September 2004 Archive
- August 2004 -October 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.
E-mail note: For obvious Virus reasons, we neither send nor accept e-mail attachments without prior notice and agreement. All messages sshould be sent plain text.
RNW September comment - Considers in the light of CBS's use of dodgy documents and the response of some US talk hosts, the importance of reputation and reliability for a broadcaster and for US democracy.
RNW August comment - Radio - the emergency saviour - considers the value of radio in a major emergency and suggests cheap mass produced robust waterproof radios would be a vaulable back-stop to sophisticated systems.
RNW July comment - looks in the light of a refusal to renew the licence of CHOI-FM because of hosts' comments and US "indecency" penalties at broadcasting content regulation in Canada and the US.
2004-09-30: The long forecast start of major consolidation in the UK radio industry has formally begun with the announcement, subject to regulatory approval, by Capital Radio and GWR of their GBP 711 million (USD 1.28 billion) merger.
The deal creates the UK's largest radio group that will own one national station - Classic FM - plus 55 local analogue stations, and 93 digital stations.
Capital shareholders will control 52% of the merged company and those of GWR - who will get 60.236 shares in new Capital Radio [a proposal is to be made later about a name for the new merged company] for every 100 GWR shares they hold -the remaining 48%.
It will reach approximately 18 million listeners - some 36% of the UK commercial radio audience- each week and based on latest published financial companies for the two companies the merged group will have an annual turnover of some GBP 243 million (436 million), EBITDA of GBP 53 million (USD 95 million) and profit before tax of GBP 40 million (USD 2 million).
DMGT and GWR Directors holding a combined 35% of GWR's share capital have accepted the deal and DMGT says that it is "very supportive of the Merger" and intends to remain a shareholder for the foreseeable future. DMGT is to have a seat on the board of the merged company.
The merger agreement was announced as Capital issued a trading update for the year to the end of September in advance of full results to be issued on Nov 25 that showed revenues in the quarter to June up by 5% on a year before and for the quarter to the end of this month expected to be up by 4%. Capital says that for the full year it anticipates revenues to increase by 4%.
Capital commented that it believed "radio will continue to out-perform the display advertising market" but added that radio advertising "remains short term" and issued a note of caution for the final quarter of this year.
In their statement the companies say the merger has three strategic goals, accelerating growth of commercial radio's share of listening relative to the BBC of its own share of this, accelerating commercial radio's share of advertising revenues and its share of it, and growing non-traditional revenues. They also anticipate savings of at least GBP 7.5 million (USD 13.5 million) a year that they say they can achieve in the second year of the merger. There will be one-off costs of around GBP 11 million (USD 20 million) in connection with the savings that are expected to include the loss of around 100 posts, mostly as a result of merging the sales houses of the two companies: These currently employ some 200 people. Other savings are expected from reduced head office costs and support costs including various IT and administrative costs.
GWR chairman Ralph Bernard said of the merger that it is a "fantastic opportunity to create UK commercial radio's champion of the digital age" and added that the "enlarged group will be in a position to drive the growth of commercial radio's share of listening and total advertising by providing enhanced services to listeners and greater opportunities for advertisers."
Capital chief executive David Mansfield said the merger would create " a vibrant new radio business with a leading position in an attractive and growing sector."
"Capital and GWR share common strategies and values and have complementary brands and geographic transmission areas in both the analogue and digital spectrum," he added.
Some of the new management structure has been announced with Bernard becoming executive chairman and Mansfield chief executive and Wendy Pallot, currently GWR finance director takes the same role at the merged company.
Bernard says his role will, as at GWR, be mainly strategic, leaving Mansfield in charge of day-to-day operations.
Nothing is said about the future of Capital finance director Peter Harris, who joined the company as Head of Business Development ten years ago and already one member of the GWR team has jumped ship: Classic FM managing director Roger Lewis is joining ITV, Wales, as its managing director, his first job in TV.
Lewis began his radio career at Radio Tees in 1981 then after spells at Capital Radio and the BBC worked in the UK recording industry as Managing Director at EMI Records and President of the
Decca Record Company. He has been at Classic FM and on the GWR Board since 1998.
He will not be replaced on the GWR board but Darren Henley, who has been named as station manager of Classic FM will take over his management responsibilities.
Of the two companies Capital was the early player with the second UK commercial station on air: It launched on October 16, 1973, a week after LBC, which launched on October 8. Its stations now include Capital FM, Century FM, Capital Gold and Xfm plus regional stations including BRMB in the West Midlands and Red Dragon in South Wales.
GWR has grown from Swindon-based Wiltshire Radio, founded by Bernard in 1982. It now has 33 local stations plus the national Classic FM station.
Shares in both Capital (down 3.81%) and GWR (down 8.72%) fell on Wednesday following the announcement amidst some profit taking.
Although the merger confirmation has spurred more comment about further consolidation, one of the most likely players, Emap, appears to be biding its time.
It isn't ruling out a bid for Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) in which it holds just under the maximum holding allowed - 30% -before it has to make a full bid and its finance director, Gary Hughes said any move would be at a time of its "own choosing."
Hughes said Emap accepted that "radio consolidation is necessary and inevitable" adding "There are too many radio groups and consolidation would strengthen the sector."
He said that a tie-up with SRH would produce the UK's strongest radio player and noted "An Emap/SRH combination would have a presence in every major conurbation in Britain."
Outgoing Scottish Radio Holdings chief executive Richard Findlay who steps down today also accepted that consolidation was inevitable but not that this would necessarily mean that SRH would be taken over and told the UK Guardian his company's success was based on keeping editorial decision-making devolved.
"If the decision-making process moves outside the circulation area or the locality of the broadcast area, in my view things get very, very dangerous," he said.
He also expressed concern about the effects of any takeover in Scotland, saying, "It's a serious issue in Scottish terms if our plcs and quoted media companies are disappearing. It is both a political and business issue because of the decision-making processes that then move out of Scotland."
Findlay said that to be successful in future radio would have to widen its appeal from music, saying, "It's local news, local information and other things which are peculiar to that locality which I think are going to be key."
Findlay blamed a fall in UK commercial radio's listening share on the former Radio Authority regulator for licensing stations with "music formats that cannibalised existing formats and dwindled audiences" and said, "We need increased listener choice to get increased audiences, our track record as an industry over the last few years is nothing to be proud of."
UK Guardian re Findlay:
2004-09-30: Veteran New York broadcaster Scott Muni, "The Professor" of rock, has died aged 74 after a career spanning more than five decades. He had suffered a stroke last year.
It began when he was in the US Marines in the 50' where his duties on Radio Guam included reading "Dear John" letters sent to his fellow servicemen by girl friends who had dumped them.
In his commercial career, before moving to New York he was at WAKR-AM, Akron, Ohio, where he replaced Alan Freed.
In New York he began on Top 40 WMCA-AM after which he moved to WABC-AM in 1960 -- he was one of the station's original "Good Guys"- seeing the height of Beatlemania at the station before moving four years later to WOR-FM and in late 1967 to WNEW-FM where he remained for 31 years.
At WNEW, where he was PD, he was credited with turning the station into on of the first progressive rock stations in the US.
His most recent "gig" was hosting "The Scott Muni Show" at Clear Channel's New York classic rock station WAXQ, which he joined in 1998, and whose web site is featuring a tribute to him together with audio samples of his work.
WAXQ web site:
2004-09-30: More than three quarters of respondents in a recent US survey by Paragon Media Strategies said that it was very or somewhat important for radio stations to have a community presence with a third saying they would like more community involvement from their favourite station: In comparison less than a fifth felt that community presence was not very important or not important at all and only 2% wanted less community involvement whilst 53% thought their favourite station had things about right.
Paragon surveyed 405 correspondents aged from 15 to 64 and split 43% male and 57% female. The responses indicated that community involvement should increase listening with 49% saying they would listen more to stations supporting charities and community causes, 41% saying they would listen more to stations that sponsor local events, 32% saying they would spend more time with stations that discuss local issues, and 25% saying they would listen more to stations whose personalities make public appearances.
Paragon Media Strategies site:
2004-09-30: It may be tempting fate but after months of negotiation the BBC World Service has succeeded in gaining permission to erect a billboard promoting its 89FM frequency in the commercial Al Mansour district of Baghdad.
The corporation says that more than 3.3 million people a week in Iraq now listen to the BBC service in Arabic, many on the seven FMs that have been launched. They are in Al-Amara, Al-Kut 89FM and Baghdad (89FM); Al-Nasirya (100FM); Basra (90FM) Irbil and Mosul (96FM), and Kirkuk (92.6FM).
2004-09-29: Emmis Communications has reported revenues for its second quarter to the end of August up 8% on a year earlier to USD 166.8 million with pro-format net revenue up 6% to USD 166.8 million.
Radio net revenues were up 8% and pro-forma radio revenues were up 5% whilst the comparable TV increases were 10% for reported and pr0forma revenues and publishing net revenues were up 2%.
Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said of the performance, "While it is a challenging time in our industries overall, I couldn't be more pleased with the way Emmis has performed in this environment."
"In radio, we outperformed our markets by 4%, while our television group had eight stations in eleven measured markets exceed their market revenue growth. We continue to gain audience share and lead our markets, which positions us for growth as the industry strengthens."
He noted during the company's conference call that Emmis national advertising revenues were down 1% compared to 4% for US radio overall and that its local revenues rise of 4% cam against an industry fall of 1%.
Smulyan was also upbeat about radio's ability to fight off new competitors such as satellite radio and music downloads, saying he saw nothing that would replace American radio.
In other US radio business, Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has announced that it has now completed its USD 30 million cash sale, announced last year, of KPTI-FM, San Francisco, to Three Point Media-San Francisco.
SBS chairman, president and CEO Raúl Alarcón said the sale, part of disposals of non-core assets, would with other pending sales allow the company to focus all of its resources "on further improving the operating and financial performance of our top market stations."
Cumulus Media meanwhile has announced that its board has approved a USD 100 million stock repurchase programme; it notes that its existing credit facility limits share repurchases to USD 15 million except by prior approval of its lenders and says it is seeking such authorization but cannot give assurances that it will be forthcoming.
In Canada, Radio Nord Communications Inc., which manages five TV stations and 13 radio stations, has announced the appointment of Raynald Brière as its President and COO. Amongst his past posts Brière was for five years Vice-President of CKAC and Radiomédia.
Previous Radio Nord:
2004-09-29: In a trading update before release of its interim results in November, UK Emap has reported overall revenues in the six months to the end of September up 2% (Underlying revenues up 2%) with consumer media up 6% (Underlying revenues up 6%), Communications up 10%(Underlying revenues up 8%), Emap performance, which includes its radio operations, down 3% (Underlying revenues down 3%), and Emap France down 4% (Underlying revenues down 4%).
Emap says indications are that the improved trading conditions in the second quarter are continuing across the autumn, with revenue growth of approximately 10% across both September and October and overall for the full year it "is on target to deliver full year growth in line with its expectations, albeit more weighted towards the second half than previously envisaged.
In Scotland, Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH), rumoured to be a possible target for Emap, which in January bought SMG's 28% of SRH (See RNW Jan 20), has issued an update indicating overall group revenues will be 15% up on a year ago for the year to the end of September with like-for-like revenues at both its radio and press divisions up 9%.
Outgoing SRH chief executive Richard Findlay - he will retire at the end of the financial year and is to be succeeded by David Goode, SRH's current Managing Director, Radio, who takes office on October 1 - has told the UK Guardian that, although the company is well placed to go forward as an independent, it would not oppose a takeover bid if this were "in the best interests of shareholders and staff".
He added that he was not currently studying any offers and commented, "At the end of the day the company has got a great future, there is lots of opportunity for growth and we're perfectly happy on our own for the benefit of our shareholders. The return SRH shareholders have received over the past 10 years has been the best in the industry. We'll do whatever we believe is in their best interests."
UK Guardian report:
2004-09-29: Boston University has announced that in response to concerns expressed by Rhode Island governor Donald L. Carcieri and attorney general Patrick C. Lynch it is to put on hold its planned sale of public radio stations WRNI-AM and WNNI-AM, which are subsidiaries of the university's WBUR-FM in Boston.
A spokesman for the university's interim president, Aram V. Chobanian said the sale would be on hold at least until issues raised by the attorney general had been addressed.
The attorney general had asked the university to turn over financial documents and the governor had urged a delay, saying the sale decision had been made "abruptly and unilaterally."
Although the university maintains its motives in selling the stations were not primarily financial, the Boston Globe reports that it has received documents showing that financial troubles were a major factor.
It quotes one report as saying, "The financial performance of WRNI/WXNI has negatively impacted WBUR's budget for the past six years. Our proposal illustrates how the sale of our investments in Rhode Island will allow WBUR to balance the budget going forward and sustain the station's historic growth levels."
Another comments, "The investment in WRNI has adversely affected the financial performance of WBUR since their purchase in 1998. The station's operations have created a drain on WBUR's resources and have impacted the station's ability to balance its budget Given the inability of the Rhode Island community to support their public radio station and in view of the considerable financial pressure for WBUR, the decision has been made to implement plans to lease and/or sell WRNI as soon as possible."
Gene Mihaly, president of the Foundation for Ocean State Public Radio, said the WBUR memos "just verify what we've known to be the case. This is about the money, period. This is the multi-pronged effort to dig themselves out of a financial hole."
Mihaly says his group is to examine the possibility of legal action over the potential sale and also consider partnerships to run a public radio station in Rhode Island. He does not contest the figures showing the station spending much more than its income but contends that a "modest public radio station" can be viable in the state and likens the sale to that of a building where one group had bought part of it but the other owner, even if it bought more, is selling the lot.
Henry D. Sharpe, a retired Rhode Island businessman who chaired the capital fund-raising campaign for WRNI, said that until September 17, when it announced the sale plans, WBUR had painted a rosy picture of WRNI.
"The thing that has shocked Rhode Island and yours truly," he said, "was the fact that there was no serious indication to the Rhode Island public that, `Hey, we have a serious problem here,' "
There are also concerns about the sale of a non-commercial radio station in California where Southern Oregon University's Jefferson Public Radio (JPR) Foundation, which last week finalized its purchase of KPZN-FM, has changed the station's programming from BBC World Service to an alternating combination of its Rhythm & News Service and its News & Information Service.
JPR says it is to continue alternating the services until October 6 and will then hold a public meeting in Bayside to find out which service listeners prefer.
JPR says that when it began discussions to purchase KZPN from Humboldt Educational Enhancement Radio Service, Inc., it was responding to requests for its Rhythm & News Service, which is comprised of a mix of non-classical music including singer-songwriters, world music, jazz, folk, blues and new acoustic music combined with NPR news. Subsequently, it says, it received requests for more news and public affairs, much of which is in the News & Information Service that is comprised of news and public affairs programming, most of which is from non-NPR sources, including the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Public Radio International (PRI).
Supporters of the previous output have formed Friends of the BBC that has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to stop the transfer of the station for which JPR paid USD 130,000 but JPR says that by not taking action the FCC effectively approved the change.
Boston Globe report:
Jefferson Public Radio news release re KPZN:
2004-09-29: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reduced from USD 20,000 to USD 16,000 penalties it had imposed on by Radio X Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of Station WXLX-FM, Lajas, Puerto Rico, and owner of an antenna structure number at Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico for failure to maintain the antenna to ensure good visibility and failure to maintain the station's public inspection file at the main studio.
Radio X had admitted the offences but sought a reduction on the basis of prompt remedial action and an inability to pay.
It also sought a reduction on the basis of a previous record of compliances and, although the other arguments were rejected, the penalty was cut by USD 4,000 on this basis.
The FCC has also announced that it is to delay enforcement of its recently adopted "Red Light Rule" from October 1 to November 1. The rule is being introduced to improve debt collection and provided that if entities or individuals seeking benefits such as licences are found to have debts to the FCC they will be given 30 days to pay up or come to a satisfactory arrangement: If they fail to do so their benefit will be denied.
The FCC says it has allowed the delay following introduction of a new Red Light Display (RLD) System that after registration will allow checks online as to if there are any such debts: It says that individuals or organizations should make checks and resolve any outstanding issues before November 1.
FCC RLD site:
2004-09-28: UK official radio ratings organization RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) has issued details of plans that could lead to it switching to an audio metering system within three years.
The plan, which anticipates awarding a new contract for measurement as early as September next year, has been agreed by the RAJAR board which includes representatives from the BBC, commercial radio and the advertising industry.
RAJAR has been repeatedly criticized by Wireless Group chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie over its continued use of a diary system that he claims under-records his group's listening; MacKenzie, who is suing RAJAR for damage that he says has been caused to his company, has already commissioned unofficial ratings from GfK Media using its RadioControl wristwatch system.
RAJAR has responded by pointing to differences in what is measured and its extensive tests to ensure that it gets right any move to electronic metering .
Commenting on RAJAR's latest announcement, its managing director Sally de la Bedoyere said its "roadmap to enhanced radio audience measurement" was "ambitious, but certainly achievable."
"It is the final stage of a journey RAJAR began in 2001 and it leads to a seismic change in radio audience measurement, namely the possible move to electronic measurement, she said.
We are optimistic that, by 2007, we will be heralding the introduction of an audio-meter based methodology, which measures analogue, digital, digital TV and Internet listening and we shall continue to work vigorously in the pursuit of this goal."
"RAJAR is tasked by its subscribers to select the very best methodology for the radio industry, nothing less is acceptable. This is an industry-backed plan and will mean radio groups and their commercial partners can be assured RAJAR will continue to deliver thoroughly tested and accurate "gold-standard" data."
Under the plan, RAJAR expects to report at the end of October or in early November on the findings of its industry-wide consultation that began in May and then conduct tests of new versions of the Arbitron Portable People Meter (PPM) and the GfK Radiocontrol watch as well as of a new meter, the Eurisko Electronic Media Monitor (EMM) developed in Italy.
Initial tests will run to December and further tests are planned from January to March next year with a tendering process to take place between April and September: RAJAR says that until it has its consultation, and is satisfied with the results of the new meter tests," it is unclear what degree of electronic methodology might be employed."
A new contract is then expected to be awarded in September to be followed from April 2006 with a series of parallel runs of the diary system and selected audiometer after which, if they prove satisfactory, the new system will go live in early 2007.
Previous de la Bedoyere:
2004-09-28: Initial findings just released from Arbitron's RADAR 82 (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) report show US radio continuing to attract more listeners amongst the more highly paid and educated with 95% of those 18 and over in households with annual incomes above USD 75,000 and 95% of college graduates listening in a typical week compared to only 92% of those who did not go to college.
82% of the 18 plus audience listened in their cars and 25% at work with morning and afternoon drive still the time at which the highest percentage listened - 78% of the 12 plus audience for both times.
In demographic terms, listening rose from 93% of the 12-17 group to 94% of the 18-24 group, then reached a plateau of 96% amongst those aged 25-34,35-44, and 45-49, before dropping back a percentage amongst those 50-54, yet another per cent to 94% amongst those 55-64, and then dropping to 87% amongst those 65 plus.
The full survey is released next week.
Previous RADAR (RADAR 81):
2004-09-28: UK Wireless Group chairman and chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie had another go at the BBC on Monday in an article in the UK Independent .
He set his tone by commencing, "The BBC may be in the process of being defeated creatively. It may be going backwards in terms of technology. But there is an area of life in which it is undisputed leader. In lying. In dissembling. In twisting."
His ire was aroused by BBC actions against his interests, particularly in terms of sports rights, specifically those to football. After a personal attack on BBC Radio Five Live Controller Bob Shennan - "an amiable cove, if not the sharpest tack in the carpet"- he says of sports that the BBC had offered to share "From my memory, they were sports such as the tortoise-throwing championship, tossing the Camembert, and smacking the radish, i.e., the BBC will share any sport that has no audience."
Regarding soccer, he comments on the Corporation's approach: ". Five Live, it says, has kept exclusivity because of the 'importance of the contract'. Important? In what way? Culturally? No. Intellectually? No. I think that what the Five Live guys actually mean is that the matches bring in massive audiences and they would rather cut off their dicks than share it."
He then argues that the BBC has overpaid massively, noting that his talkSPORT station offered GBP 2.6 million and the BBC, which had hired a consultant, GBP 39 million. This massive difference he says is because at the BBC "great crime is not to win the prize."
He then goes on to his complaint to the EU competition authorities, writing, "this time, the BBC and Premier League have incurred the wrath of Brussels where talkSPORT has complained to the European Commission regulators about the corporation's activities."
The nub of his argument is that there are six games that kick off at the same time on Saturday afternoon, meaning that Five Live by broadcasting only one - it puts the others on the Internet- is "hoarding the other five."
He then goes on to say that if the Football League were to offer second pick rights to his company, the BBC would threaten to pay much less and adds that it is illegal to keep products off the market to force up the price and that online streaming is not a substitute for analogue broadcasts
RNW comment: Neglecting MacKenzie's bilious approach - no mean feat we'd suggest for anyone dealing with him and probably very difficult for an employee - we think he has a degree of justification in his argument but it's one that could have been levelled equally against the activities of his former employer and current shareholder Rupert Murdoch when Sky TV was building up its empire on the back of sports contracts, pushing up the prices massively.
We would also note that MacKenzie has a competitive nature and are sure that he'd play the game even harder than the BBC if the scales were reversed.
In the end though, we don't see that the overall balance of things would be worse were a ruling to force sporting authorities to open up their offerings - the International Olympics Committee would seem ripe for this - and rights prices were to fall.
The argument here though, is with the sporting authorities, not the purchasing broadcasters and we note that MacKenzie's bile is directed at the BBC. We wonder whether this might be because despite its faults BBC radio is a wondrous resource whilst in comparison in our view everything Mackenzie has been associated with, however brilliantly handled, is by comparison tat.
To have one damaged would be a loss to the world, to lose the whole MacKenzie oeuvre a so what?
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Independent - MacKenzie:
2004-09-28: Infinity's Minneapolis "Good Neighbour" WCCO-AM has begun a week of celebrations of its 80th anniversary that actually falls on Saturday (October 2) starting with a day of broadcasts yesterday of Great Moments in WCCO Radio Sports.
This is being followed by similar broadcasts today of Great Moments in Entertainment with noted celebrities on WCCO Radio, then on Wednesday with The Greatest WCCO Radio News Stories, Thursday with The rest bloopers and unforgettable broadcast moments and classic features as heard and created on WCCO Radio and Friday with what the station terms "WCCO's All Time Superstar Talent Line-up featuring the Greats who helped build the legendary heritage along with the talent who continues the tradition."
On Saturday, the actual anniversary day, it will wrap up events at the Minneapolis Metrodome; it has also produced a coffee table book, complete with six CDs of its historic recordings and a video DVD documentary that it is selling for USD 74.95
The station is named after the Washburn Crosby Company, the flour miller that later became General Mills and that in 1924 bought predecessor station WGAM, which had launched on Labor Day 1922 but run into financial problems and ceased broadcasting earlier in the year. As WCCO, it began broadcasts on 710 and in 1928 moved to 810.
It was designated as a clear-channel station in 1929 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and its current 830 AM frequency if conditions are good at night reaches around 20 states and large parts of Canada.
The station dominated the market and sports cover in the region until the 1990's but was then toppled from its top station spot by classic-rock rivals. It also suffered from the loss of long-time hosts such as Steve Cannon, who after starting an acting career moved to radio in Iowa and eventually joined WCCO in 1971. "The Cannon Mess" was a hit for 26 years for the station, a record in major-market radio.
Cannon will be back on the station's airwaves on Friday as will other 830-AM personalities including Charlie Boone, Roger Erickson, and Ruth Koscielak, fired by the station in 1998 after 17 years but now hosting her own syndicated show that is on WCC0 sister station KSNB-AM;
WCCO web site:
2004-09-28: Shares in UK GWR rose on Monday but those of Capital Radio fell back slightly amid rumours that DMGT, which holds just under 30% of GWR, might be successfully holding out for a better deal in the proposed nil-premium merger of the two companies.
GWR shares had fallen back around 9% on Friday on fears that the deal might collapse but regained some of the loss on Monday with a 3.85% rise whilst Capital shares, which also fell on Friday, lost another 0.11%.
Expectations are now that the merger deal will be confirmed on Wednesday when Capital is due to issue a trading update.
2004-09-27: This week to start our look at print comment on radio, we start with two items relating to ethical issues, one from National Public Radio ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin and the other from North County Times columnist Randy Dotinga.
Dvorkin takes up the question of NPR cover of US electioneering, starting off with a call for more reporting about what is actually happening and what policies are on issues such as the economy, Iraq, the environment and less on campaign tactics and polls about what one listener termed "how well the spin doctors are accomplishing their games of illusion."
Dvorkin also takes up the issue of the need to avoid perceptions of bias pegged to a symposium organized by "Best Practices in Journalism." In particular he notes that most of those present agreed that "public broadcasting journalists - and the organizations that employ them -- must avoid both the appearance and the reality of involvement in partisan politics" and comments, in relation to a journalist with strong political commitments, "Americans have a First Amendment right to express opinions; they do not have a First Amendment right to work for a public broadcaster."
Dvorkin, in our view a skilled fence-sitter, does not commit himself on this nor on the issue of the involvement in politics of non-news employees or of the spouses or partners of journalists [RNW comment: For the record, our view would be that a publicly-funded broadcaster can reasonably require senor non-news staff to choose between the broadcaster and public involvement with politics or a political party but that it would be counter-productive were it to so do for junior non-managerial non-news employees and is absolutely nothing to do with the broadcaster what involvement there is by a non-employee such as a spouse, partner, sibling, parent or child.]
Dotinga's column is about a totally different ethical issue and is pegged to responses to an earlier column that led the morning hosts of "Dave, Shelly & Chainsaw" on Clear Channel's KGB-FM and A.J. Machado on Channel 933 to take him "to the woodshed for criticizing their decision to allow a suicidal man to speak on the airwaves."
In the incident in question a man sounding as he might be near suicide called Channel 933 host Machado's studio and after Machado and KGB morning co-host Dave Rickards had spoken to him, Rickards put the man on air.
The hosts defended putting the caller on air and pointed out that behind the scenes they had called police and, reports Dotinga, Rickards commented to listeners during the following morning's show he "resented my criticism that the stations didn't act quickly enough to get Greg access to a professional. (Greg spoke to a therapist more than 20 minutes into the on-air call, which itself came after the 45-minute private call.)"
Dotinga holds to his contention that as a reader pointed out, there was a simple answer - to transfer the call to a suicide hotline - and suggests that it was not necessary to put the call on air although he quotes Dr. Jerome Motto, a professor emeritus of psychiatry at UC San Francisco who has studied Golden Gate Bridge suicides as expressing support foe the hosts and saying, "When you're faced with a unique situation, what can you do, what can anybody do? You use your judgment and let intuition be your guide."
On the other side of the argument, Dr. Herbert Hendin, a psychiatrist and medical director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, commented critically, " They were exploiting the situation in order to attract their audience. Talking to him over the phone was appropriate. They just didn't need to bring him on the air."
Hendin advises broadcasters against interviewing even formerly suicidal people about their experiences, saying there was a danger of attracting "people who think their suicidal behaviour is a way to get noticed," something he felt sends "exactly the wrong kind of message."
