March 2005 Archive
- February 2005 - April 2005-
Links- internally where there are follow-up stories we try, at the end of each story, to put a pertinent link to the top of the next relevant story. Regarding external links see note at end of page.
E-mail note: For obvious Virus reasons, we neither send nor accept e-mail attachments without prior notice and agreement. All messages sshould be sent plain text.
RNW March comment - Considers how US terrestrial radio should meet competition from new competitors and considers strong local services are best placed to compete.
RNW February comment - Expresses concern about the pressures put on broadcasters by pressure groups, the public and advertisers without any relation to discernibly consistent standards.
RNW January comment - As Michael Powell prepares to leave the FCC, pressures mount for broadcasting regulation, and racially prejudiced and tasteless or offensive comments by hosts arouse outrage, we consider how far we should regulate broadcast inaccuracy, bigotry, indecency and racism.
2005-03-31: UK Emap in an update before it announces its preliminary reports for the year to the end of March - the full figures are due in May - has reported total group revenues up 2% on a year earlier and UK Wireless Group has gone one better and reported revenues up 22% to GBP 39.7 million (USD 74.6 million) and those for its talkSPORT national station up 26% to GBP 14.8 million ( USD 27.8 million) for the year to the end of December.
Emap's overall figure was pulled down by weakness in France where its revenues were down 7%: Other divisional figures were a 3% increase in Emap performance that includes its radio operation, 6% in Emap Consumer Media, and 10% for Emap Communications.
Radio advertising revenues were up 2% for the year and up11% in the final quarter and Emap says forward bookings for radio advertising for the start of the 2005 financial year are reasonable and it expects to continue to outperform the market.
At the Wireless Group, the strong performance of talkSPORT was put down to a boost from the European football championships and a "very strong" third quarter: overall its operating profits, excluding goodwill and around GBP 1 million (USD 1.88 million) of costs related to the legal battle it lost against UK radio ratings company RAJAR, was up 54% to GBP 4.3 million ( USD 8.1 million), with operating profits at its local stations up 21.4% to GBP 6.8 million ( USD 12.8 million).
Overall the group cut its reported loss by 13.4% to GBP 9.7 million (USD 18.6 million).
The group said it was in takeover talks with several would-be buyers including chairman and chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie although these might not lead to an offer for the company.
MacKenzie whose initial nil-premium bid collapsed when his equity backer Veronis Suhler Stevenson withdrew is now said to be attempting a new bid with backing from venture capital firm 3i.
Previous Wireless Group:
2005-03-31: Former Bay Area morning host Dr Don Rose has died at his California home after several years of failing health.
Rose, whose broadcast career lasted 33 years, majored in accounting at the University of Nebraska and then worked on stations in Omaha, Nebraska, San Antonio, Texas, and Kearney, Nebraska, before getting work in Fort Dodge, Iowa, where he met his wife and took over the morning show.
He subsequently worked in Duluth, Minnesota and Atlanta before moving to WFIL, Philadelphia, where he won DJ of the Year award.
After a successful run there he joined KFRC in 1973, remaining at the station for 15 years and again winning the DJ of the Year award.
After leaving KFRC he worked at KKIS and KIOI before a heart attack on air at the latter forced him into retirement.
CBS 5 report:
2005-03-31: Latest Australia ratings show some good news for Austereo as 2-DAY in Sydney moved up to third place from seventh although competitor DMG's Nova was also up - from third to second.
Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB remained at the top but rival talk station Southern Cross Broadcasting's 2UE was down from fourth to seventh.
In the Sydney breakfast slot, long dominated by Alan Jones, first with 2UE and then with 2GB , talk fell back as Nova and 2-DAY increased their shares - from 10.2 to 10.7 for Nova as it overtook ABC 702 and Angela Catterns to move into second spot and from 6.9 to 9.4 for 2-DAY as it moved from seventh to fourth.
Jones' share was down from 16.2 to 14.6 whilst that for Catterns at dropped 11.5 to 10.,6 and she slipped down a rank to fourth and at 2UE Mike Carlton's share fell from 9.8 to 8.6 and he dropped from fourth to fifth .
There was good news for 2Ue and John Laws in the morning slot as the gap closed on leader 2GB with a combination of Jones to start followed by Ray Hadley after the first hour. 2GB remained top but its share fell from 13.3 to 12.6 while that of 2UE in second place rose from 10.8 to 11.4.
City by city, the top three stations were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: 5AA 16.8 (14.4) moved up from third; Mix 16.7 (16.7) - down from first; SAFM -14.2 (15.3)- down from second.
* Nova 12.0 (11.1) - remained fourth.
*Brisbane - Triple M with 17.1 (16.5) - same rank; B105FM 12.5 (13.6) - same rank; NEW 97.3 FM with 11.7 (10.8) - same rank.
*Melbourne - 3AW with 13.8 (15.6)- same rank; ABC 774 with 11.5 (11.2) - same rank; Nova with 11.1(9.4) was up to third from sixth.
* Triple M with 10.7 (10.8) - fell from third to fourth.
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM 16.7 (18.3) - Same rank; 96FM with 14.2 (13.2) - up from third;) Nova with 11.3 (11.5)- same rank.
*ABC 720 with 11.2 (11.5 0- was down from third equal to fourth.
* Sydney: 2GB 11.4 (11.7) - same rank; Nova with 9.6 (9.2) - up from third; 2-DAY with 9.0 (7.8) - up from seventh.
ABC 702 dropped from second to sixth with 8.7 (9.5) and 2UE with 8.6 (9.1) was down from fourth to seventh. Austereo's Triple-M remained eighth but took its share up from 7.4 to 8.4.
Austereo said the results for its Today and Triple-M networks were in accordance with its strategy and chief executive Michael Anderson said, "It's very pleasing momentum and right in the direction we'd expect, given the changes
we've made to both networks," he said, "It's particularly pleasing to see Judith Lucy and Kyle and Jackie doing so well after we swapped their shifts with each other [Lacy was moved to drive and the Kyle and Jackie O show to breakfast in Sydney]. Fox FM and 2-DAY are still the most listened-to stations in their markets in terms of cumulative audience."
"The improvements we're seeing in Triple M are also continuing without any significant marketing," he added.
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Southern Cross:
2005-03-31: US National Public Radio (NPR) says the audience for its programming has risen by 41% over the past four years to reach more than 23 million a week in Fall 2004, with one in seven adults aged 25 or older and almost a third of college graduates saying they listen to NPR member stations.
Its Morning Edition programme now has a weekly audience of more than 13.2 million, making it the most listened to morning show in the US.
NPR President and CEO Kevin Klose said over the four years NPR had been "one of the few media organizations to expand serious, in-depth reporting of news from around the nation and around the world and added, "Our audience growth is directly traceable to our increasingly unique position as a credible, trusted source of careful and responsible journalism."
"The strength of NPR also lies with our partnership with Member stations, which are an increasingly meaningful source of local news and content. .. While radio listening has declined and Americans have exponentially more media choices, this new data proves what we've known all along: NPR and public radio stations are a primary source of news, information, and entertainment for millions of Americans."
2005-03-31: UK media regulator Ofcom upheld no complaints against radio or TV its latest bulletin and only adjudicated one case - a complaint by a regular complainant about an edition of the Jon Gaunt Show on BBC Radio WM who thought comments about taping the programme to "tell tales" about it referred to him when in fact they related to action by a member of the station's staff. This compared to one radio and three TV complaints upheld in the previous bulletin.
All the other complaints were rejected or held to be out of remit. They totalled 184 TV complaints relating to 149 items and 19 radio complaints relating to 18 items compared to a corresponding 126 TV complaints against 154 items and 25 radio complaints against 28 items in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2005-03-30: The BBC says its re-launch of its Radio Player at the end of January has boosted requests for on-demand listening to its radio networks; In February requests for on-demand listening were up more than a quarter on January to a record nine million requests.
In terms of listening hours however, on demand rose by only 5.7% over January whilst live listening was up 33.7%: Figures were still affected to a degree by server problems in December last year and January that affected live listening and skewed the earlier figures towards on demand services.
In terms of individual programmes, six of the top ten was from BBC Radio 1, three from Radio 4 and one from Radio 2.
The top five on-demand programmes were the BBC Radio 4 soap The Archers with 354,401 listeners in February followed by Chris Moyles breakfast show on BBC Radio 1 with 347,796; Essential Mix on BBC Radio 1 with 188,573 (up from fourth); The Essential Selection on BBC Radio 1 with 174,925 (Up from fifth) and Dance Anthems from BBC Radio 1 with 146,216 (Up from sixth: Just a Minute from BBC Radio 4 was down from third to seventh.)
In terms of network listening in January this year, the rankings were (listening hours-live plus on-demand- in brackets):
Radio 1 (3,190,062);
Radio 2 (2,217,349);
Radio 4 (1,934,504);
BBC 7 (929,523);
Radio 5 Live (858,993);
6 Music (594,112);
Radio 3 (592,321);
5 Live Sports Xtra (57,262);
Previous BBC Online figures:
2005-03-30: Clear Channel has promoted Lisa Dollinger to the newly created post of Chief Communications Officer. She joined the company in 2003 as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the company's radio division and was named Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications later that year.
Clear Channel says that in her expanded role Dollinger will "provide executive leadership for the company's communications initiatives, acting as chief communications strategist and spokesperson for the global media and entertainment company."
In addition Dollinger will direct corporate communications and branding, reputation and issues management, strategic positioning of the company's diverse global assets, media relations, consumer viral marketing, strategic sponsorships and employee communications and will work with executive management on litigation, public policy and financial communications.
Commenting on Dollinger's appointment, Clear Channel President and CEO Mark P. Mays said in a statement, "Two years ago, our company was largely misunderstood and fabrications were accepted as fact. Through Lisa's unfailing instincts and creative leadership, our company is known today as an innovative leader and positive change agent in all of the businesses in which we operate. She's a consummate team player and a valued advisor."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2005-03-30: Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) in a trading update says its like-for-like radio revenues were up 3% in the half year to the end of this month with overall group revenues up 11% within which overall radio revenues were up 13% and press revenues were up 7%.
It puts the increase in radio revenues down to a 9% growth in local advertising, partially offset by a 4% decline in national advertising revenue, allied with an 8% growth in sponsorship and promotions income.
SRH shares ended the day up just less than 1% at 957 pence valuing it at around GBP 344 million (USD 645 million).
The price anticipates a possible bid, particularly from Emap, which holds 27.8% of the company, which it bought from SMG last year (RNW Jan 17, 2004).
Emap, which is due to publish an update today, has attracted a favourable report from a review of its prospects by broker Teather and Greenwood according to CityWire.
The broker expects Emap shares to rise around 14% over the next twelve months to 955 pence and says speculation is that it will soon make a bid to take over SRH.
2005-03-30: Boston public broadcaster WGBH has appointed Marita Rivero, its General Manager for Radio since 1988, to the new post of General Manager for WGBH Radio and Television.
The role gives her responsibility for programming and operations of WGBH's two radio services, WGBHFM and The Cape and Islands NPR Stations, its two broadcast television channels, WGBH 2 and WGBH 44, as well as six new television services, and the broadcaster's Web site, wgbh.org.
2005-03-29: The battle lines over US "indecency" legislation seem to be forming with a report in the New York Times that new US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin appears to favour suggestions by Alaskan Republican Senator Ted Stevens that indecency legislation should be extended to cover subscription services and the introduction by Vermont Independent Rep. Bernie Sanders to prevent such an action.
In support of its contention the New York Times quotes a letter sent in December 2003 to L. Brent Bozell, president of the Parents Television Council, the pressure group that in some cases has been responsible for campaigns connected to virtually all the complaints against some programme.
The quotation does allow wriggle-room, saying, "Certainly broadcasters and cable operators have significant First Amendment rights, but these rights are not without boundaries. They are limited by law. They also should be limited by good taste."
Martin and Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps have expressed hard line sentiments about indecency and the paper quotes one example of a TV show in which Fox TV was not penalized for transmission of an episode of the "Keen Eddie" show.
According to the FCC ruling, to which Martin and Copps issued dissenting statements, the episode included a plot about trafficking in horse semen on the black market and "according to the video tape provided by Fox, three men apparently hire a prostitute to 'extract' a horse's semen for the artificial insemination of another thoroughbred horse."
"Neither the script nor the images describe how the prostitute will accomplish this task," it says and refers to a scene in which the prostitute is shown standing over a collapsed horse and "explains that she tried to arouse the horse by lifting up her shirt, but she is never shown doing so. She states that when she did so, the horse collapsed and died."
In its ruling, the Commission said, " the material contains no graphic or explicit dialogue, discussion, depiction or description of any particular sexual or excretory organ or activity. In addition, the characters do not dwell on or repeat at length any references to specific sexual or excretory organs or activities. The woman is at all times fully clothed, and is never seen touching or even approaching the horse. The entire episode lasts less than 28 seconds. Finally, the scene does not appear to have been intended to pander, shock, or titillate. While we understand that some viewers may have found the subject matter of this episode to be offensive, we have repeatedly held that subject matter alone is not a basis for an indecency determination."
Two of the Commissioners agreeing with the decision, Republican Kathleen Q. Abernathy and Democrat Jonathan S. Adelstein commented that they were "compelled by the Constitution not to overreach our limited authority in this area and impose our taste and personal judgments on the rest of America. If we overstep our authority, we run the risk of having our limited authority curtailed forever. As parents and Commissioners, we have carefully applied the law with the long-term sustainability of our enforcement authority in mind.
Martin in his dissent said the majority admitted the programme "contains references of a sexual nature that were broadcast at a time of day when children were likely to be in the audience" and goes on to say that they nevertheless conclude "that the program, in which a prostitute is hired to sexually arouse a horse by removing her blouse and to 'extract' semen from the horse, is not indecent because the prostitute is 'never seen actually touching' the horse."
"Despite my colleagues' assurance that there appeared to be a safe distance between the prostitute and the horse, I remain uncomfortable," he concludes, adding, "I respectfully dissent."
Sanders, whose Stamp Out Censorship Act of 2005 would prohibit extending FCC authority to subscription services, said in a news release, "There is a growing culture of censorship in this country that needs to be ended. First they went after broadcast television and radio and now they want to censor cable, satellite and the Internet. The bottom line is that government commissars should not be the arbiters of what Americans see and hear, especially over cable, satellite and the Internet -- all of which people have to pay for in order to receive."
"We don't need the FCC bleeping Tony Soprano or Jon Stewart," he added. "Allowing the FCC to regulate these venues would, in affect, permit the government to control what content people can purchase. That offends basic American principles of freedom and liberty that are the foundation of our democracy."
RNW comment: We remain unclear after reading and re-reading the New York Times report on the crucial issue of whether Martin is in favour, as are some politicians including Alaskan Republican Senator Ted Stevens, of the idea of extending broadcast indecency and profanity rules to cover subscriptions services or whether he is one of those who favours the idea of using technology such as the TV V-chip to block certain programming, an approach that some lawmakers say has been ineffective.
In our view Abernathy and Adelstein were correct to assess the matter of one of not overstepping the Commission's limited authority and impose their taste on the rest of America.
We do not know if they are right to suggest that if they did so they would risk the Supreme Court curtailing that limited authority forever but would certainly consider that a much better solution than exceeding to the demands of the demented or humourless to censor. As we understood it, "Keen Eddie", which did not last long, was intended to be "drama/COMEDY" so we would deduce that the episode concerned - aired at 9P.M. according to Bozell's testimony to a US Senate Committee - was intended to be a spoof!
We also, as we have done in the past, feel that if a society is to be one of laws, then the laws have to be applied on the basis of the manner in which they have been laid down and not on the basis of a subsequent amendment of decisions - as in the Bono Golden Globes Award ruling where we think in terms of any normal use of language the commission perversely overturned the decision not to rule against the incident by its staff to pander to particular short-term political pressures.
If Martin is playing a political game by expressing support for something that he knows would be thrown out on First Amendment grounds but that he doesn't expect to have to back clearly and openly, it's a tactic that we think is understandable but deserving of contempt.
If he intends to try and devise clear rules that are harsher - as are the penalties currently being proposed with their ten-fold increase in the amounts that can be levied - then it is a matter of enacting them so as to remain within the US Constitution and the only sensible path is to withhold judgment until details become clear.
Our instincts however are with Sanders and we would hope that if push came to shove the Supreme Court would unequivocally throw out any extension of censorship to paid services as in breach of the First Amendment.
New York Times report:
2005-03-29: Looking at impending consolidation in the UK radio sector and particularly the formation of GCap Media from Capital Radio and GWR to form a group more than twice the size of its nearest commercial rival, the UK Times says the main problem for the group is that it will still be small - capitalized at around GBP 660 million (USD 1.25 billion) compared to USD 18.6 billion for Clear Channel - and is facing the might of the BBC.
Commercial radio in the UK says the report, "has long suffered from a miserly allocation of spectrum compared with the Beeb and, until recently, a regulatory system that balkanized the industry, preventing it from competing financially."
It notes that the BBC dominates radio listening with a share of around 54 per cent and that its top-rated station Radio 2 with a 13.3 million figure in the latest ratings reaches more than twice the weekly audience of 6.2 million for GWR's national franchise, Classic FM, although BBC classical station Radio 3 is well behind with only 2.1 million: The rest of the Capital and GWR empire it says is essentially local.
In regard to taking on the corporation it quotes Ralph Bernard, executive chairman-designate of GCap, as saying, "It's very clear to us that the BBC is the principal competitor for audiences in the UK and that they have had their own way for a very long time. We now have two of the biggest brands in commercial radio, Capital and Classic, and we need to work with our brands to take on the BBC."
Salvation for the group - and potentially for other commercial groups - suggests the report may come from digital radio where spectrum allocation puts commercial radio on par with the BBC and in which regard GCap has the asset of owning a national commercial multiplex.
Bernard, says the paper, hopes that 30% of households will have digital receivers by 2008 but the paper notes that even these are unlikely to have multiple digital receivers dotted round the house as is common with analogue receivers.
There's also the competition from other listening such as the iPod, although Bernard argues that this is "no more of a threat than a radio cassette player." The article responds that it is far easier to assemble favourite music on an iPod or MP3 player than on audio tape and thus the newer technology is far more likely to eat into listening time.
Bernard, however, sees some business opportunities in the new technology and the paper notes that GWR has been experimenting with "Hear it, Buy it, Burn it", a music download service announced last year (See RNW Mar 3, 2003) that has been running for the past ten months and is supported by a library of 300,000 tracks.
It is not clear, says the report exactly how well the service is doing, although the official line is that the concept is developing "according to plan" and that some people are using it as their "principal source of music downloading".
UK Times report:
2005-03-29: Entries have now opened for this year's Australian Commercial Radio Awards, the 17th year of the awards.
In all there are now 29 categories including a new Innovation Excellence Award, sponsored by Southern Cross Broadcasting, that recognizes excellence in innovation across all facets of radio including on and off air, sales, marketing, programming and management.
Judges will consider an individual or group project, which has demonstrated significant added value to a station or network through an innovative approach or project.
Entries for the awards have to be submitted by May 6 and the winners will be announced at a gala ceremony to be held at the Sydney Convention Centre on October 15.
Also to be announced at the ceremony are the names of those inducted into the 2005 Australian Radio Hall of Fame. This year's ceremony will also mark the 75th anniversary of industry body, Commercial Radio Australia (CRA):
Previous Southern Cross:
2005-03-29: ABC Daytime network again held on to its top rank in the Arbitron RADAR 84 (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) Radio Network Audience Report just released covering 47 networks - up one - in the period from January 8, 2004 to December 15, 2004; this time it gained listeners and took its AQH which had fallen over five ratings from 4.0 to 2.9 back up to 3.0.
