns of Asians across the country."
Gordon House, Head of Radio Drama, added, "I'm delighted that the BBC is showing its commitment to the Asian Network by commissioning a radio soap across the week.
"It's going to be realistic, dramatic and - I hope - great entertainment! We want it to become a fixed point in people's lives."
2004-03-23: William K. Marimow, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and editor of the Baltimore Sun newspaper from April 2000 until January this year when he was replaced with Orlando Sentinel editor Tim Franklin, has been named as managing editor for US National Public Radio (NPR) News.
In the newly created post, which he moves to on May 2, he will oversee NPR's national news staff, newscasts and training whilst managing editor Barbara Rehm will oversee foreign coverage and production of NPR's newsmagazine and talk shows.
Both managing editors will report to NPR Vice President for News Bruce Drake who commented, "Over the last four years, the audience for NPR News has expanded by 64 percent, positioning the network as a primary source of comprehensive and in-depth news for more than 22 million weekly listeners."
"We could not have done better than Bill Marimow when it comes to the kind of journalist and manager that NPR needs to help us continue to improve and expand its coverage."
Marimow, whose career also included a seven-year spell as managing editor of the Sun until 2000, a period in which the paper won Pulitzer Prizes for investigative reporting (1998) and for feature writing (1997).
Prior to moving to the Sun he had worked on the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News in various roles and he and fellow Inquirer reporter Jonathan Neumann won a Pulitzer in 1978 for a series of stories on criminal violence by the Philadelphia Police Department, which led to a U. S. Justice Department investigation of the police homicide division as a result which six homicide detectives were convicted in federal court of conspiring to violate the civil rights of a man who was falsely convicted of murder.
2004-03-23: Sex talk may not be the only current bad news for a key demographic of radio listeners - youngsters who turn up the sound in vehicles - according to a report from the Memorial University in Newfoundland that concluded that loud noise decreases reaction time and decision-making abilities for drivers.
The University conducted a study in which people were asked to perform physical and mental tasks while listening to noise that varied in level from around 53 decibels - the kind of background noise level in an office - to an ear-splitting 95 decibels - a level at which Canada limits workplace exposure to a one-hour period - and found that times were off by around a tenth for performing physical tasks and a fifth for mental ones.
Duane Button, who performed the study while a master's student at Memorial, told the Canadian Press that the difference could be significant when driving: "You have people and vehicles and pedestrians and stop signs and lights all coming at you at one time. You have this noise blasting in your ear. You have your kids behind you," he said from Winnipeg, where he is pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Manitoba.
"If you lose a bit of reaction time then that .035 seconds can be the difference between an accident or not."
Although hearing accommodates to higher noise levels the brain does not according to the study and Dr. David Behm, a professor of human kinetics at Memorial University, commented, "What we thought was that perhaps over time you'll get what's called accommodation."
"If you're sitting in your car and you turn on your radio and the traffic around is loud so you turn up the radio a bit more. Then a good song comes up and you turn it up a bit more. You keep on turning the radio up . . . The next day you get in the car and the radio is blasting and you wonder how the hell did I have the radio up so high? What happens is your ears accommodate to noise."
Another area where radio may suffer with revenues from this demographic is in alcohol advertising on radio, which amounts to around USD 230 million a year in the US.
Under a new Distilled Spirits Council and Beer Institute advertising code 70% of a radio station's listeners have to be aged 21 or above for it to take alcohol advertising, a figure increased from
51% under a previous code that applied only to spirits whereas the new one also takes in beer and wine advertising: The percentage applies to all advertising placements on TV, Radio, Print, and at Promotional Events.
In a report in the New Jersey Star-Ledger programming consultant Alex DeMers said he understood why the beer companies had made the change to reach "the appropriate audience" but added, "they're being inconsistent about the methodology used to determine the share of the audience. For instance, on the infamous Super Bowl, how many six year olds were exposed to beer ads?"
He thought the Code would have most impact at modern rock and alternative stations and commented, "I have one modern rock client where the alcohol advertisers won't buy past 3 p.m. The thinking by this buyer in a top 10 market is that the teen composition of the audience is greater in the evening, so they're advertising in morning drive and midday."
Distilled Spirits Council of the United States - Advertising code:
New Jersey Star-Ledger - alcohol advertising report:
Toronto Star - Noise report:
2004-03-22: Although yet again last week matters of indecency hogged headlines about radio in the US we start this week's look at print comment on the medium from the UK where Paul Donovan in his Sunday Times Radio Waves column marked an upcoming anniversary, that of pirate radio in the UK.
As Donovan notes the pirates then broadcast from offshore, using ships and abandoned wartime forts, with the first record on Radio Caroline's Good Friday 1964 launch being the Rolling Stones' Not Fade Away; the station was founded by Ronan O'Rahilly whose grandfather was one of the leaders of the Easter rebellion and was shot by the English in Dublin in 1916.
He also notes that the history of the stations, although they did alter the face of British Radio and ultimately led to the formation of BBC Radio 1, was not always one of romantic rebellion - he writes "The owner of Radio City, based on a fort on Shivering Sands, off Whitstable, was shot dead in a business row in 1966, precipitating a murder trial and the acceleration of the bill that eventually drove the pirates off the air."
The anniversary is being marked on Radio Caroline, which is now on satellite and the Internet and also by BBC Radio Essex, which for the week from April 10 will broadcast "Pirate BBC Essex" from the LV 18, a former lightship vessel owned by the Pharos Trust, which wants to turn it into an educational and tourist vessel. The signal, which will include music from the pirate's 1964 to 1967 heyday will be on FM and AM frequencies and also online.
The station web site already includes reminiscences posted by listeners who remember the times.
In the US, although most of the current indecency debate is focussed on today, it did provide a cue for Ed Schwartz - Chicago Ed - to reminisce about times past on radio and in particular compare attitude now and then.
"The current national uproar over broadcast indecency wouldn't be occurring," he writes, "if the people behind the microphones understood they have access to more than a personal PA system. They too are protecting licenses, but most don't know that and haven't been told. Saying that, I am totally opposed to any action by Congress to micro manage the content of American radio. It's the business of broadcasting, not the government."
Schwartz then goes on to comment, "A broadcaster can be clever, cutting edge and entertaining without risking a station's license. One of the most talented radio performers in the history of the business was a guy by the name of Bill Ballance. He's the guy who perfected a form of "intimate radio" directed totally at women. He began an afternoon talk show in Los Angeles in 1968 called Bill Ballance's Feminine Forum (two Ballance shows are available on ReelRadio)."
" My California radio pals were in awe of this smooth talking, witty, conversational possessor of broadcast charm that caused west coast women to call in and pour out their hearts and deepest secrets. Hardly a radio in Southern California wasn't tuned to KGBS when he was on."
RNW note - Schwartz also comes out strongly against the penalties being proposed, especially proposals to fine talent as well as licensees; it's a view we share and we do not think any company that proposes, as Clear Channel has done, to both dismiss a DJ and then add a fine as well is fit to hold a licence. How would Clear Channel feel, we ask, about revocation of its licences and fine on top?
Much of the comment now making it to print is opposed to the (over) reaction to the revealing of a brief flash of Janet Jackson with a good example coming from Frank Rich in the New York Times.
He commenced, "If we lived in Afghanistan under the Taliban, perhaps it might make sense that Janet Jackson's breast (not even the matched set!) would lead to one of the most hysterical outbreaks of Puritanism in recent, even not-so-recent, American history. So what gives?"
Rich widens the context into one of "governmental media management" and continues; "we've seen its ramifications ever since - whether in the docility and self-censorship of the news media in the run-up to the Iraq war or in an episode as relatively trivial as CBS's dropping of 'The Reagans.'"
"While the current uproar over broadcast indecency is ostensibly all about sex, it is still all about politics, especially in an election year when a culture war rages. Washington's latest crew of Puritan enforcers - in the administration, Congress and the Federal Communications Commission - are all pandering to a censorious Republican political base that is the closest thing America has to its own Taliban."
"The media giants, fearful of losing the deregulatory financial favours the federal government can bestow, will knuckle under accordingly until the coast is clear."
Rich then comments on suggestions of a political motivation in dumping on Howard Stern and then goes to what we perceive as the ultimate crux of the matter: "But no matter what happens on Election Day, the market will call the shots in America. The market is the one god that brings even Washington's born-again Puritans to their knees."
"That's why you don't hear any noise from politicians about curtailing violence in pop culture now that parents are taking their kids to the sadomasochist gore fest known as "The Passion of the Christ." No one is going to threaten a hugely popular network show like "Friends," whose heroine, Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), has had 20 sexual partners in 10 seasons, by a recent USA Today accounting. No one is likely to ask a pharmaceutical powerhouse like Eli Lilly to curtail its Cialis commercials, with their talk of four-hour erections, or to succeed in interfering with the 70 percent of Americans who by choice subscribe to the cable and satellite TV outlets that bring them everything from "South Park" to hard-core porn."
A number of papers also reported reactions from the perspective of broadcasters worried about what is permissible. In a North West Indiana Times report by Andrea Holecek reactions came from both commercial and public broadcasters.
Former Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott who owns several radio stations said of proposed changes, "We want to stop people from doing what is repulsive, but it's very judgmental. I see us as a country putting too much power in the hands of individuals to determine what's right. In terms of my freedom of speech, at some point in time, it's no longer free if you have to worry about a USD 500,000 fine every time you say something someone else objects to and considers indecent."
Less hostile but still concerned was Leigh Ellis, president of Radio One Communications, operator of four Indian stations. "I'm for the law 100 percent but don't think the law is specific enough," he said. "It's too broad. It's like putting in a four-lane expressway smooth as glass and then telling people to drive at a safe speed. Give us rules to follow."
"The (broadcast) industry has always be self-policing The problem is how to enforce the rules. What are the guidelines? In whose mind is indecency? Janet Jackson, definitely. But what's indecent in language? For men talking in a bar it's different from something on the air. Broadcasters are in favour of increasing fines if the rules are laid out on what's indecency. But, in my opinion, it (the rule) is too broad."
In similar vein, Boston rock station WAAF-FM program director Keith Hastings was quoted expressing reservations in a column by Dean Johnson in the Boston Herald.
He complained of delays by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in announcing rulings and also about the lack of clarity in the rules, saying, "Some of my peers in other companies are really confused and attempting to get in line with the new world order.''
At the same time he did not let broadcasters off the hook, commenting, "I've been wondering when it would come to this. I'm frustrated by the way our industry has behaved. Some of the major operators, for many years, directed their stations to continue to push the envelope and never drew any lines themselves. These operators are now in the position where they are scrambling to fix a situation that, in many ways, they created themselves, causing their words to ring a little hollow.''
Amongst those Hastings was likely to be referring to is Howard Stern, who's certainly been in the sights of regulators as well as being dropped by Clear Channel.
Stern hasn't been backward in coming forward about the matter either and in his latest comments on last Friday's show as reported by John Mainelli in the New York Post he went on the attack in an unexpected direction, accusing Oprah Winfrey of being what Mainelli termed a "fellow potty-mouth".
Stern alleged Winfrey had aired similar material on her TV show and pleaded on air with his K-Rock general manager Tom Chiusano to allow him to play an excerpt from an Oprah show on teen sex in which she discussed the activity "tossing the salad."
"If they fine me for this, then they got to fine Oprah - the darling of the world. And if they fine Oprah, all hell is gonna break loose," Stern told his listeners
The material aired on Winfrey's Thursday show also included a writer for her magazine O explained in meticulous detail what she described as popular sexual pastimes for America's teenagers, including oral and anal sex practices and describing in detail a variety of slang sex terms.
Chiusano put Stern on hold and checked with Infinity's lawyers who said the material was not to be used and the station kept the sexual references off the air.
Chiusano commented, "Under the standards as they now exist, our answer is, do we believe that that's indecent? No, we don't. "Do we believe that they [the FCC] believe it is? Yes."
Also at risk now are Atlanta 96 Rock hosts Larry Wachs and Eric Von Haessler, The Regular Guys, who've been suspended until investigation is completed into a broadcast intended to mock the campaign that went wrong end ended up with comments from a porn actress going out on air under a Honda truck advertisement (See RNW Mar 20).
The idea had been to play the tape in reverse in a segment "backward smut" but a microphone was apparently left open. Before the incident, however, according to a report by Rodney Ho in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Wachs had expressed concern and commented, "Nobody can afford to be on the hook for a half-million-dollar fine. It's ridiculous. It's one strike and you're out. They give more appeals to convicted murderers than a disc jockey saying something indecent."
Von Haessler said in a comment that may come back to haunt the duo, " We have to stay on our game even if the rules have changed. If you have more than one act in your back pocket, you can negotiate your way through the rules. We can do that."
The problem of unintended slip-ups also applied as we have already reported to Sandra Tsing Loh, who was fired by KCW-FM in Santa Monica after she said she'd like to "fuck" her husband in a commentary that was not beeped as had been intended.
Loh was offered her job back after the station checked further on the facts (See RNW Mar 16) but has opted not to return and has certainly been getting her 15-minutes of fame.
In an interview with Salon Magazine for an article by John Gorenfield she spoke about the incident and her reasons for not returning to the station. In particular she also attacked US National Public Radio (NPR) ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin over his comments about the matter, saying, "Oh my Lord. That's their official take? Let's see ... I was just going to say something unprintable. He's a pompous gasbag. If that's what they think, they're out of touch, head in the sand, thesaurus-suffocated, timid antiquarians. I think his essay delineated the very definition of pompous gasbag, and I'm sending you a draft of what I've written to him ... about his timidity, taking this case and mentioning me by name, and then deliberately leaving out a few facts."
Dvorkin's comments are still online for those who want to assess his pomposity quotient for themselves. In the current comment he also takes up a number of cases of abuse of word, an activity that some might consider of itself pompous but with which we find ourselves in agreement on the basis that to misuse words and degrade a language is a negative activity whereas creating new likely phrases to express a meaning clearly - something that upsets some people - seems to us positive.
The phrases he takes up include the use of "begs the question" as meaning to ask it rather than the distinct meaning of to duck answering and this one where we think the meaning needs preservation since too many politicians are allowed to get away with "begging the question", not least those who are making current indecency judgements on the basis of guidelines issued by the FCC that in our view make a nonsense of their decisions (As in the singer Bono's use of an adjectival "fuckng" during the Golden Globe awards- See RNW Mar 16).
He also comments on the misuse of the words Diva (an operatic prima Donna or successful singer of non-operatic music), Guru (a personal spiritual teacher and more widely a mentor) and, in this complimenting Linda Wertheimer for using the word correctly, Maven (A person who has special knowledge or experience; an expert).
And now for listening recommendations: First of all old radio but relevant material from Laugh.com's free MP3s in the form of 3 minutes of George Carlin's Seven Dirty Words that were banned from US airwaves after the airing of the monologue on Pacifica's WBAI-FM led to a complaint and a case that went all the way to a Supreme Court ruling against Pacifica in 1978.
For those who prefer text to sullied ears, a link is given below to the transcript as prepared by the FCC. It may be worth comparing with the current list in H. R. 3687 available from the US government.
And for something completely different, this time still for the moment on the BBC Radio 4 Listen Again web site. It's the programme Cricket Calypso in which Alaskan judge Ray Funk looks at, well cricket and calypso
In similar vein in terms of programming that on the surface we didn't expect to find as engaging, Thursday on radio 4 at 11:30 GMT Julia Clements: A Life in Flowers is a tribute to the eponymous Julia who is still teaching and writing about flower arranging at the age of 98.
The channel also has its regular 18:30 GMT comedy and this week at 23:00 GMT This is Craig Brown takes a look at the world of communications that looks as if it will be worth a listen.
On Tuesday at 20:30 GMT BBC Radio 2 has the third and final part of its George Michael's story (Part 2 is still on the web site for now) and on Wednesday at 22:00 GMT the final episode of From Band to Brand looks at the promotion of music in today and ask how much control do artists have over their product.
In more serious mood the story of David Hahn, the Radioactive Boy Scout, from National Public Radio's Weekend Edition on Saturday -- the scout was trying to build a home model breeder nuclear reactor at home - is worth a listen if only for the part about how he got his radioactive material. At least Hahn was allowed to keep his scout merit badge for the work he'd done.
From the same show came a report on calculating the cost of the Iraq war.
And finally drama, this time from BBC Radio 3 with Sunday's production of Henrik Ibsen's The Pretenders with Paul Scofield as Bishop Nicholas (Currently on the listen-again part of the site).
Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Ho:
Boston Herald - Johnson:
Carlin web site - transcript of Seven Dirty Words:
Chicago Ed - Ed Schwarz:
Laugh.com - Carlin dirty words (1.42 Mb MP3):
Miami Herald - editorial:
New York Post - Mainelli:
New York Times - Rich:
North West Indiana Times - Holecek:
NPR - Dvorkin ombudsman page:
ReelRadio - Ballance audio (29 mins programme):
Salon - Gorenfield:
Thomas (US govt) site - Current "dirty words list" in bill HR 3687:
2004-03-22: According to the UK Sunday Times, Belfast-based broadcaster UTV, which last week revealed that it had made an offer for competitor SMG but pulled out as the target's share price rose, is now preparing as bit for Galway Bay FM.
Galway has been put up for sale at a price of between Euros 10-15 million (USD 12- 18 million) and already has links with UTV, which sells national airtime for it through its wholly owned subsidiary Broadcast Media Sales.
UTV already has radio holdings in the Republic of Ireland including a profitable local stations in Cork and Limerick plus loss-making Dublin station Lite FM.
In the US, the Meredith Corporation has agreed to purchase Michigan station WKNX-AM, licensed to Bay City.
Terms have not been disclosed but Meredith, which owns WNEM-TV 5 says it will change the station's format to news/talk when the deal is completed; it says it is also to file to change the call letters to WNEM-AM
2004-03-22: A controversial offer by a German radio station to pay Euros 1 million (USD 1.23) million to any Bayern Munich player who scored an own-goal in the club's crucial league game against Hertha Berlin failed to attract any takers but has led to condemnation by the German football authorities.
Bayern are second placed in the German Football League while Hertha is struggling to avoid relegation.
Bayern Officials condemned the offer as in bad taste and the German Football League's controlling body said it was "immoral".
The offer began as an advertising stunt on RTL-FM in Berlin but soon escalated with talk of legal action, of bookmakers freezing bets and another bookmaker offering to take bets at 1000-1 on a player doing so.
In the end the Saturday game ended in a one-all draw and with nine games left Bayern is now 11 points behind Werder Bremen in the German Football League after Werder beat Wolfsburg 2-0 on Sunday.
2004-03-21: Yet again North America had the top regulatory story of the week and yet again it was the issue of indecency; elsewhere Canada was fairly busy and elsewhere fairly quiet as far as radio was concerned.
There was nothing from Australia relating to radio but in Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in a number of radio decisions as well as the release of its annual report on Canadian commercial radio: This showed the industry to have had a healthy 2003 (See RNW Mar 19).
Radio decisions included - national then in order of province:
Approval of new Voice of Asia Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi and English-language specialty audio service.
Approval of application to change the authorized contours of CIGV-FM Penticton, as a result of a decrease in the effective radiated power, from 10,600 watts to 6,300 watts, and an increase in the antenna height from 756 metres to 758 metres.
Approval of transitional digital radio undertakings (DRU) associated with CJZN-FM and CKKQ-FM to serve Victoria.
Approval of 1,800 watts English-language FM at Quesnel, to replace Modern Country music CKCQ-AM
Approval of low-power English-language tourist information FMs in Morden, Morris, and Winkler.
Approval of application by y Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. for an extension of the time limit to submit an application predicated on the use of a frequency other than 100.1 MHz for the operation of a new native Type B FM radio station in Montréal that will feature programming in English, French and Aboriginal languages.
Approval of new French-, Anishnabe- and Algonquin-language Native Type B FM radio station in Rouyn-Noranda.
Approval of low-power English-language Christian music FM radio at Nipawin
The CRTC also issued a public notice with an April 20 deadline for interventions that involved a number of radio applications. These included - national then in order of province:
Application by Nexaudio.Net Inc. to renew its English-language radio network licence that includes a variety of programming including news, music and special interest features.
Application by Valley Broadcasters Ltd. to renew the licence of the English-language radio network for the purpose of broadcasting some programming of CKQR-FM Castlegar on CKGF-AM, Grand Forks, British Columbia
Application by Radio Bellechasse to add FM transmitters at Saint-Anselme, Saint-Jean-de-l'île-d'Orléans and Saint-Malachie to broadcast the programming of CFIN-FM, Lac Etchemin.
Applications by Astral Radio to amend the licences of oldies CHRD-FM Drummondville and CFEI-FM Saint-Hyacinthe to broadcast a 30% level of Canadian music rather than the 35% normally required.
Application by Sur Sagar Radio Inc. to allow it to extend the deadline for it to commence operations of its transitional digital radio programming undertaking at Toronto by a year until 17 April 2005.
The Commission is also holding a public hearing in Quebec on May 17 concerning a number of other applications for which the intervention deadline is April 22:
Radio applications included are:
Application by Kootenay Co-operative Radio to add an FM transmitter in Kootenay Bay, to broadcast the programming of community radio station CJLY-FM Nelson.
Application by Native Communication Inc. to add an FM transmitter in Flin Flon to broadcast the programming of CINC-FM Thompson.
Application by Radio Beauséjour Inc. to add a 2400 watts FM transmitter in Baie Sainte-Anne to broadcast the programming of CJSE-FM Shédiac.
Application to acquire the assets of CKNU-FM Donnaconna and its transmitter CKNU-FM-1 Sainte-Croix-de-Lotbinière.
There was nothing from the UK but in Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has now signed a new ten-year contract for Highland Radio's service for North Donegal (See RNW Mar 16)
From the US, the main news again continues to be indecency penalties with Clear Channel and Infinity in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sights again (See RNW Mar 20).
There were also a number of penalty decisions concerning technical offences (See RNW Mar 20 and Mar 18 ).
In Vermont a judge refused the Commission's application to close down radio free Brattleboro and gave it a stay of execution (See RNW Mar 17).
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
2004-03-21: The US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) says it now has an all-time record number of 6,691 members comprised of 5,937 Radio stations across the U.S., and 1,024 associate members in networks, representative firms, sales, and international organizations.
Chairman David Kennedy, who is also President and Chief Operating Officer of Susquehanna Radio, said the numbers were "indicative of how relevant the RAB is to today's Radio industry. As our industry has grown and evolved, RAB has led the way on significant initiatives that have helped elevate Radio's position in the marketplace. Now, more than ever, the RAB plays a crucial role in spearheading our industry's progress to the next level."
RAB President and CEO Gary Fries added, "RAB is only as strong as its membership," observed Fries. "We are grateful for the industry's support and remain committed to impacting Radio's share of revenue through direct dialogue with clients and agencies, effective sales and management tools, and real-world training programs. We thoroughly research and analyse the industry's needs to identify programs that are pertinent to Radio's ultimate goal."
2004-03-20: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a number of indecency rulings that seem likely to geld the country's shock-jocks, many of whom are already altering their shows as a precaution against being FCC'd. It's also been involved in other cases involving technical breaches,
The latest "indecency" rulings mainly involved radio - with penalties proposed for Clear Channel and Infinity - but also included a ruling that singer Bono's use of the phrases "fucking brilliant" in the TV Golden Globes award broadcast by NBC breached its regulations despite wording in the regulations that, in their normal meanings, would appear to put the phrase in the clear as originally determined by the Commission's enforcement bureau.
These definitions did not let NBC off the hook according to the decision overruling the enforcement bureau, in which the FCC says that given the core meaning of the "F-Word," any use of that word or a variation, in any context, inherently has a sexual connotation, that its use in the awards ceremony, was shocking and gratuitous and that delay mechanisms could have allowed bleeping.
The FCC then goes on to make a ruling in terms of profanity, commenting that in the past it has focussed on this in terms of blasphemous comments but that from now on it will make such judgements in terms of words that are "as highly offensive as the "F-Word."
In the case of NBC no financial penalty has been suggested but in the radio cases, the FCC has gone for maximum financial penalties in more recent cases against Clear Channel and Infinity but only confirmed an original penalty of USD 7,000 for another Infinity case that dated back to 1999.
