October 2004 Archive
- September 2004 - November 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.
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RNW October comment - Rethinks our previous timetable for competing media to bite into profitability of US terrestrial radio in light of talent moves to satellite radio and faster than anticipated take-up of broadband.
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.
2004-10-31: The most widely reported story involving the regulators last week was not one of regulation but the reaction to it in the form of a call by Howard Stern to a San Francisco talk show that included Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K. Powell as a guest (See RNW Oct 27). In terms of licence activity it was a fairly quiet week.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) made only one licence announcement, that of the award of a new community FM for Dunedoo, New South Wales, to Talbrager Broadcasters Incorporated. Talbrager already operates as 2TRR under a temporary community licence and was the only applicant.
The ABA also reported that in the 2003-04 year investigations resulting in rulings of breaches of its regulations were down 22%.
In all it found a breach in 27 cases from 106 investigations completed - 19 of them relating to codes of practice and seven to licence conditions - compared to 50 breaches in the same total in 2002-03.
Of the 27, 11 cases related to commercial TV stations, down from 18 the year befor.
There were code breaches in four cases involving commercial radio stations compared to two in the previous year; three of the cases involved complaints handling.
In addition there were three breaches involving code breaches by community radio- down from seven in the previous year, each relating to requirement to have written policy and procedures for conflict resolution in place, and three community radio breaches relating to the broadcast of proscribed advertisements, down from 13 in the previous year.
There was also one investigation that resulted in a breach of the Broadcasting Services Act, relating to a licensee of an open narrowcasting service providing a commercial broadcasting service without a licence.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which next week will be holding hearings on applications for subscription radio licences, had a very quiet time.
It approved the application by Groupe Radio Antenne inc. to acquire, as part of a corporate reorganization, the assets of the radio station CHVD-FM Dolbeau-Mistassini, Quebec, and also, following receipt of an application for a commercial ethnic station in Winnipeg, Manitoba, issued a call for applications from other parties wishing to apply for a licence for services that will "clearly reflect the diversity of languages, as well as the multicultural and multi-ethnic reality of Winnipeg." Applications have to be in by January 27 next year.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) made no licence decision although it was involved in the release of latest ratings that showed listening in the Republic up on the previous survey (See RNW Oct 28).
There were no radio decisions in the UK but in the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was involved in a number of enforcement actions.
They included confirming a penalty of USD 17,000 on a Florida pirate operator (See RNW Oct 29) and of USD 4,000 on Lebanon Educational Broadcasting Foundation, licensee of noncommercial Station KTTK-FM, Lebanon, Missouri, for public file violations.
It had proposed the penalty in April 2003, reducing it downwards from the standard USD 10,000 because some of the documentation was in the file but not the station's contour map and issues/programs list, and copy of the "Public and Broadcasting" manual.
Lebanon sought cancellation on the basis that the contour map and manual were in the file but had not been shown to agents because the station's assistant manager had to leave before the inspection and the employee who was present was unfamiliar with the public file. It admitted that other documentation was missing but said the employee responsible had been disciplined and the file subsequently brought up to date. The FCC decided that a further reduction was not justified.
The commission also required two stations to show cause why they should not be reclassified to allow new services elsewhere.
One petition asks for Malkan FM Associates' KZFM-FM, Corpus Christi, Texas, to be reclassified from class C to Co to allow a second FM at Karnes City, Texas, and another for Citadel's KURB-FM, Little Rock, Arkansas, to be likewise reclassified to allow a first FM for Altheimer, Arkansas.
Both the existing stations are operating below Class C requirements.
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
2004-10-31: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has announced that it has reached an agreement with Foxtel for its radio and TV services to be transmitted on the Foxtel Digital satellite and cable platform.
The service will include the ABC's Triple J, ABC Classic FM, Radio National, ABC NewsRadio, DIG Internet radio and some metropolitan and regional radio stations as well as its TV services.
ABC managing director Russell Balding said the outcome was "of strategic importance to the ABC and is a matter we have been pursuing for some time as we believe that as the national public broadcaster all ABC services should be available on all platforms."
He added that the agreement was "an extremely positive outcome for the ABC as it sees the growing subscription television sector as a primary element of its digital television aspirations."
Previous ABC, Australia:
2004-10-31: California broadcaster Pappas Telecasting Co., which last week announced that it had donated USD 325,000 in air time on its radio and TV stations to 13 Republican county committees has been told by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that it must extend the same offer to other candidates.
The company had argued that the gifts did not trigger federal equal time rules because company president Harry J. Pappas purchased time at his own stations and donated it to Republican committees to be used any way they wanted: His attorney argued that as the gifts came from an individual the FCC had no jurisdiction.
William Johnson, deputy chief of the FCC's Media Bureau, ruled however that the broadcaster had given free time to a candidate and added, "When a candidate is furnished time at no cost, competing candidates are entitled to receive the same amount of free time in comparable time periods."
An Associated Press report aid it was not clear if the company would appeal the ruling and quoted Tracy Westen, CEO of the nonpartisan Center for Governmental Studies as saying, "I would have been amazed if the commission had done anything else."
Westen added that while Pappas could appeal the ruling FCC, it would have to decide whether to continue airing exclusively Republican ads in the meantime and could risk substantial fines if it did so.
Democratic Assemblywoman Nicole Parra filed a complaint with the FCC after a Pappas television station in Fresno began running free ads given to her opponent, businessman Dean Gardner. The company said only USD 3,600 of the USD 70,000 in donated time it had booked for Gardner had been used through Thursday and Parra said Pappas must now make USD 3,600 in free airtime available to her.
RNW comment: Irrespective of the FCC ruling it would seem to us that such actions are clearly unacceptable in any reasonably ordered democracy and any owner who, using leased public airwaves, feels it proper to use resources allied to them in this way is unfit to hold a licence. It won't happen but it should: In our view all the company's licences should be revoked in our opinion as a most clear warning to all licensees, whatever their political viewpoint, that such donations are completely unacceptable. We're sure someone else would run the stations so the only losers would be owners who permit such action and we feel that had Sinclair gone ahead with its plan to air an anti-Kerry documentary as originally planned the same response would have been appropriate in that case as well.
There would, of course, be no reason to prohibit the individuals and companies concerned moving to cable and subscription services not using public airwaves.
Baltimore Sun/AP report:
2004-10-31: A 34-years-old woman has pleaded guilty to stabbing California radio host Bonnie Campbell with scissors.
Campbell, co-host with Bill Pecos of the Bill and Bonnie morning show on KRUZ-FM, Santa Barbara, was stabbed twice while walking her dog near her home in Goleta at the end of August.
She suffered a punctured lung and her assailant Renita Ausha Simmons charged with assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury. A sentencing is scheduled for December 8 at which she could face up to seven years in jail.
2004-10-30: In more US results, giant Clear Channel has reported third quarter revenues up 4% on a year earlier to USD 2.6 billion and net income of USD261.2 million (44 cents per diluted share), down from USD 636 million a year earlier when the figures had been boosted by approximately USD685.6 million of pre-tax gains related to the Company's investment in Univision Communications Inc. and the sale of an investment in American Tower Corporation.
The gains were offset by the impairment of investments totalling USD15.0 million pre-tax and excluding these items, 2003 third quarter net income would have been USD236.8 million 38 cents per diluted share) and the Company's third quarter 2004 net income growth would have been up 10% rather than 59% down and per share earnings would have been up 16%.
President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Mays said Clear Channel had "delivered strong financial results during what proved to be a very challenging quarter."
"We generated 16% earnings growth and produced a significant amount of free cash flow during the quarter," he added, continuing, "We continued repurchasing our shares during the past quarter and continue to believe that the purchase of our common stock represents an attractive opportunity to benefit the long-term interests of the Company and its shareholders. We are in excellent position to increase shareholder value over the long-term."
In divisional revenue terms, Outdoor had the strongest performance with revenues up 11% to USD 66.2 million, Live Entertainment edged into top contributor as a 4% increase took its total to USD 974.7 million; radio was down by USD 3.57 million to USD 960.1 million, and other revenues were up 6% to USD 147.3 million.
National radio advertising revenues fell, primarily in telecom and automotive advertising, but the fall was partially offset by increases in local advertising, traffic and network revenues. Large market revenues were down but small to mid-size market revenues (markets below the top 25) increased.
Clear Channel has now re-purchased some USD 1.6 billion of its shares and CFO Randall Mays commented, "We have repurchased 45.0 million shares to date for a total of $1.6 billion, which represents just over 7% of our total shares outstanding. We continue to believe that this is the best use of our free cash flow, while maintaining a strong balance sheet."
Looking ahead, Clear Channel expects full year operating income will increase in the mid-single digits on a percentage basis and earnings per share will increase in the mid to high teens on a percentage basis excluding excludes gains from the sale of investments and operating assets, and the effects of early extinguishment of debt.
Viacom-operated syndication company Westwood One reported revenues for the third quarter up 5% to USD 141.4 million but operating income for the quarter was 13.6% down to USD 40.4 million; Among the prime factors if gave for the fall were costs linked to its 2004 Summer Olympics broadcasts and increased programming and distribution costs.
Net income for the quarter was down 16.2 % to USD 23.2 million and per diluted net income was down 11% to 24 cents a share: Westwood One like Clear Channel and Viacom has been involved in share buy-backs, in its case some 2.6 million shares for USD 58.9 million during the quarter.
President and CEO Shane Coppola commented, "Despite an inconsistent overall advertising marketplace our local/regional businesses demonstrated consistent and improved growth. We expect our investments in our products and services to translate into growth in the fourth quarter and beyond. We continue to increase our audience and program offerings while at the same time controlling costs."
CFO Andrew Zaref added that the company's recent stock performance had provided the company with an opportunity for continued acceleration of stock repurchases" and noted that at the end of the quarter it had $196.4 million available under its buy back program.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
Previous Randall Mays:
Previous Westwood One:
2004-10-30: US radio advertising revenues in September were up 4% on a year earlier, reversing a drop of 1% in August, according to the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB): Within the figures local revenues were up 5% compared to flat in August and national ones up 1% compared to an August fall of 5%.
RAB's Sales Index, which equates pre-dot com base year 1998 to 100 was a combined 139.9 for September with the local index 138.4 and the national one 143.9.
For the year to date, combined revenues were up 2% on a year ago with local revenues up 3% but national revenues down 2%: The corresponding indices were 140.3, 140.1 and 141.6.
RAB has also started reporting non-spot revenues, which it has been collecting since January 2002, and these reveals healthy figures for September. Non-spot revenues for September were up 6% on a year ago taking the combined spot and non-spot revenues for the month 4% ahead of September last year.
RAB President and CEO Gary Fries said of the introduction, "We have been collecting and auditing non-spot revenue since January of 2002 and have found the reporting and accreditation to be accurate and sound. It is a truly legitimate revenue stream for Radio that deserves to be reported, and it is being reported by the broadcasting companies as part of their monthly and quarterly revenue."
On the overall picture he added, "The increases for September point to Radio's strengthening in the national arena as well as its continued growth in the local marketplace," noted Fries. "The mid-size markets seem to be leading the way in Radio's return to robust sales results, and pave the way for an industry-wide upturn that is expected by 1st quarter of next year."
Previous RAB & RAB monthly figures (Aug 2004):
2004-10-30: The past week has seen a steady run of US station deals albeit with no large ones. In descending order of value they included:
Nebraska: A USD 10 million sale by Grace University of Christian KGBI-FM, Omaha, to Salem (See RNW Oct 27)
Texas: A USD 7 million sale by La Radio Cristiana Network Inc. of Tejano/Latin KJAV-FM, Alamo, to Border Media Partners.
New York State: A USD 4 million sale by Port Jervis (N.Y.) Broadcasting of oldies WDLC-AM and WTSX-FM , Port Jervis, to P.J. Radio run by James Morley, a radio broadcasting executive with no other current holdings.
New Mexico: A USD 1.3 million sale by Albuquerque-based Radio Property Development Inc. of good time oldies KVLC-FM, Las Cruces, to Radio Property Development of El Paso.
Illinois: A USD 1.15 million sale by M&R Enterprises of RndB and Gospel WESL-AM, East St Louis, to Simmons Media Group.
Nebraska: A USD 1 million sale by Prairie States Broadcasting of oldies KAWL-AM and AC KTMX-FM, York, to MWB Broadcasting LLC.
2004-10-30: Chicago husband and wife team Don and Roma Wade could be back on the air as soon as Monday next week according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times although he says it is unclear if they will sign up again with Disney-ABC's news-talk WLS-AM or for a re-launched WIND-AM, now with Salem..
Feder notes that Salem is acquiring WIND through a swap with Univision (See RNW Oct 5) and says both Disney-ABC and Salem are thought to be actively pursuing the Wades with "seven-figure offers."
The Wades on Thursday made their first comment since their contract extension with WLS expired, saying in a statement by Roma: "We've missed our listeners tremendously these last few weeks and hope to have an announcement very soon. We love all the great listeners who supported us throughout this period, and we can't wait to talk to them again!"
"These are juicy times -- in the city, the country, and the world. Don keeps saying he misses straightening out the news. Personally, I miss straightening out Don."
Feder also reports that Bonneville is working on a change or revamp for its adult contemporary WNND-FM which, with its current 80's and 90's hits format, tied for 23rd place in the latest ratings for Chicago.
He says that insiders say Drew Horowitz, senior vice president of Bonneville International and head of its Chicago station group, was working with top programming executives Greg Solk and Barry James in devising a new sound and a new identity for the station.
Horowitz has confirmed that Bonneville is "evaluating" its options for the station and Feder notes that imminent changes at WNND and the impending transfer of classic rock WLUP-FM to Emmis Communications in a swap for three stations in Phoenix (Also RNW Oct 5) have set the stage for a management realignment of Bonneville's Chicago operations under Horowitz.
Bonneville also owns modern rock WTMX-FM and classic hits simulcast duo WDRV-FM and WWDV-FM in the Chicago market.
Previous Don and Roma Wade:
2004-10-30: Veteran Adelaide broadcaster Jeremy Cordeaux has retired from radio after a career that spanned 42 years, starting in 1963 on Sydney 2GB: He signed off with his customary "believe in yourself" in his final broadcast for news-talk 5DN.
Amongst those who rang in to wish the host goodbye were Australian Prime Minister John Howard, South Australia Premier Mike Rann, who invited Cordeaux to become an ambassador for the state, and the host's son Saxon - who hosts an Adelaide community TV show - and 93-years-old mother. His daughter Amber joined him in the studio.
Cordeaux joined 5DN in 1976, also working on Channel 9 and 7 TV before moving to Sydney in 1990 just before 5DN converted to FM.
He returned to the city three years late to join Radio 1323, which was eventually renamed 5DN.
In 1996 he sold 5DN and 5AD-FM (now MIX 102.3) to the Australian Radio Network (ARN) for AUD 29 million (currently USD 21.7 million) but he told the Adelaide Advertiser did not rule out buying 5DN back if it was for sale at a good price.
"I'm emotionally connected to the place," he told the paper, which reported that the 59-years-old host is considering a future in advertising and television current affairs. "In whatever capacity I will always serve and promote South Australia," added Cordeaux.
Adelaide Advertiser report:
2004-10-30: Fox News Channel TV and Westwood One syndicated radio host Bill O'Reilly has settled a sexual harassment case brought against him by his former producer Andrea Mackris.
No financial details were given of the settlement and all parties have agreed to keep details confidential.
Mackris had insisted that O'Reilly made explicit phone calls to her and told her about sexual fantasies involving her whilst O'Reilly had accused her and her lawyer Benedict Morelli of trying to extort USD 60 million from him.
The host said on his O'Reilly Factor show, "This brutal ordeal is now officially over, and I will never speak of it again. This matter has caused enormous pain, but I had to protect my family, and I did. All I can say to you is please do not believe everything you hear and read."
He also said there was "no wrongdoing in the case whatsoever by anyone."
The Washington Post speculates that in fact the settlement has involved payment of millions as insiders had the two sides were discussing an offer of well over USD 2 million when negotiations broke down.
RNW comment: O'Reilly as a rather public pundit on sexual morality seems to us to have little credence in that area now although we suspect that, like Limbaugh's listeners, his audience won't be too worried about the morality involved: That, of course, in our view, also demeans them.
On a matter of public policy, however, it seems to us that at a certain stage in such cases, public interest demands that legal authorities should have and exercise the power to take over a case.
Here there was either an attempt to extort a massive amount from the host - clearly a criminal matter if proven - or O'Reilly had in fact been involved in harassment. It would have been much better had a case of extortion been brought and, should it have been lost, the corollary had been a significant strengthening of a damages case against the host.
The current settlement tarnishes the parties and the law and yet again clearly indicates that justice in the US is frequently as much a matter of finances as of the rights and wrongs of the case involved.
Washington Post report:
2004-10-29: There has been another slew of strong radio results from North America although those from Viacom, the biggest company to report, went into the red as a result of a USD 1.5-billion charge related to its spinning off the Blockbuster video rental chain [RNW note:Blockbuster earlier this week posted a third-quarter loss of USD 1.42-billion after a USD 1.5 billion impairment. Without the impairment the black ink would have been USD 8 million compared to a profit a year earlier of USD 63.7 million.].
Viacom also announced a USD 8 billion stock buyback programme, significantly more than had been anticipated.
Amongst those reporting - in alphabetical order- were:
Beasley Broadcast Group reported third quarter net revenues up 8.2% to USD31.8 million and station operating income (SOI) up 13.2% to USD10.8 million: Net income was up 31.8% to USD4.1 million (17 cents per diluted share).
For the nine months to the end of September consolidated net revenue increased 7.8% to USD88.8 million, operating income from continuing operations rose 10.2% to USD21.0 million, SOI grew 8.7% to USD28.1 million from USD25.8 million.
Net income was down to USD 8.1 million (33 cents per diluted share) compared to USD8.1 million (39 cents per diluted share) a year earlier: These figures reflected a 2004 USD2.4 million loss (6 cents, per diluted share) on the early extinguishment of long-term debt and 2003 gains of USD 4.5 million gain, or USD0.11 per diluted share on an after-tax basis, on the sale of investment securities and a USD1.4 million gain on the change in fair value of the Company's derivative financial instruments.
Chairman and CEO George G. Beasley said, "Our third consecutive quarter of revenue growth reflects continuing sales improvements at many of our market clusters and pockets of demand for radio advertising in certain regions of the country where we operate."
"Despite these improvements, the fourth quarter will be challenging due to the expected absence of several streams of revenue at our Miami cluster totalling approximately USD1.1 million, which existed during 2003 but will not occur in 2004, as well as the lingering effect of this year's hurricanes on demand for local advertising in Miami and Ft. Myers. Given these challenges, we plan to continue focusing on prudently managing costs and strengthening our balance sheet by using internally generated cash flow to reduce the outstanding balance under our credit facility."
"Additionally, we will continue to purchase shares from time to time in the open market, as we believe that, in addition to reducing debt, opportunistic share repurchases represent an excellent use of capital."
For the fourth quarter Beasley expects a net revenue decrease of approximately 2% compared to the same period in 2003.
Toronto-headquartered CHUM has reported fourth quarter profits nearly quadrupled over a year ago from CAD 2.03 million (USD 1.66 million - CAD 8 cents a share) to CAD 7.98 million (USD 6.53 million- CAD 29 cents a share) on revenues up 2.5% to CAD 130.8 million (USD 106.9 million).
For the full year, its profit was up 45.6% to CAD 37.03 million (USD 30.3 million - CAD 1.35 a share).
CHUM notes a record performance from its radio division with revenues up 3.7% to CAD 122.8 million (USD 100.4 million) with TV revenues up 4% to CAD 427 million (USD 349 million): Radio EBITDA was up 21.7% to CAD 38.4 million (USD 31.4 million) whilst TV EBITDA was up 13.3% to CAD 68 million (USD 55.6 million).
Cox Radio reported net revenues for the third quarter up 4.2% to USD 117 million and net income up 0.5% to USD 18.36 million: For the first nine months net revenues were up 2.5% to USD 327 million and net income was up 8.3% to USD 49.7 million.
President and CEO Robert F Neil said he was "pleased with the performance of our company as a whole this quarter as we were able to outpace the revenue growth of both the industry as well as the markets in which we operate."
" Our revenue growth of 4.2% was solid and enabled us to deliver station operating income growth of 5.3% and a station operating income margin of almost 42%. We remain focused on executing our operating strategy, including investing in our station brands, building ratings and connecting with our listeners and advertisers at the local level."
"As we move into the fourth quarter of 2004, business remains erratic and visibility remains very difficult given the recent trend we've seen of business strengthening as each month comes to a close. While we are pleased to have this late business, it's proven to be rather unpredictable. As a result, we remain cautious in our guidance and expect revenue growth for the fourth quarter to be in the low single digits."
Jefferson-Pilot Communications said that in the third quarter its television and radio operations performed well with revenue up 12% on a year earlier and earnings up 19 % to USD13.5 million while broadcast cash flow grew 16 % to USD27.3 million from USD23.6 million for the quarter.
For the nine months, Communications' earnings were up 26 % to USD37.8 million from USD30.0 million, and broadcast cash flow grew 22 % to USD76.3 million from USD62.5 million.
Regent Communications reported third quarter net broadcast revenues up 14.7% to USD 22.5 million, and net income nearly quadrupled - up from USD 2.1 million (5 cents a share) a year earlier to USD 8.1 million (18 cents a share): Excluding the effect of discontinued operations, net income for the quarter was up 38.9% to USD 2.5 million (6 cents a share). Same station net broadcast revenue for the third quarter of 2004 was up 4.4% to USD19.4
For the first nine months of the year, Regent net broadcast revenues increased 15.1% to USD62.1 million and net income was up from USD .4.2 million (9 cents s share) to USD 10.7 million (23 cents s share): Excluding the effect of discontinued operations net income was up 54.3% to USD 5,4 million (12 cents a share).
Regent says it expects fourth quarter consolidated net broadcast revenues and station operating income of approximately USD21.9 to USD22.2 million and USD7.6 to USD7.8 million, respectively. Regent expects earnings per share to be USD0.04 for the fourth quarter of 2004.
Terry Jacobs, Chairman and CEO of Regent Communications, commented, "Our impressive performance this quarter highlights our success in implementing our strategy of building and nurturing leading local media franchises. Operating in middle and small-sized markets, we have continued to expand and strengthen our relationships with our listeners and advertisers. This local connection has always been the key ingredient to radio's success as an advertising platform and news and entertainment outlet. We are very confident and optimistic about the long-term outlook for our station group."
Saga Communications reported net income for the quarter up 22.9% to USD 4.3 millions (20 cents per diluted share on net operating revenues up 12.6% to USD 34.3 million.
Same station basis net operating revenue increased 6.7% to approximately USD32.5 million, and operating income increased 0.2% to approximately USD8.1 million.
For the nine months to the end of September, net income was up 24.5% to USD11.7 million (55 cents per fully diluted share) operating income increased 13.5% to approximately USD22.7 million add net operating revenue increased 11.5% to approximately USD98.6 million.
On a same station basis net operating revenue increased 6.1% to approximately USD93.7 million, and operating income increased 10.5% to approximately USD22.2 million.
Viacom revenues increased 4% to USD5.5 billion for the third quarter with overall advertising revenues growing 6% to USD3.1 billion. Third quarter 2004 operating income of USD1.34 billion increased 5% from USD1.28 billion in the same quarter last year, led by gains of 13% in Cable Networks, 7% in Television and 29% in Outdoor.
Overall posted a third-quarter loss of USD487.6-million Thursday as its earnings were hit by a USD1.5-billion charge related to its separation from the Blockbuster video rental chain.
For the nine months to the end of September 30, 2004, revenues increased 9% to USD16.2 billion and operating income increased 13% to USD3.8 billion Net earnings from continuing operations for the nine-month period increased 25% to USD 2.1 billion, (18 cents per diluted share). Viacom notes that result for the nine-month included severance charges of USD56 million.
Chairman and CEO ,Sumner M. Redstone, said, "This is an historic quarter for Viacom, one in which we not only continued to post solid operating results under the leadership of Tom Freston and Leslie Moonves, but also launched important long-term initiatives that will return significant value to our shareholders."
"Once again, our operating results were led by an outstanding third quarter performance from our Cable Networks and Television segments, which posted operating income gains of 13% and 7%, respectively. Our Outdoor division also posted a 29% increase in operating income for the quarter."
On the heels of our Blockbuster split-off, which resulted in the reduction of approximately 28 million outstanding Viacom shares, we intend to aggressively reduce our equity base even further under our USD8 billion stock purchase program. This ongoing initiative, along with the annualised
16.7% increase in our cash dividend, demonstrates not only our ability to generate significant free cash flow but also our confidence in the long-term performance of Viacom's high-growth businesses."
Viacom says it expects full year 2004 revenue growth from continuing operations of approximately 8%, operating income growth of approximately 14% and earnings per share growth of approximately 16%.
In divisional terms, cable network revenues in the third quarter were up 14% to USD 1.7 billion; TV increased 5% to USD2.0 billion; and Outdoor revenues increased 10% to USD479 million.
Radio revenues, however were down 4% to USD529 million "reflecting continued weakness in national and local advertising revenues" and Entertainment revenues were down 1% to USD1.1 billion.
Previous George Beasley:
2004-10-29: The BBC Radio 4 Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series that has just ended its run of six broadcasts attracted a million listeners online according to a report in the UK Guardian, which interviewed BBC Director of Radio and Music; Jenny Abramsky.
The figure was higher than that for the normally top rated listen-again online programme the daily farming soap The Archers and the paper says one episode had double the listeners that the soap did.
The Guardian reports that the Corporation is reluctant to give figures for the Archers but said that the breakfast Today Programme, third ranked by the BBC just behind Just a Minute, had 30,000 listen-again requests a week; It contrasted this with a figure for one edition of BBC Radio 1's most popular programme, Pete Tong's Essential Mix, that attracted more than 61,000 listen-again hits following the One Big Weekend event.
Abramsky said the figures vindicated BBC investment in the internet and commented, "We are completely amazed by the impact of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It's important to listeners. We have to continue making these kind of programmes to make people go to the web."
The BBC has dramatised the last three Hitchhiker books - Life, The Universe And Everything; So Long and Thanks For All The Fish; and Mostly Harmless - as two new series, the second of which will be broadcast in May.
Abramsky has also criticized part of the output of Radio 4, saying parts of the schedule were "painful" and said programming at times had been "safe rather than innovative."
"There have been times when some programming has not been good enough. Some of the quizzes on Radio 4 have been painful," she said.
The paper says that Abramsky later tried to qualify the remarks saying they referred to shows in the 1980s and newly-edited Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer said parts of the schedule had become "cosy" although he added there would be no dramatic changes [RNW comment: A wise move in view of the controversy former Radio 4 controller James Boyle attracted when he shook up the service.]
"Radio 4 is not a museum. It needs constant input to assess where we are. It is not ripe for revolution. No audience likes upheaval but there are some things we can do better," Damazer told a seminar on the future of the BBC.
Radio critic Gillian Reynolds, who sits on the DCMS independent panel on charter review, told the seminar that over the past year Radio 4 had "degenerated so much that it is now like a cat that's fallen asleep in a cosy cafe."
"Radio 4 might not need a revolution but it definitely needs a shot in the arm and a severe intellectual dusting," she added.
Damazer, whilst defending the record of the Today programme said he agreed "broadly" with Reynolds and commented, "Radio 4 does need an intellectual edge."
2004-10-29: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a USD 17,000 penalty to a Florida pirate operator.
Ward F. Dean of Pensacola had traced an unauthorized station to his property and issued a warning about unlicensed operation after they were asked if they had a search warrant and then refused access.
Dean had argued that he was not given an opportunity or hearing to defend himself, that the Commission exceeded its jurisdiction, that the agents trespassed on his property and refused to leave when requested to do so, that there was no evidence he operated the equipment and that issuing a fine to a citizen for "refusing to waive a constitutional right could be construed as unlawful punitive retaliation."
The Commission said the agents had merely knocked on Dean's door and asked to inspect the station, that his argument that someone else could have been operating the station was negated since he was in charge of the property and transmissions had ceased soon after the agents left, and that issuing the fine for operating a radio station without a license had no constitutional implications but simply represented enforcement of the law. It confirmed the full penalty.
2004-10-29: The BBC has rejected claims from DJ Andy Kershaw that his mentor and late colleague John Peel was "worn out" and had felt marginalized by the corporation before his death from a heart attack this week.
Kershaw, a former Radio 1 DJ who now hosts a world music programme on BBC Radio 3, said he had urged Peel to cut back his ours and told BBC Radio 4 Peel had said to him, "'They have put my programme back further into the night and I feel marginalized. It's killing me."
Kershaw added, "The last time I saw him he looked absolutely worn out. We went to a café near Radio 1 and I said, 'John, you look terrible.'"
Until July Peel's show had been aired Tuesdays through Thursdays from 22:00 to midnight but was then moved back an hour to start at 23:00. He had rejected the idea of pre-recording the first two shows - the third was normally broadcast from his home in Suffolk.
Although Peel's autobiography may not now be published (See RNW Oct 28) his estate could potentially benefit greatly from the record collection he had put together over the years.
According to the UK Daily Mirror, quoting his manager Clive Selwood, a US radio company has already offered more than GBP 1 million (USD 1.8 million) for the collections and the British Library has also expressed interest.
"There are tens of thousands of records. It's got all his annotations on it - three asterisks meant the record must be played," the paper quoted him as saying. "He had to extend his house in Suffolk to hold them all."
The BBC is consulting with Peel's family about a possible memorial service and the Glastonbury Festival is to remember him by naming the new bands tent at the festival the John Peel Stage.
UK Daily Mirror report:
2004-10-29: Canadian Satellite Radio, the consortium including XM that is bidding for an audio subscription service licence for Canada, has agreed a 13-year deal with General Motors of Canada to install CSR satellite radio receivers in 50 vehicles starting with its 2006 model year subject to CSR gaining a licence.
On Monday the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is to start holding a public hearing that is expected to run for several days to discuss three applications for subscription services - that of CSR, another from a consortium including Sirius, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Standard Radio, and a third for a more-limited terrestrial network CHUM Subscription Radio Canada (CHSRC) from a consortium of CHUM and Astral Media (See RNW Sep 22).
General Motors of Canada president Michael Grimaldi said in a news release that the company had already begun receiving inquiries from our customers asking when satellite radio will be available in Canada and CSR chairman John Bitove said they expected to install receivers in some 230,000 vehicles in the first three years of the agreement.
Only the CSR bidders have so far announced links with an automobile company in Canada.
2004-10-29: The latest report of the BBC Governors' Programme Complaints Committee covering the period from July 1 to September 30 upholds three complaints, one of them in part, from eleven appeals that it considered: Ten of them concerned matters of fairness and accuracy and one, an upheld TV complaints matters of taste and decency relating to an experimental comedy and comments about Jesus Christ and Christianity.
The other two complaints upheld both involved radio with another three radio and five TV complaints not upheld.
Upheld was a complaint against the Jon Gaunt Show on BBC Radio London in which the presenter, in relation to an incident in which two Greenpeace protesters had scales Big Ben.
The incident sparked security concerns and on his show Gaunt put forward the view that the protesters should have been warned to come down and then shot if they ignored the warnings.
A complainant had called the remarks "incredibly irresponsible" and also complained about the way in which Gaunt dealt with a police officer who called the show.
The BBC's Head of Programme Complaints had already upheld the latter element of the complaint but did not uphold the complaint against the remarks that he held were "were designed to promote discussion by putting forward extreme views."
The Complaints panel in upholding the complaint said that such extreme views should have been posed as rhetorical questions to provoke debate and concluded that it was unacceptable for a BBC presenter to express the personal view that the police should have shot at the protesters.
Partially upheld was a complaint concerning an interview about the airship R100 in a Making History programme on BBC Radio 4 and the Head of Programme Complaints had already upheld complaints relating to inaccuracy in saying that the R100 was designed by Dennistoun Burney when in fact it was designed by Barnes Wallis but not another complaint relating to the degree of innovation in the design.
The appeals panel said it regretted that the Programme Complaints Unit had not drawn on a wider range of expertise in rejecting the comment but had simply returned to the original contributor for his comment and found that there was sufficient evidence that the programme had "not accurately reflected the significant degree of originality in the R100 design."
Regarding a further complaint about the "rippling" of the R100 outer covering it found that this contributed to the dissatisfaction with the report but did not raise significant issues of accuracy and upheld only the part of the complaint relating to originality in design.
Previous BBC Complaints Bulletin (Governor's Appeals):
Previous BBC Complaints Bulletin (Complaints unit findings):
2004-10-28: Sirius satellite radio has highlighted the launch of its NFL programming and signing of Howard Stern in its third quarter results that again showed revenues growing strongly but losses also up.
Sirius says it had 662,289 subscribers at the end of September and is on target for a million by the end of the year: Its revenues increased from USD 4.3 million a year ago to USD 19.1 million and its adjusted loss from operations was up by USD 48.1 million to USD 125.7 million driven by increased subscriber acquisition costs.
Overall Sirius had a net loss applicable to common shareholders of USD 169.4 million (14 cents a share) compared to a loss of USD 106.7 (11 cents a share) a year ago.
During the quarter Sirius added 103,979 net subscribers from the retail channel, a 28% increase from the previous quarter and 75,659 net subscribers from its automotive, trucking and boating relationships, a 59% increase over the second quarter of 2004.
CEO Joseph P Clayton said the company's " progress during the third quarter was excellent, and these figures testify to this."
"With the introduction of exciting next generation products, more traction from our automotive channel, and our programming initiatives, such as the NFL, Eminem, and Maxim, you can feel the momentum building for SIRIUS," he added. "We will continue to drive all of these forces forward as we move into the busy holiday season and final quarter of the year."
"Howard Stern's move to Sirius promises to transform the satellite radio category," Clayton said. "Investment in best-in-class content like Howard Stern and the NFL is expected to drive demand and ensure our commercial success and category leadership far into the future."
During Sirius's conference call, Clayton said he'd be amenable to negotiating a deal for Stern to join the company early but didn't think this was likely. Stern's ratings, he said, are "higher than they've ever been"; adding that he didn't think Infinity would walk away from the advertising revenues from the show.
Sirius stock ended the day 3.23% down at USD 3.89.
2004-10-28: A planned autobiography by veteran British DJ John Peel whose death we reported yesterday may now never be published according to Transworld Books, a division of Random House, that bought the rights last year for a reported GBP 1.5 million (USD 2.75 million).
In April this year Peel was quoted in the UK Daily Mirror as saying he had only written around 1,5000 words of the planned 100,000 but since then he has said on his radio shows that he has been working on the book regularly.
The company says any decision will depend in part on the wishes of Peel's widow Sheila.