On the other hand David Phillips, a UC San Diego sociologist who has studied the deadly after-effects of highly publicized suicides suggested it was possible the call could have actually encouraged troubled people to seek help and added, "In the absence of studies, you don't know whether the effect of this was positive, negative or neutral."
From ethics, we move on to an appreciation of radio the medium that we found in an interview with Citadel COO Judy Ellis we spotted in Musicbiz.
Asked about obstacles to radio growth such as ad clutter, competitors such as satellite radio and iPods, and lack of star air talent she commented that the same question had been asked "every five years for the last 50 years" and added "Radio reaches 95% of the population every single week. That's more than any other medium, and that number hasn't changed. I don't think any of the new threats will change that."
"People make the assumption that radio's broadcasting of music is the key to its success, and it will hurt radio if more people start listening to music from other sources. But music isn't the only reason people listen to radio. Besides music, there's talk, sports...a multitude of reasons...but the primary reason is our local appeal. None of these threats can replace what radio provides to the local community, how immediate we are, and the personal connection we have with our listeners."
Ellis was blunt concerning "indecency" on the air, saying, "I don't think this should be a question of admitting blame or pushing the envelope. The term, "pushing the envelope," assumes that whoever does it is doing something bad. I happen to think our First Amendment rights are vital to freedom and everything we stand for, because the alternative is pretty scary. It's important to be persistent and fight for free speech. As I said previously, if you are not confronted from time to time with things that offend you, you're probably not living in a free society. Then, of course, there's always the issue of "If you don't like it, don't listen to it."
"I want to put on entertainers who are right for their market, period. This shouldn't even be a political issue. I don't think that we should be rewriting the constitution of the United States of America because of what you heard on a radio show...or what just one segment of society doesn't want to hear. I believe people should have a right to free speech. I believe people should be able to listen to what they want to listen to, and I believe all radios should have buttons or dials on them."
And now, as Monty Python had it, for something completely different: In this case someone appreciating the sound of silence.
It came in the UK Times where we appreciated the start of a review of radio cover of Ryder Cup Golf from Giles Smith.
He began," Towards the end of the second day, John Inverdale, on Radio 5 Live, gave us a few seconds of silence - something for supporters of the Europe golf team and John Cage fans to savour with equal enthusiasm, which probably doesn't happen all that often. This dead air, Inverdale explained, was the sound of unerring European matchplay anaesthetizing an American gallery's tonsils. It had all gone quiet over there.
How quiet? Well, you could have heard a tin pop, had alcohol not been banned from the Oakland Hills course. It was one of those times, probably not much dwelt upon in the radio broadcasting manuals, when the best policy was to say nothing and to let that nothing do all the saying. And Inverdale was not only sharp enough to seize it, he was also well-mannered enough to do so without any trace of cheap gloating or relish in an opponent's misfortune."
After further details of the commentary - wroth a read - Smith commented on a negative in the commentary when Inverdale ", distracted by a minor crisis of faith in his medium, add: 'I hope the TV cameras have caught that.'"
"This brought a swift rebuttal from Inverdale's colleague, Iain Carter, who said: 'On behalf of the Radio 5 Live listeners, I don't care whether the TV cameras got it.' But too late. Even in a moment of triumph for the spoken word, radio's perpetual inferiority complex had raised its head."
Which of course is as good a cue as any for some offerings on radio that have no reason to feel inferior to TV.
First off, we'd note that the BBC has now started transmitting the new series of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Second episode is due tomorrow at 17:30 GMT but the first is still on the Radio 4 web site for the moment as are comments from a number of fans of the original series including members of the Monty Python team). This is one series where in our view, for all the money that will be spent on it, the film is going to have a hard job to match the book and radio, never mind TV attempts.
In like vein, we'd commend the Radio 3 drama on Sunday, Hippomania by Snoo Wilson. To quote the channel's description, "Snoo Wilson's astonishing fantasia, which springs from real events in [Poet John] Betjeman's life, conjures up Nazis, assassins and fairies as the poet wanders blithely through seats of power, pubs and a cemetery." It does and the power of imagination would in our view be damaged by turning it into an unsatisfying visual, however good the special effects. The play is on the Radio 3 web site
So also is the latest programme in the four-part Nile Lands series in the Sunday Feature spot where we will digress to include an excerpt from Paul Donovan's Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times. In comment on Radio 3 in general he included the following about part of its non-classical music output: The shining example at present is the four-part Sunday feature Nile Lands, which tonight [September 26] begins its second half with Zeinab Badawi reaching Khartoum."
" Curious and good-humoured, she observes boat-building techniques un-changed since Herodotus' time. She listens to songs sung for forgiveness by mothers whose babies accidentally pee in the Nile and to priests who still say 'smite'. Anybody who is interested in the world's longest river, Africa's ancient ways or the impact of pink strangers from Victorian Britain should not miss this series."
"It is bliss to hear any programme made in Ethiopia, Uganda or Sudan that is not primarily about Aids and famine. How would we feel if African broadcasters came here and reported only on rocketing teenage pregnancies, drunkenness and serial killers?"
The fourth and final episode is next Sunday at 20:30 GMT, after a two-hour production of Tennessee Williams's Vieux Carre in the Drama on 3 slot.
Changing channels Puttin' On the Style on BBC Radio 2 (Tuesday, 19:30 GMT) this week features Ingrid Bergman in the fourth of a five-part series - last week's show on Cary Grant is still available until then. In the case of these shows, the visuals of TV might add but they would also change and the radio experience remains worthwhile.
Moving back to Radio 4, an unexpected gem to us last week was Dick Vosburgh's chat with Peg Lynch in The Woman Who Invented Sitcom, still available until tomorrow morning on the web site.
We suspect the same could be true tonight at 19:30 GMT the channel has Fifteen Inches per Second, the story of the invention of magnetic tape, an invention that changed the world of recorded sound.
Also from Radio 4, tomorrow (19:00 GMT with a repeat on Sunday) we'd suggest Gerrymandering, which looks at the practice of redrawing electoral districts for political advantage and how it has expanded in the United States over the past few years and asks what this means for democracy? [RNW comment: We rather suspect in view of the way it has solidified the benefits of incumbency and locked areas into becoming fiefdom's one on party or another, we'd suggest it isn't that far from meaning that for many people US democracy is a sham and the system is more like an oligarchy, a term rightly used as a criticism of the former Soviet Union].
And sticking with the UK and Radio 4, we end by noting that the News Quiz returns next Friday (17:30 GMT with a Saturday repeat): It's a programme that has always been well worth a listen in the past.
MusicBiz - Judy Ellis interview:
NPR - Dvorkin:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Times - Smith:
2004-09-27: Pressure is building on Boston University over its proposed sale of Rhode Island public station WRNI-AM, a subsidiary to its Boston WBUR-FM station: The university had said the sale was not being proposed for financial reasons but according to the Providence Journal WRNI's figures were in the red by USD 9.4 million in its first five years.
Members of the Foundation for Ocean State Public Radio, the non-profit foundation that helped to bring the public station to Rhode Island, met last week to consider the best strategy to keep a public radio station in the state: It may consider legal action and Eugene Mihaly, president of the foundation, said the group is determined not to lose WRNI.
Many contributors, who had helped raise funds to bring WRNI into existence, wish they had insisted on more legal control over the station's licenses and attorney Don E. Wineberg, a member of the foundation board, told the Journal, "In retrospect, we should have put in some legal protection for the money. Our goal now is to control the license so we are never in this position again."
In a report on the station's finances taken from federal tax returns filed by the WRNI Foundation, the paper say that in its first fiscal year it raised USD909, 000 and spent USD 1.9 million; in the second year funds reached USD 1.1 million but spending was USD 2.8 million; in the third year it only raised USD 928,000 but spent USD 3.3 million; in the fourth year it raised USD 963,000 and spent USD 3.1 million and in its fifth year - the 2003 fiscal year - it raised only USD 743,000 but spend 2.9 million.
The Rhode Island row has also led to criticism of the university in Boston where an article in the Boston Phoenix comments "it's time - indeed, it's long past time - to demand some accountability on the part of WBUR Radio, the BU-licensed public-broadcasting giant whose excellence is matched only by the mystery surrounding its operations and the imperious, fear-inspiring style of its general manager, Jane Christo."
The Phoenix notes that only a month ago " then-WBUR spokeswoman Mary Stohn announced that WRNI's four-person news operation would be cut in half" and suggests this meant the final decision to sell was made very quickly but then adds that WBUR's current spokesman Will Keyser is denying the sale decision was anything to do with money.
"The financial implications of the sale are not driving the decision in any way," Keyser says. "I know there are concerns about the process, and those that feel that the process is not fair, but the reality is that the community will be given [a chance] through this process to make a serious and viable offer for the station, if that's what they would like to do."
In comments that bear similarity to some of those made about the financial state of American University's WAMU-FM in Washington, DC (See RNW Nov 1, 2003) the article says questions need to be answered about WBUR under Christo's leadership - "About the station's finances. About her management style. And about why, at a public station that relies so heavily on the goodwill of its listeners and the community, so little is known about its internal operations."
The report contrasts information readily available about the finances of public broadcaster WGBH in Boston and that which is published about WBUR and notes that WBUR is too small an operation to show up anywhere in Boston University's publicly filed information.
Keyser denies that the University is secretive about WBUR's finances and said that the station's current annual budget is around USD 20 million and adds that the station is in the process of preparing a new annual report but WBUR has to stay in line with University policy to disclose only information required by law.
The paper says that a consensus amongst current and former WBUR employees contacted, none of whom would go on the record, was that the station's finances are a mystery to it staff. It also notes that the collapse of the dot.com boom hit WBUR hard and that it also lost around USD 1-2 million because of a boycott organized by CAMERA (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) that accused it of an anti-Israel bias in its reporting [RNW note - CAMERA is certainly a pro-Israeli organisation and its devotion to accuracy is in our view seriously biased despite its high-falutin title].
The paper also reports that there is no question but that money is an issue for WBUR and that there are reliable accounts of slowness in paying freelance contributors and others who provide services to the station: Keyser says that the slow payments are the result of "some internal accounting challenges with respect to paying independents for work that they have done" - a problem the station is seeking to rectify - and are "not reflective of the financial or administrative health of WBUR."
Boston Phoenix report:
Providence Journal report:
2004-09-27: UTV (Ulster TV) is in talks to buy Drogheda-based radio station LMFM, which broadcasts to Louth, Meath and parts of Fingal in north Dublin, and is understood to have bid close to the Euros 10 million (USD 12 million) asking price according to the UK Sunday Times.
The paper notes however that Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) rules that restrict a company to owning 15% of the country's 28 commercial licences - the limit can be increased up to 25% in some circumstances -could rule out the deal.
UTV already owns four stations, two in Cork and one each in Limerick and Dublin meaning that an additional station would take its licence share from just above 14% to nearly 18% but the paper says UTV expects to get clearance since it has no other media interests in the Drogheda area.
It adds that UTV is being given preference to a rival bid from Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH), which owns Today FM and FM104, and also the Dunfermline Press newspaper group that owns the Meath Chronicle and Anglo-Celt, because the UTV bid is more likely to gain clearance from the BCI and Ireland's Competition Authority.
In the UK, the Observer says that DMGT wants a seat on the broad of a merged GWR/Capital radio as a condition for supporting the proposed nil-premium merger between the two companies who confirmed their talks about the deal last week (See RNW Sep 21): DMGT holds a 29.9% shareholding in GWR and its finance director Peter Williams is on GWR's board.
The paper notes that both companies are expected to issue trading updates this week and that a formal announcement of the tie-up is expected to be issued with one of these if there are no hold-ups.
The Observer also says that Fidelity, the US fund manager, has indicated that for it to support the merger there will have to be a clear delineation of the roles of the chairman and chief executive of the combined company if they are to support the merger under which Capital chief executive David Mansfield would become chief executive of the merged company and GWR executive chairman Ralph Bernard would retain the same position with the new one.
The Sunday Telegraph reports that Roger Parry, chief executive of Clear Channel's international arm, has confirmed that at some stage his company could be interested in UK radio acquisitions but not yet.
He confirmed his support for radio consolidation in an interview with the paper, said Clear Channel was "obviously a potential buyer of radio assets in the UK" but then also confirmed previous comments in which he had said UK radio assets were currently over-priced.
He also said there would be no hostile bid for the merged company, saying, "As an absolute corporate philosophy, we don't like hostile bids for media properties."
"I think to buy a business that has creative staff on a hostile basis is almost always the road to ruin because you don't have the support of the management. At the moment I assume that both Capital and GWR are very focused on making their marriage work, so they wouldn't be looking for a third-party purchaser, and there's absolutely no way we would want to mess up the nuptials by trying to make an unwanted bid for either of them."
On the potential success of the merger, he said it would be "Neutral or good. It's certainly not bad." Why potentially good? "Because a consolidated radio industry may throw up opportunities to make investments later on - may do - and it's often easier to deal with a small number of big players than a large number of small players."
Parry also confirmed his earlier view that the UK would eventually end up with three large radio groups, saying, "One of them will be based around Capital and it now looks like GWR. One of them will be based round what is currently Emap, and one of them will by based around what is currently Chrysalis. And those three big broadcasters will own many, many dozens of digital channels both locally, regionally and nationally."
Asked whether Clear Channel could take over one of them in the longer term he commented, "It's a possibility. It's a hypothetical question. It depends on valuations."
"It would be no surprise to me if one of my successors would be managing a large radio business alongside the existing large entertainment and outdoor advertising businesses [in the UK] because the model does work for us in America."
Previous Clear Channel:
UK Observer report:
UK Sunday Telegraph report:
UK Sunday Times report:
2004-09-27: Piquant-owned Air America radio continues its growth this week with the addition of yet another Clear Channel outlet, this time in San Francisco: Last week it began airing in Phoenix on KXXT-AM, formerly conservative news-talk outlet KXEM-AM, NewsTalk 1010, home of such illiberal hosts as Michael Savage.
The Phoenix change according to station manager Bob Christy as reported in the Arizona Republic had nothing to do with ideology and more to do with the marker.
"This market is loaded with conservative talkers. How many conservative talkers can one market support? I took myself out of the talk arena and thought about it like this: If this were music and there were five country stations, would I continue to be a country station?" he commented.
In San Francisco, Air America tomorrow bumps the likes of Frank Sinatra from Clear Channel's American standards KABL-AM, which becomes KQKE, "the Quake" whilst KABL moves to FM -on KFJO-FM, Walnut Creek, currently simulcasting San Jose rock station KSJO-FM. Clear Channel hopes to turn the move into part of a broader network.
Again the decision was described as market, not politically oriented: KABL General Manager Joe Cunningham told the San Francisco Chronicle, "There's a general misconception that Clear Channel as a company must be aligned one way or another. These are just business decisions of where we can find the best programming. The Bay Area is pretty hungry for it."
As with some of its other Air America outlets, Clear Channel's offerings will also include Jones Radio Networks' syndicated host Ed Schultz from North Dakota.
Air America has also been given a stay of execution in Portland, Maine, where Nassau Broadcasting is switching WLVP-AM to ESPN programming.
It had announced that it would switch on October 4 but according to the Portland Press Herald received protest calls and e-mails that led it to postpone the switch until after the Presidential election.
The station says that this move is also being made for business reasons following analysis of advertising sales for local sports programming that it also ran but it decided that taking a political talk network off the air in Portland just before a national election was not the right thing to do.
Air America's site currently proclaims itself as having 32 affiliates, listing Rochester, New York, and Phoenix as the latest to be welcomed.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Nassau Broadcasting:
Previous Piquant/Air America:
Arizona Republic report:
Portland Press-Herald report:
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2004-09-26: The major news from the regulators this week was the imposition, after many weeks of rumours, of a USD 550,000 penalty on Viacom for the Super Bowl half time show breast baring incident, a penalty that the FCC justified in part because of the past indecency record of Infinity Broadcasting.
Elsewhere, apart from Ireland, which had nothing on the radio front, there was a steady level of activity.
In Australia, the activity was mainly in community radio: Radio decisions from the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) included in the following (in order of state):
New South Wales:
*Extension of the service area of the Deepwater and Districts Community FM Radio (DCFM) service to include Glen Innes. The ABA had invited applications for a Glenn Innes licence in March this year and DFFM was the only applicant and the ABA decided it would be more appropriate to merge the licence areas of the two services.
*Decision to make additional FM capacity available for an additional community radio service in Sanctuary Point in the Nora area: The ABA is also proposing to make capacity available at St Georges Basin and Kangaroo Valley to for commercial service 2ST, Nowra, so as to rectify reception deficiencies.
The ABA also notes that it has received an inquiry from Multiform Open Broadcasting Inc. expressing interest in an additional community radio service in the Kiama region: It has suggested that Multiform may apply for a temporary community licence on the frequency reserved for a planned third Wollongong/Nowra community service and until then should consider applying for a temporary community licence using the frequency.
*Advertising a new community radio broadcasting licence for Alice Springs with a translator service for Tennant Creek.
*Advertising a new community radio broadcasting licence for the Charleville area.
*Decision to make FM capacity available to Cairns commercial radio services 4CCA at Redlynch Valley and 4HOT at Little Mulgrave to help them resolve reception deficiencies and is to make FM channel capacity available to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in Cairns and Cairns North for future national radio services.
*Decision to make FM channel capacity available for a new community radio service in Cairns and a new high power open narrowcasting radio service in Port Douglas for which applications will be invited in the near future.
In addition the ABA has proposed to formalize changes to technical specifications to allow commercial station 4BC-AM in Brisbane to continue to operate on a day and lower power night time basis following some three years of tests during which a site move had led to some reception problems.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has only been involved in a small number of radio related actions including, in order of province:
Approval of contour change for CKGF-3-FM Rock Creek following a transmitter relocation and decrease of the antenna height and power - from 132 watts to 50 watts.
Approval of new 17 watts English-language Pop-Rock and Country music FM in Tofino.
The CRTC has also extended until October 5 the deadline for applications for a licence to provide commercial ethnic service to Vancouver.
Issuance of public notice, with an intervention deadline of October 28, relating to the following applications:
Frequency change for VF8007 Acton Vale necessitated by approval of FM transmitter in Sherbrook for CBM-FM, Montréal, using its original frequency.
Application by CKRB-FM Saint-Georges-de-Beauce to change frequency and increase power from 2,175 to 17,000 watts. [This and the following two applications are mutually exclusive.]
Application by CKYQ-FM, Plessisville, Quebec, to add an FM transmitter at Victoriaville.
Application by CIRA-FM, Montréal, to change frequency so as to enhance its signal.
In the UK, Ofcom has received 12 applications for the new Edinburgh FM on offer and four for a new Blackburn FM, with a preponderance of the applications targeted towards an older demographic (See RNW Sep 25).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was back in the headlines over an indecency ruling, this time its USD 550,000 fine on Viacom. It was also involved in a number of other enforcement actions including on the same day penalties of USD 10,800 and USD 18,000 (See RNW Sep 23).
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2004-09-26: According to a report in the UK Guardian, Britain's Channel 4 TV has been considering a bid to take control of BBC Radio 1 that would give it a share of the licence fee that currently goes to the BBC but has cooled on the idea as figures indicate it would not be as lucrative as it had at first thought.
The TV channel has expressed interest in radio and recently agreed a development deal with UBC Media amid rumours that it was interested in turning UBC's Oneword speech channel into a competitor to the BBC's Radio 4 speech channel (See RNW Aug 2). It also recently tied up with UBC in a deal to exploit the Popworld brand (See RNW Sep 14).
The Guardian report says Channel 4 considered the BBC Radio 1 idea as part of deliberations over its financial future and that it does not see its current TV business as viable in the long term.
The Radio 1 idea was submitted along with a number of other options to the media regulator, Ofcom, which is compiling a report on the future of public service broadcasting in Britain reports the paper, adding that if Channel 4 were to run Radio 1, it would not take advertisements, which would be opposed by the under-pressure commercial radio sector, but could be free to exploit lucrative sponsorship deals.
The radio channel could be moved away from the BBC under the forthcoming act of parliament that will renew the BBC's royal charter but the corporation is likely to strongly oppose the idea since Radio 1 is its main connection with younger audiences in the UK.
UK Guardian report:
2004-09-26: The operators of three St Louis sports radio stations have agreed to pay USD 158,000 to settle charges that they aided in illegal gambling activities according to the St Louis Business Journal.
It reports U.S. Attorney James Martin as saying that Missouri Sports Radio, Simulcast and All Sports Radio, which operated KFNS-AM, KFNS-FM and KRFT-AM have forfeited proceeds from the promotions of illegal gambling activities and also agreed to provide evidence in ongoing related investigations.
Martin said the three companies knowingly received thousands of dollars in funds derived from illegal offshore and online gambling activities from mid-2000 through September 2003.
KFNS 590 AM, The Fan, and KRFT 1190 AM, The Zone, are now owned by Big League Broadcasting of Atlanta, which bought them earlier this year for USD11.5 million.
St Louis Business Journal report:
2004-09-25: Ofcom has received 12 applications for the new Edinburgh FM licence and four for the Blackburn licence with a preponderance aimed at older audiences.
The Edinburgh licence will be the first big city licence to be awarded under Ofcom and a decision, which will be worth millions - some GBP 10-15 million (USD 18-27 million) for the winner for an outlay of thousands to the regulator - is expected to be announced around the end of the year.
Ten of the Edinburgh applications are targeted at older age groups and none are specifically aimed for youngsters: They are comprised of six applications specifying music stations for age groups of 35 or older, four for classic rock stations, and two speech-based applications.
The Edinburgh applications came from:
The Arrow (Edinburgh) Limited - (The Arrow 107) a Chrysalis bid for an adult rock station.
Dunedin FM Limited - a speech-based application from The Wireless Group.
Edinburgh City Beat Limited - (Edinburgh Citybeat 107FM) an Adult Contemporary rock application from CN Radio, part of the regional newspaper group whose holdings include Belfast City Beat and six more local stations.
Edinburgh Local Radio Ltd (107 FM The Rock) - the GWR offering of rock from the last 40 years targeted at an audience of 35 to 54 year olds.
Edinburgh Radio Ltd./Castle FM - a gold music based offering targeted at a 45-64 audience from an Emap-backed consortium including Andrew Neil, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Scotsman Publications and broadcaster Sheena McDonald
4Life FM Limited - a service targeted at a 40 plus audience based on a BBC Radio-2 style mix of music plus spoken word entertainment and news. It comes from Celador Radio with backers who include former Capital FM breakfast host Chris Tarrant and former BBC Radio 2 controller Jim Moir.
Real Radio Limited (Smooth FM) - another music, news and information station for mature adults. The Guardian Media Group application with an offering similar to its Manchester station.
Red FM Limited - (Red107) - an SMG-backed Adult Alternative offering for the 35 plus
Saga Radio (Scotland) Limited (SAGA 107fm)- Easy listening for the 50-plus audience from Saga.
Scottish Radio Holdings plc (Forth 3) - a news and talk offering.
Time FM (Edinburgh) Limited - a music-led offering for the 45-64 demographic backed by the Sunrise Group, best known for its broadcasts for the Asian community.
Virgin Radio Classic Rock (Edinburgh) Ltd (Edinburgh's 107FM Virgin Classic Rock) - the SMG-owned Virgin Radio classic rock bid.
In Blackburn the four bids are from:
Blackburn Broadcasting Company Ltd. (The Bee) - A full service station bid.
Blackburn 2Day FM Ltd (2Day FM) - A Classic Hits bid.
Bold FM Limited (Bold FM) - offering contemporary hits and the best music from the last forty years.
The Burn FM Limited (Burn FM) - a music and talk bid.
2004-09-25: Broadcast media could come back into the US politicians' sights again shortly as the Senate Commerce Committee has set Tuesday next week to resume its hearings on media regulation and additionally Kansas Republican Sen Sam Brownback is opining that an increase in penalties for broadcast indecency could soon be on the statute books.
The Senate hearing, to be presided over by Sen. John McCain, will consider the recent Third Court Circuit decision in Philadelphia that upheld most of the Federal Communications Commission's ownership regulations but remanded back its proposals on station ownership limits.
Regarding indecency, Brownback says that the House and Senate could reach a compromise between their two bills in the Senate - which would raise the maximum fine tenfold with a cap of USD 3 million a day - and the House bill - whose maximum is USD 500,000.
He also says that an amendment from Sen. Byron Dorgan to re-institute the former FCC's media ownership rules is likely to be dropped.
According to a Reuters report legislators are now hoping to add the indecency legislation to an upcoming defence spending bill, which could be signed by President Bush sometime before the end of this year.
2004-09-25: The past week has been fairly quiet on the business front although in the UK radio provided the bright spot in a trading update from Chrysalis that included a profits warning because of a weaker than expected performance from the group's publishing division.
Chrysalis radio had like-for-like revenues up around a fifth equating to full year revenues of some GBP 67 million (USD 121 million) and Chrysalis Music performed in line with expectations but Chrysalis Books had a shortfall in both revenues and margins.
Chrysalis says it anticipates Books EBITA to be around break-even for the full year to the end of August but adds that "as part of this year's audit process, the Board are reviewing all balance sheet carrying values in the books division, the outcome of which may impact the financial results for the year ending 31st August 2004 by a further approx. GBP 1.5million (USD 2.7 million)."
Chrysalis adds that the 2005 financial year has started well including results at the Books division but says it has instructed an independent publishing specialist to value the division.
Chrysalis has already sold its TV production arm as it moves to concentrate on its core radio business in anticipation of consolidation in the UK radio sector.
Chrysalis has also announced the launch by its newly formed Chrysalis Mobile of "music2mobile", a range of branded physical products supporting delivery of music to mobile phones, to be promoted through major retail outlets.
In the US, Metromedia International Group, Inc. has announced that it has now completed its previously announced USD 14.25 million sale to Communicorp Group Limited of its wholly-owned radio business unit that held the Company's interests in seventeen radio businesses, which operate radio broadcast stations in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland and Hungary.
2004-09-25: The BBC has appointed Mark Damazer, currently its Deputy Director of News as the Controller of Radio 4 and BBC 7 to succeed Helen Boaden, who was appointed as the BBC's first female director of news in July (See RNW Jul 23)
He was appointed following three days of interviews of some dozen BBC executives and Jenny Abramsky, Director of Radio & Music, commented of the choice, "Mark is a passionate listener and supporter of Radio 4. When you talk to him you realise it's in his blood. I'm sure he will build on Helen Boaden's success and take Radio 4 and BBC 7 to new heights."
Damazer, who gained a double starred first in history at Cambridge and a Harkness Fellowship to Harvard University, is a former BBC Head of Current Affairs in which role he was responsible for File On 4, From Our Own Correspondent and a whole range of Radio 4 documentaries and short series, and from 1998 to 2000 was Head of Political Programmes.
During the row over the Radio 4 report that alleged that the government "sexed-up" information about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, he helped draft the BBC's official reply to the complaint from Prime Ministerial aide Alastair Campbell's complaint about Andrew Gilligan's report on the Radio 4 breakfast show and was then heavily involved in building the corporation's defence during the subsequent Hutton inquiry.
He commented of his appointment, "Being Controller of Radio 4 is the best job in broadcasting and I am privileged to be given the opportunity of working with so many talented and creative people.