In the Clear Channel case, which related to a maximum fine of USD 55,000 is proposed relating to the broadcast by Florida stations WAVW-FM, Stuart, Florida, and WCZR-FM, Vero Beach, in a breakfast show in May last year that aired what was purportedly a couple engaging in sex and then the host discussing sexual activities with them.
The FCC commented that to broadcast "eating sounds when referring to oral sex and loud moaning sounds during other sexual activities demonstrates that, in context, this program was not a clinical discussion of a married couple's sexual behaviour."
Separate statements were issued by Commissioners Jonathan S. Adelstein, Michael J. Copps, and Kevin J. Martin, all of whom welcomed the fact that the FCC had proceeded in this case without a full transcript or tape of the material. Copps again dissented and said that hearings should have been held about licence revocation, commenting, "As I recognized in a prior case, Clear Channel has taken some steps in recent days to address indecency on its stations. A hearing would have provided the Commission with the ability to consider what actions the stations took in response to these broadcasts and to decide on the appropriate penalty."
In one Infinity case a maximum USD 27,500 USD penalty is proposed in connection with a broadcast in a 2001 broadcast of the Howard Stern Show on WKRK-FM, Detroit, Michigan.
The discussion involved "definitions" of the various sexual terms including "blumpkin" - receiving oral sex while you're sitting on a toilet defecating if you are a man; Infinity had claimed that this did not fall inside the FCC's indecency definitions but the Commission ruled otherwise.
Again separate - and similar - statements to those made in the Clear Channel case were issued by the same trio.
The other Infinity case concerned the 1999 broadcast during a live rap/hip-hop concert, "The Last Damn Show", by WLLD-FM, Holmes Beach, Florida, of lyrics, "God damn, where are my pussy eating niggers? Any my niggers into eating pussy? Y'll make some noise. Hey, where are my girls? If you're eating pussy, where you at? That's it. Oh, they all like it. I ain't eating no pussy tonight. If you all don't like it, fuck it. I ain't going to beg you. You like it? "
Infinity had appealed and the commission rejected their arguments and confirmed the original penalty again with statements from the same Commissioners. Copps in this case expressed dissatisfaction with the delays involved.
In two cases of technical breaches, the commission has cancelled one USD 7,000 penalty and reduced another from USD 7,000 to USD 5,600.
Cancelled was a proposed penalty against Kaspar Broadcasting Co., licensee of KWRE-AM, Warrenton, Missouri, for failing to enclose its antenna within an effective locked fence. The station had not denied the offence but explained that during the inspection it had been broadcasting a service commemorating the September 11, 2001 tragedy from the local firehouse, had experienced technical difficulties with its remote equipment, and that its employees left the gate open briefly (over a period of thirty minutes) to facilitate repairs to the equipment while providing continuous coverage of the community memorial event. The FCC noted a past unblemished record and accepted the explanation.
Reduced was another penalty for the same offence, this time involving Radio Bonners Ferry Inc., licensee of KBFI-AM, Bonners Ferry, Idaho, which had admitted that its enclosure fence had been leaning and the gate could not be closed or locked.
It had sought a reduction on the basis of a past record, remedial action taken, and the ground conditions. The reduction was granted only on the first basis.
[RNW note - The definition published by the FCC - that indecent speech is "language that, in context, depicts or describes sexual or excretory activities or organs in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium" - is related by it in an expansion of the definition to three tests to be applied:
"(1) The explicitness or graphic nature of the description or depiction of sexual or excretory organs or activities;
(2) Whether the material dwells on or repeats at length descriptions of sexual or excretory organs or activities;
(3) whether the material appears to pander or is used to titillate, or whether the material appears to have been presented for its shock value."
We find it difficult to rule against NBC on the basis of these definitions and consider the FCC enforcement bureau was correct and the FCC needs to change its published rules before it can honourably or reasonably overturn the original ruling; this, of course, might leave the grounds open for legal appeals on First Amendment issues and a proper debate which we would consider valuable but suspect the politicians would fear.
It is not unreasonable to us that American citizens should wish to have some form of content regulation of public airwaves but it is unreasonable and against essential principles of a law-abiding country to write the rules and enforce them for years with one standard and then suddenly change interpretation in a manner that has obvious flaws in terms of language and just treatment of offenders.
In this context as regards use of the term "profane" and its redefinition, we would note that the he root of the word is profanus -outside the temple; the word would appear to us to clearly be linked to a religious context, as indeed definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster prime definitions clearly indicate, making the new FCC definitions suspect although the FCC might just squeeze in its meaning under the secondary definition "to debase by a wrong, unworthy, or vulgar use."
Thinking about this, however, many comments by US politicians from the President downwards would fit the definition.
We are reminded of a weekly newspaper in Yorkshire which, when hit by a local councillor's complaint of misreporting a committee made good the next week by printing a full page with the "um", "errs", incorrect words and imprecations to great local satisfaction by most people. Oh for major broadcasters with the courage to make the point by "beeping" the President's speech every day for a week on this basis. And maybe for some talk hosts to drop their current language and refer to FCC'ing as a verb with suitable adverbial and adjectival forms also to be used as appropriate.]
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-03-20: Clear Channel Atlanta Rock station WKLS-FM (96 Rock) has suspended its Regular Guys morning team of Larry Wachs and Eric Von Haessler following the broadcast of a stunt in which a porn actress was recorded simulating sex acts.
The tape was apparently to have been aired backwards to avoid indecency problems but ended up being aired underneath a commercial.
The station has suspended the two while it investigates and says initial understanding is that a microphone was left open during a commercial break. "Best of " shows are to be aired until the station finalises a decision: it has already apologised on air.
RNW comment: Obviously a chance here to "CALL THE REGULAR GUYS F%&K YOU LINE", and maybe yet another suggestion for "Eric's f&%ked up website of the week".
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-03-20: BBC Radio 4 has announced that barrister, former law lecturer and radio and TV writer Clive Coleman is to take over as presenter of its "Law in Action" series.
He replaced Marcel Berlins who steps down on Friday next week after 15 years hosting the programme: It will then take a break until returning for its summer series on May 28.
Commenting on the change Radio 4 controller Helen Boaden said, "Over many years, Marcel has brought great authority and passion to the programme combined with real wit and insight."
"We wish him well and welcome Clive Coleman who comes with a distinguished pedigree as a barrister and writer."
2004-03-20: In the latest round of Rush Limbaugh's fight against Palm Beach prosecutors over his alleged doctors hopping activities, his attorney Roy Black has unearthed what his release terms a "fatal flaw" in the prosecutors' case, saying that the prosecutors ignored a 2002 Appeals Court decision ruling on another case from the prosecutors' office.
In the case, the Appeals Court ruled out blood test evidence in a driving under the influence case because police had not followed Florida's consent laws.
Black commented that the prosecutors had argued that they did not have to follow Florida's medical privacy statute because only the Fourth Amendment applies but the Fourth District Court had already rejected this identical argument.
"This court ruled that the Florida Legislature has the right to impose 'higher, but not lower, standards for police conduct than those required by the Fourth Amendment,'" said Black. "The Legislature did exactly that with the law that defines the procedure the state must follow before it can intrude on a patient's medical affairs. This is not just a technicality. The Legislature specifically elevated the standard for individual medical privacy rights."
Black has said in court that there was no doctor shopping, but that Limbaugh should not have to sacrifice his right to medical privacy to prove his innocence.
Limbaugh has garnered massive support for his stance in a Palm Beach Daily Post poll on whether the attorneys' office should be allowed to use the medical records in his case: When we last checked only 7.65% said yes with 92.35% against out of just under 10,000 votes.
Limbaugh himself in an appearance at the conservative Media Research Center's annual Dishonor Awards referred to the Palm Beach Post as the Palm Beach prosecutors' "newsletter" spoke of a meeting with the newspaper editors at which he complained that other prominent figured in the area had not been prosecuted when they became reliant on painkillers and said the prosecutors went after him largely because of e-mails from Rush-haters.
He said the editors responded to his citing of reports from conservative media by terming them "partisan media" and then turned the phrase round to say that he will now speak not of "mainstream media" but "partisan media."
RNW note: As always we're cautious about the meaning of such polls since they are usually massively biased in favour of those who feel strongly about an issue. In this case, since polling is not barred to out-of-state votes and identification is not required, the very fact that a link to the Limbaugh site calls for his supporters to "Vote in the Palm Beach Post poll on Rush", a large majority in his favour could be expected.
In fact, bearing in mind that he claims a weekly audience of up to 20 million, to get a measly 8911 votes indicates either that most of his listeners either don't have Internet connections and/or don't bother with the site or that they really aren't that active in his support - even halving his audience it's still less than a hundredth of a percent of the total. Guess what Rush would do with any political opponent claiming that amount of support?
Palm Beast Daily Post report - includes poll window:
2004-03-19: As the US tizz about broadcast indecency continues Viacom President and COO Mel Karmazin has written to Kansas Republican Sen. Sam Brownback and apologised for the comment, made by caller who phoned in to the Howard Stern Show, asking whether Rick Salomon, who was taped having sex with hotel heiress Paris Hilton, had ever banged "a famous nigger chick?"
The comment and sex discussions on the show were given by Clear Channel as the reason it dumped Stern's show (See RNW Feb 27).
"I apologize that such an offensive racist term was broadcast on one of our radio stations," Karmazin wrote to Brownback, adding that "while offensive, this language does not fall within the ambit of the [Federal Communication Commission - FCC] indecency definition.'
Brownback has said he is not satisfied and his spokesman said he is to write to Karmazin citing specific examples and ask him to explain how some material aired was not indecent under the company's guidelines.
Stern has not commented on the exchange but a report from the Center for Public Integrity, compiled from FCC NALs (Notices of Apparent Liability) and other records shows that his show has been responsible for around half the broadcast indecency penalties proposed since 1990.
The total amounted to USD 3.95 million with Stern and Infinity attracting proposed penalties of USD 1.96 million and paying a record USD 1.71 million in 1995 to settle five separate actions.
Next in the "rankings" according to the report was Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) with USD 753,000 in penalties and third the Opie and Anthony Show (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) with USD 378, 500.
The report also notes that broadcasters have complained about delays by the FCC in reaching decisions and said it has identified USD 152,150 in proposed fines that had been dismissed due to the expiration of the statute of limitations, more than half the amount relating to Stern shows.
It also cited on case where a penalty was issued in April 1994 but the FCC did not officially close the books and dismiss the complaint until July 2000.
There are however signs of opposition building to the current climate with a number of web sites such as StopFCC.com calling for those "Fed up with the government deciding what you can watch, read and listen to" to sign a petition that among other things says those signing it "consider further censorship attempts to be unconstitutional" and others calling for support for Stern.
These include the freestern.com and savehoward.com sites.
Center for Public Integrity report:
2004-03-19: Commercial radio is continuing to prosper in Canada according to latest statistics running to 2003 just released by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in its annual report containing statistical and financial data for private commercial radio in Canada.
The report says total 2003 revenues were up 7.8% on 2002 to almost CAD 1.2 billion (USD 900 million) and profits were up 31% to CAD 210.4 million (USD 158.4 million) and over the five years to the end of 2003 revenues were up 22% and net profits were up 137.3%.
FM did better than AM but the latter did record increased revenues in 2003, up by 2.5% over 2002, although over the five years they were down 2.6%.
Divided in terms of language, the CRTC says revenues for English stations in 2003 were up 2.6% to CAD 261 million (USD 196.5 million) whilst those of French-language stations rose only by 0.8%, to CAD 25.9 million (USD 19.5 million).
AM losses were also stemmed in 2003 when they were only CAD 3.6 million (USD 2.7 million) compared to almost CAD 22 million (USD 16.6 million) in 2002 and CAD 33.9 million (USD 25.5 million) in 1999.
FM revenues in 2003 were up 9.8% on a year earlier at CAD 883.2 million (USD 664.9 million) compared to an average annual growth over the past years of 7.5%: Profits did even better, growing by 17.2% in 2003 and by 74.6% over the five years.
English-language FMs grew their profits over the period by 82.6% on revenues up 33.8% and in 2003 they were up 17.6% to CAD 182.9 million (USD 137.1 million) on revenues up 9.3% to just above CAD 700 million (USD 527 million).
In contrast French-language FM's only increased profits by 37.1 % over the five years on revenues up 33.8% and for 2003 they managed increases of 12% -- to CAD 173 million (USD 130 million) - and 12.2% - to CAD 30.9 million (USD 23.3 million) - respectively.
The CRTC also reported on Ethnic and Aboriginal radio, which increased revenues over the five year period by 14%, with 2003 up 4.3% on a year earlier and more than doubled its operating profits to CAD 2 million (USD 1.5 million).
AM revenues were up 3.6% on a year in 2003 to CAD 19.4 million (USD 14.6) million whilst FM revenues were up 5.9% in the year to CAD 9.8 million (USD 7.4 million).
FM also turned losses of CAD 380,000 (USD 286,000) in 2002 to profits of CAD 292,000 (USD 213,000) in 2003.
The CRTC does not break up revenues in terms of formats but, like the US, AM in the country has largely been revived by switching away from music to news, sports and talk formats. Canada has also seen industry consolidation in the same manner as the US following an easing of regulations in 1997 that allowed broadcasters to own up to four stations in any one market.
CRTC report (3.22 Mb PDF):
2004-03-19: Veteran Los Angeles radio host JJ Jackson, also known as one of the early MTV video jockeys and as the host of "The Beatle Years" syndicated series, has died aged 62.
He moved to Los Angeles from Boston in 1968 and worked on afternoon drive at KLOS-FM for a decade later working at a number of stations before hosting in the mid-90s "The Beatle Years", which was syndicated by Westwood One to around 200 stations.
He was back at WLOS in 2000, hosting Sunday show The Seventh Day for two years and then joined KTWV-FM, The Wave, on afternoon drive.
2004-03-19: DAV College in Amritsar is planning an educational radio service on its campus that is expected to go on air within the next few months.
College Principal M L Aeri says that the proposed service will carry no adverts or entertainment music but only educational programming such as lectures plus notices and news from the college.
The college will assist students who cannot afford the FM receivers - these will only cost around INR 100 (USD 2.20) and will be able to receive on a preset frequency.
Lectures are also to be made available via the internet.
Previous Indian Radio:
2004-03-19: In what may be the last release of monthly Internet Broadcast Ratings from Arbitron - it is ceasing the service at the end of this month and it is not clear if it will issue March figures, the top ranked network and station were again AOL and MUSICMATCH.
In the top five, K-LOVE, which was third last month but is no longer rated, is absent from the station figures with AOL's Love Songs moving up to fourth from 11th.
The top five stations for February were (January figures in brackets):
1: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH (non-commercial) - TTSL 3,663,739 (3,636,655); CP 926,328 (906,452). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin Radio (commercial) - TTSL 1,156,317 (1,330,522); CP 200,154 (205,336). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
3: AOL Top Country (commercial) -TTSL 1,095,379 (989,544); CP 363,226 (338,474) Up from fourth with higher listening and reach.
4: AOL Love Songs (commercial) -TTSL 1,019,294 (767,220); CP 313,748 (199,481) Up from 11th with higher listening and reach.
5: AOL Smooth Jazz (commercial) - TTSL 981,786 (966,144); CP 168,349 (338,474). Same rank with higher listening but much lower reach.
*K-LOVE Contemporary Christian (non-commercial), which was third in January with TTSL 1,193,427 and CP 91,707 is no longer rated by Arbitron.
The top five networks for February were (January figures in brackets):
1: AOL Radio Network (commercial) - TTSL 25,113,704 (25,200,912); CP 4,346,765 (4,460,836). Same rank with higher listening but lower reach.
2: Yahoo LAUNCH (commercial)- TTSL 19,173,760 (15,557,585); CP 2,783,733 (2,556,017). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (non-commercial) TTSL 9,175,139 (9,721,080); CP 1,631,018 (1,707,493). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
4: Adsertion (sales network) -TTSL 3,073,250 (3,314,200); CP 284,902 (329,825). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) - TTSL 1,915,388 (2,283,697); CP 272,245 (289,806). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
Arbitron is not now ranking content delivery networks but it does list the top two -- Live365.com, which had a TTSL of 11,788,081 hours, down from 11,790,004 in January, and StreamGuys with a TTSL of 2,318,392 hours, down from 2,553,872.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings:
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast monthly ratings:
2004-03-18: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has set March 31 as the date for its Washington, D.C., Summit on Responsible Programming; speakers and panellists who have already confirmed they will attend include US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K Powell, Commissioners Michael J. Copps and Kevin J. Martin, AFTRA National Executive Director Greg Hessinger, Emmis Communications Radio Division President Rick Cummings and Parents Television Council President Brent Bozell.
NAB says that "to encourage open and candid dialogue, the summit will be closed to the news media."
RNW comment: What a herd of contemptible hypocritical wimps! Virtually all those attending this event is prepared to spout in public when it suits them but is seemingly afraid to do so on this occasion, although we're sure they'll come up with duly sanitized public relations guff at the end. There are no commercial concerns that require secrecy in this case - unless corporate officers are to publicize details of contracts with their staff. The matter is one of public interest and the commissioners, if no others present, are public servants who in our view should not have attended under these conditions.
2004-03-18: Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has announced that top-rated Los Angeles host Renan Almendarez Coello, "El Cucuy", suspended by Univision following a walk-out from his afternoon drive show on Univision's KSCA-FM last month (See RNW Feb 26) is to join its Los Angeles flagship station KLAX-FM on Monday in the 5a.m. to 11a.m. slot.
His slot at KCSA will be taken by Phoenix KHOT-FM midday host David 'El Gatillero' Palacios.
Coello, who moved to afternoons at KSCA in February last year (See RNW Feb 10, 2003) had topped the morning ratings for the then-Hispanic Broadcasting station before that.
Following the dispute with KSCA, now owned by Univision Radio, he had sought an end to his contract and was released from it on Wednesday by Univision.
Raúl Alarcón, Jr., President and CEO of SBS said, "We are delighted to bring the number one personality in Los Angeles to 97.9 La Raza and to return El Cucuy to his record-breaking morning prime-time audience."
"We are equally confident of the Company's newly strengthened position in attracting a larger share of ad revenues in the nation's largest Hispanic market. Most of all, I am particularly proud to, once again, have world-renowned Hispanic talent join SBS, a Hispanic-owned company."
Coello is taking his entire "Tropa Loca" (Crazy Troop) with him to his new show.
Univision Radio's Western Regional Programming Director Eleazar Garcia said they were "thrilled to welcome David 'El Gatillero' Palacios, one of the most popular Spanish-language radio personalities on the air today, to this new time slot" and noted that in the Fall Arbitrons his show on KHOT (La Nueva 105.9 Puro Mexico) achieved a 6.8 share among Adults 18-34 and outranked all other Spanish-language programs in that time period
Palacios new show, "El Show De El Gatillero" launches this afternoon on KCSA and also on KSOL/KSQL-FM "Estereo Sol" San Francisco/San Jose, KZOL-FM "Estereo Sol" Fresno, KOSL-FM "Sol 94.3" Sacramento, KISF-FM "La Nueva" Las Vegas and KHOT-FM "La Nueva" Phoenix.
2004-03-18: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has ruled that an CIGL-FM, Belleville, afternoon host Joey Martin breached its rules in the way he took a report on a U.N. investigation about Pygmies being subject to cannibalistic practices in North Eastern Congo and attempted to convert it into a "humorous" story.
In the report as aired by Ontario station Martin said, "U.N. officials said the two rebel factions often hire these Pygmies to hunt food for them. Now if the Pygmies return empty-handed, Rebel troops kill and eat them. The U.N. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, 'The U.N. is taking these accusations very seriously'."
The host then commented, "Well I can almost understand the Rebels. Maybe the Pygmies are, maybe it's like lobster. You know, like the smaller they are the sweeter the meat."
The station had responded to a listener who complained by saying, "Mr. Martin's job is to inform and to entertain his listeners and this task becomes more difficult each day with the present state of 'Political Correctness'."
In its decision the CBSC panel said it could not "know why the host chose to make light of this reported tragedy" and then compared it in principle to a previous ruling concerning comments made by another station about the Holocaust.
"The issue is not the size of the tragedy; it is its nature," said the CBSC in its decision. "That the Holocaust is better known does not diminish the awful experience of the Congolese Pygmies. The mocking, dehumanising tone of the "joke" constitutes improper expression of opinion, comment or editorial pursuant to the terms of Clause 6 of the CAB Code of Ethics."
2004-03-18: Clear Channel's Los Angeles KFI-AM has apologized on-air for a skit on the Bill Handel Show that aroused protests from the Southern California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) on the basis that it was "Islamophobic" (See RNW Mar 17).
CAIR had filed complaints about the skit with Clear Channel and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC): It said an apology was initially refused but the station changed tack after receiving hundreds of protest calls.
The apology was broadcast not by Handel but by KFI Program Director Robin Bertolucci who said, " we aired a satirical skit that was offensive to some members of the Muslim community, for that we are sorry. KFI is committed to all of its Southern California listeners, including those in the Muslim community."
CAIR-LA Communications Director Sabiha Khan said they thanked "all those who contacted KFI to express their concerns about the skit's outrageous and inflammatory content."
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-03-18: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has trimmed a penalty on a Mississippi AM from USD 7,000 to USD 5,600 but confirmed a USD 13,000 penalty on a Virgin Islands FM.
In the former case Tralyn Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of WIGG-AM, Wiggins, had been issued with the penalty for failure to conduct weekly tests of the Emergency Alert System and failure to maintain all of the required items in the station's public inspection file.
Tralyn sought a reduction on the basis of a history of overall compliance, that its violations were immediately corrected, and that payment of the proposed forfeiture would be a financial hardship but the last two arguments were rejected although the Commission reduced the penalty on the basis of a past history of compliance.
In the Virgin Islands case, penalties totalling USD 13,000 were confirmed on Three Angels Corporation, licensee of WGOD-FM, St. Thomas, for failure to failure to register and paint the station's antenna.
Three Angels had sought cancellation on the basis that it believed that its tower did not require painting and lighting because it is less than 200 feet above ground level that it relied upon its consulting engineer to take care of the tower registration, and that the penalty would cause it financial hardship.
All were rejected and the FCC also noted that no information had been provided to show that the tower, which had subsequently been registered, has been painted; it has given Three Angels 30 days to do so.
2004-03-18: Irish state broadcaster RTÉ has announced that it is to comply with a direction from the country's Information Commissioner that it should make public details of the salaries that were paid to the broadcaster's top 25 presenters in the years 1998 to 2000.
RTÉ says it has opted no to appeal against the decision "because the years concerned were sufficiently historic to significantly reduce its concerns in relation to commercial sensitivity and impact on contractual negotiations."
It says the details will be released as soon as its auditors have reviewed and reported on the payments and adds that from this year it expects to publish remuneration details around 18 months in arrears.
2004-03-18: In the run up to its last month before Arbitron drops the service, its Internet Broadcast Ratings showed more shuffling of the decks at the top with generally higher listening.
In station rankings, MUSICMATCH retained top spot, as did AOL in the network stakes.
For the week to February 29, 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 1,007,128 (977,212); CP - 323,392 (321,864). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 314,943 (280,845); CP - 71,567 (67,851). Up from third with higher listening and reach.
3: Country format AOL Top Country (Commercial) -TTSL 271,818 (267,778); CP 107,490 (109,275). Up from fourth with higher listening but lower reach.
4: AOL Top Pop (Commercial) -TTSL 250,178 (227,984); CP 132,282 (130,637). Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
5: AOL Love Songs (Commercial) - TTSL 247,354 (332,290); CP - 80,039 (139,384). Down from second with lower listening and reach.
* Smooth Jazz AOL Smooth Jazz (Commercial) fell from fifth to sixth with lower listening and reach --TTSL 246,670 (231,050); CP - 52,926 (52,161).
The top five networks for the week to February 29 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 6,214,854 (6,125,321); CP - 1,515,208 (1,586,529). Same rank with higher listening but lower reach.
2: LAUNCH (Commercial) TTSL - 4,904,173 (4,675,064); CP - 1,049,561 (1,037,037). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 2,477,555 (2,414,129); CP - 579,131 (577,344). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 747,450 (675,460); CP - 101,167 (86,718) - Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) TTSL - 532,842 (452,507); CP - 96,204 (91,880) - 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 2,942,736, up from 2,925,053 and StreamGuys with TTSL 534,118, down from 601,322.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast weekly ratings:
2004-03-17: A series of adverts being aired by Entercom in the US suggest that there is concern from the company about the potential of satellite radio.