Tomorrow night in the slot normally occupied by Peel's regular Friday night show, BBC World Service is to air a special tribute show hosted by Mark Coles.
Amongst those who will talk on the part Peel played in shaping their careers will be Undertones lead singer Feargal Sharkey, Yes keyboard player Rick Wakeman and Blur bass guitarist Alex James.
2004-10-28: In a run of results declarations in Canada, Astral Media has reported fourth quarter profits up 53.7%, Corus has reported profits up 13% and Rogers Communications has turned a net loss of CAD 17.44 million (USD 14.24 million) to net income of CAD 61.58 million (USD 50.29 million).
Montreal-headquartered Astral received a boost from growth in specialty-television channels where advertising revenues were up strongly: overall it had a profit of CAD 27.2 million (CAD 0.48 per share - USD 22.2 million) on revenues up CAD 5.7% to 132.3 million (USD 108.0 million).
Within the figures, TV revenues were up 6.3% to CAD 93.6 million (USD 76.4 million), Radio revenues were marginally down from CAD 27.5 million (USD 22.5 million) to CAD 26.7 million (USD 21.8 million) and outdoor revenues were up 5.7% to CAD 133.3 million (USD 108.8 million).
For the full year it had record results with profit up 30.5% to CAD 88.5 million (CAD 1.57 per share USD 72.3 million)- net earnings from continuing operations were up 28% to CAD 91.5 million (USD 74.7 million) on revenues up 9% to CAD 519 million (USD 423.6 million).
Divisional figures for the year were TV revenues up 8.5% to CAD 377.4 million (USD 308.2 million), radio revenues up 12.3% to CAD 102.8 million (USD 83.9 million) and outdoor revenues up 6.3% to CAD 38.5 million (USD 31.5 million)
President and CEO Ian Greenberg said Astral was "very pleased that the Company has once again delivered outstanding results for its shareholders" and added, "Once again, our unique combination of low-cost, high-quality media platforms, along with our well-balanced subscriber-advertising revenue mix, has proven very rewarding."
Commenting on divisional performances, he said, "In Television, pay-TV subscribership was up by 7% to reach over 1.4 million viewers. Advertising revenues from our specialty networks rose by 17%, as advertising dollars continued to migrate from conventional to specialty television."
"The Radio group saw its revenues increase by 12% over last year. It also achieved one of the highest EBITDA margins in the Canadian radio industry with a remarkable 34.4% for Fiscal 2004, due to strong ratings and operational efficiencies."
"After a difficult first half of the year, the Outdoor group gained momentum and eventually saw revenues grow by 6%."
Toronto-headquartered Corus Entertainment reported fourth quarter net income up 13% to CAD 14 million (CAD 0.33 per share- USD 11.4 million) on revenues down 7% to CAD 163 million (USD 133 million) as radio and TV revenues rose but content division ones fell: TV revenues driven by strong subscriber revenue growth of 5% as well as advertising revenue growth of 2% were up 4% to CAD 163 million (USD 133 million) and radio revenues were up 1% to CAD 58.3 million.
Corus notes that radio profits for the quarter were down from CAD 16.6 million (USD 13.6 million) to CAD 16.2 million (USD 13.2 million) and links this to increased expenses that "reflect the investment in programming on several newly formatted stations which contributed to strong performances in the summer BBM measurements."
Content revenues plummeted from CAD 44.1 million (USD 36.0 million) to CAD 27.7 million (USD 22.6 million), largely because of a decline in merchandising revenues. The content division, however, turned a loss a year earlier of CAD 900,000 (USD 734,000) into a profit of CAD 100,000 (USD 82,000).
For the full year, Corus had a net loss of CAD 23.1 million (CAD 0.54 per share - USD 18.9 million) compared to net income of CAD 40 million (USD 32.7 million) for 2003 but notes that excluding the non-cash write-down of film investments recorded in the third quarter and the required expensing of stock options, segment profit was up 7% to CAD 176.7 million (USD 144.3 million), on revenues that were up 4% to CAD 666.8 million (USD 544.5 million).
Divisional figures were TV revenues up 8% to CAD 332.3 million (USD 271.4 million) and TV profit up 10% to CAD 125.1 million (USD 102.2 million); radio revenues up 1% to CAD 227.9 million (USD 186.1 million) with profit up 3% to CAD 60 million (USD 49 million); and content revenues down 3% to CAD 112.6 million (USD 92 million) with a loss of CAD 83.7 million (USD 68.4 million) down from a profit of CAD 1.3 million (USD 1.1 million). Corus notes that excluding the write-down, segment profit for the year was CAD 1.3 million (USD 1.1 million).
Corus said its figures were significantly affected by changes in Ontario tax rates and a write-down of its film investment in the fiscal 2004 year and restructuring charges, asset write-downs and losses on the sale of investments in fiscal 2003
Executive Chair Heather Shaw said Corus had "shown impressive growth this year in its core specialty television assets while making solid progress in identifying and addressing challenges in the radio and content businesses."
President and CEO John Cassaday added, "We had solid performance in our television division and in most of our radio station clusters. Largely as a result of the non-cash write-down at Nelvana in the third quarter, our results in fiscal 2004 were below our expectations and guidance for segment profit growth but our free cash flow and net debt reduction exceeded our guidance." "Exclusive of the write-down, we posted record segment profit for the year. We are confident Nelvana will be a profit contributor for the future. We continue to operate the division on a cash neutral basis and we are still on track to reduce our production costs by 25% over a three year period."
Rogers Communications, reporting its third quarter, said revenues had been up 18.3% to CAD 1.43 billion (USD 1.17 billion) with operating profit up 14% to CAD 456 million (CAD 372 million) as Cable, Wireless and Media Divisions each delivered solid financial and operating results.
Overall it had net income of CAD 61.6 million (USD 50.3 million) compared to a loss of CAD 17.4 (USD 14.2 million) in 2003. The latest quarter was boosted by foreign exchange gains of CAD 35.8 million (USD 29.2 million) on U.S. dollar-denominated debt.
Rogers said its media division saw "strong performances at the Radio division and The Shopping Channel more than offset continued softness in certain publications of the Publishing division and in over-the-air television advertising at the Television division to produce 14.3% year-over-year growth in Media's operating profit."
The media division reported revenues in the quarter up 6.2% to CAD 206.8 million ((USD 168.9 million) compared to a 22.5% increase in Wireless revenues to CAD 721.1 million (USD 588.8 million) and of 9.8% in cable to CAD 489.4 million (USD 399.6 million).
In his comments, President and CEO Ted Rogers spoke of "solid operating and financial results across the Rogers group" and highlighted initiatives in its wireless area that "combined with our ongoing focus across the Rogers group on stable operating performance and profitable growth, are positioning us increasingly for continued success well into the future."
Previous Ted Rogers:
2004-10-28: Latest Irish radio ratings from the JNLR/MRBI interim survey just released for the period from April to September 2004 show that compared to a year earlier overall adult listening in the country was up three points to 89% of the population and up two points on the figures for the year to the end of June this year.
The national listenership figure for any regional/local station was up three points to 56% and among national stations listened yesterday weekday figures for RTÉ Radio 1 were unchanged at 28% - up 1% on the full year figures; 2FM was down one point to 24%, the same as the full year figures; and Today FM and RTÉ Lyric FM were each up one point to 16% - it was 14% for the full year - and 4% - 3% for the full year - respectively.
In Dublin, RTÉ Radio 1 lost two points but was in the lead with a 30% listenership followed by 98FM, down two points to 20% and FM101 with an unchanged 20%.
The largest increases were for Q102 - in fifth place behind 2FM, which has an unchanged 15%, and up six points to 13%- and seventh-placed Spin 1038, which was up four points to 9%. At the bottom Dublin's Country FM was down 1 point to 3%.
In Cork, 96FM/County Sound maintained its dominance with 47%, down 2, followed by RTÉ Radio 1, up one point to 29%, and 2FM with an unchanged 17% and amongst local stations notable performances came from Limerick's Live 95FM with a 57% reach (No previous figures are applicable); WLR with 53%, down two points; and Galway Bay FM with 47%, up four points.
Previous Irish Ratings:
2004-10-27: US shock jock Howard Stern took on Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K. Powell in a phone call to the Ronn Owens show on San Francisco ABC station KGO-AM on Tuesday.
Stern took Powell on with comments saying Powell was unqualified for his post, had got the job through patronage from his father, Secretary of State Colin Powell, that the FCC had enforced indecency fines on him through "racketeering" because it had held up Viacom station transactions and renewals until fines had been paid, and that what the Commission was doing was "dangerous to free speech."
. "When will you allow this to go to court and stop practicing your form of racketeering that you do by making stations pay up or you hold back their license renewal?" asked Stern.
Powell said claims made by Stern were flatly false," saying there was no reason why Viacom or any other company who felt they had been wrongly fined couldn't sue the FCC in court.
He also said Stern should not attack him personally but take on the Commission, pointing out that Democrats on the commission had called for tougher not lighter penalties.
Owens and other callers also raised issues of indecency penalties and also of matters such as media consolidation and the Sinclair TV company's plans to air an anti-Kerry "documentary" just before the Presidential election (Sinclair backed off considerably and aired only part of the programme plus discussion about it).
Powell responded by pointing out that proposed FCC regulations had in fact tightened restrictions on radio ownership, said that a balance had to be struck between interests when it came to consolidation and noted that stations had to be financially viable, and in the Sinclair case emphasized that, as with indecency cases, it was prohibited from prior restraint or censorship and severely constrained by law in all cases on action it could take after a broadcast.
RNW comment: In our view Powell not only trounced Stern, whose comments were ill-informed and ill thought through, but in many ways put Stern's case against regulation better than Stern seems capable of doing.
He summed up neatly the fact that Stern might well have a case for no restraints by government but that it wasn't the FCC that made the laws; it only enforced them.
About the only areas where there was much good news for Stern were firm statements that the same rules would be applied equally to complaints against Oprah Winfrey and Howard Stern - he said some complaints against the Winfrey Show were under consideration - and that in his view there should not be restraints on subscription services as had been called for by some broadcasters. Powell also pointed out firmly that the courts were likely to throw out plans for such legislation anyway on First Amendment grounds.
KGO web site (This has audio of the the one-hour segment of the show including Powell until 0900 Pacific time/ Noon ET/ 1600 GMT today)
2004-10-27: Veteran British DJ and radio host John Peel - real name John Robert Parker Ravenscroft - has died of a heart attack during a working holiday in Peru with his wife Sheila. Peel, who was 65, was the longest-serving DJ for BBC Radio 1, which he joined at its launch in 1967 and was renowned for championing new bands.
His radio career began in the US where he had moved after National Service (conscription in the Royal Artillery and after making occasional appearances on several stations in Dallas the arrival of Beatlemania gave his career boost leading KOMA-AM in Oklahoma to hire him on the basis of being born near to Liverpool (in Heswall, Cheshire) and a newly-cultivated "scouse " (Liverpudlian) accent. He moved to KMEN-AM in San Bernardino in 1966 and a year later became a DJ on the pirate ship Radio London, where he took the name John Peel where he hosted a late night show The Perfumed Gardenand was the first to air the Beatles Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
When the pirates were outlawed he was one of the inaugural intake of DJs at the new BBC pop station Radio 1 where he initially presented the weekend Top Gea" show and later in partnership with the late John Walters a regular weekday show.
He managed to survive at Radio 1, where has was until his death still hosting a late-night show three nights a week - Tuesdays through Thursdays - as well as, since 1998, a weekly tit-bits compendium Home Truths on BBC Radio 4 and also World Service shows.
In 2002 he was awarded the Sony Gold to mark his outstanding contribution to radio over 35 years of broadcasting.
Tributes were paid from figure sranging from British Prime Minister Tony Blair who said he was "an extraordinary and unique personality" through BBC director General Mark Thompson who described him as "one of the giants of radio and will be missed, not just by everyone at the BBC, but by millions of listeners of all ages" to fellow DJs and members of bands he had helped.
These ranged from groups such as the Small Faces and Pink Floyd in his early days, punk notables such as the Ramones, The Clash and the Sex Pistols, and played reggae and hip-hop groups whose music he introduced to many Britons.
When Radio One announced his death it played The Undertones' Teenage Kicks, one of his favourite songs, followed by tracks from the White Stripes and the Strokes - two other groupts in the revival in guitar-based indie music that Peel was very much associated with.
Undertones bass player, Michael Bradley, told the BBC Peel's death had robbed radio and the music industry of one of its greatest voices and added, "He was a very funny, very warm man and we will always be grateful for what he did for The Undertones."
Tributes were also paid by members of many other bands including Blur, The Manic Street Preachers, New Order, Radiohead, The Smiths, and Supergrass - whose debut single Caught By The Fuzz was first played on radio by Peel,
Fellow BBC Radio One DJ Jo Whiley, who presented coverage of the Glastonbury Festival with Peel, said, "John was simply one of my favourite men in the whole world - as a music fan and presenter he was simply an inspiration."
Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt said Peel's contribution to modern music and culture was "immeasurable" and added, " "Hopeful bands all over the world sent their demo tapes to John knowing that he really cared. "
"His commitment and passion for new music only grew stronger over the years. In fact, when I last saw him he was engaged in a lively debate with his fellow DJs over the state of new music today."
BBC News report:
2004-10-27: In Mexico, Grupo Radio Centro, which owns 14 stations, has reported third quarter broadcasting revenues running to the end of September down 29% on a year earlier to MXN 133.3 million (USD 11.6 million).
Broadcasting expenses were also down - by 30.4% to MXN 94.6 million (USD 8.2 million) and broadcasting income was down 25.5% to MXN 38.7 million (USD 3.37 million).
It puts most of the decrease down to the ending of its broadcasting of news from Infored (See RNW Mar 4) but the costs savings more than outweighed revenue losses leading to an operating income increase of 7.9% to MXN 11,8 million (USD 1.03 million).
Overall Grupo Radio reduced its net loss for the quarter to MXN 5.64 million (USD 490,000) from MXN 13.88 million (USD 1.2 million)
For the first nine months of the year, Grupo Radio has reported revenues down 43.6% on a year earlier to MXN 366.6 million (USD 31.88 million (as the revenue fall out from losing Infored was compounded by the absence of political advertising revenues from congressional elections that boosted its results a year ago.
Expenses were down 23.8% but still left broadcasting income down 73% to MXN 70.87 million (USD 6.26 million) and an overall loss of MXN 68.9 million (USD 6.0 million) compared to net income of MXN 50.6 million (USD 4.4 million) a year earlier.
Previous Grupo Radio:
2004-10-27: Grokster founder Daniel Rung of Palm Springs, his brother Michael Rung, his son Matthew Rung and former Grokster President Wayne Rosso, have settled a piracy lawsuit filed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) according to the Los Angeles Times.
It says that the men are to pay damages totalling USD 500,000 and in addition Sakfield Holding Co., the Spanish company the Rungs created to operate the Puretunes web site, has been ordered to pay USD 10 million although the paper comments that collection will be difficult because the site was closed down after operating for only a few weeks.
Puretunes sold MP3s of songs at a cheap rate - unlimited downloads for as little as 83 cents a day - but did not obtain licences from either the recording companies or the Spanish associations of music publishers and performing artists that its lawyer said was all they were required to obtain under Spanish law.
Investigators said the Rungs, created an elaborate web of companies in various countries to conceal their ownership of Puretunes and Sakfield Holdings but were traced through it service providers and computers, which were based in North America.
It sold some 2 million downloads in its short time of operation according to the recording companies and RIAA president Cary Sherman said it "duped consumers by claiming it was a legitimate online music retailer when, in fact, it was no such thing."
Los Angeles Times report:
2004-10-27: XM satellite radio in conjunction with Delphi has introduced a portable version of its satellite radio that is due in stores in December and that it hopes will create a demand for it beyond its primary mobile market of vehicle owners.
The XM2GO receiver will cost USD 350: it weighs 7.3 ounces (210 grams) and includes a hard drive for pausing and recording up to five hours of transmissions, had up to 30-presets and has a rechargeable battery. Standard accessories include headphones and a remote control.
Like rival Sirius satellite radio's smallest receiver, the Xact XTR1 "Stream Jockey", the MyFi has a built in FM transmitter enabling its signal to be received by a standard FM tuner but the Sirius product, which costs USD 149 including car kit, does not have its own battery, hard drive facility, or built-in antenna.
On the automobile receiver front, Sirius has also announced that it is to supply an interior windshield-mounted antenna, the SIGMA, developed in conjunction with RecepTec, plus factory-options for its system with the Mercedes-Benz SLK350 Roadster, 2006 BMW 3 Series starting in the Summer of 2005 and as a dealer-installed option in four 2005 model year Volvos
In the UK, a number of new digital audio receivers have been announced in advance of the Christmas shopping season.
They include the GBP 100 (USD 180) Pure Evoke-1XT DAB digital radio, an enhanced follow-up to the company's Evoke-1 that adds facilities such as a countdown times for kitchen use and a USB connector for updates; a GBP 200 (USD 360) portable Revo system that can be used in conjunction with a battery and headphones kit (an extra GBP 50, US D 80), in an automobile or with a home audio system; and a new range of M&G DAB radios that include the facility to recoin MP3 format on to internal memory or flash-memory cards..
2004-10-27: Salem has announced yet another acquisition. It is paying USD 10 million for Grace University's Christian station KGBI-FM, Omaha, Nebraska.
Commenting o the deal, Salem president and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III said the company was "pleased to have the opportunity to acquire KGBI-FM, a strong heritage Christian station in a growing market like Omaha, where we previously have not had a station presence."
"We look forward to continuing Grace University's tradition of public service to the greater Omaha community with Salem's distinctive Christian and public affairs programming," he added.
Grace has operated the station since 1966 and its president President Dr. Jim Eckman said the sale achieves two primary University objectives, "a strategic and tactical decision to focus the University's resources on higher education which is both our core competency and our central mission" and "the continuation of high-quality Christian radio for KGBI listeners in Omaha and surrounding communities."
2004-10-26: MobilTrak Inc. of Phoenix has set up in the Washington, DC, area a trial of its system that monitors which channels car drivers are listening to so that advertisers can better target their adverts.
The Washington Post reports that so far the company has put its devices in 14 locations and plans to add them in eight more: The system works by picking up the faint signals that car antennas emit and the solar-powered units can handle signals across six lanes of traffic from cars up to 140 feet away in the same way.
The information is not linked to individual vehicles at the moment and so is not causing serious privacy concerns although there are worries about its potential.
Barry Steinhardt, director of the technology and liberty program at the American Civil Liberties Union told the paper, "It would be a quick leap to connect that data with other data. Technology is moving at the speed of light. We've reached a point where there are few technological bars to doing anything."
The Post says that amongst advertisers most interested in the system are auto deals who expect to make most sales to people near their dealerships.
Jim Giddings, general manager of a dealers in Woodbridge, told the paper his dealership, which spends USD 90,000 a month on advertising, had until recently been spending USD 25,000 of that on a talk station and another on a contemporary music station that his advertising agency had recommended after examining Arbitron ratings.
When he signed on with MobilTrak two months ago he found that Arbitron's top two stations didn't even rank in the top 10 for in-car radio listeners driving past his dealership and he shifted his budget, allotting the most money to a news show and a contemporary music station identified as popular by MobilTrak.
"It was a real eye-opener," he said but he reserved judgment on whether the changer is attracting more customers. "I don't know yet," he said. "I'll have a better idea 90 days from now maybe."
Responding to a query about the differences, Arbitron spokesman Thom Mocarsky described MobilTrak as "complementary" to Arbitron's services and commented, "MobilTrak tells you what your selection of stations should be but it doesn't tell you how many people you are reaching and what you should pay for it. The station with the biggest audience is not necessarily the best buy for a particular advertiser."
The system is also attracting interest from radio companies and Clear Channel and Infinity are trying it in the Washington area.
Bennett Zier, Clear Channel's vice president for the Washington-Baltimore area commented that if it shows his company's show a following for its stations in a particular area "that's a chance for me to show all the retailers there that we're a good investment."
Infinity SVP Michael Hughes singled out the speedy response as of value and cited information provided the day after a broadcast on listeners to a Washington Redskins game on WJFK-FM.
He said he knew the information was limited but added, "Media these days is about immediacy. And to have immediate measurement is very attractive."
MobilTrak was founded in Alabama in 1998 by Jim Christian, who once owned the software firm TapScan, which interpreted ratings from radio and TV stations and was sold to Arbitron in 1998.
It has been involved in other projects such as electronic billboards that could display a message tailored to profiles of typical listeners to particular stations (See RNW Dec 26, 2002) and also operates in Seattle, Los Angeles, New Jersey and Charlotte, North Carolina.
In April this year C. David Boice, its managing partner, in conjunction with his father Craig Boice, and partner Kevin Gallagher took an 80% interest in the company selling a Virginia software company they owned and have now boosted their marketing efforts.
RNW comment: Although at first glance Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) and the Radiocontrol wristwatch device that identifies the signals a wearer is listening to might seem to cover some of the same ground as MobilTrak, there are significant differences, the prime one of which is that MobilTrak picks up aggregate information on what is tuned to without requiring individual participation.
The other devices produce more detailed information as to what individuals are listening and thus allow calculation from the sample but this is, as Arbitron said, complementary information.
Previous Clear Channel:
Washington Post report:
2004-10-26: Six times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong is to host his own show on Sirius satellite radio.
The cyclist, who in addition to his sporting prowess has conquered cancer, founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation that helps to fight it; the foundation has sold more than 18 million yellow Livestrong bracelets at a dollar apiece.
Armstrong's show, which has yet to be named, will debut later this year on Sirius Faction, a music channel created especially for action and outdoor sports enthusiasts.
Sirius President of Entertainment and Sports Scott Greenstein commented, "Lance Armstrong is arguably the greatest, most inspirational athlete and humanitarian in the sporting world. His accomplishments both as a cyclist, a two-time best-selling author and as founder of the Lance Armstrong Foundation are unparalleled."
Armstrong added, "Sirius has already gathered an amazing group of sports heroes for the Faction channel, and I'm honoured to be included among them. Each week, I'll share some of my experiences, speak with listeners, bring on special guests, and most importantly play some of my favourite music."
2004-10-26: Veteran Canadian broadcaster Jeremy Brown who worked for Standard Radio's CFRB-AM, Toronto, for 29 years and retired in 1996 has died aged 74.
For a period in the 1980s he was broadcasting two entertainment commentaries a day for the station and also a daily City Comment essay for sister-station CKFM: He moved briefly at the end of the 80s to CJEZ-FM but then returned to CFRB and after his retirement worked for a while at Toronto classical station CFMX-FM.
2004-10-26: Air America is now on the air in Seattle on Infinity's former classic country station KYCW-AM, which had been re--branded KPTK.
KPTK has a 50,000 watt signal that covers an area from around Centralia to the south to the Canadian border to the north whereas most of its affiliates are much less powerful- only in Denver and Miami does it have a powerful signal.
Air America president Jon Sinton told the Puget Sound Business Journal that it had taken time to get into the market because the company had been concentrating on major markets first, commenting, "The top 10 markets are really critical, but that's not to say if someone had raised their hand in Seattle and said we've got to have you, we wouldn't have been on the air in Seattle."
Seattle is known as a Democrat-leaning city and Dave McDonald, senior vice president and market manager at Infinity Radio Seattle, said they felt they'd " be able to generate more audience with the new format," adding, "The liberal view has been underrepresented in talk radio and there seems to be a great deal of interest in it."
Air America says on its web site that it now has 36 affiliates: These are said to be able to reach some 40% of the US population.
Previous Piquant/Air America:
Puget Sound Business Journal report:
2004-10-25: For our look at print cover of radio this week we couldn't resist a radio review of a weekly programme from Finland, which is also on the internet: It came in the UK Sunday Times and Roland White who said it was his "plan this week, as a change from the normal service, to seek out bizarre and unusual radio programmes from around the world."
"Well, that was my plan," he continued. "Unfortunately, I could find only one in the time allotted. It's such a cracker, though, that I'm going to devote the entire column to it. I might even, if the facts are flagging a little towards the end, use this one small, foreign programme to draw a series of outrageous and unsustainable conclusions about British radio."
" What caught my imagination was a Finnish station that broadcasts a regular news service in classical Latin, an idea of outstanding eccentricity."
"The bulletins themselves sound like a Scandinavian satirist trying to perfect her impression of the Pope, but there are apparently thousands of listeners in Finland, not to mention an audience of Latin students in 50 countries who listen on short wave and the internet."
White also comments on the nature of the programme, which began some 13 years ago with a feature that proved so popular that a decision was made to broadcast a regular Latin feature and also writes, "You might also be thinking that Latin is not a suitable language for the hurly-burly of modern news, but in fact it is particularly suited to the current world situation."
"As anybody with the smallest experience of beginner's Latin will tell you, the Romans enjoyed nothing better than laying waste to their enemies, particularly the Carthaginians. So headlines such as 'Nulla in Iraquia arma interneciva' - no weapons of mass destruction (literally 'weapons of massacre') in Iraq - pose no translation difficulty."
And as he concludes with relation to British radio, "It's difficult to imagine anything quite as eccentric appearing on Radio 4, but who knows? Et nunc in Radio Quattuor, Sagittarii - an everyday story of country folk.[A rererence to the BBC Radio 4 Archers soap opera]"
Not as strange as a Latin bulletin but odd nevertheless is the idea in the US of what might be termed thoughtful conservative talk radio but that according to a report from Nathaniel Popper in Forward is what telecom mogul Howard Jonas, the founder of IDT Corporation, is pushing.
Jonas is aiming to useWMET-AM, Washington, D.C., that his company has bought as a launching pad for building a national network of conservative talk stations with a style more akin to that of NPR than Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage.
"The problem," Jonas told the paper, "is that I have no choice but to listen to [National Public Radio] even though it's full of pro-Palestinian propaganda, anti-Americanism and is definitely socialist in its outlook." [RNW note: To put those comments in context it should be borne in mind that Jonas is well known for his work for Republican and Orthodox Jewish causes and was vice chair of the recent Republican National Convention.]
He says he respects the success of the shock jocks and conservative talk hosts but adds, "anybody who listens to Rush [Limbaugh] or Howard Stern is either unintelligent or needs to turn off their intelligence during the time they're listening."
His programming according to his advertising is going to be "engaging, not raging" but its perspective is certainly going to be partisan: The morning programming is hosted by Linda Chavez, a former adviser to Ronald Reagan, the afternoon is hosted by controversial Orthodox rabbi Shmuley Boteach and William Kristol editor of the neoconservative Weekly Standard magazine supplies a daily news analysis and the station is developing a Sunday show for him and conservative Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer.
Jonas commented, "We are not ashamed of values. They are going to come out."
Jonas has made serious attempts to purchase other stations towards building a network but, reports the paper, insiders think he faces an uphill struggle.
"There's a lot of competition in talk, and there's a lot of people who try it," said Robert Unmacht, a partner with iN3 Partners, a media consulting firm. "History has shown us a lot of failed talk networks."
Unmacht was also dubious about the basic conception of the show, saying, "He's going to have to come up with a more exciting line-up of characters. Viewpoints come second. First you have to find someone people want to listen to."
Tom Taylor, editor of Inside Radio, said Jonas and WMET have the strength of a coherent philosophy and "the bank roll" to make things happen but concluded, "It's not just a money-making proposition."
RNW comment: Forward also notes that Salem is also a competitor for a similar market and we'd guess that its Christian orientation probably won't make the output that dissimilar, so we'd share the doubts about Jonas's likelihood of success.
We also remember many years ago, before satellite distribution that an attempt by Adolf Coors to build up a conservative TV news network failed despite significant financial backing. Unlike Salem and Murdoch with the Fox network, there were no other media resources and comparatively little media experience to sustain them but the comparative cost of radio may yet mean that Jonas can keep going. We doubt, however, that he'll make much money from the venture.
Not mentioned as a possible competitor by Forward is satellite radio although the defection of Howard Stern when his current terrestrial contract expires has certainly put the matter on the agenda for many.
Satellite, however, is already competing for talk radio audiences with a wide spectrum of programming on both Sirius and XM.
The latter stole a march on its rival with the hiring of former National Public Radio (NPR) Morning Edition host Bob Edwards to run his own show on its public radio channel but according to Steve Johnson in the Chicago Tribune, although Edwards is doing well for XM, Morning Edition is also, to quote Johnson "retaining its stranglehold on those people who seek information in depth in the mornings -- people not unlike Edwards."
The article then quotes Edwards himself:" "It's still the best news program on radio. I said people should continue to listen to `Morning Edition' and then come over and listen to me after."
There is caution still, however, whether the protests over Edwards departure may have had an effect on the show's support and, although, as Johnson asks," where else are they going to go?" some in public radio are not yet completely ruling out any possible long-term effects.
Johnson notes that the audience is only down a little - from 13.07 million to 12.87 million a week according to NPR - and this could be due to what's actually been happening in the world.
Torey Malatia, general manager of Chicago public radio station WBEZ-FM, said dire threats of loss of support had fallen off and added, "My guess is it won't have an impact on our upcoming November drive."
And as for the show, now hosted by Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne in Washington and Los Angeles respectively? Although program directors at a number of NPR affiliates have said they're fans of the new hosts, Malatia was measured in his judgment. "The new hosts are fine. Bob was fine," he said. "There's no particular advantage to the change from Bob to Steve and Renee, and I think the two-city thing has minimum interest and impact.
For Edwards the change seems to have been a plus and although he says he "still making public-radio money" he added, "Radio is fun again. Why? The fact that it's something new in a shop that is relatively new. The fact that everyone here is just so radio. The fact that I got to pick this little staff of eight. They're all old friends from public radio."
Johnson says Edwards's show, made up of Edwards and guests, "mostly works, although, even with the first interview relating to the news, a listener can feel the absence of that firm grounding that newscasts and a stable of correspondents give a show."
He also notes that, whilst not becoming a Stern, the absence of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulation does give Edwards more freedom as for example accurately quoting profanities from the late President Johnson in an interview about the former president.
And still with satellite radio, praise from Pennsylvania and Lara Brenckle in Centre Daily from Pennsylvania State College. When her boyfriend bought XM her first reaction was that "he'd been swayed, like most men, by the latest electronic gadget."
The programming it would appear speedily changed her mind - she is now a subscriber - and she comments on the reasons:" Commercial radio has become intolerable Adults, especially those in the coveted 18- to 34-year-old demographic, want to be treated like adults. We want music that doesn't suck stuck on an endless spin cycle. We actually like to experiment with music from different cultures and hear stories you won't find in mainstream media . We want news that's not interrupted by a sales pitch. And yes, we like our comedians to swear. We are not fooled by the bleeps and cuts."
"The only people I feel sorry for in this whole debate are the guys and gals on commercial radio. They're just looking to keep a job in a field they love. They can't help the rules set by everyone from their bosses to the FCC about what they can and can't do. They're just the mouthpiece, and they do what they're told with as much creativity, fun and silliness as they're permitted."
On then, to some picks for listening that is still available via the Internet.
First courtesy of BBC Radio 4 is Good Vibrations, a programme that aired last Tuesday (on the Listen Again part of the web site) that tells the history of the theremin, the hands-off instrument named its inventor Leon Theremin (Lev Sergeivitch Termen), who was born in St Petersburg in 1896 and who patented the device in 1921- his US patent came some seven years later and the machine was made and distributed by RCA during the 30s although it was not commercially successful.
A machine was presented to Lenin in 1924 - for use as a burglar alarm although Lenin was impressed enough to take some lessons in playing it and commission 600 machines - and in the same year Theremin began public performances of his "'ether-wave music".
The programme combines the story of the instrument and a complex life that included a time as an industrial espionage agent in the USA and a spell in a Soviet labour camp in Siberia and inventing the electronic "bug" as well as an instrument probably best known for its use in the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations and science fiction movies such as The Day the Earth Stood Still and indeed in part of the original Star Trek opening theme.
Still with music, but moving to BBC Radio 2, this Wednesday (21:00 GMT) sees the third episode of Don't Look Back in Anger, a four part history of Britpop (the second episode is still on the site for now) and the same channel on Friday (18:00 GMT) has the second of Fascinating Rhythms, a six-part series of George Gershwin.
And for music from different roots BBC Radio 3's Sunday Feature last week (again available via Listen Again) was You Dance Because You Have To, the story of how Katherine Dunham travelled to Haiti and the Caribbean, and Pearl Primus' to Africa and then returned to re-invigorate the tradition of African dance into a US where it had become watered down in minstrel shows and vaudeville.
For the more serious BBC Radio 4 on Saturday investigated the phenomenon of a book recently cited by George W. Bush as the most influential book he had ever read - The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
For a different perspective on the Bush family and a wider perspective on US politics we'd suggest a dip into the US National Public Radio site that is currently carrying Presidential Conversations on the Constitution, a series of conversations by NPR Senior News Analyst Cokie Roberts with former presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, a George H.W. Bush.
The latter is particularly revealing on the matter of the power to declare war and also on the way separation of powers worked in a situation where he had to work with a Democratic Congress, specifically in relation to taxes.
On to comedy and first with a bite we'd continue to recommend the News Quiz from BBC Radio 4 (Fridays at 17:30 GMT with a Saturday lunchtime repeat) and for those who appreciate dogs a dip into About a Dog: The last whimsical edition of this three-part series ran on Radio 4 last Wednesday.
We'd also suggest last week's Woman's Hour drama (available for a week so the first story dies today on the site): Community Flock by Richard Monks is based on the idea of keeping a flock of sheep on a green in London but is also fairly strong in its observations about humans.
For those with a religious cum historical bent, try Radio 4 tonight at 19:00 GMT when in The First Christian Document? Oxford academic, Alan Jarrow claims to have identified the record of crisis meeting in Jerusalem at which St Paul persuaded Jesus's Disciples that you didn't have to become a Jew to be a Christian.
Still with history but this time of a much more recent provenance in The Secret Life of Phone Numbers Ian Peacock looks at the way in which the phone system developed in the UK.
Centre Daily - Brenckle:
Chicago Tribune - Johnson:
Finnish Radio web site:
Forward - Popper:
UK Sunday Times - White:
2004-10-25: A feature in the New York Times on Opie and Anthony's (Anthony Cumia and Gregg Hughes) show on XM satellite radio not only looks at the way the duo are restraining themselves now they have been freed of the constraints of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations that in their case contributed to their firing by Infinity but also gives a tiny glimpse into the finances of their move.
Although XM executive vice president of programming Eric Logan declined to say how many subscribers the duo had attracted - their show costs an extra USD 1.99 a month over and above the standard USD 9.999 monthly subscription - he said the show was becoming popular and emphasized that XM expected to reach 20 million subscribers by 2010.
Although the hosts skirted mentions of Howard Stern who is moving to Sirius in 15 months on a USD 500 million five-year deal - which would mean they need to attract some 4 million subscribers to match his costs - they are going to come under increased pressure after his move and suggests the Times this may put them under increasing pressure to shock.