"Radio 4 is in terrific shape and my challenge is to cherish it, sustain it and make sure it remains the home for intelligence, flair and wit.
"BBC 7 has already made a name for itself and I hope to see it become a must for those who value the BBC's storehouse of drama and comedy."
2004-09-24: Commenting on the Chicago radio scene, Robert Feder in his Sun-Times column says News-Talks WLS-AM is beginning the fall ratings period with "no morning show, half an afternoon show, and cobwebs collecting in the vacant office of the general manager."
Disney/ABC-owned WLS has been without the morning drive husband and wife team Don Wade and Roma for a week now after failure to agree terms on a new contact and the afternoon show which used to pair Roe Conn and Garry Meier is now hosted by Conn along after failure to agree terms with Meier, who had been taken off the air in January in anticipation of the event (See RNW Jan 13).
WLS also lost president and general manager Zemira Jones, now with Radio One Inc., who quit in June when he learned he would be losing oversight of WZZN-FM (See RNW Jun 12).
The morning show is currently being hosted by two part-timers described by Feder as " the astonishingly mean-spirited and intolerant Teri O'Brien and the utterly bland Art Wallis."
Mitch Dolan, the ABC Radio Group president who is currently in charge of WLS did not speak to the paper but, reports Feder, "passed along the word that there was 'no shortage' of candidates for general manager of WLS and that an announcement should be forthcoming within 'a few weeks.'"
Previous Dona and Roma Wade:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
2004-09-24: BBC Oxford has announced a re-launch from October 4 with a new breakfast show hosted by former TV host Anne Diamond followed by long-time radio host Danny Cox who will also host a new Sunday evening show.
Cox, who began his career in the East Midlands with Leicester Sound and then Radio Trent/Trent FM, which he left after GWR took over the company. He was more recently with Capital Radio's Fox FM in Oxford, leaving earlier year to become to take up the post of Media Manager with the National Traffic Control Centre (NTCC).
Cox will be followed weekdays by a new show from Alison Booker before Bill Heine moves to a new afternoon drive slot.
2004-09-24: Midcontinent Media has withdrawn from broadcasting and announced the sale of all five of its radio stations in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to Backyard Broadcasting of Maryland for an undisclosed price.
The stations sold are KELO-AM and FM, KWSN-AM, KRRO-FM, and KTWB-FM, the first of which has been on air for 52 years.
Tom Simmons of Midcontinent Media was quoted by Keloland TV as saying of the sale, "It's an emotional decision as well as a business decision for our chairman, Larry Bentson and he shared that with staff today, this will be the first time that he's out of the broadcasting business since he was in the 7th grade."
The new owners say they are not planning changes and Barry Drake of Backyard Broadcasting commented, "Often times when companies come in they come in with an idea of fixing what's there in this case the ideal situation for us, these stations are beautifully run and received in the community so we come in with no idea to make changes or make things different."
Backyard, which began in business only two years ago, now has 27 stations including this deal.
Keloland TV report:
2004-09-24: British DJ Paul Green, who broadcasts as Monkey Boy, has been suspended for a week by Emap's Viking FM after making sexually suggestive jokes about sausages to celebrity chef James Martin.
Martin agreed to talk to the station to promote the British Sausage Appreciation Society's Banger Awards but Green's questions mainly comprised of linking sausages to sexual acts, angering the chef who cut the interview short and complained to his Public Relations firm that then pressed for action by the station.
Programme director Darrell Woodman, who says the interview went out without approval, left him no choice but to suspend the DJ without pay for a week. [RNW comment: And of course enjoy the free publicity?].
2004-09-23: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has finally pounced on Viacom over the Super Bowl halftime show in which one of Janet Jackson's breasts was briefly exposed; it is proposing a fine of USD 550,000, as already widely leaked, and commented that the "partial nudity was, in the context of the broadcast, in apparent violation of the broadcast indecency standard."
It proposed the maximum USD 27,500 for each of 20 Viacom stations that aired the show "show due to the involvement of Viacom/CBS in the planning and approval of the telecast and the history of indecency violations committed by Viacom's Infinity Broadcasting Corporation subsidiaries."
It added that it was not proposing forfeitures against non-Viacom owned CBS affiliates that also aired the show "because of the unexpected nature of the halftime show and the apparent lack of involvement in the selection, planning, and approval of the telecast by these non-Viacom owned affiliates."
Viacom had said in response to the FCC that the exposure resulted from a poorly-executed stunt that was planned by the performers without any involvement from Viacom, CBS, or MTV, all of whom would have forbidden the stunt if there had been any indication that it was planned and added, "While CBS regrets the incident, the Commission should acknowledge that it was unplanned, unanticipated, and contrary to what we intended."
In its judgment the FCC noted that "Mr. Timberlake pulled off part of Ms. Jackson's clothing to reveal her breast after he sang, 'gonna have you naked by the end of this song.' Therefore, we find the nudity here was designed to pander to, titillate and shock the viewing audience Based upon the preceding analysis, we find, in context, that the exposure of Ms. Jackson's breast was apparently indecent, and, therefore, is legally actionable."
All the commissioners went along with the penalty with separate statements being issued by chairman Michael K. Powell and Commissioners Jonathan S. Adelstein, Michael J. Copps, and Kevin J. Martin.
Powell in his statement commented that the event had received more complaints than any other on TV - some 540,000 - and added, "The show, clearly intended to push the limits of prime time television, ultimately violated federal law that restricts indecent programming to times when children are less likely to be watching. The U.S. Constitution is generous in its protection of free expression, but it is not a license to thrill. 'Anything goes,' is not an acceptable mantra for those that elect to earn their profit using the public's airwaves. "
He also issued a cautionary note, presumably intended at some of his fellow commissioners, writing, " Indecency determinations, however, must be made cautiously and with appropriate restraint. There is always a substantial danger that a regulatory authority buoyed by an outraged public will overstep and fail to heel to the commands of the First Amendment. Our decision stays in bounds, but I am troubled at the suggestion of some on the Commission that we should reach further and drop the hammer for the musical performances themselves-divorced from the infamous wardrobe malfunction-or for the commercials. I agree that some of the performances were risqué and that commercials were frequently crass and sophomoric, but they were hardly indecent within the bounds of federal law. To let loose governmental sanction on such a thin premise is to stray from our limited role in enforcing the indecency laws, into the role of national nanny-arbiter of taste, values and propriety.
In his statement, Democrat Commissioner Copps expressed concern that a precedent might be set by not penalising non-Viacom-owned affiliates, said the commission should have followed through further on other complaints about the show not concentrating on the single incident, and noted, "This fine needs to be seen in the context of a broadcast in which each 30-second commercial cost more than $2 million. In other words, this fine represents less than 10 seconds of ad time on the Super Bowl and will be easily absorbed as a cost of doing business. "
His fellow Democrat, Jonathan S. Adelstein, said he found "today's remedy totally inadequate. After all the bold talk, it's a slap on the wrist that can be paid with just 7½ seconds of Super Bowl ad time. The $550,000 fine measures up to only about a dollar per complaint for the more than 542,000 complaints that flooded into the FCC after the broadcast. "
He also raised the issue of the other affiliates, commenting, "Compliance with federal broadcast decency restrictions is the responsibility of the station that chooses to air the programming, not the performers While the Commission must always proceed cautiously in broadcast decency cases, this type of graphic and gratuitous nudity is not a close call. The millions of our nation's children who were ambushed by the Super Bowl halftime show deserve better protection. A fine of 7½ seconds of ad time is scarcely any deterrent. The shockwaves are still being felt by this shameful episode. I fear that today we're responding to a "wardrobe malfunction" with a regulatory malfunction."
Republican Commissioner Kevin J. Martin took up the same points, saying that in his view the FCC had "a duty to the public to fully analyse all of the complaints that we receive" and also commenting that the commission needed to "affirm local broadcasters' ability - and responsibility - to reject inappropriate programming."
"This obligation." He said, "is critical to local broadcasters' ability to keep coarser network programming off the air in their communities. The network affiliates asked us to clarify that this right over three years ago. We still have not acted, and thus I concur in the decision not to fine the affiliates in this instance."
The FCC's enforcement bureau has also issued two other forfeitures: one, of USD 10,800 went to Global Radio, Inc. for broadcasts from the station to be used for the Super Bowl. Global had asked for authorization to use six frequencies but was granted permission to use only two because of interference concerns.
It was found to have been using five frequencies and a penalty of USD 12,000 was initially put forward. Global requested reduction or cancellation on grounds of inability to pay and a previous history of compliance but did not provide evidence regarding to ability to pay. The penalty was cut to USD 10,800 on the basis of a history of compliance.
The other penalty, of USD 18,000, went to Union Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of KCTE-AM, Independence, Missouri and WHB-AM, Kansas City, Missouri, for operation of KCTE with modes and at hours not specified in the KCTE station authorization, and for failure to make the KCTE and WHB public inspection files available to the public.
The KCTE operation violation related to operation of the station, authorised to broadcast in daytime only, at night and thus causing interference to other stations.
AT a subsequent station inspection an FCC agent was unable to inspect the public files for both stations because they were locked in the office of a station employee who was out of the office at the time.
The FCC proposed penalties totalling USD 18,000 and Union filed a Response seeking a decrease in the forfeiture amount, saying it had taken remedial actions to comply FCC rules but the FCC rejected its arguments and confirmed the full penalty.
2004-09-23: The UK Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) has defended UK commercial radio's public service record in a 23-page report just published that details statistics about news, weather, travel, What's On, charitable, social action and community information broadcasts on UK commercial stations in the six weeks from June 14- July 25 this year.
In a foreword the CRCA chairman David Elstein comments in relation to the BBC charter renewal that "Ideas abound, such as 'building public value' and 'supplying that which the market cannot deliver' and goes on to say, "The contribution from the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) to this debate is simply to document the measurable elements of public service content that the market presently offers, in radio Of course, that which can be measured is not all that PSB constitutes."
"Yet auditing what can be measured is important, not just in rooting the current debate in reality, but in reminding policy makers and the public generally of commercial radio's distinctive nature."
The report notes that 217 of the CRCA's 238 member stations submitted information and gives details of the output from a number of stations.
Amongst the statistics it has collated are the following:
News: Commercial radio stations each broadcast an average of 157 news bulletins a week totalling 470 minutes of news, and on average, 66% of the news bulletins broadcast on each station each week contain local news.
Weather & Travel: Stations broadcast an average of 147 weather reports each week with an average duration of 25 seconds.
They also broadcast an average of 96 travel bulletins a week with durations from around 20 seconds to several minutes.
What's On: Stations broadcast an average of 60 such bulletins each week with a total of more than 8,5000 events being promoted overall each week. In addition stations promote events - an average of 20 a week - on their websites.
Community, Charity & Social Action: Stations broadcast material in support of their community around 38 times a week with an average duration of 42 minutes per station. In addition in the past year commercial radio raised more than GBP 8.5 million (USD 15 million) for charities and over the year the industry attends over 44,000 events in support of the community.
"Commercial radio," says the report, "is a strong and colourful thread in our cultural fabric. It has an important role in today's society and will continue to play a vital role in tomorrow's."
The report is being published ahead of an Ofcom review of radio in November and aims to widen the ground for debate with particular emphasis on contrast with BBC statements, which the CRCA considers "woolly".
In terms of listening it says every week just over two-thirds of the UK's adult population, spend over 482 million hours listening to commercial radio - a 45% share of all UK radio listening that increases where listeners have a wider range of commercial radio stations to choose between, taking a 55% share in London where there are more than 20 commercial radio stations.
National commercial radio takes a 19% share of listening, termed "impressive" because there are only three commercial national analogue channels, two of them on AM, compared to five national channels for the BBC.
In local markets, it says the industry performs particularly strongly in local markets, taking a 76% share of all local listening in the UK.
It also notes some favourable demographics with a 74% share of listening among children (4-14 year olds), a 63% share among 15-24 year olds, and 62% share of listening by adult ethnic audiences, a figure that rises to 74% in London.
UK CRCA report (23 page , 2.5 Mb PDF):
2004-09-23: Hispanic radio consulting company Mass Radio Inc. says it is to launch a new Spanish radio monitoring service, Radio Tracking Data, to monitor more than 600 Spanish radio stations in the United States as well as major cities in Mexico.
It will use MonitorLatino.com as the official website to provide the information and will use software technology from Audible Magic Corporation to help monitor information from the Hispanic radio stations.
Initially Radio Tracking Data will use a network of 10-50 Listening Posts and plans to expand this next year: It will target fastest growing Latino markets and will cover all Spanish formats including Regional Mexican, Pop Contemporary, Tropical, Rock, Tejano and Religious genres.
2004-09-23: Rhode Island's Attorney General Patrick Lynch has asked officials of Boston University to halt the proposed sale of WRNI-AM, a subsidiary of its WBUR-FM station and Rhode Island's only public radio station, until his office resolves legal issues surrounding the way the university has decided to sell the station.
In a statement, he said he was upset about secrecy concerning the sale and because the concerns of contributors who raised more than USD3 million to establish and operate WRNI had not been addressed.
"I am also troubled," Lynch said, "that a valuable asset such as National Public Radio may leave the state of Rhode Island. Again it is difficult to address the scope of this loss because of the secrecy and untimely communications from Boston University."
He noted that the station was only in existence because of generous donations and commented,
"Those donations allowed WRNI to thrive and grow into the valuable license it is today. Remarkably, WBUR reaped the value of that growth but has not afforded the donors responsible for it timely assurances that their donations were not in vain."
In a report on the issue, the Providence Journal notes that WRNI recently suffered cutbacks that stripped away its Rhode Island-based programs but that locals were angered by continuing solicitation of funds after this and while the sale was being planned.
WBUR officials have said they hope a local group can buy the station (See RNW Sep 20).
Providence Journal report:
2004-09-23: Ingenuity and duct tape kept Mississippi Public Broadcasting's radio broadcasts on the air in southern counties of the state during Hurricane Ivan according to a report in the Sun-Herald in southern Mississippi..
It says that when it became apparent Ivan was likely to affect the state MPB, whose TV antenna had been taken off the air for repairs, opted to concentrate on shoring up its FM radio antenna on the same tower, near McHenry, as the TV antenna.
It contacted Coast To Coast, a Texas company, to do a quick fix on the FM antenna and the crew used duct tape for the fix.
"We'd already learned that the tower was improperly installed two years ago, and it was scheduled to be fixed, but not before Ivan," said Keith Martin, MPB's technical services director, adding, "Wrap around enough duct tape, and it apparently does work,"
The TV antenna is now to be replaced with a weaker temporary antenna until it can be fixed properly and at the same time the crew will remove the duct tape and secure the radio antenna properly.
2004-09-22: Speculation about further consolidation in UK radio continued on Tuesday following confirmation that Capital Radio and GWR are in merger talks (See RNW Sep 21) with suggestions mooted in a number of areas that US giant Clear Channel could subsequently launch a bid for the combined group if it passes the regulators.
Roger Parry, the chief executive of Clear Channel's international operations, who sees a future in which there are only three large radio groups in the UK (See RNW Feb 24) said last year that prices in the UK were too high (See RNW Jul 19, 2003). He also indicated that Clear Channel was likely to wait out the first wave of consolidation without ruling out later interest.
Speculation so far has not centred on Viacom, which in the past has seemed more interested in possible expansion in TV in the UK and Europe rather than in radio.
The Capital-GWR deal is not guaranteed a smooth passage and last year GWR had unexpectedly to reverse one takeover because of rulings from competition authorities: This was its Vibe Radio deal on which the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) placed conditions that led it to unravel the arrangement (See RNW May 23, 2003).
In addition there may be opposition from advertisers whose trade association the ISBA said it was studying the merger plans "with interest."
"As the industry is aware," it said in a statement, " advertisers tend to be concerned over any moves which might reduce levels of competition in the media markets for their budgets."
It noted that the combined group would control around 40% of the national UK radio advertising market and commented, "This is a significant market share in radio - a very important strategic medium for advertisers. ISBA will be analyzing in detail the exact implications of such a merger and would undoubtedly be keen to input its members' views into any Office of Fair Trading investigation/ Competition Commission inquiry as and when this came about."
The deal should clear hurdles from Ofcom, whose remit relates to Communications Act requirements that in any larger commercial radio market there have to be at least two commercial operators as well as the BBC but the competition authorities - Office of Fair Trading (OFT), the Competition Commission, and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) could also impose restrictions.
The DTI could require Ofcom to carry out a public interest test on the deal and there are also questions about the programming that come under Ofcom's remit. In addition the OFT, which will consider the combined group's share of audiences and advertising revenues, is almost certain to refer the transaction to the Competition Commission.
Amongst other consolidation deals being speculated about is an Emap purchase of Scottish Radio Holdings - valued at some GBP 320 million (USD 575 million) but in which Emap already has a 27% shareholding - an acquisition that would give the combined group coverage of the entire UK and that again has little overlap since Emap has no Scottish stations.
Other deals would face more severe regulatory scrutiny but Chrysalis, currently one of the top groups, could be forced into a pre-emptive move for fear of becoming weakened to such a degree - Capital, Emap, GWR and SRH control around 70% of UK radio advertising - that it would then not be able to move into the top tier.
Previous Clear Channel:
ISBA web site:
2004-09-22: Australian commercial radio revenues in the first half of this year were up 14.8% on a year earlier to AUD 382 million (USD 269 million) according to figures just released by the Commercial Economic Advisory Service of Australia (CEASA).
It grew more than all other media in the period to take more than 9% of the Australian advertising in the period - TV advertising was up 13.1% and print 7.8%
Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner described the figures as "extremely pleasing and augurs well for one of the best years on record".
She said they augured well "for one of the best years on record" and put the improvement down in part to the industry's AUD 40 million (USD 28 million) national advertising campaign, which promotes the benefits of advertising on radio.
"The campaign over the past twelve months has exceeded our expectations in terms of generating awareness and altering the perceptions of radio," she said.
The campaign is to continue for a further twelve months with a new series of advertisements launched in July.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2004-09-22: Former Emmis Hot 97 New York morning host Star (Troi Torain) will be starting on the air in Philadelphia next week when Clear Channel, which currently airs the Star & Buc Wild (Timothy Joseph) show on WPHH-FM in Hartford, Connecticut, also moves it into WUSL-FM to replace the morning drive "Dream Team" which as been dropped after five years although the Team's Team's Golden Girl, Q-Deezy and S-Dot have been offered new posts with WUSL. The show is to continue on WPHH and is expected to continue to originate in Hartford.
Emmis is involved in a court case in New York where it filed to prevent Star from going on air until March next year on the basis of a non-compete clause that the host is disputing. Emmis dropped Star in May 2003 and the dispute centres on whether he was then dismissed, as he claims, or suspended but still under contract.
Emmis had gone to court for a restraining order against the host and Clear Channel but then tried to withdraw its request (See RNW Sep 17) but the judge granted a 10-day restraining order whilst Emmis's claim was examined.
Clear Channel was expected to move the show into its Power 105.1 (WWPR-FM) in New York.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Troi Torain (Star):
Philadelphia Inquirer report:
2004-09-22: Montreal-based Astral Radio has now joined CHUM's Subscription Radio Canada (CHSRC) bid for a terrestrial radio subscription service in Canada that is competing for approval with proposed satellite services from groups including US Satellite radio companies Sirius - in conjunction with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Standard Radio - and XM - in conjunction with entrepreneur John Bitove.
The proposals go before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in early November.
2004-09-21: Shares in UK Capital Radio and GWR rose significantly on Monday following an official statement confirming that they are "currently in discussions concerning the possibility of a nil premium all share merger" although they added, "These discussions are ongoing and may or may not lead to a transaction."
The two companies said a "further announcement will be made as appropriate in due course" but the prospect of savings involved in a merger saw Capital's shares end the day up 6.5% and those of GWR do even better, ending up 9.33%.
Shares of other radio companies seen as likely targets generally rose on speculation that they might also benefit with Chrysalis, SMG, and Scottish Radio Holdings all up over 2% although Emap, which had been seen as a possible alternative partner for GWR (See RNW Sep 18) fell back by 0.7%. Emap is expected to be more likely to be a buyer than a seller with a likely move a bid to take over Scottish Radio Holdings in which it already has a 28% holding.
The rise added some GBP 70 million (USD 125 million) to the combined value of Capital and GWR which are now valued at around GBP 780 million (USD 1.4 billion)
Analysts calculate that savings at a combined Capital-GWR Group would range from GBP 8-10 million (USD 8-19 million) a year with shares in GWR potentially increasing in value by around a third and those of Capital by around a fifth.
There is still considerable speculation however about a power battle between GWR Executive chairman Ralph Bernard, expected to chair any combined company, and Capital chief executive David Mansfield, who is expected to be its chief executive.
Currently the two men receive similar remuneration - a salary of GBP 487,000 (USD 875,000) for Mansfield compared to GBP 459,000 (USD 825,000) for Bernard, but the latter has shareholdings worth around GBP 1.2 million (USD 2.2 million) compared to Mansfield's shareholdings that are worth around half that.
2004-09-21: KIRO-AM in Seattle has now denied allegations made by its host that it cancelled the weekly "Brian Maloney Show" because of comments Maloney made about CBS news anchor Dan Rather as the host had alleged (See RNW Sep 20).
Ken Berry, manager of the Entercom station, which is a CBS affiliate, said the comments, which related to Rather's handling of challenges about the authenticity of memos aired on CBS 60 Minutes 2 about President Bush's National Guard Service, were not linked to the issue; he told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that the main reason the show was cancelled was because broadcasts of Seattle Seahawks football games that cut into the station's Sunday talk line-up and they felt that "the remaining time slots would be better filled by other hosts."
Seattle Post-Intelligencer report:
2004-09-21: Two complaints are upheld against radio in the latest complaints bulletin from the UK regulator Ofcom compared to just one against TV, although the latter received 129 complaints.
The radio complaints upheld were one Standards case and one fairness case; The former involved Restricted Service Licence Holder Salaam FM, which had been granted a licence from 24 April to 21 May to gain experience in community radio broadcasting and cover events celebrating the birth of the Prophet Mohammed.
The complaint related to a broadcast by the station involving an anti-western stance and comments about religious groups that the complainant objected to.
Salaam had responded that the material involved was from a CD available since 1998 that was made by an independent company and that put forward views about the history of freemasonry, Christianity, Western popular culture and the international political situation. It said it did not agree with everything broadcast and with hindsight appreciated that people might have read too much into the recording.
Ofcom held that the programme put forward a number of contentious and potentially offensive claims that could have been interpreted as the opinions of the licensee with no attempt to put the programme into context, or give an opportunity for listeners to challenge what they had heard. It held that regulations had been breached.
Another standards complaint relating to the airing by Galaxy FM, Newcastle, of an unedited track a track containing the word "motherfucking" in an early evening programme was considered resolved. The broadcaster had said the broadcast was made in error and had reminded staff of the station's policy.
The other radio complaint upheld was a fairness and privacy complaint against the Alex Dyke phone-in show on Isle of Wight Radio.
It related to comments made by the Mayor of Brading, Mrs Marianne Sullivan, who is a teacher, and who had commented that in August she wanted all holidaymakers dead in Brading, as they got in the way and drove slowly.
One of the presenters repeatedly questioned whether Mrs Sullivan was suitable to be a teacher and a caller had suggested that she used to take guns into school, something for which there was no evidence.
Ofcom held that the presenters' intemperate comments on the subject went beyond acceptable banter and were unfair to Mrs Sullivan.
Another TV standards complaint was considered resolved and yet another TV standards complaint was not upheld.
In addition four other TV fairness complaints were not upheld and a total of 105 further complaints were listed as either not upheld or out of remit. These were comprised of 90 TV cases, involving 101 complaints, and 15 radio cases involving 15 complaints.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2004-09-21: Cleveland radio hosts Brahim "Abe" Ayad and Mike Watson have filed a USD 35 million lawsuit against WERE-AM, its owner Radio One Inc. and "unidentified Jews" following the cancellation of the programme.
They say they believe the cancellation of their "Politically Damned" show was prompted by Jewish backlash against the station following a story last month in the Cleveland Jewish News in which the programme was condemned by several Jews for "anti-Semitic rhetoric"
At the time station manager Tom Bush said the hosts were "not yelling fire to my knowledge, and they are staying within the (Federal Communication Commission) guidelines."
Ayad had been paying USD 900 a week for an 11p.m. to midnight slot Monday through Thursday and 9p.m. to midnight on Fridays but Radio One dropped the show after the September 3 show.
Watson claimed the show had paid for its airtime until the end of last week (September 17) but according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer Radio One said its contract with the hosts ended Sept. 3 and that it had the right to cancel any show it felt was inappropriate.
Common Pleas Judge William Coyne sitting in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court refused to order the station to broadcast the show but allowed the lawsuit to continue.
Watson says the show is to be picked up by Crusader Radio, an Internet radio station.
Previous Radio One Inc.:
Cleveland Jewish News report (Includes link to original report):
2004-09-20: For our look at comment on radio this week, and a thin week it was in general, we begin with a good sign for radio, extravagant praise from a Pittsburgh University student.
Writing in the University's Pitt News, Jonathan Check, a contributing editor to the paper and now a member of pubic station WDUQ-FM, comments that he has been listening to National Public Radio for "more than a year, consuming all of the benefits of this fantastic public resource without bearing any of its costs. (Stealing from the poor!) I hear the news more than I read it-a staggering admission for a journalist."
He continues, "It gives me all of the information I want without television news networks' gory sensationalism. Hell, I've even come to enjoy some of the brainier programs like 'All Things Considered' and 'This American Life.' Coupled with the virtually non-stop playlist of fine jazz, WDUQ has become the 24-hour soundtrack to my apartment-pure information and music, devoid of advertisements and promotional gimmicks."
And TV by comparison? "Television is dangerous. Nothing is really required of you, the viewer, except a minimal attention span and the desire to sit still television deprives us of our own imaginative faculties. They don't call it the "idiot box" for nothing."
And in comparison? " when did it become such a travesty to simply stop and smell the proverbial roses without looking at them? To look at a painting without expecting it to jump out and shake you? To sit back and simply listen to a radio program? These single-sensory experiences may have gone out of fashion lately, but they haven't lost their value. Radio has reaffirmed the importance of listening and the joy of the single-sensory experience."
Check also in his article comments unfavourably on information from corporate media as opposed to that from NPR, comments that in some ways were echoed by Seattle Times publisher Frank A. Blethen in an Op-Ed in the Washington Post.
He comments that the consolidation of media in the US is causing a crisis of democracy in the country and notes that media ownership in the US has declined from thousand of independent outlets to a situation where just five companies control the majority of the country's media and in particular notes that less than a fifth of US newspapers are independently-owned, that in the past decade the 10 largest owners of local television stations have tripled the number of stations they own, and that Clear Channel accounts for around a third of US radio listenership.
"The relentless march of media consolidation," writes Blethen, " has largely gone unreported in the mainstream press. After all, why would newspaper and media companies that already have control, and seek more, want their own outlets reporting stories that run counter to their financial interests?"
"The 1996 deregulation of radio virtually ended local ownership in that medium. Clear Channel now operates 1,240 radio stations nationwide and has gutted what once was an important network of independent, community-based stations generating news and information."