Second placed Westwood CBS News Primetime Network lost listeners whilst in third place, up from fourth was Premiere Morn Drive Network, which pushed Jones MediaAmerica TWC Radio Network down one into fourth place.
In the top five places, ABC Daytime Network, still in the top slot, gained 312,000 listeners a week to end up with a weekly audience of 7.420 million, up from 7.108 million in the RADAR 83 survey with AQH up from 2.9 to 3.0
Second-ranked Westwood CBS News Primetime Network lost 118,000 listeners to reach 5.980 million and ended up with AQH down from 2.5 to 2.4.
Third ranked Premiere Morning Drive Network moved up one from fourth as it increased listening by 200,000 to 5.437 million although AQH remained the same at 2.2.
Down from third to fourth place was Jones MediaAmerica TWC Radio Network, which lost 182,000 listeners and AQH fell from 2.3 to 2.2.
Fifth ranked ABC Morning News Radio Network gained 62,000 listeners with AQH remaining 2.1.
Overall the percentage hearing at least one network advertisement was 76% of the 18 plus and 35 plus demographic, and 78% of the 18-49 and 25-54 groups.
Previous Disney/ABC, America:
Previous Jones MediaAmerica:
Previous RADAR ratings (RADAR 83):
Previous Premiere Networks:
Previous Westwood One:
2005-03-29: Takafumi Horie, president of Japanese internet company Livedoor, which is involved in a contested takeover battle for Nippon Broadcasting System (NBS), a member of the Fujisankei Media Group, on Monday cancelled a meeting he had been scheduled to hold with Softbank Investment (SBI) CEO Yoshitaka Kitao. It is not clear whether the meeting is to be rescheduled.
SBI last week "borrowed" just under 14% of Fuji TV's shares from NBS, which had been the largest shareholder in Fuji with a 22.5% stake when Horie launched his bid with an out of hours acquisition of 35% of NBS.
2005-03-28: We start our look at print comment on radio this week in South Florida with a report by the Sun-Sentinel's pop music writer Sean Piccoli on a practice common in the US but prohibited by regulators in much of the world - the format flip.
"Last month," writes Piccoli, "South Florida got flipped. Rock fans lost 94.9 Zeta while fans of Hispanic hip-hop gained the new Mega 94.9. Dance fans lost Party 93 as that station morphed into Zeta's would-be replacement, 93 Rock, and the musical chairs stopped there. Rock survived, Hispanic-urban arrived and dance was unplugged -- all in the space of three days."
"Listeners from Boca Raton to Kendall," he continued, "had no advance notice; they just tuned in and found new tenants in old haunts. Flipping is hardly novel or unexpected in this or any media market; the pursuit of audiences and the ad dollars they attract is what drives commercial radio. But trade professionals say that flips are happening more frequently today, across the country, as radio chains try to catch up with changes in population and in young people's tastes."
Something else is driving the flips according to the report - fear: "The shake-ups along the dial are taking place as the industry scrambles to keep listeners from tuning out," writes Piccoli, who notes a comment by Paragon Media Strategies researcher Larry Johnson that US commercial radio is experiencing 'unprecedented declines in time spent with radio' by the general population
And the demographic changes: Piccoli reports that the Mega 94.9 project started with some digging into U.S. census numbers that showed almost half of the 938,000 people aged 18-34 in Miami-Dade and Broward counties are Hispanic.
"That number jumped off the page," says Dave Ross, vice president of Clear Channel in South Florida.
Research also showed that almost two-thirds of that Hispanic 18-34 grouping speaks both Spanish and English at home, at work and among friends, a bilingual audience targeted directly by Mega.
Ross calls Mega a principled gamble that brings a wealth of new and previously unheard music to the market, and gives Miami-Fort Lauderdale a more culturally diverse FM dial.
"One of the axioms of radio is to find out what people are doing and reward them for doing that," says Rob Roberts, vice president of programming for Clear Channel in South Florida.
There's also the question of loyalty and Piccoli comments, "One question raised by the practice of flipping is whether it sends an unintended message. Radio wants loyal listeners, but flipping potentially says to them: Bond with this station at your own risk. If the ratings don't suffice, the music and DJs you enjoy will disappear."
One of the formats hit hardest is rock but new 93 Rock (WHDR), program director Phil Michaels-Trueba believes there is plenty of excitement yet to be found in rock music.
The move to rock by Cox Radio, bucked the industry trend away - it also marks the second flip at 93.1 since Cox bought what was then classical music station WTMI for USD 100 million and turned it into dance station WPYM, Party 93, in 2002.
"We saw an opportunity and we took it," Michaels-Trueba said in an e-mail. "We're proud to pick up and carry the rock torch in this market and we're going to do our best to create a radio station that rock listeners love and become passionate about."
After questions of format, some questions of fact starting in Los Angeles and a column by KFI-AM talk host John Ziegler in the Los Angeles Times' "Outside the Tent" space in which it allows critics to "spank" it for its shortcomings.
Ziegler took up the challenge with a column that the paper's Sunday Opinion Editor Bob Sipchen, who initially turned down the submission and introduces it with his own criticism including the comment, "As it happens, I heard Hahn [about an interview with Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn] and I don't buy Ziegler's contention that the mayor was "in tears." Hahn sounded like he had a cold and simply lost patience with the hosts' spoiled-brat browbeating. And the juror's side [Juror Roberto Emerick sat in the case of the trial of former "Baretta" actor Robert Blake for the murder of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley - he was acquitted] of what happened differs considerably from Ziegler's. But those weren't my reasons for rejecting the column. I spurned it because it reads more like a self-infatuated valentine to KFI than the sort of pointed, specific criticism of The Times that we demand in Outside the Tent."
And the self-infatuated Valentine? It starts by commenting, "As a radio talk-show host on KFI-AM (640), I am keenly aware that there is often a dramatic difference between the "facts" of a story and the "truth" of that tale. The Los Angeles Times is usually an outstanding source of facts, but when it comes to revealing the real truth of the big news events, talk radio, with all its own faults, often gives its consumers the type of revealing information that no other medium can or will. Two recent local episodes vividly illustrated this phenomenon."
Ziegler, after other self-promoting comments says of the two incidents referred to above: "Also on election day, Mayor Jim Hahn, in an act of pure political desperation, asked to appear on the show of my colleagues, 'John & Ken.' What resulted was extraordinary theatre that revealed much about the mayor and his troubled campaign."
"After a heated confrontation with host John Kobylt, Hahn got extremely emotional and appeared to be in tears as he abruptly ended the ill-advised interview and hung up the phone. No one who heard the show is likely to forget it, and it certainly revealed much about the psychological state of the mayor. Despite the truly amazing nature of this incident, The Times never wrote even one word about it."
And of the murder trial: "The article, which briefly mentions his rocky appearance on my show, portrays Emerick as simply a sincere juror who also just happens to be a musician who created a CD about the trial simply to release the tension of the circumstances by benignly expressing his feelings."
"Although it was mentioned in the article that commentators, including myself, had been very critical of the appearance of attempting to profit from jury service, the writer appears to naively buy into the notion that because Emerick is not selling his music, there is nothing sinister about what he is doing.
"Listeners to my radio interview with Emerick got a totally different perspective on what was really happening. Emerick admitted openly to me that he did not realize until after he created the CD that jurors could not profit from service until 90 days after a verdict and that he knew that, as a mechanic with the Los Angeles Unified School District, this was his lone chance to launch a music career."
"What is most outrageous about Emerick's music venture is that while his lyrics are consistent with almost any verdict, there is no doubt that they work best, and are far more potentially marketable, with a controversial "not guilty" verdict. Clearly this is the kind of conflict of interest that should have resulted in Emerick's removal from the jury.
"Perhaps just as important to the context of understanding the real Roberto Emerick was the abject lack of logic and reasoning behind his view on Blake's guilt or innocence (a position that changed dramatically when the microphones were turned off during commercials), as well as the palatable sense that listeners got that he just didn't care very much about whether the verdict was correct, at least not in comparison with his desire to self-promote."
Again there is a dispute about fact, with the paper noting, "Roberto Emerick disputes Ziegler's account. He says he never waffled on the verdict: "I've always maintained that I don't believe Blake pulled the trigger." He denies there was an off-air skirmish: "Anything he says happened off the air is more shtick to try to promote himself." And he says sales of his CD will go to a charity that supports victims of violence.
"Of Ziegler, he says: "He might as well have conducted the interview with himself, because he obviously had all the answers and he didn't care what I said."
To allow people to make up their own minds, the paper has posted a link to the station, which has posted audios of the interview. There are five in all, from 1-6 Mb MP3s, and in the first one the host introduces it by indicating the jury had to be "brain dead" to have come up with a conclusion that Blake had nothing to do with the death.
If nothing else it's a reasonable illustration of Los Angeles talk radio and we leave it up to those who have the time to listen to make up their own minds- in our view, by three minutes into the first audio there's a strong sense of hectoring by the host.
The contrast with a recent report by Tim Rutten, also in the Los Angeles Times, about a US National Public Radio (NPR) decision to end its 21-year connection with arts reporter David D'Arcy, shows a marked difference in its approach and that of KFI to controversy and "fairness" in reporting.
NPR in its "All Things Considered" programme broadcast a report on a long-running dispute over ownership of Egon Schiele's "Portrait of Wally" which was stolen from its Jewish owner, Viennese art dealer Lea Bondi, in 1939, subsequently passed into the collection of Austria's government-supported Leopold Foundation and was loaned to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) seven years ago. There Bondi's heirs recognized it and asserted ownership with the result that the painting is being held in U.S. government custody until a federal court can resolve the matter.
The issue in this case is of detail - detail that the KFI audio indicates wouldn't worry their host much - in this case an allegation by the Museum that the reporter had only asked it for comment about an article on the issue by the museum's lawyer and not about the case itself although D'Arcy has said he repeatedly sought comment about the general issue and the case.
NPR subsequently aired a correction saying the original report had failed to make it clear the painting was not in the museum's possession, had failed to report that the museum had said it had never taken a position about the ownership and "finally, NPR failed to give the museum an opportunity to answer allegations in our story about its motivations and actions."
An NPR spokesman who asked not to identified told the Times the reporter was fired not for the substance of his report but for failing to observe two of the network's reportorial guidelines- allegedly interviewing Lauder on one topic - the general issue of art seized by the Nazis - then used it in a piece about another specific issue, the Schiele case and making no direct effort to secure MOMA's response to what was termed "specific attacks on its integrity that he intended to broadcast in the piece NPR requires that the most strenuous efforts be made to do just that and he didn't do it."
NPR's action were defended by its ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin in a column Experts, Gender and Reporting on the Powerful that dealt with three topics, the use of experts and what background about them should be given to put comments into context, the case of a woman guard who was overpowered and where the report had led to criticisms that the guard's sex was irrelevant to the story, and the case of the Schiele painting.
Although the comments on the latter were criticized by the Los Angeles Times for not mentioning that the reporter had been fired and the editor involved suspended for a day, these actions could be held as very much subsidiary to Dvorkin's comments, which are directed towards the issue of pressure from the powerful about reports they don't like.
We did note, however, a discrepancy in the "facts" was reported in the two articles: The Times says MOMA has never taken a position about ownership of the painting whereas Dvorkin says it has taken the view "that the Austrian courts must decide the painting's legal owners, since the painting was in the United States only as part of a loan arrangement."
Again the links follow to enable those who want to make up their own minds.
Finally another column that in a sense could be said to be about provenance, this time from Paul Donovan in the UK Sunday Times. Headed "Charitable trust" it takes up the issue of various radio events to raise funds for charity and the "risk of things going awry."
Donovan refers to one specific case, a winning bid in the UK Radio Aid event to raise funds for tsunami victims. One prize, a tour round the Prime Minister's official residence, Number Ten Downing Street, and a cup of tea with PM Tony Blair was won with a bid of GBP 27,101 (Around USD 50.700) by "Mike Bullas, a Grimsby man who calls himself an "entrepreneur and business investor".
Bullas, however wasn't quite what the description implied: Donovan notes, "As any visitor to the Companies House website can see, he is disqualified as a director until 2011. His undertakings not to hold directorships or take any part in company management followed the winding-up of a nursing-home business that failed with debts of more than GBP1 million (USD 1.87 million) , and which he caused to trade while insolvent to the tune of GBP 402,026 (Around USD 752,000)."
Additional detail in the Donovan column indicates that Bullas is not trying to promote himself, that it won't be a media event, and he won't be allowed to take a camera into Downing Street with him, but as Donovan noted earlier of another prize-winner," How does James Herbert, for example, know that the individual who has paid to be written into his next horror novel is not a criminal or an extremist?"
And moving on to recommended listening we start with suggesting a listen to some of Ziegler's interview then stay with issues of news coverage with the first suggestion, last Friday's The Message on BBC Radio 4, a half-hour programme devoted to TV news and what it should and should not show.
As companion listening we'd suggest The Media Report on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National, which last Thursday looked amongst other things at the issue of the introduction of digital radio into Australia.
Then music and a note for those who want Easter listening that BBC Radio 3 last week aired Bach's St John Passion and St Matthew Passion in its Performance on Three slot - the first on Wednesday and the second on Friday: Both are available on the web site for seven days after the performance (links in the Programmes section).
Also from BBC Radio 3, for those interested in the instrument, we'd suggest the "Joy of Sax" three-part series that began on Saturday in the station's Jazz File slot: Last week's programme is on the site and next week's is at 17:00 GMT on Saturday.
Back to Easter and BBC Radio 4 on Friday aired "The Wickedest Man", a profile of Judas Iscariot. The title came from the description of Judas by Pope Leo I in the 5th century but others have pointed out since than that God must have chosen him for the task.
Then drama and the Drama on 3 slot on Sunday on BBC Radio 3 was taken by a production of Faustus, a reworking of the legend by David Mamet and featuring a cast that included Ed O'Neill, Ed Begley Jr, Ricky Jay - and two members of the Mamet family, his wife Rebecca Pidgeon and their daughter Clara.
Then drama, specifically drama of interest to the young, and we'd suggest three of last week's run of Afternoon Plays on BBC Radio 4 - Charlotte's Web by EB White, which ran in two parts on Tuesday and Wednesday and The Man, written and adapted by Raymond Briggs, from Friday.
Then for a whimsical look at England through the eyes of an American, we'd suggest [P.J.] O'Rourke Talks, which began on Sunday with Ties that Bind and continues next week with a second programme The Binds that Chafe (16:40 GMT).
For documentary we'd suggest Analysis from BBC Radio 4 - last week's, The Tiger or the Tank?, which is still on the site and concerned the issue of whether current economic practices are sustainable - and this weeks (Thursday, 19:30 GMT), which in "Going to the Blogs?" looks at the effect on politics of the internet and blogging.
And finally for a light-hearted end to the week, BBC Radio 4 on Friday (17:30 GMT) with a Saturday repeat has The Now Show and BBC Radio 2 on Saturday from 12:00 GMT to 13:00 GMT has The Day the Music Died followed by The Lee Mack Show
KFI - Ziegler interview MP3s:
Los Angeles Times - Rutten:
Los Angeles Times - Sipchen & Ziegler:
National Public Radio - Dvorkin:
South Florida Sun-Sentinel - Piccoli:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2005-03-28: According to the UK Independent, institutional investors at Chrysalis Group have warned the company off pursuing its interest in acquiring the Guardian Media Group's radio assets: The Guardian newspaper, owned by the same parent, has reported that it is not interested in a sale (See RNW Mar 26) but rumours still suggest that it would sell if the price were high enough.
The Independent says Chrysalis is thought to believe GMG radio is worth around GBP 110 million (USD 206 million) but shareholders believe this is an overvaluation and that Chrysalis risks overpaying for other radio assets it may target.
The paper notes that Chrysalis would need to issue new shares, or sell assets to help fund the acquisition and says institutional shareholders would be unlikely to support a share issue. Some shareholders, it adds, have suggested that it would make more sense for Chrysalis to sell its own radio assets, as valuations are so high.
Kingsley Wilson, an analyst with Investec, told the paper, "You could argue that there is a risk of Chrysalis overpaying for GMG's radio assets, but there is also a risk if Chrysalis does not do anything to gain critical mass. A deal may be expensive, but it may well be the best option for Chrysalis. Shareholders have to weigh up whether it's the lesser of two evils."
Schroders is Chrysalis's largest investor, with around 30%, followed by Chrysalis chairman Chris Wright with 26%
UK Independent report:
2005-03-28: Japanese internet company Livedoor has formally claimed that it has taken control of radio group Nippon Broadcasting System Inc. (NBS) saying that, based on the shareholders list from September 30 last year, it now has shares controlling 50.21% of voting rights: A new list is to be determined on Thursday and Livedoor sources said they were confident they would also have control based on this list according to Kyodo News.
The purchase of the radio group, a member of the Fujisankei Communications Group, was seen by many as a fist move in an attempt to bid for Fuji TV, another member of the group. The two companies have cross-holdings and when Livedoor made a surprise after-hours raid on the NBS shares in February the radio company was the single largest group in Fuji TV with a 22.5% share but since then NBS has "loaned" 353,704 Fuji TV shares to Softbank Investment Corporation (SBI), a subsidiary of the financial services and internet group Softbank Corporation, reducing the NBS influence and making SBI the largest holder in Fuji TV with nearly 14% of the votes (See RNW Mar 25).
SBI CEO Yoshitaka Kitao in an interview on Fuji TV has said he is confident any legal challenge by Livedoor to the move will fail in the courts, commenting, "There's a 99.9999 percent, you can put as many nines as you want, chance Livedoor won't win in a court action."
Kitao criticized the tactics of 32-years-old Livedoor founder and President Takafumi Horie in his bid for NBS saying, "You can get a way with a lot when you're young but you still have to follow proper etiquette and civility. It sounds old-fashioned but it's just common sense.''
Japan Today report:
2005-03-27: Last week was fairly quite for the regulators with no major developments and yet again there was nothing from Australia or Ireland and not a great deal elsewhere with no significant developments from the US: In Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), was involved in a run of routine radio-related announcements. In order of province they included:
*Approval of new English-language FM in Dryden to replace CKDR-AM and amendments to delete transmitters CKDR-1 Ignace, CKDR-2 Sioux Lookout, CKDR-3 Hudson, CKDR-4 Ear Falls, CKDR-5 Red Lake and CKDR-6 Atikokan and in their issue licences for CKDR-5 Red Lake as an AM originating station with CKDR-4 Ear Falls as a transmitter and CKDR-2 Sioux Lookout as an AM originating station with CKDR-1 Ignace, CKDR-3 Hudson and CKDR-6 Atikokan as transmitters.
The new AM originating stations in Red Lake and Sioux Lookout will each broadcast local programming split fed from the programming broadcast on the new FM station in Dryden.
*Approval of extension until March 25, 2006, of time limit for commencement of operation of new transmitter CIRA-FM-2, Trois-Rivières, for in CIRA-FM Montréal.
*Renewal of licence of CFOR-FM Maniwaki until 31 August 2011.
Short-term renewal until 31 August 2009 of the licence of CKYK-FM, Alma, and its transmitter CKYK-FM-1 Alma. The shorter tem renewal is related to a check in 2002 when the station was found to have broadcast only 48.4% of French language vocal musical selections although its licence requires 55%.
*Short-term renewal until 31 August 2009 of the licence of CKCN-FM Sept-Îles. The shorter tem renewal is related to a check in 2002 when the station was found to have broadcast only 62.8% of French language vocal musical selections although its licence requires 65%.
*Approval of amendment to licence of CBK-FM Regina, to add a 57,000 watts FM transmitter in Yorkton.