The pair say they hate being called shock-jocks and say they're out to do more than just shock, which poses its own problems when the main restrains are their own sense of what is permissible.
"That's what scared us," said Cumia said, "because Anthony and I were trying to prove to them and everybody else out there that, 'Look, we're not shock jocks.' We hated that term. We do so much more than that."
Logan commented of the show, "I think what they're popular for is a unique kind of content that we realize is not for everybody, but there is a market for it."
And the content not for everybody? The Times reports that a recent show was featuring a comedy segment "Guess What's in My Pants" in which a caller and her husband had agreed to have sex so the show's listeners could eavesdrop and one recent show included "comedy" items "mocking mentally retarded and gay people, debating women's anatomy and making racist remarks, ostensibly as a way to make fun of racists or political correctness or both."
In addition to this - and the Times notes they could have done most of it "(very carefully, with euphemisms) on public airwaves - the report says "they were able to read verbatim, and to great comic effect, from the obscenity-laced lawsuit accusing the Fox television host Bill O'Reilly of sexual harassment, to have an old regular, the comic songwriter Stephen Lynch, perform a song called "Craig Christ," about Jesus' little-known reprobate brother, which probably would have got them fired by the third stanza on regular radio, and to recite all seven of the words that George Carlin once identified as the ones you could never say on television."
Despite this the duo have been avoiding swearing - Opie said this "takes away from what we are, which is a very funny, clever, entertaining show " and Anthony added that they were rationing the shock.
"There's "a shocking element to the show," he allowed, "but it's what we call the attention-getter. It's to get people in, to get people to spread the word. Then once they're in, now they're listening to a show that sounds like a discussion between their friends, of guys talking about guy things."
RNW comment: The Times says these "guy things " mean, "if their first shows are an indication, chiefly pornography, body odours, bodily functions, celebrities, sports, politics and having sex with prostitutes." We will leave further evaluation of how typical this is of the US male - and presumably subscription figures for the show and listening to Stern will eventually give a reasonable idea - to others but if it is other than a fairly small minority the combination of them and listeners to Limbaugh et al would indicate a somewhat deficient nation in our view both as regards knowledge and breadth of interests.
Previous Opie and Anthony:
New York Times report:
2004-10-24: Last week saw a steady run of activity from the regulators albeit without any major decisions.
In Australia, the main announcement from the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) was to invite applications for 68 open narrowcasting radio services to serve locations in New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.
Each licence will be sold via an auction-style allocation to the highest bidder in cases where there are competing applications and the reserve of AUD 4,000 (USD 3,000) applying should there only be a single bid.
The ABA has also allocated a new community licence for Gifford, New South Wales to Gosford Christian Broadcasters Limited, which was competing against applications from Radio Yesteryear Incorporated, which focused on people aged 40 to 70 and people who enjoy nostalgia music, and Gosford Progressive Community Radio Incorporated (PCR), which targeted minority groups, principally ethnic and youth.
Acting ABA Chair Lyn Maddock said of the award, "The ABA considered that the non-denominational Christian service proposed by Gosford Christian Broadcasters, targeting the general Christian community in Gosford, would meet the needs of the community in the Gosford licence area to a greater extent than the services proposed by the other two applicants."
"Currently, there is no full time Christian broadcasting service based in the Gosford licence area. Gosford Christian Broadcasters demonstrated that there is a need for its proposed service in the area."
The ABA has also varied the Bourke radio licence area plan to make available FM channel capacity for community radio service 2CUZ Bourke at Goodooga, Lightning Ridge, Walgett and Weilmoringle, all within the 2CUZ licence area, and the removal of channel capacity for an unallocated open narrowcasting service at Walgett.
It opted, however, not to extend the licence area of community radio service 2WEB Bourke to include the township of Cunnamulla, Queensland, which is 228 km away across a state border, saying that the distance reduced the practicality of Cunnamulla residents participating in the operations of 2WEB and noting that strong objections were raised in submissions from the licensees of 4VL, Charleville, and the Rebel Radio Network.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), was involved in a number of licence amendments: In order of province, they included:
Approval of frequency change for CKIS-FM-1 Banff (formerly CHRK-FM-1 Banff) and change of contours by decreasing the effective radiated power from 200 watts to 25 watts.
Approval of contour change for transmitter CKLM-FM-1 Bonnyville, by decreasing the antenna height from 148.2 metres to 121.9 metres.
Approval of contour change for transmitter CKUA-FM-6 Red Deer, by increasing the antenna height from 195 metres to 224.1 metres.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
Approval of contour change for transmitter VOAR-12-FM, Wabush, linked to relocation and decrease of antenna height from 29 metres to 13 metres.
Approval of application by Paradise Broadcasting Corporation for an extension of the time limit to commence the operation of the developmental community FM in Paradise.
Approval of contour changes for new Ethnic AM in Toronto linked to transmitter relocation.
Approval of contour change for transmitter CBMT-1, Trois-Rivières, related to power increase from 14,000 watts to 15,200 watts.
Approval of contour change for CFVZ-FM Moose Jaw linked to transmitter location and increase in antenna height.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) announced that it had received three applications for the two licences in the third and final phase of its additional community service offerings (See RNW Oct 19) and also advertised a new Dublin City Talk-Based Broad Format Special Interest Service FM licence with an application deadline of December 17.
In addition it has now signed a ten-year contract with County Media Limited (trading as Cork's 96FM & 103FM County Sound) for the franchise areas of Cork City and County.
In non-licence related activity it has announced the winners of its Fifth New Adventures in Broadcasting Scheme, which it funded to the tune of Euros 120,000 (USD 150,00) and which was divided into three strands.
Clare FM took the Strand One award for a documentary Songmakers that focussed on the work of three songmakers with the aim of highlighting the wit, art and appeal contained in this pursuit.
The judges also gave special commendation to two other entries in this Strand: A Sense of Nick Drake from LMFM and The Boys from Brazil from Galway Bay FM.
Clare FM also took the Strand Two award for The Substance of Youth that aimed to take a more in-depth look at the cultural context in which alcohol use among young people prevails in the County Clare area and sought to go beyond the sometimes-sensational portrayal of alcohol use among young Irish people.
Special commendation in this strand was given to WLR FM for their drama series Little Red Kettle, a production of ten five minute plays involving 28 children from the Waterford area.
Wired FM took the Strand Three award for Fonn na Seachtaine, a series of twelve programmes that aimed to teach traditional Irish music to listeners, teaching a tune each week with input from proficient musicians so that learners could hear high quality music.
The awards will be presented at a ceremony on November 17 and BCI Chief Executive Michael O'Keeffe said the scheme had once again "proved to be an undoubted success with an increased number of entries and high quality programming submitted for the awards process."
In the UK, Ofcom had a fairly quiet week, upholding no complaints against radio in its latest complaints bulletin (See RNW Oct 10): It also announced the receipt of six applications for a new FM licence for Ashford in Kent. They came from:
Ashford FM - a music led bid featuring hits from the last four decades plus news and information.
Ashford Local Radio - a "lifestyle" bid with a broad music base.
A-Ten FM - a broad based, popular music and local information and news service
East Kent Radio - a bid targeted at a 30-plus audience comprised of soft, classic and contemporary music from the mid 60s to the current day plus local news and information
Lark FM: KMfm - a full service bid mixing contemporary and classic music and locally-focussed news and information.
Time FM (Ashford) Limited - a full-service, music-led bid with a local focus for listeners aged 25-54.
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been involved in a number of enforcement actions including the confirmation of a USD 21,000 penalty on a Mississippi AM (See RNW Oct 23), a USD 25,000 penalty relating to the supply of programming to a Mexican AM that was causing interference in the US and other penalties for technical regulation breaches (See RNW Oct 22), a USD 25,000 penalty on a Texas AM for EAS and Public File breaches (See RNW Oct 20).
It alsoconfirmed a maximum USD 27,500 indecency penalty against Infinity plus more technical breach and piracy breaches (See RNW Oct 19).
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2004-10-24: Capital FM, London, breakfast show co-host Becky Jago is to leave the show when her contract runs out at the end of this year; she joined the show, then hosted by Chris Tarrant, from the BBC TV TV's Newsround children's TV bulletin in November 2002 as part of a revamp of the show (See RNW Nov 19, 2002).
The departure was unexpected and follows an audience loss of 144,000 listeners a week in the latest ratings (See RNW Oct 22).
Capital said then that the company was happy with the progress of the show and Capital FM's managing director Keith Pringle said of the departure that the station was sorry to see her go and added that the station would reveal the identity of "Johnny's new Capital Girl" soon.
He told the UK Guardian, "Having been part of the previous breakfast show with Chris Tarrant, Becky has not only provided continuity for our listeners but has also been invaluable in helping Johnny Vaughan settle in to life here at Capital."
Jago was quoted in the paper as saying, "Following discussions with the Capital management team earlier in the summer, I decided to leave when my contract finishes at the end of this year. I just miss TV too much and feel that's where my heart is."
UK Guardian report:
2004-10-23: EMI has confirmed that is "cooperating fully" with an enquiry launched by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer into payments to New York radio stations to influence what songs get aired.
The confirmation follows a New York Times report that said that, according to several people involved, investigators in Spitzer's office have served subpoenas on the four major record corporations - the Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, the EMI Group and the Warner Music Group
The Times said Spitzer, who has "recently taken on a procession of corporate powers from Wall Street analysts to mutual funds to insurance brokers" was "seeking copies of contracts, billing records and other information detailing their ties to independent middlemen who pitch new songs to radio programmers in New York State."
It notes that the matter comes under federal US "payola" laws that prohibit making payments for airplay unless details are given to listeners: Record and radio companies have said they are not breaching this law when independent promoters, who bill the record companies when songs are played, pay fees to the radio stations not for the plays but for advance copies of playlists.
The Los Angeles Times has run a number of stories on the practice and some companies notably Clear Channel, have said they are not renewing any such contracts with promoters.
Two years ago the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) called for anti-payola laws to be strengthened and for an investigation into practices such as independent promotion.
New York Times report:
2004-10-23: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 21,000 fine on a Mississippi AM for failure to register an antenna, Emergency Alert System and public file violations.
Jesse C. Ross and Ernestine A. Ross, licensee of WSAO-AM, Senatobia, had argued for reduction on the basis that the tower registration number was on its tower construction permit, it had only misplaced the public files and is now cleaning and refilling them and that it has ordered new EAS equipment.
The FCC pointed out that the number provided was not a tower registration number but the file number of its construction permit and also dismissed the other arguments. It confirmed the full penalty.
2004-10-23: Crain Communications has announced an agreement to sell its Big Pine, Florida, stations classic hits WWUS-FM and smooth jazz WCNK-FM, to Vox Communications Group, LP for an undisclosed amount.
Crain, which has owned the stations for two decades, had agreed a sale in August last year to Cooke Broadcasting LLC, which is commonly owned with Cooke Communications LLC, which owns Florida Keys newspapers and web sites.
It was subject to FCC approval (See RNW Aug 28, 2003) but the deal was not finalized because of rule changes and lapsed.
The stations serve the Florida Keys with music, news, fishing and diving reports and
WWUS-FM won an Edward R. Murrow Award for continuous news coverage of a breaking for coverage of 1999's Hurricane Georges.
Crain's main focus is on consumer, business and trade publications and it said it was pleased that the "Vox opportunity" came along.
Vox says the stations will continue to operate from Big Pine.
2004-10-23: Conservative US talk host Rush Limbaugh has now filed an appeal against a recent ruling that his medical records were seized legitimately under a search warrant (See RNW Oct 7).
Limbaugh, who has taken treatment for addiction to the painkilling drug OxyContin , was being investigated concerning alleged doctor shopping, getting additional prescriptions through going to a number of doctors without informing each of other prescriptions.
Limbaugh's lawyer Roy Black says in the filing, "Patient rights are not protected by holding secret meetings where only the prosecutor attends. Florida's medical privacy statutes afford all patients the right to be heard before their medical records are seized."
In a news release he comments that "Limbaugh should not have to sacrifice his right to medical privacy to prove his innocence."
He is arguing that Florida state law specifically affords," all patients the right to be heard before their medical records are seized."
RNW note: At the time of the ruling Limbaugh cited the dissent of Judge Melanie G. May , one member of the three-judge s on the panel to justify his case whereas in fact as we noted in our story her objection was not to the seizure of the records but related to details of the action. Indeed she specifically noted, "common sense suggests that law enforcement would itself be handcuffed if required to give notice to a person before lawfully 'seizing' evidence."
2004-10-23: Corus Entertainment has joined forces with Canadian Satellite Radio (CSR), the joint venture between XM Satellite Radio and Canadian entrepreneur John Bitove, in the bid for a Canadian radio subscription licence.
Under the agreement Corus will provide Canadian content including some French language programming to CSR and will have the right to take an interest in the consortium, which is bidding against another satellite bid by a group including Sirius, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and Standard Radio, and a terrestrial bid from CHUM.
CSR chairman and CEO John Bitove commented that they were "thrilled" to have Corus on board, adding, "They are the market leader in Canada for radio tuning and have demonstrated their expertise in a variety of formats, particularly news-talk where Corus dominates with both
French- and English-language heritage news stations."
"The strategic advice from Canada's largest private radio broadcaster will prove invaluable to us as we continue building our broadcasting network. Corus is the only radio broadcaster with stations in major markets across Canada that also creates French-language content. Just as importantly, they have the marketing and promotional expertise to help successfully launch our service."
Corus Entertainment Inc. President and CEO John Cassaday said his company's "involvement allows us to extend our programming expertise and to potentially offer other services to this new venture."
2004-10-22: 41-years-old Mark P. Mays, who has been interim CEO since May 7 has now formally taken over as president and CEO of Clear Channel. His father Lowry Mays, who is 69, left the post after he had surgery for a blood clot and swelling to the brain.
He remains chairman of the company and in a statement said of the appointment, "Mark is the ideal executive to lead Clear Channel into an exciting future. He has been instrumental in the company's development and growth and the board and I have full confidence in Mark's leadership and vision."
The appointment was made at a regularly scheduled quarterly board meeting on Wednesday and spokeswoman Lisa Dollinger said the succession plan had been in place for some time. She added that Lowry Mays, who has been going into the office two or three times a week for the past month or two, had been making substantial progress and was expected to make a full recovery from his surgery.
As well as Mark Mays, who has been involved in negotiating a number of Clear Channel's major acquisitions as president and COO from 1993, his younger brother Randall Mays, who is 39, is Clear Channel CFO and executive VP and their sister Kathryn Johnson, who is 44, is Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
Previous Mark Mays:
Previous Randall Mays:
2004-10-22: Breakfast hosts Chris Moyles at BBC Radio 1 and Nicky Campbell at BBC Radio Five Live had good news in the latest UK radio ratings from RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) that showed the BBC overall increasing its audience by 119,000 listeners a week whilst the commercial audience was down by 321,000.
The figures, covering the period 21 June to 12 September, show that radio reached 90% of the potential audience each week, the same as in the previous ratings, with the BBC reaching 67% as before and commercial stations reaching 64%, also as before. The a BBC listening share was 54.4%, up from 53.1%, compared with commercial radio's 43.7%, down from 45%
Moyles has now added 910,000 listeners in the nine months since he replaced Sara Cox to reach 6.14 million, the best figures for three years, and help his station, which had an extra 317,000 back above ten million; other stations increasing their audiences included BBC Radio 3 - up 51,000, Radio Five - up 312,000 and commercial rival TalkSPORT - up 27,000, and BBC Radio 3, which added 51,000 whilst commercial rival GWR's Classic FM lost 342,000.
Despite Moyles success, Terry Wogan at BBC Radio 2 with still retains the lead in the breakfast show rankings with 7.6 million listeners nationally and also leads the London ratings with 1.12 million.
In the commercial sector, Capital FM increased its audience to 2.2 million and took its listening share up from 6.6% to 7.2% but breakfast host Johnny Vaughan dropped another 144,000 listeners to 1.05 million - he has now lost 322,000 of the listeners he took over from Chris Tarrant: Capital stresses, however, that he has dramatically increased listening in its target 25-34 female demographic where its listening share is up 9.4% to 24.5%.
His main commercial competitors, Chrysalis-owned Heart FM's Jono Coleman and Harriet Scott, also lost listeners, in their case 174,000 to end with a total of 797,000 with the station's listening share down from 6.5% to 5.4%.
Capital Chief Executive David Mansfield commented," The recent changes to the Capital FM line up and the breakfast show in particular, were designed to attract new listeners and encourage longer listening, which we have begun to achieve. As anticipated some listeners have tried other stations at breakfast; however the station as a whole has seen growth across the rest of the day. Johnny Vaughan is proving to be a significant radio talent and we confidently predict he will win new listeners and build audiences over the next two years."
Capital's other London stations performed well with Xfm taking its audience up 14% on a year ago to 572,000 and recent acquisition Choice FM also increasing audience and taking a highest-ever 3.2% share of listening.
Chrysalis responded to the figures by noting the particular loss to the BBC shown in London and saying that the figures were "disappointing" but added, "These results do not, however, tally with our own internal research which shows both Heart 106.2 and LBC 97.3 FM gaining in both reach and share during the Q3 period. Our tracking continues to show a healthy performance for both stations."
It said that extensive marketing in October plus a "brand refresh " at Heart "should significantly bolster audience growth going forward and that the declines we have seen today will be rectified in the Q4 figures out next January."
For the BBC, Jenny Abramsky, Director, BBC Radio & Music, said, "All in all this is a strong quarter for BBC Radio" and added, "In a week in which Tim Gardam's review of the BBC Digital Radio services (See RNW Oct 20) recognised their distinctiveness, and that they have been 'instrumental in driving digital take up', I am glad to see healthy growth in our digital only services."
Emap also marked digital success in commenting on the results, noting that Kerrang! has topped the million listeners mark, boosted by the debut of Kerrang! 105.2, which launched in the West Midlands in June and had 256,000 listeners in its first ratings.
It also noted that Magic FM in London is now the third-ranked commercial station in London having added 166,000 listeners over the past year to reach 1.58 million listeners a week and a 4.8% listening share: Its breakfast show has 651,000 listeners a week.
It also noted that digital-only station Heat saw a 27 per cent in rise in reach this quarter, attracting 190,000 listeners every week.
GWR in its comment skipped over Classic FM's figures apart form saying it is still the "UK's largest commercial radio station" and noting its audience and listening figures but not the changes. It highlighted its "most commercially attractive "Band A" stations" - Trent FM, Essex FM, 2-Ten FM, Leicester Sound and GWR FM - and said these had performed well.
"Hours of listening have increased by 7.3% on the quarter to 16.3 million and weekly reach is up 1% to 1.48 million listeners," it noted adding, " GWR's local stations - branded as The Mix Network - have performed well, maintaining market share at 13.4%, with total listening hours of 44.38 million."
Commenting on the figures, GWR Group Executive Chairman Ralph Bernard said the focus "on the GWR Group stations which are in most demand from advertisers has paid off for us in an increasingly competitive market. The success of our digital services alongside our analogue stations is most encouraging."
Within the figures, compared to the previous quarter:
*BBC Radio 1 gained 317,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 10.042 million, a weekly reach up from 20% to 21%, and a listening share of 8.6%, up from 8.3%.
*BBC Radio 2 lost 372,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 13.060 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 27%, and a listening share of 16.1%, down from 16.2%.
*BBC Radio 3 gained 51,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 2.072 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 4%, and an unchanged listening share of 1.1%.
*BBC Radio 4 lost 86,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.422 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 19%, but a listening share of 11.3%, up from 11.0% thanks to longer listening.
*BBC Radio 5 Live gained 312,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6.398 million, a weekly up from 12% to 13%, and a listening share of 4.9%, up from 4.5%.
*BBC World Service lost 2,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.365 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 3%, and an unchanged listening share of 0.60%.
*BBC Asian Network lost 20,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 473,000, an unchanged weekly reach of 1% but a share up from 0.3% to 0.40%.
On the commercial side for national networks:
*GWR's Classic FM lost 342,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6.145 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 13%, and a listening share down from 4.5% to 4.2%.
*The Wireless Group's talkSPORT gained 27,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.182 million an unchanged weekly reach of 4% and a listening share of 1.7%, down from 1.8%.
*SMG-owned Virgin (total including all AM and FM) lost 34,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2. 598 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 5%, and a listening share of 1.5 %, down from 1.6%.
Digital national commercial networks:
*Core gained 10,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 142,000, too small for reach and share to be rated.
*Kerrang gained 294,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.017 million, reach up from 1% to 2% and a listening share up from 0.2% to 0.5%.
*Oneword gained 28,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 115,000, too small for reach and share to be listed.
*Planet Rock gained 10,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 231,00, a reach too small to be rated and an unchanged share of 0.1%
*Q lost 27,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 321,000, an unchanged reach of 1% and an unchanged share of 0.1%.
*Smash Hits lost 1,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 724,000, an unchanged reach of 1%, and an unchanged listening share of 0.2%.
*The Hits had an unchanged weekly audience of 88000, an unchanged reach of 2% and a listening share down from 0.3% to 0.2%
*The Storm gained 2,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 80,000, to small for reach and share to be rated.
*Sunrise lost 69,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 512,000, an unchanged reach of 1%, and a share of 0.4%,down from 0.6%
Previous GWR (Classic FM owners):
Previous RAJAR ratings:
Previous SMG (Owns Virgin):
Previous Wireless Group (TalkSPORT owner):
RAJAR web site (links to quarterly reports):
2004-10-22: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a USD 25,000 penalty on Uniradio Corporation for providing programming - San Diego Padres baseball games, including a 15 minute pre-game show, in Spanish- from California to Mexican station XEMO-AM in violation of the terms and conditions of its authorization.
The FCC had taken action after New Inspiration Broadcasting Company, Inc., licensee of [Salem's news-talk] KRLA-AM, Glendale, California, filed a petition to revoke Uniradio's permit on the basis that XEMO had been operating at increased powers from a new site causing substantial to its signal.
XEMO had been given permission by the Mexican authorities to upgrade to 20kw during the day and 10kw at night but this had not been co-ordinated with the FCC's International Division as required under a 1986 treaty between the US and Mexico: Coordination of Station XEMO's operations has recently been completed in compliance with the U.S.- Mexico treaty.
NIBC maintained that Uniradio knew or should have known about XEMO's operations because the two not only share common shareholders, but also are both controlled by Gustavo Enrique Astiazaran.
RNW Note - In August Pacific Spanish Network was fined USD 20,000 for a similar offence of providing programming to a Mexican AM that had also been causing interference in the US (See RNW Aug 1).
The FCC has also issued a USD 8,000 forfeiture to Woodland Communications Corporation for operating a Colorado transmitter on an unauthorized frequency and from an unauthorized location. The offence came to a light during an inspection of KUBC-AM and KKXK-FM during which it was found that the STL transmitter used by KUBC-AM, call sign WMF732 was operating on an unauthorized frequency from a Montrose, Colorado, location different from that of its authorized location.
A notice of apparent liability was issued on the basis that Woodland had not come into compliance promptly and the company responded by claiming that delays were due to circumstances beyond its control and also requested a reduction on financial hardship grounds.
The FCC dismissed the first argument and said financial details provided did not justify a reduction on hardship grounds.
The FCC has also reduced on a basis of a past history of compliance two Emergency Alert System penalties. It cut from USD 200, to USD 1,300 a penalty on Big Island Radio, former licensee of KHWI-FM, Hilo, Hawaii, and reduced from USD 3,000 to USD 2,400 a penalty on Crystal Coast Communications, licensee of WRIV-AM, Riverhead, New York.
In California it cancelled a USD 3,000 penalty on Redwood Family Services, Inc. relating to alleged failure to register an antenna structure in Madera for KHOT-AM.
2004-10-22: Controversy has arisen over a move by the Bush-Cheney campaign to incorporate campaign adverts in live traffic reports syndicated by Metro Networks, a subsidiary of Westwood One.
Metro gained approval for the adverts, which involve the Metro reporter rather than a candidate reading the sponsorship message, from the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), which normally requires that a candidate must be heard in an advert, earlier this year.
The adverts are being targeted in key states including Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and also on a Massachusetts station where it targeted at New Hampshire listeners.
The adverts are bracketed around regular traffic reports that start with an announcement saying "this traffic report is paid for by Bush-Cheney '04" followed by the report and ending with a campaign message "John Kerry recently called terrorism a nuisance -- like gambling and prostitution -- prompting foreign policy experts to question if Kerry understands the war on terror. President Bush approved this message."
Not all stations are happy with the adverts and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that WTMJ-AM news director Dan Shelley had commented in an e-mail to listener in response to a message about an airing of the advert: "Since our long-standing policy is not to broadcast any political advertising within the confines of our newscasts, regardless of who the candidate is, we immediately called Metro Networks and asked its personnel to cease reading the Bush-Cheney '04 commercial."
In Cincinnati a Channel 9/Associated Press report on the adverts quoted Bush campaign spokesman Kevin Madden as saying, "It's a new way to reach out to voters and spread the president's message. To our knowledge this is the first time a presidential candidate has advertised through traffic reports."
Kerry campaign spokeswoman Justine Griffin responded, "We question the wisdom of Bush, who has presided over dramatically escalating gasoline prices, choosing to remind people as they sit in traffic, burning up fuel and their household budget along with it."
However Boston University political analyst Tobe Berkovitz termed the adverts "a damned smart media buy" adding, "If you had to decide what radio programming people pay attention to, it's traffic on the threes. No one uses traffic on the threes for background music."
RNW comment: Smart the advert may be in one way but recalling Mort Sahl's question "Would you buy a second-hand car from this man?" in relation to former President Nixon leads us to suggest that the Bush sense of honour and fair play is far closer to that of Nixon than that of Dwight Eisenhower.
The message itself is if not dishonest certainly a misrepresentation and we can only presume that President Bush thinks there's more than one a minute born in the US nowadays.
Previous Westwood One:
Cincinnati Chan 9/AP report:
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report:
2004-10-22: Palm Beach County community leaders seeking to set up a foundation to bid for private institution Barry University's public radio and TV stations have asked because of the effects of recent hurricanes for a two-week extension of the deadline set by the university for proposals for WXEL radio and TV.
The group, led by West Palm Beach attorney Richard Zaretsky, met for the first time as an official non-profit on Tuesday this week and has less than a month to gain support and start serious work on raising at least USD 6 million for the stations.
Zaretsky, a WXEL board member, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, that he had also asked the university's consultants to contact other institutions interested in the stations and ask them to contact the family to discuss a partnership.
"What we want to do is make sure we are the linchpin to anyone else trying to take over the stations," said.
So far, reports the paper, Florida Atlantic University, Nova Southeastern University and WPBT public television in Miami have expressed interest in the stations. The paper reports that the university has repeatedly said it is not seeking to make a profit on a sale but wants to recoup an estimated USD 3 million made since it took over the stations, in debt to the tune of USD 2 million and with old and damaged equipment, in 1997. The stations now have the latest digital equipment and USD 6 million in assets.
Earlier this year, Barry hired Transformations Consulting to evaluate whether it should continue operating the stations, sell its interests or partner with another organization to operate them.
2004-10-21: XM satellite radio, which had fallen behind in major sports rights to rival Sirius that has signed deals with the NFL, NBA, and NHL - currently mired in a lockout that has cost 340 games from the 2004 to 2005 season, has announced an eleven-year USD 650 million deal with the Major Baseball League (MLB), the only major league without a satellite radio outlet.
The deal makes XM the MLB official satellite radio network and allows it to us the MLB logo and the marks of its 30 member clubs.
Under the deal, XM will be able to broadcast the games of every MLB team starting with the 2004-5 regular season: It is expected to devote some 16 channels to the broadcasts, some in Spanish, during the season in addition to a 7/24 Major League Baseball channel that will include rebroadcasts of classic games as well as new programming.
It says it needs to sign around 700,000 new subscribers - around the current total for rival Siruis (See RNW Oct 20) - to pay for the deal.
XM President and CEO Hugh Panero commented, "This is the crown jewel -- the deal that we've been waiting for."
"Major League Baseball is America's national pastime and a natural fit with XM, the national leader in satellite radio. MLB has the broadest appeal of any major sport. People of all ages are baseball fans, from children to grandparents. Baseball is also a sport ideally suited for radio, given its natural pace and the ability to vividly describe each play."
Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig described the agreement as "a wonderful opportunity for Major League Baseball given XM's ever- increasing national availability."
XM stock was given an early boost by the news but ended the day only 0.38% up at USD 29.16 having closed Tuesday at USD 29.05 and touched USD 29.89 at one stage. Sirius stock fell 0.26% to end at USD 3.78, having closed at USD 3.78 on Tuesday and at one stage dropped to USD 3.73.
2004-10-21: Fears that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's media holding company Fininvest, which already controls three national TV channels and has through its sales house around a two-thirds share of all TV advertising revenue in the country, would move into radio following the lifting by his government of a ban on cross-ownership of TV and radio stations, have been raised by an agreement to purchase the country's oldest commercial radio station.
Fininvest-controlled Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, Italy's largest consumer magazine and book publisher, is to buy Radio 101 for Euros 42 million (USD 52.5 million) and according to a report in the UK Financial Times plans to invest around Euros 25 million (USD 31 million) to double Radio 101's audience of 25- to 45-year-olds to 2 million.
The FT says there are concerns that Fininvest could move into Italy's fragmented radio sector in a similar way to its moves in TV and quotes Mondadori's CEO and deputy chairman Maurizio Costa as saying, "Our ambition is to expand in radio, and I hope Radio 101 will be the first of a series of investments in the sector."
He also spoke to the paper of the potential for editorial "synergies" between radio and other Fininvest properties in print and TV such as using CDs compiled by Radio 101 DJs in cover-mounts for Mondadori's magazines.
Not everyone, reports the paper, is happy about the idea and it quotes Marco Rossignoli at Aeranti Corallo, an association that represents about 70 per cent of Italy's local radio stations, as saying, "We are worried that the entry of Mondadori could eventually reduce pluralism in the radio sector."
Marco Gambaro, professor of media economy at the University of Milan, said radio has become attractive because of its ability to target audiences, commenting, "Traditionally, Italian commercial radio stations were generalist. Now they are a lot more focused in terms of their programming, their target audiences and the way they sell advertising."
Eduardo Montefusco, chairman of the national commercial radio association (RNA) and owner of one of Italy's largest private stations, Radio Dimensione Suono, said radio listeners were changing their lifestyles, adding, "On some evenings, youngsters now choose to listen to the radio instead of watching TV."
The Italian radio market only attracts around half the amount per capita in Italy that it does in France and the UK and is growing rapidly with revenues up by nearly 30% in the first half of this year according to Nielsen Media Research. Within the sector commercial stations are doing better than state broadcaster RAI whose five national radio services take advertising.
Amongst groups that have already moved into the sector is Gruppo Editoriale l'Espresso, which also publishes the daily newspaper La Repubblica as well as Italy's most popular commercial station, hits format Radio Deejay, m2o which goes for the 15-20 demographic using DJs from the club scene, and Radio Capital, whose news service used many of the group's journalists.
Also involved in the radio sector is RCS MediaGroup, publisher of the daily newspaper Corriere della Sera, that owns CNRplus and RIN-Radio Italia.
Financial Times report:
2004-10-21: Bonneville International is to change the format of its recently-acquired WPLC-AM, Washington, to a format of news and information for federal government employees that is currently online on
The station carries regular updates on federal topics plus news and commentaries from columnist Mike Causey, Capitol Hill reports from WTOP's Dave McConnell, and Associated Press news.
Bonneville, which bought WPLC from Metro Radio for USD 4 million, is expected to make the switch from its current business news format in December when it expects Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval for the purchase.
The Washington Times, quoting Bonneville VP Joel Oxley, who manages the company's stations in the DC area, as saying that the online service has been profitable since its introduction in February 2000: It says the site attracts around about 40,000 visitors a month, including more than 25,000 people listen to its audio stream.
"It's really kind of backwards," he said. "Most of the time, you start a radio station and then you put it on the Internet. We've built up a pretty good audience on the Internet with this Here we had an Internet product, and now we're putting it on a terrestrial signal. "
The paper says that according to BIA Financial Networks WPLC generated about USD1.5 million in revenue last compared to some USD 37 million for Bonneville's top rated WTOP AM and FM news stations.
In other US radio business, Radio One Inc. has announced completion of its previously-announced USD 35 million acquisition of New Mableton Broadcasting Corporation (NMBC), owner of WAMJ-FM, Atlanta (See RNW Apr 30).
NMBC's majority shareholding was controlled by Radio One CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III and the terms were approved by an "independent committee of Radio One's Board of Directors." In addition, a financial fairness opinion was obtained from BNY Capital Markets, Inc., a subsidiary of The Bank of New York Company.
Radio One has been operating the station under a local management agreement since August 2001 and Liggins commented, "This acquisition solidifies our position in the Atlanta market. Our strong cluster of four FM stations has achieved tremendous ratings growth in the past two years and our revenue growth in this very important market for the first nine months of 2004 is more than 1000 basis points above the industry's growth rate in Atlanta."
"Consummating this acquisition locks down Radio One's ownership and provides certainty that we will continue to be a force in the Atlanta radio market for years to come."
Previous Radio One Inc:
Washington Times report:
2004-10-21: The Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the provincial Ministry of Culture, is to give a grant of CAD 75,000 (USD 60,000) to aid a new French language station in Toronto according to Ontario Culture Minister Madeleine Meilleur.
In a statement she said the station would be a "proud, new voice" for Toronto's Francophone Community, adding, "It will promote the community's social development and cohesion and give listeners access to French-language music and cultural programming that echoes and celebrates our identity."
The station, Radio-Toronto (CKIE 105.1 FM), will be helped by the grant to provide French music, cultural and current affairs programming to about 100,000 Francophones and 400,000 bilingual Francophiles living in the Greater Toronto Area, according to its president Nathalie Le Roc'h.
The station will use the funds to have its infrastructure ready to go on air at the start of the New Year according to the Toronto Star.
Toronto Star report:
2004-10-21: US radio is getting an unfair rap as a medium according to Interep CEO Ralph Guild in a paper, "Electronic Media Wars: Who Will Be the First to Die?", from thecompany.
Guild contends that radio has become "the scapegoat for a struggling economy in which all advertising is suffering" and says that after the boost TV is receiving from unprecedented political advertising, will be on a more level playing field.
Despite competition from other media and new competitors such as downloaded music, Guild notes that nine-tenths of Americans still listen to radio each week and that it is around a third of their "media usage."
Guild says prognosticators who are preparing radio's obituary should not be believed.
2004-10-20: The BBC's digital radio output has received warm official endorsement in an independent government report on its activities with far fewer reservations than were contained in a sister report on the Corporation's digital TV efforts (See RNW Oct 14).