On now to what can reasonably be regarded as the radio event of the next few weeks, the start of broadcasts on BBC Radio 4, 25-years after the first version was broadcast, of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Paul Donovan notes in his Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times that the BBC bills it as a "cult sci-fi classic", and then continues that "an empire that stretches to five best-selling novels, a television series, a stage show, audio cassettes, internet sites and, next year, a £20m Disney movie somehow seems a bit too large and lucrative to be a cult."
After summarizing the Guide's creation and story, he comments, "If all this sounds ineffably silly, that is because it was and is. But some people love silliness. Just as there was a European Theatre of the Absurd, so there is the (slightly cheerier) British radio equivalent. It is no accident that it was radio, with its ability to conjure infinite wild imaginings for an audience largely listening on their own, that proved the original medium for a 20th-century Alice in Wonderland. Television, by contrast, had to rely on computer graphics, as will the film."
"If you liked the original radio series," comments Donovan, "you will certainly like these new ones, with their speeded-up, slowed-down, muffled and twin-tracked voices, and their facetious references to hangovers, teleporters and the Titanic. The cast still sound young, another advantage of reviving it on radio."
And finally after a caveat that "The stories have never appealed to me - neither funny nor exciting enough" he comments on ways in which the series is dated but concludes " it is not dated in its surrealism, its sense of madness allied to its implicit yearning for a better world, its juvenile word play, love of gibberish and jokes about Islington and saggy bottoms."
And with that on to some other recommendations for listening beginning with some particularly strong drama from BBC Radio 4 in last week's Friday Play - "Black Five Foot Nothing" - Rosemary Kay's documentary-style story of a black female doctor, falsely accused of sexual assault, struggling for justice and dignity.
On Saturday the channel followed it with the Saturday Play, "I Was Born There" by Ellen Dryden, which we found excellently constructed and one to listen to for the twist in the ending and maintenance of suspense.
And for a third, The Classic Serial on Sunday was Graham Greene's "The Tenth Man", which tells the tale of a wealthy lawyer who whilst in prison in occupied France during the second World War draws the card as one of the one man in every ten who is to be shot and then trades all he possesses to another man to take his place. Again listen if you don't know the story but it is easy to see how Greene said he preferred this work to his more famous "Third Man."
From drama to documentary and from Radio 4 we'd recommend last week's Club Class on UK Press Barons and the latest in the Document series "Weapons of Mass Deception" that looks at the Iraqi Super Gun affair but has some more modern resonances: This and the earlier programmes in the series are still available on the Radio 4 Listen Again site.
Still with documentary but this time moving to Radio 2 and this week's Puttin' on the Style on Tuesday at 19:30 GMT features Cary Grant (Audrey Hepburn from last week is still available until then): it is followed at 20:30 GMT by the third episode of The Aretha Franklin Story (again the second is available until then). Also on Radio 2 on Friday (1800 GMT) is the second episode of The Randy Newman Story
Moving back to documentary and BBC Radio 3, in next Sunday's Feature at 19:30 GMT Zeinab Badawi continues her series on the culture of the countries through which the River Nile flows in Sudan: The series has been excellent so far.
And finally, still with documentary, Sunday's edition of Ockham's Razor from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation features science communicator Dr Peter Pockley who set up the ABC Science Unit 40 years ago recalling highlights from the four decades of the unit's life.
Pitt News - Check:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
Washington Post - Blethen:
Ockham's Razor Site:
2004-09-20: Boston University has announced that Rhode Island public stations WRNI-AM, which broadcasts from Providence and WERI-AM which broadcasts from Westerly and are subsidiaries of WBUR-FM, are to be put up for sale. WBUR bought the licenses of WRCP-AM in Providence and WERI-AM in Westerly in the late 90s for USD 2.4 million so as to bring a public station to Rhode Island. WRNI went on air in 1998.
WBUR general manager Jane Christo, who commented that WBUR did not need to sell the station for financial reasons, said she hoped a Rhode Islanders' group will be able to buy the station and keep it going as a National Public Radio station but did not rule out a sale to a commercial broadcaster.
The Rhode Island Standard-Times in an Associated Press report says the decision has angered donors and quotes Rick Schwartz, spokesman for the Rhode Island Foundation, a charitable organization that has given about $500,000 to WRNI over the years, as saying, "Rhode Island should feel insulted."
Henry Sharpe, the former president of Brown & Sharpe and the chairman of a local campaign that raised about $3.1 million to support a public radio station in Rhode Island, commented that the decision was "a terrible reflection of the morals of BU."
Eugene Mihaly, president of the Foundation for Ocean State Public Radio said they were " being asked, in essence, to buy again what we've already bought" and described Christo's comments that the sale was not being made for financial reasons as "nonsense."
Rhode Island Standard-Times/AP report:
2004-09-20: Despite rumours last week that suggested GWR could consider pulling out of a merger with Capital Radio and do a deal with Emap instead (See RNW Sep 18), the UK Sunday Times says that the Capital-GWR deal is in an advanced stage and that the parties have agreed that GWR chairman Ralph Bernard would chair the new company should the deal - go through.
On Friday's closing prices GWR was capitalised at GBP 343 million (USD 615 million) and Capital at GBP 367 million (USD 658 million).
The paper notes that the deal would come under close scrutiny by competition authorities as the combined company could take a share of up to 40% of UK advertising revenue and adds that the Takeover Panel is likely to put pressure on the two radio groups to confirm the talks before the stock market opens for business today.
UK Sunday Times report:
2004-09-20: A Seattle talk host has alleged that he was fired for criticizing CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather over his handling of challenges concerning the credibility of documents at the heart of his reports on CBS Sixty Minutes 2 and the CBS Evening News that they said President Bush had ignored an order to take a physical and that his then squadron commander was put under pressure to report favourably on Bush's performance.
Subsequently critics have alleged that the documents were fakes and Brian Maloney, host of the "The Brian Maloney Show" aired for three years on KIRO-AM, an Entercom-owned CBS affiliate in Seattle, said on his show on September 12 that Rather should retire or be forced out over the matter.
He was fired on Friday and according to an Associated Press report in the Seattle Post Intelligencer commented that the reason as "essentially that my show went in a direction they're not comfortable with" adding, "I really felt he was taking the network's credibility down with him. Talk-show hosts have generally had a lot of independence in these kinds of issues. Nobody's ever said, 'You can't criticize CBS News.'"
KIRO has not commented on the matter.
RNW comment: In this particular case, our feeling is that we'd like to see some evidence - and have little doubt that if there is significant evidence a lawsuit is likely to be in the works - that the comments about Rather were the reason for Maloney's dismissal.
Such an action would seem a very silly move and it would not benefit Entercom or CBS if a host were fired for such comments. On the other hand a dismissed individual might gain mileage out of such allegations and feel more comfortable with the idea that dismissal was a matter of prejudice rather than of the individual's performance.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer/AP report:
2004-09-19: Yet again rumours were published in the US about a fine on CBS for the glimpse of Janet Jackson's covered nipple during the Super Bowl and yet again no announcement has been forthcoming with regulators in routine mode for the most part.
In Australia the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has issued its ruling concerning a lack of disclosure of sponsor interest by Adelaide talk host Leon Byner, finding that his station 5AA had breached regulations in 15 cases (See RNW Sep 18).
The ABA has also allocated two new community FM licences: One, for Roxby Downs, South Australia, went to 105.5 Rox FM Inc (RFI), and the second, for Swan Hill, Victoria, went to Swan Hill & District Community FM Radio Inc. (Smart FM). Both broadcasters were already on the air using temporary community licences and there were no competing applications.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), has been mainly involved in a number of radio decisions. In order of province they included:
Approval of new English-language 5 watts developmental community FM for Hornby Island.
Denial of application from Wesley Shaw to operate a 27.15 watts low-power English-language dance music FM radio station in Whistler.
The proposed station would have been largely run on pre-recorded material and, as a result, could be operated by three volunteers, including Shaw and it was opposed by Russ Wagg, general manager of Visitor Radio in Whistler, and by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB).
Wagg expressed concern about the impact on the viability of his station and the CAB amongst its concerns said that the proposal did not fit objectives for community-based stations and it opposed any suggestion that such applications could be a back-door way in for applicants wishing to operate conventional radio undertakings but not willing to shoulder the regulatory obligations that accompany such a licence.
The CRTC said that, whilst recognizing that the station would add diversity it had serious concerns about the applicant's ability it implement it successfully and turned down the application.
Call for applications for a new commercial FM for New Glasgow.
Call for applications for new commercial FM in North Bay
Approval of decrease in power from 1,170 watts to 1,058 watts for CFXJ-FM Toronto.
Approval of new 5 watts English-language developmental campus FM radio station at Humber College in Toronto.
Approval of extension until December 5, 2005 of time limit for CIBM-FM Mont-Bleu ltée to commence operation of transmitter CIBM-FM-4 Saint-Juste-du-Lac.
The CRTC has also issued a public notice inviting comment on an application by Northwest Broadcasting Inc. to transfer its effective control to H.F. Dougall Company, Limited.
Northwest Broadcasting is the licensee of CFQK-FM serving Kaministiquia, Ontario and its rebroadcaster CKED-FM serving Shuniah Township and also of two tourist low power English-language radio stations CIPR-FM Pigeon River and CITB-FM Thunder Bay.
Ireland was quiet as far as radio was concerned and in the UK Ofcom made no specific radio decisions although it has issued its annual report, which included details of remuneration for its executives (See RNW Sep 17).
It has also issued a report on spectrum liberalization under which it makes various proposals for removing restrictions on the use of various regulated licensed spectrum and its chief executive Stephen Carter has suggested that BBC archives should be made available to commercial broadcasters.
The suggestion came during his speech at a seminar on digital radio (See RNW Sep 16). He asked whether in the context of the development of digital radio, "non-discriminatory, non-exclusive access - for a fair payment - to the BBC sound archive allow commercial services to enhance their offering to the listening public; and, crucially, do so without damaging the BBC's ability and commitment to offer a strong digital radio service proposition?"
The idea so far has not been fleshed out further although it gained initial tentative support from a number of commercial broadcasters.
BBC director of radio Jenny Abramsky pointed out that the corporation was already making programming available via its audio-on-demand service and was already "in discussions with a number of other parties", about use of the BBC archive.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has had a fairly quiet week as regards enforcement actions although it did reduce the fine on an Alabama AM for emergency alert and tower offences (See RNW Sep 18)
It is also facing a challenge from Chicago anti-indecency campaigner David Edward Smith to the legality of its consent decree agreed with Emmis to wipe out complaints against he company (See RNW Sep 16 and Aug 13).
The FCC has also given the go-ahead to the satellite radio companies for changes to their terrestrial repeaters (See RNW Sep 16).
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2004-09-18: The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has ruled that Adelaide FiveAA and morning host Leon Byner breached its rules on disclosure of interests on 12 occasions when personal sponsors were interviewed on his programme without the interests being made clear: The interviews involved were with employees of BUPA Australia Health Pty Ltd (Mutual Community) (four interviews); the Australian Hotels Association (SA) (three interviews); ETSA Utilities (two interviews) and Michael Harbison, Lord Mayor of Adelaide (three interviews).
In addition the station was found to have breached rules in two further instances by failing to record on its commercial agreements register all the commercial agreements to which the host was a party and also failing to give full particulars of agreements that it had disclosed. The station also breached Australian standards by failing to maintain an effective compliance program or to carry out annual audits
The ABA says it is to seek undertakings from the licensee that FiveAA will continue to maintain the improved disclosure and compliance requirements it has introduced following the Authority's investigation into the case).
ABA Acting chair Lyn Maddock said the ABA was "primarily concerned to ensure that FiveAA's breaches of the standards do not recur" and continued "The undertakings the ABA expects to receive from FiveAA will include additional reporting requirements for the next 12 months."
The requirements on the station now include quarterly reporting by its radio presenters, confirmation of all commercial agreements through provision to them of written confirmation of agreements that have been disclosed, the carrying out of unannounced "spot checks" to ensure that there has been prompts disclose, provision of quarterly training and the inclusion in contracts of employment of specific requirements relating to disclosure of commercial agreements.
2004-09-18: Reporting on speculation that UK Capital Radio could be left with problems if GWR opted to drop plans for a merger of the two companies in favour of a deal with Emap, the UK Guardian says city analysts say Capital is the one pushing for the deal.
It quotes Richard Menzies-Gow, radio analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein as saying that there are no significant regulatory issues and Emap's local stations fit better with GWR's; he adds that there could be a break-up of Capital if GWR did switch to a deal with Emap.
The paper also says that analysts believe GWR could boost Emap's analogue radio business, which is performing poorly, and that Emap's 28% stake in Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) may be attractive to the Daily Mail & General Trust (DMG), which holds 29.9% of GWR, because of SRH's local newspaper assets.
UK Guardian report:
2004-09-18: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reduced from USD 11,000 to USD 9,000 a proposed penalty on an Alabama AM for Emergency Alert System and antenna structure registration breaches of regulations.
Southern Media Communications, Inc., licensee of Station WBCA-AM, Bay Minnette, had not denied that when it was inspected its EAS equipment was not operational and its antenna structure was not registered but sought a reduction in the penalty on the grounds of its remedial and good faith efforts.
It produced documentation to show that prior to the Field Office's inspection, it had initiated efforts to register its antenna structure.
The FCC took the view that remedial action regarding the EAS offence did not mitigate the offence, for which a base forfeiture of USD 8,000 was proposed, but regarding the registration offence it took the view that the engagement of a contractor to coordinate reports and register the antenna structure more than a year prior to the Commission's on-site inspection justified a reduction of the penalty from USD 3,000 to USD 1,000, cutting the overall penalty to USD 9,000.
2004-09-17: Clear Channel is to move into the Spanish-language radio market with plans to convert up to 25 stations to Spanish programming in the next year to year-and-a-half.
It has named Spanish-language radio veteran Alfredo Alonso, who in 1996 founded the then Mega Broadcasting - he was most recently as Vice Chairman, President and CEO of Mega Communications - to a new post of senior vice president of Hispanic Radio
In a statement, Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan, whose company currently has only 18 stations carrying Spanish programming in its 1200-station holding, commented, "The Hispanic radio audience remains largely underserved, especially outside the largest markets. We have a unique opportunity to participate in this rapidly growing, important sector and are committed to creating the highest quality offering in the market."
"Alfredo helped create Spanish-language radio more than 15 years ago and his expertise will ensure we deliver the highest-quality programming for this audience."
Alonso commented, "It's a momentous day for the Spanish radio industry. While the strides made in serving the Hispanic radio market have been significant to date, this represents an evolution in
Spanish-language radio. My focus will be on identifying opportunities to bring Spanish language radio formats to all-sized markets, with unique radio stations that are as diverse as the Hispanic market itself."
Clear Channel says the first station it is to launch under the initiative - WWVA-FM 105.3/WVWA 105.1-FM, VIVA in Atlanta - will focus on Spanish contemporary music but for other stations it will explore a wide array of Hispanic formats, including Regional Mexican, Tropical and Contemporary.
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-09-17: The new UK regulator Ofcom already facing criticism over its spending, which it had said would for its first year be some 25% higher than the combined total for its five predecessor bodies (See RNW Dec 18, 2003), has published of its first annual report that shows three of its board members executives being paid more than GBP 250,000 (USD 450,000).
Topping the list was Chief Executive Stephen Carter whose total remuneration was GBP 370,769 (USD 665,000): He was followed by Kip Meek, Senior Partner, Competition and Content, who received GBP 300,057 (USD 538,000) and Ed Richards, Senior Partner, Competition and Strategy, who received GBP 254,844 (USD 457,000).
In comparison Ofcom chairman Lord David Currie, who was fourth highest paid board member, received GBP 155,606 (USD 279,000), more than culture secretary Tessa Jowell, who gets paid GBP 130,347 (USD 234,000) but less than two other executives, human resources director Sandra Jenner who was paid GBP 219,954 (USD 394,000) and commercial director Kate Stross who was paid 213,016 (USD 382,000)
The report itself says that its "starting intention was to use the transition from five organisations to one to make a range of efficiency savings" and notes a headcount reduction of 25% and a target 2004-05 budget 5 per cent lower, on a like-for-like basis, than the combined budget of the five previous organisations."
As well as the cuts in staffing, which included nearly 200 redundancies, Ofcom has also disposed of some premises of predecessor bodies and is actively pursuing the disposal of other premises.
In terms of its operational style it stresses light- touch regulation with a bias against intervention: The report comments, "We will not tread where the functioning of a truly competitive market is already meeting the appropriate needs of citizen-consumers. If we do need to step in, we will, first and always, seek to facilitate a quick outcome with the stakeholders concerned rather than resort to the minutiae of direct regulatory measures."
The report also gives figures regarding its licensing and complaints actions - it has awarded 8 commercial licences, 73 short-term and one long-term restricted service licence(s), and four digital multiplex licences.
In addition between December 29 and April 4, its Content and Standards Group considered a total of 2,660 programme complaints, 1,003 complaints brought to Ofcom from legacy regulators and 1,657 new complaints; of these 12 programmes/issues relating to 51 complaints were found to have breached regulations, a further 12 relating to 110 complaints were considered resolved and 1,193 complaints were found not to be in breach.
Ofcom web site (Annual report if 10.5 Mb PDF):
2004-09-17: Emmis Communications is insisting that, despite a legal challenge by indecency crusader David Edward Smith (See RNW Sep 16) in an attempt to overthrow its Consent Decree agreement with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to settle all outstanding indecency complaints against it and morning show host Erich "Mancow" Muller has closed the case.
In a statement Emmis said it was "surprised and disappointed" by the suit and added, "It is unfortunate that Mr. Smith cannot let the matter go, especially after stating less than a month ago in a letter to Chairman Powell that he wouldn't object to the consent decree, and agreeing that the content of Mancow's show has changed considerably since the time of his complaints."
It noted that in the letter, written five days after announcement of the settlement, Smith has said he would not "officially challenge the settlement" and commented, "Emmis made a decision to go to the FCC to settle this matter and put it behind us. We have implemented a stringent compliance plan, including training for all on-air and programming employees."
In New York, Emmis has now withdrawn its call for a restraining order to keep former Hot 97 (WQHT-FM) morning host Star - Troi Torain - off the air in New York until March next year (See RNW Sep 10).
Emmis had contended that the host was not fired when he was taken off the air by Emmis in March 2003 but was suspended indefinitely and remained under contract until March 2004, thus meaning his non-compete clause ran for a year after that.
Star had contended that he was fired when he was taken off the station and last week a New York judge ruled that Emmis had failed to prove its case for a restraining order and asked it to present more evidence to support its claim. Emmis, instead of doing this, asked to withdraw its bid for the order.
Rumours are that Clear Channel, for whom Star has been working at WPHH-FM, Hartford, Connecticut, wants to put the Star & Buc Wild morning show on its Power 105.1 (WWPR-FM) in New York.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Troi Torain (Star):
2004-09-17: Houston has now lost classical station KRTS-FM following the completion of its purchase by Radio One Inc., which after a couple of hours silence has now put the station back on air as to Hot AC KROI-FM.
Radio One already owns CHR/Rhythmic KBXX-FM and Urban AC KMJQ-FM in Houston and its president and CEO Alfred C. Liggins III said of the deal, "This acquisition is a huge win for Radio One. This station represents one of the last high-powered, independently owned radio stations in the Houston market. We are very excited to be able to enhance our competitive position in one of our, and the radio industry's, largest and best markets."
Previous Radio One:
2004-09-17: The UK Wireless Group is to take its flagship TalkSPORT station to TV from early next month, starting with six-hours a day - 4pm to 10pm - of broadcasts on the Sky satellite TV platform.
Like the earlier venture into TV by Wireless Group chairman and chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie - he was in charge of Live TV, which ran on cable for four years until 1999 and is famed for such innovations as the News Bunny, topless darts and weather forecasts in Norwegian (it was revived under new owners in July last year as a channel on the Sky platform) - the TalkSPORT TV venture will be kept to a low cost base.
Initially it will be comprised of live broadcasts of the radio station's presenters at work and MacKenzie said that it would cost around GBP 500,000 (USD 900,000) and, although it would bring in some additional revenue, was being launched primarily as a marketing exercise.
The station will target male listeners to the station on their return home from work and Mackenzie is calculating that it will function both as a way of exposing potential new listeners to the radio station and also attract some of the station's listeners who turn on the TV when they get home and put their feet up.
RNW Comment:This seems quite a shrewd move. As with most KacKenzie moves it has already garnered significant free publicity for the station and should attract some new advertising for the company.
With a low cost base, even if it doesn't work out and is quietly folded, not much will have been lost, and if it if it does work out the gains should be reasonable.
Previous Wireless Group:
2004-09-16: David Edward Smith, the anti-indecency crusader responsible for dozens of complaints against Erich "Mancow" Muller's show on Emmis's WKQX-FM, Chicago, has announced that he is challenging the legality of the consent decree agreed by Emmis and the Federal Communications Commission that wiped the slate clean for the company (See RNW Aug 13).
Smith says the Commission overstepped its authority and is quoted by Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times as saying he isn't now attacking the host but wants the Commission to take such matters more seriously.
In a statement posted on the site of the Illnois Family Institute, for whom Smith is a senior policy analyst, Smith is quoted as saying, "The fact that Emmis allowed the broadcast of sexually graphic and allegedly indecent material for years cannot be ignored for any price." "Granting Emmis immunity for $300,000 only makes a mockery of the indecency law and the FCC's license renewal process."
The Institute's Executive Director Peter LaBarbera comments, "The broadcast of sexually explicit material is illegal and Emmis should face the full statutory penalties for breaching federal broadcasting law - which they did time and again. This consent decree in effect purchases the Commission's selective amnesia, as it would ignore significant portions of Emmis' record. As a result, the FCC would be free to quickly and without qualm, renew licenses for Emmis' stations. That is not acceptable."
Smith himself told Feder, "I'm not trying to go after Mancow again. Half the issue for us was that Mancow was putting out this garbage that was illegal on the air. But the other half was that the FCC wasn't doing anything about it. They're not taking their job seriously."
Smith has been joined in his action by the non-profit institute, Concerned Women for America of Illinois, and Julie Cordry, a Missouri woman who filed indecency complaints against Emmis-owned KPNT-FM in St. Louis, Missouri.
In the filing, attorney Dennis J. Kelly wrote: "The commission has sold the public down the drain for the proverbial mess of pottage. . . Without having to defend its sordid record in the current license term, Emmis has been given a cakewalk to license renewal for a pittance -- less than 1 percent of its quarterly operating income."
Previous Erich "Mancow" Muller:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
Illinois Family Institute statement:
2004-09-16: UK UBC Media Group has announced a successful demonstration of a beta version of its Electronic Programme Guide ("EPG") software at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam ("IBC") and also at a Digital Radio Briefing for analysts in the UK.
The EPG demonstration came from RadioScape, the chip designer and developer of Software Defined solutions for Digital Radio applications, which used Unique Interactive's software to show the capabilities of both the both the EPG receiver as well as the server technology necessary for radio stations to transmit the data.
Also demonstrated was a software upgrade for Imagination Technologies Ensigma division's "Bug" digital radio that will be available soon and will allow existing receivers to be adapted to receive EPG information.
In the UK people will be able to see EPG information for all services operated by Capital Radio and Chrysalis Radio, who both use Unique Interactive's software and UBC chief executive Simon Cole predicted that "in five years time, Electronic Programme Guides will be as common in radio as they are today in digital television."
"These early steps" he said, "should allow us to develop devices that can record programmes selected from a menu in a way similar to the television PVR model and give the listener rich information services similar to those available through the 'red button' on television. Our early investment here has given us a clear market lead and I'm delighted to see both receiver manufacturers and leading radio companies using our software".
Speaking at the London seminar, organised by the Social Market Foundation, UK Ofcom chief executive Stephen Carter said he thoroughly endorsed the objective spelled out in its title, "Digital Radio for Everyone."
He spoke of a recent visit to Japan where high definition TV was beginning to be adopted on a large scale and where there was now large-scale rollout of high bandwidth broadband - 10 Mbps as a basic standard and 45 Mbps for about GBP 20 (USD 35) a month as well as an enthusiastic take-up of 3 G mobile.
In contrast, he said, the Japanese just don't "get" radio. Something that seemed odd to him as a Westerner who was used to radio being ubiquitous with every UK household possessing five or six receivers, something with implications for the move to a fully digital radio future.
Radio said Carter was by and large in good health in the UK with new digital stations attracting extra listening - up some 7% over the past years and now at nearly 23 hours a week for UK adults - and with take up of digital receivers developing rapidly as well as other listening.
He referred to work under way to produce a report on how long analogue audio broadcasts should continue with a tentative version due out in November and then gave some figure on UK digital radio listening.
Research just concluded, he said, showed that of those who have listened to digital radio, 27% listen to radio more then previously, 37% listen to more stations and 53% say they value and regularly use the extra choice.
The figures also showed wide awareness of digital radio - 92% of households sampled - but only surface knowledge with just 7% saying they knew more than " a little" about it. He also noted that only 6% said they had heard of digital radio through analogue radio with more than seven times as many coming upon it flicking through their digital TV or cable channels.
The figures, if correct, he said, indicated "something of a marketing challenge for the industry" but feedback from those who had purchased digital radio receivers was very positive.
Post-purchase experience, he said, had exceeded pre-purchase expectation, with people getting more improvement in audio quality than expected and finding receivers easier to use than expected. In addition text features had produced very positive feedback about programme related information although it was less so about other information such as text news.
He also noted that, in contrast to the normal pattern of younger people being early adopters, the average age of the purchaser of a digital receiver in the UK was 51 and said the research showed that the numbers likely to purchase a digital set rises significantly when prices go below GBP 60 (USD 105) and rises exponentially when figures drop to two-thirds or a third of this.
" It is reasonably safe to say that potentially we are on to a winner with digital radio," he commented, and went on to say that to get demand for digital what was needed was a combination of reliable coverage and scope for extra services, including economically viable transition for small operators, as well as major reduction in the price differential between digital and analogue receivers - "In short, to get to digital radio for everyone, we need: critical platform mass; critical mass in volumes and thus in price; and possibly, critical mass in content and services."
2004-09-16: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given Sirius and XM Satellite radios the go-ahead for use of terrestrial repeaters that they had asked for.
XM had requested requests special temporary authority to operate 49 terrestrial repeaters in addition to those already operating under previously granted authority and Sirius had requested permission to change the technical parameters of 16 terrestrial repeaters it is already operating,
The applications had been opposed by the WCS Coalition, which represents the interests of licensees in the Wireless Communication Service (WCS) that operate in frequency bands adjacent to the bands used by XM Radio and Sirius, expressing concern about the potential for interference.
The FCC said it found that "the public interest" supports the grant of both companies applications and added that it noted discussions were continuing on the issue of interference and encouraged the parties encourage the parties to continue to work together in the "spirit of cooperation" they had already established.
It granted the applications subject to conditions that it noted were on a non-interference basis with respect to all permanently authorized radiocommunication facilities.