The Commission also issued a number of public notices including the following.
*Application to change the contours of CFSF-FM, Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, by increasing the effective radiated power from 50 watts to 1,350 watts and by increasing the antenna height. The proposed change would change the station from a low power unprotected service to a regular Class A FM station. The deadline for interventions or comments is April 26
*Application to change the contours of CJLF-FM, Barrie, Ontario, by increasing the effective radiated power from 1,800 watts to an average effective radiated power of 18,700 watts and also amend the conditions of its licence relating to Canadian talent development. The deadline for submission of interventions/comments is April 27.
In the UK, Ofcom was involved in consultations and publications rather than decisions with activities including publication of documents on its Draft Race Equality Scheme, and of its second half-yearly report covering the last six months of its work in competition and economic regulation.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-03-27: Air America Radio, which only last month named former record industry executive Danny Goldberg as CEO to replace Mark Walsh who left in April last year (See RNW Feb 25) has now named Premiere Radio Networks' EVP/Music Operations Gary Krantz as its President.
It will move current president John Sinton to a newly-created post of co-Chief Operating Officer in which role he will share duties with current COO Carl Ginsburg.
Krantz, who has worked in broadcasting for a quarter of a century, joins Air America on April 11.
Previous Air America (owned by Piquant):
Previous Premiere Networks:
2005-03-27: It's a case of two Jackson's today on US radio when the political and religious Rev Jesse Jackson plays host to Michael Jackson, whose last interview would seem to have not helped him in his current trial.
Chicago-based Jesse will interview the singer cum entertainer on his "Keep Hope Alive with Rev. Jesse Jackson" that originates from Clear Channel's WGRB-AM and is syndicated to 28 US markets as well as being streamed on the internet.
The show's executive producer Jesse Jackson's daughter Santita, was quoted by Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times as saying, "We want to give Michael a chance to give his side of the story. Our family goes back 40 years with Michael and his family. We've watched him grow and followed his journey from Gary [where Michael Jackson, the 7th of nine children, was born in 1958], to greatness."
The show airs at 08:00 to 09:00 EST (14:00 to 15:00 GMT) today.
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
Keep Hope Alive web site:
2005-03-26: Nashville WNSR-AM (ESPN 560) has filed a lawsuit against Cumulus, ABC Radio Networks and ESPN Radio alleging tortuous interference by it with the station's contract between ABC/ESPN in relation to the move of ESPN programming to Cumulus's WNFN-FM and WTN-FM that is due to start on Monday.
WSNR, which changed its name to ESPN 560 in spring last year has held Nashville rights to ESPN since 1997: It claims ABC/ESPN and Cumulus conspired to move ESPN from WNSR to the two Cumulus-owned stations (WTN and WNFN) and damage WNSR as a future competitor in violation of anti-trust laws.
It also says Cumulus is violating its trademark Sports Radio and using market power of its five Nashville-area stations, plus its advertising marketing agreement with WSM-AM, owned by Gaylord Entertainment Company, to damage WNSR through unfair marketing practices.
The law suit alleges that for nearly a year, ABC/ESPN planned to move the ESPN Radio Network to WNPL-FM 106.7 and WWTN-FM 99.7, despite its agreement with WNSR, and that the companies breached their contract with the AM radio station when the move was made..
WNSR vice president and general manager Ted Johnson told the Tennessean, "We were severely damaged by the actions of these two media giants (ABC/ESPN and Cumulus). 'Our losses could be in the millions of dollars. After several attempts to resolve the problem with ESPN we felt compelled to take a stand not only for ourselves, but for other independent stations.''
Cumulus Nashville General Manager Michael Dickey, who joined Cumulus when it acquired DBBC, LLC and its Nashville stations in 2001 and who is named in the suit along with Cumulus chairman, president, and CEO Lewis Dickey, told the paper he was unaware of the suit and therefore could not comment on it.
Previous Lewis Dickey:
Nashville Business Journal report:
2005-03-26: As if its problems with the now infamous tsunami song parody that led to it firing some of its morning crew and suspending others as well as paying USD 1 million to tsunami relief (See RNW Feb 3), and a subsequent shooting outside the station were not enough, Emmis's WQHT-FM (Hot 97) is now the subject of an investigation by the New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer along with the New York State Athletic Commission into the station's sponsorship of the "Smackfest" competition, where two participants take turns slapping each other in the face to settle a dispute.
Newsday reports that the investigation was started after six City Council members wrote to Spitzer complaining about the popular contest that has since been stopped and says investigators will examine whether the station staged the boxing-like event without the proper licensing or permits.
A spokesman for Spitzer's office said there was "a state law designed to protect people from potentially dangerous and demeaning competitions."
Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan termed the move "pure political opportunism" and added, "The Smackfest promotion has already been shut down, and we do not believe it violated the law in any way."
Hip hop activist Charles Fisher told the paper that while "Smackfest definitely was a huge mistake, I personally know the people at Emmis Communications and believe they will do all they can to rectify this matter."
2005-03-26: The UK Guardian, owned by the same parent as Guardian Media Group (GMG) Radio, reports that the parent group has now formally said that its radio business is not for sale.
The move contradicts an earlier report in the UK Sunday Telegraph that indicated that, although GMG had turned down a bid from Chrysalis for its radio operations, it ready to sell if the offer was right (See RNW Mar 21).
In a statement issued following a routine board meeting GMG chief executive Sir Robert Phillis said, "Following persistent media speculation in recent weeks, we wish to make it clear that GMG is committed to the long-term growth and development of its radio portfolio. It is our intention to apply for new radio licences as they become available and to bid for any appropriate assets that add value to our existing portfolio."
The paper notes that GMG's radio division reported an operating loss of GBP 2.1 million (currently USD 3.9 million) last year compared triple that a year earlier and outperformed the industry with a 60% increase in turnover. The company has insisted that it was not under financial pressure to sell after refinancing the debt incurred by the GBP 593 million (currently USD 1.1 billion then USD 965 million - See RNW Aug 7, 2003) deal to take control of Trader Media Group in 2003.
UK Guardian report:
2005-03-26: According to the New York Times, New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer who had been looking into the personal use by radio host Don Imus of a charity ranch in New Mexico established for ill children (See RNW Mar 25) has now closed the inquiry without any findings of impropriety.
The host had attacked the original article by the Wall Street Journal on his show: It said the law required that the Imuses reimburse the ranch for personal visits but the Imuses countered that they had not reimbursed the charity because they were not aware of the rules and said they spent their time at the ranch working.
On his show Imus called the reporter Robert Frank, a "punk," saying that he had lied and had refused to come to the ranch and that he had only interviewed him the day before the article ran but in a statement yesterday, the managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, Paul Steiger, said that the article was accurate and fair and that Frank had had many detailed discussions with Imus's representatives during the two months he worked on the article and also spoke twice with Imus at length the day before the article was published.
A spokesman for the attorney general's office said two developments triggered the examination: the charity had requested an extension to file tax data, which typically prompts an inquiry, and the office received an anonymous letter saying it ought to check into Imus's use of the ranch.
New York Times report:
2005-03-26: New owners Mapleton Communications, which already sells advertising for the station under a Joint Sales Agreement, is expected to keep the classical music format of KBOQ-FM, Carmel, California, that it is buying for an undisclosed amount from J&M Broadcasting according to the Monterey Herald.
The paper quotes J&M president Sherrie McCullough as saying no format changes are expected at the station, the only local classical music broadcaster, and added that Mapleton "has been our partner for a long time and they understand and will continue our pioneering community classical format I could not be more pleased."
Mapleton President Adam Nathanson in a news release called KBOQ, also known as K-Bach, a "terrific station" and that his company would "build on the legacy" that McCullough and her co-founder Stoddard Johnston created.
Mapleton, which was founded in 2001, proclaims its philosophy as to "be the local community-oriented radio operator who is dedicated to the old-fashioned way of providing value to our customers, serving the community with a wide variety of formats, and participating in every phase of community development."
It already owns five stations in the Monterey-Salinas market where in 2002 it completed its purchase of bought a five-station cluster from New Wave Communications along with the KBOQ JSA (See RNW Jan 19, 2002).
The current Mapleton stations in the market are all music format FMs - streaming pioneer AAA KPIG; Alternative KMBY; Classic rock KHIP; Hot AC KCDU; and Oldies KOTR/KTEE [Bought in April last year - See RNW Apr 20, 2004 and in 2001 -See RNW Dec 13, 2001].
KBOQ/K-Bach web site:
Monterey Herald report:
2005-03-25: According to the New York Daily News, Clear Channel is to stream concerts on the web sites of its stations from May starting with Stripped, it's first original online concert series.
The paper quoting unnamed sources says a number of artists have signed on for the concerts including Rob Thomas, the front man for rock band Matchbox 20, John Legend, Gavin DeGraw, and Jesse McCartney.
It says none will be paid for their appearances and the streams will be free: the benefits for the artists will be promotion of their recordings. The concerts will be shot live and the paper says Clear Channel is intending to attract one national and one local advertiser for each event and is said to be close to inking its first deals. The company, it adds, refused comment.
Behind the move, says the paper is a sluggish radio advertising market with growth of 2% to 3% expected this year to a total of USD 22 billion whereas internet advertising sales are expected to grow 30% to around USD 11 billion.
Clear Channel last year hired Evan Harrison, then Vice President and General Manager for AOL Music, to revamp its online activities and create what it termed a "Complementary Station Experience Featuring Exclusive, Custom Online Content" to boost its existing web site streams and the paper says it's banking on his efforts in combination with the advantage of having the radio stations to steer fans to its online events.
The paper notes that AOL music attracts around 20 million visitors a month and says that Harrison is "already playing hardball" and will no longer promote events from AOL and other music sites on its stations.
AOL's response said the paper was to say the move would be Clear Channel's loss.
RNW comment: In view of the flack Clear Channel has received for playing hardball with competing concert promoters and earlier this week saw a Chicago jury award USD 90 million in damages against it in a case brought by Jam Productions (See RNW Mar 23 Clear6) we would have thought it undiplomatic at least to take the view it has about competitors. More pertinently, in view of the clout the company has, our view is that it is abuse of its position to refuse to take advertisements from its competitors. In the interests of fairness and a level playing field, we can only wish failure on Clear Channel and maximum awards by juries in any future actions against it.
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Daily News report:
2005-03-25: UK Emap has raided the ranks of its competition for the second time this week and has appointed Steve Parkinson, marketing director of Chrysalis Radio and managing director of the group's London-based Heart 106.2, as its National Brand Director: It has also just appointed former Capital FM managing director Andrea Vidler as managing director of its Magic FM station (See RNW Mar 24).
Shaun Gregory, Emap Performance's MD of national radio brands said in a statement, "Emap's radio strategy is to harness unrivalled strong brands, distribution and content to deliver audience and revenue growth. "Steve's experience will be invaluable in helping us to deliver this whilst also further strengthening Emap's position as the number one in digital radio and growing our national radio brands."
Parkinson, who will report to Gregory and will sit on Emap's national radio executive board, commented, "It's time to get my teeth into a new set of brands which have real growth potential both nationally and in the fiercely competitive London market. I'm looking forward to joining Emap's talented radio team to build still further on recent successes."
Emap has also announced the appointment of Dee Ford to its Executive Board, as Group Managing Director of Radio. She joined Emap in 1994 as Managing Director of Rock FM in Preston and was then appointed Yorkshire Regional Managing Director before taking over responsibility for managing Emap's London and national radio brands in 1998. She has led Emap's radio business since January 2004.
Chief Executive Tom Moloney said of the appointment, "Dee's appointment to the Executive Board is a tribute to the progress she has made in the past 12 months, and emphasises the importance of radio to the Group, as well as the essential role of the Executive Board."
2005-03-25: US radio host Don Imus has said on his radio show that a Wall Street Journal report on costs incurred by his charity that takes sick children to his New Mexico ranch was a "hatchet job."
The paper, quoting filings from the charity said that it spent USD 2.6 million in 2003 and USD 2.7 million in 2002 to take 100 children to the ranch, far more than that spent by other children's charities such as Camp Starfish, which hosts more than 150 children on a budget of USD 360,000 and actor Paul Newman's charity, The Hole in the Wall Gang Fund, that hosts ten times as many children for a little over twice the amount spent by Imus.
It added that the charity is supposed to account for or be compensated for the personal use of the ranch by Imus and his wife, but hasn't done so.
Imus said that he and his wife work for the charity, both raising money and doing chores during the children's stay at the ranch, all without compensation.
"Why don't you do a survey about other foundations this size and see what they pay their chief executives? Most charities spend 50 cents to raise a dollar," he said. He also called "insane" the notion that he uses the ranch for private use, saying that when he takes vacations he goes elsewhere than the ranch.
RNW note: The Imus ranch has been termed a "scam" by Howard Stern but Smoking Gun web site, which posted details of returns for the ranch in the year to the end of 2001, then said it didn't think Stern would "find anything fishy in The Imus Ranch's latest financials."
Another report on the site last year concerning a lawsuit against the host by a former nanny (See RNW Dec 2) might however seem to indicate that the host had made private use of the ranch as the former nanny said that during her visits there she only saw staffers and members of Imus' family.
CNN Money report:
Smoking Gun on 2001 ranch filing:
Smoking Gun on 2004 nanny law suit:
2005-03-25: TV host Jerry Springer's radio show is to go national from April 1 under a deal with the Air America network that will see it initially air on around 45 of the network's affiliates.
The "Springer on the Radio" show began in January on WCKY-AM in Cincinnati and is now aired on other Clear Channel Radio stations in Cleveland, Detroit, Miami and San Antonio; Springer said the Air America deal will not affect his relationship with Clear Channel.
Springer told the Associated Press, "I said when I started the show that I am committed to making this radio program work, not only because I enjoy it, but because we need to hear progressive voices as well as conservative voices in our conversation today."
Springer, who was elected mayor of Cincinnati in 1977 and made an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination for governor of Ohio in 1982, ducked questions about running for office again, saying, "I am committed to making this (radio show) work now, but who knows down the road? I want to determine where I can have the greatest influence in the political dialogue of America. One option is running for office, but the argument can be made that I could do more good for the progressive cause on radio
Previous Air America (owned by Piquant LLC):
Previous Clear Channel:
San Francisco Chronicle/AP report:
2005-03-25: The battle over Japanese radio broadcaster Nippon Broadcasting System, which is the subject of a hostile bid by internet company Livedoor, has taken unexpected turn in relation to expected attempts by Livedoor to leverage the deal to gain influence over Fuji TV - in which NBS was the largest single shareholder with a 22.5% holding.
In a deal, said by those involved to be unrelated to the Livedoor feud with the Fujisankei Communications Group, Softbank Investment Corporation (SBI), a subsidiary of the financial services and internet group Softbank Corporation, has "borrowed" 353,704 Fuji TV shares held by Nippon Broadcasting System Inc. for five years.
The arrangement effectively cuts any NBS influence over Fuji TV and makes SBI the largest single investor in Fuji TV with a holding just under 14%. Cross-holdings between NBS and Fuji mean that the former has no voting rights in the TV company under Japanese regulations.
Last month NBS loaned shares in Fuji TV amounting to 8% of the company to Daiwa Securities SMBC.
The deal is widely regarded as a step to thwart any possible bid for Fuji TV by Livedoor and avoids possible lawsuits from shareholders if NBS had sold the shares. SBI CEO Yoshitaka Kitao commented at a news conference, "Are we a white knight? That might be the case in the end."
Kitao also said he had not consulted Softbank Corp. President Masayoshi Son about the deal but suggested that he expected full support from Son to keep the TV company out of the hands of Livedoor President Takafumi Horie, commenting, "Son is one of my comrades. We can understand each other using very few words."
A joint statement from SBI, Fuji TV and NBS said the three would seek to form an alliance combining SBI's know-how in the Internet business and content from Fuji TV and NBS, a deal very similar to that on offer from Horie.
Under the arrangement the three companies have agreed to set up a JPY 20 billion (USD 188 million) fund to foster venture companies in various content, media and broadband businesses. The fund will be managed by SBI Ventures K.K., a wholly owned SBI subsidiary.
Livedoor reacted by issuing a statement saying it would " continue to seek a friendly business alliance with NBS and Fuji TV" but the Softbank tie-up seems likely to stymie this approach.
RNW comment: As this fight goes on, it seems increasingly to us that Horie may have put one over Fuji in obtaining a major share of NBS in its original surprise raid but only won the first battle. When it comes to the big guns and stamina, we expect his opposition to win the war.
2005-03-25: A report in the Oklahoman says that former state senator Gene Stipe, whose sale of five stations in a USD 2.2 million deal is now being reviewed by the US Federal Communications Commission (See RNW Mar 9), started one of the stations KESC-FM, Wilburton - in 2002 using a college broadcast studio paid for with about USD 300,000 in state-appropriated dollars.
The FCC decision to review the sale of the station and four others in McAlester relates to his conviction for offences of perjury and obstructing a Federal Election Commission investigation.
The paper says Stipe's Little Dixie Radio Corporation obtained its FCC license for KESC in 2002 after working out a deal with Eastern Oklahoma State College that called for the college to build and equip the broadcast studio. Under the deal it says the college was to gain by having educational opportunities available to students interested in radio broadcasting and Stipe's company was to gain by not having to pay for the broadcasting equipment and studio, receiving some free student labour, and receiving the profits from the station's operation.
Mark Lauerman, the college's business manager at the time, said college officials were concerned about the propriety of the deal and he was "somewhat amazed" when the contract gained final approval, "but I was assuming the smell test was being done at the state level."
The contract was submitted to Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson's office for review and a spokesman for Edmondson's office, confirmed that an assistant attorney general examined the contract but said the assistant was not told Stipe was the owner of Little Dixie Radio and was not asked to look into the ethics or legality of a state lawmaker benefiting financially from appropriations the Legislature approved.
The paper also reports that the station's new owners, including state Sen. Richard Lerblance, who succeeded Stipe in office, have upset local residents by filing an FCC application to move the station to Okemah, which would leave Eastern Oklahoma State with a remodeled broadcast studio and USD 175,000 worth of equipment, but no license to broadcast.
Lerblance told the paper the application to move the station to Okemah was strictly a business decision and the Oklahoman notes that according to the filing the move would mean the station would reach 251,593 people instead of 134,922 people.
He said that even if the station moves, he and the other new owners are committed to providing service to Wilburton through their McAlester stations.
RNW comment: The more that comes out about the honesty and general ethical standards of Oklahoma politicians in this case the more we tend away from our original feeling that the balance of fairness in this case edged towards allowing the sales to stand despite the fact that Stipe's record should have been taken into account when the original approval was given. In this case, the judgment of Solomon would probably be best suited by looking at the history of each station separately rather than considering the case as a whole thus allowing the option of revoking some but not all the licences.
In this case the ethics of the manner in which the licence was obtained and subsequent application to move the station by the new owners mean we wouldn't feel overly concerned if they lost the licence: At the very least the move application should be rejected.
2005-03-25: Former Chicago WGN-AM VP and General Manager Mark Krieschen, who resigned from the station last month (See RNW Feb 9) has been hired by Cox Radio as vice president and general manager of KHPT-FM and KLDE-FM, in Houston.
Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times says Krieschen was hired by Cox Radio now executive vice president and chief operating officer Marc Morgan who commented, "To find someone of Mark's background, track record and talent is a huge bonus. We're ecstatic to have him join us."
Krieschen said he was "very excited" about his new job and added, "Over the past several weeks, I've seen the dedication that Cox has for its listeners, advertisers and employees," he said. "It's an honour to be working for a company with strong values, a great culture and one that's committed to radio."