In the report former BBC and Channel 4 TV executive Tim Gardam says the BBC digital radio success and distinctiveness, which he termed the "justification" of the services, came about because the "BBC has gone above and beyond the general conditions laid down by the Secretary of State."
He also wrote of the "commendable co-operation between the BBC and the commercial radio sector" that had taken digital radio forward and added, "The commercial sector has taken great risks in committing a high level of investment to digital radio. In reaching any judgement on the performance of the BBC's services, it is important to balance the intrinsic merits of the BBC services themselves with the competitive impact they have on the performance of commercial services serving the same audience."
In terms of the latter, he said BBC 7 had been "an important factor in the failure of its commercial counterpart, Oneword, which was a potentially high quality proposition, and which in turn would have brought significant added value to the commercial radio market" although he praised the channel lavishly, commenting "BBC 7 has been the most significant BBC service in driving digital switchover. It has re-invented children's radio as a multi media proposition. It has established an original voice. In repeating much loved comedy programmes, it offers additional value for money to the licence payer."
Commenting on the other services he said:
1Xtra had established a credibility and reputation with a young Black audience where the BBC had little before but it had concentrated on urban music to the detriment of its remit to bring "together the diversity of 'Black" music and culture across the UK'" and specifically noted that it did not do much for older audiences.
The BBC Asian Network had brought considerable value to UK Asian radio but had been relatively unambitious and its language services had been criticised for a bias towards North Indian languages.
6 Music he said demonstrated "the BBC's creative enthusiasm at its most impressive" but noted that it had a more contemporary focus than the predominantly archive service originally envisaged. "6 Music," said the report, "should not change its focus but its remit should be rewritten to reflect its identity."
Five Live Sports Extra was termed a "valuable addition to the BBC's services" that "by broadcasting more hours of sports coverage from the sports for which the BBC owns rights, offers the licence payer extra value for money."
"However," he added, in a sentence bound to delight TalkSPORT, "it points to a wider question about the price that the BBC pays for sports rights in relation to the rest of the market."
Overall, he concluded, "The market impacts of the Asian Network, 1Xtra, 6 Music and Sports Extra do not appear to have had a negative effect on their commercial counterparts so far. These BBC services have increased listener choice and competition within their respective markets. They do not appear, in themselves, to have exerted a dominant influence, nor significantly to have reduced commercial investment. However, BBC 7 has had that effect With the exception of Sports Extra, the remit for each of the services should be redrafted to reflect more accurately the points of distinctiveness from their commercial counterparts."
In terms of the future recommendations in the report include a proposal that BBC radio archives should be available with guidelines to be drawn up by the government relating to circumstances where the BBC can justify refusing to sell archive that it has no plans to transmit. In addition the report says in planning any future archive-based services, the corporation should examine the basis on which it could consider a joint venture with the commercial radio sector and when drawing up licences and remits the BBC should take into account both market impact issues and the benefits of public service competition.
The governors should also, said the report, have a formal channel for coordination with Ofcom on such matters as "wider issues of market significance".
Regarding sports rights it commented, "The market impact of Sports Extra is not a significant issue. It is an occasional service, not a separate brand. It is part of Five Live. If Sports Extra was not there, it is very hard to believe there would have been a noticeable impact on the audience for, or investment in, Five Love's commercial competitors, notably talkSPORT."
However it went on to say "The central commercial issues relate to the BBC's overall handling of sports rights rather than the launch of Sports Extra The DCMS should appoint a suitably qualified expert or organisation to have access, on a confidential basis, to information on BBC sports rights contracts. S/he should review the BBC's strategy for, and approach to, sports rights negotiations and the processes that the Corporation has in place to ensure that it does not pay significantly more than the market rate."
" Sports Extra, while staying within its remit not to buy additional rights solely for its use, should be encouraged to increase its coverage of minority sports which will not be covered by commercial radio."
The BBC has generally welcomed the report and Jenny Abramsky, Director of BBC Radio and Music, said, "I am pleased that the report recognises the distinctiveness of all our services and states that, as digital radio develops, 'the quality of BBC content in this world will be a great public benefit'."
The BBC governors commented in their response that the report " it has raised issues - such as sports rights, the use of the BBC radio archive and the BBC's market impact - whose importance we have identified in Building Public Value and which we will consider, along with the other recommendations of the report, before the Governors formally respond in November."
Gardam himself commented, "The challenge now is to give the BBC's digital channels the room to evolve further, while ensuring that they remain distinctive from the services offered by the commercial radio market. This is the key to ensuring a healthy digital radio market across the PSB and commercial sectors."
Culture and Media Secretary Tessa Jowell said, "The advance of digital radio may be a quieter revolution than that of digital TV. But it's a movement that's gathering momentum and Tim's excellent report shows the BBC has been at the forefront of it."
"We must now work with the BBC to ensure the right framework is in place to allow its digital services, and digital radio more generally, to flourish, while ensuring the concerns and aspirations of the wider commercial radio market are taken into account."
UK DCMS web site release (Contains links to report - 1MB 128 Page PDF and various appendices etc - also PDFs totalling around 700Kb).
2004-10-20: Arbitron has reported third quarter revenues up 8.8% to USD 82 million and costs up 7% to USD 47.1 million producing earnings before interest and taxes of USD 33.7 million, up 10%.
Net income, including the impact of a 36.7% fall in interest charged from USD 2.9 million to USD 1.8 million and USD 4.2 million lower income tax expenses was USD 24.2 million, up 42% (USD 0.77 per share, up from USD 0.55 per share a year earlier).
Looking ahead it is forecasting final quarter revenues to be up10% but EBIT flat to down slightly with whole year income to be up 8%-9%, a half point down from previous forecasts.
However it says earnings per share are likely to be up to USD 1.89 to USD 1.91 from previous estimates of USD 1.75 to USD 1.79 with net earnings up 19.5% to 20.5% compared to previous forecasts of 12% to 14%.
2004-10-20: Sirius satellite radio has now topped 700,000 subscribers, having gained 69,000 new ones in September, which was its best-ever month. It says it is on target to hit one million subscribers by the end of the year.
The figures compare with some 2.5 million subscribers for rival XM, which says it is on target to top 3.1 million by the end of this year.
President and CEO Joseph P Clayton commented that the figure was "indicative of the traction we are seeing in the retail marketplace, and the launch of more factory programs with our automotive partners, as well as the buzz that Sirius is generating from exciting programming initiatives such as NFL, college sports, Eminem's 'Shade 45', Maxim Radio and, beginning in 2006, Howard Stern."
Sirius also said that its new range of smaller better-featured receivers and accessories has been received well and in other developments Ford has announced it will offer Sirius as a dealer-installed option in four additional models - it already offers the option for nine models - plans to offer Sirius as a factory-installed option on up to 20 vehicles over the next two model years.
2004-10-20: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 25,000 penalty on a Texas AM for failure to maintain a main studio in its community of license, failure to install and maintain operational Emergency Alert System equipment during the hours of station operation, and failure to make available a public inspection file.
Paulino Bernal Evangelism, licensee of KBRN-AM, Boerne, challenged only the public inspection file violation but sought a reduction in or cancellation of the fine because of an inability to pay and history of no prior offences.
Regarding the file the station said the file had been kept in an envelope at the station but the manager in a combination of panic over the visit and poor command of English had forgotten its location.
The FCC said the facts remained that the file was not made available; it also rejected other arguments because financial information relating to hardship had not been provided and because, although this station had a clean prior record, Paulino owned other stations one of which was also the subject of a violation notice.
2004-10-19: US commercial radio owners have agreed a USD 1.7 billion deal to cover licensing the copyright of music and songs they broadcasts or stream on their websites.
The agreement between The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), which has more than 190,000 members, and the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC), representing most of U.S. commercial radio stations, was described by the parties as the largest single licensing deal in radio history.
It was approved on Friday by U.S. District Court Judge William Conner in New York and finalizes fees for the period 2001-2003 and also establishes new ASCAP licenses for the period 2004-2009.
It replaces revenue-based license fees with a set payment schedule for the stations that those involve say will "provide significant guaranteed income to ASCAP composers, songwriters and music publishers", adding "Both sides will also benefit from a simplified and streamlined administration process."
RMLC executive director Keith Meehan commented, "We are very pleased with this agreement. Separating royalty fees payable from radio station revenues has been a goal of the RMLC for many years. With this agreement we have now accomplished that with both of the major performing rights organizations."
ASCAP's SVP, Director of Licensing Vincent Candilora added, "Over USD 1.7 billion, fixed through 2009, indicates the true economic value of our members' music to the radio industry. We were pleased to have reached an agreement that establishes significant income increases for our members that they can count on well into the future, and provides the radio industry with the planning information and simplified administration it views as critical for business success."
"Effective negotiation avoided the heavy cost of litigation for both sides and resulted in an agreement which can only serve to strengthen the longstanding partnership between America's leading creators of music and their most valuable customers."
2004-10-19: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed penalties of USD 27,5000 against Infinity for indecency and USD 20,000 against a Pennsylvania AM for antenna regulation violations and has also of USD 10,000 against a Tacoma, Washington, pirate operator.
The Infinity penalty related to the Deminski and Doyle Show broadcast on WKRK-FM, Detroit, and the FCC refused a petition for reconsideration. In line with their comments when the penalty was initially put forward Democrat Commissioner Michael J Copps and Republican Commissioner Kevin J. Martin issued separate statements saying the penalty was inadequate: Martin said he would have found several violations within the programme and levied separate penalties to each to take the total above USD 200,000
In Pennsylvania, FBS Wireless Corporation, licensee of Station WFBS-AM, Berwick, Pennsylvania, sought reconsideration of an October 20, 2003 forfeiture for failure to register and light the antenna structure for WFBS and to enclose that antenna structure within an effective locked fence.
The FCC said FBS had not raised any new arguments or brought forward new facts and dismissed the plea.
In the Tacoma case, Robert A Spiry did not deny offences relating to the US of CB equipment that had caused interference to domestic electronics equipment but said he had ceased transmissions, obtained an amateur licence and added that he could not afford to pay the penalty.
The FCC noted that documentation had not been provided to substantiate the inability to pay, dismissed the other arguments, and confirmed the full USD 10,000 penalty.
In another case, the FCC issued a USD 8,000 penalty to Crown Communications Inc. relating to failure to maintain good visibility of an antenna in Hobbs New Mexico.
2004-10-19: The UK regulator Ofcom upheld no complaints against radio compared to five standards complaints upheld and one fairness and privacy complaint part upheld against TV in its latest complaints bulletin.
One of the TV complaints upheld, relating to an altercation on the Big Brother programme, attracted 328 complaints and a further 240 complaints against the programme on other matters were considered to have been resolved.
Two radio complaints were considered resolved, one of which related to a flippant comment on London LBC that some Jamaicans might be too high to notice it when Hurricane Ivan hit Jamaica. LBC accepted that the comment was insensitive and ill judged and pointed out that the presenter shortly afterwards had read out an e-mail criticizing him for being tasteless and had apologized.
The other case involved a soccer commentary by BBC Radio Sheffield for the Sheffield United v Millwall game during which obscenities chanted by the crowd could be heard. The BBC said the normal commentary position had been closed by the police for safety reasons and the club had put the commentator among the home crowd. At the start as the game was being introduced the problems became apparent and the broadcaster returned to the studio and took commentary from another game until the commentators had moved to a quieter part of the ground and had switched to lip microphones. Some of the crowd's chanting could, however still be heard, and the commentators had apologized for the problem and in subsequent talks with the club alternative positions had been arranged for future games.
In addition to the above, Ofcom listed another three TV fairness and privacy complaints not upheld and a list, with no details, of an additional 145 TV complaints relating to 121 items and ten radio complaints relating to ten items that were not upheld or were out of the regulator's remit.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2004-10-19: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has received three applications, one for the Cork City licence on offer and two for the Galway City licence on offer in the final phase of licences advertised for additional community services.
The Cork application is from Life FM and the Galway applications were Culture FM and Flame FM (Foundation in Christ Ministries, Ltd.).
Details of the applications are to be posted by the BCI on its site next Monday.
2004-10-18: If only for the headline, "The 'world's best radio station' that you've never heard", we couldn't resist starting this week's look at print comment on radio with a UK Independent profile by Mira Katbamna of London low-power station Resonance FM.
Resonance's terrestrial signal only has a three-mile (5km) range but is also streamed on the internet and thus gained the "best station" accolade from the Village Voice in New York.
It broadcasts from a transmitter on top of Guy's Hospital and can be heard on FM only in central London but claims a weekly audience of 50,000 and growing via the internet.
Station manager Knut Aufermann says Resonance is "about providing a space for great stuff that doesn't fit anywhere else," adding, "We fulfil a really important function for ... struggling artists, homeless people, teenagers, our engineers or presenters - and we have regular Congolese, Albanian, Iranian and Serbian shows."
The shows, which he says are more than "just weird" include Xollob Park, hosted by Reverso Mondo, where everything, including the DJ patter, runs backwards, and Headroom, a show devoted to "unexplained phenomena and exo-politics".
Katbamna comments," Listening to Resonance sometimes feels as if [BBC] Radio 4 went out, took too many drugs, partied all night, and then settled down to make Women's Hour. Last week's Diggers, a weekly afternoon programme, is a case in point."
"Presented by a visual artist, Sharon Gal, and a writer, Edwin Pouncy, their guest was Cathy Lomax, a gallery owner and artist. As well as talking about Lomax's exhibition "Girl on Girl" and how she selects artists for her gallery (very Radio 4), they also talked about her obsession with 1960s Sindy dolls and the new "girly" sensibility in art (very Radio 4 on speed)."
Resonance, which began under a one-month restricted service licensee on the South Bank as part of John Peel's Meltdown Festival is now in its third year and has a community licence that has been extended to June 2005; it is seeking a further five-year licence.
Anyone can approach Resonance with a proposal for a programme idea and Aufermann estimates that around 3,000 people have passed through the studio, often as creators of a Clear Spot - an hour and a half every day devoted to musicians, artists, thinkers, critics, activists and instigators doing their thing.
"We do turn down people who just want to play their favourite tunes or do something that would be better on a mainstream station but the Clear Spot is a good way of testing something out," he said.
Gal, who has been involved with the station from the start, commented, "It's amazing to me that we have come this far without losing how democratic and free Resonance enables you to be."
In New York State in contrast a Rochester City News interview by Chad Oliveiri with WXXI-FM's Creative Director Jon Haliniak dealt with the question why not "Democracy Now!"?
The interview related not to democracy in general but a decision that the station is sticking by not to air the Democracy Now" programme hosted by Amy Goodman.
Haliniak said the primary reason not to carry the show was "centred on journalistic balance in all the news programs we air. As a public broadcast organization in Rochester, we try to provide our audience a range of opinions and voices to reflect a non-partisan, independent approach. And we've determined by listening to the program that Democracy Now! doesn't really fit that format for us."
He added that the programme was "a point-of-view program" and contrasted this with NPR programmes the station does carry such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered that WXXI felt did not carry the "distinct point of view" that they felt was attributable to democracy Now!
In response to a comparison with the conservative-leaning "Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered" he said that Carlson's show was clearly "a point of view" programme and "is in no way said to be a news programme."
Haliniak back-tracked from some comments from the minutes of a WXXI Community Advisory Board meeting in which Radio Vice President Jeanne Fisher said that the "'Democracy Now!' admits that host Amy Goodman has a political agenda and that the content of her program is driven by her agenda" and also said, "Amy Goodman was recently arrested in an anti-war protest in front of the White House for participating in the demonstration."
He said that the minutes had been corrected to say that Goodman was arrested as a reporter not a protestor and side-stepped the first comment saying in response to a suggestion that no such admission had been made, "I think, again, that goes to the body of work. We listened to the program enough to get a sense of it. And it really is a staff-managerial-programming decision on our end. That's our impression of the program. A greater good is served by what we consider to be the most fair, balanced news programs we can offer our membership With the polarization we're seeing in the media right now, you know, left and right, we're striving to be an alternative to that polarization."
" We want to be a middle ground so all issues can be heard. And Democracy Now! is a program that we consider unbalanced. On our air, it would be swaying our balance. Our integrity as an alternative, non-polarized station would be harmed."
RNW comment: Although we can see some sound arguments in Haliniak's comments we felt there was a certain inability to make those arguments clearly. As Resonance FM might have put it, not a case of xollob but probably one of realcun thinking.
And on to another case of a point of view, this time that of anti-indecency crusader David Edward Smith, famed as the persecutor of Erich "Mancow" Muller and Emmis.
Smith was profiled in MusicBiz and some of his answers in an interview were we felt quite revealing:
"During my senior year there[the Univ. of Illinois at Chicago, where Smith got a political science degree], I interned at the Family Research Council, which is a Christian group that holds a Biblical world view. I was already very conservative; this gave me a more of a world view."
"When I got out of college, I still wanted to be active and get involved, so I attended a meeting of the Citizens for Community Values. Their focus was on pornography and its effects on the community. I was interested in that, and one of the projects they needed help with was Mancow Muller Mancow was the no. 1 favourite program of eighth graders. So I listened to the show, recorded it, transcribed and read it, and thought it was garbage. I thought there had to be something we could do about it, so I took on the project."
"I decided not do what they did. They focused their efforts on the show's sponsors, which were pretty successful at first . But targeting sponsors became difficult as time went on. Niche marketing was taking effect, which made his advertisers less responsive to our complaints, and listening to the show took a lot of effort from our group So I looked at it from a legal aspect; certainly the FCC had some rules on this. I did some research and found ways to file complaints."
"The FCC has failed to enforce the laws that "We the People" have decided is allowable on the airwaves just because there's a market for something doesn't mean its okay. I'm sure there's a market for marijuana and cocaine, but they shouldn't be given to children."
"Each radio show is licensed from the government, and by getting that license, they have to abide by certain rules - rules that preclude material that is indecent. The government has no right to give it to them, either."
[[Are you okay with Oprah Winfrey talking about perverted sexual terminology/] " I'm not aware of Oprah's incident. It could be indecent. I'd love to see the transcript, but until then I reserve judgment. Again, if it's being conveyed in a manner of concerned parents talking about it, as in 'This is what's happening out there,' that's okay. But if it's pandering and titillating, I would file a complaint." [RNW comment: Heads have to be pretty deep into the sand not to know that Howard Stern's site carries the transcript!]
" there's a definite line of delineation between talking about erectile dysfunction and using that to go into oral sex and male secretions and stuff."
"Bleeps don't help. What does it do? You still know what it is. The context is key. When Mancow's sidekick asks a girl what her preference is, swallowing or spitting after engaging in oral sex, even though they didn't use the banned words, it's still indecent.
"If you, as a customer, want to pay for it to bring it into your home, that definitely crosses the threshold [of legality]. You now have the crucial responsibility for it. Since I bring the Internet into my home, I have a filter on it. I take the extra responsibility for it, just as I do with my hunting rifle. It would be irresponsible for me to leave my gun around the house because I have a four-year-old child."
"[Re Stern's move to satellite radio] He has every right to do it, although I'm not sure about whether the FCC shouldn't be regulating satellite airwaves, too. They are using our resources to broadcast, but I don't think the rules should be as stringent. For example, I get cable TV, and I know MTV broadcasts some garbage, but at least I'm able to delete the channel off my remote."
Which is as good a cue as any to move on to comment on Stern's move to satellite. In the Cleveland Free Times John Gorman commented, "Terrestrial Radio is well on its way to becoming a symbol of a talent vacuum Stern's announcement painted a lethal borderline that clearly separates satellite radio from the abortuary of free terrestrial radio. There's a thin line between love and hate, and the willingness to commit murder and the willingness to commit suicide. Terrestrial radio managed to do it all."
"When the 1966 Telecommunications Bill was passed, the rallying cry in radio was "buy 'em now and figure what to do with them later." That later is now, and the future's not bright. They've become victims of their own seductive propaganda by blindly buying into their own hype. Radio stocks are down 31 percent this year, and analysts see no upside to reverse. It's not that satellite and Internet radio are stealing away the audience. Terrestrial radio is throwing them away. Studies show that, with the exception of Hispanic programming, news-talk, sports and oldies, radio formats are losing audience rapidly. Radio groups continue to poll audiences, hoping they'll find a service that shows that terrestrial radio is 'number one.'"
"Radio and TV came under attack by the FCC indecency brown-shirts and a horde of religious right morality-in-media groups following Janet Jackson's microsecond nipple flash during the Super Bowl. Since then, Stern and other so-called "shock jocks" have been put under new operating restrictions. Howard's show was on multiple delays, giving both Infinity and its affiliates the opportunity to edit his material. Memo from Howard to Chairman Michael Powell: "go F(CC) yourself."
Looking at Stern's move from a different angle, Paula Heine in a Reuters-Billboard article we saw looked for the "upside" for terrestrial radio in the move.
Although all those spoken to considered terrestrial radio far from down and out there was only limited good news from Pollack Media Group chairman Jeff Pollack who said "the implications for radio are not good when talent would rather switch than fight," but then on the brighter side added that the move could open a door to greater emphasis on talent development.
"It's going to force terrestrial radio to find and develop talent in a big way," Pollack told Billboard. "Everything from voice-tracking to syndicated shows has impeded the progress of finding new talent."
For Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs the lesson is for terrestrial radio to be truly local. "Being local, visible and connected to your market has never been more important," he said. "This is a clarion call to the rock radio industry to refocus on being solid in local markets. That's the strength of radio, its ability to reflect the local vibe, and this could be the catalyst to get stations moving along those lines."
He also commented on the importance of talent development: " I'm hoping this move sends out a very long alarm to local stations to begin to rethink where talent comes from. It could be a very exciting time for terrestrial radio if we play it right."
On to programmes worth listening and to get the sex out of the way first, BBC Radio 4's Friday Play last week (available via the web site) was Mr Sex by Steve Coombes, a drama based on the life and activities of Alfred Kinsey. Kinsey, of course, upset the US moralists even more than Stern and was hauled up for un-American activities by the Reece Committee [The Congressional Committee to Investigate
Tax-Exempt Foundations}, one of the US Congress's anti-communist arms that felt that Kinsey and foundations such as the Ford and Rockefeller foundations might be allied with the "reds" in undermining American morals - a question in Kinsey's case one might term Red practices in American beds rather than under them, ironically since the Soviets considered US morals lax.
Still on morals and Radio 4, the afternoon play on Wednesday (13:15 GMT) is The Church of the Cosmic Cheese by Miles Gibson based on the true story of a sixteenth century Italian miller whose independent and inquiring mind led him to develop his own bizarre cosmology. Needless to say, God being unable to look after his own interests, the local priest takes umbrage, arrests him for blasphemy, sending him to trial before the Inquisition as a heretic.
And if not witchcraft one suspects that The Indian Rope Trick might well have been so considered at various times in Christian history: The programme we're recommending, however, also on Radio 4 - and still on the website - features presenter and magician Geoffrey Durham on a trip to a remote Indian village to see the trick performed - and offer some useful insights into magic.
Moving channels, BBC Radio 2 on Wednesday (21:00 GMT) has the second part of the 2-part History of Britpop (the first part is on the site until then) and Thursday (21:00 GMT) sees Clive Anderson hosting the first of a six-part satirical chat show on the past week's hot topics: It will probably be illuminating to compare it with the News Quiz on Radio 4 (Friday 17:30 GMT).
Changing content and continents but returning to the idea of democracy Sunday's Background Briefing on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) was Hong Kong Futures, a look at how pressure from Beijing has strengthened some of the former British colony's citizens groups and activists.
Also from the ABC on Sunday we'd suggest Ockham's Razor that yesterday featured Professor Julian Cribb suggesting that our greatest environmental threat is weeds and not enough attention is paid to this threat.
And finally back to the UK but this time sex, culture AND religion and the suggestion is Inside the Harem on BBC Radio 4 ( Wednesday, 10:00 GMT) in which Shagufta Yaqub, a young educated British Muslim, looks at the practice of polygamy in the UK and her birthplace, Pakistan. Last week's programme is on the web site.
ABC Australia - Background Briefing:
ABC Australia - Ockham's Razor:
Cleveland Free Times - Gorman:
MusicBiz - Smith interview:
Resonance FM web site:
Reuters-Billboard - Heine:
Rochester City News - Oliveiri:
UK Independent - Katbamna:
2004-10-18: Australian radio pioneer Gary O'Callahan, who dominated the Sydney breakfast airwaves at 2UE for three decades has been admitted to the Australian Radio Hall of Fame at the country's Commercial Radio Awards.
O'Callahan, who began his breakfast stint with 2UE in 1956 was a pioneer in Australia of live and on the spot news coverage, traffic reports and using aircraft to cover news stories: He was also the first Australian broadcaster to use a helicopter for news - he urged 2UE management to loan the helicopter to police to search bushland when he was covering a murder story, an action that later enabled the Police Commissioner to persuade Parliament to fund and start the Police Air Wing.
Probably his most famous story was his broadcast on the Petrov Affair relating to the 1954 defection of KGB agents: He was the only radio man on the scene when Evdokia Petrov, the wife of Russian diplomat Vladimir Petrov, was hustled through Mascot Airport by Soviet government officers and ran alongside with his tape recorder to get dramatic broadcasts that were aired in the US, Canada and Europe.
His predecessors in the Hall of Fame include 2UE Morning host John Laws and former 2UE programme director John Brennan.
O'Callahan is now semi-retired but still broadcasts on Sundays for New South Wales Mid North Coast station 2MC FM.
Presenting the award, expatriate author and broadcaster Clive James said it represented O'Callahan's outstanding achievement and contribution to Australian radio and Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner said nobody had matched his dominance of the airwaves, commenting, "Gary's total of 159 survey wins makes him the most successful broadcaster in Australia's radio history."
"Gary was a pioneer of the breakfast radio format, delivering listeners a mix of chat, news and information they had never had before - live-on-the-spot news coverage, the status of ferries, trains and buses, and the start of traffic reports as we know them today. Nothing happened in Sydney that Gary didn't know about."
Also presented at the Ceremony were Australian Commercial Radio Awards in 28 categories: Winners were:
MOST POPULAR STATION MANAGER
Ivan Scott - 2RE Taree, New South Wales (Country).
Wendy Gee - 96.5 Wave FM, Wollongong, New South Wales (Provincial).
Declan Kelly - 96 FM, Perth (Metropolitan).
BRIAN WHITE MEMORIAL AWARD
Janice McGilchrist 2BS Gold, Bathurst, New South Wales (Country) - a record fifth win.
Greg Henricks - C91.3 FM, Campbelltown, New South Wales (Provincial).
Neil Mitchell - 3AW, Melbourne (Metropolitan).
ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE AWARD
Jason Davis - 2BS Gold, Bathurst Broadcasters, Bathurst, New South Wales (Non-Metropolitan).
Max Healey and Alastair Reynolds - Southern Cross Broadcasting, Sydney (Metropolitan).
BEST SALES PROMOTION
Sea FM 107.7 Devonport, Tasmania (Country).
Peta-Jayne Habner 102.9 Hot Tomato, Southport, Queensland (Provincial).
Kym Mason - Triple M Network, Sydney (Metropolitan).
BEST STATION PROMOTION
Trent McCurdy - "3WM's 70th Birthday" 3WM, Horsham, Victoria (Country).
Tony Nielsen, Nicky Ford and Alex Dean - "Star 1045 Launch", DMG Radio, Gosford, New South Wales (Provincial).
Nova 96.9 Programming and Promotions Team - "Nova 969's Wheelie Bin of Fortune", DMG Radio, Sydney (Metropolitan).
BEST SPORTS EVENT COVERAGE
Geoff Mann - "Central West Rugby Union Grand Final 2003" 2DU, Dubbo, New South Wales (Non-Metropolitan).
Triple M Football - "2003 AFL Grand Final" Triple M, Melbourne (Metropolitan).
BEST CURRENT AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR
Alan Jones - 2GB, Sydney - second year running.
Paul Murray - Nova 96.9, Sydney (Highly Commended).
BEST SPORTS PRESENTER
Matt Stewart - 3YB, Warrnambool, Victoria (Country).
Steve Allan - 2GO, Gosford, New South Wales (Provincial).
Ray Hadley - 2GB, Sydney (Metropolitan).
BEST NEWS PRESENTER
Lois Chislett - 882 3YB / Coast FM, Warrnamboo, Victoria (Country).
Michelle Aleksandrovics - i98 FM, Wollongong, New South Wales (Provincial).
Steve Blanda - 2UE, Sydney (AM - Metropolitan).
Katrina Blowers - Nova 96.9, Sydney (FM - Metropolitan).
Kristy Warner - Mix 106.5 / WS FM 101.7, Sydney (FM Metropolitan).
'Sideshow' Mike Andersen - "Anzac Day 2003" Triple M, Sydney.
BEST MUSIC SPECIAL
Julian James Keenan - "Ultimate Kylie Countdown" 977 SNOW FM, Cooma, New South Wales (Country).
Belinda Green - "Hot FM Remembers Kurt Cobain" Hot FM, Western Australia )Provincial).
Wilbur Wilde and Nigel Haines - "BSG Special" GOLD 104.3, Melbourne (Metropolitan).
BEST NEWCOMER ON AIR
Rod Cuddihy - Star FM Dubbo, Dubbo, New South Wales (Country).
Moyra MacGregor - 90.9 Sea FM Gold Coast, Queensland (Provincial).
Kate McLoughlin - 104.7 Triple M, Adelaide (Metropolitan).
BEST NEWCOMER OFF AIR
Denise Sampford - 2NM / Power FM, Muswellbrook, New South Wales (Country).
Michelle Imbruglia - 92.5 GOLD FM, Gold Coast, Queensland (Provincial)
Mitch Calladine - Nova 96.9, Sydney (Metropolitan).
BEST MUSIC PRESENTER
Adam Vaughan - 3HA / Mixx FM, Hamilton, Victoria (Country).
Matt Walsh - 92.7 Mix FM, Sunshine Coast, Queensland (Provincial).
Bogart Torelli - Mix 106.5, Sydney (Metropolitan).
BEST TALK PRESENTER
Janice McGilchrist - 2BS Gold, Bathurst, New South Wales (Country).
Mike Jeffreys - Talk Radio 2CC, Canberra (Provincial).
Neil Mitchell - 3AW, Melbourne (Metropolitan).
Alan Jones - 2GB, Sydney (Metropolitan)- third year running.
BEST PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Mark Littler - Sea FM Fraser Coast, Fraser Coast, Queensland (Country).
Mitch Braund - Sea FM 100.9, Hobart, Tasmania (Provincial).
Scott Muller - Nova 96.9, Sydney (Metropolitan).
BEST STATION PRODUCED COMMERCIAL
Suze Curran and Ruth Brown - "999" FNQ Filter Wash, 4AM / Hot FM Mareeba, Queensland (Country).
Bill Bailey, Rob Sharples, David Horspool and Andy McLean - "Brentwood Retirement Village"
2GO 107.7, Gosford, New South Wales (Provincial).
Tony Byrne and Matt Gray - "City to Airport" Airtrain, Triple M 104.5, Brisbane (Metropolitan).
BEST NETWORKED PROGRAM
Mark Watson - "Sunday Night Seventies", ACE Radio Broadcasters, Victoria (Country).
The Big Kahuna and Renee - "The Fat 30", Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Queensland (Provincial).
2GB - "Continuous Call Team", Macquarie Radio Network, New South Wales (Metropolitan).
BEST SYNDICATED PROGRAM
Radiowise Media Networks - "Bali: The First Anniversary".
BEST ON AIR TEAM
Rod Cuddihy and Loretta Smit - 93.5 Star FM Dubbo, New South Wales (Country).
Pete Davies and Lisa Ridgley - Mix 1049, Darwin (Provincial).
Merrick and Rosso and Blowsy - Nova 96.9, Sydney (Metropolitan) - second year running.
BEST STATION PRODUCED COMEDY SEGMENT
Brekky with the Boys - Kevin Rigby and Stephen Walter - "Bethle-FM" FM 92.9, Tamworth New South Wales (Country).
Arny & Andie - "A Very Long Week" 3TR FM, South Melbourne (Provincial).
Matt Hale - "Queen Song Titles Call" 96 FM, Perth (Metropolitan).
Kyle and Jackie O Show - "Molly Meldrum Telephone Scam" 2DAY FM, Sydney (Metropolitan).
BEST COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECT
Barry Hill - "2RE's 50th Anniversary, Win an FJ Holden" 2RE / 107.3 MAX FM, Taree, New South Wales (Country).
92.5 GOLD FM - "92.5 GOLD FM's Give Me Five For Kids, Kids Day Out", Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Gold Coast (Provincial).
Radio 2UE - "2UE Sydney Children's Hospital Appeal", Sydney (Metropolitan).
SA.FM - "Bradley's Place", Austereo Network, Adelaide (Metropolitan).
B105 Morning Crew - "2003 B105 Xmas Appeal" B105 FM, Brisbane (Metropolitan)..
Fatcat, Marto and Tanya - "Jaymee Zeller Day" Triple M 104.5, Brisbane (Metropolitan).
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION
Rod Cuddihy - 93.5 Star FM Dubbo, Dubbo, New South Wales (Country).
Carl Hitchmough - 90.9 Sea FM / 92.5 GOLD FM, Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Gold Coast, Queensland (Provincial).
Geoff Bowser, Simon Kennedy, Jamie Green, Wayne Fox, Scotty Muller and the Nova 969 Production Team - Nova 969, DMG Radio, Sydney (Metropolitan).
BEST PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR
Kristie Pain - 92.5 GOLD FM, Gold Coast, Queensland (Non Metropolitan).
Shandra Moran - Nova 96.9, DMG Radio, Sydney (Metropolitan).
BEST STATION SALES ACHIEVEMENT
4LM AM Mount Isa -, Mount Isa, Queensland (Non Metropolitan).
4BC Sales Team - 4BC, Brisbane (Metropolitan).
Tracey Davis - 4LM AM / Hot FM Mount Isa, Queensland (Country).
Kirstin Bullen-Mann - 104.9 Star FM / 1494 2AY, Albury, New South Wales (Provincial).
Vickie Allan - 4KQ, Brisbane (Metropolitan).
BEST MUSIC DIRECTOR
Drew Michel - Kiss 95.3, Lithgow, New South Wales (Country).
Dan Veling - 95.5 K-Rock, Geelong , Victoria (Provincial).
Dan Bessant - Nova 96.9, Sydney (Metropolitan).
HALL OF FAME: Gary O'Callaghan
BEST NEW AUSTRALIAN ARTIST ON COMMERCIAL RADIO: Pete Murray
2004-10-18: Clear Channel has miscalculated its potential audience with one of the first stations it has moved to Spanish language programming under its initiative to tap into the fastest growing ethnic group in the US according to a report in the Gainesville Times.