Four adverts tagged "a message from your hometown stations" are being aired by Entercom stations, all promoting the local strength of terrestrial radio but mainly carrying negative lines about satellite.
The latter include supposed conversation's between former satellite radio subscribers in which a woman says she tried satellite and didn't like it, a man agrees and says he cancelled his and then a second woman comments, "If satellite radio eventually goes under, there're gonna be a lot of folks out there sitting on some expensive equipment they bought."
Another man complains that separate subscriptions are needed for each car, another woman that satellite drops out like call phones and yet another man says that cable TV put up its prices and that satellite is likely to do the same.
The only positive line is from a man who comments, "I like to listen to talk programs, right, that are, that are about my teams here in my town, and those aren't on satellite radio. They're on free radio."
A female announcer then says," Thinking about satellite radio? The fact is, every month, tens of thousands of people who have it cancel it. Maybe they know something you don't."
RNW comment: On the basis that US commercial radio isn't over backward about coming forward when it has things to offer, we can only conclude that Entercom perceives the threat from satellite as significant.
The real question is the one of reality - if most people who subscribe to satellite are dissatisfied and there is a large churn rate then satellite does have problems. On the other hand if those who have subscribed are mainly pleased with the service, the adverts will act as an incentive for them to praise it and may be significantly counter-productive.
Either way the move seems misconceived unless Americans really are rather stupid and ignorant. If they're not, their intelligence is being insulted and the adverts are unnecessary should satellite subscribers be disenchanted and ineffective if the reverse is true.
2004-03-17: UK Wireless Group has finally stopped talking about it and started legal proceedings against UK radio ratings organization RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) claiming that its methods are "fatally flawed" and seeking GBP 66 million (USD 120 million) in damages for revenues that it claims were lost because RAJAR underestimates his audience.
RAJAR responded by calling the claim "ludicrous", said it was "without merit" and added that the case was likely to be thrown out without going to trial.
Wireless Group chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie told the UK Guardian there would be "shocking revelations" to come about the way RAJAR collected its information and added that he had been forced into legal action after more than three years of attempting to persuade RAJAR to change its methods.
"My opponents have tried desperately to kick the issue into the long grass because they are making a hell of a lot of money out of this fraudulent system," he told the paper.
"Today signals the end of my attempt to seek straightforward change through negotiation, and the beginning of the final stage in which I will make my case to a judge while they make theirs."
In its statement in response, RAJAR said that the claim about its tests of electronic measurement focussed on "one small area of testing" and added that it had made it clear that "its decision that it was not yet right to adopt meters without further testing was taken after exhaustive tests in the studio and the field. It has also made it clear that there were considerable costs and non-disclosure agreements attached to these tests."
"The decision not to adopt electronic measurement without further testing was taken by the members and the advisors of the RAJAR Board," it said. "These included representatives of the BBC, CRCA, RAB, IPA and ISBA and their decision was unanimous."
RAJAR Managing Director Sally de la Bedoyere commented, "Leading counsel advise that it is highly likely that the claim will be struck out before it comes to trial. It is not surprising that the ludicrous claims relating to financial losses are for the purposes of a sensational press release, and are not detailed in the proceedings"
"Furthermore the claims in the press release about the adoption of these meters in other countries remain untrue. The major markets have only tested them. The UK remains the only country to have tested both. The one country using Radiocontrol watches is Switzerland which has a relatively small radio industry and is where the watch was invented".
RNW comment: We sincerely hope on the one hand that the courts will indeed throw out the claim and hope they make suitably strong comments about MacKenzie and his claim. The other hand would prefer to see him pay heavily for his publicity and would like to see the case go further and then costs to be awarded against the Wireless Group.
Out position remains as it always was, namely that the basis on which RAJAR operates is in the public domain and advertisers are quite free to use other ratings systems, such as the GfK ratings that the Wireless Group sponsors, should they so choose.
Mackenzie has managed to manipulate the affair quite successfully so far to get publicity for his company and system and we expect more wind when he loses as we confidently expect him to do.
Previous de la Bedoyere:
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Guardian report:
2004-03-17: Chuck Niles, the only US jazz radio host to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, has died aged 76 following a stroke in February.
Niles, born Charles Neidel in Springfield, Massachusetts, was a child musician, playing the clarinet when 7 and the saxophone professionally by the time he was 14. He had been afternoon drive host on California State University, Long Beach, station KKJZ FM - KJAZZ- since 1990; before that in a career spanning five decades he had worked at a number of stations including WTXL, Springfield and WEAT in West Palm Beach, Florida.
He then moved to California where he was first host of KHJ-TV, Los Angeles' afternoon movie show; He joined KFOX, Long Beach, part-time in 1956 and there he developed a long-lasting relationship with jazz legend Sleepy Stein, who brought Chuck to KNOB, Anaheim, a year later.
He worked for KNOB until 1965 when he moved to KBCA, which later became KKGO. He remained at KKGO for 25 years until the station's format changed from jazz and blues to classical; during the changeover KKGO gave its sizable jazz record collection to KLON, and the station, which later became KKJZ, signed Niles.
KKJZ general manager Judy Jankowski paying tribute commented, "We are alternately the No. 1 or No. 2 station in America, largely because of Chuck. He cannot be replaced, but we can honour his spirit by continuing to bring listeners hosts whose knowledge of jazz borders on scholarship."
KKJZ web site:
Long Beach Press Telegram obituary:
2004-03-17: Australian commercial radio continued to perform well in February following a strong start to the year according to Price Waterhouse Coopers Radio Revenue performance figures just released.
They show metropolitan advertising revenue up 14.7% on a year earlier to AUD 39 million (USD 28.9 million).
Brisbane performed best with a 30% year on year revenue increase followed by Melbourne with a 22% increase and Sydney with 12%.
Commercial Radio Australia chief executive Joan Warner commented, "These figures indicate a strong financial year for radio with a ten per cent increase in revenue in the eight months to February this year to around $342 million nationally."
"Radio is continuing its strong performance of last year and looks set to increase its market share in 2004 despite a very competitive marketplace for the advertising dollar."
"This is great news for the industry and highlights radio's resilience and strength in attracting the advertising dollar based on its cost-effectiveness and reliability."
She added that an AUD 20 million (USD 14.8 million) national brand campaign, launched in July last year had greatly helped raise awareness about the impact of radio advertising, saying, "The campaign, which delivers the message that radio advertising is twice as effective at reaching audiences throughout the day as TV, has been very successful in encouraging the advertising industry to rethink the way it uses radio as an advertising medium."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2004-03-17: Pirate Vermont station radio free brattleboro has been given a stay of execution by a federal judge who rejected a call to take it off the air by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and allowed until May 21 for both sides to submit legal arguments and responses.
The 10-watts station can only be heard in the town and had gained 3000 petitions in its favour as well as the backing of the town through a referendum to demonstrate their justification for broadcasting that was passed 1,519 to 780 at the start of this month.
It has been broadcasting since 1998 but was closed down in June last year by the FCC but then resumed broadcasts in August (See RNW Aug 24, 2003).
The success may be temporary however as Larry Hildes, litigation director for the National Lawyers Guild Center for Democratic Communications, which also argued for the station in court said there remained a challenge in finding legal precedent to support the station's argument that the FCC failed in its mandate by not acting more swiftly to regulate low-power radio stations.
"We were very fortunate to get a judge who really read the pleadings, who's taking the issues very seriously," Hildes said. "It's an issue that's never been argued before. It's very rare to get the chance to argue completely new law."
Radio Free Brattleboro is arguing that that its authority to broadcast was granted by the community because the FCC is not currently issuing 10-watt broadcast licenses; it has said that it will not do so until it has finished issuing 100-watt licenses.
David Kirby, an assistant U.S. attorney acting for the FCC, said they were "slightly disappointed" that their argument that the station should be shut down immediately because it had no broadcast licence was not accepted.
"We do have to get through the 100-watt stations; our position is we have a process," he said. "It's simply a matter of waiting."
In other enforcement action the FCC has confirmed a USD 7,000 fine on State Broadcasting Corporation of Gulfport, Mississippi, licensee of WMLT-AM, Dublin, Georgia, for failure to enclose one of its antenna structures within an effective locked fence or other enclosure.
State had requested cancellation of the proposed forfeiture based on its corrective efforts and its participation in the Georgia Association of Broadcasters' Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program ("ABIP") and was awaiting inspection at the time the fencing violation was discovered. The FCC rejected both arguments.
The Commission was slightly more forgiving in the case of Maria L. Salazar, licensee of Station KTCM-FM, Kingman, Kansas, and reduced to USD 34,000 a penalty of USD 39,000 in connection with antenna offences, failure to have Emergency Alert System equipment, failure to maintain a public inspection file and operating the station from the Latino Boom Nightclub in Wichita, Kansas -- a location that was outside its community of license and that had not been authorized by the Commission.
Salazar had sought a substantial reduction based upon her inability to pay, her unfamiliarity with Commission requirements, her efforts to correct the noted violations, and her belief that the Commission's base forfeiture scheme is arbitrary and excessive.
The Commission rejected all the other arguments but after considering tax returns and the station's profit and loss accounts for 1999, 2000 and 2001 concluded that a "modest reduction of the assessed forfeiture amount for the multiple noted violations" from USD 39,000 to USD 34,000, was justified.
On the other side of the coin, the FCC itself is the subject a lawsuit by Civil rights attorney Carl E. Person that includes petitions to Intervene and for a Rehearing in various cases against Infinity and Clear Channel including those relating to Bubba the Love Sponge, Deminski and Doyle and Howard Stern.
Person says he is making the move because the broadcaster fear that if they appeal they could lose their licenses and that he, as a listener, has First Amendment rights to be able to listen to shows such as The Howard Stern Show unless federal courts hear and determine that it and other shows meeting a properly-adopted, specified obscenity or indecency standard are barred from radio broadcasting.
He comments that at least three Commissioners, including FCC chairman Michael K. Powell, have taken actions that they hope will lead to Stern being taken off the air and adds, "The 3 Commissioners have found a way to prevent any appeals from their decision, and none of Howard Stern's 18,000,000 listeners were consulted, including Carl E. Person."
Stern, who was dropped by Clear Channel last month, has attacked the company again and says it has stopped payment to him although they had agreed a contract and also compared their action in dropping him, even though so far no penalty has been levied but retaining Elliot Segal despite a USD 247,500 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture over material from the Elliot in the Morning show: Clear Channel points out that the Elliot incident dated back more than a year and they had already taken action even before announcing their zero-tolerance indecency policy.
On his show Stern contrasted Clear Channel's stopping payments with that of Infinity in the Opie and Anthony case, saying, "One thing about Mel [[Viacom President and COO Mel Karmazin], he fired Opie & Anthony, but he paid them. He paid them because that was the deal. And he had just signed a new deal with them. They did something on the air that he could not live with, but he honoured the contract."
Concerning proposed toughening of indecency legislation, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) has now written to Santators opposed various parts of the planned legislation that would penalise on-air talent as well as licensees.
It says the leigslation "represents an unconstitutional
threat to the First Amendment and would have an immediate and significant chilling effect on artistic freedom" and continues, "The legislations draconian approach takes us down a dangerous path, which cuts to the very heart of one of our nations core values. Notwithstanding the current outcry, we believe the public understands that free speech is fundamentally threatened when standards are vague and penalties are both excessive and
misdirected, as in the case of this bill. "
AFTRA says that networks and licensees not the talent usually make decisions as to what goes on air and the licensees reap the financial awards and comments, "Given the fact that the Federal Communications Commission has never fined an individual performer or announcer, this legislation codifies a striking shift away from the FCCs long-standing policy that holds that the broadcast licensee is responsible for programming decisions."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous radio free brattleboro:
CAIR web site:
Person web site:
Rutland Herald report:
radio free brattleboro site:
2004-03-17: The Southern California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has filed complaints with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Clear Channel over what it termed an "Islamophobic" skit on the March 10 Bill Handel show on Clear Channel's KFI- AM, Los Angeles, that claimed Muslims have sex with animals, avoid bathing and are obsessed with killing Jews.
CAIR says that in the skit a pretend "Muslim" allegedly reading from the new Iraqi constitution refers to "hairy Iraqi women," "lovely Japanese schoolgirls," the "infidel custom of bathing on a regular basis," and "civil unions" between Iraqis and "loving camels and goats."
It says that throughout the skit, called "The New Iraq Constitution - Handelized," the mock-Muslim repeatedly stated, "Allah be praised," "death to the Jews" and "kill all Jews." Listeners also heard recordings of Islamic prayers in Arabic.
CAIR-LA says it asked the station to apologize for the offensive skit, but that request was denied and its Communications Director Sabiha Khan wrote to the FCC, "Increased ratings should not be obtained at the expense of any culture or religion."
"We fully respect and value freedom of speech, including for Mr. Handel, however, these Islamophobic comments are outrageous and hurtful, and only serve to increase animosity and hatred against the American Muslim community."
"No doubt, such bigotry would not, and should not, be tolerated if it were directed toward any other ethnic or religious group."
A similar letter was sent to Clear Channel and on its web site calls on people to contact KFI and Clear Channel and demand an apology to the "American Muslim community for such bigoted and hurtful remarks." It lists phone and fax numbers for KFI Regional Director Greg Ashlock and Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan.
RNW comment: CAIR has posted audio of the skit on its web site. Having listened to it we find it bigoted, puerile and not funny: whilst having a basic view that if the God of any religion has but a tenth of the powers ascribed to him by his followers that God, or his prophets, can certainly ride above any skit we think CAIR makes a valid point in terms of the reaction there would be were a station to air similar skits about Judaism or Christianity.
Indeed not those long ago similar comments about Christianity in many countries would have attracted prosecutions for blasphemy.
The skit is certainly as objectionable as the Sex for Sam stunt that cost Opie and Anthony their jobs and whilst we prefer a constitution that allows freedom of speech we would also not object too much in this case that forced KFI and Handel for around a month to include in each show a similar length around two-and-a-half minutes giving facts about the Koran, Iraq and maybe even forcing it to include some of the facts about some US troops' heavy-handed dealings with Iraqis. That, to use a word formerly banned by the FCC would certainly piss-off Handel and his fans yet be much less objectionable than the broadcast.
In the meantime we wait to see how Clear Channel ultimately responds, particularly in view of its new-found committment to responsible broadcasting and community values.
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-03-16: Arbitron has announced that the RADAR 80 (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) national radio ratings survey to be released next Monday will be compiled from data from more than 70,000 listeners, completing its move of the service to a diary system from the phone system that was used when it bought the service.
The report will include ratings for three new networks, CrystalNet Prestige, Jones MediaAmerica TWC Radio Network and Premiere Urban One Radio Network.
Highlights pre-released by Arbitron show radio as retaining retained its position as a mainstay medium over the past year, reaching all demographics in all locations, both in and out of home. Initial findings says Arbitron indicate that, over the course of a typical week, radio reached 96 percent of Persons 18+ who live in a household with an income of $75,000 or more. Ninety-five percent of college grads listened to radio, as compared to only 92 percent of people who did not go to college. Eighty-one percent of Persons 18+ listened to radio while in their cars; 26 percent listened at work.
Over the course of a week it ads, radio reaches more than 228 million people, or 94 percent of all persons aged 12 and older, and at weekends more than 184 million people, or 76 percent of all Persons 12+, tune to radio.
Arbitron also notes that from April 1 following agreement with MediaGuide (See RNW Mar 12) it will commence using Mediaguide's broadcast monitoring technology to verify whether the radio commercials that were scheduled to be aired on affiliated stations of RADAR-rated networks were broadcast as indicated on the network commercial clearance reports
Previous RADAR release (RADAR 79):
2004-03-16: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has signed a ten-year contract with Donegal Highland Radio Limited - Highland Radio - to provide a local sound broadcasting service for North Donegal.
Highland Radio has held the franchise for 14 years, broadcasting a music and speech service that includes middle of the road, classic hits and easy listening services with a strong emphasis on country music and news with an emphasis on local content.
Elsewhere in the country, concern has been expr4essed by a parliamentary committee about the absence of a local service for Carlow and Kilkenny where the new franchise holder KCLR 96FM is not expected to be on air until the middle of next month at the earliest.
The previous licence holders before a new franchise area was created - Radio Kilkenny and CKR FM, which served the old Carlow/Kildare franchise area - went off the air at the beginning and end of January respectively.
In Kildare the new licensed service was on air within days of CKR closing but Carlow and Kilkenny are still without a local service.
2004-03-16: Los Angeles public station KCRW-FM has reversed its decision to fire host Sandra Tsing Loh over the broadcast of the word "fuck" (See RNW Mar 6) but the host has rejected an offer to resume her "Loh Life" taped commentaries for the station.
In a joint statement with Loh on the station web site, KCRW General manager Ruth Seymour says, "When I made the decision to cancel 'The Loh Life,' I was not in possession of all the facts regarding this unfortunate incident, specifically that it had been Sandra's practice to leave instructions for her engineer to bleep out certain words, and that this practice had never before gone awry."
"I regret having jumped to conclusions about what happened and for erroneously accusing Sandra of an 'intentional' breach of our broadcast standards."
Loh responds, "I appreciate the station's willingness to acknowledge that it was wrong to cancel my show as well as its invitation for me to return. And while I do wish KCRW well, I personally don't think I could be comfortable working there anymore."
RNW comment: This whole episode may have ended unhappily in many ways but at least there seems to be honour left on both sides. We noted in Cathy Seipp's "blog" that Loh had also had an exchange, and apologised personally to one listener who wrote over the broadcast because one of his "8 year-old twin daughters asked what does "fuck him" mean."
Loh, who has daughters aged three and two wrote apologising to him and offering to write to his daughter as well, and received a response accepting the apology gracefully. Not at all like the party politics of the leaders of the free world!
KCRW site -joint statement with Loh:
Seipp web log:
2004-03-16: UK Chrysalis has announced the launch of a new standalone business Chrysalis Mobile Solutions Ltd that is to sell ringtones and other digital downloads via mobile devices; initially the service is likely to be mainly of ringtones for mobile phones but Chrysalis expects it to ultimately include Mobile edits of songs, images and other artist content and full song downloads.
Group chief executive Richard Huntingford, who sees radio stations becoming virtual record retail outlets and notes that 19 of 20 people who buy a recording first heard it on radio, commented, "Mobile is fast becoming one of the most important new channels for music content delivery and crucially, unlike the Internet, it is a "here and now" revenue stream."
"Through Chrysalis Mobile we are creating a highly innovative business that will both serve our existing Chrysalis Radio and Music divisions and also provide a valuable outsourced service to other players in the broader media and retail market places."
Earlier this month rival GWR announced that it was developing a similar "hear it, buy it, burn it" service in conjunction with OD2, the digital music download service founded by former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel (See RNW Mar 4).
RNW note: Should their venture work successfully, Chrysalis, which began life as a recording company, will in effect have gone full circle. Our only concern is the possible effect on music should a situation be allowed to develop where major players own both the radio stations and the recording labels and maybe also, like Clear Channel in the US, the concert business as well.
There would be a tremendous temptation to give an edge to "in-house" artists that we would regard as justifying the most severe penalties should it eventuate. In the US anti-trust legislation could be used but in the UK remedies would be far less clear as we doubt competition authorities would be prepared to take adequate action.
2004-03-15: In our look at print cover on radio over the past week we noted that free to air radio in the US currently seems to be under attack from nearly all sides with the issue of indecency dominating news cover and leading to suggestions that terrestrial's loss may be satellites gain; we also noted continuing criticism of terrestrial broadcasters for failing their audiences with only one area of broadcasting - that of local news, weather and traffic - getting play as its strength.
That at least was the view of Sarah Anderson in the Baton Rouge Advocate in Louisiana who noted that while satellite promoted its technical quality and programming choice, local stations promoted their local flavour.
Among the comments she garnered was one from Citadel program director Paul Cannell: "If people want to hear prehistoric Hungarian folk music, that's great they have a place for that. Satellite radio will never be able to offer the personality hometown stations have, so AM and FM are here to stay."
From Clear Channel, which like Citadel owns six stations in the Baton Rouge market and also 3% of XM, came a similar but slightly less dismissive reaction: PD Bob Murphy, who also co-hosts the 96.1 The River morning show "Murphy, Sam and Jodi." suggested the two services complemented each other and continued, "One thing we understand is that people, when they wake up in the morning and are heading to work, want local news, local traffic and local weather. It (satellite radio) will continue to make radio stations focus heavily on the community."
His view was echoed by Jim Collins, vice president for corporate communications at Sirius who said, "We're not trying to supplant regular broadcast radio. There will always be a place for local broadcasts -- weather, news and sports. We see ourselves as an enhancement rather than a replacement."
Less confident of the future for terrestrial was John Gallent, manager of Louisiana State University alternative station KLSU-FM who estimated that in a decade FM would take a backseat to satellite radio in the US but also saw the intimacy of local stations as a plus.
"The more you have a personalized DJ, the more people like to listen to the music," he said.
More strongly critical of FM was an article by Bob Gendron in the Chicago Tribune that quoted Jerry Mickelson, co-owner and founder of Jam Productions, as saying, "Radio owners are great at driving their core audience away and sending them elsewhere."
"In the early '70s, AM wasn't conducive to playing many artists. FM helped make or break groups like CSNY [Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young] and the Allman Brothers, and as they opened up the playlists, more bands developed into headliners. Now FM is so bland people are clamouring to hear new music, and turning to satellite radio and the Internet to get it."
Unsurprisingly there was some dissent as from Infinity's WXRT-FM where program director Norm Winer, who is also Infinity vice president of rock programming, commented, "
"Satellite radio is not a factor on the local level because it is decentralized and generic. In cities like Chicago, there's still a vast selection of radio stations -- not all of them are necessarily good -- but bands need commitments from local radio and clubs, which act like weigh stations for new acts. Satellite access is increasing, but right now the impact is insignificant and minimal."
"We believe in artists, and want to play multiple songs and be involved on the ground floor from Day One," Winer says. "Before we commit to a single we request a copy of the entire album to see if it's worthy of our attention and our listener's loyalty."
"You've got a cavalcade of nameless, faceless bands with one hit, and it's not in anyone's best interest to develop them."
Whoever may be right about the impact of satellite on music in radio, there seems to be a consensus developing that the current furore about broadcast "indecency" may yet rebound to the benefit of satellite with moves by shock-jocks such as Howard Stern to satellite being widely touted.
So far there's no firm information to suggest that Stern could make the move - he's still under contact to Infinity and advertisers are sticking with his show - but he is certainly making political waves on the partisan political front irrespective of any indecency issues.
In Salon, Eric Boehlert reported on Stern's "radio jihad" against President Bush and notes that "Stern had strongly backed Bush's war on Iraq, but in the past two weeks, he has derided the president as a "Jesus freak," a "maniac" and "an arrogant bastard," while ranting against "the Christian right minority that has taken over the White House."
"Specifically, Stern has assailed Bush's use of 9/11 images in his campaign ads, questioned his National Guard service, condemned his decision to curb stem cell research and labelled him an enemy of civil liberties, abortion rights and gay rights."
Boehlert quotes Charles Goyette, talk-show host at Clear Channel's news talk KFYI-AM in Phoenix as saying, "The potential impact is huge And it's not just with the 8 million people who tune it, it's that he breaks the spell. Everybody's been enchanted by Bush, that he's a great wartime leader and to criticize him is unpatriotic. Now Stern pounds him every day and it shatters that illusion that the man is invincible and he shouldn't be criticized."
Goyette's view was backed up by Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers magazine, who commented, "He's got one of the biggest audiences in all of radio, and perhaps the most loyal. And that's why he's so dangerous for the White House."
"Our research shows many, many people in the 30- to 40-year-old range who were Bush supporters are rethinking that position and turning away from Bush because of what Howard Stern has been saying."
Martin Kaplan, associate dean of the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communications, also saw Stern's influence as significant, commenting, "Overnight, Stern's probably increased by an important percentage the amount of talk-radio airtime that is not right-wing."