2005-03-24: A new study "Internet and Multimedia 2005: The On-Demand Media Consumer" just released by Arbitron Inc. and Edison Media Research indicates considerable changes in US media habits with video-on-demand, online news, and Internet radio listening as well as substantial ownership of portable MP3 devices - 27% of 12-17 years old Americans own one - all posing potential threats to terrestrial media although so far this has not led to a major drop in radio listening.
The study says regarding this that those who own portable MP3 devices, subscribe to satellite radio or listened to Internet radio spend 2 hours 33 minutes a day listening to traditional radio, only 15 minutes less than the average.
It also shows awareness of satellite radio has increased greatly with awareness of XM Satellite Radio up since 2002, from 17% to 50% and that of Sirius up even more, from 8% to 54 %.
In the longer term, however, according to Bridge Ratings president Dave Van Dyke terrestrial radio is facing a much more significant threat from Internet radio than from satellite.
Current projections it says indicate satellite subscription increasing to 35 million by 2010 with XM retaining a "senior" share but internet streaming, already the preferred source for supplemental audio amongst Americans, will retain its position and continue its growth as broadband take-up increases and have even more potential with the growth of wireless technologies.
"With Internet radio already the preferred medium over satellite radio, traditional radio should continue to perfect and refine its product, keep an eye on the alternatives and not get distracted," writes van Dyke. "It just appears that the 'wolf' isn't banging on our door yet; he's still a few miles away."
He concludes, "Wireless Internet radio represents the biggest challenge - not satellite radio. The Internet radio solution will be aggregated in a portable device, much like an iPod or MP3 player with docking ports in your car and in every room in your home so it can be heard through car and home entertainment audio components."
2005-03-24: Nippon Broadcasting System (NBS) President Akinobu Kamebuchi says his company is to start talks with internet company Livedoor, which is making a hostile takeover bid for NBS, following a ruling by the Tokyo High Court upholding an injunction granted to Livedoor by the Tokyo District court to prevent NBS issuing new stock to dilute the holding Livedoor has built up in the company.
NBS says it has now abandoned its plan, announced in February, to issue options to Fuji TV - in which NBS has a 22.5% stake - allowing it to buy up to 47.2 million shares in NBS, thus cutting the Livedoor holding from approaching 50% to less than 20%.
Livedoor will now send a representative to NBS's shareholder meeting in June as the largest single shareholder in the company.
The Mainichi Shimbun notes that despite this Fuji TV's shareholding is enough to allow it to veto decisions at the meeting.
Livedoor has said that if it succeeds in gaining more than half the shares in BS it intends to propose at the meeting that more than half the present board be replaced with Livedoor executives.
2005-03-24: The Australian commercial radio industry has filed a submission to the Federal Government arguing that copyright fees should remain capped at 1% of gross revenues.
The submission follows a review of the cap on the fees, paid to the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) on behalf of record companies and performers, that was announced by the Attorney General's Department; in its submission the PPCA termed the cap "the most unbalanced limitation applying in the [Copyright] Act " and called for its repeal "so that PPCA broadcasters are able to negotiate a realistic payment rate based on existing market conditions and the relevant circumstances."
The PPCA also argues that rules on ephemeral provisions" that allow broadcasters 12 month period to maintain copies of sound recordings which would otherwise be infringements are excessively generous and in stark contrast to ephemeral periods provided in other countries such as periods of up to one month. It suggests a change to only allow broadcasters to make a copy of a sound recording in association with other matter provided they obtain a licence from the copyright owner as agreed or as set by the Copyright Tribunal.
On their part, the broadcasters note that the current market rate of 0.4 per cent of gross industry revenue, which has been negotiated between industry body Commercial Radio Australia (CRA and PPCA over many years, is well below one per cent and also says were there no cap the PPCA would seek a massive agreement when the current agreement expires at the end of June this year.
"Because of past dealings with PPCA, we know that PPCA would seek an increase to 2-3% of industry revenue," it says in its submission. "It would also continue to seek massive fee increases at every review opportunity. "
The broadcasters also note that between 1999 and 2003 Australian revenue growth of 21.7% was outpaced by the growth in expenses at 26.1% and all copyright fees at 24.6% and that in 2002 to 2003 more than a quarter of commercial radio stations were unprofitable.
These were mainly in regional areas and the broadcasters say that increased copyright costs could force many out of business.
Another argument in favour of retention of the cap, it adds is the possibility that increased costs resulting from a change could discourage investment in a move to digital radio, which will cost around AUD 400 million (USD 310 million).
The submission also notes that just over 3 ½ years ago, the Australian Government rejected a recommendation by the Intellectual Property and Competition Review Committee (IPCRC) to repeal the cap on the basis amongst other things that the cap provides certainty for all relevant broadcast sectors and ensures that the viability of rural and regional broadcasters is not impinged.
The broadcasters also argue that requirements that Australian commercial stations broadcast a minimum quota of work by Australian artists, most of which attract PPCA fees, amounts to a forced levy on the industry and say the one percent cap is a trade-off for the Australian content quotas.
If the one percent cap is repealed or amended, the commercial radio industry says it will seek removal of those Australian content quotas and adds that, since the price cap was acknowledges as "an economically sound and desirable form of monopoly regulation" when PPCA was given its authorization to collect copyright fees a change would also in its view require PPCA's authorization to be revoked.
RNW note: As well as the PPCA, Australian stations also have to make payments to the Australasian Performing Right Association Limited (APRA), which collects and distributes Australian and New Zealand copyright royalties for music creators and publishers from around the world.
Australian Radio industry submission(3.25MB 47 page PDF)
2005-03-24: US National Public Radio (NPR) is taking a leaf out of CBS Radio's 1950's book next month with a new series based on the "This I Believe" CBS programme segments hosted by Edward R. Murrow.
The original series was comprised of some 1,000 essays from a wide range of people ranging from cab drivers and school pupils to US Presidents Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover, Franklin D Roosevelt's widow Eleanor Roosevelt, baseball player Jackie Robinson and scientist Albert Einstein and had an audience of nearly 40 million a week.
The NPR series of the same name is hosted by Jay Allison and amongst those who have agreed to contribute essays are former US President Bill Clinton and his wife Sen Hillary Clinton; Republican politicians Newt Gingrich and Senator John McCain; former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali and authors and actors including Drew Barrymore, Robert Redford, and John Updike.
It is being produced in collaboration with Atlantic Public Media and This I Believe Inc. and is funded by Farmers Insurance Group of Companies, and grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and director Steven Spielberg's Righteous Persons Foundation.
The first of the series airs on April 4 on Morning Edition and All Things Considered and each essay will run three minutes compared to the longer durations of the original series that ran up to around four-and-a-quarter minutes.
Executive producer Dan Gediman says of the new series, "The goal of This I Believe is not to persuade Americans to agree on the same beliefs but to encourage Americans to pursue the much more difficult task of developing respect for beliefs different from their own."
In connection with the series, NPR has posted on its website streaming audio together with transcripts of a number of essays from the original series, including contributions from Jackie Robinson, President Truman, and Author and activist Helen Keller.
NPR Web site - This I Believe page (Links to audio and transcripts):
2005-03-24: UK Emap has hired former Capital FM managing director Andria Vidler as managing director of its Magic FM station; Vidler, a former BBC marketing executive, left Capital nearly two years ago during a re-organization (See RNW Jul 29, 2003) after some two-and-a-half years in the post in which she also oversaw Capital FM and the Capital Gold Network.
At the time of her departure Capital had more than double Magic's share of the audience - 8.9% against 4.4% -- but Magic is now snapping on the heels of Capital with a 6.1% share in the most recent ratings compared to Capital's 6.2%.
In her new role Vidler will also be in charge of the Magic Network, which has various digital licences as well as stations in Northern England.
2005-03-24: Both US satellite radio companies have announced further automobile tie-ups.
Sirius is to be available as an option on vehicles from two British automakers now owned by Ford: they will be a factory-installed option in the 2006 Model Year Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, and a port-option in the 2006 Jaguar X-Type, X-Type Wagon, S-Type, and XJ Sedan with a dealer-installed option available in the 2005 Jaguar models from May this year.
XM has tied up with Hyundai Motor America, which is to offer XM as standard factory-installed equipment in all its models from 2006: it will be the first automaker to make the equipment standard over its whole range.
XM has also announced that Yamaha is to manufacture four new receivers and several new home-theatre-in-a- box (HTIB) systems with XM "Connect-and-Play," technology.
2005-03-23: A Chicago jury has awarded city-based Jam Productions USD 90 million for lost profits and in damages after finding Clear Channel deliberately interfered with the former's contracts and business relations regarding a Supercross contract.
It also awarded USD 170,000 against AMA (the American Motorcyclist Association) Pro Racing, which had signed a letter of intent to award the contract to Jam in November 2001: Under the proposed agreement with Paradama Productions, the AMA's motorcycle-racing division, Jam would have been the Supercross promoter from 2003 to 2009.
The award against Clear Channel was made up of USD 17 million for lost profits - Jam had claimed its h would have made USD 31 million in profits (See RNW Mar 19) - and USD 73 million in punitive damages.
Jam had alleged that Clear Channel acted illegally to attempt to win back the contract during a 90-day exclusivity period between Jam and Paradama.
Clear Channel is to appeal the decision and in its statement highlighted the jury's verdict that it had not breached anti-trust laws and its executive vice president and chief legal officer Andrew Levin commented, "This jury's decision that Clear Channel did not violate antitrust laws sends a powerful signal to those who seek to wrongfully accuse us in the future."
"We are, of course, disappointed," he added, "that the jury agreed with Jam Sports' other claim and failed to see this case for what it actually was -- a disgruntled competitor that could not succeed in the marketplace and so took its case to a courtroom. We intend to vigorously appeal that decision and expect the appellate court to agree that Clear Channel's actions were within the law."
Jerry Mickelson, co-owner of Jam Productions said, "I don't mind competing with anybody, but when I compete, I don't take a bat to someone's knees to try to cripple them I'm glad I was able to follow this lawsuit through. It was important that someone did it."
Commenting on the implications of the case, Michael J. Kump, an antitrust lawyer at Greenberg Glusker, a law firm in Los Angeles, as quoted in the New York Times as saying the jury, "wanted to send a strong message to Clear Channel and to the marketplace that the bigger party must play fair and not use its power to ruin the business of a smaller entity."
During the five-week trial e-mails and handwritten notes indicated that Clear Channel executives had been putting pressures on behind the scenes to retain the company's Supercross business: Although the case is the first to go to a jury it is not the first in which competitors have accused Clear Channel of abusing its dominant position: Last year it settled a lawsuit brought against it by Denver-based concert promoter Nobody in Particular Presents alleging restraint of trade and monopolistic practices although details of the settlement were not made public (See RNW Jun 4, 2004).
The New York Times also reports that the Jam allegations and other allegations in relation to Clear Channel's concert promotions are also being examined by the US Justice Department and said Jam's lead lawyer Jeffrey Singer had told it he had received a "civil investigative demand" from the Justice Department seeking documents from the Jam matter and had turned over tens of thousands of pages of documents.
A spokeswoman for the Justice Department, it added, declined to say whether it had asked for documents and Levin said he was not worried about scrutiny from federal authorities.
"The facts underlying this case do not give rise to an antitrust violation," he said. "The facts weren't seen that way by a jury, so it's even more unlikely that the Justice Department would see it that way."
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Times report:
2005-03-23: Takafumi Horie, the president of Japanese internet company Livedoor, which is involved in a contested bid for radio company Nippon Broadcasting System (NBS) - and is persistently rumoured to have acquired more than half the company's votes - has told a Japanese TV programme that he intends to replace more than half its board of directors.
"I can't wait to manage the company,'' Horie said. "I plan to fill more than 50 percent of the board of directors of Nippon Broadcasting with people I choose.''
He was more reticent about whether he planned to become president of the company saying that depended on other directors.
Livedoor's bid is being strongly opposed by the Fujisankei keiretsu to which NBS and Fuji TV, in which NBS is the largest shareholder, both belong, and is widely seen as part of a move to bid for Fuji TV, possibly to be made using NBS as collateral to raise funds for the bid.
In various moves that it has been making to fend off the bid, NBS has threatened to sell its shares in the profitable music and video software firm Pony Canyon Inc. to Fuji TV, thus reducing its value and the Fujisankei Communications Group has also indicated it may absorb NBS employees elsewhere in the group, again effectively reducing the value of NBS.
Commenting on such possible moves, Hori said, "It would be better to sort this out amicably rather than resorting to a situation where nobody profits.''
On the Japanese stock market, Livedoor shares rose amid heavier than usual trading in the stock and speculation that Fuji TV could be building up a share in the company to influence the battle - under Japanese regulations, if it acquired 25% or more this would cancel any voting rights Livedoor has in Fuji TV. In addition Fuji has said it may sell new shares to a value of 50 billion yen (USD 476 million) during the next two years to help protect itself from a possible Livedoor takeover attempt.
Asahi Shimbun report:
2005-03-23: Sirius Satellite Radio has announced a USD 250 million offering of Senior Notes due in 2015, part of the proceeds of which - around USD 63 million - will be used to redeem all of its outstanding 15% Senior Secured Discount Notes due 2007 and 141/2% Senior Secured Notes due 2009.
The balance will be used to pay the expenses of the offering and for general corporate purposes.
Sirius says that before this offering it had funding to carry it through to cash flow break-even, which is expected in 2007.
2005-03-23: Arbitron says that the RADAR 84 US network ratings release due out on Monday will have a sample size of more than 80,000 diary keepers, completing its phased increase in sample size.
Initial findings show radio reaching 95% of 18 plus Americans in households with an income of USD 75,000 or more during the average week: The figures also show 95% of college graduates listening during a week compared to 92% of those who did not go to college. 82% says Arbitron listened while in their case and 25% whilst at work.
In terms of when listening takes place, the highest fraction - 78% of those 12 plus - listened on weekdays between 06:00 and 10:00: This slipped back to 71% until 15:00 then went up again to 77% in the 15:00 to 19:00 slot after which it plunged to 48%. At weekends three quarters listened at some time.
In demographic terms, radio reached 93% of the 12-27 and 18-24 groups then went up to 96% of those in the 25-34, 35-44, and 45-49 groups before slipping back to 95% of those 50-54 and 94% of those 55-64 group dropping further to 87% of those 65 plus.
Previous RADAR (RADAR 83):
2005-03-22: The BBC has announced details of planned job cuts of around a sixth of its staff that it says by March 2008 will yield GBP 221 million (USD 419 million) a year in saving although unions, which are vigorously opposing the cuts, say the figures do not add up. Together with other cuts of 1.730 jobs announced earlier in the month (See RNW Mar 11) the Corporation says savings will total GBP 355 million (USD 673 million) a year that will be re-invested in programmes.
In all 2050 jobs are to go including 424 announced in December 2004 after Director General Mark Thompson first outlined his plans (See RNW Dec 8, 2004): this is considerably more than was reported in leaks at the end of last week (See RNW Mar 10) and the BBC says overall there will be a 19% reduction in the BBC's UK public service workforce - 3,780 posts - through redundancy, natural staff turnover and outsourcing.
They are split over all areas of the corporation, with the numbers in the latest round in divisional terms (in descending order):
Nations and Regions - 735 posts (13%). Savings GBP 54.4 million (USD 103.2 million).
Factual & Learning - 424 posts close (21%). Savings GBP 22.9 million (USD 43.4 million).
BBC News - 420 posts (12%). Savings GBP 34.4 million (USD 65.2 million).
Radio & Music - 150 posts (15%). Savings GBP 9.4 million (USD 17.8 million)
Drama, Entertainment and CBBC - 150 posts (10%). Savings GBP 45.2 million (USD 85.7 million).
BBC Sport - 66 posts (13%) Savings GBP 9.9 million (USD 18.8 million)
New Media Central - 58 posts (18%). Savings GBP 7.7 million (USD 33.6 million).
TV - 47 posts (18%). Savings GBP 37 million (USD 70.2 million)/
BBC Director-General Mark Thompson told staff, "This is all money we plan to spend on programmes and content, both to improve the services we deliver to audiences right now and to build strong BBC services in the future. All divisions are now finding ways of achieving these savings through genuine improvements rather than crude cuts."
He added of the scale, "We are going through the toughest period any of us can remember. It's a difficult and painful process but necessary. We need to free up money to start investing in our digital future, to end our current Charter in December 2006 on budget and to show we are serious about providing value for money."
The changes, he said, would involve the BBC over the next few months in revisiting its technology strategy, simpler processes, more prioritization and rewarding people for excellent leadership.
The three unions at the BBC BECTU, NUJ, and Amicus repeated their pledge to fight against compulsory redundancies, and questioned whether the BBC will be able to fulfil promises being made about conversion of the UK TV system to digital technology, with expanded services, if cuts of this scale were implemented.
BECTU official Luke Crawley commented, "This is the worst day in the BBC's history, I can't see how the BBC will deliver all Thompson's promises about new services after ditching so many staff, and life for those who survive is going to be miserable. We're not against an efficient, productive, BBC, but many of Thompson's proposals are going to make it worse, not better, and that's what we'll be fighting against."
National Union of Journalists general secretary Jeremy Dear said they didn't believe it was "possible for 80% of the staff to do 100% of the work, while still maintaining the standards and quality that the BBC is renowned for...Last week we were told that it would be "back room" staff - so what is the BBC's excuse today?"
... "It is inevitable that quality and standards will suffer."
Dear said the Corporation had a duty to consult staff but appeared to have made its mind up and said the union would fight any compulsory redundancies, adding, "We will ask that they halt the cuts, re-do their sums as we don't believe they add up, and work with us to find other ways to make savings You have to have the staff, otherwise the programmes either won't get made or they won't be up to the standard."
RNW comment: Without considerable detail, it is impossible to make a sound judgment on the effects of these cuts and the savings that will actually be achieved but at a glance it seems very difficult to make them add up.
Since a significant number of senior jobs are to go, the Corporation could also presumably make significant savings by trimming salaries and expenses of senior management- say a bit more - 25% or so -- than the overall savings since there would obviously still be people wanting the jobs.
Thompson would presumably not mind at least half his salary going into an escrow account and being disbursed only if the cuts achieve what he promises and otherwise going into programmes! Well it would be a pleasant change to the usual hypocritical guff from many in senior management if this were the case!
2005-03-22: Entercom has announced an agreement to buy three FMs in the Greenville/Spartanburg in South Carolina from Barnstable Broadcast Group for USD 45 million in cash but will divest itself of two of its existing stations to remain within Federal Communications Commission regulatory limits.
Being acquired are WROQ-FM (Rock 101), WTPT-FM (New Rock 93.3 The Planet) and WGVC-FM (Oldies 106.3). Barnstable will continue to operate the stations until FCC approval and closing, which is expected in the third quarter of the year.
Entercom already owns seven stations in the market and is to divest Contemporary Christian and Country simulcast stations WOLI-FM and WOLT-FM and keep WFBC-FM, WSPA-FM, WSPA-AM, WORD-AM and WYRD-AM.
President and CEO David J. Field said Entercom was "very pleased to acquire these legendary rock stations that provide a perfect compliment to our existing stations."
"Our enhanced station line-up," he added, "will enable us to enhance the quality of our service to our listeners, advertisers and the entire Upstate community."
Last week Entercom announced that its board had approved a third stock buyback programme allowing the purchase of up to USD 100 million of its common stock. It has already spent USD 200 million on a repurchase of 5.5 million shares.
In Australia, Austereo has also joined the ranks of companies buying back their shares: it is to buy back around 27 million shares, 6.6% of its issued capital; based on its current share price this will cost around AUD 45.7 million (USD 12.3 million).