It says that WHEL-FM, Helen, in Northeast Georgia, which on Friday was suddenly switched to WVWA and from conservative talk to simulcast contemporary Spanish music with WWVA-FM, Atlanta, is based in an area with only a 1.6% Hispanic population according to the 2000 census.
Monika Demuth, who has been general manager of WHEL since it was founded in December 1993, told the paper staff were only told of the change ten minutes before it happened and added, "Clear Channel didn't do their homework to see what the demographics were. This just doesn't make any sense."
She added that the 6,000 watts signal can reach as many as 22 counties because its radio tower is on top of a mountain but said, "There are already three stations serving the Hispanic community in Gainesville. They're not going to listen to us, because they don't need another one."
"On the other hand, our listenership was largely in White and Habersham, and they are left without an alternative I've lost all my advertisers I'm generating zero revenue."
She said she had an "immediate and overwhelming" response from the community and received "400 e-mails the first day and hundreds of phone calls."
Clear Channel, spokeswoman Kim Holt said it had no comment to make on the matter beyond what was stated in the September announcement that it was to convert 20 to 25 stations around the country to Spanish music formats over the next 18 months (See RNW Sep 17).
RNW comment: We have no idea about the financial calculations behind this move - the station produced no local programming but did broadcast local advertisements and public service announcements - and recognise that existing English speaking staff may find their jobs at risk and thus have a vested interest in criticising the change. But unless Demuth is deliberately misstating the facts the manner of the change does say quite a lot about the vaunted (by Clear Channel) independence of its stations. We can't see how it can be claimed that there is really significant independence if a station format can be changed in line with a corporate decision with virtually no notice to its manager.
Previous Clear Channel:
Gainesville Times report:
2004-10-17: The main radio action from the regulators last week was the imposition in the US of a maximum indecency penalty on Entercom: Elsewhere the week was very quiet regarding radio for the regulators with no announcements from Australia or Ireland although there a public meeting was held on Monday about holds public hearings for the short-listed applicants for the new Alternative Rock Music service for Dublin City & County licence.
From Canada, there was only radio decision from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)- the denial of an application to operate a 14,500 watts commercial English-language Christian music specialty FM in Kawartha Lakes, an amalgamated city that includes the former towns of Lindsay, Fenelon Falls, Boycaygeon and the surrounding rural areas in Ontario. Its signal would have extended to the Peterborough market.
The application was notable for an intervention in support of the proposal from Salem Communications, one of 35 supporting interventions compared to three against.
Salem had said it would purchase all the hardware for the proposed station's transmitter and pay all of its installation costs, subject to an acceptable lease agreement with the applicant, up to a maximum total cost of CAD 325,000 (USD 260,000).
Opposing interventions were filed by CHUM Limited, licensee of CKLY-FM Lindsay, and CKPT-AM and CKQM-FM Peterborough and by Scott Jackson of Trust Communications Ministries, the licensee of contemporary Christian music station, CJLF-FM Barrie and its transmitter CJLF-FM-2 Peterborough and Saul Chernos.
The two broadcasters expressed concern about the potential impact of approval of the application on their operations.
CHUM commented that if the applicant were to achieve its projected advertisement revenues of CAD 700,000 (USD 560,000 million) in the first year of operation, increasing to more than CAD 1 million (USD 780,000) by the seventh year of operations they would rival those of mainstream commercial radio stations in the region and would have a significant negative impact on CKLY-FM Lindsay and on the intervener's Peterborough stations.
Jackson said the applicant's advertising revenue projections were "exceedingly high" for a Christian music station and that, given the size of the Kawartha Lakes market, the proposed station would be likely to need to draw advertising revenue from Peterborough in order to realize its projections: He contended that there was not enough revenue in the area to support another Christian radio service.
He and Saul Chernos said another Christian radio service in the area would duplicate services and pointed out that the Kawartha Lakes area is already served by Christian music station CJLF-FM and Chernos also noted that, in June 2004, the Commission authorized King's Kids Promotions Outreach Ministries Incorporated to operate a new Christian music FM radio station in Peterborough
The applicant contended that its proposed station would not be competitive with the interveners' radio stations in the area because it planned to provide a local service focused on the City of Kawartha Lakes and would appeal to an older audience than that targeted by CJLF-FM.
In denying the application the CRTC commented that Salem's support raised questions with respect to the financing of the proposed undertaking, particularly regarding the source of funding for the installation of the station's transmitter and added that it would have expected this information to have been filed by the applicant as part of the application process.
It noted that CKLY-FM Lindsay, the only station currently licensed to the market had reported below-average profitability over the past five years and took the view that a new station could have a significant negative financial impact on CKLY.
RNW comment: We could this application interesting since it suggests that Salem may well be expecting Canadian ownership regulations to be eased and was positioning itself to take advantage of this. We wonder how many other US companies are waiting in the wings.
The UK was fairly quiet with the only specifically radio-related action from Ofcom being to approve Capital Radio's application to combine its two Choice FM licences (See RNW Oct 13).
Ofcom has also issued its report on BBC digital services (See RNW Oct 14) and was involved in a raid on Liverpool pirate station Weed-FM whose equipment was confiscated (See RNW Oct 15).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as noted above levied a maximum indecency penalty on Entercom as well as confirming a penalty on Saga for broadcasting a phone call without advance notice to the party being called. It also required three stations to show cause why they should not be reclassified from Class C to Class CO to allow first stations in Rosebud, Texas and Wetumka, Oklahoma respectively (All RNW Oct 16).
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2004-10-17: In another satellite radio move into uncensored space Sirius has announced that Shade 45, the new uncensored hip-hop radio channel it has created in conjunction with Eminem (Marshall Mathers), Shady Records, and Interscope Records is to be launched on October 28, live from the Shady National Convention at the Roseland Ballroom in New York.
Sirius President of Entertainment and Sports Scott Greenstein said the new service "will be a radio channel that for the first time directly connects the artists with their fans."
"It will be originality of the highest order, with no filters and no commercial restrictions," he added.
Eminem's manager Paul Rosenberg, who is VP of Shady Records, said the " station's mix of uncensored hip-hop music and on-air personalities who can say whatever they want is the kind of thing we at the SNC have fought for and will continue to support."
2004-10-17: Conservative host Rush Limbaugh is now competing voice-to-voice with progressive host Al Franken in Rhode Island where Clear Channel's WHJJ-AM is taking five-hours a day of Piquant's Air America network in the 10:00 to 15:00 time slot formerly hosted by John DePetro.
Limbaugh airs on Citadel's WPRO-AM and Jim Corwin, Clear Channel's market manager for Rhode Island commented, "'PRO has the right wing locked up with Mr. Limbaugh. It will be interesting to see how long it takes Al Franken to beat him in the ratings."
"At one point you could go up and down the dial, and all you heard was Swift Boats, Swift Boats, Swift Boats," said Corwin, referring to attacks on Sen. John Kerry's war record.
"Air America was very refreshing. I think there's a whole generation of talk show listeners who are looking for a little more complexity in what they listen to."
DePetro moved to Entercom's WRKO-AM in Boston earlier this year and he expressed doubt about the prospects for Franken, telling the Providence Journal, "I think it's an incredible risk to go with syndicated programming from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. I always felt the success of the station lay in its very strong commitment to local programming."
At WPRO, David Bernstein, director of operations and news, noted that the conservative-leaning DePetro had a very strong local focus in his show and derided WHJJ's prospects of success with the move, commenting, "WHJJ will have a rough time keeping the audience they have now. The question is whether they can garner a new audience. I have my doubts . . . it's a helluva gamble. Too much of a gamble for me to do."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Piquant/Air America:
Providence Journal report:
2004-10-17: It hasn't taken long for a fix to be devised to connect XM radio services to personal computers following the company's discontinuance of its PCR device following the development by a Canadian of software that allowed it to be used to download and organise songs (See RNW Aug 26).
According to CNET, Hybrid Mobile Solutions, a small Florida company that makes in-car computer systems has re-created its own version of the hardware, saying its customers want a way to hook their onboard PCs to an XM system.
Ben Stahlhood, chief software architect for Hybrid Mobile Solutions told CNET: "A lot of people in the MP3 car community...wanted XM satellite radio, but don't use normal (radio) units; they use touch-screen computers. We decided we could help them work out the problem."
Engineers at Hybrid Mobile took apart XM Radio receivers, figured out how they worked, and created a new piece of software and a cable that could support the XM technology, aimed at plugging it all back into a PC.
The system, which is available from the company's web site costs USD 40, and may also be plugged back into TimeTrax radio-recording software, raising the possibility of pristine digital copying from the satellite service, a capability that rouses opposition from the recording companies.
Hybrid Mobile Solutions web site (Rather demanding Flash site - not really for dial-up access):
2004-10-16: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a maximum USD 55,000 indecency fine on Entercom for material broadcast on two separate occasions on the Rob, Arnie & Dawn In the Morning Show on its "98 Rock" KRXQ-FM, Sacramento.
The FCC ruled that the show included graphic and explicit discussions about sexual and/or excretory organs and activities, and were patently offensive and proposed the current maximum USD 27,500 penalty for each airing. It also noted in its ruling that "similar violations of this nature by Entercom could well lead to more severe enforcement action, including commencement of license revocation proceedings."
The broadcasts were aired on September 13, 2002 and January 17, 2003 and a listener had complained to the FCC alleging broadcasts of indecent material on the show.
Entercom had said it had not retained a recording of the first broadcast but did have a recording relating to the second complaint although it said it was aired on January 23, 2003. It had argued that none of the material met the FCC definition of indecency and that the definition is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad.
Commenting on the first segment, in which one of the hosts played the role of a young boy describing how his father wanted to take photographs of him in the nude and show the youngster his erect penis, the FCC ruled that although euphemisms such as "birthday suit" and "something long, hard, and full of seaman" were used, there was "no question that its purpose was to shock and titillate, and is similar to other patently offensive material involving graphic references to sexual activity with children, which were found to be indecent."
Regarding the second segment, which it says "involved a graphic and detailed discussion of various methods that men may employ to disgrace, degrade and humiliate women before, during, and after sexual intercourse", the FCC said the "discussion was shocking for its depravity and clearly intended as such."
It rejects Entercom contentions that the discussion was "deliberately oblique" and cites various examples: "For example, at one point, one of the hosts advises how a man may "'proceed to engage in the most violent and forceful sex imaginable . . . calling her the most obscene names you can come up with, and slapping her."'"
" At another point in the broadcast, the host suggests that after intercourse, 'you put your ass right over her face while she's sleeping . . . and break wind.' "
" Elsewhere, the host describes for the listening audience, 'while taking the girl from behind, the guy reaches around, grabs her breasts as hard as he can . . . and screams out another girl's name, then he holds on for the wild bronco ride.' "
" In yet another part of the same broadcast, the host suggests that, while having sex in a bathroom, 'you're engaged in, um, 'from behind action' . . . then when ready, he sticks her head into a toilet, which contains a recently deposited log cabin, simultaneously flushing it . . . you hold her head there.' "
"The host also describes how 'once again, you're taking her from behind . . . then the man wraps his arms around her throat . . . placing her, again without her permission, placing her in the traditional 'sleeper' wrestling hold . . .cutting off air to the carotid artery . . .He maintains the hold until she is unconscious . . . reviving her with his own special form of smelly salts [farting noise] on her nose.' "
" This discussion," said the FCC, "was unquestionably graphic, not oblique" and it opted to impose the maximum rather than base level penalty for each offence.
Two of the Commissioners issued separate statements with both Democrat Michael J. Copps and Republican Kevin J. Martin suggesting that the larger penalties could have been imposed through a fine for each utterance rather than each broadcast.
The FCC also confirmed a penalty of USD 4,000 on Saga Communications relating to a broadcast by WLZX-FM, Northampton, Massachusetts, of a call between its personality Christopher Laursen and Dave Sears of Western Mass Radio Company's WRNX-FM without prior notice to the latter.
Saga had not denied the offence but had argued that the penalty should have been cancelled because it's the broadcast - a "one-time isolated broadcast by an employee, against the directive of his employer" - was not wilful and additionally that the penalty did not take into account Saga's "good faith and history of overall compliance."
The FCC said the penalty was for the base amount and it saw no reasons to reduce it.
The FCC has also asked three stations -country KNUE-FM, Tyler, Texas plus soft rock KBEZ-AM, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and oldies KOMA-FM, Oklahoma City - to show why they should not be reclassified from Class C to Class CO to allow first stations in Rosebud, Texas and Wetumka, Oklahoma respectively.
All three of the existing stations are currently operating below minimum Class C requirement.
2004-10-16: Finnish public broadcaster YLE, which has discovered in its archives audio of Adolf Hitler talking after a radio interview had ended but equipment had been left running, is to air the material tomorrow on its Radio Finland international satellite and short-wave service.
The recording was made in 1942 when Hitler was in Finland for the 75th birthday of Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil (CEG) Mannerheim, commander of the Finnish forces during the Second World War and also Finnish President: Finland had been invaded by the then Soviet Union in 1939 and in 1941 allied itself with Germany for a counter-attack to regain lost territory. Mannerheim was responsible for a balancing act under which the country accepted large-scale German military aid but limited its involvement in the fight against the Soviet Union.
The recording is the only known one of the dictator that did not feature him ranting to the party faithful and features him speaking in his normal voice.
Sound engineer Thor Damen, who was in charge of recording speeches at the birthday celebrations, had left the equipment running for some 18 minutes whilst Hitler and Mannerheim were talking.
Lasse Vihonen, head of the sound archives at YLE, said Hitler had forbidden recording his private conversations and the engineer risked execution.
"When the German security officers found out, it really became a scene, with them threatening to kill Damen and ordering him to destroy the tape," said Vihonen. "It is the only one in existence where Hitler speaks freely."
The tape is said to consist largely of a rambling monologue in a low-pitched voice as opposed to the well-rehearsed, high-pitched tone used for Hitler's public utterances.
In one section Hitler comments, alternating between rapid and slow speech and pausing frequently, "Had I finished off France in '39, then world history would have taken another course. But then I had to wait until 1940. Then a two-front war, that was bad luck. After that, even we were broken
We didn't know ourselves just how monstrous this powerful beast [Stalin's Soviet Union] was. Had I known, I would have been more reluctant, but I had already made the decision then, and there would be no other possibility."
Deutsche-Welle/Agence France Press report (In English):
YLE web site:
2004-10-16: A remembrance service for the late Alistair Cooke, best known for fifteen-minute weekly 'Letter From America', the world's longest running radio speech series, was held in Westminster Abbey, London, yesterday and attended by some 2000 family members, colleagues and fans.
Cooke died aged 95 in March (See RNW Mar 31) shortly after his retirement on doctor's advice: In all he had broadcast 2,869 Letter programmes, missing only three broadcasts in a run that started in 1946.
Born in Salford, Lancashire,m he had become a US citizen in 1941
During the service a recording was played that he made when he was unable to attend an engagement and in which he commented, "I'm sure you expect me to say, 'I'm sorry I'm not with you'. Well, I'm not sorry. I am of the opinion that a radio broadcaster should be heard and not seen." .
Prayers were led by the late broadcaster's daughter the Reverend Susan Cooke Kittredge , and the Reverend Graeme Napier, his son John gave readings and tributes were paid by BBC Director-General Mark Thompson and ABC News anchor and Senior Editor Peter Jennings.
Thompson commented, "I think if you look deep into the genetic code of the BBC, not just today but for as long as the BBC exists, one of the things you would find at its heart would be the rich, calm, beguiling, wise voice of Alistair Cooke."
Jennings said, "Alistair had a passion and a hunger to know and understand and enjoy his adopted country. He really captured America and the essence of its being. Alistair helped us to understand ourselves."
Music included works by Handel and Gilbert and Sullivan played by the BBC Concert Orchestra and the second movement from one of JS Bach's violin concertos played by Cooke's granddaughter Jane Byrne Kittredge as well as a performance by jazz singer Jacqui Dankworth of George Gershwin's Someone To Watch Over Me.
Following the service The Rev Cooke Kittredge was presented with an award for the broadcaster from the Radio Academy to mark his inclusion in the UK Radio Hall of Fame.
2004-10-15: The Chicago WLS-AM morning team of Don Wade and Roma may find competition for their services as talks on a new contract get under way in earnest according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times.
WLS has been without the duo since their last contract extension ended last month and Disney's ABC Radio has only just appointed John Gallagher as general manager at the station four months after Zemira Jones left to join Radio One Inc (See RNW Jul 14).
Feder says the delay has meant that a move to Salem, which has just announced a station swap with Univision that will see it gain Chicago WIND-AM (See RNW Oct 5) is thought to be a serious option for the Wades although formally Salem is to fill the slot with Bill Bennett's syndicated morning show.
He adds that the speculation has been further fuelled by the fact that Salem's director of network programming is Tom Tradup, the former president and general manager of WLS who retained the Wades when the station turned to news/talk and that although WLS is expected to negotiate a new contract the Wades hand has been strengthened by Salem's planned acquisition.
Previous Don and Roma Wade:
2004-10-15: Boston University has named Peter Fiedler, the son of the late Boston Pops conductor Arthur Fiedler as interim general manager of its WBUR-FM public radio station to replace Jane Christo who officially leaves tomorrow.
Fiedler, who has had a quarter century's experience in media, is currently an assistant vice president at the university with responsibility for overseeing sports broadcasting, media services, and publications for the university.
In a statement issued through the university he said, "Sitting down with staff members will be my top priority. I want to hear from employees at all levels of the operation as we work on strengthening one of the top public radio stations in the country."
2004-10-15: Merseyside pirate station Weed FM, which broadcasts a mixture of reggae, dance, and rap music and calls for the legalization of cannabis, has been raided by police for the second time in two weeks.
Officials from regulator Ofcom accompanied by police seized all the station's equipment.
2004-10-15: Independent US radio advertising sales marketing company Interep says that although national billing was down around 2% for the period its new business development efforts have yielded USD 67 million in new money to radio up to the third quarter this year and it is on target if it continues to develop new income at the same pace to exceed USD 100 million in such business next year.
The amount is up nearly 60% on a year ago and Interep adds that total developmental billing from new business, marketing services and renewals was up to USD 89 million during the first three quarters of the year, up 25%.
Chairman and CEO Ralph Guild commented, "The last few years have taught us that we can not wait for economic recovery to buoy our industry; we must make our own recovery." "Our entire sales staff is now being trained not only to optimise share for our clients at the time buying level, but also to develop new streams of revenue for our clients in order to meet their growth goals.
2004-10-14: Deals have been announced that will take Saga Communications into the Charlottesville, Virginia, market and Salem into Miami.
In the first, Saga is buying AC WWWV-FM, Talk WINA-AM and Rock WQMZ-FM from Eure Communications, Inc.; it says it expects to close the deal, for which no value has been announced, in the first quarter of next year.
Saga is not expected to change the formats and President and CEO Edward K. Christian commented," We look forward to working with the existing staff to continue the great work that these stations have been doing in Charlottesville."
In Miami, Salem is paying USD 10 million to Classical 1360, LLC for WKAT-AM: WKAT's format includes classical music and its fortunes had seemingly been boosted when Cox switched WTMI-FM in Miami from classical to techno-dance at the end of 2001
Salem will have a presence in all the top 20 US markets when the acquisition closes: It has not said what it will do as regards changing format.
In other US radio business, Sirius says it has now closed its offering of USD 230 million in 3-1/4% Convertible Notes due 2011, and 25 million shares of its common stock.
In addition underwriters Morgan Stanley took up an option to purchase an additional USD 30 million of the notes.
In all the offering has raised around USD 321 net for Sirius and CEO Joseph P. Clayton said the success of the offering was "a testament to the confidence within the financial community about the success of Sirius as the satellite radio category takes off."
2004-10-14: The BBC has received mixed reviews about its move into digital broadcasting in a reports published on Wednesday. One, prepared by a team led by Patrick Barwise, Professor of Management and Marketing at London Business School, concentrates on TV services BBC3, BBC4, CBeebies and CBBC, which it says have largely met their remits although he is critical of the value for money of the first two, which have very small audiences.
A second from media regulator Ofcom deals with both radio and TV and concludes that the BBC's new services have contributed to digital take-up but the scale of the contribution may have been exaggerated by the BBC.
Prof Barwise and former UK Channel 4 TV Director of TV and Programmes Tim Gardam were appointed earlier this year to lead the latest review of the BBC's activities in the run-up to the renewal of its charter in 2006 with Gardam being given the radio remit and Barwise that for TV (See RNW May 4).
At the time the BBC said that a review it had commissioned from Oliver & Ohlbaum Associates Ltd showed that " BBC digital radio stations are playing a vital role in driving digital penetration and have had an "unambiguously positive" impact on the commercial sector (Also RNW May 4 2004-05.html# submission).
Figures in the Oliver & Ohlbaum report said that the BBC's contribution to the take-up of digital audio had made such a contribution to commercial radio finances that it produced an overall benefit for the commercial sector of GBP 2.9 million (USD 5.2 million) a year, calculated from its share of driving take-up of a medium producing GBP 9 million (USD 16 million) a year in advertising with BBC digital radio services negatively impacting advertising revenues by GBP 1.6 million (USD 2.9 million) a year.
Within the figures BBC 6 Music was said to have benefited commercial radio overall by GBP 450,000 (USD 807,000 made up of GBP 550,000 - USD 986,000 - benefit less GBP 300,000 - USD 538,000in impact on advertising), speech Channel BBC 7 by GBP 350,000 (USD 628,000 made up of GBP 500,000 - USD 896,000 - less GBP 350,000 - USD 628,000); pop music BBC 1 Xtra by GBP 500,000 (USD 896,000 made up of GBP 1 million - USD 1.79 million - less GBP 500,000 - USD 896,000), BBC Asian Network by GBP 250,000 (USD 448,000 made up of GBP 750,000 less - USD 1.338 million - less GBP 500,000 - USD 896,000) and BBC Five Live Sports Extra by GBP 1.35 million (USD 2.41 million made up of GBP 1.5 million - USD 2.7 million less GBP 1.35 million - USD 2.41 million).
Ofcom in conjunction with Spectrum Strategy Consultants re-evaluated the assumptions behind the BBC figures and noted that Spectrum through an assumption that the new BBC digital services are responsible for only 8% of the benefits from digital radio calculated that BBC services actually cost commercial radio GBP 900,000 (USD 1.61 million) per annum.
O&O has calculated their figures on the basis that half the benefits of the take-up of digital radio on the basis of the 18% of listening its new services have of digital listening allied with a scaling-up because of the key role played by the Corporation in the development of digital radio, specifically its promotion of the medium.
Ofcom took the view that the truth lies between the two and comments, "We consider that on balance the BBC will have had more of an impact on digital radio growth than the lower Spectrum figure suggests."
It also notes that the O&O report accepted that for some commercial services such as speech Channel Oneword and Asian services from Sunrise, the overall impact of the BBC services could be negative for the commercial sector and adds that concerns were raised by some respondents to its enquiry about the demographics that he new BBC services catered for: These respondents felt they did not sufficiently diverge from those of commercial sector output.
Ofcom comments that its approach has been to focus attention of the impact of the new BBC services on the ability of the market "to meet the needs of consumers and citizens both now and in the future" and adds, ". Ideally, the BBC - as well as providing services which are valued in their own right - should help the market to work more effectively."
[RNW comment: We're not sure why that much attention should be paid to the BBC helping the market although in the end we do realise that public and commercial broadcasters do not broadcast in isolation. At the same time, surely the prime function of public service broadcasting is to provide just what its name indicates for the benefit of the public rather than helping the market do anything.]
Overall submissions it says were broadly supportive of BBC digital radio services although it notes the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) concerns that BBC activities should be constrained if these "are likely to endanger unduly a commercial radio initiative which can reasonably claim to be in the public interest during its fragile launch phase. "
Ofcom says its main concerns about the BBC services relate to the speech and Asian radio services and it particularly draws attention to the affect on the commercial Oneword channel of competition from BBC 7.
It cites comment from the CRCA: " Oneword sought to serve a previously unserved market. At its inception there was no reason to believe that the BBC intended to launch its own service of all-day spoken word entertainment. This market now splits its listening across two similar programme services thus diluting the number of hours that Oneword could reasonably have been expected to attract."
"(BBC) was able to combine its commercial muscle through BBC Worldwide with its protective attitude towards its own archive and launch a publicly funded radio service to the disadvantage of a fresh, new Commercial Radio [sic] endeavour designed to enhance the breadth of Commercial Radio's provision."
Regarding this, Ofcom comments, "Neither BBC 7 nor Oneword have taken any real audience share so far However, if BBC 7 grows, it may be more difficult in future for others to start supplying similar services - there may not be sufficient audience left for commercial operators to make a viable business in the speech segment."
Ofcom report (407 KB 62 Page PDF):
2004-10-14: Radio Sawa, the Arabic language pop music and news station funded by the US government has failed to meet its mandate of promoting democracy and the US within the Arab world according to a draft report prepared by the State Department's inspector general says the Washington Post.
The report says Sawa, which has an annual budget of USD 22 million, has attracted a large audience but has not influenced attitudes and queries the validity of research given to Congress by its parent body, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, to demonstrate its success.
The Post reports that two independent panels of Arab-language experts gave the programming a mixed review, saying it did not match al-Jazeera [the Arabic satellite TV channel] in terms of quality and that parents would prefer that their teenagers not listen to Radio Sawa because its broadcasts contained such poor Arabic grammar. "Radio Sawa failed to present America to its audience," one panel concluded.
It adds that the Broadcasting Board of Governors has vehemently protested the report, questioning its methodology and assumptions in a 49-page pre-publication rebuttal.
The State Department report, based on extensive interviews in Washington and the Middle East with U.S. officials and public diplomacy experts, was scheduled to be published in August, but publication has been repeatedly delayed and the draft report notes that Broadcasting Board officials often interfered with interviews and may have intimidated some employees and "made them less forthcoming."
Norman J. Pattiz, a board member regarded as the driving force behind Radio Sawa, said, "there are many inaccuracies, misunderstandings and misinformation in the draft that need to be corrected." He said the report failed to comply with generally accepted government auditing standards, misrepresents Sawa's mission and performance, and misinterprets federal and congressional requirements.
The post says it received a copy of the draft report from a source who said he feared that the inspector general's office was buckling under pressure and would water down the conclusions.
Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, said there had been a "big dust-up" over the report and added that Radio Sawa is "one of the biggest successes the U.S. has ever had in international broadcasting" but that "critics of Sawa made an inordinate contribution" to what he called a "fatally flawed report."
Washington Post report:
2004-10-13: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has come out in favour of tax breaks as the best incentive to increase minority ownership of US media.
In a six page filing made in response to a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) call for comment on how it should further 2 opportunities in the allocation of spectrum-based services for small businesses and businesses owned by women and minorities" it reiterates its support for reinstatement of a broadcast tax incentive.
Until 1995 the FCC issued tax certificates that gave companies tax credits or other benefits when they sold assets to minority-owned businesses and the NAB says reinstatement of this would be the most effective way to promote diversity of ownership in broadcasting.
"NAB," it says, "has endorsed the legislation proposed by Senator McCain to provide tax incentives to those selling broadcast stations to socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses" and it adds, "NAB regards the Commission's previous tax certificate program as one of the most effective policies in promoting minority ownership of broadcast stations."
"Because tax incentives are the most direct and effective method of encouraging minority ownership in broadcasting," it concludes, "NAB urges the Commission to work with Congress in any legislative effort to reinstate a tax incentive program... NAB also urges the Commission to repeal or at least narrow the equity/debt plus attribution rule, which discourages investment by established broadcasters in new entrants, including minorities and women. Because existing broadcasters are an important source of investment capital for new entrants into the radio and television industries, the Commission should not retain unchanged an attribution rule that inhibits such investment."
NAB filing (47 KB PDF):
2004-10-13: UK Capital Radio has been given the go-ahead by regulator Ofcom to merge its two Choice stations, one in north and one in south London according to the UK Guardian.
The stations were set up to serve black communities in Brixton and north East London and taken over by Capital last year (See RNW Nov 20, 2003) and the paper quotes Michael Eboda, the editorial director of black newspaper New Nation, as saying he believes Capital does not want the station's original African-Caribbean audience and that the radio giant was "paying lip service" to the black community by having Choice founder Patrick Berry as non-executive chairman.
"Ever since Capital's takeover Choice has been going away from its remit to be a community station providing access for the community to music they can't hear on any other legal station," he said.
Capital, reports the paper, will move the station to its corporate headquarters in central London and says it wants to use Choice's "credibility in coming from Brixton and the black community" to turn Choice FM into the nation's premier urban music brand with a "broader" audience.
Capital has already dropped the specialist African Beats show from the new schedule, which starts next Monday and has also hired TV presenter Richard Blackwood as a weekend DJ at Choice.
Its managing director, Graham Bryce, denied however that there would be less specialist music broadcast on the new station and said the African Beats show was being replaced by Choice UK Cuts, a show promoting British urban music which Capital is to use as a launch-pad for a wide-ranging volley of initiatives for Choice.
The paper quoted him as saying, "We are trying to keep 99% of specialist music in our output. I think we'll provide London with better specialist shows which before were only available in north or south London" and adding, "We have juggle the hours a bit. A couple of specialist shows will have an hour less and a couple of one-off shows from the weekend have not made it on [to the new schedule]."
RNW comment: Unless he is misquoted, Bryce is obviously innumerate since 99% is mathematically always less than the whole - i.e. LESS. Again unless misquoted the implication of his other comments is to contradict his assertion. Our feeling is that since his words, if correctly quoted, are more suited to the back end of a bull than being taken seriously his head might be productively placed in the same area.
There is also significant feeling that since Capital took over Xfm is has made similar moves there in taking the station towards a more "pop" format to the neglect of its original core audience.
We can only hope that community pressure will allow new black stations to gain licences under its new community licence scheme (See RNW Sep 3) and that as digital and the internet makes more choice - real choice not the station - available some of it will include stations closer to the original remits of Choice and Xfm.
If such bids are made and rejected for community stations we can only suggest that the black community gets together to try and organize a nationwide boycott of Capital stations and advertisers since if successful - which we regrettably doubt - this would put severe pressure on both Capital and other groups involved in the expected consolidation of UK commercial radio to think very hard before tinkering with their formats.
UK Guardian report:
2004-10-13: Long-time Seattle radio personality Phil Harper has died aged 64 after a career that spanned radio experience in the army while stationed in Berlin through to at the time of his death working a regular weekday afternoon shift as "Buffalo Phil" on KYCW-AM, a classic country station, being the promotional "voice" of jazz station KPLU-FM and performing the role of Harry Nile in the long-running series of radio dramas.
Harper moved to the Northwest USA in 1969, working for King Broadcasting first in Portland and then moving to KING-AM in Seattle in 1974.
In 1977 Harper became the morning host at KMPS when its format was switched to country and was teamed with Carolyn Duncan, later replaced by Patti Par on traffic and Don Riggs doing news, in a successful teaming that kept Harper at the station for eight years after which he hen moved into voice-over work and stints at KPLU.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer obituary:
2004-10-13: UK Virgin Radio's chief executive John Pearson has said that he is resigning from the station although he will remain with parent SMG, the former Scottish Media Group, until April next year to allow it to find a replacement according to the UK Guardian.
The paper quotes Pearson as saying the decision was purely a "lifestyle" choice made after spending time with his four children over the summer and adding, "This is a lifestyle choice, I'd like a more flexible work/life balance and the ability to take more time off."
The paper says SMG chief executive Andrew Flanagan said Pearson was "an excellent businessman and a dynamic leader" and added, "I'd love him to stay but respect his reasons for leaving."
Pearson joined Virgin Radio sales director for its 1992 launch, and became managing director in 1995 and then chief executive and a board member of Ginger Media Group, in 1997.
After SMG bought the station he became chief executive of the radio division.
Last year Pearson was involved in an acrimonious court case in which major shareholder and former Virgin host Chris Evans sued SMG for GBP 8.6 million (USD13.6 million) in damages over his dismissal and accused Pearson of lying in court (See RNW Apr 3, 2003) and SMG counter-sued. Evans lost his case and was ordered to pay costs (See RNW Jun 27, 2003).
SMG has also announced that is has now completed the GBP 31 million (USD 55.5 million) sale of its share in UK breakfast TV franchise owner GMTV to ITV plc.
2004-10-13: Jones MediaAmerica (JMA) is now representing Air America Radio for advertising sales. The Piquant-owned "progressive talk" network now has 35 stations according to its web site and its CEO Doug Kreeger commented, "We have achieved extraordinary ratings in every market that Air America Radio has launched. We are extremely excited to have Jones MediaAmerica working with us, connecting advertisers with our successful affiliates across the country."
JMA VP Advertising Sales and Marketing Susan Love said they had a "tremendous track record of building brands, and we expect that success to continue with our partners at Air America Radio."
Previous Piquant/Air America:
2004-10-13: US Public Radio is hoping to have its new centrally managed digital "ContentDepot" system for programme distribution, first proposed in the late 1990s, handling most of its distribution by late spring next year according to its latest schedule.
It is running a series of workshops relating to the transition this fall - starting in Maryland towards the end of this month and ending in Los Angeles in early December- and expects producers to move to the system from January to March with equipment being shipped to stations in April followed by a period of parallel operation of its old and new systems through to July or August when the transition should be complete.
It has already upgraded satellite-receiving equipment at stations to ensure that all interconnected stations can receive ContentDepot signals and communicate with PRSS backup satellites.
Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS), which is managed by National Public Radio (NPR) distribution, has provided a centrally managed infrastructure for programme distribution since 1979 but in the past technology constrained it to distribution in real time audio feeds: The new system will allow distribution through digital file transfer using file transfers and digital streams with pre-recorded material being moved in advance of scheduled air time and live programmes going out as a digital stream.
Most distribution will be by satellite using the PRSS infrastructure, which PRSS says is more efficient for the job than the internet, but the internet will also be used in some cases of programme distribution as well as for communications and the organization says that as broadband becomes more widely available and reliable the internet could become the major means for distribution.
It is to launch a beta version of the site in the fall this year and will also launch an enhanced version of its catalogue that will allow stations to search for programmes by categories such as distributor, length, category, genre, and also download samples and promos and also access additional information relating to programme contacts, rights and so on.
Under the planned system, producers will be able to manage their own programme audio and data online as well as submitting programmes for transmission by PRSS and uploading promos.
PRSS web site:
2004-10-12: UK official radio ratings organization RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) is to stage a weekend test next month of three competing electronic metering systems, Arbitron's Portable People Meter, the Eurisko NOP World Media Monitor and the GfK/Telecontrol MediaWatch.
In all some 250 people will take part on November 13th and 14th in the tests for which RAJAR is taking over a floor of a north London hotel: They are being run to determine how well the meters can identify up to 33 different radio services under as wide a range of real-life conditions as can be arranged.