"His show does make a difference in terms of media ecology and what's out there. It's letting people know how they feel is an acceptable way to feel. What the media do is put out a version of what's normal. And if all that's out there is Rush Limbaugh and Dittoheads, then centrists and progressives see themselves as the minority. But if you can hear voices on the airwaves that sound like the voice in your own head, you begin to realize it's a polarized, 50/50 nation."
Which of course takes us to the daddy of US political talk Rush Limbaugh, who's been duelling over the air with Stern over the latter's allegations that Clear Channel dropped him not because of fears of indecency but because of his move into criticizing President Bush.
Limbaugh has different troubles and it would certainly be likely to cause some significant problems for many stations should a jail sentence in connection with his drug taking eventuate.
Limbaugh has of course, as we have reported on a number of occasions, been fighting a very public campaign against the Palm Beach County prosecutors, alleging that his prosecution results from political bias and that eh has been singled out because of his politics and prominence.
Amongst the organizations that have in our view reported fairly on the case is the Palm Beach Post, which is why a recent editorial in the paper from Jac Wilder VerSteeg carries some weight.
It says Limbaugh contends that because so few people have been targeted for doctor-shopping the investigation into his activities has to result from political pressure and then goes on to say, "In fact, doctor-shopping for OxyContin and similar drugs is a relatively new phenomenon, and many states, including Florida, just now are recognizing the extent of prescription-drug abuse and expanding efforts to stop it. Mr. Limbaugh styles himself a leader in social policy. In his abuse of prescription painkillers, including OxyContin, he does appear to be part of the vanguard As enforcement increases, however, the most frequent targets are not likely to be in Mr. Limbaugh's income bracket. Medicaid recipients are receiving the most intense scrutiny."
The paper then notes, "It wasn't until 2000 that reports of OxyContin abuse and deaths became common. Since then, lawmakers, health agencies and others have moved to curb the abuses. In Florida, doctor-shopping did not become a felony until July 1, 2002. In September of that year, Broward County prosecutors charged Marilyn Georges with doctor-shopping after two people died at her home just a few days apart. She was sentenced in December 2002 to four years in prison for obtaining drugs through fraud."
"In August 2002, Mr. Krischer's office arrested Michael Schlosman on doctor-shopping charges after his ex-wife died of an overdose. He died before going to trial. Roy Black, Mr. Limbaugh's attorney, pointed out Wednesday that those cases involved overdose deaths. But that just underscores the importance of investigating doctor-shopping before someone dies."
"Perhaps Mr. Limbaugh should get a pass because Medicaid patients are ripping off taxpayers while Rush, even if he was doctor-shopping, spent only his own money. Regardless of who pays, though, doctor-shopping is a crime. Because of OxyContin and drugs like it, it is becoming more and more prevalent. If the state is determined to crack down on Medicaid recipients suspected of doctor-shopping, it is only fair to crack down on everyone suspected of doctor-shopping."
"Mr. Limbaugh's public-relations defence is 'poor me.' In that case, prosecutors should treat him the same as the state intends for them to treat the poor. "
RNW comment: Indeed so and maybe that's the way to go Rush. Get equality. You'll still be wealthy when you come out so four years shouldn't be a problem! Or perhaps you should be arguing - in fairness of course - for a massive fine as well!
But now for a few recommendations for some on-line listening starting this week with US National Public Radio.
From Talk of the Nation on Friday we'd suggest "Einstein at 125" a look on the 125th anniversary of Einstein's birth at his legacy, and from Saturday's Weekend Edition items on the career of Alistair Cooke and his Letters from America and, on a lighter note a short item on how the Chicago River is turned green to mark St Patrick's Day.
Also on the site is a short series of songs put together from US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's pronouncements by composer-pianist Bryant Kong and sung by soprano Elender Wall.
Crossing the Atlantic in one sense but not another, BBC Radio 4 has now posted on its listen-again site the whole week of Edward de la Billiere's tales of the 100 mile Husky Race - the tale of the Iditarod dog-sled race from the state capital Anchorage to Nome that commemorates the 1925 serum run, when Nome was struck by a diphtheria epidemic and the only way to get life-saving medicine to the town was by a relay of dog teams across the state.
Also on the site - but only for a short while is the whole of last week's Book of the Week " My Wounded Heart" by Martin Doerry.
It's the true story of Lilli Jahn, a young Jewish medical doctor in Hitler's Germany, told largely through her letters: Her Protestant husband abandoned here to marry his mistress and she died in Auschwitz. Even if you miss Monday's episode, the rest are worth a listen.
On BBC Radio 2 on Tuesday evening Mark Goodier continues the George Michael story at 20:30 GMT and is then followed by George Melly's final part of "Memories of the Blues" and on Wednesday at 22:00 GMT in her third "From Band to Brand", Kate Thornton looks at how the music industry learnt how to manufacture music to fit the market (last week's edition is still on the site).
And finally Drama on Three - if only because the current play on the site would presumably make a few American politicians apoplectic with its use of banned words.
Baton Rouge Advocate - Anderson:
Chicago Tribune - Gendron:
Palm Beach Post - VerSteeg:
Salon - Boehlert:
2004-03-15: Thomas J. Erbland Jr., husband of KMOX-AM morning co-host Nan Wyatt, has been sentenced to two consecutive terms of life in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder for shooting her in February last year.
Originally police had charged Erbland, who had called them after shooting Wyatt thrice with a .357 Magnum, with first degree murder (See RNW Feb 21, 2003) but following plea bargaining the charge was reduced; the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that prosecutors had already opted not to press for the death penalty but a first-degree conviction would have meant jail with no change of parole.
It adds that originally Erbland had rejected the offer to plead guilty to the second-degree murder charge, for which prosecutors wanted consecutive life sentences for second-degree murder and armed criminal action while he wanted them to be run together.
The paper noted that a basic life sentence in Missouri means eligibility for parole in 26 years meaning that Erbland, who is 45 next week, will be in jail until he is at least 70.
He had told the court that he and his wife were having personal difficulties and that he had felt he was trying harder than she was to keep their marriage afloat. He commented about being depressed saying he never felt so hopeless about life as he did in the days leading up to the shooting but added that the depression had lifted since he has been in jail and under medication.
St Louis Post-Dispatch report:
2004-03-15: The son of Coast-to-Coast AM weekend host - and former weekday host - Art Bell, has settled a sexual harassment lawsuit against the Nye County School District in Nevada for USD 200,000.
Arthur Bell IV was a 16-years-old sophomore at Pahrump Valley High School in May 1997 when he was sexually assaulted off the campus by a substitute teacher who was later convicted and jailed.
According to an Associated Press report the school district said it had offered the same amount some years ago but it was rejected. A judge subsequently threw out the claim but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later reinstated it.
Bell's parents had filed anonymously on his behalf in 2008 but he identified himself as the plaintiff when he filed an amended lawsuit in May 1999.
His father Art Bell founded the "Coast to Coast" radio show in 1993 but resigned in April 2000 after his son was assaulted. He returned to the air in 2001 then retired again in 2003 but last September returned to host the programme at weekends (See RNW Sept 18, 2003).
Previous Art Bell:
San Francisco Chronicle/AP report:
2004-03-14: Yet again the main news of the week was the clampdown on "broadcast indecency" in the US where Clear Channel has attracted another proposed large penalty; elsewhere activities were more routine.
In Australia the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has proposed to remove conditions that require three Melbourne FMs, one planned commercial station and two existing community stations, to operate with restricted radiation patterns towards Tasmania.
The proposal is linked to the cessation by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation of its of its UHF channel TV service from Mount Barrow in North East Tasmania. Comments on the proposal have to be submitted in by March 19.
The ABA has also made an additional FM channel available to enable the Voice of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Inc to broadcast to both the West and Home Islands.
The organization has been broadcasting under a temporary community licence since September 2002 but the distance between the islands means that serving both from one transmitter would be difficult.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), has approved a takeover and also a number of licence amendments.
The takeover of North Channel Broadcasters Inc.'s CKNR-FM Elliot Lake, Ontario, by the Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. is valued at CAD 625,000 (USD 470,000) and the CRTC notes that the station has been unprofitable on a consolidated basis over the period of 2000-2002.
Also in Ontario, the Commission has also approved an application to allow CHCD-FM Simcoe, which has been granted approval for a frequency change and power increase from 3,420 watts to 14,370 watts, to simulcast on its previous frequency for 60 days after commencing operation on the new frequency.
In a final Ontario matter, the CRTC has told Corus that it is to monitor extensively for a week the output of its CKDK-FM Woodstock and CING-FM Hamilton to determine that each station is providing a sufficient level of local programming that is of direct and particular relevance to Woodstock and Hamilton, and is, therefore, operating in compliance with its condition of licence related to local programming.
The monitoring will follow a complaint from Standard Radio that its monitoring and research indicated that Corus was operating CKDK-FM Woodstock and CING-FM Hamilton in a manner that targeted audiences in the nearby urban markets of London, in the case of CKDK-FM, and Toronto, in the case of CING-FM.
Standard also stated that studio facilities for CKDK-FM had been moved to London and studio facilities for CING-FM had been moved to Toronto and further noted that the stations identified themselves in a generic way, and that Corus had registered CKDK-FM with the BBM Bureau of Measurement as a London station and CING-FM as a Toronto station.
The CRTC notes that CKDK-FM and CING-FM must by condition of licence, devote at least one-third of the broadcast week to local programming during any broadcast week in which they solicit or accept local advertising for broadcast and says that on the basis of its own analysis, as well as the analysis provided by Standard, it is concerned that the programming broadcast on CKDK-FM and CING-FM, respectively, appears to contain very limited amounts of local news or other programming of particular interest to residents of Woodstock and Hamilton.
It concludes by saying that once it is in possession of the monitoring results, the Commission will be in a position to make its final decision on this complaint and will address specific remedies sought by Standard: these include various conditions relating to adhering to the letter and spirit of the licences in terms of studio location, programming, ending promotion of the stations as serving London and Toronto markets etc or alternatively that Corus should have to show why it should not be required to divest one of the three FMs it owns in the London and Toronto markets.
There were no radio announcements from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom has published its first proposed timetable of new FM local commercial radio licences to be advertised in six areas across the UK.
They are a June advertisement of a new Edinburgh "larger" licence and Blackburn "smaller " licence; a July advertisement of a Belfast "larger" licence and Ashford, Kent, "smaller " licence; and an August advertisement of a Manchester "larger " licence and Kidderminster "smaller" licence.
In the US, as noted, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed another large indecency penalty on Clear Channel, this time of nearly USD 250,000 (See RNW Mar 13).
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2004-03-14: The US Copyright Office has announced interim regulations concerning the record keeping they require from webcasters in connection with copyright fees to be paid.
Under them the webcasters have to file reports including the name of their service and its transmission category plus, for each copyrighted piece of music used the name of the artist, the title of the music, additional identification such as alum title and label or International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) and the number of performances. This can be either the actual total of listeners and listening, or Aggregate Tuning Hours plus the total number of times the recording was used.
Records have to be provided for a two-week period each quarter, the service being allowed to choose which fortnight it will report.
The regulations do not apply to small webcasters operating under the conditions of the Small Webcasters Settlement Act, Non-commercial webcasters who operate under another agreement and do not have to provide records, or "pre-existing subscription services."
US Copyright Office site with details:
2004-03-14: In Mexico, Jose Gutierrez Vivo, the owner of InfoRed, which recently won an arbitration case against Grupo Radio Centro over its Monitor radio news show (See RNW March 4) has now started promoting the Monitor brand in the former El Heraldo newspaper in Mexico City that he and other investors purchased last year.
The paper has been renamed Diario Monitor and is heavily promoting the Monitor name with Monitor broadcasters referring to stories in the newspaper.
Gutierrez Vivo said the dispute over the Monitor programme had accelerated the decision to change the paper; he is in dispute with Grupo Radio over the "Monitor" name and is trying to move it to new outlets.
Previous Grupo Radio:
2004-03-13: Clear Channel has again come in for proposed heavy indecency fines from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), this time of the maximum USD 247,5000, comprised of maximum USD 27,500 penalties for each of three broadcasts by each of three of its stations in connection with the airing of the Elliot in the Morning programme.
As in the case of its previous record penalty against Clear Channel and Bubba the Love Sponge programmes, separate statements were issued by Commissioners Adelstein, Martin and Copps.
Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps in his dissent, as previously, said he penalty was too small and said there should have been licence revocation hearings.
Republican Commissioner Kevin J. Martin noted that "Consistent with my past statements, I believe we should be fining broadcasters on a "per utterance" basis" but went on to say that "Unlike some broadcasters, Clear Channel recently has agreed to pay an unprecedented fine, without contest, for past indecency violations. In addition, it has announced a comprehensive policy to reduce the likelihood that indecent broadcasts occur. Indeed, it has already taken steps to implement its "zero-tolerance" policy. We also should take such steps into consideration."
Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein also noted in his statement the Clear Channel payment of the Bubba fine and other actions taken.
The broadcasts - on WWDC-FM, Washington, D.C., WRXL-FM, Richmond, Virginia, and WOSC-FM, Bethany Beach, Delaware - related to broadcasts on March 13 last year of material in the "Dianne's Dirt of the Day" segment on "Elliot in the Morning"
The original mid morning broadcast included an "on-air voice interviewing an unidentified person and discussing the birthday of porn actor Ron Jeremy; the female interviewee, who had said she masturbated with Jeremy's video every day but then changed to every other weekend, when asked what liked about Jeremy responded, "The way he licks pussy. I want to do a threesome with him. See who's the best. If I can lick better or he can lick better. ."
The FCC notes that the material was apparently rebroadcast later the same day during promotional segments on WWDC-FM at approximately 12:50 and 5:50 p.m., on WRXL-FM at approximately 1:40 and 6:40 p.m., and on WOSC-FM at approximately 12:50 and 7:50 p.m.
As well as FCC penalties, Clear Channel is also being sued by the city of Covington in Kentucky for unpaid business taxes according to the Kentucky Post.
The paper says the city does not have an exact figure but says Clear Channel hasn't paid business taxes since it bought Jacor Communications six years ago in a USD 4.4 billion deal.
Headquartered in San Antonio in Texas, Clear Channel has maintained an office on Covington.
Covington levies a tax of 2.5% on all net profits "from activities conducted in the city'' but says that since Clear Channel bought Jacor they have not filed a net profit return.
Previous Clear Channel:
Kentucky Post report:
2004-03-13: Infinity has re-organised its Chicago station management following last month's resignation by Harvey Wells from his posts of as vice president and general manager of WXRT-FM, WCKG-FM and WUSN-FM to join NewsWeb Corporation as vice-president and radio group manager (See RNW Feb 14).
Adult rock WXRT gets a new vice president and general manager with the promotion of its general sales manager Michael Damsky, at comedy/talk WCKG general sales manager Terry Hardin adds the roles of vice president and general manager, and at country WUSN-FM the new vice=president an general manager will be Dave Robbins, who moves over from the same roles at contemporary-hit WBBM-FM but retains the roles at oldies WJMK-FM.
Taking up the reigns from him at WBBM as acting general manager will be Paul Agase, senior vice president and director of sales for Infinity in Chicago; he retains his other roles.
Making the announcement Infinity's senior vice president and market manager Rod Zimmerman termed the appointments "an acknowledgement of our commitment to operate these radio stations in the best interests of our listeners, advertisers and employees."
2004-03-13: Denver-headquartered NextMedia has reported ending 2003 with a strong outdoor division performance and improving outlook for its radio division: It had final quarter net revenues up 11.6% to USD 27.9 million and full year net revenues up 17.2% to USD 107 million and turned losses of USD 27.2 million in the final quarter of 2002 and USD 53.4 million for the full year into 2003 net income of USD 1.1 million in the final quarter and USD 9.5 million for the year.
Radio revenues in the final quarter were down 5.5% to USD 18.9 million and for the year they were down 0.8% to USD 73.7 million but radio Broadcast Cash Flow was better in each period - down by 1.3% to USD 7.6 million in the quarter and up by 1.7% to USD 29.1 million.
On a pro forma basis, radio division net revenue decreased 5.5% for the quarter to $18.9 million but NextMedia says that excluding the effects of political advertising and a one-time concert in 2002, radio division net revenue would have been approximately flat on a pro forma basis.
2004-03-12: The US House of Representatives has voted by 391-22 votes to pass the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004 that would increase the maximum Federal Communications Commission (FCC) penalty for airing indecent broadcasts from USD 27,500 to USD 500,000 per incident.
In party terms, 218 Republicans voted in favour and only one - Rep Ron Paul of Texas - against - whilst Democrats were 172 in favour and 21 against. Independent representative Bernard Sanders of Vermont also supported the legislation.
In what was perhaps a telling reflection of the mood, particularly since the incident that led to the rush of condemnation was the baring of part of one of Janet Jackson's breast on TV, Representative Joseph Pitts (Republican, Pennsylvania) said during debate that he was "tired of hearing parents tell me how they have to cover their children's ears."
Many of those opposing the measure, including Ron Paul, who commented, "We're moving in a direction of undermining the First Amendment," expressed concern about undermining free speech.
Reuters quoted New York Democrat Rep. Gary Ackerman as saying, "This is going to become a very dark day in American history. We're going down the slippery slope of limiting our constitution and the protections that it gives to the American people.''
The House rejected an amendment, similar to one passed in the US Senate Commerce Committee that would have required a review of possible links between media consolidation and indecent or obscene broadcasts.
The Bush administration has strongly supported the measure in a memorandum.
Reacting to the vote, National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO Eddie Fritts issued a statement opposing the legislation and favouring voluntary action by broadcasters.
"NAB believes that voluntary industry initiatives are far preferable to government regulation when dealing with programming issues," he wrote.
"Just recently, a number of broadcasters have taken positive steps to address concerns of parents and policymakers, and we expect the upcoming NAB Summit on Responsible Programming to yield additional substantive results. NAB does not support the bill as written, but we hear the call of legislators and are committed to taking voluntary action to address this issue."
In another industry reaction, Radio and Records Online reports that Cox Radio EVP Dick Ferguson spoke of the current furore over broadcast indecency as the type of thing that happened during election years.
It says that speaking at the Kagan Radio/TV Values & Finance Summit in New York Ferguson commented, "For those of you who know how things work in that logic-free zone that is encompassed by the Washington Beltway a lot of emotionalism gets running down there. And this is an election year, so this is the kind of thing - along with mom and apple pie - that is good to sign on to."
He added that most radio broadcasters won't be affected by new legislation commenting, "Most broadcasting companies run a pretty clean shop. There have been some extraordinary examples grabbing a lot of headlines, but if broadcasters follow the rules that have always been there and use a fair amount of common sense, most of these provisions won't impact most broadcasting companies."
Included in the legislation passed is a clause to raise from USD 11,000 to USD 500,000 the maximum fine that could be levied on individual performers for violations and the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists (AFTRA) had written to legislators to object to this, saying it believed "such legislation should be rejected on the grounds that it represents an unconstitutional threat to free speech and would have an unnecessary chilling effect on artistic freedom."
"It is important to note, " AFRTA noted in the letter from its President John Connolly and National Executive Director Greg Hessinger, "that the FCC has never fined an individual performer or announcer [and] therefore this legislation represents a fundamental shift with significant ramifications."
The letter also argued, "Performers and announcers who appear on the air or before the microphone are rarely, if ever, responsible for making programming decisions. Rather, they are asked to produce content. It is the broadcast licensees and networks who not only determine whether and when that content will be aired, but also reap the financial reward of airing such content."
"In many instances - because of tape delay and voice tracking - the programming isn't even aired live. Moreover, with the move away from localism and towards corporate programming created by deregulation, community standards no longer enter into the content debate."
"In this context, it is ridiculous for licensees to assert that they are running programming without full knowledge of the tone and style of that programming's content, particularly when they hire performers and announcers on the basis of their ability to be provocative and controversial."
RNW comment: We are with AFRTA on this. Apart from any First Amendment considerations that we rather hope will lead to action by AFTRA and other organisations including broadcasters to go to the courts to get the courts to overrule any legislative excesses that may end up being enacted, we just cannot consider it fair that a performer subject to the "air veto" of a delay system should both lose his or her job and be fined. Indeed we cannot see that either action is justified unless the performer is breaching guidelines from the broadcaster.
Even in that case, if a tape delay system is installed, we cannot see that the individual bears the responsibility since the licensee could have cut out the comments, although we accept that the broadcaster in such a case would have the right to dismiss the individual.
Equally we accept the AFTRA argument that the broadcasters hire staff or buy in syndicated shows knowing what their responsibilities are and what they are going to get: If they don't they're incompetent and deserve to pay the full penalty.
R&R Online site:
2004-03-12: Two radio personalities whose futures are most at risk from the passage of new US broadcast indecency legislation spoke out about the issue on Thursday.
Howard Stern on his Infinity show threatened to quit if President Bush signed the new legislation into law and might even quit anyway because he was sick of being censored every day.
He was told by New York Democrat Congressman Gary Ackerman, who opposed the legislation, that the measure would probably easily pass in the House (as it did) but the Senate could veto it [RNW note - on current form, we don't see that happening].
Stern said Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sources had told him FCC Chairman Michael Powell wants him off the air and also re-iterated his comments that he believes his suspension by Clear Channel was directly related to him denouncing President Bush in the past few months, rather than incidents related to indecency.
He also spoke of moving to satellite radio but said the industry couldn't produce receivers quickly enough if he did - Stern estimated he could take up to five million subscribers to satellite.
[RNW comment - Infinity still has Stern under contract for another two years and says it will not let him go but will support him. There have also been suggestions that Stern talked to the satellite companies in the past but wanted around UD 30 million to make a move, a price the companies considered too high.].
The suggestion of a satellite future was also raised by Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) in a web cast that was streamed by his fans on the BubbaArmy web site.
Bubba, who was fired by Clear Channel after record indecency fines of USD 715,000 were levied because of his shows, said his future lay in satellite radio and that he had been in talks with Sirius and XM.
Concerning the kind of show he might offer, he said, "When and if I go to satellite, I'll still worry about community standards. It'll never be an X-rated show. We'll still bleep out words and make you use your imagination in certain situations, but it'll be a hell of a lot better and a hell of a lot more risqué than what you're going to be able to get on your local FM dial."
He also suggested that Stern could be the next to go and fantasized about a dream line-up on satellite - he said Sirius, which may be an indication of where he expects to move - comprised of Stern in the morning, Opie and Anthony ( Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia)-whose show was cancelled by Infinity after the sex for Sam stunt - at midday and himself in afternoon drive.
Bubba also suggested that terrestrial radio could become "beige, vanilla, nonoffensive and non-cutting edge" because of what he termed the "witch hunt" by the religious right and warned that the next target was likely to be song lyrics.
He also complained that, although he had been fined before, it had not been for indecency and said there had been no warning that the FCC was considering fines against Clear Channel for the material that had aired on the show but said he did not blame Clear Channel whom he termed "a victim of this situation."
Previous Bubba the Love Sponge:
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Opie and Anthony:
BubbaArmy web site:
2004-03-12: UK Emap is to cut around 20 jobs in its Performance radio and music magazine division as part of an extensive cost-cutting exercise according to the UK Guardian.
It says that station managers in its Big City and Magic FM networks have been told to restructure their management, support and sales teams to create the leanest possible structure.
The paper reported that one source said at least a dozen people were "in consultation" or had already lost their jobs in Emap's stations in the north-east, with a similar number under threat in Yorkshire and a spokeswoman for Emap Performance confirmed around twenty people would lose their jobs.
"There is nothing sinister going on. It's about having the right people in the right jobs and gearing up for future growth and to deliver the best business results. It's about costs only in that it's about achieving the right business set up," she said.
The paper also reports that former Emap Performance chief executive, Tim Schoonmaker, who left the company in January (See RNW Jan 9) will not be replaced and says group chief executive Tom Moloney will take over Schoonmaker's former responsibilities for devising the company's radio strategy.
The group is advertising for a managing director for its Kiss and Magic FM radio networks to replace Mark Storey, who has been promoted to head of radio programming overall.
UK Guardian report:
2004-03-12: Arbitron has announced that it has acquired Marketing Resources Plus (MRP) for USD 8.9 million cash from Interactive Market Systems, Inc., part of the VNU Media Measurement & Information Group.
Indianapolis-based MRP is a leading provider of media buying software systems to local and regional advertising agencies for broadcast and print media and Arbitron president and CEO Steve Morris described the company "and its suite of software are a perfect complement to Arbitron and our current portfolio of software services."