Austereo says the purchase will involve an interest cost - related either to interest that cash used for the purchase would have earned or to be paid on bank borrowing to fund it - of up to AUD 2 million (USD 1.57 million).
Village Roadshow, which owns just fewer than 62% of Austereo, has not said whether it will take part in the buyback.
It adds that it does not expect any material adverse effects because of the buy-back and reiterated guidance given in February of full year 2005 EBIT in the range of AUD 64 -68 million (USD 50-53 million).
In other US radio news, a 10K filing of Sirius's annual report shows that it is in negotiations with chairman and former CEO Joseph P. Clayton under which it expects him to remain an employee until the end of June this year, to pay him USD 1.05 million in severance pay in June and also pay him a bonus in February 2006 for his services during 2005.
In addition it is to accelerate the vesting of restricted stock units held by Mr. Clayton on November 17, 2004 to January 2006, and replace the provisions in his stock option agreements that terminate the options ninety days after the end of his employment with a provision that will terminate the options three years after he ceases to be chairman.
It also approved a number of new executive base salaries including USD 540,750 each for Entertainment and Sports President Scott A. Greenstein and Sales and Operations President James E. Meyer on top of which each will USD 400,000 in bonuses for 2004, paid one-half in cash and one-half in the form of restricted stock units.
2005-03-22: In an attempt to dampen further speculative reports about its interest in Guardian Media Group (GMG) UK Chrysalis Group has issued a statement noting "recent speculation" and going on to say it "confirms that following preliminary discussions, the Group is considering making a formal offer for the radio assets of Guardian Media Group."
It adds, "There can be no certainty that a transaction will be forthcoming In line with stated strategy, Chrysalis Group continues to review acquisition opportunities in the radio sector which would be complementary to Chrysalis' existing radio business and which could provide an opportunity to create additional long term shareholder value."
"If appropriate, a further announcement will be made in due course," it concludes.
The UK Guardian, owned by the same parent as GMG, in its report on the statement quoted GMG Chief Executive Bob Phillis, responded immediately by saying the group had no strategic reason to sell its radio interests and adding, "Unless and until we have received an offer, we have not nothing to consider GMG has no need to sell any of its assets. We really don't. We are financially sound."
UK Guardian report:
2005-03-22: According to the Irish Independent, Scottish Radio Holdings-owned Irish national station Today FM made an operating pre-tax profit of Euros 3.6 million (USD 4.7 million) profit in 2004, wiping out its retained losses and giving it an accumulated balance sheet profit of Euros 1.5 million (USD 2 million).
Turnover was up 11% on a year earlier to Euros 13.7 million (USD 18 million) and chief executive Willie O'Reilly commented, "These financial statements are a further example of the success that is Today FM and bode well for the continued growth and development of the station."
The paper notes that SRH gets nearly a third of its revenue and profit from the island of Ireland where its holdings also include Downtown Radio in Belfast and a number of newspapers. It is also understood to have reached agreement to purchase Highland Radio in Donegal.
Irish Independent report:
2005-03-22: BBC broadcaster John Ebdon, host of the Radio 4 Archive Hour programme for 26 years, has died aged 81 after suffering from cancer for some time.
Ebdon, who was born in Brussels, the son of an army officer, and educated in Switzerland and at public school in England before going to university in London and then to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
He was working for the London Planetarium where he became the narrator in 1960 - and in 1968 its director - when he was asked to compile a programme of snippets from the BBC Sound Archives, adding his own commentary. The Archive feature began in 1962 and Ebdon also presented Nonsense at Noon, on the archives of the Home Service, from 1965 to 1966.
2005-03-21: In a week that saw another US station - KCBS, Los Angeles (See RNW Mar 19) switch to the Jack FM " We play what we want" format we again saw articles that to us indicated a rather facile terrestrial radio response to threats from new competitors.
In Kansas City Susquehanna's KCJK-FM illustrated this well with, as a report from Sarah McBride of the Wall Street Journal that we saw in the Kansas City Star, noted, a web site "picture of picture of an iPod and the taunt: 'Guess you won't be needing this thing anymore, huh?'"
The article itself didn't take the idea further but to us it symbolizes a response from terrestrial radio that at best misunderstands the potential from competitors or worst thinks that a public relations or marketing slogan will make reality go away.
Consider the detail - the station according the article had previously "let computer scheduling programs pick the songs from a library of 300-400 titles, with the same 30-40 songs playing most of the time" and now has "more than 1,200 songs on the playlist" with most "played only once every few days, rather than several times a day."
A no-brainer there to us that the i-Pod or other MP3 players that can potentially work from a list of thousands of songs and in conjunction with a suitable podcast service could ring the changes much more than any Jack station -and also potentially tailor it more to desired genres and personal preferences - could offer much more choice albeit carrying charges to subscribe to the service.
So what does Jack offer that the competition doesn't?
"Program director Mike O'Reilly and his assistants pick the music and the order in which they are played," says the article to which we'd respond that they'll need to be pretty darned good at selecting.
But then there's the other competition that also has humans making selections, of which the article comments, "Satellite radio services like Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. are beginning to blossom, offering higher-quality sound, a dearth of commercials and far deeper playlists than most broadcasters. Internet radio stations are siphoning off listeners by aiming at small, devoted niches."
It quotes Lee Abrams, XM's head of programming and a former consultant who pioneered audience testing and playlists as saying, "The opportunity created for XM wouldn't have been there 15 years ago, because FM wasn't too bad . [Now] research, discipline and all that have gotten out of control."
Its not just in music that terrestrial radio is facing strong competition in the US - the satellite services are providing some serious competition for sport as well as noted by Angelo Bruscas in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
The headline "Billions at stake in battle over sports on satellite radio" says it concisely and the article notes that Sirius has already committed itself to around USD 800 million of spending on sports with XM spending USD 650 million on Major League Baseball on top of its other spending, particularly on college sports.
The two companies are betting heavily on sports fans and April Horace, a Denver-based emerging technologies analyst for Janco Partners Inc. says it's a "necessity" for them, adding of the sums paid, "What's a lot of money? To me, the NFL is exorbitantly expensive on all media," she said. "But people in America seem to have an insatiable drive; they don't seem to get sick of sports, and they seem to continuously be willing to pay for sports."
So what can terrestrial do that the competitors can't? If it's not a matter of being commercially oriented, Portland, Oregon, non-commercial station KBOO-FM seems to have some of the answers according to Su-Jin Yim in The Oregonian
"This tiny, non-commercial radio station in a sky-blue building in Southeast Portland exists," says the report, "to cater to nearly everyone that the mainstream media tend to miss. On any given day, volunteer hosts mix up a perfectly Portland concoction of punk music, African American Muslim talk, one-time-only live studio performances and astrology-tinged commentary."
"today, nearly 40 years after it started as a classical music station, KBOO confronts a myriad of competitors, from Oregon Public Broadcasting to hip-hop station 95.5 FM. To fight a slight dip in membership -- its all-time high is 6,600 -- the station is ramping up efforts to attract new fans among teenagers, Native Americans, Spanish speakers and others."
And the programming, "Twenty-four hours at KBOO reveals what potential listeners will find at Portland's non-commercial community radio station: the bizarre, the political and, in the dead of night, even the ambitious."
The answers however, are decidedly limited and are never going to make the conglomerates agenda. As the article notes, "A non-mainstream station will never get mainstream dollars, making each year a triumphant affirmation of a community's devotion. If an eclectic community station can survive anywhere, it should be in Portland, KBOO's supporters believe. KBOO doesn't have the resources to conduct one of those fancy listener surveys. It counts on the community to tell it when it's time for a show to go and another to be born. "
So no easy answers in the US, it would seem. And what about elsewhere? Well whatever may be its faults, the licence-fee funding of the BBC has produced a wide range of radio and as a lead in to our suggested listening we pick up an oddball programme scheduled for broadcast at 22:40 GMT next Saturday in Between the Ears -Pliny's Naturalis Historia.
Paul Donovan in the UK Sunday Times built his Radio Waves column around this, writing of it as, "20 minutes with all the speech in Latin - extracts from Pliny's Natural History, from dolphins and frogs to elephants, vultures, owls and cuckoos. The only translation for listeners will be specially composed and appropriately timed music (wet fingers on glass to accompany the description of whales, an Indian banjo for the crabs, and so on), juxtaposed with animal recordings from the BBC's Natural History unit."
"There will be no English in the programme at all: for that, and more information about the author, who died observing the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD, you need to visit the website of the weekly series Between the Ears. As far as I can tell, this is, apart from language lessons, the first national radio programme based on speech that contains not a word of English. It is a tribute to Radio 3's imagination and the persistence of Kate McAll, its producer. When she first proposed it, she got a rejection note back from her bosses that read: "Wonderful, mad, expensive. No."
So on to suggested listening and for anyone who has the hours to spend, Saturday evening's BBC Radio 3 on its own has a good selection -18:00 in Jazz File the first of a three-part The Joy of Sax
Series in which Courtney Pine explores the history of the saxophone; 18:30 Live from the Met. featuring Pagliacci with n the interval Conductors' Round Table in which James Conlon and Donald Runnicles join Henry Fogel to share their experiences of life on the conductor's podium; 21:55 The Verb, an edition with new poetry from John Burnside and a commissioned parable from acclaimed Pakistani novelist Kamlia Shamsie and then the aforementioned Between the Ears.
The Sunday evening line-up is also worth a long listening session commencing in the Performance on 3 slot at 18:30 with Easter at Kings, a concert of Bach's music recorded in the Chapel of King's College, Cambridge then at 20:10 in Drama on 3 the British Premiere of David Mamet's new play Faustus followed at 21:30 with the Sunday Feature - Maroon Rebels in which Robert Beckford investigates the history of the Maroon rebel slaves in Jamaica who fought and won their freedom against the British in the 18th century.
Also worth a listen was last Sunday's Drama on 3, an adaptation by Mamet of his Glengarry Glen Ross with a cast including Alfred Molina, Stacy Keach and Hector Elizondo.
After drama, documentary and from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Background Briefing last Sunday we'd suggest The First Weapon of Mass Destruction, the story of the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima: The programme was originally produced by Michele Ernsting for Radio Netherlands. We'd also suggest the previous week's edition, Will Biomedicine Transform Society? In which Professor Nicholas Rose from the London School of Economics expresses some well-founded scepticism in view of the records of the big drug companies.
Also worth a listen from BBC Radio 4 at 11:00 GMT on Friday is The Wickedest Man in which art historian Janet Robson traces the way the image of Judas has been exploited and manipulated down the centuries and asks whether he has been unfairly maligned.
Finally comedy and skits for which we'd suggest a combination of BBC Radio 4 with The Now Show on Friday at 18:30 GMT and Radio 2 on Saturday with The Day the Music Died at 13:00 followed at 13:30 and The Lee Mack Show: Last week's editions of all three are on the web site until then.
Kansas City Star - McBride:
Oregonian - Yim:
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Bruscas:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2005-03-21: Fleshing out the report in the UK Guardian that its parent had rejected an offer from Chrysalis for Guardian Media Group's radio assets (See RNW Mar 19), the UK Sunday Telegraph says the bid was of more than GBP 115 million (USD 221 million) - GBP 5 million (USD 9.6 million) more than the Guardian had reported- and GMG is expecting further bids and is ready to sell if the price is right.
It quotes GMG chairman Paul Myners as saying it had received a number of offers but refusing to say who they came from: "We have received, over recent months, a number of expressions of interest in either buying or combining our radio assets, but none of these offers have reflected the true value we see in our radio portfolio," he said.
2005-03-21: As part of its fight against Internet company Livedoor, which now has nearly 50% of the voting shares in Nippon Broadcasting System (NBS) , the radio company in the Fujisankei Communications Group (FCG) keiretsu, Fujisankei media is considering offering jobs to NBS employees should they wish to leave it according to Japan Today.
Livedoor, which began its attempt to take control of NBS by acquiring a 35% holding in a surprise after-hours raid, is thought by many to be likely to be preparing to target Fuji TV, another member of the Fujisankei group that has cross shareholdings with NBS. NBS is the largest single shareholder in Fuji TV with a 22.5% holding and most of its employees have said they wish to stay with Fujisankei. Fuji TV responded to the Livedoor threat by increasing its shareholding in NBS and now has around 40% of voting rights, enough to allow it to veto some changes.
The Livedoor bid has pitted 32-years-old entrepreneur Takafumi Horie against Japan's old guard, who have in the main closed ranks against him, and is seen as being a significant factor in a decision by the Japanese Cabinet last week to delay by a year the introduction of a measure that would ease restrictions on foreign involvement in takeovers of Japanese companies.
The measure is part of a bill to set new guidelines for corporate behaviour that is expected to become law during the current Diet (Japanese parliament) session and the delay was introduced because of an increase in hostile takeover bids like that of Livedoor.
Japan Today report:
2005-03-21: Former Capital FM breakfast co-host Emma Forbes - she quit the station in November 2003 following the appointment of Johnny Vaughan to succeed Chris Tarrant as breakfast host - is to return to radio with a series of weekend morning shows for SMG-owned Virgin radio starting in mid-April.
In a release from her management company, she says he new show will be "pacy, fun with a few surprises thrown in. I will be getting the nation up at the weekend and sticking a smile on your face even if you're off to see the in-laws."
Virgin Radio Programme Director Paul Jackson said, "Emma is a seasoned broadcaster who has a wealth of experience on live TV and radio. She has an engaging warm personality which our listeners will love, she is sure to add a bit of spice to everyone's weekend."
2005-03-20: The main regulatory news this week for once did not relate primarily to commercial stations but to the development of community stations in the US, where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), whose new chairman is to be Kevin J. Martin (See RNW Mar 17), has frozen the issue of construction permits for FM translator stations and is also asking for comment on whether LPFM should have priority (See RNW Mar 19): Elsewhere was fairly quiet with routine activity in Canada and the UK but no radio decisions announced in Australia or Ireland.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), in a quiet week regarding radio, renewed the licence for CHUM's English-language radio network to broadcast the Ottawa Senators National Hockey League Games and approved a licence change in Alberta where transmitter CJOK-FM-1 Tar Island was moved from the licence of CJOK-FM, Fort McMurray, to that of CKYX-FM, Fort McMurray.
The Commission also issued notice of a public hearing in May that will consider various items with a deadline for submission of comments or interventions of April 21.
Radio items on the agenda in order of province were:
*Application for a 250 watts English-language FM Type B community station in Hanover.
*Application by Eternacom Inc. for an 800 watts Christian music service English-language FM commercial specialty station in North Bay. Associated with this is an amendment to the licence is a request, if successful, to delete Eternacom's 33 watts transmitter CJTK-FM-1 North Bay that rebroadcasts programming of CJTK-FM Sudbury.
*Application for a contemporary country music 10,000 watts English-language FM commercial FM in North Bay.
*Application to convert CJMD-AM, Chibougamau, to FM.
*Application for a licence for a 1,400 watts French-language FM Type B community radio station in Louiseville together with a 250 watts transmitter at Saint-Alexis-des-Monts.
*Application for a 36 watts English-language commercial Christian music specialty FM at Blucher.
In the UK, Ofcom has published its reasons for the awards earlier this month of the new Belfast and Cornwall commercial FM licences (See RNW Mar 19); it also released its latest complaints bulletin, upholding one complaint against radio (See RNW Mar 15).
In the US, as noted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is to have Kevin J. Martin as its new chairman and has moved to take low-power FM forward.
It also announced that it is proposing a USD 6,000 penalty on a Montana FM and a USD 5,000 one on a Minnesota FM (See RNW Mar 18) and refused to reconsider its refusal to allow Birach Broadcasting Corporation additional time to construct an AM in Florida (See RNW Mar 16).
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-03-20: Eschewing the imaginative but potentially risky, UK Capital Radio and GWR have announced that they propose to name the GBP 711 million (USD 1.36 billion) merged group formed from the two companies GCap Media plc.
Capital shareholders are to be asked to approve the name at an extraordinary meeting to be held at a date yet to be announced [RNW note: GWR has so far said nothing about it shareholders but their name seems to be gaining precedence] although it is expected to be within the next six weeks or so since the combined group expects to start operating in May.
The companies did not hire an external branding or image company but went for in-house development at Capital Radio after seeking suggestions from staff of both companies.
Commenting on the proposed name, Ralph Bernard, Executive Chairman of GWR, said, "The name GCap Media retains elements of both the Capital Radio and GWR brands and reflects the important contribution both businesses will make to the Merged Group. We look forward to completing the transaction and establishing GCap Media as the leading commercial radio group in the UK."
"This is a pivotal time for commercial radio as advances in digital technology open up new opportunities and GCap Media will have greater scale and financial resources to take full advantage," he added.
2005-03-20: The Washington State Senate will on Monday honour non-commercial music station KEXP-FM with a resolution that amongst other things notes its combination of programming and knowledgeable hosts together.
Senate Republican Leader Bill Finkbeiner commented, "Seattle has a world-renowned reputation as a trendsetter in both music and technology -- and KEXP plays a huge role in that scene" and Democrat Senator Ken Jacobsen added, "As far as I'm concerned KEXP is the best. For once I have Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and Green Party constituents who agree with me on something. KEXP brings us all together."
KEXP Executive Director Tom Mara said the honour was "imply thrilling" and continued, "I'm glad our staff, volunteers and donors will witness this honour on Monday. After twenty years of connecting artists to their first audiences, broadcasting music based on its merit regardless of commercial success, supporting the local artist and upholding the role of the music DJ, this honour does wonders to inspire us for another twenty years."
2005-03-19: The Chicago Federal Court hearing the case being brought against Clear Channel and the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) by Jam Productions, which claims that Clear Channel abused its powers to prevent it from concluding a deal with the AMA over supercross dirt-track motorcycle racing has heard Jam accuse its opponent of trampling the law on the way to cutting Jam out of a deal that would have given it profits of USD 31 million.
The court was shown an e-mail from Charlie Mancuso, president of Clear Channel Entertainment-Motor Sports, suggesting that the response to its losing its bid to promote the sport at stadiums across the US: "Get the on-air talent to start taking about how the AMA and Jam are fucking the sport of supercross."
Jam says that it had a letter of intent giving it 90-days of exclusive negotiating rights to agree a deal but Clear Channel had made a counter-offer during this period and eventually took the deal.
Jam attorney Jeffrey Singer said, "In this case, Clear Channel got caught. They took a tire iron to their competition."
Jam also says Clear Channel also threatened stadium owners with withdrawal of other events if they staged supercross events for Jam spots and Singer told the jury the case was "about an anticompetitive, ruthless company that possessed monopoly power to control people, places and things."
Clear Channel's attorneys said the company had done nothing wrong and its attorney Chris Gair said stadium owners hadn't been threatened. "We have been accused of something that is complete nonsense," he said, adding "Clear Channel can't threaten anyone with the [loss of] concert business, because there aren't that many stadium concerts anymore."
He admitted Clear Channel officials did send the motorcycle group a proposal during the 90-day period, but said it specified that the association shouldn't act on it if doing so would be illegal. Gair said Jam's agreement fell apart because of it had tried to change contract details and lost the confidence of the AMA, commenting, "These guys are not entitled ... to one thin dime."
The case is now before the jury.
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Tribune report:
2005-03-19: The BBC is to cut around 1,500 jobs in news and other programmes over the next three years according to leaked reports concerning plans approved by its governors on Thursday: The cuts are on top of 1,730 announced earlier this month (See RNW Mar 11) but the Corporation is refusing comment until it has made an official statement on Monday. The leaked report says the Corporation expects to make savings of around GBP 200 million (USD 383 million) from "content and output".
A statement issued by the Corporation said the governors had "considered management's recommendations for efficiency savings in the content and output divisions, alongside plans for implementation of the overall value-for-money strategy including the professional services we endorsed in February" and had "approved management's value-for-money plans."