The Audiometer Validation Test has been designed in conjunction with the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) which is to oversee and manage the tests and results will go the RAJAR board in December before any findings are announced or the organization progresses to the next stage of its plan to implement meter systems.
Amongst the criteria set for the test are the abilities of the competing systems to identify all formats equally whether music or speech, against a variety of extraneous background noises, when played at differing volume levels and regardless of whether the wearers are stationary or in motion.
RAJAR has been involved in tests of metering systems since 2002 starting with tests of the reactions of potential wearers of the devices and what the meters recorded in different environments, how they compared with human "hearing" at low transmitted audio levels, and whether they could be operated to identify different broadcast sources of simulcast signals.
Later tests were run to compare results with those from the existing diary system including examination of the nature of inaccuracies in each system employed and specific differences for different formats.
Of the three devices to be tested, the Arbitron system works through including coded identification data in the broadcast signal whilst its competitors work through identification of recorded material through analysis of the recordings and comparison with broadcast signals.
RAJAR research director Paul Kennedy said they looked forward "to assessing the improved versions of the Arbitron Portable People Meter and the GfK/Telecontrol MediaWatch, as well as testing the new Eurisko NOP World Media Monitor."
"Together with NatCen," he added, "we have created a pioneering test, which we believe will assist RAJAR in selecting the very best audiometers for the future job of radio audience measurement."
Mike Gorton, global head of Television and Radio Audience Measurement at TNS (Taylor Nelson Sofres) commented, "As the UK marketer of Arbitron's PPM technology, TNS welcomes these tests as part of RAJAR's Roadmap to Change. We look forward to demonstrating the PPM's many qualities."
The PPM, he added, "has an excellent track record of extremely accurate station attribution, with the important ability to distinguish listening across broadcast platforms, to monitor time-shifted listening, and to include radio listening via headphones."
Eurisko NOP World vice-president Andrea Mezzasalma said his company's offering had been "developed in response to the need for a passive portable radio and TV metering system" and added that they had focussed on "designing an audiometer which would provide efficient and robust identification of radio/TV stations against the background noises of everyday life and one which would provide a levelled identification performance of music and speech programming."
For GfK AG Petra Heinlein, member of the management board responsible for media research, noted that its MediaWatch is based on technology that has provided official radio ratings in Switzerland for four years and welcomed the tests as "a positive step towards RAJAR's introduction of a system of electronic measurement of radio listening in the UK" and said they could offer a "solution that can accurately measure exposure to each of the ever-growing number of stations in Europe's most complex and advanced digital radio market."
RNW comment: Apart from other proprietary information including cost and information that will be determined by the tests, such as audio identification in challenging environments, there would seem to be some obvious advantages in each of the approaches adopted by the meter makers.
To encode information as Arbitron does would seem to offer significant advantages in term of actually measuring listening but has significant shortfalls unless all radio companies in an area being monitored are actually putting the information into their signals.
The other approach has the advantage of requiring no specific actions from the broadcasters but, to use the Arbitron example, we can't really see how it can realistically be expected to measure listening by people using headphones.
The ideal to us would be a system that cost little extra and included both capabilities - something that technology should be able to provide: This would provide an automatic check system that would alert a ratings organization of potential problems when there were significant differences between the two sets of ratings and allow general monitoring of listening to all signals combined with the ability to dig a little deeper for those broadcasters who are encoding information with their audio signal.
2004-10-12: XM Satellite Radio has started to offer its service as an online channel prices at USD 7.99 a month, or USD 3.99 a month for existing XM subscribers, who pay USD 9.99 a month for their broadcast service.
XM Online will include not only its normal programming but also for a limited period - duration not specified - the premium Opie and Anthony service that normally costs an extra USD 1.99 a month.
2004-10-12: UK UBC Media has switched suppliers of information of its traffic service from AA Roadwatch to Trafficlink Ltd: It says the move will reduce costs and improve its traffic and travel news service although it does not give a figure for the savings. UBC is also to work with Trafficlink to develop new data services for digital radio.
The Automobile Association has other media contracts for its services but the loss of the UBC contract, estimated to be worth some GBP 2 million (USD 3.6 million) a year, is a significant blow.
In July UBC combined its traffic and travel service with that of Emap to create a single Network Drive airtime package including adverts that is sold by UBC and supplied to some 170 UK commercial stations with a weekly audience of some 15 million adults.
UBC has also announced that it has signed a new 12-month deal with GWR to carry the service on 38 commercial stations. Under the deal GWR stations are to receive "an enhanced service of daily traffic and travel news featuring greater emphasis on local presentation" in exchange for which UBC receives airtime that it combines with that of other stations to use in its "Network Drive" national advertising package.
Commenting on the deals UBC Chief Executive Simon Cole said this "major show of faith from GWR at a critical time in the development of the commercial radio industry is very welcome indeed. Since we launched it last year, our network service of traffic and travel news has gone from strength to strength. We can now offer an unrivalled one-stop opportunity to national advertisers and, through our new arrangement with Trafficlink, an unbeatable editorial service to our network of radio stations"
2004-10-11: This week it seemed a no-brainer for our look at last week's comment on radio in other media to start with Howard Stern's move to satellite radio, a story that got wide coverage in the US and surfaced in other parts of the world as well.
Of the non-US reports, we opted for that in the UK Observer from Edward Helmore in New York. His report said of the move that it "may come to signal the moment when subscription-based satellite radio, with hundreds of stations of largely commercial-free programming, became a serious force, as well as the moment the financially flat and creatively stagnant US radio business was forced to reinvigorate itself." "[US] Terrestrial radio," it continued, "has been losing audience share for years, and after a decade of consolidation is under fire for stripping out any individuality."
After detailing recent broadcast indecency actions in the US, it quoted Stern as saying, "I'm tired of the censorship. The FCC has stopped me from doing business" and then continuing, "I want to know why a grubby (but sometimes amusing) man and his comments are vilified when there are far more offensive actions being taken."
"I'll resist any political comments about sending military personnel to an unnecessary death but ask others to consider this as part of the bigger picture when compared to sexual innuendo, overt smut and frequent coarse language."
The paper also commented on the financial implications of the move, commenting, "Beyond the loss to terrestrial radio (Stern brings in about USD 80 million in ad revenue and USD 50million in cash flow) Sirius is taking a gamble. The company has lost USD1 billion over the last five years and will have to add one million subscribers to make economic sense of hiring Stern."
It also noted that Sirius was the under-dog to XM in satellite radio - "with 600,000 subscribers, compared to XM's more than 2 million" - and that XM had its own show in Opie and Anthony but then went on, " it's as yet unclear whether consumers want talk on satellite radio or that the reason for having it is to get away from talk and the plague of commercials In recent years, restricted playlists, endless commercials and station call-outs have, to many ears, made radio virtually unlistenable."
Many of the US reports covered the same ground but with varying emphasis. In the Washington Post, Frank Ahrens quoted terrestrial executives, as saying there was no need to over-react about the move.
Entercom CEO David J. Field commented, "What did it mean to late-night TV when Johnny Carson left? The reality is, that was not the demise of late-night TV." and
Emmis CEO Jeffrey H. Smulyan, said Stern's departure to satellite radio "is probably the best resolution to the situation," given the likelihood that Infinity would continue to rack up FCC fines while he stays in its employ.
He added that if both Sirius and XM satellite radio hit "their wildest dreams" of some 40 million between them "295 million people will still be listening exclusively" to AM and FM.
Others felt the move was more significant and Walter Sabo, president of Sabo Media, a consultant to Sirius and a member of the Sirius team that lured Stern said the deal "has the potential to turn FM into AM and AM into short-wave."
He drew a parallel with the situation 30 years ago when AM was king and station owners largely ignored the potential of FM, putting their stars and main resources into AM.
But then the young started moving over to FM and AM owners were afraid to take the risks necessary to compete with the growing FM industry with the result that all music left AM for FM leaving AMs struggling until the '80s, when Rush Limbaugh's show caught on and AM stations thrived with talk formats.
Sabo said many of today's top FM stations are constrained by the same mentality, because of the quarterly profit demands of the publicly traded companies that own them. He said that when he pitched a new radio format aimed at young women, a demographic that forms the backbone of successful daytime television shows, "I couldn't get one [radio executive] to put it on."
Another consultant Holland Cooke said Stern's move was the main topic of conversation at the NAB Radio Show in San Diego and commented, "We want to think [satellite radio] will never catch on and Stern's going to fall off the map. There's a tremendous comfort in the radio establishment in dissing this, but there is a dazed look in the eyes of the enlightened with whom I've spoken here."
He added that the move was only a symptom of a larger problem. Commenting, "Radio is losing content to new media."
Ahrens also quotes a Clear Channel PD, who declined to be quoted by name, as saying, "I have never witnessed anything as cataclysmic as this. This is a wake-up call to everyone in [AM and FM] radio."
He added that most troubling was the factor of making such a move to escape FCC scrutiny saying that if a talented young personality wants to do a radio show but doesn't want to deal with the FCC, he or she could take the show to satellite radio rather than to AM or FM, much in the way that many television producers and directors have chosen HBO and Showtime instead of broadcast networks.
The other US star host in the news last week was AM's saviour Rush Limbaugh whose medical records seem increasingly likely to be part of the evidence against him following a court ruling that their seizure did not breach his privacy rights (See RNW Oct 7).
Limbaugh himself is to appeal and put his usual spin favouring his viewpoint on the matter on his show but most commentators saw the decision in a different light.
Amongst those commenting, the Palm Beach Post summed the matter up in an editorial head, "Limbaugh loses in court; law enforcement wins" and concluded its comments by saying, "Mr. Limbaugh will appeal, either for a rehearing or to the Florida Supreme Court. He will continue to claim that it's all political, but the court has noted the essence of the case: No one should be able to use medical privacy to conceal what may be evidence of a crime."
Also in the Palm Beach Post was a commentary by Randy Schultz that said, "Rush Limbaugh got the sort of ruling he says the courts should issue."
"Mr. Limbaugh, who during his three-hour afternoon blusterfest makes up for in volume what he lacks in accuracy," writes Schultz, "peddles the right-wing Republican line that 'activist judges' endanger America. 'Activist' usually applies to any court with which Mr. Limbaugh disagrees, but his cover story is that 'activist' judges make the law, rather than interpret it."
He later quotes part of the judgment to make emphasize his point: "'In construing statutes, judges are not free to add or delete provisions from statutory texts.' And this: 'When engaged outside of the common law, as here, judges are not meant to be fixers of statutory omissions and have no authority to fill statutory voids or enlarge the domain of statutes already adopted.' In other words, the law is the law. And the law allows the use of search warrants."
And later:" As a self-described law-and-order guy, Mr. Limbaugh wouldn't want the courts to hinder prosecutors. So if it were any other case but his, he would approve of the court's conclusion that 'the right of privacy provision has no application to constitutionally valid search and seizure.'" He would like the idea that giving the target of a search warrant advance notice 'would amount to a judicially created limitation on search warrants.'"
"Like most of us, though, Mr. Limbaugh has one view of the law when it doesn't apply to him and another when it does. That might not matter so much if he wasn't bellowing the first view five days a week. Asked about this contradiction, Mr. Limbaugh's attorney responded cheerfully, 'Since when is hypocrisy a crime?'"
"Right. If it were, many members of Congress and the Legislature would be doing hard time. So would Rush Limbaugh. But the simple fact is that this case is less about him than about the wider issue of letting prosecutors conduct proper investigations."
There was no comfort either for Limbaugh from Bob Underwood who, writing in the Washington Dispatch" termed him the "Inconvincible Irony Man" and turns some of the host's own words against him.
"'It's ironic' is a common refrain on Rush Limbaugh's broadcasts," he writes. "But don't expect him to see the irony in his own legal troubles. If it were possible, though, to have Rush look honestly at himself, then 'Honest Rush' might have this to say about Radio Rush: 'When a tireless advocate of the Patriot Act complains that he's the victim of improperly seized evidence, that, my friends, is the very epitome of irony.'"
And later, "Ironically, prosecutors looking to press a case against Limbaugh for alleged drug-related offences would not have needed to go to court to defend their actions if they had only used the Patriot Act and searched his records looking for any information related to terrorism. They would have been able to seize all of Limbaugh's medical and financial records and then use it all against him, even though the records have nothing to do with terrorism. And how could they justify thinking such an ardent supporter of the President could be a terrorist? They don't have to justify it. It doesn't have to make sense in any way. If you say you think Limbaugh is a terrorist, you can seize anything you want and then prosecute him for whatever you find. As 'Honest Rush' might say, in a duet with Alanis Morissette - 'Isn't it ironic?'"
RNW comment: Although later comments by Underwood would imply that he is party-partisan and pro-Democratic, albeit in a context of the reverse from various "right-wing pundits", the points made seem to be justified. And it would indeed be a delicious irony to see Limbaugh dumped into jail for a while under the Patriot Act, perhaps through a case of wrongful identification as happened to others but for whom we have not noted sympathy from the host.
We would also note here that, knowing Limbaugh's penchant for posting on his site links to any articles that favour him, the fact that the only comments relating to this judgment when we last checked emanated from either the host or his lawyer, it may indeed be that some of his past defenders are finding their credulity a little strained. If not, we're sure they're likely to ga6t a posting in due course!
Sticking to US radio, on however, to a tale of community radio from Watsonville in California by Curt Gabrielson of the Register-Pajaronian.
"Imagine," he commences his column, "a radio station where students could design and run their own programs. Local youth could play their own music, talk about subjects relevant to them and broadcast information important to students in the area, all the while learning the skills of operating a radio station."
"Such a radio station existed not long ago right here in Watsonville. Radio Watson was a low-wattage pirate station, illegal under the old laws of the Federal Communication Commission. Students entirely ran various programs on Radio Watson after learning the ropes, and a broad group of youth from across Pajaro Valley listened in."
And what happened to the only low-power FM frequency available in Watsonville when the FCC authorized LPFM?
"If you tune in to this frequency today, you'll find nothing but Hawaiian music. Jeff and Morgan Kost run the station on the property of their private business on Riverside Drive."
Gabrielson says this situation arose after the duo initially agreed to work with" with a group of locals who intended to carry on the tradition of Radio Watson. This group - now known as Radio Aguas - had an application for the station in line ahead of Jeff and Morgan's, and agreed to withdraw it in order to join together and create a stronger application. I attended an early meeting where Jeff and Morgan talked openly about sharing time and resources, blending their desires with those of other Watsonvillians. "
"In the end, however, despite many contributions, sacrifices and investments on the part of the Radio Watson enthusiasts, Jeff and Morgan, by whim or by design, decided to go it alone and make the station 100 percent Hawaiian music. "
"Several weeks ago, I read in this paper that Jeff and Morgan were inviting proposals for programming on their station. This is peculiar, in that just a few months back, they were meeting periodically with a group of locals ready with plenty of programming ideas as well as staff, equipment and experience, but then slammed the door in their face."
He concludes with an appeal:" Bands of radio frequency belong to all of us. The one frequency currently available to us here in Watsonville has been taken for the sole purpose of broadcasting music with negligible connection to our community. If you are interested in what you can do to regain control of this frequency, please contact Radio Aguas at email@example.com."
RNW comment: Without having all the facts at our disposal we would not wish to rush to judgment but if the pair misled others about a joint approach and then made misleading statements in their application - which is presumably on file at the FCC - then there ought to be a simple procedure for the licence to be revoked on the basis of a false declaration.
If they did not do so, the Radio Watson people may have been suckered but would seem likely to have a much harder time of it. In which case maybe there's enough local support for the original station to justify a local boycott of the Kosts who presumably would get a message fairly quickly if nobody spoke to them and they were refused service by local businesses.
Finally before moving on to listening suggestions, an upbeat view of radio's strengths in at least one area - coming from north of the border and William Burrill in the Toronto Star.
The rest of his column fleshed out the idea but the first couple of paragraphs have the crux of the matter: "The best thing about radio play as opposed to rock videos is that you can take the lyrics of your favourite song and interpret them any way you like. A good songwriter never answers the questions "What is your song saying" or "Who exactly are you singing about?'' Because then people may be in for some shattering news that will ruin the imagery of the song for them forever more.
"I mean, do you really want to know that the mystical lover in Sheryl Crowe's latest tear-jerking, heart-breaking love song is written for Kid Rock? Once aptly described as "10 pounds of white trash in a nine-pound wife-beater?"
" So the good thing about radio is you can be anorexic or less and still bust up hearts and burst up the charts with your voice and your melody and your words that you wrote yourself with a meaning vague enough to share with any others looking for meaning. When you hear a radio song in which you do NOT have the singer's face, boobs and buns jammed into your memory by video vamping and magazine mugging, you can insert your own "Theatre of The Mind" image of what the singer looks like - like someone, perhaps, who you yourself once loved. And your mind's theatre can throw the words up in the air and let them stand for however they land as they fill the gaping potholes of your own imagination."
" There once was a time when radio listeners interpreted their own images of what a song meant and it might be right and it might be wrong but dammit, it was THEIRS."
And for listening, first a report from NPR's Weekend Edition on Saturday that seems to give the lie to the idea that there isn't a market for classical music in the US. In it Jeff Lunden profiles southern New Jersey's Bay-Atlantic Symphony one of the smaller community and regional orchestras that continue to survive in the US.
It doesn't show that a classical music station will be viable in many communities but it might well indicate to some local stations that to have a programme or two of classical music with a local bias might yet enable it to compete with satellite, which can obviously compete strongly on a national basis but is unable to offer the same community emphasis.
Also from NPR, this time from Sunday's Weekend Edition we noted a report "The Legend of Argentina's Gaucho Gil", a feature on the mythical outlaw cowboy who draws more than 100,000 visitors annually to a shrine in northern Argentina.
Changing Continents, a report we picked up from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Background Briefing programme gave us pause for thought.
"Sick Sperm Syndrome" (50 mins) examines human fertility: I would seem that one in eight Australian couples have problems in conceiving and much of the problem is in terms of difficulties in conceiving for women who have delayed having families but also increasing is a problem of male fertility.
No reasons are given but it would appear that those with dirty jobs have more damaged semen -an increase compared to white collar workers of around 50% for those in blue collar occupations where they actually get their hands dirty, such as builders, electricians, painters, plumbers and almost double for those who get their hands really dirty -- motor mechanics, fitters, turners, welders, machinery operators. Those in agriculture also fare badly as do those in mining industries and genetic effects of damage caused by smoking can continue through the generations - a four or five-fold increase in the chance of children developing cancers when their parents smoke.
Still with science but in this case its history, BBC Radio 4 on Saturday aired the first of four Eureka Years programmes: This programme, currently on the Listen Again part of the site, dealt with 1665 and Isaac Newton's development of his Law of Gravity.
Next Saturday (09:30 GMT) looks at 1907 and the British Antarctic expedition led by Ernest Shackleton, the first such expedition to be free of scurvy whose cause- Vitamin D deficiency - was discovered by two scientists in Norway some months after Shackleton's departure.
And on Radio 4 tomorrow two programmes worth a listen: In Grin and Bare It (10:30 GMT) actress Barbara Windsor hosts the first of two programmes tracing the roots of nudity and innuendo on-stage and later at 17:30 GMT the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy continues.
From Radio 2, we'd go for Don't Look Back In Anger: The Story Of Britpop at 21:00 GMT, the first of four programmes hosted by Steve Lamacq.
For comedy, the News Quiz (BBC Radio 4 on Friday at 17:30 GMT with a Saturday 11:30 GMT repeat) and from BBC Radio 2 on Saturday (1200-1300GMT but not on the Listen-Again part of the site) will be That Was Then This Is Now followed by Parsons & Naylor's Pull-out Sections: This latter runs first on Thursday at 21:00 GMT.
And from BBC Radio 3, the Sunday Feature last week (available as Listen Again) was Unweaving the Rainbow in which Kodwo Eshun investigates the growing field of sci-art collaborations.
And finally next Saturday (14:30 GMT) from BBC Radio 4, The Indian Rope Trick in which Geoffrey Durham, one of Britain's top magicians, sets out to investigate the truth of the legend.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Background Briefing site:
Palm Beach Post - Editorial re Limbaugh:
Palm Beach Post- Schultz:
Register-Pajaronian - Gabrielson:
Toronto Star - Burrill:
UK Observer - Helmore:
Washington Dispatch - Underwood:
Washington Post - Ahrens:
2004-10-11: Some 500 people in Minneapolis are now operating their own "radio stations" according to a report in Wired on "Radio Re-Volt: One Person .00One Watt", a project by the Walker Art Center in the city.
The Center is this month sponsoring Radio Re-Volt workshops at which participants are given free radio-transmitter kits, which cost around USD 20, and are taught how to build their own mobile radio station and how to broadcast with it.
The kits include a transmitter and circuit board, a microphone and a jack to plug in an external audio source such as an MP3 or CD track: They are powered by 4 AA batteries and transmit a legal milliwatt, meaning they can at best only be heard around 200 ft (60 metres) from the transmitter.
One of the projects creators, artist Jennifer Allora, said, "Microradio transmitters obviously aren't a viable alternative to commercial radio. But they can get people thinking about the privatisation of radio, thinking about the public's limited access to the 'public airwaves' and exploring ways to broaden the public's access to radio."
She and fellow organizer Guillermo Calzadilla said that compared to a personal web site the kits were much more affordable than a computer and that a lot more people are still more likely to have a radio to receive the broadcasts than access to the Internet.
Wires also reports that around 30 of the micro-broadcasters o plan to join together to strengthen their signals and the project's impact through a broadcast from parked cars along Lake Street, a major thoroughfare in Minneapolis, on Oct. 28; if things go to plan drivers tuning their radios to 97.7 FM will be able to hear independent talk radio and music stations fading in and out as they travel along the 6-mile stretch of road.
One participant, Jeff Barrone, commented, "I feel like I'm part of something important, bringing radio back to 'we the people.' Even though in reality, it's just me talking to myself almost all the time, because no one is regularly listening to my radio station."
Another participant, Marie Bergamo, contrasted the output from the project with that of commercial stations, saying, "It's the same white-bread music from the same manufactured bands, played over and over again, no matter where you go in the country. There's very little or no local content, even in the news. Radio has just turned into a way to merchandise the bands the music industry wants us to hear."
The Radio Re-Volt project officially concludes on Nov. 2, the day of the presidential elections, but organizers hope participants will continue to come up with new ways to use their transmitters.
2004-10-11: The US has lost yet another classical station with a switch of Grand Rapids, Michigan, station formats and frequencies by Citadel and Regent.
Citadel began the shake-up on Wednesday last week when it moved WKLQ-FM from 94.5 onto oldies WODJ-FM's 107.3 frequency and launched a new country station, WTNR-FM on the 94.5 frequency.
The move left Grand Rapids without an oldies station and Regent stepped into the breach by switching classical WFGR-FM to oldies on Friday afternoon.
Regent's Grand Rapids group market manager Phil Catlett told the Grand Rapids Press the decision to move from classical had been under consideration for a long time and the company had been considering various options [RNW note: Blogs last month said it was to switch to CHR, CHR/Rhythmic, or Urban] and added "When Citadel dropped WODJ ... it took us virtually no time to make the decision. The oldies franchise is a very valuable one, and it was opened up to us on a non-competitive basis."
Catlett said he hoped the new format will at least double the station's ratings - it was third-to-last in the market with a 1.7% in the most recent ratings compared to a 3.3% share for WODJ.
He added that no decisions had yet been made about the future of WFGR's on-air personalities although it will no longer hire guest hosts for its Sunday programming.
Grand Rapids Press report:
2004-10-10: The main licence related news of the past week was the story of the dog that didn't bark, or rather of the Authorization Bill amendment that would have increased US broadcast indecency penalties ten-fold but ended up dropped in a dispute over another amendment relating to US media ownership regulations: Elsewhere matters were fairly routine and activity was at a fairly low level.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has allocated a new community licence in Tumut, New South Wales to Montreal Community Theatre Inc (Montreal Community), which has already been using the frequency under a temporary licence. It was the only applicant.
Also in New South Wales, the ABA has also announced that it is to make channel capacity available for an open narrowcasting radio service in Perisher: Normally such licences area allocated under an auction system but for this licence the ABA says it has deferred a decision on its allocation process until further information is received and further consideration is given to possible options for making spectrum available specifically for safety purposes.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been involved in a number of licence amendments for commercial stations and approved a licence for a new English-language developmental community FM radio station in British Columbia as well as issuing public notices regarding other applications.
In order of province CRTC decisions included:
Approval of acquisition by Newcap Inc from a subsidiary of the assets *of a new 50,000 watts English-language Classic Hits FM approved for Camrose in December last year.
Approval of 4.7 watts English-language developmental community FM radio station in Chase.
*Approval of frequency change and power increase from 50 watts to 3,400 watts for CJLX-FM, Belleville.
*Approval of power decrease from 1,700 watts to 1,600 watts, antenna height increase from 105.2 metres to 112.8 metres and transmitter relocation for CKVQ-FM-2, Kenora.
*Approval of antenna height decrease and relocation for CHQI-FM, Niagara-on-the-Lake.
*Approval of power decrease from 69,800 watts to 65,766 watts and antenna height increase from 216 metres to 226 metres for CKNX-FM, Wingham. Saskatchewan:
*Approval of 45,000 watts transmitter in Meadow Lake for CJCQ-FM, North Battleford.
In addition the CRTC has published public notices regarding applications from (in order of province):
Application to use frequency 106.7 MHz for new FM at Red Deer approved in March this year but whose originally planned frequency was awarded to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to broadcast the programming of the English-language Radio Two Service. (Oct 26 deadline for interventions).
Proposal to add an AM transmitter at Elkford to broadcast the programming of CJPR-FM, Blairmore, Alberta (Nov 9 deadline for interventions).
Proposal to add a 1200 watts FM transmitter at Penticton and a 240 watts FM transmitter at Vernon to broadcast the programming of CILK-FM, Kelowna. (Nov 9 deadline for interventions).
Proposal to add a 50 watts low power FM transmitter at Yarmouth to broadcast the programming of CJLS-FM, whose Tusket Falls has signal problems because of rough terrain. (Nov 9 deadline for interventions).
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) tomorrow (Oct 11) holds public hearings for the short-listed applicants for the new Alternative Rock Music service for Dublin City & County licence (See RNW Licence News Sep 12).
In the UK, Ofcom has advertised a new commercial FM for Durham (See RNW Oct 8): It has also published details concerning the scoring system that it is to use to evaluate licence applications (See RNW Oct 6) and also upheld one radio complaint in its latest complaints bulletin (See RNW Oct 5).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) whose requested authority to levy higher indecency penalties has been delayed as a result of differences of opinion about its media ownership regulations (See RNW Oct 9) has issued a number of technical penalties.
They were ones of USD 20,000 on a Mississippi AM (See RNW Oct 9), of USD 10,000 on an unlicensed California amateur operator (See RNW Oct 6), and of USD 18,000 penalty on a North Carolina AM and USD 2,000 on a Washington state AM (See RNW Oct 5).
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
Comreg web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2004-10-10: Boston University public station WBUR-FM's long-time general manager Jane Christo has resigned after being under scrutiny for several weeks since the University announced its intention to sell its two Rhode Island public stations WRNI-AM and its sister station WXNI-AM (See RNW Sep 20).
The station reported that Christo informed the station's staff at a lunchtime gathering on Friday, saying she'll be working through a transition period this week and that the University was to appoint an interim general manager.
It adds that as well as Christo being put under scrutiny the station is also the subject of an internal investigation at Boston University because of anonymous allegations of mismanagement.
The University in a statement said, ''We want to thank Ms. Christo for her many accomplishments over the years" adding that "with Ms. Christo's help, WBUR has become one of the pre-eminent public radio stations in the United States."
Christo herself in a statement released through WBU|R said, "I am eternally grateful to the listeners, corporate and individual contributors, the staff of WBUR, and Boston University for the opportunity to have been a part of building something very special over the past 25 years."
She added, "[However,] the present controversy regarding my leadership of WBUR has become too large a distraction. I am confident that when concluded, the internal investigation will show that the allegations of improper conduct against me are baseless.''
The Boston Globe quotes University spokeswoman Nancy Sterling as saying an interim general manager will probably be named next week and the university will conduct a national search for a permanent replacement.
The paper quotes an unnamed source who has been briefed on the discussions over as saying Christo's departure was precipitated by the controversy over WBUR's decision to sell the Rhode Island stations, the allegations that prompted BU's investigation, and WBUR's mounting debt, adding that the university initiated discussions but Christo did not fight the idea of leaving and negotiated a financial settlement.
It also quoted WBUR advisory board chairman James Segel as saying, "'I think Jane created a great station, arguably the best public radio station in the country I think that as that [revenue] flow diminished at the end of the '90s it was hard to reconcile the expenses with the revenues."
The paper says part of the investigation into the station will centre on "patronage" hiring by Christo.
It adds that it developed a list of about two dozen current or former employees who are alleged to be patronage hires that in addition to family members (including Christo's son Zach) and relatives of other employees, includes about a dozen Albanians, who include several members of the same family.
Christo's husband, Van, it notes, is the president of the Frosina Information Network, a cultural and information resource for Albanian immigrants, and Jane and Van have served as legal guardians for several Albanians who also worked at the station.
The paper also quotes Fred Lyford, the CEO of Puritan Press, a New Hampshire printing company, as saying WBUR became a customer sometime after Jane Christo's stepson, Jeff, joined the company as a salesman in 1994 and that the station bought at least a couple of thousand dollars worth of direct mailings and other materials from Puritan each year -- until Christo left in 2000.
''When he left us the business left with him," Lyford said. ''It was no surprise because we knew Jane Christo was his stepmother."
In Rhode Island, the Providence Journal reports that executives of Boston public broadcaster WGBH told supports of WRNI and WXNI that it is willing to look at ways in which it could help should a Rhode Island group acquire the licences but would not be interested in purchasing the stations.
Following a meeting between Eugene Mihaly, president of the Foundation for Ocean State Public Radio, Henry Sharpe Jr., chairman of the original capital campaign for the Foundation for Ocean State Public Radio, and WGBH president Henry P. Becton Jr. plus WGBH executives, Mihaly said WGBH had said it was not interested in a purchase but was willing to help although no specific proposals were made.
Boston Globe report:
Providence Journal report:
2004-10-09: Legislation that would have increased US broadcast indecency penalties from a maximum of USD 27,500 per incident to ten times the amount under proposals from Kansas Republican Sen Sam Brownback has been derailed over the issue of media ownership.
It was removed from a Department of Defense authorization bill as the Senate version of the bill included an amendment sponsored by North Dakota Democrat Sen. Byron L. Dorgan that would have blocked the Federal Communications Commission's controversial new media ownership rules whilst Republicans favoured the FCC rules.
Dorgan refused to withdraw his ownership amendment and all media-related clauses were taken out of the bill including another from South Carolina Democrat Sen. Ernest F. (Fritz) Hollings that would have required the FCC to study the effectiveness of the V-chip and television ratings in protecting children from violent content on television.
Its president L. Brent Bozell said Dorgan's "selfish" actions had undermined years of progress on the issue of broadcast indecency and called the issue of ownership a "poison pill".
2004-10-09: The UK Digital Radio Development Bureau has now launched its third advertisement campaign that it set to run over the next month on some 200 analogue commercial radio stations as well as digital only stations.
The campaign aims to give the message in the run up to Christmas that those without digital receivers don't know what they are missing and DRDB Chief Executive, Ian Dickens commented, "Retailers see their biggest sales volume over the Christmas period and it is important that we support them by keeping DAB digital radio front of mind with consumers in the months leading up to December."
He added that so far this year more than 50 new products had come on the market and nearly 250,000 receivers had been sold in the first seven months.
Among other digital radio announcements in the UK, Revo Digital has announced a new module using Frontier Silicon's Chorus chip that will allow DAB to be installed in automobiles without changing the entire system
The Revo product, which is priced at GBP 199.95 (USD 359) will be launched at the London MPH04 prestige and performance show; it connects to an existing audio system and can be positioned in various locations inside the vehicle in a powered mounting cradle that enables it to be switched to other vehicles or used in the home or on the move in conjunction with Revo's home and mobile kits.
In another announcement, Texas Instruments (TI) says it has now shipped its first million units for the Eureka 147 DAB market: Most major manufacturers of DBA receivers have built their units round TI's baseband units.
Previous UK DRDB:
2004-10-09: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 20,000 penalty on a Mississippi AM for failure to install and maintain operational Emergency Alert System ("EAS") equipment, failure to operate consistent with authorized power levels and discontinue operating at night, and failure to make available for inspection all of the required materials in the station's public inspection file.
Jason Konarz, licensee of WQMA-AM, Marks, Mississippi, had not responded to a Notice of Apparent Violation issued in July.
2004-10-09: Having the radio on in business premises in Scotland could soon be costly for small businesses following a drive by the UK Performing Rights Society (PRS), which collects copyright fees on behalf of songwriters and composer, to tighten up on the practice.
According to the Edinburgh Evening News some 7,000 businesses in Scotland are being targeted by the Society which says that having a radio on as background in a shop counts as a "public broadcast" requiring a licence.
The owner of a hairdressing salon in Edinburgh says that she was told for her premises it would cost GBP 65 (USD 115) a year and since receiving a letter from the PRS she has put the radio in a back room.
Officials with the Federation of Small Businesses accused the PRS of being heavy-handed and a spokesman said: "What we really object to is the PRS cold-calling these businesses demanding money and threatening them with court action. "For some small businesses this is a lot of money to pay out. "
The PRS responded, "A PRS music licence can cost a hairdresser less than 20 pence (35 cents) a day which compares very favourably with the cost of other benefits that are often provided to customers such as serving tea or coffee."
Edinburgh Evening News report:
2004-10-08: Opening the US National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) Radio Show in San Diego, the organization's president and CEO Edward O. Fritts has delivered an upbeat message about the prospects for US terrestrial radio with particular reference to the need for stations to lobby legislators, build on their localism and community service, and develop digital radio broadcasts.
NAB as a Washington, D.C., organization had, he said so far been successful in protecting against additional interference from low power FM radio and had helped "establish a stable regulatory framework that protects your licenses and allows you to better serve listeners."
Fritts then praised the work of local radio stations during recent hurricanes in the US as an example of the value of local radio but added that the broadcasters had to ensure that they brought their community actions to the attention of their area's political representatives.
"Our industry grew up on community service," he said. "My personal observation is that stations that provide the best community service also have superior ratings. Broadcasters understand that outstanding community service goes hand-in-hand with financial success As we look at new challenges, our answer is to compete technically and with compelling content."
"Radio is combining the new digital technology of HD Radio with its bedrock of localism - to do what satellite services, iPods, and other MP3s cannot do."