"By combining the talent and resources of both organizations," he added, "Arbitron will be better able to develop new software solutions, based on a common platform, that will give our agency and station customers a seamless, electronic buy-sell process."
In another deal earlier in the week Arbitron announced that it was to use Pennsylvania-based Mediaguide's broadcast monitoring technology to verify whether the radio commercials that were scheduled to be aired on affiliated stations of RADAR-rated networks were broadcast as indicated on the network commercial clearance reports.
It says that the technology will allow it to nearly double the sample of stations and nearly triple the number of programming hours that RADAR monitors to verify the accuracy of the clearance information provided by the networks.
Arbitron vice president of National Radio Services Bruce Supovitz said that "Mediaguide's technology allows us to monitor more stations without altering the established, MRC-accredited methodology and without adding new costs for our customers" adding, "More importantly, this agreement is a first step in a long-term program to enhance the verification capabilities of our RADAR service."
In other US radio business, Seattle-headquartered Fisher Communications has announced final quarter 2003 consolidated net income of USD19, 759,000 (USD2.30 per share), including a loss from continuing operations of USD 6,040,000 (USD 0.70 per share), and income from discontinued operations of USD 25,799,000 (USD 3.00 per share).
The results include after tax effects of gains on the sales of two television stations located in Georgia, two radio stations located in Portland, Oregon, and two commercial real estate properties located in the Seattle area, as well as the results of those operations through the dates of sale. Fourth quarter discontinued operations also include loss from the operations and sale of the property management business formerly operated by Fisher Properties Inc.
For the full year, Fisher had net income of USD 8,228,000 (USD 0.96 per share), including a loss from continuing operations of USD 14,804,000 (USD 1.72 per share), and income from discontinued operations of USD 23,032,000 (USD 2.68 per share).
In 2002, Fisher had a consolidated net loss of USD 66,746,000 that included loss from continuing operations of USD 7,546,000, income from discontinued operations of USD 5,173,000, and cumulative effect of change in accounting principle in the amount of USD 64,373,000, net of income taxes, resulting from an impairment charge related to goodwill at five of the Company's television reporting units.
Previous RADAR (RADAR 79 release):
2004-03-12: South African radio drivetime presenter Garath Cliff has been suspended by national music station 5fm for two days following complaints from listeners about an "interview" with "Jesus" on his show that he intended to parody Mel Gibson's movie, The Passion of Christ, which opens in South Africa later this month.
5fm programme manager Nick Grubb said the station believed "the segment was inflammatory, and could have been interpreted negatively by a large portion of our listeners."
"Whilst Gareth is often irreverent and controversial, he merely overstepped the mark this time," he added.
Station manager John Langford commented, "As a responsible broadcaster we simply cannot endorse any content that unnecessarily undermines the religious beliefs of our listeners."
Cliff himself was said by the station in a statement to have apologised for any offence he might have caused. He is due back on the show on Monday.
Mail and Guardian report:
2004-03-11: As the US row over indecency on air continues, Clear Channel says it has spent around USD 500,000 worth of new delay equipment that can accommodate delays up to 20 seconds and is also to develop in-house equipment that could allow for delays of up to five minutes.
It says the moves are part of its "Responsible Broadcasting Initiative" with the former equipment mainly intended for studio use and the latter to be developed for live programmes where monitoring is being done outside a studio.
Doubts about some plans to curb indecency have, however, been expressed by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K. Powell, who was speaking on Wednesday, mainly about telecommunications and the internet, to the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners General Assembly.
He said to reporters after the meeting that some suggestions could end up delaying proposed indecency rules because of free speech issues and also suggested that ideas like the three-strikes and you're out idea concerning licence revocation for repeated offences could be problematic.
Powell was also against amendments that would hold up the FCC's new media ownership regulations through requiring a study of links between indecency broadcasts and media consolidation and another to cut TV violence.
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-03-11: UK SMG has reported profits down more than a quarter in 2003 in its preliminary results that it says reflect an advertising recession that caused it one of the "toughest episodes" in its life.
On an upbeat note, however, it says that has emerged "stronger, fitter and confident [about the year ahead]" with this year seeing a promising start.
SMG said its turnover from continuing operations was down 5.8% to GBP 188.2 million (USD 339.2 million) with operating profit on continuing operations down 8.1% to GBP 38.4 million (USD 69.6 million) before goodwill amortisation of GBP 18.6 million (USD 33.5 million) - almost the same as the GBP 18.5 million (USD 33.3 million) of 2002 and net exceptional charges of GBP 10.9 million (USD 19.7 million) as against nil in the previous year.
Overall operating profit was down 23.8% to GBP 40.9 million (USD 73.7 million) again after goodwill amortisation and net exceptional charges and pre-tax profit was down 27.7% to GBP 17.5 million (USD 31.5 million).
Andrew Flanagan, Chief Executive of SMG, commented, "Not only did 2003 appear to mark the end of the advertising downturn, but it was also an important year for SMG as we reshaped and refocused the business in preparation for the upturn. Reaching a settlement with ITV has materially strengthened our position. The quality and consistency of bookings for the first four months of 2004 are encouraging and we are seeing growth in each media sector. With our balance sheet issues resolved we look forward with confidence to the year ahead."
SMG radio revenues, including those from its holding in Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH), fell by 10% to GBP 23.2 million (USD 41.8 million): In 2003 SMG reduced its debt through the sale of its Herald publishing business (See RNW Jan 25, 2003) and this year it cut it further though the sale of its stake in Scottish Radio Holdings (See RNW Jan 17)
SMG's finances have not been helped by ratings at Virgin Radio and it is challenging RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) over the figures, saying that RAJAR's figures for the final quarter of the year. It says RAJAR's diary keepers under represent Virgin's key demographic of males aged 15 to 35 (See RNW Jan 31).
The RAJAR figures are also under attack by the Wireless Group whose chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie commissioned meter audience ratings from GfK Media that showed much higher audiences for his stations.
He was again attacking RAJAR this week and a report in the UK Guardian (RNW comment - which seems to be his outlet of choice: Presumably he gains satisfaction from using a newspaper at a different end of the political spectrum to himself as a publicity outlet) says that he is to distribute a set of RAJAR prompt cards to members of the MPA, an organisation that represents the interests of the advertising and media industry in northern England. The intention, reports the paper, is to persuade them that RAJAR's system of measuring radio audience's listening habits, which involves members of the public filling in listening diaries, is "ludicrous" and "unwieldy".
The cards are based on 38 colour-coded cards issued by RAJAR with the names of digital radio stations on them to help remind members of its audience research panel which stations they've been listening to.
MacKenzie is inviting MPA members to try the system for themselves and the paper notes that he has printed on the back of the top card the message: "RAJAR does not have to resort to Blue Peter-style bits of card, stickers and pencils. The radio industry need not rely on people's memories to measure its audiences. It's called modern technology. Don't be frightened. It works."
Also in the UK, Emap Performance's marketing director Malcolm Cox is to leave Emap after 14 years with the company as part of a restructuring that is to put marketing resources under individual enterprise teams and is expected to see a number of job cuts.
Cox joined Emap in 1990 as part of the Kiss FM launch. He told the UK Guardian of his departure, "Emap Performance has been following a strategy of building brands and stretching them across platforms and that process is largely complete. I'm leaving because I have been made a number of offers which I'm thinking about."
"From launching Kiss in 1990, through to winning the Kerrang! licence last year, it's been brilliant. When you've somewhere for 14 years, you're not necessarily in a hurry to make a decision. I've had a great time at Emap and I want to make sure I have a great time in my next job."
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Guardian report on Emap:
UK Guardian report on RAJAR challenge:
2004-03-11: Progress Media has announced that its Air America "progressive talk radio network" is to launch on March 31st in four markets - Chicago (WNTD_AM), Los Angeles (KBLA-AM), New York (WLIB-AM) and San Francisco (details not yet announced - with a line-up that includes a noon to 15:00 E.T. weekday show "The O' Franken Factor" hosted by Al Franken and Katherine Lanpher; in its slot it will be competing with Rush Limbaugh.
Other shows include a breakfast show co-hosted by Marc Maron, Sue Ellicott and Mark Riley; a morning show co-hosted by Lizz Winstead, Chuck D, and Laura Flanders; a drive time show and early evening show hosted by former Florida talk host Randi Rhodes that is followed at 19:00 by a one-hour politics media and culture show hosted by Marty Kaplan. It then winds up weekdays with a 20:00-23:00 show hosted by Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder.
Weekend programming will include Best-of shows and "Champions of Justice" hosted by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Mike Papatanio.
Shows are to be streamed live and from archives and Air America Radio CEO Mark Walsh said it would provide "compelling and entertaining programming on the radio, on satellite feeds, and on the web."
Previous Progress Media/Air America:
Air America Radio web site (No audio yet available):
2004-03-11: No radio cases have been listed in the latest programming complaints bulletin from the UK media regulator Ofcom but it has upheld complaints about one TV programme and considered two other TV cases, resolved.
The findings are in marked contrast to recent reactions in the US with Ofcom accepting in the two resolved cases that the complaints related to incidents that would not have reasonably been foreseen and that actions by the broadcasters were adequate to resolve things.
One related to a TV complaint when the owner of a winning greyhound was being interviewed live on Sky TV and suddenly burst out and sang, "Fuck the Pope and the IRA."
Ofcom instead of going into righteous anger mode accepted that Sky and the Greyhound Racing Association had both been taken by surprise and shocked by the incident and that their action -barring the interviewee from being interviewed again, tightening up procedures by Sky and banning the man from the Sheffield track permanently - was enough to consider the matter resolved.
It commented, "We accepted that, given the nature of the programme, such comments could not reasonably have been expected and thought that Sky had suitably resolved the matter."
The other case related to an outburst on "I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!" when Johnny Lydon (Johnny Rotten), who wanted to leave referred to viewers who had not voted him out as "fucking cunts." In this case the hosts had immediately apologised and ITV had instituted a seven-second tape delay system on the live satellite feed.
Ofcom commented in this case, "The broadcaster acknowledged that it was highly regrettable and took immediate steps to apologise. It is clear that, in terms of general compliance for the series, ITV had done a great deal to prevent offence being given."
"They had issued clear warnings of the possibility of strong language before programmes (including this particular episode) and had briefed the production teams and the contributors on compliance needs."
"The broadcaster believes that this type of incident would not happen again. "Under such circumstances we believed that no further action was necessary."
2004-03-11: Even though it is to drop the ratings at the end of this month, Arbitron highlights a new customer -non-commercial KEXP, Radio Seattle, which was seventh-ranked station - in its Internet Broadcast Ratings.
It also omits any mention of formerly high-ranked station Contemporary Christian K-LOVE which has disappeared from the listings, presumably because it - and Educational Media Foundation, which has disappeared from the network rankings - have dumped Arbitron's ratings before Arbitron dumps them.
In station rankings, MUSICMATCH retained top spot but AOL Love Songs made its first appearance in the top five by taking over the second spoke vacated by K-LOVE. In the network stakes, AOL retained top spot.
For the week to February 22, 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 977,212 (646,975); CP - 321,864 (247,438). Same rank with significantly higher listening and reach.
2: AOL Love Songs (commercial) -TTSL 332,290 (236,516); CP 139,384 (93,766). Up from sixth with significantly increased listening and reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 280,845 (249,934); CP - 67,851 (58,007). Up from fourth with higher listening and reach.
4: Country format AOL Top Country (Commercial) -TTSL 267,778 (268,191); CP 109,275 (104,256). Down from third with slightly lower listening but higher reach.
5: Smooth Jazz AOL Smooth Jazz (Commercial) - TTSL 231,050 (245,598); CP - 52,161 (52,866). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
* Contemporary Christian K-LOVE (Non commercial), which was second a week earlier with TTSL 321,523 and CP 40,371 is no longer listed.
The top five networks for the week to February 22 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 6,125,321 (6,236,077); CP - 1,586,529 (1,533,384). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
2: LAUNCH (Commercial) TTSL - 4,675,064 (4,686,412); CP - 1,037,037 (1,018,692). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 2,414,129 (1,643,059); CP -577,344 (461,228). Same rank with significantly higher listening and reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 675,460 (898,157); CP - 86,718 (121,131) - Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) TTSL - 452,507 (411,768); CP - 91,880 (82,491) - Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
* Educational Media Foundation ((*Non Commercial), formerly ranked fifth with TTSL - 416,167 and CP - 56,466 was no longer listed.
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 2,925,053, up from 2,830,838 and StreamGuys with TTSL 601,322, up from 540,120.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast weekly ratings:
2004-03-10: The US Senate Commerce Committee has voted unanimously for much tougher indecency fines for broadcasters and also on-air talent; it has also voted for rules to limit violence on air at times when children might be viewing and put a hold on further media consolidation until a study can be made of potential links between media consolidation and indecency on the airwaves.
The House of Representatives has already voted for stiffer penalties but the Senate vote only goes part of the way along the route they have taken - whereas the House would permit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to impose initial penalties up to USD 500,000, the Senate vote would increase first offence penalties ten-fold to USD 275,000 with an additional USD 100,000 on the maximum for a second offence and up to USD 500,000 for third and subsequent offences with a USD 3 million limit on a station for offences in any 24-hour period.
In particular cases however, such as when material was pre-scripted or planned in advance or was broadcast during events with an unusually large audience such as sporting events or awards ceremonies, the Senate Committee goes further than the House of Representatives and would permit the increased penalties to be doubled.
Also approved was a three-strikes provision that would require licence revocation hearings for a station cited three times for indecency violations.
The proposal to impose a moratorium on new FCC media ownership regulations that would permit additional consolidation came in an amendment from Senators Byron Dorgan (Democrat, North Dakota) and Trent Lott (Republican, Mississippi) that directs the US General Accounting Office to study the relationship between indecent programming and media consolidation before the new ownership rules can take effect. It was passed by a 13-10 vote.
The Committee narrowly rejected - by a 12-11 vote - a proposal that would have extended FCC regulation of broadcast violence and indecency to cable and satellite programming, except for pay-per-view channels.
2004-03-10: The BBC has announced that Capital Radio's Group Creative Director Ric Blaxill is to become BBC 6 Music's Head of Programmes; he will be joining a service that has a weekly reach of some 155,000 compared to around 8 million in his present post but some Capital sources suggest he made the move because a revamp of Capital's management left him with less control over its output.
A former senior producer at BBC Radio 1 and producer of BBC TV's Top of the Pops, Blaxill left the BBC to become, A&R Director for Independiente Records and then worked on various TV music documentaries and programmes for commercial TV in the UK as well as spending a year as Creative Director, Stormlive Digital and internet Radio, before joining Capital as programme controller of London flagship Capital FM.
Later, a reorganization saw him promoted and gaining a seat on the company's board but with less day-to-day duties.
He commented of his move, "I am delighted to be joining the 6 Music team. The station has been blazing a great path for DAB and for music radio. It has a talented team of presenters and producers and a very special music policy that celebrates heritage and champions new music."
"The opportunity to join 6 Music at such a progressive time for the station and for DAB is very, very exciting."
BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music controller Lesley Douglas said of the appointment that Blaxill had "a great breadth of experience in both the music and the broadcasting industries and his experience will benefit the network."
2004-03-10: Palm Beach attorneys have been arguing before an appellate court that they should be allowed to use conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh's seized medical records in building their case against him, saying that the records were seized legally and that a search warrant was used because of fears that evidence could be altered or destroyed.
The 4th District Court of Appeal, which is to decide whether records seized in December but subsequently frozen until it rules whether they can be used in the case, was told in a filing by Assistant State Attorney James Martz, "Privacy rights can not operate as an impenetrable shield." The prosecutors argue that courts have upheld intimate invasions of privacy including strip searches and forced removal of evidence from people's bodies.
Opposing them is Limbaugh's attorney Roy Black along with the American Civil Liberties Union and a national group of physicians. They argue that the privacy rights of all Floridians are under attack if access is allowed to the records.
Palm Beach Post report:
2004-03-10: In US radio business, Entercom has announced a USD 9 million deal to acquire Sports WNSA/FM-Buffalo from Adelphia Communications; the transaction is subject to final approval by the Federal Bankruptcy Court overseeing Adelphia's assets, as well as the usual FCC approval.
Entercom President and CEO David J. Field said they were "pleased to add WNSA and the Buffalo Sabres radio broadcasts to our strong Buffalo station group."
"WNSA will enhance Entercom-Buffalo's ability to provide compelling programming to listeners and excellent results to advertisers," he added.
In Florida, Interep chairman and CEO Ralph Guild has told the Bear Stearns' 17th Annual Media, Entertainment and Information Conference in Palm Beach that, although US radio has seen soft national business to start the year there had been an improvement in recent weeks.
Interep SVP & CFO Bill McEntee, said that overall for the first quarter, which represents less than one-fifth of the year's national business, business bookings in the top 10 markets are down 3% and down 2% in the top 25 markets as of the week of March 2nd. However, he also said that second quarter looks more positive with all markets pacing 5% ahead of last year and business bookings for the second half of the year are up in the double-digit range.
Guild also spoke about Interep's marketing initiatives that are aimed at increasing radio's share of US advertising to 10% by 2010: He noted that before 1992 the medium had a 6% share but by 2000, when Interep launched a Radio marketing campaign -- the Radio 2000) initiative it was up to an all-time high of 8.2%
2004-03-10: WorldSpace Corporation has announced the launch in mid-April of its first multinational satellite radio subscription plan available across the WorldSpace Satellite Radio global footprint, which covers Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
It will initially be targeted at American and British expatriates living and working abroad and content will include BBC, Radio Caroline, talkSPORT, and Virgin Radio UK, plus US National Public Radio (NPR), Bloomberg and Fox News, programming.
The "Home Team Radio/Brits Abroad" subscription package will cost USD 9.99 a month with special additional receiver subscription and multi year incentives.
2004-03-09: Toronto-headquartered CHUM Ltd is considering taking on ventures by US satellite broadcasters Sirius and XM in the commercial-free subscription radio business according to a report in the Toronto Star.
The paper says that CHUM is to eschew the use of satellites and instead operate using a digital terrestrial service to be carried by wireless companies and suggests that Rogers Wireless Communications Inc., which has an existing infrastructure of cellular towers, could be a possible partner.
The new service would potentially compete with those planned by Canadian Satellite Radio (CSR), a partnership between entrepreneur John Bitove Jr. and XM Satellite Radio (See RNW Aug 16, 2003), and a second partnership between Sirius Satellite Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Standard Broadcasting (See RNW Feb 11).
CHUM's vice-president of planning and regulatory affairs Peter Miller noted that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had used the term "subscription" services not "satellite" and added, "We took a look at the DAB system we already have in place and starting thinking, `hey, maybe you don't need a billion dollar bird in the sky if you're going to broadcast in urban markets.'"
The paper said Miller did not believe it would be too difficult to make a profit from its proposed service, although he was vague on numbers; the paper adds that CHUM in its application added a promise that Canadian content would meet or exceed requirements imposed by Heritage Canada and the CRTC - 35 per cent in many cases, with the exception of classical music, jazz and other genres where original Canadian contributions don't add up to quite as much.
This could put demand on rivals concerning Canadian content although both say they plan on putting "millions" on the table for Canadian talent development and Canadian Satellite Radio's vice-president of programming Bob Mackowycz said, "Satellite radio gives a forum for what I call Canada's unheard music."
"We think there is both a place and an important role for satellite radio to play in being the voice of independent artists. Everything that isn't mainstream isn't necessarily the enemy on satellite radio."
And although CHUM is pushing Canadian content as an area where it has an advantage, its would-be competitors don't agree.
"The kind of Canadian content we're offering I don't think CHUM can match," said Stuart Lyons, one of Canadian Satellite Radio's partners. "XM plays more diverse Canadian content than what is found on commercial radio - that is an advantage to Canadians that they normally can't hear. Plus, our Canadian content will be heading south, theirs will not."
Previous Canadian Satellite Radio:
Previous CBC-Radio Canada:
Toronto Star report:
2004-03-09: A three-page checklist produced by the BBC in the wake of the controversy over the corporations reporting that was at the heart of the Hutton report into the death of scientist Dr David Kelly [the report led to the resignation of the corporation's chairman and director-general] threatens to destroy the British tradition of broadcast satire according to a report in the UK Observer.
The system was introduced earlier this year by Mark Byford, now the acting director-general of the corporation and the paper quotes Monty Python co-creator Michael Palin as saying he " 'deplored' this attempt to control creative programme making with bureaucracy."
"We had more and more of it as Python became more popular in the Sixties," said Palin. "It's depressing to see it returning."
The checklist asks for details of material likely to flout guidelines on religion, sex, race and the portrayal of real people and events and Bill Dare, the producer of Dead Ringers and Radio 4's cult topical satire The Now Show, said he believed they completely misunderstood the nature of comedy programme making.
"It's arse-covering. Making a programme is not scientific; it's quite intuitive," he said. "Filling in a form like this is a complete waste of time and is designed to put you off taking risks. I suppose it might work with some people."
Armando Iannucci, co-writer of "I'm Alan Partridge" said programme makers should ignore the new checklist: "The legal people are always making things more complicated. The whole problem is that they don't understand that comedy is meant to be inaccurate and if it isn't then it probably isn't any good. Comedians aren't standing for election."
A BBC spokesman the defended the checklists and the complex bureaucracy that surrounds them: "The producers fill them in and they go back to the schedulers and are cleared by the heads of department and a legal adviser," he said.
"It doesn't supersede existing guidelines. It is a huge bore, maybe, but better than a huge court case. This was one of the things that came out when [Byford] became deputy director-general with responsibility for complaints and compliance."
UK Observer report:
2004-03-09: According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is "almost certain" to discuss closing down its Radio National service as it tries to identify areas where it can trim costs.
The paper says the idea was floated last year by the corporation's radio director Sue Howard who is "known to have told colleagues in her division: 'If you want boring as bat shit, go listen to Radio National.'"
The paper adds that Howard and ABC director of business services David Pendleton refused comment but corporate spokesman Shane Wells said there were no plans to close any ABC radio networks adding that the ABC board had approved measures to ensure it operated within budget and the "closure of Radio National was not part of that decision."
Previous ABC, Australia:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2004-03-09: Former KCRW-FM, Los Angeles, commentator Sandra Tsing Loh, fired last week after a broadcast included a word that should have been beeped out (See RNW Mar 6) has published her version of events in a commentary in the Los Angeles Times that includes the text of her commentary left with the editor albeit with the fateful word still not printed.
It reads, "My husband, my soul mate, my ROOMMATE of 15 years - he sleeps LATE, doesn't LISTEN, moves my STUFF around . . . But he DOES play guitar for Bette Midler on her MASSIVE new STAGE show - there are TIMES when he STANDS within five FEET of her!. . . so I guess I have to [the bleep should have gone here] him. Because you know what? It's finally DAWNED on me, this tour, that Bette Midler [RNW comment -suggestions welcomed as to what was missing other than a four-letter word beginning in f, ending in ck, having a vowel, and meaning to engage in sexual intercourse!]
Loh comments "I will admit, upfront, that alluding to relations with my husband on the air is unusual for me. At 42, a tired mother of two, I'm the sort of public radio commentator who was, at the time of my being fired for indecency, in the middle of a five-part series not on the joy of sex but on the joy of knitting. However, having just seen Bette Midler's new show, still rollicking from her irrepressible vaudeville joke rhythms, I felt a well-placed comic bleep would be an appropriately bawdy (for public radio) homage."
She adds "Except for my apologetic young engineer who sweetly signs himself "Mario - 2 kids, asleep at the wheel," no one has contacted me from KCRW to offer condolences" and goes on to say, "As of Friday, the FCC had not called - perhaps because even the feds were sleeping in during my brand-new supposedly plum time slot of 7:25 Sunday morning. (It appears much of Los Angeles was sleeping as well, because two hours later, somehow, horribly, inexplicably, the little expletive that could got gaily aired a second time!) KCRW's implication I'm somehow a loose cannon is perplexing. I'm so scary I have to be locked out? Just in case I were ever again to wildly prerecord a segment four days ahead of time, discuss the edits with the engineer and leave the text with him."
After one in the eye for station general manager Ruth Seymour who described the dismissal as "precautionary" in case of FCC investigation, she then says that in her view US public radio itself is in danger and comments, "It's a seeping beigeness, a grim, endless, drumbeat of 'responsibility' that all the groovy Argentine trance-hop music in the world can't make up for."