2004-09-16: A report on Australian radio listening claims that community radio in the country now has seven million regular listeners and is gaining younger audiences with the launch of stations targeted at them but the figures have been disputed by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), the industry body for Australian commercial radio, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The report from McNair Ingenuity Research was managed through Australia's Community Broadcasting Foundation and funded by its Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and was based on some 5,000 interviews.
Community Broadcasting Foundation director Deborah Welch told the Herald, "We've always been certain the AC Nielsen poll [the Australian radio ratings provider] under-represents the community broadcasting audience. This is because they list by name all the commercial radio stations and the ABC. There is a huge difference between listing a name and prompting them."
She said she did not see community radio in competition with commercial radio although the foundation does hope the results will help to increase sponsorship money and she commented, "We are just showing community radio is much bigger than anyone has imagined. We hope media buyers and advertisers will realise they will be missing out on significant parts of the population if they don't consider community radio."
Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner contested the figures as unrealistic, commenting, "We believe there is absolutely no way there are that many people listening to community radio. The general result we've got over the past 10 years is about 11 or 12 per cent fall into the 'other' category of listening" [The "other "segment includes community and narrowcasting stations plus Australia's Special Broadcasting Service - SBS - which serves Australians from non-English speaking backgrounds and whose radio service broadcasts in 68 languages.].
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Community Broadcasting Foundation web site:
Ingenuity Research web site:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2004-09-16: Veteran Virginia radio host Ned Richardson, who had spent 48 years with WBTM-AM, Danville, has died aged 77.
He had run his "Trading Post" show for four decades and also hosted the Sunday Morning "Swing Shift" on the station. Richardson was still on air until recently despite declining health.
The Danville Register & Bee quotes the station's morning host David "Hutch" Hutcheson as describing Richardson as "mellow and reassuring" - the "Paul Harvey of Danville."
The station web site echoing this describes him as "perhaps the most listened-to radio announcer in Danville over the past 48 years."
Danville Register and Bee report:
WBTM web site:
2004-09-15: Disney-ABC's WLS-AM in Chicago may be about to lose its morning team of Don Wade and Roma only months after the exit of Garry Meier as Roe Conn's co-host on its afternoon show (see RNW Jun 3) according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times.
He quotes the Wades' agent, Eliot Ephraim as saying that the duo, who have been with the station for 19-years, are still "pretty far apart" from the station in their negotiations although they still hope to work out a deal.
Feder says that the husband-and-wife team have been working under a two-week contract extension since their previous agreement ran out at the end of August. The extension is due to end today.
Previous Dona and Roma Wade:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2004-09-15: Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB remains at the top in Sydney in the latest Australian radio ratings but despite, or perhaps because of its Olympics cover as the official rights holder, its share was down from 13.8 to 12.6 and Southern Cross Broadcasting owned talk rival 2UE fought its way back up the ranks from fifth to third - it was eighth two surveys ago - with share up from 8.4 to 8.9.
DMG's Nova in second place lost share from 9.6 to 9.4 and ABC 702 dropped from third to eighth with share down from 9.1 to 8.0 but Austereo's woes lessened as its flagship 2-Day rose from seventh to fourth with share up from 7.4 to 8.6, passing the company's second station Triple M, which dropped from fourth to sixth as share dipped from 8.6 to 8.5.
In the Sydney Breakfast market Alan Jones for 2GB again held the top spot but his share fell back from the previous survey's high of 16.7 to 15.5, whilst below it ABC pulled up to go into second with 10.7 (10.8) as Nova's share fell from 10.8 to 10.4 and dropped it into third place from second. Mike Carlton for 2UE remained fourth but took his share up from 8.4 to 9.1
In the morning slot 2GB's Ray Hadley held on to top rank but his share dropped from 14.7 to 13.8, and below him three stations all had a 9.6 share -- Nova - up from 9.4, John Laws at 2UE with an unchanged 9.6, and Mix FM, up from 7.8.
In afternoon drive, ABC 702 dropped from top and a 10.8 share to third with 10.1 as Triple M moved up one to top spot with 11, up from 10.7, and 2-Day went up from fourth to second as share increased from 9.7 to 10.3. Nova dropped from third to fourth despite taking its share up from 9.8 to 10.0.
Although rock network Triple-M lost listeners in every city except Brisbane, Austereo chief executive officer Michael Anderson chose to highlight its success with the 25-39 demographic in his comments, noting that it was top for this in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane; he was also bullish about 2-Day's Sydney performance, commenting, "It has also been a very pleasing result for 2Day FM in Sydney. All the hard work and focus on 2Day is starting to show results with the station up in every session across the day. "We have systematically worked on the music, the promotions and the shows - and we are seeing it in this survey."
He was backed up by chairman Peter Harvie who said the "reinvigoration of Triple M and the fight back by 2Day FM" demonstrated the group's resilience.
Outside Sydney the big upset came from Adelaide where Mix FM came up from third to push e long-time leader 5AA into second.
City by city, the top three stations were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: Mix 18.5 (14.9) - up from third; SAFM -17.6 (19.2) - down from first; 5AA - 16.0 (14.9) - down from second.
*Brisbane - B105FM - same rank with 17.4 (17.3); Triple M with 15.7(13.8) - same rank; NEW 97.3 FM with 12.9 (13.0) - same rank.
*Melbourne - 3AW with 15.9 (15.7)- same rank; Gold with 10.9 (10.3) - up from third -5th two surveys ago; ABC 774 with 10.6 (10.1) - up from fourth;
*Triple M fell from third to fourth with 10.5 (10.7), Fox Fm remained fifth with 10.1 (9.9), and Nova remained sixth with 9.9 (9.5).
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM same rank with 20.3 (19.3); 96FM with 13.4 (12.2) - same rank; All New 92.9 with 10.6 (10.9) - Up from fourth.
*ABC 720 with 10.1 (11.3) fell from third to fourth.
* Sydney 2GB 12.6 (13.8) - same rank; Nova with 9.4 (9.6) - same rank; 2UE with 8.9 (8.4) - up from fifth.
*ABC 702 whose share dropped from 9.1 to 8.5 fell to eighth from third and one-time leader 2-Day began to claw its way back up, rising from seventh to fourth with 8.6 (7.4). WSM also pulled back, rising from eighth and 7.3 to equal D-Day's 8.6. In contrast Triple M dropped from fourth with 8.6 to sixth with 8.5.
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross:
2004-09-15: US public broadcasting host Tavis Smiley has donated USD 1 million to Texas Southern University to support its communications school.
The funding was timed to coincide with the dedication of the new USD 5.4 million Tavis Smiley Center for Media Studies, which is due to be ready for use in November and that the Houston Chronicle says should help increase diversity in US media by graduation more black journalists.
Smiley commented, "Our media does not look like America, and this is the most multicultural and multiracial the country has ever been. When we make black America better, we make all of America better."
The new centre will house the KTSU-FM studio and the university's four existing programmes in journalism, communications, electronic media and speech communications.
Houston Chronicle report:
2004-09-15: The BBC is reported to have narrowed its list of candidates for the post of controller of Radio 4 down to four internal candidates, said to be BBC deputy director of news Mark Damazer; BBC head of Current Affairs Peter Horrocks; BBC head of documentaries and contemporary factual programming Anne Morrison; and former controller of BBC Radio 5 Live and current BBC head of TV news, Roger Mosey;
The post was made vacant through the promotion of Helen Boaden to the post of Director of BBC News.
2004-09-14: The UK soccer Premier League has rejected claims from the Wireless Group's TalkSport station that it sold radio rights to BBC Radio Five Live (See RNW Jun 5) in an anti-competitive manner.
TalkSport says it has taken its complaint to the European Commission; its managing director Michael Franklin, accused the BBC of being "happy to overpay because it guarantees that they hold on to their monopoly - and the rights holder is the happy beneficiary of their largesse even if this means that the BBC hoards the games."
TalkSport alleges that the Premier League at first offered different packages of games, in order to comply with EU regulations, but ended up giving the BBC an exclusive bundle, including internet rights, for GBP 39 million (USD 70 million) for three years, a sum that it says is six-and-a-half times the amount a commercial broadcaster would be willing to pay.
A Premier League spokesman quoted in the UK Guardian said, "The BBC bid the most for both packages on an individual basis and, accordingly, were awarded the rights."
He added that in addition to the national packages sold to the BBC, clubs sell rights for local and regional broadcasts as well as internet deals, meaning that all the 380 games in the Premier League season were available live in more than one audio medium.
The BBC is contractually obliged to broadcast commentary on all 222 of the matches it had been awarded.
The BBC would not say how much it paid for the rights but a spokeswoman said TalkSport's figure was "much higher" than the actual amount bid and added that the "contract represents better value at a lower price than the previous contract."
"The current contract does not deprive listeners of choice of football commentary because, as well as 5 Live, every match is available on local commercial radio," she added.
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Guardian report:
2004-09-14: According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Infinity Broadcasting is rumoured to be paying around a million dollars in its settlement for "substantial compensation" - the settlement prohibits release of the amount paid - of a defamation suit filed by attorney Richard Sprague over comments made by WIP-AM sports-talk host Howard Eskin.
Eskin has already broadcast an apology saying he made statements that were not checked and were not true; he has been suspended for 30-days until October 14 as part of the settlement and during this period his afternoon show will be hosted by fill-ins, starting this week with Mike Missanelli and Steve Fredericks.
The paper quotes Mark Daniels, program director at Salem's news-talk WTNP-AM as saying of the comments, "If Howard would have thought through what he said before he opened his mouth, he probably wouldn't have said it. Howard will have to think twice before he gets into an area involving an attorney" and notes that Sprague had in the past sued the American Bar Association for describing him in a way he didn't like."
Philadelphia Daily News report:
2004-09-14: UK UBC Media Group has announced that in conjunction with 4 Ventures, the commercial arm of UK Channel 4 TV, it has become a shareholder in Popworld Limited, which owns the eponymous music programme.
UBC is investing GBP 250,000 (USD 450,000) to take a 12.5% in the venture with an option to double the holding up to 25% at any time up to the start of January next year at the same price.
Under the deal UBC will be the venture's radio partner with exclusive responsibility for exploitation of the brand on digital and commercial radio channels.
UBC Chief Executive Simon Cole, who will join the board of Popworld, said UBC believed the "future of digital radio is about strong brands which can be exploited across multiple platforms", adding that the programme represented a "tremendous opportunity" and should be profitable this year.
2004-09-13: We start this week's look at print cover of radio on note we consider doubly-positive courtesy of the Financial Times and a report by Victoria Burnett on the success of Arman FM in Afghanistan: Doubly-positive since it can but be to the benefit of the country that its musical mix, which would have been banned by the former Taliban government, is on the air at all and also because it has been so successful that it is expanding from the capital Kabul to the provinces - it has just started broadcasts in Mazar-i-Sharif in Northern Afghanistan and is soon due to launch in Kandahar in the south with further expansion planned to Ghazni, Herat, Jalalabad, and Kunduz.
The station's own description of the significance of its broadcasts - from director and founder Saad Mohseni - is a reasonable summary: "Arman FM has done its share to reunite Afghans throughout our country The young - now representing the majority of our population will now have a voice in Afghanistan nationally"
In her report Burnett comments that when the station first went on air 18months ago - financed by USD 300,000 from Mohseni, who had lived in Australia for two decades, and his three brothers plus USD 200,000 from USAid - "even some young listeners were shocked by its slangy style and risqué jokes."
Now its mix of music -- Afghan, Indian, Iranian, Arabic, Turkish and western - plus chat and news has won it a significant following, particularly amongst the young: Moshseni told the paper, "We identified a target market of 15 to 40-year-olds. This is the generation that's going to have a huge impact on the future of this country."
The demographic is also good for business: One major advertiser is mobile telecommunications company Roshan that says more than half of its quarter of a million subscribers are 30 or under.
In the capital, Arman FM, broadcast from a suburban house, estimates that it is the station of choice for nearly 70 per cent of an estimated 2.6m listeners in Kabul and surrounding provinces.
Not all is peace and quiet however since many of the youth are now wanting a change from a traditional life of arranged marriage and living with parents and this is causing conflicts in families.
One medical student commented, "We're bored of hearing about politics. Young people want new, fresh things I want a different life for myself in the future, my own style. I don't aspire to the life that my parents have."
Mohseni accepts this, commenting, "Not only are we having a political revolution, we are having a revolution in the family. Young people are saying: 'Hang on, I don't want to marry my first cousin. I want to buy nice clothes."
Still with politics and generations we move to the UK where, according to a UK Guardian report last week, BBC Radio 4 breakfast show presenter John Humphrys has been censured for interrupting a government minister too much in an interview.
Since our view is that ministers - or Presidents - who aren't smart enough to handle interviews should be left off the airwaves although a broadcaster has every right to censure staff for pushing things to the extent that the audience is alienated (to the benefit, we'd suggest, of the interviewee) the report we chose, however, came from Paul Donovan's Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times.
Headed "Hooray for Today" it placed the programme as remaining the undisputed leader as "the place to 'drop a word in the ear of the nation' and began with a note on an interview by Humphrys with the Archbishop of Canterbury the morning after the Beslan massacre.
Donovan writes that he noted down four question's he would have asked of which three weren't and the other was only alluded to and then went on to say he raised the point "to suggest that, even if not it does not put the questions you personally want to hear answers to, it still usually manages, through its tone (on this occasion, for example, Humphrys's quietly respectful probing), to reflect that mixture of confusion and battered hope one so often feels at the onset of another day."
He then goes on to comment on the fact that the station has maintained its reputation despite the attacks on it for the report on the programme - saying that the British Government had "sexed-up" its Iraq dossier.
"Why was Today not irreparably damaged?" he asks then answers, "The answer, I think, is twofold. First, most people believe that Gilligan [Andrew Gilligan, the correspondent who delivered the report and subsquently along with the BBC chairman and director-general lost his job] got small details wrong, but the larger picture correct."
"Second, Today has no opposition: it is the only national newspaper of the airwaves, and the only one with no rival. It remains unique, with its news, weather, sport, pips, business, parliament, Thought for the Day and lighter items, such as Edward Stourton [another regular host] blowing an alphorn. These last are essential, piercing the shadows with sudden sunshine."
Over the Irish Sea, his colleague Gerry McCarthy in his Radio Waves column analyses the performance of one of Ireland's leading radio hosts Gerry Ryan whom in the end he thinks needs to listen more and tone things down a little [RNW comment: We wonder what McCarthy would make of Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh et al?].
Ryan writes McCarthy "likes to break the rules, or at least give the appearance of doing so. So he mutters and hums, makes jokes at his own expense, injecting a measure of chaos into the show's structure. "
"Disrupting the broadcast's flow is a way of enhancing his own persona. He deconstructs the conventions of the well-made programme, thus projecting himself as more genuine, more authentic. It is a mannerism, one of the eccentricities which he deploys in the service of the Ryan persona."
McCarthy does on to note some dissonance "One moment he is cracking dirty jokes; seconds later he strains to sound sensitive and concerned" and then continues, "Sometimes he takes sensitivity to absurd lengths. After a report by Ralph Riegel on the discovery of a dead baby in Cork, he delivered a little homily about the delicate nature of the situation. He moved to play some music, then paused, as if having second thoughts. You have to be careful, he said, with the songs you play in such contexts, in case they accidentally give offence."
Cue, for McCarthy to give an example:" Listeners to Marian Finucane's Liveline a few years ago, for example, were treated to a mother's horrific story of her son having his ear cut off in an attack. There followed Stealer's Wheel's Stuck in the Middle with You, familiar from the lobe-slicing scene in Reservoir Dogs."
Ryan, notes McCarthy, is sometimes rather more blunt and direct and he quotes the example of the host's response to callers asking how to explain the Beslan school massacre to their children: "Tell them," he said, "that the terrorists were bad people. Bad, evil people. Say a prayer, if you believe in prayer. And don't try to explain away the atrocity by saying that the terrorists were desperate. Forget moral relativism: stick to black and white, good and evil."
Back to the UK for an unusual radio station base, Radio Wanno, which is housed at Wandsworth Prison in London, in the largest jail in England.
The station was back in the news last week when British Prime minister Tony Blair's wife Cherie Booth, who launched the station in January, went back to present diplomas to men who graduated from a BTEC course run at the jail [RNW note - BTECs are UK national vocational qualifications].
Eric Allison, the UK Guardian's prisons correspondent, notes in his report that the latest report on the jail said it had fallen far short of basic standards of decency for most of the 1,460 prisoners it houses, and contrasted the environment with the success of the prisoners who graduated from the BTEC radio course run in association with Lambeth College.
Two of them have been accepted into Goldsmiths College, to do a three year media and communications degree and Booth told the two that she was as proud of what they had achieved as she was of the educational attainments of her own children.
In the Colorado Post Independent, Ivy Vogel reported on former small station DJs Don Chaney and Brian Keleher who have created a successful radio commercials business, 24 Six Communications Group.
The two, who gave up their radio jobs to create the business two years ago, pay close attention to rivals' creations and then use successful techniques in their own work, in which humour plays a large role.
Commenting on radio ads, Chaney said" "If you're going to make an ad be stupid or silly, you have to make it smart."
Cited as an example is their work for Bishop Plumbing and Heating, which has been so successful that, following plugs through the national plumbers association the idea has been picked up by several plumbers in other markets.
It features a father and son. People react well to the commercial because the father, who is an engineer, is ridiculously clueless about plumbing but his young son has all the answers and is described as "silly because generally, an engineer knows more about plumbing than a young kid smart because it makes people chuckle."
He added that, although they had not faced too many difficulties in getting clients because of recognition from their radio days, getting them to see eye to eye on how a commercial should be constructed as more challenging.
"Nine times out of ten a client doesn't want to take a chance on a funny ad," Chaney said. "Usually they trust us enough to just let us try it and then they like it."
The duo are hoping to build on their success with the plumbing advert and appeal to more professional associations so they can recycle more commercials."
And finally on to some suggested listening starting with a couple of items from the Tavis Smiley show on US National Public Radio (NPR).
The first is a feature Music, Radio and the Southern Labor Movement concerning the strike nearly 70 years ago nearly half a million US mill workers went on strike across the South and some northern U.S. states although as with so many US features we would have welcomed a longer more in-depth treatment.
On the same part of the site is archive audio from a CBS broadcast of a Franklin Delano Roosevelt's fireside chat - the President launched them in March 1933 -fascinating if only as a display of technique from the time.
Changing topics and moving continents, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Health Report this week (aired Monday local but should be available on demand by now) was on "Research into Drugs and Alcohol - Their Effect on the Brain and the Role of Genes" that looked at studies to identify genes that are affected by alcohol conducted on the brains of alcoholics at the University of Queensland.
And changing continents yet again, a move to the UK and BBC Radio 3 whose drama on Sunday was "Romeo and Juliet in Southwark" by Georgia Fitch: The play, based on real events, was devised in collaboration between the BBC Radio Drama Department, Shakespeare's Globe and Kingsdale School in Dulwich and is the story of two ordinary London teenagers, their lives, and the very special day they share.
It was followed in the Sunday Feature slot by "Ethiopia" the first of Zeinab Badawi's four-part "Nile Lands" series in which she journeys from the source of the Blue Nile where the river seeps out of Ethiopia's Mount Gish and follows the river down to the Mediterranean Sea.
Next Sunday's programme (20:30 GMT) starts at the source of the White Nile in Lake Victoria, Uganda.
From BBC Radio 2 we opted for two programmes tomorrow and one from Friday. Tomorrow (19:30 GMT) sees the second of the five-part "Puttin' On the Style" series, this one about Audrey Hepburn followed by the second part of the six-part Aretha Franklin Story (The first episodes of each - Fred Astaire was last week's subject in the first - are still available for a day on the station web site.).
From Friday we chose The Randy Newman Story starting at 18:00 GMT, a one-off on the Oscar-winning composer, singer and songwriter.
Moving up the numbers, our first choice from BBC Radio 4 was the aptly-named "Good Choice", the first in a three-part series "It Can't Go On" in which Lynne Truss argues that we don't so much has choice as an illusion of choice that advertisers and politicians in particular offer us without compunction. The second part, Bad Choice, will air at 16:40 GMT next Sunday whilst the first part is on the listen-again part of the station web site.
And in somewhat of the same vein, Sunday's "Something Understood - Towering Babel" had the BBC's former Delhi correspondent Mark Tully in fine form on, to quote the programme's listing "jargon, cliché and babble", asking if it is still true that "that instead of language we have jargon, instead of principles, slogans, and instead of genuine ideas, bright Ideas?"
On a more positive note about language, today sees the start on Radio 4 of a new book of the week in which former opposition UK Conservative Party leader William Hague reads from his biography of William Pitt The Younger, who took office at 24 to become Britain's youngest Prime Minister.
Also starting today in the Woman's Hour drama slot (the programme runs at 09:00 GMT daily but the drama is repeated as a standalone at 18:45 GMT) is a 20-part dramatisation of Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, narrated by Stephen Fry and featuring Emma Fielding as Becky Sharp.
And finally back further in the archives than US Presidential Fireside Chats in the Afternoon Readings on Radio 4: this week the slot - airing 14:45 GMT daily - is termed Gramophones and Grooves and features recordings made by the 19th century gramophone and phonograph industry that range beyond early musical recordings to wildlife sounds, the purported voice of Queen Victoria, recordings made to publicise Thomas Edison's 'perfected phonograph' of a host of British public figures such as the poet Tennyson, Prime Minister Gladstone, and nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale as well as from other locations recordings of Omaha Indians from the USA and of a Thai orchestra visiting Berlin.
Arman FM web site:
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Health Report site:
Colorado Post-Independent - Vogel:
Financial Times - Burnett:
NPR -Tavis Smiley page (links to audio noted above):
UK Guardian - Allison:
UK Guardian - report on BBC censuring Humphrys:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy:
2004-09-13: XM has stolen a march on its rival Sirius with the launch of an XM Emergency Alert channel to provide information before, during and after natural disasters, weather emergencies and other hazardous incidents to listeners across the country.
It will include information on such things as evacuation routes, shelter locations and updated weather emergency information for areas affected using information from various national and local government sources.
These include the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Weather Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, American Red Cross, and local police and fire departments.
2004-09-13: In Australia, Macquarie Bank Ltd has been allowed by the country's competition watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), to go ahead with its purchases of RG Capital Radio (See RNW Jun 2) and DMG Regional Radio (See RNW Sep 3).
The last deal had already been approved by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) subject to undertakings to sell seven stations and in a statement the ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said they would not intervene in the acquisitions "after accepting court-enforceable undertakings" concerning the disposals.
The statement continued, "The ACCC was concerned that the acquisitions would result in a substantial lessening of competition in the local markets for advertising on commercial broadcast radio within the Albury, Cairns, Mackay, Rockhampton and Townsville radio licence areas."
"In particular, the ACCC was concerned that the acquisitions would result in Macquarie owning 100 per cent of the commercial broadcast radio stations in Albury, Rockhampton and Townsville and 75 per cent of the stations in Cairns and Mackay."
"In response to the concern about the local markets in Albury, Cairns, Mackay, Rockhampton and Townsville, the ACCC was offered undertakings from Macquarie Bank which require the divestiture of one radio station in each of Albury, Cairns and Mackay and two radio stations in each of Rockhampton and Townsville."
It adds that the ACCC will conduct market inquiries in around three months' time regarding the divestitures and will post detailed reasons for its decision in due course.
Previous Macquarie Bank:
2004-09-13: A profile of Air America host Randi Rhodes by Paula Span in the Washington Post offers insights into the problems faced by both the host and the network, which having now changed hands a few times and also its policy to offering show syndication rather than insisting on a full-time Air America format, appears to be heading into a steadier future.
Brooklyn-born Rhodes, whose career includes a spell in the US Air Force, first worked in radio in a small station in Seminole, Texas.
From a liberal background, she says the Air Force reinforced her views: "They gave me discipline. They taught me how to work with a team. And, believe me, they teach liberalism, because they say that the weakest guy in your unit can get you killed . . . So it's your job as a strong leader to reach down to those who have a tough time."
She also had a spell as an 80's rock DJ in New York, picking up a cocaine habit that she conquered, and took over the raising of her sister Ellen's daughter Jessica- then 11 - after Ellen died of breast cancer at the age of 44.
Her talk radio break came in Florida after a move from a Miami talk station to WJNO-AM in West Palm Beach in 1994 where her show veered left of centre causing, according to her then boss John Hunt "some consternation."
The consternation went when the Arbitrons came in: "they were certainly okay with it after they saw the ratings," said Hunt.
By 1988, reports the times, she was regularly beating Rush Limbaugh, airing on another Clear Channel talk station in the market, in the 25-to-54-year-old demographic and after Clear Channel merged the two stations and she followed Limbaugh, she beat him again and "The Randi Rhodes Show" became the top talk show in the market.
She was already looking to syndicate the show when Air America, being founded as a progressive talk network, approached her. An executive took her to dinner and made promises: "'You know what I was told? State-of-the-art studios! A team of writers! Bookers dedicated to the shows, publicity and PR people, resources like you've never seen in talk radio!' She hesitated; it seemed such a big move. 'I said, Why don't I just stay in West Palm and you'll syndicate the show? Who cares where I'm sitting? They said, No no no, you've got to come to New York.'"
The facilities turned out to be "threadbare, with lousy air-conditioning and irascible equipment", the team of writers numbered one (who got fired as did the executive who hired her) and, although she was the only experienced radio talk host in the line-up all the publicity went to Al Franken and Janeane Garofalo. And to cap it a dispute led to the Chicago and Los Angeles outlets, owned by Multicultural Broadcasting, took Air America off the air leaving the national syndication limited to the Internet, and later satellite radio channels.
At a subsequent low point the network could not meet its payroll and its funding had nearly all gone: Rhodes, who has a contractual option to return to West Palm Beach, resisted the temptation and kept going.
However the ratings when they came in were good overall for Air America, and even better for younger key demographics - Rhodes beat Bill O'Reilly, Bob Grant and Michael Savage overall and topped Sean Hannity among 18-to-34-year-olds.
On the back of this the network is drawing in blue-chip advertisers, is now under new ownership and management and has dropped its purist insistence on an all Air America format, and now says it is solvent.
Rhodes herself is now known nationally and has attracted a devoted band of fans - she is combative and eschews nuance - in no way the wishy-washy liberal talk host so beloved of conservative commentators who say it is the direct and simple approach that has made conservative talk successful.
"Whatever happens to the liberal network," writes Span, "radio biz people predict, Rhodes is likely to prosper. In the industry, Air America has done her only good: If it connects nationwide, she's a star. Should it fizzle, no one will blame her, and everyone will know who she is."
Previous Piquant/Air America:
Washington Post report:
2004-09-12: Last week saw a routine but steady flow of activity amongst the regulators: Australia was quiet, however, with just one radio related decision from the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA).
This was a proposal to 1170 kHz on the AM band available for a new open narrowcasting radio service in Perth, as well as modifying the technical specifications for five existing radio services in the area to address transmission issues.
Commenting on the narrowcasting proposal, Acting ABA Chair Lyn Maddock noted that prominent members of the Chinese business community in Perth had expressed interest in providing a Chinese language service although any new licence made available will be allocated via an auction.