Fritts also said that the time had come to embrace digital radio broadcasting, commenting, "Radio cannot remain the only analogue player in a digital world. It's just that simple in my view, the real risk is for those unwilling to embrace the promise of HD Radio."
Regarding politics, he said That in Washington they had seen during the last year "a notable increase in the decibel level of our critics We're involved in debates over indecency, the potential spread of LPFM, media ownership, mandated free airtime for politicians, Internet streaming and much more."
"You know," he ruminated, "I was thinking recently that there is an entire generation of broadcasters that have never faced a license renewal. And let me tell you - because of a well-financed and well-organized effort on the part of activists, today's license renewals are a whole new ballgame."
"The FCC and Congress have been bombarded with complaints from groups as diverse as Code Pink on the left to the National Rifle Association on the right."
"Bottom line: these groups are out for your licenses, or, at the very least, to affect the program content of your stations. And they aren't going away anytime soon. Today, because of e-mail, anyone can easily file comments or complaints at the FCC. Interest groups are routinely generating thousands of comments at the Commission."
Referring to what he termed the "so-called localism inquiry" in which the FCC is asking whether or not stations are adequately serving their communities he said activist groups are "seizing this opportunity to change the rules and set new standards by which we are judged at renewal time."
It was vital, said Fritts, that "every broadcaster take this opportunity to tell your community service story by filing comments at the FCC" adding that "it's incumbent upon every local broadcaster to get to know your elected representatives. Bring your member of Congress into your stations. Tell them about your public service. Educate them on the value you bring to your communities. If you don't do it, no one will."
He concluded, "If we continue to work together, if we embrace new digital technology, and if we continue to offer compelling local content, I believe our best years are ahead of us."
2004-10-08: UK media regulator Ofcom has advertised a new commercial FM to cover the city of Durham and the surrounding area.
Ofcom says the licence could cover an area with a 15-plus population of around 160,000 but the exact coverage will depend on the transmission site and other details.
It is to make up to two FM frequencies available for the licence and applications have to be in by January 6 next year.
In its guidance to prospective applicants Ofcom notes that because of the relatively small population coverage it will consider as particularly important the ability to maintain the service throughout the 12-year licence period and also the extent to which it would broaden the range of services available in the area, particularly as regards speech content.
The area serviced can currently receive four commercial stations, all of them music based - Galaxy 105/6, Century North East, Magic 1152 and Metro.
The Durham licence is the seventh of 30 plus new commercial licences that are being offered - it has already advertised those for Ashford, Belfast, Blackburn, Cornwall, Edinburgh and Kidderminster; The next large licence to come up will be that for Manchester, due to be advertised next month, and expected to attract bids from most if not all of the major UK groups as many smaller applicants.
2004-10-08: Mainland Chinese authorities have tried to obtain radio licences in Taiwan and also attempted to purchase existing local radio stations according to the Director-General of the Taiwanese Government Information Office Lin Chia-lung.
He told the country's legislators during a question and answer session that applications had been submitted on behalf of the Beijing government by nominally unconnected organizations.
Noting that some 300,000 people in Taiwan listen to radio broadcasts from the mainland, he said that China's Central People's Radio Station often invited radio station employees and residents of southern and central Taiwan to China to participate in cross-strait "friendship building" activities.
Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislative leader Lo Chih-ming said a radio broadcast host from Kaohsiung's KISS radio station, along with another radio show host from a Taichung-based station had at one such meeting in August discussed the possibility of establishing a system for the simultaneous broadcast of radio programs in Taiwan and in China.
Any such broadcasts of programming from China would need to be licensed under Taiwanese regulations.
Taipei Times report:
2004-10-08: The South African Broadcasting Complaints Commission (SABCC) has rejected one complaint against South African Broadcasting Corporation presenter Gareth Cliff but upheld another.
Both related to complaints concerning The Gareth Cliff Show on 5fm: Upheld was a complaint about comments that the SABCC held to have promoted violence against the mentally ill. Cliff commenting on less severe sentences from the courts for the mentally ill said that he disagreed and that they should "actually get more severe sentences because they were "a danger to society."
In response to a suggestion from a newsreader that they perhaps needed help and medication, Cliff said the mentally ill should be "chained up" in a "padded cell" and be given "gruel" to eat.
The broadcaster responded to the complaint by saying that the host's controversial views were part of his personality and that he had narrowed his focus to "dangerous" people with mental illness, and it thus held that this disqualified the comments from any potential hate speech allegation.
The SABCC panel held that it was "clear that the presenter was intent upon furthering inhuman treatment of people based on mental disability."
"It is irrelevant," it added, "that he limited his view to people in a "dangerous" category. Of course, the view put forward by the presenter is a mediaeval one and is rejected by reasonable society."
Not upheld was a second complaint in which the complainant said that in references to the running of the bulls in Pamplona in Spain and the fact that countless people have been gored and trampled over the last x many years Cliff proceeded to say that we ought to get some of the bulls over to Diepsloot, where there had been disturbances, to sort out the mess there.
The broadcaster responded that the complaints in this case were clearly tongue in cheek and the panel in this case held that the comments did not amount to hate speech and took no formal action but, although not upholding the complaint, commented, " this decision should be regarded as a caution that steps should be taken by the SABC to ensure that insensitive and unfair comments, such as the remarks presently under consideration, should not be broadcast. The situation in Diepsloot was a volatile one and great care should have been taken in commenting on such a situation. Such care was absent in this broadcast."
2004-10-08: Salem has announced that it is to launch the "Bill Gaither's Homecoming Radio Show" that the Gospel Music host has created following his successful "Homecoming" concert and TV/video series.
The show is to be syndicated on some 300 stations throughout the US through general syndication and on Salem's Solid Gold Gospel Radio Network.
Salem Radio Network's President Greg Anderson said, "To have more than 300 radio stations through syndication, both nationally and internationally, committing to carry the show from its inception is a home run. We are confident this program will continue to grow in both numbers of stations and listeners."
Salem already had a business relationship with Bill Gaither through the bi-monthly Homecoming Magazine that its publishing arm launched in January last year.
Salem has also announced a tie-up with America Online (AOL) to offer a stream of Salem's New York WMCA-AM Christian talk and teaching station through AOL's service: It will be the first and only such station available on the AOL Radio Network.
2004-10-07: US shock jock and self-proclaimed "King of all Media" Howard Stern announced on his show on Wednesday that he has signed a five-year deal with Sirius Satellite radio to start when his current contract with Viacom runs out in 15 months time.
The deal, which will costs Sirius an estimated USD 100 million a year, boosted its market value by some USD 700 million by the close of trading on Wednesday as its shares rose 15/5% to USD 3.87 (and when we last checked had added another 1.9% to USD 3.91).
It also led investors to reduce the value of rival XM satellite radio slightly - its shares fell 1.63% to USD 29 on Wednesday. Viacom shares fell at first on the announcement - they were down around 1.6% at one stage - but then recovered to end the day up 0.75%: The company had also announced that its offer for the spin-off of its Blockbuster video-rental business was heavily oversubscribed, with 27.9 million Viacom shares exchanged for 72 million of each class of Blockbuster shares.
The move to satellite by Stern will follow that of rivals Opie and Anthony who this week launched their premium channel show on XM (an extra USD 1.99 a month on top of the XM's USD 9.99 a month charge) - their show was dropped by Infinity following the infamous "Sex in St Patrick's Cathedral" stunt but they had remained under contract to - and on the payroll of - Infinity until this month.
Stern announced the deal to listeners to his morning show, saying he had been "stifled" for a decade by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) indecency rules and that it was not "farewell". He also said he had not given advance information to anybody "because of lots of reasons, some having to do with stock."
"I thought long and hard about what I want to do," said Stern. "I want to finish my contract here, but this is a done deal. There is no looking back. I have signed a deal and I am going to satellite radio. I am going to devote my life to satellite radio and to Sirius."
Stern said that when he signed the contract he was "on fire like never before."
"I am renewed, and I cannot wait to tell you of my plans," said the host, who in addition to hosting a daily morning show on a regular non-premium channel says he is to programme three channels on the station.
The move by Stern followed an indecency fine of USD 495,000 on Clear Channel in April this year (See RNW Apr 9) that led the company to drop him from its six stations that carried the Howard Stern Show. Clear Channel paid the fine as part of a USD 1.75 million settlement of all outstanding indecency complaints against it in June (See RNW Jun 10). Stern's show is still on around some 35 stations and has an estimated 15 million listeners a week.
The Clear Channel fines were levied at the current maximum of USD 27,500 per incident but US politicians were reported by Reuters on Wednesday to have agreed a compromise between legislation proposed in the House and the Senate, which had earlier passed different legislation, under which fines would be raised to a maximum of USD 500,000 per incident and individuals could be fined for indecent content as well as licensees. The report said the legislation, expected to be attached to a current bill waiting to be passed, would drop a provision giving the FCC authority to consider licence revocation after three indecency violations.
The Parents TV Council, which carries the story of Stern's move as "Howard Stern to Clean Himself Up Off the Public Airwaves", says that its campaign for the increase in fines and contacts made as a result to Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign had led him to withdraw his objection to the broadcast indecency legislation being removed from a Defence spending bill sponsored by Kansas Republican Senator Sam Brownback.
Sirius, whose news release was headed, "Howard Stern and Sirius Announce the Most Important Deal in Radio History" said the host would only need to generate around one million subscribers in order to cover the costs of the deal.
Its President and CEO Joseph P. Clayton said, "Signing Howard Stern is, without a doubt, the most exciting and transformational event in the history of radio. He is an entertainment force of unprecedented recognition and popularity in the broadcast world, who is capable of changing the face of satellite radio and generating huge numbers of subscribers for Sirius."
"When you look at his enormous existing fan base, all we need is for Howard to bring in a small fraction of his weekly audience for this agreement to pay for itself,"
The deal was negotiated with Stern's agent by Sirius President of Entertainment and Sports Scott Greenstein who commented, "Howard is an incredible creative and comedic icon, and we are thrilled that he chose Sirius to broadcast what everyone believes will be the most exciting part of his career."
"An important new industry is being developed and Howard wants to be its leader. He is truly excited to be working with Sirius, which will not only provide a new and innovative platform for his broadcast talents, but will draw on his skills as a businessman. Sirius has offered Howard and his fans a great opportunity to be a part of something truly remarkable, and we look forward to a spectacular future."
Stern, whose show earlier on Wednesday was carrying adverts for XM, had switched them to Sirius later in the day with an animated banner advertising the service as 100% uncensored commercial-free music.
His site's version of his broadcast comments on his move said "even now, with all the government troubles, the show is generating its largest ratings ever. But radio as we know it is being obliterated by censorship, and that for the last 10 years really Howard hasn't been able to do the show he's wanted."
"He is always in meetings about censorship or getting the button hit on him which ruins the show and it just stopped being fun after awhile. Plus the President has a bill on his desk that would allow him to fine individual broadcasters that will be law once he signs it. So Howard gave serious thought about retiring from radio all together and doing something else."
"But then he got approached to do something spectacular, something new and innovative and it excited Howard so much he feels as if he's been completely invigorated by it. He went back and forth and weighed his options and said he was incredibly impressed by how far Satellite radio had come and how far it can go."
"So, two days ago, he signed a five-year deal with Sirius Satellite Radio starting on January 1st, 2006, right after his contract with Viacom runs out. Howard said that this was not Viacom's fault, that they bad been more than great to him and had stuck up for him when Clear Channel backed down but that he had grown as much as he could in the present situation. He just couldn't sign another five year deal here and work under these restrictions that may become worse in the next few years."
" Howard said he would work tirelessly, not just on his own show but on Sirius as a whole to make it the biggest radio network and crush all the competition. He said it's a personal mission for him to make everyone of Clear Channel's stations worthless. He announced that on top of his own show, Howard will have three Sirius channels to program himself, and he hinted that he would be hiring some radio guys to do their shows on those channels, even guys he's had beefs with before in the past."
It concluded, "Howard crowed that by him voluntarily leaving this radio format for one where the government can't touch him he wins! Screw you to all the religious groups who try to pressure stations to drop him! They can't touch him on satellite. And screw you to the FCC who also has no power over satellite."
"Howard finished by thanking his audience for supporting him all these years and hoping that they will follow him to Sirius, where aside from the normal satellite charges they will not have to buy a premium package to listen to him or anything like that.
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-10-07: The UK Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB) is forecasting a boom in UK sales of digital receivers over the next few years with cumulative sales of some 13 million by 2008 from a base of fewer than a million so far; in its Five-Year DAB Digital Radio Forecast it says that by 2008 annual sales of digital receivers will be around GBP 500 million (USD 900 million), more than five times the GBP 90 million (USD 160 million) of sales anticipated this year.
The report also says that nearly a third of British households will possess at least one digital receiver and that there will be a massive increase in automobile receiver sales; these it says will be fuelled by an increase in original vehicle installations by major car manufacturers, currently expected to be around 3,000 units this year but 645,000 units in 2008.
Other segments where particularly strong growth is forecast is in sales of clock radios - up from GBP 4.56 million (USD 8.2 million) in 2004 to GBP 30.73 million (USD 55.1 million) in 2008; new "memory radio" receivers that allow listeners to pause, rewind and record live radio- up from GBP 4.98 million (USD 8.9 million) in 2004 to GBP 31.87 million (USD 57.2 million) in 2008; boomboxes - up from GBP 7.68 million (USD 13.8 million (in 2004 to GBP 48.14 million (USD 86.3 million) in 2008; and hi-fi systems- up from GBP 12.29 million (USD 22.0 million) in 2004 to GBP 126.63 million (USD 225.9 million) in 2008.
Commenting on the report, DRDB Chairman Ralph Bernard, who is also GWR executive chairman, said, "As DAB digital radio edges closer to mass-market penetration, and the government moots the possibility of analogue switch-off, the DRDB Board feels the time is right to publish this market forecast."
"We are confident that the result is a considered and realistic projection showing that by 2008, DAB digital radio penetration will have reach 29% of British homes."
UK digital radio receiver sales have been boosted dramatically by price reductions as more manufacturers start producing them - bottom end receivers are now around GBP 50 (USD), a figure expected to halve by 2008, compared to around GBP 400 when first introduced.
In addition word-of-mouth recommendations from those who have listened to digital radio are reported to have been strong; the sets were a popular present at Christmas last year and the same is expected this year.
Previous UK DRDB:
2004-10-07: A three-judge panel of Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled that the medical records of conservative US talk show host Rush Limbaugh were seized legally and that the seizure did not breach his rights to privacy.
Chief Judge Gary M. Farmer wrote the opinion with Judge Carol Y. Taylor concurring and Judge Melanie G. May concurring in part and issuing a limited dissent.
Statements by Limbaugh's lawyer Roy Black and by the host himself concentrated on the dissent with Black issuing a statement that said, "We strongly disagree with the decision of the Court majority because it does not recognize a patient's right to medical privacy that the Congress, the Florida Legislature and the citizens of Florida have granted to patients such as Mr. Limbaugh, who has not even been charged with anything We are encouraged by the strong dissent of Judge May who clearly recognized that the state cannot trump a patient's right to privacy in medical matters. We will be seeking further appellate review of this decision."
Limbaugh himself in his comment directed attention mainly to the dissent and also appears to, either through ignorance or self-interest, misrepresent both the majority decision and the degree of dissent.
In his comments, posted on his web site, the host comments on the case in general," The legislature's history and the constitution here's right to privacy forbad a seizure by search warrant of medical records that instead a subpoena was required with participation by me to limit the search to whatever it was the state attorney's office felt was what they needed."
On the dissent, he comments, "She found for our side in this case. She used an interesting phrase to describe the majority. She said that they "went into this with their eyes wide shut." She said that the majority "went into this with their eyes wide shut." What were their "eyes wide shut" to?"
[RNW comment- the phrase "went into this with their eyes wide shut" is not in the 13-page document issued by the court and the quote used, in its context is below in our report. Make your own minds up as to whether Limbaugh is using poetic licence, partial pleading, or plain propaganda.]
Both the majority decision and the dissent clearly refer to the matter of disclosure not seizure in the context of the records involved but Limbaugh comments, "The legislature's history and the constitution here's right to privacy forbad a seizure by search warrant of medical records that instead a subpoena was required with participation by me to limit the search to whatever it was the state attorney's office felt was what they needed."
In the majority decision, which deals at length with the Florida statutes, precedents and the use of subpoenas, Judge Farmer comments that before "these statutes [Florida's privacy laws] were adopted, subpoenas for discovery and trial were readily obtainable by any attorney without judicial supervision" and later says, " Because this case involves search warrants, not subpoenas, the issue really turns on the content of the search warrant statutes. Nothing in any statute purports to limit the use of search warrants in regard to medical records."
" we hold that the constitutional right of privacy in medical records is not implicated by the State's seizure and review of medical records under a valid search warrant without prior notice or hearing."
In her dissent, Judge May writes that she concurs " in that part of the majority's opinion holding the State may use a search warrant to search for and seize a person's medical records."
"Indeed, " she writes, "common sense suggests that law enforcement would itself be handcuffed if required to give notice to a person before lawfully 'seizing'' evidence."
She then continues, "However, the warrant statute simply does not address the issue of disclosure.' This is the point at which I no longer see 'eye to eye' with the majority."
She then takes issue with the actual wording of the warrant: "In this case, the warrant requested 'medical records,' not medical records related to prescriptions. The medical providers, professionals in medicine, are but lay persons in the law. They bundled up all of the medical records, even those irrelevant to the crime under investigation, as the majority acknowledges, and turned them over to the State. If we simply deny the writ, there is no protection afforded the petitioner. Once disclosed, the petitioner's privacy interest in his medical records is forever lost."
Her solution, however, would probably not delight Limbaugh: She writes, "I dissent therefore from the majority's decision to keep its 'Eyes Wide Shut'to the right to privacy in a person's medical records. I would grant the petition, issue the writ, quash the order of disclosure, and remand the case to the trial court to determine the relevancy of the records seized and to whom, if anyone, those records may be 'disclosed.'"
"The doctor shopping statute speaks in terms of a patient's obligation to inform his doctors as to whether 'controlled substances or a prescription for a controlled substance of like therapeutic use from another practitioner' has occurred within the previous 30 days. Thus, the details of petitioner's medical condition and treatment unrelated to information concerning disclosure of other prescriptions are not relevant and should not be disclosed."
RNW comment: As we read the ruling it would appear that the court felt that in this case the state took particular care in its actions to obey the laws as it read them - the majority opinion actually says "In this case, and in an abundance of caution, the State followed the above procedure described in
Viatical [A case that set precedent relating to release of medical records]. After seizing the records, it kept the records sealed, then notified petitioner of the seizure and his opportunity to be heard on the privacy issue before the seized records could be unsealed."
We would also read the dissent with a different emphasis to that put on it by Limbaugh and wait with interest further court proceedings. Limbaugh will of course spin things out as long as he can: Our feeling in a US context is that he has used up all entitlement to any plea bargaining and if subsequently found guilty of any offences can't really complain if he gets the maximum sentence.
Certainly we'd expect prosecutors to understandably feel miffed about the accusations made against them in this case and presumably not to be in a lenient mood.
Florida Fourth District Court web site:
Court document in Limbaugh case (13 page 82 Kb PDF)
Limbaugh web site:
2004-10-07: Officials of Boston public broadcaster WGBH and the Foundation for Ocean State Public Radio, which was a major driving force in bringing public radio to Rhode Island, are to meet today for preliminary discussions about Rhode Island public radio stations WRNI-AM and its sister station WXNI-AM that have been put up for sale by parent, Boston university's WBUR-FM.
WGBH owns radio and TV stations in Massachusetts but its WGBH-FM station programmes mainly music so would complement the news and public affairs service of the Rhode Island stations.
The Boston Globe reports conflicting reports from each party as to who initiated the idea of discussions and quotes Foundation president Gene Mihaly as saying that several organizations -- including a university, several non-profit media outlets, a radio production company in New York, and an investor group in Rhode Island -- have inquired about the possible acquisition of WRNI and WXNI.
Boston Globe report:
2004-10-06: Viacom and Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) have announced an alliance to target Hispanic consumers through a multimedia platform to include radio, television and outdoor throughout the United States.
Limited details were released about the agreement under which, subject to regulatory approval, Viacom's Infinity Broadcasting will merge its KBAA 93.3 FM (until recently AC KBAY-FM) serving the San Francisco market into SBS in exchange for an approximate 10% equity interest in SBS and will also will also receive warrants that will allow it to increase its equity stake in SBS by approximately another 5%. The station will be reformatted and launched as a Spanish language outlet.
The announcement was made by Co-President and Co-Chief Operating Officer of Viacom Leslie Moonves, and Chairman and CEO of Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) Raúl Alarcón, and Moonves commented, "Viacom has been carefully monitoring the progress and expansion of the domestic Hispanic market and we believe that a great opportunity exists for our deeper involvement in this exciting growth sector. We fully expect our commitment to this marketplace to continue and we're excited about establishing a partnership with a successful broadcaster such as SBS."
Alarcón added, "This alliance of SBS and Viacom will create a unique and compelling multimedia platform targeting the eyes and ears of U.S. Latinos for years to come. I am particularly gratified that one of the largest media companies in the world has validated the inherent value and expertise of SBS by choosing to partner with us to capture the future of this dynamic growth market."
Earlier this month Clear Channel announced that it is to expand its Spanish language operations (See RNW Oct 2).
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-10-06: The UK regulator Ofcom has published details of its scoring system using which commercial radio licence applications are to be marked to highlight strengths and weaknesses of an application when preparing briefings for the Radio Licensing Committee (RLC), which makes the decision on the licence award.
Each application will receive a score from one to ten for each of four statutory criteria - Ability to maintain service; Catering for tastes and interests; Broadening of choice; and Evidence of demand/support - although Ofcom notes that the licence will not necessarily go to the applicant with the highest overall score. It adds that particular criteria may be regarded as more important for a specific licence and that guidance on this will normally be in the advertisement for the licence concerned.
It also says that applicants will not be given details of their scores.
The most detailed part of the system relate to the ability to maintain service in adjudicating which factors to be considered will include the extent to which the overall business plan indicates the applicant's ability to maintain the proposed service; the extent to which financial and audience forecasts are appropriate/realistic; the extent to which sources and levels of funding are appropriate/sufficient; and the extent to which the people who would be running the station have relevant experience, knowledge and contacts.
Ofcom web site:
2004-10-06: A planned vote on Monday this week by board members of South Bethlehem-based Lehigh Valley Community Public radio station WDIY-FM about a proposed merger with public TV's channel 39 has been delayed by at least two weeks after Northampton County judge Stephen Baratta set a temporary injunction hearing for the week of Oct. 17 on whether the station's board has the power to approve a merger.
Four board members and four general members of the radio station opposed to the merger filed to block the scheduled vote, alleging that the board illegally changed the station's bylaws three years ago and that it does not have to authority to approve a merger.
They claim that the WDIY board broke Pennsylvania's Non-profit Corporation Code by removing power from the station's general members in 2001 and say the station's 1,200 members should have the final say on a merger, not the 15-member board members.
Those against the merger, which was proposed by the TV station's board in June this year, say they do not wish to lose the station's independence and local identity whilst those in favour cite benefits to the station's finances and the promise of modernization.
The supporters of a merger include WDIY Board President Robert Cohen and station manager Burr Beard; Beard in a newsletter on the station's site notes that it is far from financially secure and notes that PBS39 has proposed to pay all costs for a relocation to its South Mountain site and equip the station with digital equipment and fit out the transmitter to add HD radio. He also notes that all six station staff would be given a minimum one-year contract and programming would remain unaltered for a minimum of six months from going on air from the new location and that with the half year a research study would be conducted in the Lehigh Valley to give information "to shape programming to local listener needs and interests."
The station's web site also carries a selection of comments for and against the merger
Putting pressure on it is the expiry of its lease on its current premises and it has to decide whether to sign a new five-year lease or opt to stay on month-by-month, with the risk of being given 30 days notice to move out.
A report in the Allenton, Pennsylvania, Morning Call says that the Lehigh Valley Community Broadcasters Association, which owns WDIY, has run a budget deficit four of the past six fiscal years, according to tax filings. In 2003, the station ran a deficit of about USD22,000, and while the station has not yet completed its 2004 audit, station manager Beard said he expects a similar deficit this year.
WDIY web site:
Morning Call (Allentown) reports on merger plan and delay:
2004-10-06: Details have now been released of the 16th annual Australian Commercial Radio Awards to be held on October 16 in the Gold Coast Convention Centre and hosted by Austereo personality Kyle Sandilands.
In all there are 28 categories of awards, which attracted 1200 entries from the country's 257 commercial radio stations.
Among the awards will be a Hall of Fame award to mark a lifetime contribution to the industry - to be presented by Australian-born author, broadcaster and critic Clive James who will also present the award for Best Talk Presenter and the Brian White Award.
Federal Tourism and Small Business Minister Joe Hockey will present the Best Current Affairs Commentator, Best News Presenter and Best Community Service Awards.
Among artistes due to perform at the event will be Australian singer and songwriter Pete Murray and Australian Idol and recording artist Guy Sebastian, both of whom along with Shannon Noll, Jet and the John Butler Trio -also in the running for the Best New Australian Artist on Commercial Radio Award.
Also performing will be Human Nature and up and soul singer Nessa Morgan.
2004-10-06: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 10,000 penalty on a unlicensed California amateur operator.
Jack Gerritsen of Bell, California, had been arrested in 1999 by the California Highway Patrol and charged with violating sections of the California Penal Code that prohibit intercepting, obstructing and/or interfering with police radio communications. He was convicted of interfering with police radio communications on June 6, 2000 and his subsequent probation forbad him from possessing radio-transmitting devices.
The FCC also withdrew his amateur's licence but in 2001 there were complaints about his operating transmission equipment and he was arrested and in 2002sentenced having been found to have violated his parole.
Subsequently in 2003 and 2004 he was found to be operating radio transmission equipment and a notice of apparent violation was issued. Gerritsen in response argued that he has a valid amateur license that permits him to operate on all of the radio frequencies detailed in the NAL; that the NAL does not show that his conviction for intentional interference is under appeal; that the "set-aside" of amateur license KG6IRO was unfounded; that the "set-aside" does not prohibit him from transmitting on the amateur radio bands given his valid amateur license; and that any possible suspension of his license is also pending a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, making the NAL moot until the suspension occurs.
The FCC rejected the arguments and confirmed the full penalty.
2004-10-05: Bonneville International and Emmis have signed letters of intent for a swap and cash deal under which Bonneville gets three Emmis Phoenix stations - news KTAR-AM, ESPN sports KMVP-AM, and KKLT-FM, (The Peak - 70's and 80's music) - in exchange for USD 70 million in cash plus Bonneville's classic rock WLUP-FM (The Loop).
Emmis, which already owns modern rock WKQX-FM (Q101) in Chicago, will retain its Hip Hop KKFR-FM (Power 92.3), in Phoenix; it acquired its three stations in the deal the swap for USD 160 million from Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc. in 2000.
Emmis radio president Rick Cummings said in a statement, "Owning a second radio station in Chicago to complement Q101 has always been a major goal of the company. While it is difficult for us to sell the Phoenix stations, which have been such a big part of Emmis' success, the benefits of having a second station in Chicago along with the ability to de-lever our balance sheet made this the right decision." Emmis says it plans to use the cash to reduce debt.
It has also announced that Marv Nyren, who has led the Emmis-Phoenix cluster since August 2000, has been named RVP/Market Manager of Emmis-Chicago, replacing Chuck DuCoty, who is leaving to join the New Radio Group.
Bonneville International President and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Reese described the acquisition of the three Phoenix stations as "a very good strategic move for our company."
"We now are able to move into yet another top-20 market, where we'll have the opportunity to build on the strong local service that Emmis has established with those stations" he said in a statement, adding. "At the same time, it leaves us in a favourable and strong position in Chicago, with three very solid stations there. We've been honoured to operate The Loop for the past seven years and are proud of the great contribution the station and its employees have made to Bonneville and to Chicago."
Bonneville also owns three FMs - Hot AC WTMX-FM (the Mix), Classic hits WDRV-FM (The Drive) and AC WNND-FM (Windy) - in Chicago and on closing of this deal will own 37 stations.
It and Emmis plan to begin operating the stations in the transaction under a time brokerage agreement from some time in December following satisfaction of Hart, Scott, Rodino anti-trust requirements and say they expect to close the deal in early 2005.
In another swap deal, Salem is exchanging two stations - WFZS-FM in Des Plaines in the Chicago market, and KFSB-FM in San Raphael in the San Francisco market for four Univision stations - WIND-AM in the Chicago market, KHCK-AM in Dallas, Texas, KOBT-FM in Winnie, Texas (In the Houston market), and KOSL-FM in Jackson, California (In the Sacramento market).
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year and Salem president and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III, president and CEO of Salem Communications, said in a statement, "This station swap presents a unique opportunity for Salem to expand our presence in four very attractive major markets. We now can bring our syndicated News/Talk format into both Chicago and Houston, which are ideal markets for this format. In addition, we will further improve our clusters in Dallas and Sacramento."
"Effectively in a single transaction, we will be able to upgrade our station group, maximize our return from two under-performing radio stations, make significant improvements to our strategic formats and to our syndicated talk network, as well as strengthen our clusters in four important top 25 markets. We are now better positioned for long-term growth and have done so without using cash or debt and without issuing equity."
Univision says the swap provides an opportunity for Univision Radio to strengthen its station portfolio with facilities that are more closely aligned with its strategic and financial performance objectives.
It intends to transfer its Regional Mexican "Radio Exitos" music format from WIND-AM to WZFS-FM and combine KSFB-FM with KEMR-FM to more fully cover the multi-county San Francisco and San Jose markets with a simulcast of its Regional Mexican "Viva" format.
The exchange of the Chicago and Dallas AM stations, it adds, will not affect the coverage of RadioCadena Univision, the Company's recently launched AM Network, which is broadcast over other AM stations owned by Univision in those markets.
Commenting on the deal Univision Radio President McHenry T. Tichenor, Jr. said, "We are very pleased to have struck a deal that will improve our strong competitive positions in San Francisco and Chicago, the fourth and fifth largest Hispanic radio markets in the United States. These moves reflect our commitment to deploy our resources to areas where we believe they will yield the greatest returns."
In other US radio business news, Clear Channel as part of a drive to improve its radio adverts has named Radio Creative Veteran Jim Cook as Senior Vice President, Creative Services; he will head a new creative resource group that the company says will drive advert quality upwards and also produce more effective shorter spots.
Clear Channel says the group, to launch officially in the fall, will be a resource to advertising agencies and local stations, assisting them in creating engaging and memorable radio ads, offering creative coaching, online toolkits and ongoing direction in the creation, writing and production of compelling ad spots. It will also conduct training of Clear Channel staff.
Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan said, in reference to his company's already announced Less is More" drive to cut advertising clutter, "Reducing the number of ads and promotional clutter is only part of the answer. We, as an industry, must also do a better job of using the power of our medium to engage and enchant listeners with better creative."
Cook commented, "We are taking a stewardship role in radio advertising and our main objective is to serve our local radio stations' commercial needs in the 'Less is More' environment. 30-second spots will be more effective because we will focus on single messages, rather than competing against ourselves in-spot with multiple messages. The results should be more effective spots for advertisers."
Clear Channel also announced in connection with the move a training and education initiative to be led by marketing Guru Jack Trout, Radio Rebels Dick Orkin and the Radio Ranch, and Roy Williams' Wizard of Ads
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-10-05: Former DJ and media mogul Chris Evans could potentially make a comeback on UK Virgin Radio according to the UK Guardian which reports that show business agent Michael Foster, who still represents Evans, is attempting to put together an investment consortium to buy the station from SMG which paid GBP 225 million (USD 402 million at current exchange rates) for the station (See RNW Jan 13, 2000).
The paper says Evans, who was fired by the station three years ago (See RNW June 29, 2001) still owns 10 million shares in SMG but is not involved in the bid.
It also pours doubt on its story by reporting that Foster is said to be considering an offer of about GBP 100 million (USD 180 million) - far short of the GBP 140 million- 150 million (USD 250 million to 270 million) price tag the City believes SMG would demand and adds that SMG has consistently said it is not selling Virgin Radio although there is a perception in the City that SMG is a break-up target and that given the right price the company would sell.
UK Guardian report:
2004-10-05: Top ranked network- ABC Daytime - in Arbitron's RADAR 82 (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) Radio Network Audience Report just released covering June 26, 2003 - June 23, 2004 lost significant numbers of listeners compared to the previous survey.
In second place was Westwood's new CBS News Primetime Network and in third place was Jones MediaAmerica TWC Radio Network, which increased listening slightly to rise from fifth.
Arbitron also announced that Sporting News Radio Network has joined RADAR-rated radio networks, taking the total number of measured networks to 47: It brought up the tail end in 47th rank.
In the top five places, top-ranked ABC Daytime network lost a further -684,000 listeners a week to end up with a weekly audience of 7.321 million, down from 8.005 million in the RADAR 81 survey and 9.45 million as recently as the RADAR 79 survey; its AQH rating fell from 4.0 to 3.7 to 3.3 to 3.0 over the four ratings.
Second-ranked Westwood CBS News Primetime Network, moved into the slot with a reach of 6.091 million and AQH rating of 3.1.
In third place was Jones MediaAmerica TWC Radio Network, which rose from fifth with an extra 49,000 a week and unchanged 2.2 AQH, pushing ABC Morning News Radio Network, which lost 312,000 listeners a week, down to fifth with AQH down from 2.3 to 2.2.
Between them in fourth rank as before was Premiere Pulse Network, which lost 43,000 listeners a week but had an unchanged 2.2 AQH.
Other notable changes lower down included a rise from 19th to ninth rank for Dial-Global Contemporary Network, which gained 759,000 listeners a week and took its AQH up from 1.3 to 1.7.
During the RADAR 82 survey period, an unchanged 77% percent of U.S. consumers, age 12+, heard one or more network radio commercials in the course of a week: The figure for the 35-49 demographic (79%) and 50 plus (74%) were also unchanged.
Again as in the past, radio did better among upper-income adults with 79% (unchanged) of adults living in households earning USD 75,000 a year or more are in the network audience each week.
Previous Disney/ABC, America:
Previous Jones MediaAmerica:
Previous RADAR ratings (RADAR 81):
Previous Premiere Networks:
Previous Westwood One:
2004-10-05: The UK regulator Ofcom has upheld one radio complaint - against BBC Radio 5 Live - in its latest complaints bulletin compared to 1 against TV and two more TV cases, one of which involved 63 complaints, being considered resolved.
The complaint upheld related to a complaint that soccer commentator Alan Green used "pidgin" English - the phrase "me no cheat" - to suggest what United's Cameroon international Eric Djemba-Djemba might have been saying to the referee during live cover of a Manchester United v Arsenal game.