RNW comment: Although we have some understanding of the pressures that come when politicians are tooting away in full hue and cry over an issue - and see the same happening in the UK with the BBC becoming cautious following the Hutton report - Seymour does seem to us, to put it bluntly, rather gutless in this case.
It may be the FCC is staffed by Taliban-like automatons who would have taken strong action over this incident or that the staff would have been forced to act by politicians and commissioners of the same ilk but we'd like to feel that had they done so there are enough fair minded Americans left to have poured scorn on them for so doing.
We can only trust the engineer retains his job and hope that the staff of KCRW have enough courage to collectively let Seymour know what they think of her support for staff who makes a mistake.
We'd also note that at one time training for broadcast staff was rigorous about "banned" words to the extent that in even the direst circumstances the expletives that we used were "safe" to air: Maybe Loh should develop a group of euphemisms to use should she be broadcasting elsewhere that would at one and the same time poke fun at and get by the regulators.
Los Angeles Times - Loh commentary:
2004-03-09: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says it is to hold its next broadcast localism hearing will be held in Rapid City, South Dakota, on May 26.
Details are to be released later as are dates for further planned meetings in California, Maine and Washington, D.C.
2004-03-09: UK UBC Media has announced further international deals for its digital radio software division Unique Interactive including license deals with CBC Radio-Canada for it to use UBC's electronic programme listings guide for its digital multiplex and for SkyNet in South Korea to use its ManDLS text system for transmitting song and artist information, news headlines and radio promotions.
The CBC will use the software on its Montreal multiplex in an experimental service that will launch later this month and will enable DAB listeners to access programme listings for their favourite CBC services up to seven days in advance.
Deals were agreed last month for the use of the system by UK Emap and a consortium of Australian broadcasters (See RNW Feb 15).
UBC has also announced the launch of its Reports system that uses secure Internet based technology to easily generate and email custom schedules of adverts to affiliate stations and publishes secure online transmission forms which stations use to inform Reports of the transmission times of their adverts.
UBC originally commissioned the system from Unique Interactive to automate communications from stations and also send transmission data to J-ET (JICRIT Electronic Trading - an e-commerce system for Commercial Radio and its advertising customers)for conversion into post campaign analyses (PCAs).
JICRIT was set up jointly by the UK commercial and advertising industries and its managing director Max Davies said it welcomed the "addition of UBC's packages to the J-ET system."
"This can only serve to make the accountability of radio even more comprehensive," he added, "and will further streamline the radio buying process for subscribing agencies."
Previous CBC/Radio Canada:
2004-03-08: To start this week's look at print cover of radio we begin with a look back at the career of Alistair Cooke, who has now recorded his last Letter from America after 58 years of the weekly programme (See RNW Mar 3).
In the UK Sunday Times, Paul Donovan began his Radio Waves column with a quotation from Cooke: "No matter what you are talking about - gardening, economics, murder - you're telling a story. Every sentence should lead to the next sentence.
If you say a dull sentence, people have a right to switch off. Broadcasting is the control of suspense."
Donovan comments of Cooke, "He posted the first one in 1946, then practiced what he preached for 58 years."
"He did so with an elegance of language and insight that was a weekly wonder. The fact that I suddenly have to use the past tense will sadden the millions of us who listen to him on Radio 4 and on the BBC World Service. But he is 95, and has not concealed in recent talks the infirmities of age - the fall, the bump on his head, being bedridden. He no longer flies, he rarely leaves his Fifth Avenue apartment, and the doctors have ordered it."
For the next three months, as Donovan notes, the BBC will air repeats (as last week. The programme is still on the BBC web site as are a number of notable "Letters") but after that no decision has yet been made on a successor programme.
The paper also carried a profile of Cooke that includes details of one broadcast excerpt that is worth a repeat -- it's from his 1,000th broadcast in March 1968 in which he commented on "the realization that America, which has seldom lost a war, is not invincible; and the very late discovery that an elephant can trumpet and shake the earth but not the self-possession of the ants who hold it".
Nearly 20 years later in a 1987 radio interview with the veteran BBC reporter Charles Wheeler he gave what the paper termed "a disarmingly frank insight into his technique: 'I sit down about 11 in the morning and then I type Good Evening and . . . then quite honestly I say, 'Now what?' "This is not being casual or glib about it - I used to in the old days make notes all through the week about what I felt it would be responsible to talk about, but then I realized after several years that when you go to a dinner party, or have a drink with a friend, you don't walk in with little cards - there have been presidents who have done that . . . 'I prefer to trust to my unconscious, automatic memory (or) whatever, and think of something that happened. Of course, if a president is about to abdicate, you're going to talk about that, but most of the time I simply do not know when I sit down and it comes out. It takes about two hours then I come down to the BBC and do it.'"
The marked contrast of US commercial talk radio in general to the style of Cooke's broadcasts on the BBC was summed up in many ways by some "Five rules for being a guest on radio" we noted from Wick Allison in Front Burner.
Before giving hem came the comment, "Radio bugs me, always has, because if you're a guest there is rarely time to make sustained argument on air. You really only have time to make a point."
Cooke, of course, as are many BBC broadcasters was allowed time to make more than one point but some of the tips still make sense as for example, ". Look the host in the eye. If you're looking straight at someone, you're more likely to talk in an at least semi-conversational tone of voice."
About some of the others we have more doubts: "When the host starts talking, shut up. Radio guys will say what comes into their head whether you're at the critical point of an Aristotelian syllogism or not. It's their show. Talking is why they are radio hosts and you're not. When they start talking, you stop."
Yes and no to that one. In our view with some US hosts only someone with an inane desire to get on air or a need to boost celebrity or sell something would ever go on the show in the first place. And if you haven't got anything to say, why would a host want you on the show anyway except as a foil - rather a demeaning role.
The last point, however, in the context, says much about US radio: ". Relax, relax, relax. It's only air. It's not like you're carving anything in stone. Nobody will remember what you say anyway. Or if they do, they'll remember it wrong. "
RNW comment: Even if you've only made one point? What was that about attention span?
The above might lead one to unfair conclusions about US radio, however: A report by Clint O' Connor in the Cleveland Plain Dealer could go some way to changing the perception.
Notes O'Connor, "Rush Limbaugh has the most popular radio show in the country. Guess who's close behind in second place? Shock jock Howard Stern? Sports sage Jim Rome?"
"Actually it's the purveyors of the quiet, intellectually driven "Morning Edition" on National Public Radio."
In third place is its NPR evening companion, "All Things Considered," according to Arbitron ratings and O'Connor comments, "Proof, if nothing else, that despite all the recent attention focused on obscene, juvenile radio stunts, American listeners have a hearty appetite for news, issues and intelligent discussion."
In Dallas- Fort Worth, Mark Davis in the Star-Telegram commented, "In an election year, it should be no surprise to find heaping helpings of grandstanding and hypocrisy. But as the 'indecency' obsession runs its course, those two traits are on particularly noxious display, and not just from politicians."
"As a broadcaster," he continues, "I care about the following rant more than you probably do, but let me try to impart why you should care more."
The issue, of course, is decency. What should and should not be on TV and radio?"
It was all sparked by the Janet Jackson Super Bowl halftime flash, which ignited a wave of proper indignation that such sexual content could sully a family viewing environment The bottom line is that public reaction forced a change without the help of Orwellian government."
"And this proves that the sham hearings on Capitol Hill this past week were completely unnecessary, except to provide an orgy of opportunities for politicians to score cheap points and for radio's corporate suits to pretend to be chastened."
"We do not need government policing media content, and the only reason we have it is that vast portions of America are unwilling to practice individual and parental responsibility."
"Children do not listen to Howard Stern. The controversy that has swirled around him is the product of adults who find his program too vulgar."
"Fine. Don't listen to it. Be a grownup. If enough people grow weary of him, he will go away. If that does not happen, chalk it up to a fact that every mature adult must absorb: The marketplace will sometimes support shows that you don't like."
And he concludes, "As Ben Franklin wisely said, those of us willing to sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither."
And for our usual tips for listening this week, to note that the BBC Radio 4 18:30 GMT comedy slot currently includes Boothby Graffoe on Thursdays and the Now Show on Fridays - last week's editions are still on the Listen Again site and the Now Show song about Janet Jackson's 'Boob' is worth a listem.The site also includes until the afternoon today all of last week's afternoon readings, a worthy set of stories from the Bath Literature Festival.
The Radio 2 site still has the second of its Glenn Miller Story shows for a couple of days and on Tuesday at 20:30 GMT starts a three-part George Michael Story. The site also still has on it the channel's first Young Brass Soloist competition.
From the US, our eyes caught on the NPR web site a feature from All Things Considered on the Volvo YCC (for "Your Concept Car") designed by women.
The idea behind designing the car with the team chosen seemed fine but the results deserved a more thorough treatment than they got, which was basically a shallow puff.
The features mentioned included some that seemed dubious to us - the idea of a heel support so you can drive in high heels is the wrong approach in safety terms in our view - and the idea of needing computerized parking guidance (yes, we accept it's probably useful for many drivers, both male and female) seems an ill-fit a car with gull-wing doors that ensure you can't park in a narrow space between other vehicles or in a narrow garage. Easy clean paint, however - if it doesn't cost to much and the team overspent their budget by a around two-and-a-half times - seems a good idea to us though we suspect that those who'd buy this car would be paying someone else to clean it anyway. The item in the end deserved to be done properly or dropped altogether - a quick search of print articles on the web showed just how weak it was.
And yes it was given 30 minutes but the BBC Radio 4 Analysis programme Look After Yourself on health and how far governments' health campaigns can work is certainly worth listening to for comparison and maybe for considering the value of actually airing documentary material at a reasonable length - a good programme could be made about the Volvo car.
Cleveland Plain Dealer - O' Connor:
Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram - Davis:
FrontBurner - Allison:
UK Sunday Times - Alistair Cooke profile:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2004-03-08: As the public war of words between conservative US talk host Rush Limbaugh and the Palm Beach prosecutor's office continues, the latter has both defended its release of plea negotiations over the host's drug prescriptions case and said complaints were moot because the Limbaugh camp had already made the talks public.
According to the Palm Beach Post Assistant State Attorney Ken Selvig has responded to allegations from conservative legal group the Landmark Legal Foundation that the office unlawfully released letters concerning the discussions by saying that the claim was "patently false."
Selvig's attorney Arthur Jacobs, directed attention to a December 22 interview on CNN on which a spokesman for Premiere Works, which syndicates the Limbaugh show, had said discussions had taken place between Limbaugh attorney Roy Black and prosecutors.
During the interview Premier spokeswoman Keven Bellows said Black had been talking with prosecutors about Limbaugh "accepting responsibility for his actions"
"The State Attorney's disclosure of Mr. Black's letter therefore did not reveal anything of substance that had not already been revealed by Mr. Limbaugh's own representative," Jacobs wrote.
Landmark President Mark Levin said Selvig's statement did not address their main complaint -- that state attorneys Krischer and Selvig misrepresented advice given to them by the Florida Bar and the state attorney general's office on whether to release the documents.
Levin says the action was in direct violation of the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct but the prosecutor's office says that it was obeying state law in releasing records to the Florida Sun Sentinel in response to a request under the state's public-records laws (See RNW Jan 24).
In another twist in the matter, Florida state senator Sen. Mandy Dawson, who was amongst people cited by Limbaugh as an example proving that different standards were being applied to him than to others involved in prescription drug cases, has told the Palm Beach Post that her case should not be compared with that of the host.
Limbaugh and his attorney, Roy Black, talked publicly in January about how a Broward County "senator" got her prescription drug case dropped but Dawson noted that was arrested and charged with felony prescription drug fraud for altering a painkiller prescription from 60 pills to 160. She entered a pre-trial intervention program and had the charge dismissed.
Black responded by saying that the point was that a similar deal for Limbaugh was rejected by state prosecutors who wanted him to plead guilty to a felony even though he had not been arrested and, according to Black, there is no evidence against him.
Limbaugh on his site is now carrying a link to a Matt Drudge report concerning a Palm Beach County Judge who was removed from his post and who allegedly was addicted to OxyContin, one of the drugs involved in the allegations against Limbaugh.
Limbaugh's attorney subsequently issued a statement saying, "After admitting an eight-year addiction, Judge Schwartz entered treatment voluntarily and was praised by the community, not investigated and never prosecuted by the Palm Beach State Attorney's Office. This was sensitive and appropriate for someone facing such a difficult personal challenge. All we're asking is that Rush Limbaugh be treated the same."
Palm Beach Post report:
2004-03-08: Small Internet stations are now in a better state to survive following approval by the US House of Representatives of the Copyright Royalty Distribution and Reform Act that would authorize a judge appointed by the Librarian of Congress to hear royalty disputes.
Under the current system, arbitration panels decide the royalty rates that Internet radio stations pay, but it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to take part whereas the cost of the new system would be of the order of USD 150 to argue a royalty case.
The royalty rate of .07 cents per song per listener set by the Librarian under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 were determined in negotiations by the arbitration panels but were said by small webcasters to be too high for them, although large companies could cope with them.
Subsequently a new law enabled small webcasters to negotiate royalty payment rates on a case-by-case basis with SoundExchange, the recording industry's principal royalty collector.
The new law would give small webcasters a chance to argue their case and seems likely to gain support in the US Senate.
Previous Sound Exchange:
Site for Act:
2004-03-07: Last week was yet another when regulatory attention in the US was still focused on broadcast indecency issues and other areas were fairly quiet.
There was nothing from Australia or the UK of radio interest and in Canada it was more a matter of public notices and announcements than of decisions.
They included an announcement relating to the broadcasting regulatory costs of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) that for the 2004/2005 fiscal year are estimated at CAD 25.73 million (USD 14.47 million). In addition adjustments are being made for the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 fiscal years totaling CAD 1.1 million (USD 832,000).
As a result of the revisions a credit is being issued to broadcasting companies and the Commission says the net billing for Canada's Part I licence fee for fiscal year 2004-2005, taking into account the adjustments CAD 25.8 million (USD 19.5 million.)
The CRTC has also issued a notice, with a deadline for intervention of April 5 and 13, relating to a number of applications including (in order of province):
Application to amend the licence of CIAM-FM Fort Vermilion, to add the following transmitters- a 25 watts FM transmitter in Buffalo Head, to add 50-watts FM transmitters in Foggy Mountain,
Red Earth and Watt Mountain.
Application for the fourth time for extension of time limit to commence operator of new transmitter of CINC-FM Thompson at Lake Manitoba (deadline April 13).
Application for frequency change for CJRF-FM Sherbrooke (Bromptonville).
Application to add a 2,1000 watts FM transmitter at Saskatoon to broadcast the programming of CJLR-FM La Ronge
Application to amend the conditions of licence of CFVZ-FM Moose Jaw, to add to broadcasts relating to the hockey games of the Moose Jaw Warriors and baseball games of the Moose Jaw Millers, fastball games from Memorial Field, and selected Moose Jaw High School athletic events.
Application to add to the licence of CBU-FM, Vancouver, a 240 watts FM transmitter in Whitehorse to broadcast the programming of CBC's Radio Two service.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the signing of a ten-year contract with Midland Community Radio Services Limited for the provision of services to counties Laois, Offaly and Westmeath. The station has already been serving the area for 14 years.
The BCI has also issued an interactive CD-Rom and new edition of "Nathanna Cainte don Raidió/Irish Phrases for Radio" today
At the official launch, Dermot Ahern T.D., Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, said," "Most of us have Irish language skills and it is simply a matter sometimes of unlocking them. This interactive CD-Rom, I believe, provides the key. Our independent radio sector holds an ever-growing role in the broadcasting landscape. We need to ensure that the Irish language is a living language in the radio sector."
BCI chief executive Michael O'Keeffe added, "The BCI is delighted to lend its continued support to the introduction of initiatives such as this which are designed to increase the usage of Irish on independent radio stations".
In the US, where as we have noted the focus on broadcasting indecency continues to exercise lawmakers, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC ) has now received payment for its largest-ever penalty, that of USD 755,000 imposed on Clear Channel, most of it relating to broadcasts of the Bubba the Love Sponge show in Florida (See RNW Mar 5).
The FCC has also refused to reconsider its imposition of the maximum USD 27,5000 penalty on Infinity's Detroit station WKRK-FM relating to broadcasts of the Deminsky and Doyle Show (See RNW Mar 6).
It also dropped a USD 20,000 penalty for tower and studio offences imposed on the now out of business Grass Roots Broadcasting, licensee of WAMM-AM, Woodstock, Virginia (Also Mar 6)
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
2004-03-07: Irish state radio RTÉ is to start transmitting its Radio 1 signal on the 252 long wave frequency, formerly the home of Atlantic 252 then TEAMTalk 252, in ten-days time - St Patrick's Day.
It carried out tests using the frequency in September last year and says it regarding the service from listeners throughout Ireland, the UK and further afield.
RTÉ director of radio Adrian Moynes says the service will be aimed at the Irish community in Britain.
Within Ireland, RTÉ is concentrating on FM services and it is to end pop station 2FM's medium service from Athlone in April having already closed the station's Dublin MW transmitter in January this year.
It is also to suspend Radio 1 medium wave transmissions from its Tullamore transmitter in July, by when the 252 service will be an alternative, to allow for maintenance but says it intends to restore the Tullamore service in November after work has been done.
In the longer term Radio 1 services on FM, MW and LW as well as on satellite and cable services will be monitored in terms of take-up, cost and quality a move that has led to speculation about possible reduction of AM services.
The broadcaster also says it is timely to begin planning for digital radio in the country and it is to undertake research to develop content and applications for a service and also to cost and specify details for a test service for a limited area.
It will initially concentrate on the Eureka DAB system but may later examine transmissions on the medium and long-wave bands using the Digital Radio Mondiale system.
2004-03-07: Astral Media CEO Ian Greenberg has predicted that a single major media deal in the country could lead to a "domino" effect of consolidation to shake up the industry.
Speaking on Creating Value in a Competitive Media Industry at the Empire Club of Canada he said this could conceivably happen this year but if it did Astral was interested only in acquisitions, not in being taken over.
Greenberg also spoke of the importance of other values than the bottom line in assessing a company's worth and noted that whilst Canadians were like Americans in many ways they differed.
"Yes, of course we like the best of American programming," he said, "so does the rest of the world. We like original, creative, well-produced entertainment shows. But we do NOT have an appetite for an all-American content diet. The Canadian media industry is more and more aware that delivering content that is aligned with the particular values of Canadians is good business! The extent to which we do it and do it well is reflected in our bottom line."
"The fact that we operate in the cultural sector makes us different from many other industries. To some extent, our products must express and reflect the values of Canadians as distinct from those of people from other countries."
2004-03-06: As the issue of broadcast indecency remains high on the US news and lawmakers' agendas, with proposals to fine on-air talent as well as licensees and a California public radio host fired (see below), the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has " summarily rejected" Infinity's plea for reconsideration of the current maximum fine of USD 27,500 it imposed last year (See RNW Dec 9, 2003) over broadcasts on the Deminski and Doyle Show on WKRK-FM, Detroit, Michigan, in January 2002
Under a new indecency law that cleared the House Committee by a 49-1 vote earlier this week (See RNW Mar 4) the FCC would be able to impose fines of up to USD 500,000 on licensees and also on individual performers who can currently be fined up to USD 11,000 although so far no penalty has been levied on an individual.
Infinity had argued against the penalty on the basis of constitutional free speech and other issues that had previously been raised and the FCC said its arguments were repetitive.
Three commissioners issued statements backing the decision, two of them regretting that the penalties weren't higher.
Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps said he felt the penalty was "insufficient and not even a slap on the wrist to Infinity for airing what can only be described as a vulgar and disgusting broadcast" and Republican Kevin J. Martin said he "would have found several violations within this program and assessed the statutory maximum for each violation, for a total fine of over USD200, 000."
Democrat commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein said he strongly supported the decision and said the material was "some of the most egregious broadcast indecency that I have yet encountered" adding, "I am disappointed that the licensee in this case continues to challenge this sanction rather than accept responsibility for such an extreme violation of our rules."
According to Bloomberg's the FCC is close to levying around two dozen fines for radio indecency cases; it quoted a letter from FCC chairman Michael K. Powell to Michigan Democrat, John Dingell, saying, "At the end of 2003, we had pending more than two dozen cases in the final stage of investigation, and anticipate enforcement action in all or most of these cases within the next few months."
FCC spokeswoman Suzanne Tetreault said Howard Stern's show, produced by Viacom, has been the target of complaints. FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps said none of the planned actions involved licence revocation, saying this was the ultimate sanction.
"Even if we were to use revocation just once, the industry would snap to attention and you'd see the quality of programming take off,'' said Copps.
Stern on his show has been expressing concern that he is to be targeted, saying he fears that his show may be dropped despite its popularity. He said the majority of Americans enjoyed it and had made him the top rated host and went on to say "it seems the few religious whack jobs who are trying to get into our government like the Taliban through George W. Bush are ruling the country right now, and there is a cultural war going on."
Stern also discussed the idea pf public protests against the current anti-indecency campaign through holding a "Million Moron March" in Washington, D.C.
He also spoke of revealing news concerning a Kansas Senator that would be "very chilling" to his fans. Stern did not name the Senator but Kansas Republican Sen Sam Brownback has written to Viacom president and COO Mel Karmazin demanding an explanation as to why Infinity last month broadcast a sexually explicit interview with the former boyfriend of hotel heiress Paris Hilton, who was featured having sex with him in a tape widely distributed on the Internet.
The broadcast was given by Clear Channel as the reason to suspend Stern's show from the six of its stations that carried it (See RNW Feb 27).
The radio broadcasts that the FCC is considering date back some time - according to Stern they involve a three-years old edition of his show and according to Clear Channel some past Bubba the Love Sponge shows - and it is also reported by the Wall Street Journal to be about to reverse its earlier finding that singer Bono's use of the word "fucking" in a non-sexual context on live television during the 2003 Golden Globes broadcast wasn't indecent [RNW comment: the WSJ report says that no large fine is to be levied in this case and the sceptic in us wonders whether this may be related to avoiding any contesting of the decision since according to the FCC rules as drafted at the time FCC officials were clearly in our view correct to rule that the broadcast did not breach them.]
While the FCC is currently hitting hard over indecency offences, it is maintaining its former levels of penalties for other breaches.
Its latest ruling in this area was to cancel a proposed USD 20,000 penalty against Grass Roots Broadcasting, licensee of WAMM-AM, Woodstock, Virginia, for failure to register and paint its antenna structure and to maintain a main studio.
Grass Roots had responded to the notice of apparent liability by saying that the violations have been corrected; it sold the station on October 21, 2002, at a loss; it is without assets; and it has no other broadcast interests.
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-03-06: BBC Radio 2 has now announced its spring line-up including a new evening show for Mark Radcliffe starting on June 7, a new two-hour Friday night arts show for Mariella Frostrup from April 16 - replacing veteran Sheridan Morley - and a new show for Dermot O'Leary, best known as the host of Big Brother's Little Brother, to begin in the autumn.
O'Leary said of his show, "It feels like being signed to Arsenal! I'm very flattered that such an established and massively successful station and brand want me to be part of it."
Radcliffe replaces Richard Allinson, the former Capital Radio DJ who will continue to present his Saturday afternoon show as well as taking over anchor duties on live music strand Live and Exclusive and fronting a poll, Sold on Song Top 100, to find the most popular 100 songs of all time.
Radcliffe's partner in the Mark and Lard Show that is being dropped from BBC Radio 1, Marc Riley, joins BBC 6 Music on April 3 to present a new Saturday show.
The channel is also launching a new weekday lunchtime show to be hosted from April 5 by Vic McGlynn, who joined 6 Music last year as the presenter on the 6 Music Chart. She had previously worked at commercial stations in Liverpool, London, Manchester and Dubai.
Chris Hawkins will take over the Official New Music Chart on Saturdays from 4.00 to 6.00pm from April 3.
Radio 2 is also to bring Zoë Ball back to the BBC airwaves with a two part series on rave culture and to host two further debates on the British music industry.
In the UK commercial sector, Becky Jago, Chris Tarrant's sidekick, is to remain with Capital FMs breakfast show when Johnny Vaughan takes over a host in April according to the UK Guardian.