Other changes proposed include site changes and power increases for 6RPH, 6PR, and 6YR, and a move to a higher site and lower power for 6AR and 6NR.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in a number of radio decisions including, in order of province:
Approval of new 67 watts FM transmitter in Abbotsford for CBU-AM, Vancouver.
Approval of new 790 watts transmitter in Chilliwack for CBU-FM, Vancouver.
Approval of a new 14,000 watts English-language FM Type B community radio station in Renfrew.
Approval of new English-language 1 watt FM community-based campus radio station at Glendon College in Toronto.
Approval of new English-language community-based campus 134 watts FM radio station at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay.
Approval of new English-language hybrid Adult Rock format 21,200 watts FM in Wingham.
Renewal from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2011 for CJMD-AM, Chibougamau, and its transmitter CFED Chapais. The notice here corrected details in an earlier announcement.
Approval of amendment to licence of French-language ethnic CJWI- AM, Montréal, requested by the station to allow it to produce public affairs programming in third languages as well as the French of its main service.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced that it has short-listed two of the five applicants for the Dublin City & County Alternative Rock Music licence and is to hold public oral hearings on October 11 in Dublin (See RNW Sep 8).
In the UK, Ofcom had advertised two more commercial FM licences, those for Belfast and Cornwall (See RNW Sep 9). It has also called for comments on a proposal by Sunrise Radio to change the format of country music Easy 1035 AM to Kismat Asian talk radio (See RNW Sep 11).
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been involved in a number of enforcement actions including the cancellation of two fines, confirmation of another and reduction of a third at the end of the week (See RNW Sep 11).
Earlier it had reduced a penalty on a Louisiana AM and confirmed one on the Texas owner of three unregistered towers (See RNW Sep 10) and cancelled a penalty on an Hawaii station, confirmed one on a Brooklyn pirate operator, and reduced a third on a South Carolina AM (See RNW Sep 9).
The Commission has also announced a crack-down on its debtors under the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996: From October 1 it says any individual or company that owes it money will not be entitled to a licence or any other service until the debt has been paid.
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2004-09-12: Piquant-owned Air America is continuing to add affiliates with Atlanta WSWK-AM due to change its call letters to WWAA-AM next week when it moves to the new format according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The paper reports that the move will be made when some technical issues are resolved according to Atlanta-based Air America president Jon Sinton.
The Intermart Broadcasting station at 1690 AM until recently aired classic country but says the paper is now "playing nothing" as it prepares for the change. The new format, adds the paper, will be up against at least eight talk competitors in the market, most of them conservative talk. The station has a daytime power of 10,000 watts, reduced to 1,000 at night.
Mike Malloy, an Atlanta-based veteran talk host whose eponymous show airs from 10:00 to 13:00 ET on Air America had two stints with WSB-AM, leaving it in 1997: He commented, "As far as I know, the last really liberal talk show host on a major Atlanta station was me. I think metro Atlanta has a huge potential audience. Air America is proving in market after market the audience is there."
Eric Seidel, former manager at WGST-AM, Clear Channel's conservative talk outlet whose hosts include Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Paul Harvey, took a contrary view, saying, "It will never be a factor in this market. There isn't a large enough audience for this type of talk to make it economically viable."
In addition, according to the Boston Herald, local radio sources say that Air America is likely to be on air soon through some combination of Clear Channel's WKOX-AM in Framingham and WXKS-AM in Boston.
The paper says the stations are likely to carry the same mix of Air America and Ed Schultz as a number of Air America's other Clear Channel affiliates.
Previous Piquant/ Air America:
Atlanta Journal-Constitution report:
2004-09-11: The past week was fairly quiet for US radio deals and business with only a fairly small number of lower value deals.
They included further expansion by Nassau Broadcasting in Vermont where it is paying USD 2.35 million in cash to Northstar Media for WMOO-FM, Derby Center, and WIKE-AM, Newport.
In Virginia, Centennial Broadcasting is going back into radio with the USD 4.15 million purchase of WZZU-FM, Lynchburg and WZZI-FM, Vinton, in the Roanoke market.
In addition Border Media Partners has prepared itself for further expansion through an agreement that will secure it USD 85 million in capital from an investor group led by Vestar Capital Partners, and including the company's existing shareholders.
Border Media Partners now owns 29 stations and last week announced a USD 70 million purchase of eight stations from Amigo Broadcasting (See RNW Sep 4); the new capital will help fund this deal.
In other business, Arbitron has announced authorization by its board of a stock repurchase programme of up to USD 25 million in shares of its common stock at times and in amounts to be determined by market conditions.
Arbitron also expanded into four new markets -the LaSalle-Peru market in Illinois plus three that tie in with the Nassau acquisitions noted above. These are Concord and Lebanon-Rutland-White River Junction in New Hampshire plus Montpelier-Barre-Waterbury in Vermont.
Previous Border Media:
2004-09-11: Former Toronto CHFI-FM morning co-host Erin Davies, who was dumped last year when owners Rogers Communications moved the "Mad Dog and Billie" team from JACK FM, which it had reformatted (See RNW June 22, 2003) is back on the Toronto airwaves competing with her former station for Standard Broadcasting.
Since she was dropped she has had a spell hosting a live TV call-in show, Live with Erin Davis, for Corus Entertainment's W Network.
Davies is now co-hosting EZ Rock's breakfast show with Mike Cooper, of the "Mike & Christine" team while Christine (Cardoso) is on maternity leave that is scheduled until the start of February next year.
She wrote on her web site journal of the return," Yes, life is good, and I am one lucky gal. To have Christine's pregnancy time out with my availability and with the fall ratings period is just pure serendipity. And I have to say she has been the epitome of grace and largesse in gleefully making room for 'the new kid' whilst she's off having hers. The whole transition has been beautifully handled, both by Christine and Mike and by the station itself."
A suggestion in the Toronto Star by William Burrill that the host intended to stay on after February aroused the host's ire on the site in which she refers to the column as "drivel (and that is the kindest word I can use)" and uses a reader's comments to "set the record straight, so I didn't have to."
Referring to Burrill's comment: "She even seems to be pre-emptively softening the bad news for Christine by offering up a little bit of unsolicited warm 'n' fuzzy support in her website letter to fans in which she assures one and all, 'And don't worry about Christine. She plans to return in the new year and I'm confident 97.3 EZ Rock has big plans that will keep us all very happy.'"
The reader - named only as Susan - says, "I do not recollect in any way shape or form you trying to pre-empt Christine. Isn't it funny how 'journalists' read things into everything??"
"Yes, you did offer your best wishes to Christine and her baby-to-be. I believe this came from the heart. Geesh, can't people be genuine these days? Does anyone really think at this point in the game you would even attempt to depose Christine? No! Can they not use their brains? This would be professional suicide."
In his column Burrill quotes EZ Rock program director Brian DePoe as saying, "She is a maternity leave fill-in. Christine's plan is to come back in February, and we want her to come back, and we'd also love to find a spot for Erin somewhere in the Standard Radio family, as she's been a delight to work with, and is obviously extremely talented" but does not withdraw his suggestion that Davis intends to stay."
Previous Standard Broadcasting:
Erin Davis web site:
Toronto Star - Burrill column:
2004-09-11: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has cancelled one USD 12,000 penalty and another of USD 10,000, issued a third for USD 10,000, and reduced a fourth from USD 19,000 to USD 12,800.
One cancelled penalties was a USD 12,000 penalty on Iowa amateur radio operator Scott E. Kamm who was said to have intentionally caused interference to communications on Amateur Radio Service frequency 146.31 MHz, transmitted of music on his amateur station, and failed to identify his amateur station by call sign. Kamm had sought reconsideration and had offered to withdraw his pending application for renewal of his licence and not to apply for any other licence for five years; this the Commission considered justified the cancellation of the financial penalty.
Also cancelled was USD 10,000 forfeiture issued to Hip Hop City Corp. of Brooklyn, New York City, for operation of an unlicensed radio transmitter; Hip Hop responded that it was not the operator of the unlicensed transmitter.
Another unlicensed operator saw a USD 10.000 penalty confirmed: Fritzner Simon of Warrenton, Missouri, had been found to have operated an unlicensed FM in Tampa, Florida: He had been found present at the unlicensed station in March 2003 and had said he operated it with his brother.
At the time he agreed to voluntarily surrender an exciter and the radio transmitter but in August 2003 was found to be involved in operating another station from a different address in Tampa.
Simon claimed he had no knowledge of the second operation and said that his vehicle, which was parked at the location, was being used by his wife and her friend on the day concerned.
The FCC imposed the full USD 10,000 penalty in relation to the first- and admitted - offence.
The final penalty involved WSJM, Inc., licensee of Michigan station Michigan station WGMY-AM of South Haven that had been found to have been involved in numerous violations of regulations including failure to make required measurements or conduct required monitoring regarding EAS monitoring sources, EAS tests, failure to make observation of antenna structures' lights, failure to file required forms or information regarding the registration of two antenna structures, and failure to exhibit red obstruction lighting from sunset to sunrise.
WSJM had not disputed the offences but sought a reduction on the basis of prompt remedial measures taken, its contention that failure to register each of the structures was due to a "single mistake of fact" by its chief engineer, that it was only monitoring one EAS source because an antenna from one of its EAS monitors had become dislodged and also because of a history of compliance.
The FCC did not accept the first argument but reduced the penalty for the failure to register by USD 3,000 on the basis that it should be treated as a single failure. It did not accept the EAS argument but agreed a further reduction of the remaining USD 16,000 penalty to USD 12,800 on the basis of a history of compliance.
2004-09-11: Sunrise Radio, which took over Greater London station Mean Country last year (See RNW Jul 24, 2003) and turned it into Easy 1035 AM has now asked for regulatory permission to change its format to Kismat Asian talk radio (KATR).
The proposed format would broadcast a minimum 55% speech during daytime, and a third outside daytime and music planned would emphasise Ghazals and Qawaalis and Asian gold and hits.
UK regulator Ofcom, which has the power to allow such a change, has to consult on the matter for a minimum 20 days.
It notes that Sunrise is arguing that the country format has now been on air for a decade without success and that digital broadcasts in the capital will still include a country station and adds that the proposed station would broaden choice since its planned format would set it apart from the other Asian services in the capital, Sunrise Radio and Club Asia, by catering for the older Asian listener.
2004-09-11: Former Chicago radio executive Larry Wert, who resigned in 1998 to head NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 TV in Chicago, is suing Clear Channel over share options that he claims he is entitled to according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Feder reports that when Wert, who had been an executive with Evergreen Media Corp. and Chancellor Media Corp. both of which became part of the Clear Channel empire, claims that when he left he was given assurances by Jimmy deCastro, then chief operating officer of Chancellor Media, that 24,000 stock options he received in 1994 and 1996 did not have to be exercised within three months of resigning, as required by the company.
DeCastro left what was by then AMFM Inc in 2000 shortly before Clear Channel took it over.
Wert tried to exercise the options, which according to a suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court is now worth between USD 16.00 and USD 36.25, in 2002, 2003 and again this year but Clear Channel said there was no record of a waiver or an extension.
Feder says that Wert declined comment on the lawsuit and Clear Channel could not be reached for comment.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous de Castro:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
2004-09-10: Long-time KABC-AM, Los Angeles, host Ken Minyard announced on his show on Thursday that he is to retire after 35 years if broadcasting to the city.
Minyard, described by KABC as "ringmaster" of the breakfast "Ken and Company" show, is to broadcast his final show on October 15: He began his radio career at the age of thirteen as host of a high school radio program in his hometown of McAlester, Oklahoma and has worked in on and off-air roles in radio and television in major markets around the country, including San Francisco, Minneapolis and, finally, Los Angeles.
He began his career at KABC in 1969 and his idea of creating an ensemble on-air cast helped to create what has become the contemporary format for morning radio shows.
Minyard and his early partner on KABC, Bob Arthur (The Ken and Bob Show), were the first to take their morning show outside of the studio: In conjunction with Roger Barkley and then Peter Tilden, his show dominated morning drive ratings in Los Angeles throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s and in another pairing in 1999 he hosted a syndicated afternoon show Minyard & Minyard with his son, Rick.
KABC Operations Director Erik Braverman commented, "Ken & Company has almost doubled the ratings among all listeners since Ken returned to KABC in 2001."
"Minyard also has a long history of tremendous ratings success in his thirty-five years in Los Angeles morning radio. In a span of the first seventeen years of Ken & Bob, there were only four ratings books in which the show was not ranked number one in Los Angeles! His shoes will be very difficult to fill."
KABC has not announced its plans for the breakfast slot although it says Minyard's co-host Dan Avey will continue with the station in a news reporting capacity.
Minyard in his comment welcomed an end to 5 a.m. starts, commenting on the show," "It's been a great run, but I need to get some sleep. I went to management a couple of weeks ago and told them that I'm going to retire. It's hard because it's been a lot of fun, but it seems that all the stars are lined up properly and now is the right time to do this."
KABC web site (links to news release about retirement):
2004-09-10: Emmis has gone to court to keep former Hot 97 host Star (Troi Torain) whom it fired last year from taking a new post in New York according to the New York Post.
Torain went to court last year to try and free himself from a non-compete clause in his Emmis contract (See RNW Jun 17, 2003).
Torain is now working for Clear Channel's WPHH -FM in Hartford, Connecticut (See RNW Apr 26) - he was suspended then fired from Hot 97 in 2003 after allegedly disparaging advertisers on air (See RNW May 22, 2003) and the paper says it is interested in moving him to Power 105 in New York.
Star told the paper, "The non-compete was for a year, and I've been off the air [in New York] for well over a year," and added that Emmis tried to negotiate a new deal with him this year to return to Hot 97 "for millions" but could not agree on terms.
His manager commented that Emmis had obviously decided if they can't get him, nobody can" and Clear Channel said in a statement they found it "strange that Emmis believes it will now be irreparably injured" because Hot 97 fired Star 16 months ago."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Troi Torain (Star):
New York Daily Post report:
2004-09-10: SMG, the former Scottish Media Group, has reported a strong TV performance but weak radio one in the six months to the end of June for which like-for-like turnover was up 3% to GBP 88.5 million (USD 158 million) but overall turnover was down 17% from GBP 106.3 million (USD 190 million) to GBP 88.5 million.
The overall fall follows the group's sale of its publishing division in last year (See RNW Mar 29, 2003) and of its stake in Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) this year(See RNW Jan 17).
Like for like operating profit was up 11% to GBP 13.6 million (USD 24.3 million) but overall operating profit was flat at GBP 6 million (USD 10.7 million) and pre-tax profit was up 20% on a like for like basis at GBP 5.5 million (USD 9.8 million)
The rises were driven by the group's TV business - it operates the Scottish and Grampian ITV franchises - which increased turnover 8% on a year ago to GBP 58.1 million (USD 103.6 million) with operating profits up 35% to GBP 8.4 million (USD 15 million) whilst its radio business declined.
Virgin Radio turnover was down 13% at GBP 10.2 million (USD 18.2 million) and its operating profit was down 16.7% to GBP 2.5 million (USD 4.5 million).
SMG chairman, Chris Masters, commenting on the radio performance re-iterated concerns about ratings figures from the official UK RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) organization that Virgin has said had under-represented its key demographic in its sampling (See RNW Jul 31).
Masters said the figures had hit Virgin's advertising revenues during the period and commented that SMG and others had identified weaknesses in RAJAR's sampling and been working with the organization to remedy these.
Although progress had been made, he said there was "no doubt that under the current measurement system Virgin Radio's results will continue to be subject to artificial volatility until these issues are rectified."
Commenting on the overall results chief executive Andrew Flanagan said the group had "continued to strengthen the balance sheet, reduced our debt and prepared the Group for a return to growth." "With securely-positioned businesses and the advertising upturn continuing, " he added, "SMG is in a strong position within UK media. Our high operational gearing will ensure that future top line growth will rapidly feed through to profits and, in the process, enhance shareholder value."
RAJAR has reacted to SMG by noting that it has addressed the criticism concerning its sampling of the 15-24 year demographic by pointing out that it has spent GBP 250,000 (USD 450,000) to improve its sampling for this group.
Its managing director Sally de la Bedoyere said that although she was disappointed she was not surprised at the attempt to blame RAJAR.
She added that RAJAR had has always expressed sympathy for low reach stations recording volatile listening.
Predictably Wireless Group Chief Executive Kelvin Mackenzie, whose company has commissioned unofficial ratings from GfK Media using its wristwatch technology and is suing RAJAR for damages claiming that they have underestimated ratings for the company's flagship TalkSport station, also jumped into the fray.
He told the UK Guardian, "RAJAR is wrong. Virgin is not a low-reach station; it has an audience of 3,666,000, according to [Gfk] technology. TalkSport is not a low-reach station, it has an audience of 5,828,000, according to [Gfk] technology."
"We are only low-reach commercial stations when measured by diaries relying on people's memories. The system is fatally flawed, and advocates only make fools of themselves when they try to maintain its veracity The luddites of RAJAR should make way for a technology that's been used by the television industry for nearly a quarter of a century."
He also took a dig at SMG, which has held back in pushing for a move to electronic ratings saying, "I recognise that my competitors pay Sally de la Bedoyere's salary, but they should stop being the handmaiden of their lies."
SMG chief executive Andrew Flanagan responded by saying MacKenzie had "gone off too quickly" by taking to the courts, though he agreed in principle that reforming the radio audience measurement system was necessary.
"It [RAJAR] has to move to electronic measurement. It's a question of the reliability and robustness of the measurement," said Flanagan
"Kelvin has gone off too quickly - we don't disagree with him that RAJAR needs to be reformed but we don't think you need to take them to court," he said.
Previous de la Bedoyere:
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Guardian report:
2004-09-10: Air America Radio, owned by Piquant, is adding yet another Clear Channel AM to its affiliates list according to the Asheville Citizen-Times in North Carolina.
The paper says daytime-only WPEK-AM, currently adult standards "The Peak", licensed to Fairview but with studios in Asheville, will become "The Revolution" on Monday.
Clear Channel also owns conservative talk WWNC-AM in Asheville and the paper quotes Brian Hall, director of news talk programming for Clear Channel Asheville, as saying that the reason for the move was low ratings for the current format at WPEK.
"The ratings just weren't there" for nostalgic pop, he said. "This will be satisfying a demand that a lot of people have. It's a natural fit for Asheville. People listening to the current format will be shocked. Those who will listen to the (new format) are not currently listening to the station. This will be a lot of fun."
WPEK was formerly a conservative talk outlet but was changed to classic country format when this format was moved to the more powerful WWNC and later to its current nostalgic pop.
WPEK will air Air America's Morning Sedition, Stephanie Miller and Al Franken shows until 3 p.m. when it takes Ed Schultz before switching back to Air America and Randi Rhodes until its sundown close.
Air America currently lists 26 terrestrial affiliates including one in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on its web site in addition to its channels on Sirius and XM satellite radio services.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Piquant/Air America:
Asheville Citizen-Times report:
2004-09-10: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reduced from USD 7,000 to USD 5,600 a penalty on a Louisiana AM for operating outside its licensed hours or beyond its licensed power and has also confirmed a USD 3,000 penalty on the Texas owner of three unregistered towers.
The Louisiana penalty goes to WFNO, L.L.C., licensee of WFNO-AM, Norco, which had been found last year to have caused interference to another station through operating at high power at night-time.
WFNO is authorized to operate at 5000 watts daytime, 750 watts nighttime, with two directional antenna patterns but had been found to have operated at night with half its daytime power.
A penalty of USD 7,000 was proposed but WFNO asked for reduction on the basis of a history of overall compliance, voluntary disclosures made, good faith efforts to come into compliance and co-operation during and after the inspection.
The FCC accepted that there was a history of compliance but rejected the others; it cut the penalty to USD 5,600.
The Texas penalty was issued to Steve Williams doing business as American Broadcasting of Texas and followed an inspection of a three-tower array near Waco when agents noted a sign saying "Tower Registration Number Pending" and "KBBW-AM radio Facility #1322."
They subsequently found they had no record of any registration and Williams told the Commission he acquired the towers when he bought Station KBBW-AM in June 1986 and completed the registration paperwork for the three towers when the ASR system was implemented, but failed to submit the registration for filing.
He was issued with a USD 3,000 penalty but requested cancellation or reduction on the basis of compliance with FCC requests and steps taken to register the towers. The FCC rejected the arguments and confirmed the full penalty.
2004-09-10: Canadian Satellite Radio (CSR), the joint venture with XM Satellite Radio and Canadian entrepreneur John Bitove has named former CHUM executive Stephen Tapp as its president and chief operating officer.
The venture is one of three groups applying for a licence for subscription radio services in the country - one by a grouping of Sirius Satellite Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Standard Radio Inc., which named Kevin Shea as its CEO in July (See RNW Jul 25), and the other from CHUM, which is proposing a terrestrial transmitter system.
2004-09-09: The New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority has upheld three complaints against radio stations in the country, one involving an announcer who abused police officers on air after they had sprayed cannabis crops, another involving an interview in which new allegations against the complainant that were broadcast were held to be unfair, and a third relating to comment about recent pack rape allegations against Australian rugby league players.
In the first case Beach 94.6 FM of Great Barrier Island has been ordered to broadcast on two occasions - Friday evening and Saturday morning, the times at which the offending broadcasts aired - an apology and statement summarising why the complaints were upheld.
The complaints had come from two women related to police officers complained that station operator Tony Storey, who had been arrested in March 2004 for cannabis offences, subsequently broadcast abusive comments about police - encouraged listeners to smoke marijuana - broadcast songs with lyrics including "motherfucker" and "fuck" - alleged breach of privacy, encouraged breach of law, encouraged denigration of police, not mindful of children, unbalanced and offensive
Storey, who was amongst a number of people arrested for drug offences on the day the crops were sprayed, had subsequently interviewed a spokesperson for the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and encouraged listeners to protest the police action by visiting the radio station the following day and smoking marijuana: He was angry about his arrest and had acknowledged that he had used the word "fuck" in anger about the police, had named the officers, and had referred to the "short arse bastard" who had arrested him.
The authority upheld complaints of use of offensive language and broadcasting offensive lyrics at a time when children might be listening and encouraging a breach of the law. The complaints alleging breach of privacy, of lack of balance, and of encouraging denigration of the police were not upheld and the other complaints were subsumed into the good taste and decency judgment.
In his response to the complaints, Storey said that his station targeted a 25-plus audience and would be surprised if children listened since they could receive Auckland stations that did target children, argued that the song "I'm a cool motherfucker was regularly played by these stations, said he had been angry which was why colourful language was used, and relating to the interview said his comments about spraying the cannabis concerned the public safety aspects of using a toxic spray contending that organic farmers and all who used water from creeks should have been advised of the implications.
In the second case Radio New Zealand was found to have seriously breached standards of fairness and balance in an interview on its Nine to Noon programme in which an anonymous mother and son made new, unspecified allegations concerning Peter Ellis and the Christchurch Civic Crèche in 1985: The allegations had not been part of court proceedings concerning the Crèche [As a result of which Ellis had been jailed] and the Authority noted that Ellis had declined an invitation to be interviewed but had not been made aware of the new allegations before the broadcast.
In its decision, the BSA said: "Mr Ellis has been convicted of and has served a prison sentence for sexual offences.... He is nonetheless a citizen of this country and, like all other citizens, is entitled to be treated justly and fairly. The Authority notes its deep concern at what amounted to a serious disregard for Mr Ellis's rights."
It required Radio New Zealand to pay NZD 5,300 (USD 3,460) legal costs to the complainant, to broadcast an apology on Nine to Noon, to publish a summary of the decision in the four major metropolitan daily newspapers, and to pay the maximum level of costs to the Crown of NZD 5,000 (USD 3,260).
It opted not to take the station off the air on the basis that it did not see an overriding merit in disadvantaging the programme's usual audience.
In the third case, a complainant said that on the Paul Holmes Breakfast Show on Newstalk ZB the host had denigrated women by describing [in comments on pack rape allegations] women who attended parties with rugby league players as "moles" and suggested that they were asking for trouble.
The Authority said it considered that the host's comments were ill-chosen and reinforced incorrect and unfair stereotypes and perpetuated a myth that women who are sexually assaulted have somehow "asked for it. It also commented that the host's manner of delivery was flippant, and it seems possible that, contrary to the broadcaster's assertion - that he was commenting seriously, he was attempting to be humorous and provocative.
It added, "Both "serious" comment and "legitimate" humour about this subject matter require more care and reasoning than was demonstrated. Without this care, the highly damaging inference that women who are raped bear a significant degree of responsibility for the crime rests without challenge."
The station was ordered to broadcast a statement on the matter and also direct listeners to the Authority's web site- and also its own web site, which would carry a summary of the decision for a week after the statement was broadcast - for fuller details of the decision.
New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority web site:
Newstalk ZB web site:
2004-09-09: The UK regulator Ofcom has advertised new FM licences for Belfast and Cornwall with the former able to reach some three quarters of a million adults and the latter around 410,000: Applications have to be in by 17L00 local on December 8 for each licence.
A number of large UK groups have already declared their hand regarding a Belfast bid including Emap, which has said it will bid either on its own or in a coalition with local interests for all major market licences to be offered, and SMG, the former Scottish Media Group.
So far saying they are not in the race are Capital Radio and Chrysalis whilst other have not declared their hand.
2004-09-09: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has cancelled a USD 8,000 penalty on a Hawaii station, confirmed a USD 10,000 penalty on a Brooklyn pirate operator, and reduced from USD 3,000 to USD 2,000 the penalty on a South Carolina AM.
The Hawaii case involved Rainbow Honolulu, licensee of Station WPKK857, Honolulu, which had operated its station from an unauthorized location and on an unauthorized frequency.
Rainbow had submitted financial documentation in support of a claim of inability to pay and the FCC accepted this and substituted an admonishment.
The USD 10,000 penalty confirmed went to the Rev. Yvon Louis of Brooklyn, New York.
Rev. Louis, the pastor of Calvary Tabernacle, Inc., had been told in December 2001 that his equipment required an FCC licence and operated above the power allowed for an unlicensed station but subsequently agents measured the signal strength of broadcasts finding them on various occasions 2,479 and 3,391 times (January 2002) and 847 times (June 2002) the limits permitted for unlicensed operations.
In his response to the Forfeiture Order, Rev. Louis denied that his transmitter was illegal, insisting, that the transmitter was Part 15-compliant and that a New York Office agent had advised him that Part 15 transmitters are permitted without a license; denied that the transmissions detected by the New York Office agents outside the building were his; and argued that the law required the FCC to take into account his religious organization's ability to serve its community and his freedom of speech. He also argued that the forfeiture should be cancelled because his station is no longer broadcasting on the frequencies in question due to interference from another station.
The FCC dismissed all the arguments and confirmed the full penalty.
The South Carolina case involved Palmetto Broadcasting Company, Inc., licensee of WAIM-AM, Anderson, South Carolina; It had initially been given a penalty of USD 5,000 for failure to register its antenna structure and Emergency Alert System violations.
Palmetto claimed that, although it did monitor and conduct both weekly and monthly EAS tests, it was unable to produce the requested logs because they had been inadvertently discarded and this portion of the penalty was cancelled.