The plans involved a 15% saving in the BBC's budgets and according to the latest leak the new job cuts affect all BBC departments including news, drama, entertainment, factual and learning, new media, the nations and regions and the BBC's TV and radio broadcasting operations although some departments will be hit harder: Expected to escape the most severe losses are the sport and children's departments that are due to move to Manchester as part of plans to make the corporation less centred on London.
In all some 2000 jobs are to go to Manchester and the Manchester Evening News quoted an unnamed "BBC Insider" in the city as saying, "These cuts will obviously affect staff in Manchester, but it is not expected to be that many."
Unions have indicated they will fight the cuts and the National Union of Journalists general secretary Jeremy Dear said in a statement, "If the figures being circulated are accurate it represents a devastating blow to BBC news and programme making."
"How does the BBC believe it can maintain high standards and quality in the face of such massive self-inflicted cuts?" he asked. "You can't sack thousands and then ask hard working staff to take on huge amounts of extra work and still expect to maintain high standards."
"We've never been opposed to change - but we will resist changes which mean the axing of thousands of jobs, extra stress and pressure on those who remain and a poorer service for viewers and listeners."
BBC News report on cuts:
Manchester Evening News report:
2005-03-19: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has imposed a six-month freeze on grants of new FM translator construction permits following allegations that three Idaho individuals made USD 800,000 through selling permits acquired through dummy corporations (See RNW Mar 12) and that their actions were to the detriment of possible future low-power FM (LPFM) stations.
The Commission is also seeking comment on a number of issues relating to LPFM including whether LPFM applications should be transferable and, if so, under what conditions; whether to triple to 90 days the deadline for submission of a time-sharing proposal when there are mutually exclusive LPFM applications, whether to permanently restrict ownership of LPFM stations to local entities and whether to permanently prohibit multiple ownership of LPFM stations.
On the technical side, the FCC is asking whether the LPFM construction period should be doubled to 36 months, whether and if so under what conditions LPFM applications should be "treated as having 'primary' status with respect to prior-filed FM translator applications and existing FM translator stations (including how to handle the large volume of pending FM translator applications)" and whether an LPFM station should be allowed to continue operating when interference is predicted "within the 70 dBu contour of a subsequently-authorized second- or third- adjacent channel full service FM station."
The Commission also adopted an order whose provisions included immediate relief to stations seeking to relocate their transmitter sites by expanding the definition of 'minor change' to 5.6 kilometres for LP100 licensees and 3.2 kilometres for LP10 licensees and allowing its Media Bureau authority to waive the LPFM construction period rule to provide an additional 18 months to LPFM permittees to complete station construction.
The Democrat Commissioners each issued statements welcoming the move, with Jonathan S. Adelstein saying it would "provide immediate relief to dozens of stations that need additional time to complete construction or effect ownership changes" but also noting that the Commission was currently prohibited from addressing "most significant obstacles to further development of LPFM" because of the third-adjacent channel protection required for full-power FM stations, even though studies had concluded that this was unnecessary. Adelstein said he hoped Congress would "act soon on Senator McCain's bill to remove this unnecessary requirement, allowing LPFM to develop more and provide new voices to an even greater segment of the population, without causing harmful interference to existing broadcasters."
His fellow commissioner Michael J. Copps said LPFM's increased "localism and diversity in our media" and added, "They are already helping in significant ways to meet the needs of under-represented communities. They are benefiting local talent by providing more outlets for airplay."
The FCC action was welcomed by the Media Access Project (MAP), which wants LPFM applications to be given priority over those for translators.
Noting that the third-adjacent channel restriction brought in after lobbying by the National Association of Broadcasters had cut the number of channels available for LPFM from several thousand to only a few hundred, it says that if the FCC grants the thousands of pending applications for translators - at the moment the assignment is made on a first-come, first-served basis - there would be no space for new LPFMs.
"If it's a choice between a local LPFM providing local programming and a translator bringing in a signal from hundreds of miles away, the local programming should win," said Harold Feld, a lawyer from MAP.
MAP also noted that the announcement did not affect its request for an investigation into the allegations of the acquisition of and trading in translator construction permits. Attorneys for the companies involved have asked the FCC to dismiss the request, which MAP says remains pending.
2005-03-19: UK media regulator Ofcom has now released its reasons for the awards earlier this month of the new Belfast and Cornwall commercial FM licences to Ulster Television and Atlantic FM respectively (See RNW Mar 8).
In Belfast, it says it had indicated it would place particular emphasis on broadening choice and the U105 bid, targeting a 45 plus audience, met the needs of an underserved segment of the population and would also benefit from the financial strength and demonstrable local radio expertise of UTV.
It said it recognised that U105 was proposing to include a greater proportion of speech than is currently required of any of the three existing local commercial services, that its wide mix of older popular music would be likely to have broad appeal and that the commitment to feature Irish artists throughout the schedule as well as the promise of specialist programming would enhance the ability of the service to cater for local tastes and interests and to broaden choice.
In Cornwall, it said, it had said it would place particular emphasis on the ability to maintain the promised service throughout the life of the licence and noted that Atlantic FM benefited from the financial backing of Tindle Radio, which has a proven track record in successfully operating comparatively small radio stations in rural areas with a strong local identity, and will also be able to provide local knowledge and contacts through its co-owned newspaper titles in the area.
It added that this "local knowledge was fully demonstrated in Atlantic FM's business plan, which displayed an extensive understanding of the local marketplace within which the station will operate, and made a convincing case based on the size of the market and the nature of the existing radio services in the area that the new service should not be confined by a narrow demographic target audience."
Ofcom has also released its latest review of stations involved in a change of control, noting that in the case of Saga Radio's management buy-out that this would not be prejudicial to the "Character of Service" and "Quality and Range of Programmes" of the three stations involved - in the East Midlands, West Midlands and Glasgow.
2005-03-19: The US has lost yet another rock station with the demise of Infinity's Classic rock KCBS-FM, Los Angeles (Arrow 93.1) to an adult hits format "93.1 Jack FM".
The Arrow web site now redirects to a "playing what we want" Jack FM page.
KCBS was the first US station to move to the former Arrow "Rock and Roll Oldies" format nearly 12 years ago.
2005-03-19: UK Chrysalis group is considering de-merging its radio business to finance a possible takeover bid for a rival according to a report in the UK Guardian that adds that analysts believe the radio stations owned by Guardian Media Group (GMG), owned by the same parent as the paper, are the most likely target.
It adds that Chrysalis is thought to have made a GBP 110 million (USD 212 million) bid earlier this year that was rejected on the basis that it was too low.
The paper says pressure on Chrysalis to do a radio deal has increased since Schroders, the fund manager, built up a 26.5% stake, and says Schroders believes the group's constituent assets are undervalued.
A de-merger, it says, would split Chrysalis into two companies and allow it to raise more funds than is possible if it keeps its three-legged structure of radio, music and book publishing. It says a split would create a publishing business worth around GBP 170 million (USD 327 million) and a radio one valued at GBP 250m to 300 million (USD 450 to 577 million) by house broker Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein.
UK Guardian report:
2005-03-18: Australian commercial radio leaders are meeting with politicians including government ministers over four days in the federal capital, Canberra, to discuss the introduction of digital radio into the country.
In all industry leaders representing more than 250 radio stations are taking part including Australian Radio Network (ARN) CEO Bob Longwell, Austereo chairman Peter Harvie, DMG chairman and CEO Paul Thompson, Macquarie Radio Network CEO Angela Clark and Southern Cross Broadcasting managing director Tony Bell.
Ministers involved include Prime Minister John Howard, Minister for Communications Helen Coonan, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, Health Minister Tony Abbott and Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane; 2GB breakfast host Alan Jones and Australian Radio Network personality Amanda Keller hosted a special presentation on digital radio in Parliament House on Wednesday evening.
Australian commercial radio broadcasters say they view digital radio as a long term investment and are prepared to spend an estimated AUD 400 million (USD 317 million) to build a digital network, roll out digital services nationally and drive consumer uptake of the new technology.
Joan Warner, chief executive of industry body Commercial Radio Australia, commented, "This is about demonstrating how important digital broadcasting is to the future of the industry. Analogue broadcasting has served the industry well for 80 years, but unless we move forward rapidly to digital broadcasting the industry's future will be under threat from new and emerging technologies which offer a range of content and interactive options."
"The entire commercial radio industry is united in its view. There is no disagreement between AM and FM broadcasters nor between regional and metropolitan broadcasters," she added. "Digital radio allows the industry to provide better audio quality, a range of exciting new services and the innovation that listeners expect. With the green light from Government, all commercial radio stations could be simulcasting in digital as early as 2007 in metropolitan areas, and in regional areas around Australia soon after that."
She was backed by Harvie, who said, "The future is digital and radio welcomes the incredible opportunity and benefits of the technology. Our industry will seize the advantage of the enhanced quality, relevance and technological value add of digital."
Thompson added, "Radio has demonstrated an extraordinary capacity, over many decades, to reinvent itself to meet fundamental changes in society and the changing needs of its audience. Programming and technology have always underpinned this reinvention and the digital revolution uses both to allow the creation of the next era of radio. The commercial radio industry has the expertise and commitment to use digital technology to create amazing radio for all Australians."
"We just need the Government to open the door to our future," he added.
Bell said a move to digital was essential, commenting, "There is no other entertainment and information medium that people spend more time with than radio. If it doesn't commence its migration to a digital platform in the very near future, the services it provides will be fragmented by other providers and the great medium of radio will be seriously marginalized."
Longwell backed him up, saying, "Much like the opening of the FM band changed Australian radio forever, we at ARN believe that if properly managed, digital radio will revolutionize the way Australians listen to and enjoy commercial radio in the next decade or so. We would urge the Federal Government to consider digital radio as a communications priority."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Previous Southern Cross:
2005-03-18: Semi-judicial Indian body the Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), which has been hearing a petition from the country's private FM broadcasters including Radio Today Broadcasting, which owns Red FM stations; Music Broadcast Pvt Ltd., which owns Radio City stations, and Entertainment Network India Ltd (ENIL), which owns Radio Mirchi stations, has said the government should make its position on the industry's future clear by April 26.
A three-judge panel of the Tribunal has been hearing the companies claim that there had been inordinate delay by the Indian government in responding to recommendations by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that it move from a revenue-share model from its current licence fee system.
Private broadcasters in India claim that the licence fees are far too high and have refused to pay, instead taking the case to the tribunal.
Indian commercial radio could also face competition from satellite radio although probably only for wealthier listeners as current provider WorldSpace charges an annual INR 1,200 (USD 27) for its service and its receivers cost from INR 3,160 (USD 75) to INR 10,000 (USD 230)
WorldSpace provides around 40 audio channels, most of them subscription, and has around 50,000 customers in India, of whom around 80% take subscription channels with the others only to receive its free-to-air channels.
WorldSpace is in negotiation with the Indian government over the provision of weather reports to fishermen and has announced that it is to launch in Gujerat later this year.
Mohana Dhobl, Manager, communications, WorldSpace India, told the Indian Business Standard it would officially launch serviced in Gujerat and also increase the number of channels to 50 by the end of this year.
Previous Indian Radio:
Previous Music Broadcasting India:
Indian Standard report on WorldSpace:
IndianTV.com on TDSAT:
2005-03-18: Alison Hindell, currently Senior Producer Radio Drama Wales, has been appointed BBC Head of Radio Drama.
Hindell, who joined the corporation from the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1988, has directed more than 200 radio plays ranging from international co-productions to domestic soaps, winning awards including a Sony Gold, Writers' Guild Award, the BT Award, the Richard Imison Award and a Gold Medal at the New York Radio Festival.
Her work included the recent new production of Under Milk Wood for BBC Radio 4 using Richard Burton's 1963 performance as First Voice and building a new production around it.
2005-03-18: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing a USD 6,000 penalty on a Montana FM for broadcasting a phone call without informing first the other party and of USD 5,000 on a Minnesota FM for broadcasting station identification announcements that did not contain the required call sign followed by the station's community of license.
The USD 6,000 penalty is proposed on KOFI, Inc., licensee of KZMN-FM, Kalispell, Montana, following a call from a woman to on-air personality Paul Gray, who was taking phoned-in donations for a local food bank drive called "Save the Turkey" live and over the air.
The woman had called the station's general number after seeing a being suspended from a second floor window of the station's building and expressed to a co-worker her concern that this action was inhumane and was transferred to Gray who told her the hanging turkey was intended to promote the station's food bank drive, adding that she should quit complaining and listen to the station.
The company, which has since fired Gray, admitted that the woman had not been told the call was to be aired live and also found it had been recorded and re-broadcast.
The FCC proposed a base level penalty of USD 4,000 for the original offence plus an additional USD 2,000 for the re-broadcasting.
In Minnesota, Leighton Enterprises Inc., licensee of KBOT-FM, Pelican Rapids, said due to an inadvertent programming error, with the exception of a three-hour window of live programming each day, all of its station identification announcements were deficient from September 22 until December 7, 2004, when Leighton corrected its station identification announcement to include the required call letters and the community of license.
The Commission noted that by Leighton's admission, the violations occurred 21 times per day over a 10-week period and did not terminate until December 7, 2004, after Leighton received the Enforcement Bureau's Letter of Inquiry and said that it proposed to increase base forfeiture amount of USD 1,000 to a total of USD 5,000.
2005-03-18: Quebec morning radio host Jeff Fillion, whose comments were a prime reason for a decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) not to renew the licence of Genex Communications' CHOI-FM (See RNW Jul 14, 2004), is reported to have quit the station.
Earlier this week Fillion had announced that he would leave on April 1, citing as his reason the pressure from the licence decision, which was appealed by Genex and is to be heard in the Canadian Federal Court in May, and a defamation lawsuit filed by a TV weathercaster Sophie Chiasson. She is claiming damages of CAD 425,000 (USD 354,000) and rejected an offer of CAD 30,000 (USD 25,999) before the case went to court.
2005-03-17: Republican Federal Communications Commissioner Kevin J. Martin is to replace Michael K Powell as the Commission's chairman following his designation for the post by President Bush: As he is already a commissioner no confirmation hearings are required for his elevation although they will be for a new commissioner.
Martin, a 38-year old lawyer, was an advisor to former FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth and subsequently served on the Bush-Cheney Transition Team and was Deputy General Counsel for the Bush campaign
He has been a commissioner since May 2001 and was reported to have differed with outgoing chairman Powell on issues of deregulation issues and the relaxation of media ownership limits.
Commenting on his naming, Martin said he felt deeply honoured and added, "I look forward to working with the Administration, Congress, my colleagues, and the FCC's talented staff to ensure that American consumers continue to enjoy the benefits of the best communications system in the world."
Statements from Powell and his fellow commissioners congratulated him on the appointment with Powell commenting that Martin's "wide knowledge of telecommunication policy issues and insight into the rapidly changing nature of communications technology will serve the agency well" and the others saying they looked forward to working with him. [RNW note: If rumours are correct his fellow Republican Kathleen Q. Abernathy is to step down fairly soon, leaving two Republican vacancies for the post of commissioner].
The appointment was also welcomed by US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO Edward O. Fritts who said in a statement, "Kevin Martin is the right person at the right time to lead the FCC. Kevin has a passion for public service and a deep understanding and appreciation for the value of local broadcasting. We salute President Bush for this superb choice, and we look forward to working with Chairman Martin and his colleagues."
Welcomes also came from a number of telecommunications organizations, all of whom, like NAB would find it preferable to be in the good books of a new chairman; Of those expressing their satisfaction, the market-oriented Progress and Freedom Foundation think tank, was the most direct in terms of what it wanted from a new chairman.
Its president Ray Gifford said the potential for "legacy" regulation to creep into new platforms was real and continued, "Martin will face tremendous pressure to expand regulation but any such action would stifle innovation and harm consumers. He must continue the agenda of his predecessor, Michael Powell, and press for intermodal competition and the debut of new goods and services free of regulatory burdens."
Its senior fellow and director of communications policy studies Randolph May added, "First and foremost, it will be important for Martin to demonstrate an appreciation of the way technological developments and new competitive marketplace realities undermine the rationale for continued economic regulation of the telecom industry."
The message from the Foundation's Senior Fellow Adam Thierer, director of the Center for the Study of Digital Property, was not as fulsome: "It's imperative that the FCC not fall into the trap of embracing widespread suppression of free speech in the name of combating indecency," he said. "As a commissioner Kevin Martin was at times sympathetic with this movement, but it is my hope that as chairman he will recognize the constitutional limits placed on the agency and respect the ability of the American people to monitor their own media choices, as President Bush did in reminding people of the TV's off button."
2005-03-17: Viacom has announced that it is considering a split into separate trading companies and says that Chairman and CEO Sumner M Redstone has been exploring the matter with its board with further details expected to be announced in the second quarter of this year.
In a statement, Redstone comments, "Viacom has an outstanding stable of assets with leadership positions and excellent future prospects and I have for several months been considering various alternatives to maximize our business opportunities in a way that would best serve our shareholders. It is clear that, despite our success in operating our businesses for maximum return, Viacom's businesses have inherently different growth characteristics and investment attributes that appeal to different types of investors. Furthermore, it has also become clear that this important distinction is likely to continue to limit Viacom's ability to receive full value for its assets and its prospects in the investment community."
"We believe that a separation of our businesses into distinct and strong operating entities would allow us to optimise our capital structure and create unique investments that are more appealing to investors with different objectives. Separately, these new publicly-traded entities could each pursue strategic paths that would maximize their long-term potential."
"The separation could highlight high-growth businesses, such as our MTV Networks, which would be operated by Tom Freston, and could give us added flexibility to pursue internal growth and to enhance these operations through the creation of an attractive high-multiple currency that could be used for accretive acquisitions. Additionally, we believe the separation is likely to allow us to deliver greater value to our shareholders through a company operated by Les Moonves that would combine our leading CBS broadcast television businesses with our growing outdoor business and our high free cash flow operations, such as radio. This group of assets would also have the potential to participate in a program of stock buybacks and increased dividends."
"The transaction would further the logical and orderly succession process that we put in place and would allow Viacom and its shareholders to take full advantage of the skills and experience of our deep management. The transaction should also enable us to retain the best people for each business and would provide incentives for the creation of shareholder value that are more closely tied to the businesses they run."
RNW comment: Should this plan go ahead, it would ease competition between Reston and Moonves to succeed Redstone but since he would presumably retain his holdings does nothing to affect ultimate power.
It would also be likely in the current market mindset - which values separate companies now in the same way that at one time it valued conglomerates on the basis that these smoothed out overall results - to increase the overall valuation of the company.
Whether it would make any real difference to what is done by the company or companies -essentially the same people and same business - and how profitable it or they are is of course an entirely different matter.
2005-03-17: Japanese Internet company Livedoor has been given a boost in its fight to gain control of radio group Nippon Broadcasting System (NBS) by the Tokyo District Court, which has dismissed an objection by NBS to its ruling forbidding the company from giving Fuji TV an exclusive right to purchase new shares that would give it control of the company.
Sources close to Livedoor, which began its campaign to gain control of NBS, the largest shareholder in Fuji TV with a surprise raid that gained it 35% of the shares, have said that the Internet company now has more than 50% of voting rights in NBS and will use it to replace NBS executives at a shareholders' meeting in June although the company has not confirmed this.
Livedoor has not confirmed that it has gained the shares although its President Takafumi Horie had made it clear that he intended to do so. Fuji has increased its share to more than 39%, thus triggering cross-shareholding provisions that prevent the two companies from holding voting rights in each other and also giving it veto powers over some moves (See RNW Mar 9).