It quotes Capital managing director Keith Pringle as saying she did not get the job - after auditions by half a dozen candidates - to maintain continuity and she will have a changed role that will no longer include reading the news.
"She was someone who Johnny had a rapport with and the two fit together well," Pringle told the paper, "I want her to take more of a girl-about-town role. I like the fact that she's in touch with what's happening in London."
He also denied suggestions that Tarrant's older, female listeners might tune out when Vaughan takes over, saying, "There's a strong compatibility - if people like Chris, they like Johnny as well."
2004-03-06: Los Angeles public station KCRW-FM has fired author and actress Sandra Tsing Loh after she used the word "Fuck" during a pre-recorded segment that aired twice in her show, "The Loh Life".
Station General Manager Ruth Seymour told the Los Angeles Times that the use of the curse word violated federal broadcast law and the station's policy on language and the dismissal was a precautionary measure to show the station has distanced itself from Loh in case the FCC investigates the matter.
"The actual use of the word can't be used in any way on our air," she added. "It has nothing to do with the Super Bowl or Howard Stern or anything like that. It's illegal."
Seymour said she hopes Loh finds another radio home but added, "But you know, being part of the broadcast medium implies a certain responsibility if Sandra says she's angry, how do you think we at the station feel? Apart from endangering the license, we could well incur a heavy fine. We really are serious with her, that with such a trivial, self-serving piece, she put us all in danger."
Loh said she "never would have dreamed something like this would have happened" adding "I'm heartbroken, and I'm angry. I've always thought of KCRW as a place of fresh air, a station that stood for free speech and independent thought. And I never intended that word to go on the air. It was a total mistake."
She said she told her engineer, Mario Diaz, to bleep the word before the commentary aired.
She added, "I suppose the sensitivity is really heightened because of the current atmosphere. Everyone is terrified."
Loh's commentary that led to the dismissal centred on a Bette Midler concert at Staples Center in which Loh's husband, a musician, performed with the singer: She said she was so excited to see her husband so close to Midler that she wanted to have sex with him.
The Times reports that Loh will remain as a periodic commentator on public radio's "Marketplace," which is produced at USC.
Los Angeles Times report:
2004-03-06: Mexican radio company Grupo Radio Centro, which has just been ordered to pay USD 21 million in damages in a case brought against it by Infored and Gutierrez Vivo, the producer and host of the Monitor news program (See RNW March 4), says it has decided to produce the programme itself.
It has already ended broadcasts of the Infored programme and says that, although it cannot predict the effect of replacing the host on the programme's audience and advertising revenues it believes any revenue fall will be more than offset by reduced costs of the programme.
Previous Grupo Radio:
2004-03-05: Clear Channel has now sent its cheque to the Federal Communications Committee to pay the USD 755,000 penalty imposed mainly relating to Bubba the Love Sponge broadcasts but also including USD 40,000 for public file offences (See RNW Jan 28 ) and another broadcaster has been developing its own zero-tolerance policy concerning broadcast indecency..
Emmis company discussed its standards in a webcast conference with on-air, programming and marketing personnel this week; it says the conference was part of its process of educating talent and programming staff about decency standards.
Bubba's fans in the meanwhile seem to have given up on any return to the terrestrial airwaves: a posting on the BubbaArmy web site says, "Unfortunately, due to the current realities of the radio marketplace, and in particular the fear that has been struck into every major broadcast group by the overbearing FCC, it is not feasible for us to return to terrestrial (over-the-air) radio at this time."
It then calls for action to lobby politicians against what it terms "bullying" by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commenting, "First Bubba, now Howard Stern... who's next? Where will it end? Let's take action now so we don't have to find out how much the government plans to encroach on our individual freedoms."
Previous Bubba the Love Sponge:
Previous Clear Channel:
BubbaArmy web site:
2004-03-05: In more US radio results Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has reported final quarter 2003 revenues up 1.7% on a year earlier to USD 35.1 million with reported net revenue for the year 2003 slightly down at USD135.3 million compared to USD135.7 million; SBS adds that its pro forma net revenues were up 4.6%.
SBS said the final quarter growth, matching predictions, was mostly attributable to double-digit growth at our Los Angeles station KLAX-FM and in its Puerto Rico market aided by contributions from start-up stations in Chicago and Los Angeles but offset by a decrease in New York and promotional events in Chicago. The year's results similarly benefited from double-digit growth in Los Angeles and start-up stations' revenues but were pulled back by a fall in New York.
Overall SBS had a loss for the final quarter of USD 500,000 compared to net income a year earlier of USD 1.7 million, primarily due to interest expense incurred on the new $125.0 million credit facility term loan entered into in October 2003 to finance part of the acquisition of our Los Angeles station KXOL-FM and an increase in other expense, net, due to a legal settlement. For the full year its income, affected by the same factors, was down from USD 6.6 million to USD 2.7 million.
Pro forma same station net revenues for the quarter were down 1.7% to USD 33.9 million and for the year they were down 0l3% to USD 135.3 million.
Commenting on the results Chairman and CEO Raúl Alarcón , Jr. said the "fourth quarter results once again surpassed our forecast, primarily highlighting the considerable ratings and revenue momentum at our Los Angeles cluster. Overall, in 2003 we successfully fulfilled the majority of our near-term strategic, financial and operating goals."
Thanks to acquisitions and new station launches plus ratings improvements and other factors he said the company had "entered 2004 in a strong position to pursue our primary long-term goal, which is to drive revenues and close the Hispanic media industry rating/revenue gap across all our markets."
"Given our leadership positions in the nation's top-ranked Hispanic markets, we remain well positioned to capitalize on the improving economic climate and advertising environment," he concluded.
SBS says it expects first quarter pro forma net revenue this year to be flat and station operating income to decrease by a low single digit percentage over the pro forma comparable prior year period.
Jones Media Networks, Ltd. has reported final quarter consolidated revenues up 6% on a year earlier to USD15.4 million but revenues for the full year were down 4% to USD 56.8 million.
Its operating loss for the quarter doubled to USD 1.2 million with net loss up 19.5% to USD 4.9 million whilst for the year consolidated net loss was down more than two-thirds to USD 7.6 million from USD 24.2 million, mainly due to a non-cash charge in 2002 of $10.7 million relating to a partial write-down of the goodwill recorded as part of an acquisition made in 1998.
Jones said its network radio business increased revenues during the fourth quarter by 2% to USD 11.8 million but EBITDA was down 24% to USD 0.7 million primarily due to a $0.9 million, or 10%, increase in cash operating expenses incurred as a result of the expansion of the number of NFL games broadcast by the Company in the fourth quarter, the signing of the Marie Osmond agreement in the fourth quarter, and other costs incurred relating to new program offerings.
For the year radio network revenues were down 2.3% to USD 43.9 million.
President Glenn R. Jones commented, "While we were pleased to see continued top line revenue growth in our network radio and cable television programming operating segments for the quarter from a year ago, we continued to feel the effects of a struggling advertising marketplace for both our network radio and cable television programming businesses."
In other US radio business XM Satellite Radio has announced the elimination of USD135 million of debt, including repayment of USD 81.2 million of debt using proceeds of the equity offering completed in January and conversion of the remainder.
Previous Alarcón :
Previous Jones Media Networks:
2004-03-05: WLIB-AM, the first Black owned station in New York City - it was acquired in 1972 by the former Manhattan Borough President, Percy Sutton - is to become the first New York affiliate of the nascent US liberal talk network Air America according to the New York Daily Post.
The paper says that the network is also expected to announce that comedian Janeane Garofalo is join humorist Al Franken in its line-up.
WLIB, which had an all-talk format until three years ago when under budget pressure it switched to a mix of Caribbean music with black-targeted talk shows, is based along with sister urban format station WBLSFM, at the same Park Avenue address that houses Air America and its parent, Progress Media.
Previous Progress Media/Air America:
New York Post report:
2004-03-05: The US government has condemned the Ukrainian government's silencing of local station Radio Kontynent, which is sympathetic to the country's opposition, four days after it began FM rebroadcasting of Radio Liberty's short-wave programming.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said at a briefing, "We view with great concern recent attempts by Ukrainian authorities to limit public access to independent news and information. The shutdown yesterday of Radio Kontynent and the silencing of Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe, VOA [Voice of America] and other international broadcasters is an assault on democracy. It is very serious in an election year in Ukraine, when the need for news from many sources is at its greatest."
Last month the Ukrainian FM Radio Dovira network dropped RFE/RL's Ukrainian programs from its airwaves, a move described in a statement by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty President Thomas A. Dine as a "a deeply disturbing political development and serious setback to freedom of expression in Ukraine."
Dine said the move wasn't just about the service but also "about denying Ukrainians the information they need to make sound decisions about the future of their country" and "a regrettable prelude to what we still hope will be a joyful celebration of the 50th anniversary of our Ukrainian Service this summer."
RFE/RL began broadcasting to Ukraine on August 16, 1954 and Radio Dovira had been rebroadcasting five hours daily of RFE/RL programs on its nationwide FM network since 1998.
It said its decision to drop the RFE/RL programming, made by a new management team headed by a businessman and journalist reported to be close to the administration of Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, was made because it did not fit Dovira's format.
According to the state agency responsible for assigning radio frequencies Kontynent was taken off the air because it had been broadcasting without a licence but it denied Radio Kontynent's claims that its transmitter had been confiscated.
RFE/RL says in its web site report that Kontynent General Director Serhiy Sholokh said he plans to appeal the matter in local courts and notes that the station's broadcasts are still available on an AM band.
Previous Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty:
RFE/RL web site:
2004-03-05: Another US college station is being sold, this time KBTC-FM, Tacoma, Washington that Bates Technical College has agreed to sell for USD 5 million to Denver non-profit Public Radio Capital, which brokers public radio deals but also purchases stations and arranges for their operation.
According to the Denver Business Journal classic rock KBTC-FM will change its call letters to KXOT-FM on March 8 and will feature programming - a mix of independent rock, world music, blues and Americana, as well as public affairs - from Seattle-based KEXP-FM, which is licensed to Washington University and is affiliated with the Experience Music Project Museum located in the Seattle Center.
The Journal reports that Public Radio Capital is leasing the station to KEXP for amounts ranging from USD 50,000 in the first year to USD 335,000 in the third year to KEXP.
The frequency extends KEXP's cover to extending its reach to Tacoma and Olympia and the paper quoted Tom Mara, KEXP's executive director, as saying, "We hope enough folks in Tacoma and Olympia find value in this to help us pay for it," he said.
Denver Business Journal report:
2004-03-04: The House Energy and Commerce Committee has approved a measure to increase broadcast indecency penalties nearly 20-fold to a maximum USD 500,000 per violation rather than the ten-fold increase to USD 275,000 recommended by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and which had been passed by the House Telecommunications sub-committee.
The bill, the "Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004" was primarily drafted by sub committee chairman Michigan Republican Fred Upton, also set no maximum fine for an incident and agreed to require the FCC to hold hearings on revoking a broadcaster's license after three violations. It was passed by a 49-1 majority but differs from proposals in the Senate where
Senate Commerce Committee chairman Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain has said the committee will consider a stand-alone measure to crack down on indecent broadcasts.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tennessee Republican Bill Frist says he will have to examine the legislation before deciding whether to support boosting fines.
The US National Association of Broadcasters has opposed the House decision in a statement by its President and CEO Eddie Fritts, who said, "NAB believes that voluntary industry initiatives are far preferable to government regulation when dealing with programming issues."
"Just recently, a number of broadcasters have taken positive steps to address concerns of parents and policymakers, and we expect the upcoming NAB Summit on Responsible Programming to yield additional substantive results. NAB does not support the bill as written, but we hear the call of legislators and are committed to taking voluntary action to address this issue."
Other proposals that have been made include Georgia Democrat Sen Zell Miller's Broadcast Decency Responsibility and Enforcement Act that would impose a fine of 25 cents per radio listener or TV viewer, a penalty that could have resulted in a fine of some USD 35 million for the Janet Jackson breast-baring incident during the Super Bowl half time show.
There has also been a suggestion that satellite radio, although it is a subscription service, could be regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The question was raised on Tuesday by Democrat Commissioner Kevin J Martin at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) State Leadership Conference in Washington, DC.
He noted that the FCC had the authority to regulate satellite radio but said it might be precluded from enforcing the same standards that apply to terrestrial broadcasters [RNW comment - presumably First Amendment rulings in the past that on the surface would see any such regulation promptly thrown out on its ear although the FCC could potentially - perish the thought - extort some compliance by being less helpful in other areas where it does have the right to regulate the satellite companies, such as the rules governing terrestrial repeaters].
New York Times - Reuters report:
2004-03-04: Former England soccer player Stan Collymore, who had been attempting to build a media career, has seen his plans crumble after English tabloid newspaper The Sun published details of approaches made by Collymore to two reporters posing as a married couple in a lay-by near his home in Staffordshire and his admission of "dogging", the practice of having sex with strangers in public.
Collymore had been a match "summariser" on BBC Radio 5 Live on an "ad-hoc" basis but the channel now says it has no plans to use him in the near future.
He is now reported to have checked into the Priory clinic with depression.
Returning to the BBC this month is veteran DJ Tony Blackburn who was the launch DJ for BBC Radio 1 and who next week starts a new Monday evening Soul Show on BBC London; it will be followed in April with a Saturday lunchtime show.
Blackburn was previously with the station, then BBC Radio London, in the late 80s.
2004-03-04: In further US radio results, Beasley Broadcast Group and Saga Communications have reported revenues flight to slightly down for 2003 although Saga had increased revenues in the final quarter.
Beasley's revenues for the full year were USD114.5 million, marginally down on USD114.7 million in 2002, and fourth quarter revenues were down 1.7% to USD USD32.1 million.
Net income for the year was USD 12.8 million (USD 0.52 per diluted share) compared to a loss of USD3.7 million (USD 0.15 per diluted share) in 2002 when the figures were affected by the adoption of SFAS No. 142 (Goodwill & Other Intangible Assets), which resulted in a non-cash, after-tax impairment charge taken in the first quarter totalling USD 12.1 million (USD 0.50 per diluted share).
Chairman and CEO George G. Beasley said the results were " mixed, reflecting the general performance of the industry as a whole."
"Due to programming and sales successes during the year," he added, "we performed better than anticipated in our Miami, Las Vegas and Ft. Myers market clusters, which together added USD 2.5 million in revenue over 2002 levels However, the uncertain advertising climate due to the war in Iraq led to an approximate USD 1.0 million revenue decrease at our Fayetteville market cluster, which is located near several military bases. Additionally, our Philadelphia cluster saw revenue decline approximately USD1.6 million due to the absence of a non-traditional revenue event that was held in 2002, as well as a format change at one of its two FM stations and generally lower national advertising revenue."
Looking ahead, Beasley says it expects net revenues in the first quarter of this year to be up around 1% on a year earlier, reflecting the impact of reformatting one of its FM stations in the Philadelphia market.
Saga reported net income for 2003 down 0.5% to USD 13.9 million (USD 0.65 per diluted share) on net operating revenues up 5.7% to USD121.3 million but for the final quarter revenues were up 9.8% to USD 4.5 million (USD 0.21 per diluted share) on net operating revenues up 5.2% to USD 32.9 million.
Same station revenues were essentially flat for the year and final quarter although radio same station revenues edged up around 0.9% but for the first quarter of this year Saga says it expects net revenue and station operating income on a pro forma basis to increase 2 - 4% and 3 - 5%, respectively.
South of the border Grupo Radio Centro, S.A. de C.V. has lost a case brought against it by Infored, S.A. de C.V. and Jose Gutierrez Vivo for breach of contract by a 2 to 1 vote of an arbitration panel that rescinded the contract and awarded a total of USD 21 million in damages to the two plaintiffs.
Grupo Radio says it will appeal the decision in the Mexican courts and pending the challenge is to seek a stay of enforcement of the damages award.
It adds that it is evaluating its alternatives with respect to the production of the Monitor news program, which currently is produced by Infored.
Previous George Beasley:
Previous Grupo Radio:
2004-03-04: Regular digital radio transmissions have now been launched in Holland by national public service broadcaster NOS; The transmissions of the services of Radio 1, 2 and 3FM are being made from a transmitter at in Lopik but will be extended to cover the Western and central part of the country by the end of this year and eventually the whole nation in a single frequency network.
Holland is the final Western European country to start DAB transmissions and licences are to be issued to commercial broadcasters throughout this year.
Among manufacturers Sharp is to join the ranks of manufacturers to start selling DAB receivers in Europe. It is to launch a kitchen portable-style DAB radio in the UK in the second quarter of 2004, to be followed by a wider range of products later in the year and into 2005
Also in the UK, the BBC has now started broadcasting its national digital services to western Dorset from a transmitter at Bincombe Hill.
In Australia, the BBC World Service is to become available on FOXTEL Digital's new FOXTEL Air audio system from March 14th, the first time it will be available on direct-to-home (DTH) satellite and digital cable television in the country.
2004-03-04: The latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings - to be dropped by the company from the end of this month (See RNW Feb 28) just released show MUSICMATCH retaining its hold on top station spot and AOL Radio@ Network doing the same for the top network spot. Virgin slipped, dropping out of the top five network rankings and falling from third to fourth station rank.
For the week to February 15, 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 646,975 (950,830); CP - 247,438 (309,726). Same rank with significantly lower listening and reach.
2: Contemporary Christian K-LOVE (Non commercial) - TTSL 321,523 (315,132); CP 40,371 (39,947). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: Country format AOL Top Country (Commercial) -TTSL 268,191 (271,146); CP 104,256 (106,431). Up from fourth despite lower listening and reach.
4: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 249,934 (291,483); CP -58,007 (60,741). Down from third with lower listening and reach.
5: Smooth Jazz AOL Smooth Jazz (Commercial) - TTSL 245,598 (246,572); CP - 52,866 (53,809). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week to February 15 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 6,236,077 (6,124,864); CP - 1,533,384 (1,547,903). Same rank with higher listening but lower reach.
2: LAUNCH (Commercial) TTSL - 4,686,412 (4,692,881); CP - 1,018,692 (987,898). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 1,643,059 (2,442,561); CP - 461,228 (571,527). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 898,157 (724,086); CP - 121,131 (107,673) - Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: Educational Media Foundation ((*Non Commercial) TTSL - 416,167 (409,712); CP - 56,466 (56,124) - Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
* Virgin Radio (Commercial) fell from fifth to sixth with TTSL - 411,768 (484,195); CP - 82,491 (85,331).
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 2,830,838, down from 2,846,972 and StreamGuys with TTSL 540,120, down from 635,139.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast weekly ratings:
2004-03-03: Veteran BBC radio host Alistair Cooke is to retire on doctor's advice aged 95 after 58 years of broadcasting his Weekly Letter from America programme, the world's longest-running speech radio programme, during a BBC career that began in 1934 when he became a film critic for the corporation.
Born in Salford in northwest England in 1908 as Alfred and the son of an iron-fitter Methodist lay preacher, he is a naturalised American.
Cooke first worked in the US in 1936 as a commentator on American affairs for the BBC and moved to the Times as its US correspondent in 1938; that same year his broadcasts included "Mainly from Manhattan" a precursor to the Letters from America broadcasts that he started in 1946 as the American Letter - the name was changed to Letters from America in 1950.
In all he has broadcast 2,869 "Letters" and he commented, "I can no longer continue my Letter From America. Throughout 58 years I have had much enjoyment in doing these talks and hope that some of it has passed over to the listeners, to all of whom I now say thank you for your loyalty and goodbye."
Cooke was ill last week and will record no more Letters although the BBC will air archive shows for several weeks.
In 1990 in one broadcast he said of it, "No pleasure in work well done, in a lifetime of journalism, can compare with the evidence that comes in from the mail that you have done a talk that touched the hearts and minds of a bus driver in Dorset, a judge in Canberra, a student in Bombay, a housewife in Yorkshire, a space scientist in Sri Lanka, a high school teacher in Beijing or a nurse in Libya."
Cooke was also known for his television work including the America series for the BBC and the cultural television show Omnibus, produced by Robert Saudek [who died in 1998] and created by the hybrid commercial/non-profit production company the Ford Foundation TV-Radio Workshop, that aired in the US from 1952 to 1961 on all three commercial networks -four seasons on CBS, one on ABC and the last three on NBC.
Paying tribute Mark Byford, Acting BBC Director-General and until recently Director of the World Service said: "I had the privilege to speak to Alistair personally this week.
"It was typical of his own professionalism and love of the BBC that he wanted to explain why Letter From America was coming to a close."
"Alistair Cooke has been one of the greatest broadcasters ever, full of insight and wisdom. He has brought enormous pleasure to millions of listeners both in the United Kingdom and around the world. We all thank him for his unparalleled contribution."
Jenny Abramsky, Director, BBC Radio and Music added, "All my life Alistair Cooke has been my guide to understanding the United States of America and the momentous events that have shaped that country."
"I can still remember listening at university to his letter when Robert Kennedy was shot. His description of the small pantry passage way in San Francisco brought home the horror of Kennedy's death in a personal human way that marked all his letters."
"His letters have stimulated and entertained millions of listeners to BBC Radio. It is a unique legacy that has touched and influenced us all. We are very sorry he has decided to retire but are grateful for all the years he has devoted to the BBC."
Cooke also worked for the UK Guardian, then the Manchester Guardian, which he joined in as United Nations correspondent, later becoming US correspondent, and from which he formally retired in 1972.
In its report the paper notes that Cooke's misses came to be almost as famous as his hits including a decision in the autumn of 1963 to turn down the offer to join John F Kennedy on a presidential outing in Texas.
He opted instead to cover it from New York and later revealed how his second wife, Susie Cooke - he left his first wife Ruth Emerson soon after the birth of their child -- had sat in the opposite room watching two separate television networks and calling out updates while he frantically wrote his piece.
He told the then editor of the Guardian it had been "a stroke of luck that I wasn't along [on the Dallas trip]... The White House press corps was 13 cars behind the president and by the time they swung round the bend and through the tunnel, the main cars were on their way to the hospital. Not one member of the press bus guessed the truth".
BBC News release:
UK Guardian report:
2004-03-03: January US radio revenues were flat compared to a year ago according to latest figures from the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
The situation was the same for local, national and combined figures taking RAB's sales index for January, which is based on pre-dot com boom year 1998, to 140.1 for local, to 152.5 for national and 141.6 for combined revenues.
RAB President and CEO Gary Fries commented, "The revenue results for January indicate the beginning of a levelling out for Radio."
"As we move past First Quarter, Radio ad sales will move beyond the current stalled economy and experience growth as we progress through the year."
The figures contrast with a strong start to 2004 in Australia where January metropolitan revenues were up around a fifth (See RNW Feb 20) and the UK where latest figures from Nielsen Media Research indicate substantial increases in spending by nearly all the top ten radio advertisers.
Previous RAB monthly figures:
2004-03-03: European broadcaster SBS Broadcasting SA has reported final quarter 2003 revenues up 16% on a year earlier to Euros 195.9 million (USD 239.3 million) with full year revenues up 14% to Euros 581.7 million (USD 710.5 million) turning a net loss for the quarter of Euros 15.4 million (USD 18.8 million) into net income of 2.64 million (USD 3.2 million) and a net loss of Euros 35.7 million (USD 43.6 million) in 2002 into net income for 2003 of Euros 30.3 million - Euro 1.05 per share - (USD 37 million).
Radio revenues in the quarter were up by Euros 6.3 million (USD 7.7 million), or 64%, and for the year were up Euros 11.0 million (USD 13.4 million), or 31%; the increases were mainly put down by SBS to revenues at the newly acquired operations- these included including those in Norway and Denmark bought from Clear Channel and Norsk Aller (See RNW July 18, 2003) and involved in the merger of SBS's Swedish radio operations with Bonnier Radio AB (See RNW Oct 9, 2003) and increased revenues at its Finnish Radio operations and Lampsi FM in Greece.
Commenting on the results CEO Markus Tellenbach said: "2003 was a year of tremendous progress for SBS across all operating metrics as we executed on our business plan and turned the corner to profitability."
"Our top line increased by 14%, significantly outperforming our markets, while our continued focus on operating leverage drove station operating cash flow to a 74% increase. This operating success, lead by the efforts of our station management teams, drove a 54% improvement in our station operating cash flow margin."