In addition on the basis of financial statements provided, the USD 3,000 penalty for the antenna offence was reduced to USD 2,000
The FCC has also frozen the filing of all applications from commercial radio stations involving use of its forms 301, 314 or 315 following the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to allow it to introduce a number of changes including a switch to Arbitron-defined markets and relating to the criteria used in deciding which stations to include in a market (See RNW Sep 4).
It says it will issue a Public Notice soon giving further information about filing new applications and the processing of forms that are currently in the works.
2004-09-09: Quebec CJMF-FM morning host Robert Gillet, who has been convicted of paying a 17-year-old girl for sex, went back on air yesterday promising to use his job to fight violence against women.
Gillet began his show with a ten-minute segment that was also broadcast live on other Quebec radio and TV stations in which he explained his actions and justified his return.
As well as his promise the host also announced that he is to drop his appeal against his conviction and also to abandon a lawsuit against a 15-years-old girl who had accused him of paying her for sex and sexually assaulting her: He had been acquitted of these charges.
He apologised to women everywhere and also to his employer, co-workers and friends for embarrassing them.
London (Ontario) Free Press report:
2004-09-08: Two North American reports just published - one in the Toronto Globe and Mail, the other in the San Francisco Chronicle - indicate that the threat to terrestrial radio from the Internet may be developing faster than previously thought.
In Canada, Toronto-based Iceberg Media.com Inc. has just launched FatPipeRadio.com, an on-line radio station geared toward 18 to 24 year olds that it is aggressively marketing on Canadian campuses.
Fat Pipe is looking to major corporations who want to reach the young for sponsorship and has already signed up beer giant Molsons.
The site will also bring in income through a link with Puretracks.com: If listeners like a song they will be able to click an icon and purchase it from Puretracks with a percentage of the price paid going to FatPipe.
As broadband connections have grown in Canada they have fuelled growth at Iceberg, which was founded some four years ago when only a few people were on broadband whereas now some 70% of Canadian Internet users have move to broadband, boosting Iceberg's registered numbers to some 800,000, 500,000 of them in Canada.
Iceberg offers 250 different music channels whereas FatPipe will offer 11 specialty music channels ranging from alternative rock to unedited hip hop, as well as interviews with artists, the chance to win music-related prizes, a weblog to post comments about the programming, and pop-culture columnists.
Commenting on the attractions of the service to advertisers, Peter Vaz, the vice-president and general manager with advertising buyer M2 Universal Online, stressed the value of an appeal to a local or national rather than a global audience.
"From an advertiser's standpoint, you have all these global stations, but you can't use them. Internet radio is a global phenomenon, but I think there is a lot of demand for something local," he said.
"There are a lot of opportunities in terms of reaching the general audience, but the younger audience is the most evasive, especially this 18 to 24 group . . . [FatPipe] will offer us a Canadian solution to something that is specifically offered to college kids."
He was backed in this perception by Iceberg president and general manager Ted Boyd who commented, "I'm competing for listeners on an international basis but not on an economic basis. Very few global ad campaigns ever occur, it's a dream we all have to execute a global campaign but we are very much in a national ad buying environment."
Attacking the radio audience from a different angle is the new MSN music service that was launched last week and primarily marketed in terms of selling songs but it's another part of the service that was highlighted by the San Francisco Chronicle.
This is the creation of Internet stations that sound like terrestrial ones without the local DJs, traffic, weather and commercials. To create them Microsoft feeds information - bought from Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems - about the play lists of more than 900 US stations into its computers to create stations that mimic local terrestrial ones in its "Local Stations" section on MSN radio.
Rob Bennett, senior director for MSN Entertainment, said of the new MSN Radio offering Internet stations playing most of the same songs heard on over-the-air outlets like Berkeley's KBLX, "The Quiet Storm''; New York's WNEW, "The Mix 102.9''; or Chicago's WLUP, "The Loop'' that "It results in a more pleasant experience because you don't have the ads or the DJs.''
The move, however, is raising eyebrows and may yet benefit lawyers for some of the stations.
Bill Conway, program director and station manager for San Francisco's KOIT-FM commented when he heard that Microsoft was using his station's call letters and slogan "Lite Rock, Less Talk'' to promote a version of KOIT, "I'm surprised they would co-opt the brand names of every radio station in America without permission.''
Tom Taylor, editor of the industry trade magazine Inside Radio, added that some companies will see Microsoft's actions as "threatening" and commented, "Radio stations will see this as piggybacking on their hard-earned brand awareness and potentially cannibalising their success.''
Microsoft said in a statement "the use of station names is applied only to indicate the top artists on a station, and we believe it's simply a factual statement about the radio station, similar to many other public radio charts on the Web. If any radio station has concerns about this usage, they should contact Microsoft directly."
The Chronicle reports that the MSN "S.F.-Oakland-San Jose'' section offered 11 stations, including ones designed to sound like KYLD Wild 94.9, Alice 97.3 and K101's Star 101.3 but adds that not all stations saw the idea as one likely to take away their audience.
John Allers, program director at San Jose's KCNL-FM, commented that the programming that makes a station's personality and connection to listeners can't be duplicated by a computer.
Both reports also suggest that as WiFi grows - and some cities are now virtually completely WiFi enabled - Internet stations will gain yet another major boost, particularly from the young and higher-earning listeners.
RNW comment: We think this last prediction is almost certainly accurate: As we write this we are listening - via a decent amplifier and speakers - to a US radio station and even without the extra audio gear the sound from a wireless system and a laptop is quite reasonable and with good quality headphones certainly up to standard for speech and most pop although we still notice a significant difference between the quality of a CD and streaming audio when it comes to music with a wide dynamic range.
San Francisco Chronicle report:
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2004-09-08: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has short-listed two of the five applicants for the Dublin City & County Alternative Rock Music licence and is to hold public oral hearings on October 11 in Dublin.
They are Phantom FM (Dublin Rock Radio Limited) and Zed FM (Scrollside Limited, trading as Zed FM).
The three applicants now out of the running are Radio Eleven (Radio Eleven Limited), Raw (Edge 105.2 Limited trading as Raw), and Xfm Dublin (City & Country Radio (Dublin) Limited).
2004-09-08: The BBC is now in the process of interviewing candidates to succeed Helen Boaden as controller of its Radio 4 service: Boaden was appointed Director of News to succeed Richard Sambrook, who was been moved to become Director of the BBC's World Service & Global News Division (See RNW Jul 23).
Amongst those most favoured are Roger Mosey, currently head of BBC TV News but also a former editor of the Radio 4 Today breakfast programme and a former controller of BBC Radio 5; the BBC head of current affairs Peter Horrocks, and the BBC deputy director of news Mark Damazer.
In all up to a dozen candidates are expected to be interviewed with the appointment to be announced in the middle of this month.
2004-09-07: Sirius satellite radio has now topped 600,000 subscribers and says it is on target to reach a million by the end of the year: The number compares with 2.1 million at the end of June for rival XM, which says it anticipates reaching 3.1 million by the end of the year.
Commenting on the figures and reflecting the addition of 64,0000 subscribers in August Sirius President and CEO Joseph P Clayton said August had been the best month in the company's history and added, "Beginning in September, we expect even greater subscriber growth, thanks in part to our new retailing partnerships with RadioShack, DISH Network, Wal-Mart, Advance Auto Parts and other dealers to be announced."
"The Chrysler Corporation, along with our other OEM partners, will also contribute a significant number of subscribers, thanks to their 2005 model- year factory programs that are just now beginning to reach showrooms. We also expect great customer reaction to our new line of smaller, feature-rich radios and accessories that will hit store shelves beginning this month. We will support all of these initiatives with an extensive advertising campaign that highlights our NFL programming and our unmatched commercial-free music line up."
2004-09-07: Hong Kong-based Phoenix Satellite Television Holdings Ltd., an affiliate of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, is to work with a state-owned Beijing radio station to set up a national radio network in China according to the Shenzen Daily.
The paper says the company has signed an agreement with the State-owned Beijing People's Broadcasting Station to set up a joint company, 55% owned by the state station and 45% by Phoenix.
Xinhua News report:
2004-09-07: Latin music industry executives are expressing concern about the impact of the sale of five stations by Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) according to Reuters.
SBS has said the sales - of Southern California radio stations KZAB-FM and KZBA-FM to Styles Media Group for USD 120 million in cash (See RNW Aug 19) and of Chicago suburban stations WDEK-FM, WKIE-FM and WKIF-FM to Newsweb Corporation for USD 28 million (See RNW Jul 27) - are part of what it termed a disposal of "non-core stations to de-lever the Company."
The new owners are unlikely to retain Spanish formats although neither has announced any firm plans and Francisco Villanueva, president of Independent record company Mock & Roll commented of the KZBA (La Sabrosa) sale, "I'm concerned because La Sabrosa is a station that was helping us break new music into a different market If they go to a format that is like everyone else's, doors start to close."
SBS executive VP of programming Bill Tanner commented of the California sale, "There is no doubt we hate to see La Sabrosa go, but in the overall interest of SBS as a company, it's a very good deal."
2004-09-07: As in its previous bulletin only one complaint against radio is upheld in the latest Complaints Bulletin from the UK regulator Ofcom, which upholds six cases against TV - four standards cases and two fairness and privacy cases.
The radio complaint upheld was against New City FM, which was granted a Restricted Service Licence to broadcast coverage of a Caribbean carnival in the Preston area from 24 May to 20 June 2004. Ofcom received five complaints about swearing in conversations and song lyrics including the words "fuck", "motherfucker", "nigger" and "bitch" but the station failed to provide recordings of its output when these were requested.
This was a breach of regulations and Ofcom also notes that the licensee had also been given a formal warning for continuing to broadcast after the licence expired.
Considered resolved because of action already taken by the broadcasters were two further standards cases against radio, both involving swearing or the use of words such as "fuck" or "motherfucker" but where the broadcasters involved -- Galaxy 105 in Leeds and Xfm in London; in addition a further complaints against radio was held to have been not in breach of the rules.
In comparison, two fairness and privacy complaints were upheld against TV, two more were held to have been resolved or had been discontinued and a further one was not upheld.
In addition to these cases Ofcom listed a further 261 TV complaints against 144 programmes and 24 radio complaints relating to 22 programmes that it did not uphold or considered out of remit.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2004-09-07: Indian state-owned national broadcaster All India Radio (AIR), in financial crisis after its government subvention was cut by INR 1.6 billion (USD 34.5 million), is proposing to cut down on its services in some areas according to the Times of India.
The paper, which noted that AIR managed to increase its 2003-04 revenue by only INR 250 million (USD 5.4 million), says that the Patna AIR station has asked its HQ for permission to go on air only in the evenings because it doesn't have enough funding to pay its electricity bills and the Chennai All India Radio station proposed a switch to low-power transmission to save electricity even though this would cut its coverage area.
K. S. Sarma, the CEO of Prasar Bharati, which was set up in 1997 to be India's Public Service broadcaster through All India Radio and Doordarshan TV, told the paper that it was "confident of overcoming the crisis with support from the government."
The Times also notes that after Prasar Bharati made AIR a corporation its new status led state governments to impose taxes and duties on it even though it is not in a position to compete commercially in the marketplace.
Previous Indian Radio:
Times of India report:
2004-09-06: Apart from reports about talk radio at the Republican Convention in New York last week - more politics than radio as such and, in our view, like much US talk radio adding little to constructive thought - print comment on radio was fairly slim last week.
In Canada, talk radio was also attracting more comment on the issue of Quebec station CHOI-FM, currently still on the air whilst the country's courts consider the details of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's jurisdiction.
In the Toronto Globe and Mail, Hugh Winsor, who correctly noted that the Federal Court was not concerning itself with the issue of freedom of speech as such and then went on:" The real issue is whether the Broadcast Act's requirement for broadcasters to provide a "high standard of balanced programming" and to refrain from abusive comments "on the basis of an individual's or a group's race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age or physical or mental disability" are still relevant, and hence to be enforced by the CRTC."
"Or, as Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has suggested, should the CRTC's role be reduced to allocating frequencies? If minimal standards and anti-defamation codes are still meaningful, the CHOI hosts have contravened almost every one of them."
He listed some of the comments from André Arthur and co-host Jeff Fillion and comments about CHOI: "In 2002, after many complaints and skirmishes, CHOI reluctantly agreed to adopt a code of ethics as a condition of a two-year licence renewal, but then promptly ignored it."
"CHOI," he concludes, "has won a brief stay of execution, but if the station is able to keep its licence through legal manoeuvring, it will make a mockery of the standards set out in the Broadcast Act, including the obligation it imposes on the CRTC to enforce them."
In the UK, general radio cover was also fairly slim although a profile of London Xfm DJ Christian O'Connell in the UK Independent by Ian Burrell contained a couple of anecdotes that have more general lessons, one to do with "fact", the other with "taste".
One relates to press cuttings that "record that he is an enthusiastic gardener who swaps notes with his mother-in-law about the state of the clematis that grows around his Victorian home outside London."
And the facts as told by O'Connell to Burrell: "I'm not interested in gardening whatsoever - I was joking," he says. "The Mail on Sunday didn't take it that way; they thought I was an avid gardener. Someone from a gardening company read it and I got sent all these trowels and free stuff."
The other anecdote relates to an incident in his early career when to be charitable he could be described as naïve, the term he himself uses.
Working on a hospital radio station as a teenager growing up in Winchester he brought things to a head when he was asked to play a Frank Sinatra request for a woman called Elsie who was recovering from a heart bypass.
"I just thought, 'No one is listening to this shit', and I stopped the record and went, 'That one was for Elsie who has died, so there's no point playing that record anymore, we might as well play something for someone who hasn't died,'" said O'Connell.
The station boss was listening and he was promptly fired, his reaction being described by O'Connell as: "He was like, 'Get out. How's Elsie meant to feel? She could have had a cardiac arrest.'"
Back across the Atlantic and to a far more positive snippet from Indianapolis where in the Indianapolis Star David Lindquist notes that yet again Susquehanna's country station WFMS-FM has again been listed as one of five contenders for the 2004 Country Music Association (CMA) "Large Market Station of the Year" award that is won in 1997, 2000 and 2001.
It also has three of the five nominations in the "Large Market Personality of the Year" category -- afternoon host J.D. Cannon (a 1998 winner in this category), evening host Darren Tandy (a first-time nominee) and morning trio Jim Denny, Deborah Honeycutt and Kevin Freeman.
On the other side of the scale in Houston, Ken Hoffman in the Houston Chronicle, looked ahead to the demise as a classical station of KRTS-FM, which has been taken over by Radio One Inc and is expected to switch to an urban format within a fortnight.
Station manager Tom Richards says the station will be ending its last broadcast with "a bang"; a term he says is a clue. He then adds, "And it's not the London Philharmonic's recording of Bang a Gong, either."
And finally not so much going out with a bang but coming in with a whimper was the view from UK Guardian radio reviewer Elisabeth Mahoney of the new UK Download chart launched on BBC Radio 1 last Wednesday by Scott Mills.
"What depressing stuff," she commented. "There was the obligatory launch party - these make for reliably awful radio - and many desperate attempts to sound excited about yet another chart, and one topped by Westlife. People said things like: 'It's a total moment in history for the music industry' as if anyone listening might care. "
"'It's all going to be fine,' Scott Mills assured listeners bewildered by this new way of sourcing music."
"I'm not at all sure, on the evidence of this horribly homogenous first chart, featuring only the major music labels, that it is," responded Mahoney
After which to some radio that should be worth listening to and first BBC Radio 2, which has a strong run this week, beginning on Tuesday at 1930 GMT with the first of five "Puttin' On the Style" documentaries: This show features Fred Astaire and is followed at 20:30 GMT by the first of a six-part series "Natural Woman: The Aretha Franklin Story."
On Wednesday in the first of another six-part series, "The Radio 2 Funk Factory" at 20:00 GMT sees Norman Jay broadcasting classics and forgotten gems from the 50s onwards and an hour later in the final 100 Club programme at 21:00 GMT the music moves on to the Indie years at the club in Oxford Street, London
Then on Thursday at 21:00 GMT in the tenth of his Shake, Rattle and Roll series, Mark Lamarr concentrates on songs linked to a school theme: It's followed at 21:00 GMT by the first of a six part satire series, Parsons & Naylor's Pull-out Sections, with Andy Parsons and Henry Naylor.
For classical music, BBC Radio 3 this week features as its Composer of the Week (11:00 GMT Weekdays) Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, who celebrates his 70th birthday this week and is also broadcasting a selection of this year's Proms.
On BBC Radio 4, first a choice from the web site which now features both parts of the "Winning The Peace" broadcasts in which historian Sir John Keegan, examines how peace was won after the Second World War and with politicians Lord Healey and Lord Carrington considers some of the lessons for the present - probably not the programme to give either Tony Blair or George Bush a good night's sleep.
The same goes for Chirac's New Backyard which is now on the Listen Again web site (Until tomorrow when at 1900GMT the second programme looks at French relations with Syria) and which looks at France's relationships with Algeria, a country that was once considered part of France and where estimates are that anywhere from 350,000 (French estimates) to 1.5 million (Algerian figures, although the government eventually settled on 1 million from a population of nine million) Algerians lost their lives in a vicious struggle for independence that lasted from 1954 to 1962 when a massive majority of Algerians voted for Independence.
As with Iraq today it featured a campaign of terrorist bombings by the Front de Libération Nationale including many kidnappings and the ritual murder and mutilation of captured French military: By 1958-59 the French Army, which had switched to search and destroy missions had won the military battle the political one was lost.
French military authorities listed their losses at nearly 18,000 dead (6,000 from non-combat-related causes) and 65,000 wounded so the US has a way to go in Iraq!
Also on Radio 4 starting today (0800 GMT) is a series The Cultural State charting the relationship between British government and the nation's cultural life since the 1940s. The first programme looks at the actions of Sir Winston Churchill's government to remind the British people what exactly they were fighting for in the early 1940s - so they sent classical music, ballet, theatre and artworks to arms factories across the land.
And tonight in the second of the Document series at 1900 GMT The Land of the Unfree follows a trail of documents across the Atlantic that show that many of the first settlers of the American colonies were not freemen at all but were, in fact, some 50,000 of Britain's most dangerous criminals, taken in irons to work as slaves for their colonial masters.
And a final documentary, this time from Australia and the ABC's Ockham's Razor programme that last Sunday looked in John Snow and the Broad Street Pump at the story of how 150 years ago the man who invented the science of epidemiology tried to stop the spread of cholera by getting the authorities to remove the handle of the aforesaid pump in Soho in London that was the source of a cholera outbreak that killed 83 people using the pump.
ABC, Australia - Ockham's Razor site:
Houston Chronicle - Hoffman:
Indianapolis Star - Lindquist:
Toronto Globe and Mail - Winsor:
UK Guardian - Mahoney:
UK Independent - Burrell:
2004-09-06: A Billboard poll of country radio station programmers and radio executives shows that most of them share objections to paid-for playing of record tracks.
The poll was spurred by comment over MCA's use of paid spins for Reba McEntire's "Somebody", which in late July was top in the Billboard country airplay chart, and executives commented that it was bad programming to play songs for cash rather than because of merit: They also expressed concern that the activity could affect record charts.
Amongst those going on record against the idea were Adam Jeffries, music director of the Buck Owens-owned KUZZ-FM, Bakersfield, California, and Margot St. John, music director of Hall Radio's WOKO-FM, Burlington, Vermont.
Jeffries commented, "It may be legal, but it sure smacks of payola. Labels pay the stations to play it, but because they are buying 'advertising,' then is it OK? It's basically just a loophole that needs to be closed. "
"Paid spins of any kind are bad programming. Whether it's a PD with his hand out or a radio group getting paid to run a song once an hour on the overnight, any time you compromise the overall sound of your station, it's a bad thing."
St. John termed paid spins "wrong, wrong, wrong," adding, " Satellite radio, Internet radio, and iPods -- to name a few -- are too great a threat to radio for us to squander listener loyalty by jettisoning our programming standards for short-term gains."
Others disagreed and defended the idea including Eddie Haskell. PD of Citadel's KRST-FM, Albuquerque, New Mexico, who said, "I see nothing wrong with it as long as it's all done legally and fully disclosed."
2004-09-06: London local authorities are joining together for a drive against pirate radio stations that could lead to station owners and possibly DJs jailed according to the UK Guardian.
The paper says that an estimated 133 such stations are operating in London and another 42 from other areas and concern is growing that some of them have become a magnet for drugs, crime, vandalism and anti social behaviour.
It reports that some of the pirates have turned to violence against local authority staff - one is said to have been dangled over the side of the building by his ankles - and officials claim there is a clear link between the activity of some pirates and the drugs trade, with rave events publicised on radio stations used to distribute heroin and ecstasy.
The paper quotes Michael Manders, housing co-ordinator for the Home Office-funded anti-drug project CrackDown as saying, "The common perception is of young guys who just want to play their records. But what the police tell us privately is that the major drug dealers are using this as a way of moving their drugs."
Pirate stations have long been blamed for interference to licensed broadcasts and also to emergency services transmissions but London local authorities say that as well as the cost of fixing damage caused by stations they are now facing problems such as booby-trapped doors, wired to the electricity mains supply, to prevent enforcement teams reaching equipment and ladders to which razors and syringes have been glued.
The authorities say in the apt a station closed in one borough has frequently started up again elsewhere but they intend to share information to prevent this in conjunction with the use of anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs), which were introduced into the UK five years ago.
Heather Mallinder of Tower Hamlets council, which organized a meeting of London Boroughs over the actions of pirate stations, commented, "At the moment, if a station is shut down in one borough, it just opens up in another. We want to stop that. "We all have intelligence about stations and the DJs and we will be sharing that. We will seek antisocial behaviour orders which apply London-wide."
"The DJs pay £30 to go on air for half an hour. They think they will be stars. But they need to know that if they break an ASBO, it could lead to six months in jail."
Some of the DJs continue to defend themselves. One man who the paper said had been involved with pirate radio for ten years, commented, "There are only about six or seven who cause any trouble. The others just want to play music and there is the demand. The view is that pirates are evil and need to be wiped out, but it is just not true."
He also said the crackdown would probably not work since there were only 100 enforcement agents in the whole UK and so far the authorities had been losing their battle against the pirates.
"They should sit down and consider how much easier it would be if they just let people listen to what they want," he commented.
RNW comment: The new community stations to be introduced in the UK (See RNW Sep 3) could well go some way to meeting the aspirations of some groups but we doubt that many of the London pirate stations will attempt to go legitimate and doubt even more that should they apply and be refused a licence they will then accept the ruling and pack up.
That being the case, in a city of crowded airwaves they will inevitably cause interference to some legitimate signals and some of it is cause for serious concern. Our view would be to accept that a total clampdown would not succeed but make it clear that some kinds of activity will result in severe sentences.
Where it is an activity like booby-trapping a building to prevent seizure of equipment, it seems to us that this should be dealt with most severely under other laws. In our view where the illegal activity is just a broadcast, imposing jail sentences as a general policy would not be effective but to make it clear that anyone who, for example, interfered with hospital communications service would face severe sanction - possibly an initial combination of a warning, education about the possible effects, and a suspended sentence with an automatic jail sentence for a repeat offence.
UK Guardian report:
2004-09-06: Australia's digital radio test broadcasts are currently off air for a technical upgrade.
The work, which is aimed to extend the reception area of the services, currently the subject of an 18 months trial broadcast of signals from 12 Sydney stations that began in December 2003, is expected to be completed for a return of transmissions on Thursday.
2004-09-05: Last week was fairly quiet for the regulators although issues are bubbling up beneath the service and rumours in the US are again surfacing that the Federal Communications Commission is to levy a record USD 550,000 TV indecency fine on CBS next week over the baring a covered Janet Jackson nipple during the Super Bowl half-time show.
The FCC has also been given the go ahead by a Philadelphia court to introduce its new Arbitron-defined markets.
There may also be conflict with Canada over possible interference from iBiquity HD digital services in the US: Concerns are being expressed in Canada that there could be potential interference with their analogue AM and FM stations from US stations, particularly in the Toronto, Windsor and Vancouver markets.
The concern is particularly high about AM, especially night-time AM, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation points out that in Canada's Western and Atlantic provinces where single transmitters cover extensive areas. iBiquity says it is confident that the concerns can be addressed and notes that the FCC is in contact with the Canadian government over the issues involved.
There were no radio announcements from Australia but in Canada a regular run of routine work continued from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Actions taken included, in order of province:
Administrative renewal from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2005 of the licences of:-
CHAR-FM, CFS, Alert.
CKGF-2-FM, Greenwood, and its transmitters CKGF-1-FM, Christina Lake, and CKGF-3-FM, Rock Creek.
Iqalummiut Nipingit Society FM, Iqaluit.
CJKW-FM, Robson Bight/Telegraph Cove
CFOA-FM, Whitney and CFOA-FM-1,Whitney.
Administrative renewal from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2005 of the licences of transitional digital radio undertakings: -
CBU-DR-1, Vancouver, (CBU-FM).
CBU-DR-2, Vancouver, (CBU-AM).
CBUF-DR-1, Vancouver (CBUF-FM).
CBFX-DR-3, Vancouver (CBFX-FM).
CFUN-DR-2, Vancouver (CFUN-AM).
CHQM-DR-1, Vancouver (CHQM-FM).
CKNW-DR-2, New Westminster (CKNW-AM).
CFMI-DR-1, New Westminster (CFMI-FM).
CHMJ-DR-2, Vancouver (CHMJ-AM).
CFOX-DR-1, Vancouver (CFOX-FM).
CKWX-DR-2, Vancouver (CKWX-AM).
CKKS-DR-1, Sechelt (CKKS-FM).
CKCL-DR-1, Vancouver (CKCL-FM).
In British Columbia the CRTC also approved the application by CHUM Limited for authority to acquire CFAX-AM and CHBE-FM, Victoria, from Seacoast Communications Group Inc. subject to conditions relating to Canadian talent development.
Administrative renewal from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2005 of the licences of:-
CIRS-AM, Sault Ste. Marie.
Administrative renewal from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2005 of the licences of transitional digital radio undertakings: -
CIAO-DR-2, Brampton (CIAO).
CFNY-DR-1, Brampton (CFNY-FM).
CJMR-DR-2, Mississauga (CJMR).
CILQ-DR-1, North York (CILQ-FM).
CJYE-DR-2, Oakville (CJYE-AM).
CJBC-DR-2, Toronto (CJBC-AM).
CJBC-DR-1, Toronto (CJBC-FM).
CBLA-DR-1, Toronto (CBLA-FM).
CBL-DR-1, Toronto (CBL-FM).
CHUM-DR-2, Toronto (CHUM-AM).
CHUM-DR-1, Toronto (CHUM-FM).
CIRV-DR-1, Toronto (CIRV-FM).
CJRT-DR-1, Toronto (CJRT-FM).
CFMJ-DR-2, Toronto (CFMJ).
CHIN-DR-2, Toronto (CHIN).
CHIN-DR-1, Toronto (CHIN-FM).
CFTR-DR-2, Toronto (CFTR).
CHFI-DR-1, Toronto (CHFI-FM).
CJAQ-DR-1, Toronto (CJAQ-FM).
CJCL-DR-2, Toronto (CJCL).
CJEZ-DR-1, Toronto (CJEZ-FM).