Observers consider that Livedoor made its move with the aim of gaining control of Fuji TV and the latter's shares have risen in the expectation that it may become the target of a takeover bid.
Fuji TV in turn is part of the network of businesses in the Fujisankei Communications Group (FCG), which is comprised of around 100 companies involved in television, newspaper, radio, book and magazine publishing, music and video production, direct marketing, property and museum management. It was founded by the Shikanai family whose management control was dissipated in the 1990s.
Mainichi Shimbun report:
2005-03-17: Salem Communications has announced that it has appointed Joe D. Davis, its executive vice-president of radio since 2003, to the post of executive vice president and chief operating officer.
In his new post he will have day-to-day operational "oversight" of all its broadcasting and non-broadcasting activities.
Davis, who will continue to report to president and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III, will relocate to the corporate office in California from the current East Coast office in New Jersey.
2005-03-16: A new bill on broadcast indecency and violence, the "Indecent and Gratuitous and Excessively Violent Programming Control Act of 2005" has been introduced into the US Senate by Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (Texas) and Democrat Sen. Jay Rockefeller (W.Virginia).
The bill, as its name suggests would allow regulation of TV violence as well as indecency and also increase the penalty for broadcast indecency to a USD 500,000 - double that in cases where there were "aggravating" factors, but cap at USD 3 million the maximum in any 24-hour period.
The bill would also extend to radio a "warning" requirement such as that required for pre-taped TV shows that give advance warning of swearing, sexual or violent content.
The clause would not apply to live events and in addition affiliates are to be given an opportunity to review scripted or recorded programming and would be exempted from fines if the opportunity was not given to them.
2005-03-16: Chicago public radio is planning its largest-ever expansion to nearly double the output of WBEZ-FM according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times: He reports that the plan involves changing WBEZ into a 24-hours news and talk station and putting music programming on a separate service by transforming WBEW-FM in Chesterton, Indiana, and WBEQ-FM in southwest suburban Morris into a full-time music outlet, featuring jazz, blues, bluegrass, folk and other forms with roots in Chicago.
Feder adds that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved boosting WBEW's power to 50,000 watts to increase its coverage in Chicago and an additional frequency is being sought to add coverage in the north, northwest and west suburban areas. The two stations currently simulcast the WBEZ service, which is split into 16 hours of news and information and eight of music.
In a similar move Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky is also to gain a full-time classical services on WGUC-FM and a news and information service on WVXU-FM following agreement by Xavier University to sell the latter to the former for USD 15 million.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the university turned down higher offers from religious broadcasters in favour of the sale under which WGUC-FM promised to retain the WVXU-FM call letters and some local programming.
The change will means "All Things Considered" and "Car Talk" will be moved to WVXU but the latter will lose some of its current programmes such as "Jack Benny," "Mystery Theater" and other old radio shows and the paper says some other shows could be dropped after the deal is completed.
WVXU's 21 full-time employees will be offered severance packages, and will be interviewed for possible employment at WGUC-FM.
Chicago Sun-Times report:
Cincinnati Enquirer report:
2005-03-16: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that the live broadcast by CFGQ-FM, Calgary of a performance by Canadian rock band the Tragically Hip that included a question and answer session in which the word fuck was used breached Canadian standards rules.
CFGQ agreed it had "let some questionable language air" but noted that steps had been taken and said all future live networked programs would "be aired with a delay system in place" and the CBSC, although ruling that there had been a breach of Canadian Broadcast codes commended it for acknowledging its technological gap on that occasion and for putting in place the appropriate mechanisms to avoid a recurrence.
2005-03-16: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has refused to reconsider its refusal to allow Birach Broadcasting Corporation additional time to construct unbuilt station WIJR-AM, in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
A construction permit was originally issued in 2001 and FCC staff had denied various requests for an extension to the normal requirement that construction be completed within 3 years. In January 2003 it directed the staff to delete call sign WIJR from the Commission's database, finding that the company had unnecessarily tied up limited spectrum and deprived the public of service by doing little during the construction period other than to market the permit. It commented then that the case illustrated precisely the sort of nonfeasance that the streamlined construction period rules were designed to eliminate.
Birach appealed for reconsideration of this decision but the FCC said it had not shown significantly changed circumstances as is required for such reconsideration.
The FCC has also published a notice seeking comment on whether it should change its requirements for broadcasters to publish public notices when there is a change in control or ownership of a broadcast station and suggesting that it should end the exemption from such requirements for Non-Commercial Educational stations and Stations that are the Only Operating Station in their Broadcast Service in their Community of License.
In a joint statement Democrat Commissioners Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps welcomed the move, saying they supported the move because it is "designed to enhance public participation in the Commission's review of the assignment and transfer of control of broadcast licenses, albeit at a time that the Commission is providing less public scrutiny of transactions that result in high levels of media concentration."
"We license radio and TV stations locally for a reason: to serve their communities," they added, continuing, "It's therefore especially important that the public is alerted in a meaningful way when these important media are about to change hands, and that citizens understand their stake in the process and their right to influence the result."
2005-03-16: Australian Macquarie Radio Network, which owns Sydney 2GB talk and 2CH easy listening AM stations, has released its prospectus for an initial public offering that is extremely limited.
In all it is proposing to issue 3.16 million shares at AUD 1 each with the intention of raising AUD 3.00 million (USD 2.37 million): These would amount to only 4.38% of the issued shares, excluding the holdings - some 14.3% of the company - held by Hadiac Limited a company associated with its breakfast host Alan Jones, and would dilute the holding of founders John Singleton and Mark Carnegie from 97.91% to 93.62%.
The shares are not on offer to the general public but only to staff at the network and the friends of the two founders including chief executive, Angela Clark, who is to be allowed a loan from the company to buy 1,413,960 shares. She will have to keep at least half of the shares as long as she remains with the company.
The prospectus also includes a forecast of the company's revenues for the financial year ending on June 30 showing radio revenues as expected to be down 8.2% on the 2004 financial year, partly because the earlier year revenue was boosted by the Olympics and partly because of anticipated extra competition from other stations but the board say they in fact expect revenues to increase because of continued success at 2GB and also because of changes made to the company's management structure.
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Macquarie prospectus (102 Page 3.98Mb PDF):
2005-03-16: The US Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) has named former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Media Bureau chief Ken Ferree as its Chief Operating Office in a number of management changes.
They also include the appointment of policy and communications executive Nancy Risque Rohrbach as senior vice president for corporate and public affairs and of David Creekmore, currently CPB's senior director of business planning, as vice president, finance and administration.
2005-03-15: Jon Zellner, Program Director for Infinity's WBMX-FM and WODS-FM in Boston and a long-time Infinity executive whose roles have included Vice President of Top 40 Programming for the company, is jumping ship to join XM in the newly created role of Senior Vice President of Music Programming.
The 18-year US terrestrial radio veteran, who was named by Radio Ink as one of the "best program directors in America" for four consecutive years, said of his move, "The radio industry of today is very different than when I started in the business 18 years ago." ..."While I think that there will always be room for local radio, XM has introduced technology and an innovative approach to music that are changing the way that people use our medium. I'm excited and honoured to be a part of the amazing staff that XM has assembled."
XM Executive Vice President of Programming Eric Logan said Zellner would be a "great addition to our talented programming team" and added, "Jon has built an outstanding reputation in the radio industry for his leadership and vision in overseeing successful stations in a wide variety of markets."
Also on the move out of terrestrial radio is Seattle comic and host for Clear Channel's KJR-FM Pat Cashman who is dropping radio from his workload on Friday to concentrate his efforts on new broadcasting and advertising ventures for the company he started last year according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
In a statement he commented, "After 12 years on morning-drive radio, the time is right for me to do what I have long dreamed of -- run my own business and turn my alarm clock off."
KJR-FM program director Jay Kelly told the paper the decision was Cashman's.
Previous Clear Channel:
Seattle Post-Intelligencer report:
2005-03-15: Two London Jazz FM hosts, Paul Gambaccini and Nicky Horne, are to leave the station, which is to be re-formatted as a Smooth FM station with less Jazz and more easy listening like its sister station in Manchester - already broadcasting the Smooth format.
The UK Guardian, whose parent also owns Guardian Media Group (GMG) that owns Jazz FM, says that there are no plans to replace Gambaccini's 3-hour Sunday evening Jazz 40 chart show with another chart programme. Gambaccini leaves at the end of this month and will continue to host his BBC Radio 2 Saturday evening show.
Horne, who hosted a weekday 11am - 3pm show will leave in two months and is to host a weekend classic album show for Capital Radio's Gold network.
The paper says more departures are expected from Jazz FM as the station changes its image along with the name change and re-branding that is due to take place at the end of June.
It quoted a spokeswoman as saying, "This is part of the transition from Jazz to Smooth. We are launching a new brand and there are going to be a few changes along the way."
UK Guardian report:
2005-03-15: The Australian commercial radio industry is targeting the country's finance sector in its latest brand campaign to boost the sector with advertisers.
Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner said the finance sector had been identified as one that could use radio to much greater advantage commenting that it "traditionally uses print and television as its main message carriers but we believe radio can be used much more effectively by the sector to target very specific groups and ages."
She added that a recent reduction in time for the mandatory legal tags at the end of finance related radio commercials - a 17second warning required for fixed term loan adverts that mentioned an interest rate has been cut to seven seconds in most of the country - would also be a significant new attraction for finance advertisers, saying, "This means finance advertisers will have more air time to sell their message which is good news for advertisers in the sector. This change to the law should also be a strong motivator for the finance industry to consider using radio."
Figures from Nielsen Media Research show that Australia's finance sector increased its overall advertising expenditure by about 16 per cent in 2003/04 to AUD 380 million (USD 300 million), most of which was spent promoting home loan and credit card products. Radio took only around 9 per cent of the sector's advertising expenditure compared with 41 per cent spent on newspaper advertising and 37 per cent on television advertising.
Ralph van Djik, director of advertising agency Eardrum, who created the radio campaign, said financial brands had traditionally marketed themselves in very similar ways, both creatively and in their choice of media and continued, "With the greater emphasis on differentiation, an increasing number of finance brands are now finding success with radio advertising."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2005-03-15: UK media regulator Ofcom upheld one complaint against radio and three against TV, its latest bulletin; it also considered two TV cases resolved and rejected two other TV complaint.
This compared to one radio complaint and four TV complaint upheld in its previous bulletin, which also considered two radio complaints and a TV complaint resolved and one other TV complaints not upheld.
Ofcom also listed, with no further details, 126 TV complaints against 154 items and 25 radio complaints against 28 items that were either not upheld or ruled out of remit: The comparative figures in the previous bulletin were 167 TV complaints relating to 153 items and 22 radio complaints relating to 20 items.
The radio complaint upheld was against an edition of Evening kick-off on TalkSPORT that included a present commenting on the performance of a soccer player that he "looked like somebody with Downs [syndrome]".
No apology had been broadcast but the company had responded by agreeing that the comment was insensitive and said it had discussed the matter with the programme producer who would speak to the presenter.
Thee Ofcom panel said it agreed that "the comment made by the presenter was inappropriate and offensive," adding, "Although not intended maliciously, particular care needs to be taken when using expressions that can be seen to refer to disabilities or learning difficulties."
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2005-03-14: Over the past week with Clear Channel's New York WKTU-FM said to have been a victim of mob extortion and Emmis in a degree of hot water over a shooting outside WQHT-FM (Hot 97) it was welcome relief to find a DJ poking fun at himself and his station for a good cause.
The DJ was Colin Murray who in his "Diary" in the UK Guardian began by writing, "A Radio 1 DJ should never open his or her mouth to do anything other than talk ... The results, my friends, are often disastrous, so I'd like to use this space in today's Guardian to apologise for Radio 1 jocks' singing."
Murray then went on to list some of the culprits: "I'd like to offer an olive branch to all those who were subjected to Convoy GB by Laurie Lingo and the Dipsticks, a cover name for DLT (Dave Lee Travers)and Paul Burnett, who reached No 4 and, in doing so, managed to make right d (ipst)icks of themselves."
" Even today, Radio 1 DJs just can't stop releasing novelty records. Chris Moyles and his Guns Don't Kill People Rabbits Do is an example. Again, I can only apologies."
The foregoing, it being the week it was, led of course to a plug - for his Radio 1 afternoon show co-host Edith Bowman, who won the Comic Relief fundraiser's Fame Academy award- and of whose singing Murray commented, "Whether it's been singing to the nation from within the Circle of Fear or shedding a tear because she was missing her mum on Mothers' Day, she's represented Radio 1 using her own true personality and not a cheesy adopted one. And she hasn't pronounced even one letter "t" as if it's a "d". I'd go as far to say she's a symbol of what a brighter, happier, and blatantly more honest BBC Radio 1 is all about."
This event was set up in 1985 with a live broadcast from a refugee camp in Sudan and held every two years: this year it has so far raised around GBP 40 million (USD 77million) for charity and organizers are hoping to top the record GBP 621 million (USD 117 million) to take the grand total to around GBP 360 million (USD 700 million).
After a positive over radio in Britain we move on to some caviling in Paul Donovan's Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times. Donovan takes up the issue of mixing fact and fiction and defends BBC Radio 4 over one production it found itself defending, it's serialization of George du Maurier's 1894 novel Trilby, in the Woman's Hour Drama slot
Donovan defends this particular production, criticized in part because the central character, Svengali, has been called an anti-Semitic creation, but goes on to make a more general point, writing, "However, if Radio 4 really thinks its listeners can differentiate between fact and fiction, it is odd that it often makes it impossible for them to do so. Over the past month, it has broadcast plays depicting an array of real-life people, from the morality campaigner Mary Whitehouse to the poet Louis MacNeice, from the Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVeigh, to the scandalous "Black Widows" of 1880s Liverpool."
He later writes, "Whatever the broadcasters' motives - publicity and ratings, mainly - consumers are necessarily short-changed. We have no way of knowing whether any scene is imaginary or actual, whether it has been made up by the playwright or is known to have taken place. We therefore do not know, at any given moment, if an appeal is being made to our emotions or our intellect, and the result is deep unease."
Donovan goes on to consider the point in relation to the Friday Play broadcast last month of The Third Soldier Holds His Thighs, by Mark Lawson (See RNW Columnists Feb 21), raising well judged questions of whether an event depicted, that would seem to indicate that National Theatre Director Sir Peter Hall committed perjury, was "fact or fiction."
At least Donovan's comments are about broadcasts presented as drama, even if the tag documentary is added - maybe misleadingly, but in the US one of the concerns frequently expressed is the degree to which talk show hosts present as fact things that even a fairly cursory check would show to be anything but as a fairly cursory check on various media watching web sites would show.
The same would also seem to be true in Australia if there is any factual basis for David Williamson's Influence, the latest play from David Williamson, the country's best-known and most widely performed playwright.
The description of the work by Jane Albert in The Australian is probably a little too close for comfort there and in the US: She writes, "The satire is about a fictional talkback host, Ziggi Blasco, an outrageously outspoken and narrow-minded bigot who takes broad aim at Muslims, lesbians, Jews and Aborigines. And that's just for starters."
Sydney talk host Steve Price commented of the way hosts were seen as, "It's a bit like being a rugby league player - everyone thinks you're a sex maniac and a thug."
Late night host Stan Zemanek reacted more strongly, saying he resented the depiction. "What David Williamson won't accept is we still have majority rule, but the minority seem to scream the loudest because they have the most time on their hands," he said.
"What those small-minded left-wing cretins want to do is rewrite history, and they see talkback announcers as riling up against their stupidity."
Williamson said the inspiration for Influence came from listening to various talkback stations, and he did not intend to ridicule any one radio personality. "The play is saying that humanity is a fearful lot," he said. (Talkback presenters) are good fear amplifiers. They take an anxiety and turn it into a fear and a panic and that's what they're good at doing, and that's what John Howard is good at doing. Fear is very easily turned into hate and rage."
Which could be a cue for a number of US articles about talk radio there but we opted to forego them and instead end with Mark Morford's follow-up column in the San Francisco Chronicle to his column "All Hail The Death Of Radio" that we noted last week about corporate radio.
The follow-up is rather more upbeat as the title "And Now For Some *Real* Radio" indicates.
Morford writes this time that the previous column "only scratched the surface" and goes on, "Because what I never really fully understood, fully comprehended, fully had crammed into my thick iTunes-drunk P2P-dazzled skull before I decried the mad sad corporatization of the airwaves, is just how many vibrant alternatives exist."
He then goes on to note "those stations, both traditional and Web-centric, which my readers recommended in droves and which are pumping and thriving and jiving just off the corporate matrix via a mad collusion of public radio and listener-supported channels and semi-obscure Web sites and underground transmitters and even a handful of semi-mainstream spots with actual semi-corporate sponsors. Oh my yes."
The suggestions are in the column and range from web-only sites to public stations to independent stations and even a few corporately owned ones.
We'd suggest a look at the link below to check a few out and take that as the introduction to our suggestions for listening this week. And first since we've mentioned Trilby, the Woman's Hour drama that began last week and continues this week on BBC Radio 4, we'd note that the first episode is available on the listen again part of the site until 10:45 GMT today when this week's episodes begin to air daily.
Also with a reference back to Donovan's comments, we'd suggest for drama the Saturday Play "The Price of Light" on BBC Radio 4. The BBC described it as a "true story"- we'd suggest "based on" would have been a sensible prefix. It tells the story of musical prodigy Maria Theresa von Paradis, who lost sight in early life, was taken to Anton Mesmer and under his treatment began to regain vision but found her musical talent deteriorating. Subsequent scientific and public scandal forced Mesmer out of Vienna and Marie Theresa remained, losing her sight, retaining the musical ability.
Then music and Inside Improvisation on BBC Radio 2 at 21:30 GMT on Tuesday: In the second of a four-part series (The first programme is still on the web site until then), Richard Niles talks to some of the greatest improvisers on the planet from jazz to rock to funk to blues, and speaks to guests about how improvisation is taught.
It's preceded at 20:30 GMT by "The Broken Spoke: A True Texan...Honky Tonk" in which Mark Lamarr as part of Radio 2's Texas season visits what its owner James White describes as "The last of the true Texan dance halls and proud of it!"
After that religion and next Sunday at 20:00 GMT BBC Radio 2 airs the final episode in the "Sacred Nation" series, telling the story of religion in Britain: Last Sunday's episode looked at the country at the time of the Civil war and in a period of Christian fundamentalism with the burning of witches forming art of the old order's attempt to keep control. The five 30 minute programmes aired so far are all still on the station web site.
And purer documentary: In the Sunday Feature on BBC Radio 3, "Liver Birds and Laundrymen. Europe's Earliest Chinatown", Gregory Lee, Professor of Chinese at the University of Lyon, returned to his native Liverpool, where his grandfather arrived from China in 1911, to tell a personal history of the earliest Chinese settlement in Europe- and where Penny Lane still had its Chinese Laundry (the clean machine!), the last of hundreds that once existed. The programme doesn't reflect all that well on the natives with their politicians exploiting ignorant racist attitudes, their addiction to opium and/or the profits therefrom, prejudiced attitudes to the Chinese, and deportations after the Second World War of Chinese sailors who had settled in Liverpool.
For comedy this week, we'd suggest "Dave Allen: The Sit Down Stand Up" from BBC Radio 4, aired on Sunday to mark the death of Allen last week. The stand-up comic, known for sitting down, had a sharp ear and eye for the absurdities, contradictions and foibles of humans. Religion? "I'm an atheist. Thank God!"
He also didn't agree with mincing words and certainly wouldn't have got past the current US gatekeepers of what is fit for the public to hear. One line in a joke he told about visiting a friend in America and walking with him in Central Park seems to us as good a way as any to sum up many of the would-be censors and the unconsciously self-censored! The man trod in dog shit then commented, "Oh Shit! I've trod in some dog's doo-doo!"