"The year was also successful on the strategic front as we expanded our radio group across Scandinavia and added profitable print operations and the strong Veronica brand to our assets in the Netherlands. Further, we generated significant cash from the sale of non-strategic assets, including our interest in TVN in Poland."
"As a result, we dramatically improved our balance sheet and ended the year with cash exceeding our long-term debt by approximately euro 100 million. We enter 2004 with strong market positions across our pan- European footprint and a continued focus on margin expansion and profitability. With a strong balance sheet and the free cash flow generation of our asset base, we will continue to seek expansion opportunities that complement our current operations."
Previous SBS SA:
2004-03-03: UK GWR is developing a new radio service that will allow listeners to its stations via a digital radio or the internet to simply press a button and legally download the music they are hearing.
The new "hear it, buy it, burn it" service will allow those who have registered for the service to save the track to a computer hard drive, burn it onto a CD or save it on a portable MP3 player and is being developed by GWR's the programming division Creation in conjunction with OD2, the digital music download service founded by former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel
According to the UK Guardian Creation is negotiating to sub-licence the technology to other companies and it quotes Creation's digital content manager Nick Piggot as saying, "We want to demonstrate a certain level of demand to persuade digital radio manufacturers that this is a viable business model. This should appeal to any radio station that wanted to capitalise on the ability for radio to capture impulse purchasing."
Piggot added that, although the idea was in its infancy, it offered record companies struggling to cope with illegal download services and falling sales the chance to promote their records directly to the buying public and the paper says idea will also tie in with record company moves to release songs as downloads as soon as they begin to be played on the radio as part of a campaign to reinvigorate the singles charts.
At the end of January OD2 announced the beta release of a new SonicSelector On Demand Music Platform based on Windows Media Player 9 that offers a CD quality stream of a catalogue of music that can be purchased on a pay-as-you-go-basis and subsequently downloaded to portable devices that support the format or burned onto CDs .
The SonicSelector music jukebox has access to a catalogue of more than 260,000 tracks and includes a "recommendations engine" that suggests tracks to the listener based on previous listening and the listening habits of a database of music fans.
In addition a team will put daily selections forward from new releases, hits and artists favourite tracks.
UK Guardian report:
2004-03-02: Cumulus Media has announced a USD 38.75 million deal to purchase six Missouri stations - KFRU-AM, KBXR-FM, KOQL-FM and KPLA-FM serving Columbia and KLIK-AM, KBBM-FM and KJMO-FM serving Jefferson City - from Premier Marketing Group.
Cumulus has already started operating the stations under a local marketing agreement and expects the deal to close in the final quarter of this yea r or the first quarter of 2005; it will pay USD 1.25 million in cash at closing and the balance will be payable either in cash or Cumulus shares, at Cumulus's option.
The deal, which follows another to acquire Christian Contemporary KCVK-FM, Otterville, for USD 650,000 from Lake Area Educational Broadcasting, will take Cumulus's station holding up to 300 as well as building on its existing cluster in Missouri.
Chairman and CEO, Lew Dickey, commented, "Following our recent entry into Kansas City, the highly accretive Premier acquisition is an excellent strategic fit as we gain great positions in two additional Missouri markets - rapidly growing Columbia and state capital, Jefferson City."
"These clusters will add a substantial revenue base to the Company and we look forward to the cluster's contribution to our growth and results of operations."
In other US radio deals, Good Karma Broadcasting whose president is Craig Karmazin, the son of Viacom President and COO Mel Karmazin, is buying a seventh station. It's paying USD 2 million cash for Walt-West Wisconsin's WAUK-AM, Waukesha, Wisconsin.
On the financing front, Beasley Broadcast Group has announced successful completion of a new USD 225 million revolving credit facility with a consortium of lenders jointly arranged by Harris Nesbitt and Bank of New York.
The new facility, which expires in 2011 and replaces a credit facility due to expire in 2008, is comprised of a USD 150.0 million term loan and a USD 75.0 million revolver and bears an interest rate of LIBOR plus 225 basis points, which is approximately 100 basis points lower than the blended interest rate under the earlier facility.
Previous Mel Karmazin:
2004-03-02: As the anti-indecency forces in the US continue their push against terrestrial broadcasters speculation is growing that their activities may turn out to be a boon to the satellite radio companies which, as subscription services, are not governed by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations that apply to free-to-air broadcasts.
According to a report by Andy Pasztor of The Wall Street Journal that we saw in the San Francisco Chronicle, both Sirius and XM say they aren't going out of their way to exploit the crackdown on the shock jocks but he notes that both play on their "uncensored" content.
XM, which included Bubba the Love Sponge's show in its service until he was axed by Clear Channel, still airs what the report terms "Gonzo Radio at its Most Warped" and also offers "Playboy Radio," featuring hour long readings of erotic fiction and "bedroom disputes" settled by an on-air expert named Judge Julie whilst Sirius ads tout the New York company's "uncompromised, uncensored" content, including a comedy program called "Raw Dog" that describes itself as "unregulated and undeniably funny," with parental discretion advised.
The report notes that both companies "need every subscriber they can get" and notes that so far they have spent some USD 3.4 billion between them and analysts expect them to lose another USD 550 million this year with positive cash flow not expected until 2005.
On a more positive note is says SG Cowen analyst Tom Watts expects them to have more than 23 million customers by 2009 and says that despite falling short of initial growth projections, satellite radio still is expanding faster than cable TV, which took years longer to reach one million subscribers.
RNW comment: Bearing in mind that Sirius, which has only around 300,000 subscribers so far, needs only around 2 million subscribers to break even - it reckons XM, which has 1.3 million needs some 3 million - a total of 23 million would make the companies very profitable.
Getting there, however, means providing content that is seen as a "must-have" a factor that must have motivated some of the sports deals Sirius has signed as it attempts to catch up.
If the prospect of fines of up to around USD 10 million per show for Howard Stern (Some 40 stations with a maximum penalty of around USD 275,000 a time should the current proposals to increase penalties become law) meant that keeping him becomes more expensive than the profits he takes to Infinity, there would be a golden opportunity for Sirius to add to its attractions or for XM to keep him away from its competitor and consolidate its lead.
He has an estimated 18 million or so listeners so even if he took only a tenth of them with him, he could potentially double XM's audience or increase that of Sirius almost to break-even point.
As so often, the law of unintended consequences could yet come back to bite the righteous!
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2004-03-02: UK Capital Radio has announced that Johnny Vaughan is to take over its London flagship breakfast show from Chris Tarrant on April 19, three weeks after he ends his BBC3 TV chat show, Live At Johnny's, which ends a six-week run on April 2.
Tarrant, who had been in the slot for 18 years, will step down on April 2 and in the interim before Vaughan moves in the show will be hosted by Capital's weekend DJ, Chris Brookes. No co-host has yet been named for Vaughan.
Vaughan will be in a tussle for audience with rival Jono Coleman, at Chrysalis's Heart FM who weighs somewhat more: Capital alluded to this when it sent out to journalists a pre-recorded message from Vaughan announcing the start date and adding, "That's Johnny by the way, not Jono. There's a massive difference. Well, about four stone. That's big enough, isn't it?"
The two shows are now targeting slightly different demographics with Capital aiming for a narrower 25 to 34-year-olds and Chrysalis for 25 to 44-year-olds.
In recent ratings Capital led in terms of listening and number of listeners but Heart briefly topped it in the former category before then although it only has a weekly reach of around 1.9 million for its breakfast show compared to 2.3 million for Capital.
2004-03-02: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has named Marcellus Alexander, its executive vice president, Television, to replace Chuck Sherman, who is retiring, as president of the NAB Education Foundation (NABEF).
The Foundation has a brief that includes expanding diversity at key levels in broadcasting through training programs from entry level careers through station ownership; enhancing the quality of news production and stimulating new ideas for the future.
NABEF is also to merge its operation with NAB's Human Resource Development Office and Career Center and Alexander will preside over the consolidation.
2004-03-01: With apologies to all outside the US, the continuing furore there about broadcast indecency has been such a dominant element of print reporting on radio that we feel it has to dominate our look at the past week.
Before doing so, however, we felt Gerry McCarthy's weekly column on Irish radio in the UK Sunday Times began with a timely reminder of what can happen when the moralists or religious - Taliban to Christian fundamentalist - have a major influence on a society - and the differences when the reins are loosened.
"Back when it had a national monopoly," he wrote, "RTÈ moved to a liturgical schedule. Christmas and Easter broadcasting revolved around religious themes. Lent, starting with Ash Wednesday, was a period of self-denial with a religious bent. The piety has vanished but the self-mortification lives on. Old themes are continued, but with the emphasis on self-improvement."
He then reviewed an item on attitudes to smoking on Marian Finucane's programme on RTÈ Radio 1 that perhaps will have resonance with New Yorkers, Californians and many others round the world. It concerned June O'Reilly, a communications lecturer at Cork Institute of Technology, who "organised a team of student volunteers, complete with armbands designating them as "Smoking Stewards", or SS, to seek out miscreants and usher them into these shelters."
"In fact," says McCarthy, "the object of the exercise had nothing to do with smoking: it was a test to measure responses to authority figures."
The study found "people obeyed because the students were wearing official-looking armbands and identified themselves as CIT employees. "
McCarthy adds, "The fact that the armbands read SS was vaguely ominous: Finucane seems right to be concerned about the extremes people will go to at the behest of authority" and also comments on another interview on the same channel - by Pat Kenny of the author of a self-help manual on giving up smoking.
"Unoriginal and dull," comments McCarthy, "the item sounded like a filler, going through the motions with the obligatory Ash Wednesday piece."
Finucane engaged with a quirky subject, communicated her interest and gently alluded to deeper topics. Kenny merely paid lip service to the day's topic. An experiment with him might be illuminating, to find out just what he'll do in the name of obedient conformity."
In the UK, Sue Arnold in her radio column in the UK Observer included in her choices an interview on the Radio 4 Front Row programme by Mark Lawson with author Muriel Spark (unfortunately now overtaken on the station's web site) that also might irritate the black-and-white moralists of the world.
Now aged 86, she told Lawson she is starting another novel because "she feels lonely" when not writing one and, continued Arnold: "She told him a great many other things besides - that her husband was a mental case; that when, as a young woman trying to be a novelist in post-war London she took Dexedrine as an appetite suppressor, it made her a bit dotty; that without a sense of music, you can't be a creative writer; that she's a bad picker of men (one of her boyfriends tried to sell the 70 letters she had written him - he had written her 500 - and when she objected, he had the gall to offer to sell them back to her); and that although she now lives with a woman artist in Tuscany, she isn't a lesbian."
On however to the US and its war on the shock-jocks that so far has led to Clear Channel firing Bubba the Love Sponge and dropping the Howard Stern Show. Unsurprisingly there was a wide range of responses to the actions, with the "Christian" organisations praising them but some concern from what might seem at first glance unexpected quarters as well as from the usual suspects.
Amongst them was conservative talk host Rush Limbaugh who commented of Clear Channel's actions in what seems to us a realistic comment, "Clear Channel caught up in their own situation faced with this is how, 'I'm not putting up with this anymore. It's not worth the hassle. Get rid of Bubba the Love whatever, and Stern.'"
Later he went further along the line of expressing concern: "Now if we sit idly by and let a federal government start to define what is okay for somebody to say on radio and what isn't -- and in this area it has to do with decency regarding obscenity and smut and so forth -- what happens if a whole bunch of John Kerry-John Edwards-Bill Clinton-Terry McAuliffe types end up running this country someday again and decide that conservative opinion is indecent, decide that that causes violence, decide that that is somehow damaging to the culture? "
"You know, I'm in the free speech business here, my friends. I couldn't survive without it. And it is one thing for a company in business to determine whether or not they're going to be party to it. It is quite another thing for a government. The government doesn't regulate movies. And you find more smut in movies than you'll ever find on radio today. The government doesn't regulate cable TV. The government doesn't regulate video cassettes."
" All we do is keep going from extreme to extreme to extreme. What bothers me about this, and I'll just say it one more time, is we have a Constitution which says "the federal government shall make no law abridging the right of free speech." Now, I know it was intended primarily about political speech but it covered everything. And the government is doing it, and it's doing it with impunity. It's getting away with it. Campaign finance reform. Now it's getting away with it in the area of smut because a lot of people think the government should do this, the government should stop people from talking this way."
A little later, however, the point does turn into one relating to bread and the buttering thereof:" The fact of the matter is, it is up to the people who own these programs. If they want to go into the marketplace peddling smut, then and they want to find an audience for it if they want to shoot for the gutter and if they want to win for the gutter, let them shoot for the gutter and win for the gutter. It ought not be the government's responsibility A company can tell its employees what they can and can't say from here till kingdom come."
"Now if Clear Channel doesn't want to carry Stern's show because of the content, it's not censorship; it's a business decision. Stern is still free to say whatever he wants to say, just Clear Channel is not going to broadcast it. It's that simple. These people don't even know what they're talking about. This is why I started out on this today. The government is trying to force censorship on companies with intimidation and fear when it comes to speech."
In another comment Limbaugh defends Clear Channel again vis-à-vis Stern and points the finger at Viacom: Free speech to Rush, it would seem, is fine for anyone with the caveat that they have no right to channels for anyone to hear them and censorship is only censorship when it's not a business decision but a government one.
Also considering the free market argument regarding the actions taken by broadcasting managements was Tom Jicha in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel; he also shared a concern of Limbaugh in writing, "TV did the crime and radio is doing the time. More precisely, radio listeners are doing the time. Justin Timberlake didn't bare Janet Jackson's breast on radio. However, radio is where the ramifications of the FCC's grandstanding crackdown are most being felt."
Jicha however went further than just the markets argument, commenting, "Every Clear Channel executive and member of the Federal Communications Commission ought to be chained to a chair for a screening of Lenny, so they will at least have a clue how narrow-minded and stupid they are going to look in retrospect. They certainly don't have a clue now."
He also effectively suggested that the impression given by Clear Channel that decisions were taken by local management was at least somewhat economical with the truth.
"David Ross, regional vice president of Clear Channel stations, said in a phone conversation Wednesday afternoon," wrote Jicha, "that Stern would continue to be heard on WBGG, with several safeguards against indecent material going over the air. A few hours later, the edict came down from Texas that Stern had to go in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Rochester, San Diego, Pittsburgh and Louisville."
"Ross knows the sensibilities of this market from more than two decades running successful local stations. However, the only authority he had was to carry out the Texans' command."
It may be that Jicha misheard and in doublespeak a lawyer could certainly argue that that Clear Channel has not said decisions were just local ones, but we suspect some of Jicha's comments may have more than an element of truth: "Once the public moves on to the next cause celebré, radio will gradually return to the pre-Super Bowl norm. But Powell's FCC will have played to the Republican base in the run-up to a national election."
And later, "It would be a misnomer to describe the Super Bowl flash as the catalyst for the crackdown. In reality, it is the excuse. Self-appointed moral guardians are forever waiting for any opportunity to attempt to enforce their personal rigid codes on everyone else No one has ever been involuntarily subjected to more than a few seconds at most of Stern, Neil Rogers or any other personality now in the crosshairs of the FCC."
"Given the notoriety these "shock jocks" have achieved, anyone who claims to have been offended by tuning in unaware of the nature of their programs should look beyond the commandments dealing with sex and focus on those dealing with false witness."
"The people who would like to deny others the opportunity to listen to Howard Stern or watch NYPD Blue have ample alternatives that fall within the parameters of their sensibilities. There are scores of religious radio stations as well as a national Disney radio network throughout the United States. The combined audience for all of them doesn't add up to what Stern attracts every morning. Is Powell suggesting that the millions of Americans who enjoy Stern's adult humour are all perverts?"
There was scepticism about Clear Channel from a number of quarters including Gerry Cable in musicbiz.com where he suggested - before the House hearing at which the company's radio president John Hogan testified and before Stern was dumped but after Bubba was fired - a number of questions that should be asked of Hogan.
They included:" Here is another question members of the committee should ask Hogan: Pick 10 radio stations from the Clear Channel group and ask Mr. Hogan what the news commitment for each happens to be...or the amount of syndicated programming...or the number of local public affairs announcement broadcast about local topics for the previous week. What about the weather forecast? Is it locally generated? What about a list of the top concerns of the local city of license as ascertained by Clear Channel?"
"Then throw him an easy question: Ask him how much cash flow the same stations generated."
"One other question that might interest the members of Congress: Why hasn't Clear Channel agreed to the USD 700,000 fine the FCC instituted against the stations that broadcast the Bubba The Love Sponge's program? Now that Hogan has agreed with the FCC in a press release that the program contains content that is inappropriate and "not reflective of the way we run our local stations," does he plan to pay up? On what grounds would he refuse? Even for Clear Channel, refusing to pay the fine might be a stretch."
From the Seattle Times and reporter Mark Rahner we garnered some comments concerning the Stern suspension and Bubba firing from a "Fixing Radio" forum, albeit it was centred more on localism than indecency.
They included one from moderator Mike Tierney who noted, "Red flags go up when Rush Limbaugh is defending Howard Stern." [RNW comment - as the segment above indicates, I seems to us Limbaugh wasn't so much defending Stern as a company's right to make money from him without government intervention.]
From panellist Bruce Wirth of KBCS- FM came a comment to upset Rush, "What I think is really indecent is that we're focusing on this and Janet Jackson's (breast) ... We're obsessed about sex when the same stations like Clear Channel were out there rah-rahing a war that has wound up killing hundreds of American soldiers, not to mention Iraqi civilians. Now that's indecent. We're so obsessed about sex in this country, and the typical strategy of the right is to divert our attention to sex issues."
And from the Detroit News editorial page editor Nolan Finley some advice as to where the real responsibility should be placed: "Disc jockeys are telling raunchy jokes on the radio. Sports talk shows are as gross as a seventh grade cafeteria table. Boobs are popping out of costumes in the middle of the Super Bowl."
"My, aren't the public airwaves awash in trash, smut and horribly poor taste? And shouldn't government do something? "
"Nope. As listeners and viewers, that's our job. "
"We can start doing it by turning the channel, picking another station, demanding better programming."
And later after a comment about the hypocrisy involved Finley ended by giving Limbaugh a lesson in clarity of expression, "The Founders intended the guarantees of free speech and a free press to encourage the vigorous exchange of ideas and provide room for public dissent. They also were supposed to keep the government out of the information business. "
"Give the government control over those who deliver ideas and information, and measures designed to cleanse our lives of vulgarity, pornography, suggestive language and offensive images could just as easily be used to keep us from offensive ideas, unpopular opinions and contrary commentary."
"There's no room in a free and open society for government censorship. If we truly want to insulate ourselves from the disgusting and distasteful, we already have that power. "
"All we have to do is click the button on the remote control."
And a line from the Orlando CityBeat by Sarah Kinbar, echoed elsewhere, in terms of the furor opening opportunities for the satellite radio companies, "Howard Stern, "King of All Media," has the voice that inspires me to shift gears and think on my toes. He and his raucous family of cohorts have defined their identity so well that they can take any bizarre, emotionally handicapped or otherwise impaired guest and turn him or her into a member of the group. This, friends, is a show about outsiders becoming insiders. The show represents the all-American rags to riches theme we so embrace, and the entire country has been riveted for more than 20 years."
"Guess it's time to suck it up and subscribe to XM Radio or Sirius, if I want to listen to the programs I choose."
And finally in the word's of Monty Python, now for something entirely different: At US National Public Radio (NPR) the concerns aren't about indecency but other matters when it comes to what ombudsman Jeffrey A. Dvorkin terms "Acceptable Good Taste".
This month he dealt with listeners concerns about a satire aired on All Things Considered and underwriting for Wal-Mart on which he commented, "There is no question that the Wal-Mart underwriting changes how NPR is perceived for many listeners. NPR's protestations that the underwriting changes nothing essential sound a little nervous to me. One way that NPR could prove that underwriting has no effect on its integrity is for NPR to produce more hard-hitting interviews, more investigative reporting and yes, even more scandalizing satires."
Regarding the satire, in which Bruce Kluger and David Slavin poked fun at Hollywood's tendency to make movies that seem familiar to audiences and took the idea to its extremes with a mock "focus group" that tried to recast Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ with all the ingredients of a typical Mel Gibson film, he noted the definition of the word "satire" and commented, "If the goal of the satire was to offend, it may have succeeded better than its producers had hoped."
And after quoting some of the complaints," Unlike other countries, where religion is a source of endless amusement (Monty Python's Life of Brian comes to mind), the journalistic tweaking of organized religion in the United States is often beyond the pale of what is acceptable."
Dvorkin concludes that he hopes the show " will not stop commissioning satires -- they are often a perfectly good way to portray complex issues. At the same time, listeners should know that the aim of satire is not to offend them personally. But NPR should not be surprised when some listeners find this type of satire to be hurtful" (The NPR satire, by the way, is still available via the NPR web site).
Which is as good a cue as any for one of our recommendations for listening this week - it's last Saturday's "Archive Hour" on BBC Radio 4 [still on the Listen Again web site], which looked at the influence of Gay Byrne's radio show on the country ads it moved out of the shadow of domination by the Catholic Church.
In its way the show, whose host was a conservative and Catholic, may have been a more valuable confessional than those of the church as it opened airwaves and ears to tales of 15-year-old girls dying alone in childbirth, of other teenagers facing enforced abortions to avoid family shame, of mothers killing their own child to keep a birth secret, of a father drowning his daughter's illegitimate child in a bucket of water, and other examples that should give pause for thought to those who - quite rightly in our view - condemn honour killings in other parts of the world, mainly Islamic countries in the news reports.
Next week's archive hour on Saturday is also worth a listen as polio survivor and former UK Guardian Editor Peter Preston tells the story of the development of a polio vaccine and the subsequent inoculation programme 50 years ago that is estimated to have prevented more than 2 million cases of the disease.
Next some recommendations for BBC Radio 2 - for Johnnie Walker fans to note his return from 17:05 GMT today after receiving treatment for colon cancer, for Brass music fans next Friday at 21:30 GMT the final of the 2004 Young Brass Soloist, on Tuesday at 20:30 GMT the second half of the Glenn Miller story (the first half is still on the web site) presented by George Melly and followed by the fourth of six "memories of the Blues" programmes, also presented by Melly.
And from NPR again, for those who want a sample of Ed Schultz, who is being touted as the Liberal talk host for the US, Saturday's All Things Considered includes a report on him and interview.
Detroit News - Finley:
MusicBiz.com - Cable:
NPR - Dvorkin ombudsman column:
Orlando CityBeat - Kinbar:
Rush Limbaugh web site:
Seattle Times- Rahner:
South Florida Sun-Sentinel- Jicha:
UK Observer - Arnold:
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy:
2004-03-01: Texas radio veteran Ken "Hubcap" Carter, who got his nickname for spinning records - "real records, like spinning hubcaps" - has died aged 60 following a lengthy illness. He began his radio career more than 40 years ago at East Texas pioneer radio station KRBA-AM in Lufkin, which first went on air in 1938, and then after graduating from high school moved to KEEE-AM in Nacogdoches where he was appointed news director when only 20. He then became news director at WWUN-AM in Jackson, Mississippi and enhanced his reputation with cover of the civil rights struggle in the mid-1960s.
He returned to Texas in 1966 and worked for various stations before eventually becoming news director at the Texas State Network. He was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2002
He also taught broadcast journalism classes at Texas Christian University and Texas Wesleyan, both in Fort Worth, and in 1993 became a teacher and coach at North Dallas High School where he worked for seven years.
Hubcap Carter web site.
2004-03-01: In a sign of the times - or maybe how far the UK is behind the US and UK radio is behind TV soaps - BBC Radio 4's long-running radio "soap opera" The Archers is to feature its first gay kiss this month after 53 years on air.
In it the series' first openly central gay character Adam Macy - he declared his homosexuality last year -will kiss Ian Craig, the newly appointed chef at the Grey Gables hotel.
The show has a traditionally conservative audience but also a history of introducing risqué storylines that helped to keep up the show's audience - it was in danger of facing the axe in the 1970's.
Four years ago when it broadcast an episode that featured local flirt Jolene Rogers, in the shower with the pub landlord Sid Perks - now married to her but at the time to someone else - there were widespread protests with one MP accusing it of cheap populism.
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February 2004 - April 2004
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