CFRB-DR-2, Toronto (CFRB).
CKFM-DR-1, Toronto (CKFM-FM).
CKWW-DR-2, Windsor (CKWW-AM).
CIMX-DR-1, Windsor (CIMX-FM).
CKLW-DR-2 Windsor (CKLW-AM).
CIDR-DR-1, Windsor (CIDR-FM).
CFMX-DR-1, Toronto (CFMX-FM) .
Renewal from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2011 of the licence of CJMD Chibougamau and its transmitter CFED Chapais.
Renewal from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2011 of the licence of CIMF-FM Gatineau and its transmitter CIMF-FM-1 Hawkesbury
Renewal from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2011 of the licence of CKTF-FM Gatineau.
Renewal from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2011 of the licence of CJMM-FM Rouyn-Noranda and its transmitter CJMM-FM-1 La Sarre.
Renewal from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2011 of the licence of CFIX-FM Saguenay, (Chicoutimi).
Renewal from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2011 of the licence of CIME-FM Saint-Jérôme and its transmitters CIME-FM-1 Val-Morin and CIME-FM-2 Mont-Tremblant.
Renewal from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2011 of the licence of CJMV-FM Val d'Or.
Administrative renewal from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2005 of the licences of transitional digital radio undertakings: -
CKAC-DR-2, Montréal (CKAC).
CKMF-DR-1, Montréal (CKMF-FM).
CITE-DR-1, Montréal (CITE-FM).
CBF-DR-1, Montréal (CBF-FM).
CBFX-DR-1, Montréal (CBFX-FM).
CBM-DR-1 Montréal (CBM-FM).
CBME-DR-1, Montréal (CBME-FM).
CKGM-DR-2, Montréal (CKGM).
CHOM-DR-1, Montréal (CHOM-FM).
CFGL-DR-1, Laval (CFGL-FM).
CJAD-DR-2, Montréal (CJAD).
CJFM-DR-1, Montréal (CJFM-FM).
In Quebec the CRTC has also approved an application for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to acquire the assets of the radio programming undertaking CHLM-FM Rouyn-Noranda and its transmitter CHLM-FM-1 Amos/Val d'Or from Radio Nord Communications inc.
Administrative renewal from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2005 of the licence of Carcross Radio Society FM, Carcross.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has now signed five- year contracts for two community services.
They are the Dundalk Town service to be provided by Dundalk Media Centre Limited (trading as Dundalk FM 100) and the West Dublin service to be provided by B C A Social Economy Project Limited (trading as West Dublin Access Radio).
Both services will include comprehensive local news, current affairs and sport with special interest programmes.
In the UK, the only radio activity from Ofcom was to invite applications for its planned new community radio services (See RNW Sep 3).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now been given the go-ahead for its use of Arbitron-defined markets and also other proposals relating to the evaluation of a the number of stations and station ownership in a market (See RNW Sep 4).
It has also confirmed USD 13,000 in fines for tower offences (Also RNW Sep 4).
On the staffing side yet another FCC gamekeeper has turned poacher with a move in this case to the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) (See RNW Sep 2).
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2004-09-05: Piquant's Air America radio is to gain its first FM on Tuesday next week when it replaces the AC format on Clear Channel's WXXM-FM - Mix FM- in Madison, Wisconsin.
Piquant chairman Terry Kelly is a Madison resident - he owns a Madison-based national weather forecast equipment and data service - and commented that the market should be one of the best markets in the US for the service.
Mike Ferris, Clear Channel's FM operations manager in Madison told the Wisconsin State Journal that it is to dub the station "The Mic 92.1."
The Journal reports that Mid-West Family Broadcasting's talk WTDY-AM has already made changes to counter the forthcoming competition: It has dropped its most conservative syndicated host, Sean Hannity and is to move liberal host Ed Schultz into an afternoon slot but will retain midday syndicated host Bill O'Reilly.
The two stations as well as competing for listeners are also in dispute over WTDY's description of itself as "Madison's progressive talk" station. It began using the description a few weeks ago but Ferris says Air America had reserved the legal rights to the slogan prior to that.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Piquant/Air America:
Wisconsin State Journal report:
2004-09-04: The Philadelphia Third Circuit appeals court has ruled that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) can go ahead with its new Arbitron-based definition for markets and also that non-commercial stations should be included when assessing how many stations serve a market and that stations operating under joint sales agreements should be counted when calculating the number of stations a company owns in a market.
Implementation of the changes had been stayed since June when the court remanded the proposed FCC numerical ownership limits for further review although it had upheld most of the changes proposed by the FCC in June 2003.
The FCC had had argued that the rules that had not been remanded should be put into effect: It has not yet issued a response to the court's decision but is expected to implement the new rules speedily. It had already prepared approved forms for use when the court stayed implementation of its changes.
2004-09-04: Quebec's former top morning host Robert Gillet, who has now served his sentence for involvement in a juvenile prostitution ring (See RNW Mar 27), will be back on the air in the city from Tuesday next week on his old station CJMF-FM where he will be squaring up to competition from CHOI-FM, which is for the moment still on air as a court ruling is awaited concerning the Canadian regulator's decision not to renew its licence (See RNW Aug 27).
CHOI had mounted a campaign against its rival at the time of Gillet's arrest and trial with comments from hosts Jeff Fillion and André Arthur, whose disregard of Canada's broadcasting regulations was given as a substantial reason for the refusal of the renewal, sparking a series of libel suits.
Gillet told a news conference the past months - he had been given a year's probation and ordered to do 40 hours of community work - had been "hellish" and added, "I am really sorry for what has happened, for all these events, for all of those that I might have embarrassed."
The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that station owner Cogeco Diffusion Inc., which suspended Mr. Gillet after his arrest in December, 2002 (See RNW Dec 21, 2002), found in a survey that half the women and two-thirds of the men surveyed in Quebec City were willing to forgive Gillet.
CJMF ratings had plummeted since Gillet was arrested and Cogeco vice-president Richard Lachance said, "We will let the public make the final verdict", adding that Gillet "deserves another chance. He is an excellent morning man. And we are turning the page on what has happened."
CJMF has changed its format to a mix of on classic rock music and opinionated hosts that Lachance told the paper was devised to win back the 35-to-54-year-old segment of the audience, especially men, and mainly those earning more than $60,000 a year. "This age group represents 41 per cent of the potential audience and have the greatest purchasing power," he said.
The Globe says that advertisers are being cautious about doing business with the station, with many opting to see how the public reacted before placing advertisements with it.
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2004-09-04: Border Media Partners is spending USD 70 million to expand in Texas with the purchase of Amigo Broadcasting stations KHHL-FM, KOKE-FM and KXXS-FM, Austin; KXEB-AM, Dallas, KLNT-AM, KNEX-FM and KQUR-FM, Laredo and KWOW-FM, Waco.
Border says it intends to retain staff and formats at the stations.
Previous Border Media:
2004-09-04: The broadcasting time of a number of Indiana school stations including that of Franklin College could be limited to five hours a day if a petition from Hoosier Public Radio Corp. of Greenfield is accepted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) according to a report in the Indiana Journal.
The paper says that Hoosier filed a petition under a little-used rule that says non-commercial stations have to use their frequency at least 12 hours per day or non-commercial and educational broadcasting groups can apply for time sharing: It is asking for time on the frequency used by WFCI-FM, which the paper says has been used sporadically since 1956 by broadcast journalism students according to John Krull, director of the Pulliam School of Journalism at the college.
Hoosier's director Martin Hensley said the group wants to share frequency time with Franklin College, filling the gap with community news, public service announcements, local business and sports, music, weather and reports on social issues such as drunken driving, teen pregnancy, drug use and jobs.
"If they're not using their license 24 hours a day, we just want to use the hours they're not using and help them operate the station," he added. Hoosier is proposing to limit the college's use of the frequency to 0900-14:00 on weekdays and use the rest of the time itself.
He said that if the college agreed a licence could be issued in three months but otherwise "if they want to fight it, it could go on a few years."
Krull commented that there was no serious attempt to contact him and added, He wants the frequency. If the college and the greater community are his interests, I'm viewing it with great scepticism."
The paper reports that Pendleton Heights and Ben Davis high schools also have received a petition from Hoosier Public Radio Corp. and quotes Jeff DuPont, general manager for Pendleton Heights High School's WEEM-FM, as saying students operate the station 65 to 70 hours a week, so minimal usage is not a question.
"You can't encroach on an educational opportunity for students, and we can't allow someone to come in and use our facilities," said DuPont, who has turned the matter over to the school attorney.
DuPont added that such time-share agreements might be the catalyst for larger mergers down the road. Weak, smaller stations that are acquired now may be auctioned off in a few years when digital receivers become affordable and common. "Then there will be millions of dollars at stake," he said.
Daily Journal report:
2004-09-04: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 3,000 a penalty on the licensee of two Georgia stations and has also confirmed a USD 10,000 penalty on a Texas tower owner.
The USD 10,000 penalty confirmed went to Leon's Radio Inc., owner of an antenna structure in Moore, Oklahoma, whose paintwork was found to be badly faded. Leon's had opposed the penalty on the grounds that it made good faith attempts before the inspection to find a painting company for the antenna structure, that it repainted the tower promptly after the Commission notice but the FCC rejected its arguments and confirmed the full penalty.
The USD 3,000 penalty, which had already been reduced from USD 4,000 because of a previous record of compliance, related to failure by Farnell O'Quinn, licensee of WUFF-AM and WUFF-FM, Eastman, Georgia, to operate the stations in accordance with the terms of their authorizations - a check using the Global Positioning System showed that the actual location of the O'Quinn stations' antenna structure more than 1/3 of a mile South/Southeast of the authorized location.
O'Quinn had objected to being termed a "violator", said the forfeiture is an insult to his forty year record of running a top-notch small market station in a town of 6,000.
He also argued that the Commission renewed his license without informing him that the O'Quinn stations' coordinates were incorrect; that the Commission never told him "about changing out the analogue readings"; and that the coordinates he received from his engineers were "correct at the time" and additionally asked for a reduction or cancellation in financial hardship grounds.
THE FCC noted that no documentation was presented to substantiate the latter argument and took the view that the use of GPS technology merely gave a way to establish a location and that the co-ordinated that the engineers had provided had always been incorrect.
2004-09-03: US radio revenues that had rebounded in June to increase by 3% over a year ago slipped back in July according to the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB): It reports that they fell 3% overall as a 15% drop in national revenues took its toll and local revenues increased by only 1%.
For the year to date, combined revenues are now up 2%, national revenues are down 2% and local revenues are up 4%.
RAB's Sales Index, which equated pre-dot com 1998 to a base of 100, shows a combined July figure of 140.5, a local sales index of 143.9 and a national sales index of 128.7: Year to date indices were 139.8, 139.7and 139.9 respectively.
Ever bullish, RAB President and CEO Gary Fries ignored the overall and national fall to comment on a rebound, saying of the results, "Radio's wide range of advertising categories and its strength in the local marketplace are sustaining the medium. While Radio's rebound has been slower than anticipated, all indicators point to a healthy recovery by year-end 2004."
Previous RAB figures (for June):
2004-09-03: DMG has decided to concentrate its Australian radio efforts on its metropolitan stations and has agreed to sell its 57 DMG Radio Australia (DMGRA) Australian regional stations to Macquarie Bank Group's Regional Media Pty Ltd. for AUD 193.5 million (USD 138 million) subject to a number of conditions.
Completion is due by September 10 and as well as DMGRA's metropolitan stations in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney the deal also excludes DMG Radio Australia's recently launched stations Hot 91 on the Sunshine Coast and Star 1045 on the Central Coast of New South Wales.
In the UK, DMG's finance director Peter Williams commented that its Australian radio holdings were two distinct business and added "DMGT are not naturally sellers but if somebody offers us a price for something that's more than it's worth to us we will consider it."
In June Regional Media paid AUD 173 million (then USD 122 million) for RG Capital's 36 regional stations (See RNW Jun 2) but later in the month DMG denied it was in talks to sell its regional stations to Macquarie (See RNW Jun 8).
Regional Media executive chairman Tim Hughes told the Sydney Morning Herald his group will be looking at other non-metropolitan acquisitions and added that to maintain continuity the stations being taken over would retain their current formats and management.
"We also believe we will be in a stronger position to compete for national sales against other media such as television and newspapers," he added.
The Herald also reports that the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has ruled that seven stations will have to be disposed of in areas where there are currently competing stations and has given Regional Media a year to sell them off.
Previous Macquarie Bank/Regional Media:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2004-09-03: Toned-down Chicago host Erich "Mancow" Muller has signed a two-year contract renewal with Emmis to continue his morning show on Emmis's WKQX-FM that according to Robert Feder of the Chicago Sun-Times is rumoured to be around USD 2 million a year compared to USD 3 million a year under his previous contract.
The deal would still make him the highest-paid host in Chicago and Muller said he was relieved to have secured his future and moved on from his battles over indecency with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC): Last month Emmis wiped out all of its indecency cases with a "voluntary" contribution of USD 300,000 to the US Treasury as well as setting various measures in place to prevent "indecent" broadcasts (See RNW Aug 13).
Commenting on the strain on him as renewal was delayed, Muller told the paper, "This wasn't a nail-biter. This was a knuckle-biter. I was down to my knuckles. My life has been on hold since Janet Jackson [the baring of a covered nipple during the Super Bowl TV half-time show]. I feel like the 'pause' button has been lifted and I can finally move on."
"I'm expecting big things in syndication and some other things that I'm working on. I think now is finally the time for me and this show."
WKQX vice-president and general manager Chuck DuCoty, who is to leave shortly, commented, "We're thrilled to have him. When you've got a great morning show talent -- and I think it's obvious by the struggles of our competitor in finding a morning show [See RNW Sept 2 re WZZN-FM changes] -- you're grateful and you want to do everything you can to keep it. It'll just be great radio in the morning -- on this radio station."
Previous "Mancow" Muller:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
2004-09-03: Singapore Perfect FM owner MediaCorp Radio has been fine SGD 30,000 (USD 17.500) by the Singapore Media Development Authority (MDA) following complaints about the "Morning Madness" show hosted by DJ, Sheikh Haikel and Daniel Ong.
In one of the shows complained about, part-timer Sheikh, who has now been fired - staffer Ong was suspended - responded to a student caller asking for advice on how best to approach a girl he liked by telling him to "ask the girl whether she was wearing white panties" and what she looked like under her school uniform."
The MDA said that on the same day "the programme carried other sexually suggestive segments, including a discussion with listeners on how soon one should sleep with a partner, with a slant towards encouraging pre-marital sex and promiscuity. There was also an extensive discussion about pornographic movies offered in hotels with the DJ stating that he thinks about porn "everytime".
The MDA also investigated a second complaint, which mentioned that one of the DJs related how pimps in the United States solicit clients. The programme in question was aired on 26 July, during which the DJ mimicked a pimp trying to solicit a client, using sexually suggestive words on air.
It found that the station had breached three clauses in the Radio Programme Code, which state that broadcasters must exercise sensitivity and that programmes should observe standards of good taste and decency.
On its Onlinetoday site MediaCorp Press carried a report that quoted MediaCorp's human resources head Chua Hoe Sing as saying that on-air banter between Sheikh, and two others - Ong and part-timer (Ms) Jamie Tan had contained many lewd remarks in the two weeks before a listener's complaint led to the MDA investigation. He added that the company had been left with no option to take firm action and it had dismissed the two part timers and also taken disciplinary action against Ong and another staff member.
The report said the "lewd" comments included discussion by the DJs about the impact of masturbation, pre-marital sex, porn TV channels, Japanese people's names derived from genitalia and how American pimps solicit business.
MDA web site:
2004-09-03: The UK media regulator Ofcom has invited applications for a new generation of British community stations set up under new legislation that provides for such licences to be issued to groups interesting in broadcasting on a not-for-profit basis for local social benefit in areas of around a 3 mile (5 Km) radius.
Ofcom is offering the licences on either AM or FM frequencies in most areas, although in some places frequency availability may dictate the choice. It is not setting out areas but is inviting applicants - who have to put in their applications by November 23 and pay a GBP 600 (USD 1075) non-refundable fee - to say what they wish to do with a station and where they want it. Licences will be issued for a five-year period and stations with have to comply with Ofcom's codes.
Ofcom web site:
2004-09-02: Disney-ABC's Chicago active rock station WZZN-FM - The Zone - has dropped its morning host Pete McMurray after only eight months citing ratings.
According to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times the Zone was beating Emmis rival alternative rocker WKQX-FM decisively in every other time period and he quoted program director Bill Gamble as saying they were "determined to narrow the gap in morning drive."
Emmis airs Erich "Mancow" Muller's Morning Madness in the time slot and
McMurray reports Feder was told just after he got off the air Tuesday and was shocked, commenting, "I really thought the show was building and things were falling in place, even though we had some hurdles along the way."
"It seemed to me it was a perfect marriage. The rating trends were just starting to go up, and the station seemed pleased with the progression of the show. I was shocked when it [the news] came down. I'm gravely disappointed things didn't work out."
There is no word yet who will replace him.
Previous "Mancow" Muller:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder Column:
2004-09-02: Student Broadcast Network Limited (SBN), which had paid around two-thirds of UK radio stations to broadcast its programming in return for selling its advertising, owed around GBP 3 million (USD 5.4 million) but had assets of only a thirtieth of that according to its liquidator, Lane Bednash of David Rubin & Partners.
SBN began formal liquidation last month after parent Campus Media stopped further funding (See RNW Aug 14): The company had run up losses of around GBP 4.5 million and most of its debt - some GBP 2 million (USD 3.6 million) is held by the parent. A further GBP 250,000 (USD 450,000) in the form of loans that had a due debt of the end of July is owed to ChannelFly - the company that set up SBN and sold its interest in it to Campus in 2002 (See RNW Feb 20 2002).
As well as liabilities to employees SBN has debts are some GBP 250,000 (USD 450,000) owed to trade creditors and around GBP 170,000 (USD 300,000) to other creditors including student radio stations.
2004-09-02: Global warming is affecting short and medium wave (AM) radio reception according to an Indian scientist who, according to the Times of India, has established that emission of greenhouse gases has led to contractions in the ionosphere, causing a disruption in radio waves.
Gufran Beig, a senior scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), and his co-authors of a report on the matter have been awarded the Norbert Gerbier-MUMM international award for 2004 by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) for their research over a five-year period.
It shows that the temperature of the ionosphere has decreased by 15 degrees Celsius in the last 30 years; the cooling in the ionosphere leads to the contraction and reduction in density of the electrons there, thus affecting the reflection of radio, television and satellite waves and affecting medium and short-wave signals.
"This is why people in India have a problem while tuning into radio channels like Radio Ceylon and BBC nowadays," Beig explained, adding, "The effect of temperature changes in the upper levels of the atmosphere will surely affect the weather and climate on the Earth. This needs to be probed in detail."
Beig noted that temperature models formulated in the 1990s had noted that there would be such an effect on the ionosphere but this is the first time that it has been scientifically proved.
Times of India report:
2004-09-02: In another case of gamekeeper turned poacher, Jane Mago, Chief of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis, is to join the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) as its general council next month.
She will report to another former FCC staff member Marsha MacBride. MacBride, a former FCC chief of staff, moved to NAB last year as Executive Vice President of its Legal and Regulatory Affairs Department (See RNW Dec 10, 2003).
Mago, who has spent more than a quarter of a century with the FCC, will replace Jack Goodman, Senior Vice President & General Counsel of the NAB. NAB says he is to leave "to pursue new opportunities."
NAB President and CEO Eddie Fritts said of the appointment, "Jane Mago's well-recognized expertise in communications law and administrative procedures will be an important asset to NAB. Her distinguished FCC career and vast understanding of mass media policy issues will serve the interests of local, over-the-air broadcasters exceedingly well."
2004-09-01: XM Satellite Radio today launches its Public Radio channel, which will feature programming from Public Radio International (PRI) and its station partners Chicago Public Radio and WGBH Boston; American Public Media, the national production and distribution branch of Minnesota Public Radio; and Boston public radio station WBUR.
It includes This American Life; Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know?; Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac; Speaking of Faith; On Point; and Only a Game.
The channel will also feature a new morning show due to start on October 4: The Bob Edwards Show will be hosted by former National Public Radio (NPR) host Bob Edwards who hosted "Morning Edition" for just short of 25 years.
XM and rival Sirius have also been promoting their sporting line-up. XM is to launch a second in-car audio radio channel for its NASCAR programming on Saturday (September 4) starting with programming from FanScan of the NASCAR Busch Series Target House 300 from California Speedway. The in-car audio channel is intended to complement XM's main NASCAR channel that will carry full race cover.
Last weekend XM began its new college sports line-up with a national radio broadcast of the match up between Virginia Tech and the University of Southern California (USC) in the eighth annual Black Coaches Association (BCA) Football Classic. The company is the official satellite radio partner with the ACC and Pac-10 for national broadcasts of collegiate football and men's and women's basketball games starting this fall.
Sirius also moved into college sports at the weekend with the first of an extensive package of college football games with a live play-by-play broadcast featuring the No. 1-ranked University of Southern California Trojans of the Pac-10 vs. the Virginia Tech Hokies of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
It has also announced that in conjunction with College Sports Television it is to launch Sirius College Sports Radio that will broadcast football, basketball and other events from 23 US universities.
2004-09-01: BBC Radio 4 is to re-launch the late Douglas Adams' classic, antagonistic Hitchhiker Adventure Game to mark the return to its airwaves of the author's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy later this month.
The game is an online adaptation of the text adventure, written by Douglas Adams and that he described as "the first game to move beyond being 'user friendly'; it's actually 'user insulting' and because it lies to you as well it's also 'user mendacious'."
He added that it is also "full of extraordinary ways of dying".
The game will be on the Hitchhiker's web site, which is to be launched this week, but it will not be there until September 21 when the programme broadcasts start: They will include Douglas himself playing the part of Agrajag, which he had recorded, and which has been digitally woven into the series that also features Simon Jones as Arthur Dent, Geoffrey McGivern as Ford Prefect, Susan Sheridan as Trillian, Mark Wing-Davey as Zaphod Beeblebrox and Stephen Moore as Marvin The Paranoid Android.
In the game players can be a number of characters from the book and can collect more than 40 items (ranging from 'pocket fluff' to an 'electronic Sub-ether signalling device'), read dozens of guide entries and visit 30 locations.
Rod Lord, who won a Bafta (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award for his graphics for the Hitchhiker television series, will be providing most of the illustrations but the BBC is also asking Radio 4 listeners to send their own images for some of the more exotic locations: The best of them will appear in the game.
2004-09-01: Bustos Media has announced the acquisition of stations in Sacramento and Modesto, taking its Chief executive Amador Bustos, formerley with Z-Spanish Media and Entravision, back into the California market.
Following the USD 21.7 million deal to acquire Aztec Media Inc. and Maya Media, LLC., which own KTTA-FM in Sacramento and KEJC-FM in Modesto, the two companies are to be merged.
Both stations broadcast the "Ke-Buena" format that has made KTTA the leading Spanish station in its market: KEJC, which was launched in February this year, has now reached third place in the Modesto market.
Bustos is to retain the three principals of Aztec and Maya Media - Juan Gonzalez, Amparo Perez-Cook and Angelica Balderas - in key executive positions and Bustos commented, "I am so proud to work again with Juan, Angelica and Amparo because they are the type of modern Spanish language broadcasters which I love most. They are entrepreneurial, aggressive and a creative trio that produces results beyond their limited resources."
Previous Amador Bustos:
Previous Bustos Media:
2004-09-01: A deal seems to be in place between major webcasters and copyright owners, who have filed a joint petition with the U.S. Copyright Office that proposes to renew the 2003-2004 webcasting royalty rates and terms for 2005-2006: There is also a provision to kill the deal at the end of next year if CARP reform passes by that time.
The Digital Media Association (DiMA) and the government-designated royalty collection agent SoundExchange submitted a 19-page agreement to the Copyright Office, which has not to review the proposal and any comments from interested parties before deciding whether to approve the deal.
If the rates are renewed it will vitiate the need for Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP) - hearings although the Copyright Office may choose to accept a request for a CARP if it is made by an interested party.
The Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS),has also announced agreement with SoundExchange through 2006 although rival Collegiate Broadcasters Inc. (CBI) has noted that four of the five groups representing non-commercial webcasters arte still negotiating and says the deal made involved substantial concessions.
A competing organization, however, Collegiate Broadcasters Inc. (CBI),
A number of small and non-commercial webcasters have also come to agreement over rates although so far webcasters operating under the Small Webcasters Settlement Act of 2002 have not announced a settlement.
Previous Sound Exchange:
DiMA agreement (19 page 0.98 Mb PDF):
IBS web site (Includes page with IBS - RIAA - SoundExchange agreement):
2004-09-01: XM Satellite Radio is reported to have discontinued its PCR device, which recently gained publicity following the development by a Canadian of software that allowed it to be used to download and organise songs (See RNW Aug 26).
The unit retailed for around USD 50 but is now being listed on eBay as discontinued with Buy-it-now prices of around USD 400 and bids topping USD 300.
XM has not issued a formal statement about discontinuation of the device - it says that is had a standard policy not to comment when it discontinues offerings - but had said it would take action against independent programmer Scott MacLean from Ontario to get him to withdraw his Time Trax software.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which is opposed to all devices that allow downloading of digital material except for paid-for services, has not formally commented on TimeTrax but it has recently launched further lawsuits against companies that supply file sharing software and users of it. It suffered a setback last month when the recording companies lost the Grokster case in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that suppliers of such decentralised file-sharing software, which has legal uses, do not have to build it so as to make it easy for copyright holders to police its use.
In a crucial section of its verdict the court said, "The introduction of new technology is always disruptive to old markets, and particularly to those copyright owners whose works are sold through well established distribution mechanisms. Yet, history has shown that time and market forces often provide equilibrium in balancing interests, whether the new technology be a player piano, a copier, a tape recorder, a video recorder, a personal computer, a karaoke machine, or an MP3 player Indeed, the Supreme Court has admonished us to leave such matters to Congress. In Sony-Betamax, the Court spoke quite clearly about the role of Congress in applying copyright law to new technologies."
EFF Grokster verdict link (128 Kb PDF)
2004-09-01: European media company SBS Broadcasting SA has announced that it is to repurchase at a cost of Euros 18.6 million ( USD 22.5 million) in cash 855,000 of its common shares that were use in 2003 to acquire Radio 1 Norge AS in Norway and Radio 2 AS in Denmark from wholly owned subsidiaries of Clear Channel Communications, Inc. and Norsk Aller AS. (See RNW Jul 18, 2003).
Commenting on the decision, CEO Markus Tellenbach said, "With the Company's strong operating performance and with over euro 150 million in cash on a consolidated basis, we believe that repurchasing SBS common shares at current share prices is an efficient way to increase shareholder value."
Under agreements with the sellers, had SBS not exercised its right to repurchase the shares, the sellers would have been entitled to sell them over a six-month period starting in September 2004 until they had received proceeds equal to the purchase price of Euros 17.5 million plus 6% interest p.a.; this currently amounts to euro 18.6 million, with any unsold shares to be returned to SBS.
Previous SBS, SA:
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