The BBC had said it regretted offence caused by the remark that it said was ill judged although it was "made in the heat of a live broadcast and was meant as irreverent banter."
It also said that Green had a 30-year track record of condemning racism and that the Network Controller had re-iterated to him the "importance of the careful use of language, particularly in a live commentary situation."
Ofcom ruled that the remark was in breach of its standards rules, saying the "suggestion that a black player was incapable of speaking grammatical English was inappropriate, particularly given the drive to eradicate racist attitudes in football."
"We believe that the experienced presenter should have been more alert to the implications of his comment," it commented.
No fairness and privacy complaints were upheld in the bulletin which listed brief details of four TV complaints that were not upheld and also listed a total of 135 TV complaints relating to 107 items and 14 radio complaints relating to 13 items that were either not upheld or were out of its remit.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2004-10-05: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 18,000 penalty on a North Carolina AM owner, and a USD 2,000 penalty on a Washington state AM,
The USD 18,000 penalty went to The Paradise Network of North Carolina, Inc., licensee of stations WHNC-AM, Henderson, and WCBQ-AM, Oxford, both in North Carolina, for failure to install and maintain Emergency Alert System ("EAS") equipment and failure to make available for inspection the complete public inspection file.
A Notice of Apparent Liability was issued in June this year but no response had been received so the full forfeiture was confirmed.
The Washington state penalty went to Butterfield Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of radio station KULE-AM, Ephrata, for failure to maintain a copy of the station's authorization in its public inspection file. A penalty notice for the amount had been issued after a series of events starting in 1999 when then-owners Mirage Communications were issued with a notice of apparent violation over the same matter.
Butterfield became licensee of the station in 2001 and was informed in November 2002 that authorization had not been re-issued and advised to correct the matter. There was still no authorization in the file during an inspection at the end of January 2003 and a notice of apparent violation was issued.
Butterfield sought cancellation of the forfeiture because it was "in the process of dealing with the problem and it has since been resolved," and because it is unable to pay the forfeiture but did not provide evidence regarding the latter. The full penalty was confirmed.
The FCC has also denied an application for review filed by KSBN Radio, Inc., former permittee of unbuilt broadcast station KZTY-AM, Winchester, Nevada.
KRI had acquired the permit in 1998 and then submitted a modification application proposing to relocate the station to a new site in Clark County, Nevada.
This was granted in February 1999 and KRI was cautioned that the permit would expire if construction were not completed by August 3 that year; Subsequently it authorized the extension of many permits including that of KRI to December 21, 2000, but the facilities were not built by then.
Additionally Clark County adopted new zoning ordinance that would not allow construction of the facilities as authorized and KRI, without informing the FCC, constructed two 114-foot fibreglass whip antennas ("Whip Antenna System") that were acceptable to the county but did not meet the FCC specifications in the authorization.
Subsequently KRI in November 2000 sued the county over the zoning requirement and also filed a letter requesting that the Commission's staff toll the permit's December 21, 2000, expiration date.
FCC staff determined in December that year that KRI did not qualify for the tolling, an KRI later applied for the FCC decisions to be reconsidered.
The FCC refused this and said that in view of the considerable time already provided for the construction of station KZTY, with no resulting service to the public, termination of the KRI permit, thus permitting use of the spectrum by others, best serves the public interest.
2004-10-04: This week to start our look at print cover of radio, we move into an area that is normally neglected, a little of the minutiae of technology courtesy of Radio World whose online service last week carried two brief items relating to AM bandwidth. It also shows Clear Channel in a good light.
They were based on a memo to regional engineers from Clear Channel Radio's senior VP of engineering Jeff Littlejohn over institution of a policy for the company's AMs to reduce their bandwidth to 5 kHz for AM talk stations and 6 kHz for AM music stations.
Littlejohn, co-chairman of the AM Subcommittee of the NRSC (National Radio Systems Committee), it says is to propose at a meeting of the standards group at this week's NAB Radio Show in San Diego (Wed through Fri) that the policy be adopted by all licensees.
Littlejohn says that following two years of studies he has concluded that there is no useful purpose for AMs to continue broadcasting 10 kHz audio when the average receiver has an audio response of less than 4.5 kHz, notes that "AM modulation that falls outside of a receiver's usable bandwidth ends up increasing the noise floor within the audible bandwidth."
He also told RW Online that the action would effectively improve the audio for listeners, saying, "Getting rid of the high frequencies allows you to turn up the modulation, (which) will make it louder but not more distorted."
Littlejohn also noted that interference to other stations would be reduced and explained the increased bandwidth for music stations on the basis that these may have more listeners using wideband receivers although he did acknowledge that that there could be some objection from those who used antique radios.
Coincidentally iBiquity's HD IBOC (in-Band on-Channel) will require AMs to reduce audio bandwidth to 5 kHz but Littlejohn said that his proposal, already being implemented at Clear Channel, was a separate issue to the group's conversion to digital.
"I want to be clear about the distinction," he said to RW Online. "If we decrease interference it will help out the AM band. Whether it's analogue or digital doesn't matter. It will help all AM radio simply because there's reduced interference."
The issue of interference brought to mind the struggles of 10-watts radio free brattleboro, the Vermont "pirate" or "community" station - depending on point of view - that is - again depending on point of view - serving the community of Brattleboro or polluting the airwaves with illegal emanations.
A report last week by Mike Kalil in the Brattleboro Reformer would indicate that the station has local community support - in March, town voters overwhelmingly supported the station, voting 1,519 to 780 on a ballot question, asking whether they authorize the station to broadcast - in its battle with the system and the Federal Communications Commission.
The station, which had more than 50 shows and some 60 hosts, was on the air for four years until two complaints of interference to a Massachusetts station led the FCC to close it down; it eventually returned on a different frequency that has been reserved for a community station since when the station and the FCC have been battling it out in the courts.
RNW comment: The rfb case is significant to us in that it points up some of the issues relating to low power FM in the US. The legislation, thanks as we see it the combination of a simplistic good v bad approach and a vindictive streak in the US character, bars those who have been associated with pirate stations from gaining a legal community licence, a prohibition that is generally avoided elsewhere although having been involved in an illegal operation can count against a subsequent licence application although we note that the final shortlist of two for an alternative rock licence for Dublin is comprised of Phantom FM and Zed FM and Phantom has a history of illegal operation.
There are said to be sore feelings amongst the three bidders who have been culled so far about Phantom's past although it has more recently broadcast under a temporary licence and its backers now include U2 manager Paul McGuinness and Irish music promoter Denis Desmond.
The approach in Ireland and elsewhere seems to us far more rational than that of the US, which n the case of Brattlebro seems likely to ensure that if a legal community licence is granted those most likely to able to contribute to its success will be barred from doing so.
Finally before moving on to listening still available or coming up, a note that all the main UK broadsheets carried reports relating to the Capital Radio-GWR merger (See RNW Sep 30) and more specifically interviews with GWR chairman Ralph Bernard and Capital Radio chief executive David Mansfield about how they will share duties assuming the regulators give the go-ahead for the deal.
Of the reports we plumped in the end for those from Martin Baker in the Telegraph and Dominic O'Connell in the Times.
To the latter Mansfield commented, "We knew that the only way our shareholders would support this deal would be if they were convinced that the management was capable of working together" and Bernard said, "Neither of us is an egotist, and neither of us is particularly well paid by industry standards. We're here because we're enthusiasts for the job and need to keep our momentum in the respective companies while the deal is done."
The emphasis in the Telegraph report is different with Bernard insisting he is the boss, "He's chief executive. He runs the business. I'm the executive chairman, and he reports to me... You've got to know who has ultimate accountability for the shareholders' funds, and who is ultimately accountable to the shareholders and the board for the business of the company. I'm ultimately accountable in that respect."
On however to the part that really matters about radio, the programming. And first, going back towards the technical, a recommendation for a BBC Radio 4 programme from last Monday evening that can still just be caught on the listen-again part of the web site, which keeps programmes for a week.
It is Fifteen Inches per Second, a look at the history of quarter-inch magnetic tape and how its recording capabilities changed the world of sound: Worth a listen if only for the section on the construction of part of the Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
As we write, we also noted that Acoustic Shadows, which looks at acoustics and the effects of echoes and aired on September 14, is still available: For anyone working in sound listening to both is an hour well spent.
Moving forwards - and backwards - in time, Radio 4 on Wednesday at 10:00 GMT airs one of the more revealing programmes of the week in which Ruth Ive in Listening to History details how, aged 23, she was responsible for censorship of transatlantic phone conversations between British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt: The authorities didn't trust the leaders to be cautious enough and she had instructions to cut them off should either say anything she thought could endanger national security.
Also from Radio 4 we'd recommend Power Names in which Joe Queenan looks at the influence of their names on people and the things they do and don't like about them.
Changing channels we note that BBC Radio 2 on Tuesday (19:30 GMT) features Humphrey Bogart in the fifth and final programme in its Puttin' on the Style series - it's followed by the fifth in a six-part series on Aretha Franklin - and on Friday (18:00 GMT) has the fourth of its five-part Randy Newman Story.
For comedy this week, the News Quiz (Friday's 17:30 GMT - last week's is on the Radio 4 web site) is back and on Radio 2, albeit not available on-demand, at 21:00GMT on Thursday or Saturday at 12:30 GMT you will find Parsons & Naylor's Pull-out Sections
And to end, for those who'd like to sample their shows we'd note that XM Satellite Radio this week is putting the Opie and Anthony and Bob Edwards Shows on its web site but that's for the week after which it's subscribers only and premium subscribers for Opie and Anthony.
Brattleboro reformer - Kalil:
RW online re AM bandwidth:
RW online re digital conversion:
UK Telegraph - Baker:
UK Times - O'Connell:
2004-10-04: This month's Forbes in a feature on Clear Channel by Brett Pulley characterizes it neatly with the introduction, "Lowry Mays built Clear Channel into the Evil Empire of radio and entertainment. Now his son has to make nice."
It details the history of the empire from Lowry Mays 1972 purchase with partner Red McCombs for USD 125,000 of San Antonio KEEZ-FM (now KAJA-FM) after a client he was advising as an investment banker backed out of a deal to purchase it. Three years later they bought WOAI-AM, designated as a clear channel station by the Federal Communications Commission, and adopted the name for their company.
The large scale growth of the company, which had gone public in 1984, was made possible by the 1996 Telecommunications Act that raised ownership limits and subsequent radio acquisitions to a current holding of more than 1200 radio stations - it also expanded into outdoor and entertainment businesses - included Paxson Communications (USD 629 million in 1997), Jacor Communications (USD 4.4 billion in 1999), and AMFM (USD 2.4 billion n 2000).
The company now employs 61,500 people in 65 countries, has given shareholders a 71-fold increase in stock prices over two decades, more than ten times the Standard and Poores 500 for the period, and made Mays himself a billionaire.
The 69-year-old had been grooming his sons, Mark, 41, and Randall, 39, to run the business, in which the family only has a 7.8% holding, for years but his plans were abruptly forced forward by a stroke at the end of April this year and son Mark has become acting chief executive - his brother Randall remains CFO.
Mark commented on the prospect of taking over permanently by saying, "I don't look at this as taking over from Lowry. I think it's a natural evolution."
Randall supported his brother's appointment, saying, "One of Mark's greatest strengths is he has great people skills. He's the best person for the job."
Forbes speculates about the difficulties Mark Mays will face, saying he "may end up wondering why he ever wanted this job. Lowry had all the fun building this empire. Now, just as Clear Channel is finding growth harder to come by, the son must manage what the father has built. It can't acquire many more stations because it's bumping up against ownership caps in most of the nation's biggest markets. In the top ten radio markets, where Clear Channel can legally own 80 stations, it owns 69. Its stock price lately reflects that: At USD32, it is down 30% since January and far below its USD95 peak in 2000."
"Mark Mays must find other ways for Clear Channel to grow, even as he counters accusations of anticompetitive behavior. He also must live up to his father's storied reputation. "The Street may not be as confident in his son's ability," warns Kit Spring, an analyst at Stifle Nicolas. "Lowry's strength was doing the big deals. He was an outstanding leader who created a lot of shareholder value."
Mark Mays, says the report, will have to find the growth from within Clear Channel, and then details many of the problems, some implicitly simply by enumerating the company's success in creating synergies between its division, efficiencies through the use of voice-tracking and co-siting with consequent reductions in costs, and others more explicitly by noting the very fact that it has grown so large has led to accusations on anti-competitive practices as well as criticisms from many quarters about its dominance of the US radio industry.
Cognizant of the political pressures it has now set up a lobbying operation in Washington and Mark Mays says many of the criticisms result from fabrications and result from changes it is imposing on the radio and concert businesses.
"When you're leading change, you're going to take a lot of arrows," he says. "We've got to be the ones leading the change. We want to be ahead."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
Previous Mark Mays:
Previous Randall Mays:
Forbes Magazine report:
2004-10-04: Air America supporters in Portland, Maine, have persuaded Nassau Broadcasting to keep Air America on WLVP-AM instead of switching the station to ESPN sports.
The Portland Press Herald reports that the change of mind came when Nassau CEO, Louis Mercantanti attended a meeting with some 150 supporters of the progressive talk network.
Patrick Collins, general manager of Nassau's Maine stations, told the paper, "It starts with passion. If listeners don't have passion for your programming, they won't have passion for your advertisers. The passion these people have for Air America, that's priceless."
Collins added that those at the meeting offered many ideas for increasing ad revenues on the station on of which that will probably be adopted being to sell sponsorships similar to those on public radio stations.
He said Air America will remain on WLVP indefinitely and the station will continue to air some local sports, including high school and Portland Sea Dogs baseball games and will also try to develop local public affairs programming on weekends to tie in with Air America's liberal-leaning news and politics.
Previous Piquant/Air America:
Portland Press-Herald report:
2004-10-03: Last week saw a steady level of activity related to radio at all the regulators but no major decisions.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has registered new commercial radio industry codes (See RNW ) and has also again been involved in community radio decisions,
The latter included advertising a new community licence for the Mount Beauty area of Victoria, and the allocation of a new community radio licence in Lithgow, New South Wales to Lithgow Community Broadcasters Inc. (EZY-FM). EZY is already broadcasting on the frequency under a temporary licence and was the only applicant.
In Canada, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) radio-related decisions included (in order of province):
*Revocation of licence of CJPR-AM, Blairmore, following its replacement with an FM station.
*Approval of addition of 10 watts FM transmitter at Tumbler Ridge for CFGP-FM, Grande Prairie.
*Approval of use of SMCO channel by CIUT-FM for a predominantly Farsi-language service.
*Extension until August 31 next year of deadline for commencement of operation of the transitional digital radio undertakings associated with CKTF-FM, CJRC-AM, and CIMF-FM Gatineau.
*Third extension, this time until August 31 next year of deadline for commencement of operation of the transitional digital radio undertakings associated with Cogeco Radio-Télévision inc. and Standard Radio Inc.'s transitional digital radio undertakings at Montréal and Laval.
*Approval of addition of 50 watts FM transmitter at Forestville for CHME-FM, Les Escoumins.
*Approval of power reduction from 4,400 watts to 3,150 watts and increase in antenna height of new transmitter in Sainte-Famille for CBVT-AM, Québec.
*Approval of third extension, this time until September 20 next year, of the deadline to commence operation of new developmental French-language campus FM at Shawinigan.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has signed a 10-year contract with North West Broadcasting Limited (Ocean FM) for its local service for the franchise area of Donegal South, Sligo, and Leitrim North.
Ocean FM went on the air yesterday morning and is to provide a locally focused service for all age groups in the area.
Also in Ireland, The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) has now responded to the consultation paper issued by the Department of Communications, Marine and natural Resources (DCMNR) on Radio Licensing in Ireland.
It says that while welcoming the development of a long term plan, does not think there is a need for a spectrum audit in relation to the future use of the FM and AM bands as recommended in a report from Ox Consultants since administrations are already informed of spectrum availability on a twice monthly basis.
It also says it sees no circumstances where there would be a need for government directives in view of the way in which it currently operates.
Regarding available Irish spectrum it says it can confirm that up to 25% of the FM spectrum is unused outside Dublin and that assignments in the AM (Medium Wave) Band are also available. In addition an additional local service could be provided in most parts of the country as well as around 300 low power FM services to serve small areas such as towns or villages using the 106-108 MHz sub-band or if the frequency is not sued for this purpose. If the 106-108 MHz frequency block is not used one or two extra local/regional services could be accommodated in any one area.
It adds that this frequency could not be used to create a national network because they use higher powers and there would be potential interference to UK services.
Regarding digital radio services, Comreg says take up in Europe has been slowed by the relatively high cost of receivers and the cost of rolling out a DAB-only service. It suggests that Ireland could consider leapfrogging existing Eureka 147 DAB technologies and moving to new technology such as digital TV technology that can deliver a variety of services including audio and TV or the use of Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) systems in the MW and LW bands.
It adds that a recent survey showed 6% of respondents already listening to radio via satellite TV, 5% through the Internet, 4% using cable and 3% using mobile phones.
In the UK, Ofcom has now posted on its web site details of the applications it received for the new Blackburn and Edinburgh commercial FM licences it has advertised (PDF's totaling 11.2 MB ranging from 272 KB to 8.21 MB for the four Blackburn applications and 18.2 MB ranging from 361 KB to 6.55MB for the ten Edinburgh applications) and has also issued notice of its proposals to allow spectrum trading.
The changes proposed using an Administered Incentive Pricing (AIP) to give incentives for efficient use of spectrum will initially affect some fixed wireless services and point-to-point microwave links, special events uses and business radio but not terrestrial broadcasters for the moment.
Ofcom adds, however, that it is consulting on outline proposals in which AIP could be applied to television broadcast spectrum in the future so as to, for example, serve as a valuable incentive for broadcasters to achieve switchover to digital transmission in line with Government plans.
Ofcom has also issued details of proposals for a new UK public service broadcast TV channel to compete with the BBC. It says it has rejected proposals to "top slice" the licence fee that funds the BBC or provide a pool of funds for financing public service broadcasting on commercial channels. It says the proposed new channel could be financed either through an increase in the licence fee or a turnover tax on other broadcasters.
The US was fairly quiet following last week's levying by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of a USD 550,000 penalty on CBS (Licence News Sep 26) but the FCC did issue penalties totaling USD 41,000 (See RNW Oct 2).
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
Comreg web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2004-10-03: Boston University is now investigating its WBUR-FM radio station following receipt of anonymous allegations.
A statement from the university said, "We have received a number of anonymous allegations with regard to administrative practices at WBUR-FM. We immediately referred the matter to our general counsel's office and auditors who are conducting an aggressive, thorough, and impartial inquiry. The management at WBUR has been cooperating fully with the investigation."
The investigation followed the University's planned sale of WBUR's affiliated Rhode Island public stations WRNIAM and WXNIAM and subsequent reports concerning deficits at these stations (See RNW Sep 27)
WBUR itself was said by the paper to have lost nearly USD 5 million from 1999 to 2003, figures disputed by the university, although it admitted that it had been in deficit in 1999, 2001, 2002, and 2003.
The Boston Globe notes that the past quarter century has seen WBUR under general manager Jane Christo emerge as a public radio powerhouse but has also seen internal turmoil and notes that questions over spending have increased following the announcement of the planned sale.
The paper says it was unable to reach Christo for comment and also that it had asked the station for comment on a list of 25 employees who are alleged to be patronage hires but WBUR did not comment specifically on that list.
Boston Globe report:
2004-10-03: Cambodia's national broadcaster Radio National Kampuchea airs its first national phone-in programme today in partnership with the BBC World Service Trust.
The programme, First Steps, is a weekly health-based show which uses regular presenters, a range of guests and the views of the listening public to spread information and stimulate debate: The phone-in is aimed at improving maternal and child health in the country, where according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) maternal mortality is among the highest in the developing world and 70,000 children under five die from preventable diseases each year in Cambodia.
2004-10-03: Clear Channel's Washington DC Oldies station WBIG-FM has laid off half its air staff as it struggles in the ratings- it was 13th out of nearly 30 stations in the latest Arbitrons - according to the Washington Post, which names those laid off as including night time DJ Jeff "Goldy" Gold, midday DJ Kathy Whiteside, weekend personality Johnny Dark, news anchor Ira Mellman and creative services director Bob Karson.
The five have been with WBIG since 1993 when the station changed to oldies from a jazz format. The paper reports that, according to program director Bill Hess, Gary Murphy and Jessica Cash will continue to host the morning show "Murphy & Cash," Tom Kelly will remain as the afternoon DJ, Weekend personality Paula Kasey will fill in for Gold and newcomer Stephanie Wells will take over Whiteside's midday show.
It quotes Gold as saying, "We're all kind of devastated. The greatest thing for me was that the kids that started listening to me and calling me when they were 6, 7, 8 years old, they're now calling me from college."
Hess said the changes resulted from "challenging" times for the station, which has gradually been changing its playlist. "We've been expanding the playlist and moving into the '70s, and as you adjust the brand of a radio station, certainly personalities are . . . part of the change that takes place," he said, adding that the format would not be radically changed and commenting, "I think the big hits of the '60s and '70s, which is where we are now . . . is going to be the core of this radio station."
Also ousted from Clear Channel has been Chicago WKSC-FM afternoon personality Scott Tyler.
According to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times WKSC Program Director Rod Phillips said Tyler resigned after violating company policy by sending an unauthorized message on the Top 40 outlet's digital readout system that was "damaging to our image as a radio station."
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
Washington Post report:
2004-10-03: A Ugandan radio station has been fined 1.8 million Ugandan shillings (around USD 1,000) for hosting a group of homosexuals in a live talk show in its Olutindo programme on August 26.
Luganda station Simba FM was also ordered by the Ugandan Broadcasting Council to make a public apology "regretting having offended a wide section of the public."
Council chairman Godfrey Mutabazi said the programme was "contrary to public morality" and breached the country's laws and noted that homosexual practices are illegal in Uganda.
The council also ruled that found that the programme producer, Joshua Kyalimpa, was not registered with the media council as required by the Electronic Media Act.
The action was taken following protests by former state for internal affairs minister Sarah Kiyingi and others who protested that the hosting of homosexuals on radio undermined morals.
Presenter Peter Kibazo said his guests were protesting against discrimination over their sexual orientation.
Uganda New Vision report:
2004-10-02: US radio advertising revenues in August were down 1% on a year earlier according to the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB): Within the figures local revenues were flat and national ones were down 5%. RAB's Sales Index, which equates pre-dot com base year 1998 to 100 was a combined 126.0 for August with the local index 127.2 and the national one 121.5.
For the year to date, combined revenues were up 2% on a year ago with local revenues up 3% but national revenues down 2%: The corresponding indices were 139.0, 138.8 and 140.2.
Commenting with his usual positive gloss on the figures RAB President and CEO Gary Fries said, "In breaking down the various markets we are seeing some very encouraging results. For example, in markets 31 through 100, August showed a local increase of 8%. This is a leading indicator of a strengthening local marketplace that is starting to radiate into some of the larger markets."
Previous RAB & monthly figures ( For July):
2004-10-02: US radio giant Clear Channel has forecast a challenging fourth quarter for radio although and its CFO Randall Mays repeated a forecast that the current quarter will be flat.
Speaking at an investors' conference in California he added that some of the pessimism about radio advertising outlook was pessimistic, commenting, "Radio is still alive and healthy contrary to a lot of the opinions out there."
Clear Channel is making a number of moves to change its practices from cutting advertising loads to switching a number of stations to progressive talk formats and also strengthening its present in the Spanish language market.
Commenting on the latter changes, Clear Channel Radio President and CEO John Hogan told the San Antonio Business Journal, "We've been delighted with the ratings generated by our progressive talk radio stations 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."
The Journal notes regarding the changes to remove advertising clutter that in July it had reported that roughly 29 percent of Clear Channel's June ad inventory had no revenue attached to it and quotes San Antonio radio executive, Virgil Thompson, vice president and general manager of Cox Radio's KSMG-FM and KISS-FM as saying, "It's absolutely the smart thing for them to do."
Randall Mays view that some analysts are being too pessimistic about radio was shared by Susquehanna Radio president and COO David Kennedy who told the paper that there was a clear lack of understanding about the radio industry behind some of the conclusions.
However Tom Taylor, editor of Inside Radio, warned of rough times ahead, saying there was not "much in the way of good news on the revenue recovery front" but added, "Radio has reinvented itself before. I think we are going to start seeing that again."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Randall Mays:
San Antonio Business Journal report:
2004-10-02: UK UBC Media Group in a trading update before its half-year results to the end of September are released says it is trading in line with expectations with particularly strong performance from its Commercial Division whose like-for-like revenues are up 23% on a year earlier.
UBC says the outlook for the rest of the year is positive and notes its acquisition of the UK's largest regional independent radio production company, Smooth Operations in August (See RNW Aug 7) and the consolidation that month of Emap's and UBC's traffic & travel airtime sales capacity as likely to make significant future contributions in the next financial year.
Also in the UK, Emap's former radio chief Tim Schoonmaker, who quit in January, has now left his most recent post as chief executive of Odeon cinemas and the UCI cinema chain (See RNW May 21).
Schoonmaker told the UK Guardian he is ready to pursue a "new dream" and is actively looking for new business opportunities. He said that he had enjoyed time at Odeon and has "made some dosh [money] from it."
2004-10-02: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 17,000 penalty on a Florida pirate, reduced from US 15,000 to USD 12,000 one on a Pennsylvania AM, and from USD 15,000 to USD 12,000 on a Nevada AM.
The Florida penalty of USD 17,000 went to Alexandre Pierre Abelard, aka Abelard Pierre, of Fort Myers, who had been found to be operating an unlicensed station after complaints of interference to aircraft communications. The signals were traced to a room that Abelard had claimed he had sub-leased and to which he refused admission to agents.
The FCC ruled that his denials of responsibility in his response to its Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) "is entitled to no credibility whatsoever" and confirmed the full penalty.
The Pennsylvania penalty of USD 12,000 went to Urban Radio of Pennsylvania, L.L.C., licensee of Station WURP-AM, Philadelphia, and related to failure to exhibit red obstruction lighting on its antenna structure, failure to make observations of the obstruction lighting once every 24 hours and failure.
Urban had initially been given notice of a USD 15,000 penalty and had not denied the offences but sought a reduction or cancellation on the grounds of action taken to correct and report the lighting outage once it had been notified of the violations and also on the basis of its "unblemished history of overall compliance with the Commission's rules."
Following its normal policy, the Commission rejected the first argument but it trimmed the penalty by USD 3,000 on the basis of a history of compliance.
In the Nevada case, it reduced from USD 15,000 to USD 12,000 on grounds of past compliance the penalty issued to Delta Radio Greenville, LLC, licensee of radio station WROX-AM, Clarksdale, for failure to maintain operational Emergency Alert System ("EAS") equipment and failure to enclose its antenna structure within an effective locked fence or other enclosure.
Delta's President had sought cancellation or reduction on the basis that he was unaware of the conditions that led to the issuance of the NAL and also on the station's long-time record of compliance with the Rules and the station's financial situation but did not provide supporting documentation relating to the last.
The FCC again followed its standard policies and reduced the penalty based on a history of compliance but rejected the other arguments.
2004-10-02: XM Satellite Radio on Monday launches its new "Bob Edwards Show" on its public radio channel (Channel 133) and "Opie and Anthony" (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) on its premium (and extra USD 1.99 a month) High Voltage channel (Channel 202) and is to make both shows available free on its web site for the first week.
Former host of National Public Radio (NPR) "Morning Edition" Edwards will host a one-hour morning show (1300-1400 GMT with an encore presentation immediately following this). His guests on the first week are slated to include former TV anchor Walter Cronkite, author Joyce Carol Oates, Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian Arthur Schlesinger, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., folk music greats Peter, Paul and Mary, and classical pianist Leon Fleisher.
Edwards commented of his show,"It feels wonderful to be behind a microphone again hosting a daily programme. XM is reinventing radio in America. They're offering something entirely new, but also restoring what radio used to be, when it was exciting and vital to people's lives."
Opie and Anthony, who were dropped by Infinity's former WNEW-FM in New York after the infamous Sex in St Patrick's Cathedral incident, are also being aired in advance of their regular show in a special "O&A Ungagged," show in which they talk about their past experience on radio and plans for the new show: The special is running continuously until the new show launches on Monday (it runs 11:00 to 15:00 GMT) and is also available on the XM web site.
Shares in both XM and its rival Sirius rose at first on Friday following upgrading of the two companies by analysts but then fell back again. XM, which ended 0.52% down at USD 30.86, reached USD 31.53 earlier in the day and Sirius ended down 1.87% at 3.14 having reached 3.35 earlier.
CBS Marketwatch reported Sanders Morris Harris analyst Steve Mather raising his rating of XM to "strong buy" from "buy" and his price target on the stock to USD 37 from USD 32 and commenting that the next six months would be likely to "likely add further support to the notion that XM is on track to change the way we listen to radio, and in broader terms, shift the music industry."
J.P. Morgan raised its rating of Sirius to "overweight" from "neutral" and commented that although it was a riskier investment than XM (which has around five times as many subscribers after getting an initial lead - it says it will finish the third quarter of this year with more than 2.5 million subscribers, having added more than 415,000 in the quarter, and is on schedule to exceed 3.1 million by the end of the year) it had grown far more attractive due to its marketing venture with the National Football League (NFL) and its distribution deal with DaimlerChrysler plus and its negotiations with Ford.
J.P. Morgan says Sirius will remain the second player in a two-horse race but manufacturers will support both satellite companies to avoid dependence on a monopoly.
Previous Opie and Anthony:
CBS Marketwatch report:
XM web site:
2004-10-01: Former Emmis Hot 97 (WQHT-FM) New York morning host Troi Torain (Star) has been barred from a return to the city's airwaves until January 14 next year by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Emmis had claimed that under a non-compete clause Star could not return to the New York airwaves until a year after the expiry of his contract, which ran to March 2004, and that it only suspended him when it took him off the air in March 2003. The DJ argued that he was fired rather than suspended and that the non-compete clause had therefore expired.
Emmis took to the courts against the host and Clear Channel, which currently airs the Star and Buc Wild morning show in Hartford, Connecticut, and Philadelphia, and was rumoured to want to air him on its Power 105 (WWPR-FM) in New York in competition with his former station.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Troi Torain (Star):
2004-10-01: The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has registered a revised version of the Australian Commercial Radio Codes of Practice, developed by industry body Commercial Radio Australia.
The codes, which will be reviewed again in three years, will apply in addition to the Commercial Radio Standards made by the ABA in 2000 following the country's "cash-for-comment" affair.
They regulate commercial radio content" in accordance with community standards" and are intended to provide clear guidance to radio station staff and listeners on what is required in each of the areas covered by the Codes including taste and decency, accuracy and fairness in news and current affairs, advertising, Australian music quotas, procedures for handling complaints and broadcasts of emergency information in times of emergency.
Revisions in the new codes extend privacy provision to cover news programmes as well as the current affairs programming to which they previously applied and also add new guidelines for stories on suicide and mental health issues.
Welcoming the ABA's registration of the codes, Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) chief executive Joan Warner said, "The commercial radio industry is committed to meeting the requirements of the Codes of Practice and providing the highest possible quality programs which are in-line with the Australian listening public's needs" and added that following the extensive review process that went into them and feedback from members of the public, the Australian commercial radio industry is satisfied that the Codes are working effectively.
The codes cover all aspects of Australian commercial radio but not the country's public broadcasters who have their own codes.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
ABA web site: (has links to the new codes):
2004-10-01: Sirius is to honour the late New York radio host Scott Muni who has just died with all-day special programming today by Sirius hosts who worked with him.
Sirius Classic Vinyl hosts anchoring the programming include Dennis Elsas, Pat St. John and Carol Miller, all of whom worked with Muni at WNEW-FM.
A wake for Muni is to be held tomorrow and Sunday in New York with funeral services at St Patrick's Cathedral on Monday.
Clear Channel's New York WAXQ-FM, for whom Muni was hosting "The Scott Muni Show" until he had a stroke last year, aired a tribute show on Thursday and has posted segments from the show on its web site.
Sirius web site:
WAXQ web site:
2004-10-01: Salem has announced that it has now completed its USD 4.75 million purchase of Detroit WQBH-AM, founded by Martha Jean (the Queen) Steinberg, and as WJLB-AM a dominant voice for Detroit's black community from the 1940s to 1970s.
Its current format of black-oriented talk and music such as Motown oldies, gospel, jazz and blues, has been replaced with conservative talk and the call letters have been changed to WDTK-AM.
The first Salem host on the new format was Larry Elder and other hosts to air on the station will include syndicated host Laura Ingraham, and Salem Radio Network hosts Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved, and Dennis Prager.
Salem President and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III said in a statement, "We are pleased to acquire the station that has served the Detroit community so well by honouring the legacy of its founder, Martha Jean (the Queen) Steinberg. The acquisition of WQBH-AM is an opportunity for Salem to serve the News/Talk audience in Detroit with informative programming that is new for this market. Equally important, the new WDTK-AM will give Salem a presence in all 10 of the top 10 radio markets in the United States."
In other US radio business, Entravision has announced that it has repurchased all 3.3 million shares of its Series A convertible preferred stock from TSG Capital Fund III, L.P. for approximately USD 73 million. This series of stock has now been retired.
RNW comment: Every so often the unctuous self-serving drivel we read in takeover-related statements gets our goat and Salem certainly did in this case.
In our view, anyone who can go on record as honouring the legacy of Steinberg with conservative programming could presumably also honour Martin Luther King with Ku Klux Klan programming.
The last reason it seems to us is honest: The rest of the statement would be more suited to the rear end of a bull. Salem however, as well as being "Christian oriented", is financially successful, reminding us of camels and eyes of needles!
2004-10-01: India's plans for community radio appear to be falling victim to the country's notorious bureaucratic delays according to a report in the Times of India.
It says that despite the fanfare of the launch of the project last year, only one institution, the Anna University of Chennai, has so far installed a low power station and its clearance was expedited for the visit of the then Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani to the university.
The paper says around 50 institutions have applied for licences, 15 applications have been processed by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and recommendations passed to the Ministry of Telecommunications for frequencies to be allocated. The paper says sources at the Prasar Bharati Broadcasting Corporation, which oversees Indian public broadcasters, are putting the blame on the communications ministry but that officials there say that frequencies have been allocated to some ten campus stations.
AN official said it was taking time "to look into the aspects of aviation hazard and security considerations."
Information and Broadcasting minister S Jaipal Reddy, who had earmarked community radio as one of his priorities, admitted that red tape had been the undoing of his dream project and told the paper, "The only way out is simplification of the rules," adding that the enormous paperwork and clearance from too many authorities have turned away the institutions willing to have such radio stations although he still hoped for some 4,000 campus stations round the country.
Previous Prasar Bharati:
Previous Indian Radio:
Times of India report:
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