Finally to Australia and Ockham's Razor on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National: Last week's programme marked the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Alexander Fleming with a programme on penicillin for work on which discovery he, Ernst Chain, and Howard Florey received the Nobel Prize in 1945. Chain and Florey? Certainly as important as Fleming in developing antibiotics but they didn't have Lord Moran, Winston Churchill's personal wartime doctor, as their public relations operative. Even if you don't have 15 minutes to listen to the programme the transcript on the website will elucidate!
ABC Australia Radio National site:
Australian - Albert:
BBC Radio 2 "Sacred Nation" web site:
San Francisco Chronicle - Morford:
UK Guardian - Murray:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2005-03-14: According to the UK Sunday Times, SMG, which has rejected a GBP 100 million bid (USD 193 million) bid for Virgin Radio is to appoint a new chief executive for the subsidiary: The paper says SMG is down to a final shortlist and could make an announcement later this month.
It also says that Wireless Group chairman and chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie, whose first bid to buy out the company fell apart when US-based private equity backers Veronis Suhler Stevenson withdrew their support (See RNW Feb 24) is talking to CVC Capital Partners to back a new GBP 100 million (USD 193 million) bid for the company. It adds that he has also been talking rival private-equity firm 3i and says he expects to "secure backing imminently."
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Sunday Times report:
2005-03-14: Clear Channel, whose radio division results lagged behind those of outdoor and entertainment last year (See RNW Feb 26) appears to be switching its investment policy towards the faster growing divisions.
Following the announcement of a 50-year joint venture in China with the Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group to form Gehua Clear Channel Entertainment & Sports Company, Ltd., which would take international entertainment and sports events to China and Chinese artists to events outside the country, it is now reported to be preparing a bid to take over the UK Mean Fiddler Group.
Mean Fiddler owns the London venue of the same name the London Astoria, the Reading and Leeds music festivals and a third share in the Glastonbury Festival. The bid is being made through a joint venture, Hamsard, between Clear Channel and MCD Productions, which owns 24.3 per cent of Mean Fiddler and also owns the Brixton Academy and the V Festival.
Clear Channel already owns the Hammersmith Apollo, the Manchester Apollo, a half stake in the Point venue in Dublin and the Milton Keynes Bowl and manages the summer pop concerts in Hyde Park, London.
It is also reported to have expressed interest in purchasing SMG's outdoor division (See RNW Feb 28).
Vince Power, Mean Fiddler's founder and holder of a 34.9 per cent share has agreed to sell his stake to Clear Channel for 60p a share, valuing the business at GBP 37 million (USD 71 million) but the agreement is subject to due diligence checks.
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-03-13: The impending departure of chairman Michael Powell turned most of the attention on the regulators last week towards speculation as to who is his most likely successor but elsewhere it was fairly quite with only a few radio matters dealt with in Canada - including a ruling that an imported US show was not of a high standard - and nothing from Australia or Ireland but a fairly busy week in the UK. There as in the US, the regulators also issued regulations relating to technological advances.
In Canada, as well as a couple of licence decisions, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) also ruled that an episode of the syndicated US show Loveline, broadcast on Corus's CHMJ-AM (Mojo) , Vancouver, failed to meet a number of Canadian broadcasting policy objectives set out in the Broadcasting Act, including the provision that provides that programming should be of high standard.
The Commission found, however, that the licensee did not breach the provision contained in the Radio Regulations, 1986 that prohibits the broadcast of any abusive comment.
The episode involved was broadcast in December 2002 and referred by the CRTC to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC), which subsequently ruled that the broadcast was not "racist" but comments made, including "Yeah, yeah, burn those Jews. Gas 'em in the shower, baby," and so on" were in breach of regulations and "exceeded any reasonable level of propriety." (See RNW Aug 30, 2003)
The complainant asked the CRTC to review the CBSC ruling, claiming that the show had breached rules against the broadcast of abusive comment.
In coming to its decision the Commission noted that three criteria - that the comments were "abusive", in context are "likely to expose an individual or a class of individuals to hatred or contempt", and are made "on the basis of an individual's or a group's race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age or physical or mental disability" - all had to be met for its regulations to be contravened.
In this case it said the comments were abusive, but that they did not in the context - a sex phone line worker asking what she could say to keep her clients on the line longer to increase her earnings - they "do not tend or are not likely to expose Jewish people to hatred or contempt on the basis of their origin or religion."
It added that the comments trivialized the Holocaust and were thus highly inappropriate.
The CRTC also approved a request by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to delete from the licence of CBGA-FM, Matinee, its existing AM-transmitter CBGA-7 Sainte-Anne-des-Mints, Quebec, and replace it with a 49,800 watts FM transmitter and an application from Newcap Inc to change the authorized contours of CKTG-FM Thunder Bay, Ontario, by decreasing the antenna height and relocating the transmitter.
In the UK, as well as licensing decisions Ofcom also considered the use of short-range transmitters, such as those used to allow MP3s from a player to be received by an FM transmitter, upholding the ban on their use in the UK (See below).
Licensing decisions included the announcement of the award of the first UK community radio licence (See RNW Mar 12) and of the new Belfast and Cornwall commercial FM licences (See RNW Mar 8).
It also published basic details of applications for a new Norwich commercial FM licence and its reviews of 56 stations where there had been a change in control (Also RNW Mar 12).
In the US, as noted, outgoing Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K. Powell has now chaired his last commission meeting (See RNW Mar 11): It has subsequently been announced that he is to become a Fellow at the Aspen Institute for three months after leaving the commission (See below).
On a more technological front, the FCC has issued new guidelines relating to the use of cognitive (software-defined) transmissions (See below).
It also confirmed penalties totalling USD 37,000 on Chester P Coleman of America Radio Brokers Inc., for violations relating to stations in Alaska.
It confirmed a USD 24,000 penalty in relation to failure to maintain main studios, local or toll-free telephone numbers, and minimum operating schedules, for KAXX -AM, Eagle River, and KADX-FM, Houston and for departing, without authorization, from the terms of the stations' authorizations and a USD 13,000 one for violations of tower lighting regulations at a tower in Knik.
In all cases there had been no response to notices of apparent violation.
Earlier it had formally announced that it is to review the approval of transfer of licences from a company controlled by disgraced Oklahoman politician Gene Stipe (See RNW Mar 9) and announced a USD 10.000 consent decree with WVRM, Inc., licensee of non commercial educational WCNJ-FM, Hazlet, New Jersey (Again Mar 9).
On other matters it seems to be likely to put a stop to attempts by Hoosier Public Radio Corporation to force a number of school and college stations to share their broadcasting hours with it (Again RNW Mar 9) and is being asked to put a freeze on FM translator applications by the Media Access Project, which is alleging illegal trafficking in them (See RNW Mar 12).
The Commission has also released a list of another 14 construction permits it is ready to grant - with payment due by March 25 -for winning bids for FM stations in its Auction 37.
The latest list covers stations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming.
In the case of its AM licence Auction 84, for which a date has yet to be set, the FCC had dismissed 54 applications for which it wanted more information that had not been filed by the closing date of January 18.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-03-13: Lord Waheed Alli, the Labour peer who is heading a GBP 100 million (USD 193 million) bid to buy Virgin Radio from SMG, is threatening to take his bid off the table according to the UK Guardian.
SMG said in the week (See RNW Mar 11) that his bid undervalued the asset but Alli told the paper his offer "can only be sustained against current performance" and added, "If they continue to destroy the asset then I cannot be in the market at that price."
Alli said he had not met the two largest shareholders - ITV plc and Fidelity, which between them own 27% of SMG, but said other shareholders' responses had been encouraging.
RNW comment: Our reaction to the Alli comments is that he has probably realised he is getting nowhere but is talking up his bid as a way out. Time will tell but we wouldn't be putting any bets on his success as we suspect SMG has called his bluff unless he increases the offer, particularly as their overall results
UK Guardian report:
2005-03-13: The Aspen Institute has announced that outgoing Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K. Powell is to join it for three months as senior fellow of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program as soon as he leaves the Commission: After chairing his final FCC meeting on Thursday, Powell would only say he was going to take a Caribbean holiday with his family and it is not clear whether he now intends to forego the break.
The Institute said Powell would advise the Communications and Society Program on leadership, communications policy, and program activities and operations and added that Powell's' Confidential Assistant Judith Mann would also move from the FCC to the Institute in the same role.
Commenting on the appointment Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson said, "Michael Powell exemplifies the type of leader that the Aspen Institute seeks to attract to our various program and leadership activities. He will add an important perspective to planning our non-partisan forums in communications and information policy - and beyond."
Powell's two predecessors William Kennard (1997-2001), now with the Carlyle Group as Managing Director in the Global Telecommunications and Media, and Reed Hundt (1993-1997), now a director of Intel and Chairman of the company's Compensation Committee of the Board, also joined the Institute on leaving the commission.
2005-03-13: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced that although it is continuing to review low power Short Range Device (SRD) transmitters such as the Apple iPod i Trip that are designed to work in conjunction with FM radio receivers to allow them to receive signals from MP3s such devices will remain illegal for the moment because of a risk of interference to broadcast signals.
Confirming the ban, it issued details of studies carried out on a number of devices operating in the Band II broadcast band (87.5MHz to 108MHz) using two ERP levels, 10nW and 250µW.
The 10nW equipment it found to be suitable only for operation over relatively unobstructed paths up to a maximum distance of approximately 3metres and noted that if used in the same room as a Band II radio incorporating a whip antenna a frequency separation of some 250kHz to 300kHz would be required to prevent interference to an edge-of-service-area broadcast signal. Used in a vehicle, it said the equipment might have to be sited carefully because of the presence of signal nulls.
The more powerful 250µW ERP device would provide a strong enough signal for use in a vehicle or for transmission from one room to another but, says Ofcom, could also result in interference to broadcast signals over a wide band depending on the receiver design when used close to an FM receiver.
The details published do not include the make of the SRD transmitters although they do list details of the radio receivers and technical details published of the I Trip do not list ERP, although other information indicates that it is at closer to the 250µW device tested than the 10µW.
The paper produced is being submitted to the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications (CEPT), which is working with media regulators and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to develop equipment standards and frequency protocols that it says may, once fully developed, facilitate the exemption of these devices from licensing.
Until then it says FM band low power transmitters must not be operated in the UK and the Ofcom enforcement team will continue to take action against those supplying non-compliant equipment.
2005-03-13: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now adopted rules for smart radios - equipment that can adapt transmissions to spectrum conditions, moving information on different frequencies or through different modes so as to maximize effective use of spectrum.
The technology is similar to that in use in Wireless Area Networks and mobile technologies and the FCC notes that efforts are currently underway both in industry forums and standards bodies to adopt internationally accepted standards for software defined and cognitive radios.
It says that it previously required reasonable security measures to prevent unauthorized software modifications that would affect the operation of transmitters but is now requiring manufacturers at time of certification to "supply software "source code" with the requirement that a manufacturer supply a high level operational description of the software that controls the radio's RF characteristics, and a description of the software security measures employed to prevent unauthorized modifications" and has also clarified the rules to permit manufacturers to market radios that have the hardware-based capability to transmit outside authorized United States frequency bands, but required software controls to limit operation to authorized frequency bands when used in the United States.
Welcoming the move, Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein said he believed "cognitive radios" would play an important role in "spectrum facilitation."
"That means," he commented," stripping away barriers - regulatory, economic, or technical - to get spectrum into the hands of operators serving consumers at the most local levels."
"Cognitive radios," he added, "can literally leapfrog the technical and legal problems that currently hamper many of today's spectrum access opportunities These technologies should lead to the advent of smarter unlicensed devices that make greater use of spectrum than is possible today. Cognitive radios may also provide licensees with innovative ways to use their current spectrum more efficiently, and to lease their spectrum more easily on the secondary market. I've seen cognitive radios up close and am just amazed by their potential."
2005-03-12: In changes in San Francisco, Susquehanna has taken over broadcasting rights to the 49ers from Disney-ABC Radio's KGO-AM, which had held them for 18 years, and Infinity is selling oldies KFRC- AM to Family Radio for USD 35 million; it is expected that the format will be changed to religious programming at some future date but will retain its oldies output for a while.
The 49ers deal, which has been on the cards for some time (See RNW Feb 7) will see its broadcasts aired on either KNBR-AM or KTCT-AM with a simulcast of games on KSAN-FM.
The San Francisco Chronicle notes that KNBR is the Giants flagship and says it is thus likely that 49ers pre-season and early season games will probably air on KTCT; it adds that the team has now lost its association with the top ranked station in the market but obtained a natural-tie in with the two sports station and also gained exposure on classic rock KSAN.
Tony Salvadore, the senior vice president for the Susquehanna stations, told the paper, "The 49ers needed a partner, like we're a partner with the Giants" and added that KGO was a great news-and-talk station, but sports and sports promotion "are not what they do for a living."
KGO general manager Mickey Luckoff issued a statement saying KGO was "withdrawing from further negotiations" with the 49ers and added, "Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to reach an arrangement that makes sense, given their current product and the business terms [the team would sell advertising for the broadcasts and has the right to choose announcers] they are seeking."
"After lengthy evaluation, and a lot of soul-searching, we have decided that we are not able to justify the business arrangement insisted upon by the 49ers nor any further expenditure of our time, energy and resources. If we could have reached an arrangement that was a 'win-win' for both of us, we would have eagerly and gladly done so."
The KFRC also has baseball implications and the paper says that for the moment it will continue as an oldies station and keep its association with the "A's" this season although the team is expected to be with another station next season.
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2005-03-12: Alleging "a massive trafficking scheme in violation of the Communications Act and longstanding Commission policy" in which "three individuals" have used dummy corporations to apply for thousands of translator licences that they are aggressively marketing, US non-profit law firm the Media Access Project has petitioned the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to freeze all translator licence applications.
The petition was filed on behalf of the Prometheus Radio Project, the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ, Inc., REC Networks, the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, the Future of Music Coalition and Free Press, who allege that the applications by Clarke Parrish, Earl Williamson, and Diana Atkin work to the detriment of future low power FM stations that could provide community services.
It says that two dummy corporations Radio Assist Ministry, Inc. and Edgewater Broadcasting, Inc. were used to improperly obtain some 4,000 FM non-commercial radio station authorizations and that the naked construction permits are now being aggressively marketed by a third dummy company, World Radio Link, Inc.
The petition includes a list of more than 85 licences that it says have already been sold or traded for a potential profit of more than USD 800,000.
Prometheus Radio Project founder Pete Tridis commented, "The FCC did a great thing by giving churches, schools, labour organizations, and other community groups the right to take their messages to the airwaves, in a time of massive media consolidation. But unless it stops these speculators from grabbing up these licenses, truly local groups won't be able to build radio stations for their own cities and towns. Chairman Powell has expressed support for the LPFM service, and we hope he will agree that the FCC should act now to expand and promote community radio."
Former Democrat FCC Commissioner Gloria Tristani, who is now Managing Director of the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ, Inc., added, "I've met with many UCC members and members of other religious denominations who would love to take advantage of Low Power FM radio to serve their local communities. It is regrettable for sham groups have attempted to unjustly enrich themselves by speculating on government licenses while robbing local church members of their chance to reach their communities."
As well as calling for an immediate freeze of all applications related to the March 2003 Translator Window, the petitions says the FCC should conduct "a thorough investigation into the adequacy of the anti-trafficking rules applicable to Auction No. 83 and what actions it will take to prevent further trafficking" and also because the three sought to hide their conduce should consider whether it can revoke the permits.
"Even without active intent to defraud the Commission," it says, "the Commission has in the past found that an application for a construction permit with no intent to provide service constitutes misrepresentation warranting revocation.
RNW comment: The issue here seems to us one that primarily relates to any misrepresentation that would have materially altered granting of the licences. If there was none then the FCC may have been remiss in its duty but the applicants are probably in the clear.
Should it be found however there has been deliberate misrepresentation for gain we feel that, rather than mere revocation of any permits these individuals have acquired, the FCC should be investigating whether any criminal charges can be laid against the individuals involved.
Such circumstances would certainly indicate a possible prima facie case of a combination of fraudulently obtaining - and then trading - licences potentially worth millions.
We would also assume that the likelihood of being also driven into bankruptcy by claims from the other parties for return of monies paid for such licences would act as a deterrent to any similar future actions by others.
Finally our view if the case is proven, the FCC should also hold those concerned unfit to hold any licences, not just the ones involved in this action and also launch a thorough investigation into all the licences granted in this auction- the petition itself notes "The widespread nature of the conduct by Parrish, Williamson and Atkin, and the general failure of the Commission's safeguards to prevent them from trafficking raises the suspicion that the rules governing this application window were insufficient to prevent wholesale abuse by other applicants as well."
Previous Media Access Project:
Previous Prometheus Radio Project:
Petition (247 kb 29 page PDF):
2005-03-12: The Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) consortium has voted to start extending its system to cover short-wave, AM and long-wave broadcasting bands up to 120 MHz, a move that in conjunction with World DAB Forum's Eureka-147 technology already covers spectrum below 30MHz: DRM will begin work on its band extension project immediately and design, development and testing phases are expected to be completed by 2008-2010.
The two organizations announced plans to cooperate in developing their non-proprietary technology at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin in 2003 and hold regularly scheduled, joint meetings on key technical and commercial topics.
DRM Chairman Peter Senger commented of their plans, "Broadcasters and regulators in many countries are closely examining the digital options available to them, in search of non-proprietary systems that fit their own, unique technical and market criteria DAB Digital Radio has established itself as a successful solution for the higher-frequency bands in many countries, and broadcasters are increasingly implementing DRM for the medium wave and short-wave bands. DRM's expansion into the broadcasting bands up to 120 MHz will supplement these existing solutions."
World DAB Forum President Annika Nyberg added, "The clear message coming from our cooperation is that the World DAB Forum and the DRM Consortium continue to actively pave the way for digital radio's future More than 1.5 million DAB-capable receivers have already been sold, and more than 150 different DAB receivers are now on the market."
DRM and World DAB have been successful so far in keeping iBiquity's HD system, which has been adopted in the US, out of many areas, particularly the European market, and the Eureka 147 system has been adopted by Canada.
Earlier this month Mexico's Cámara Nacional de la Industria de Radio y Televisión (CIRT) announced that it is to start tests of DRM in Mexico City using signals from Radio Centro and last month the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transportation authorized the commencement of a national DRM testing project to be carried out by Radio Educación, the country's public, cultural and educational network.
In addition DRM members Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) and RadioScape have announced that they are developing software and hardware to support the design of cost-effective DRM consumer receivers (See RNW Feb 4).
CIRT's Director of Engineering Ernesto Reyes Ramirez said of the Mexican trials, "We are very interested to evaluate the DRM system, in particular its medium-wave/AM simulcast modes, as soon as possible" and Senger added, "We are delighted to work with Mexican broadcasters who are interested in evaluating DRM's potential as a digital radio solution. Enthusiasm for DRM's advantages for Latin America is clearly growing."
In Europe, France is expected unveil its plans for an all-digital distribution network soon and Sylvain Anichini, Deputy General Manager of Radio France, which transmitted special preview DRM medium-wave/AM broadcasts at the Digital Radio MondialeTM (DRMTM) consortium's annual General Assembly meeting in Paris this week says "France's upcoming migration to digital radio necessitated our investment in a new distribution network that will work seamlessly with any digital broadcasting system, such as DRM, DAB, DVB and wireless Internet."
"We have designed a flexible networking system that allows for a range of options, without the constraints of long-term technological choices," he added. "This will enable Radio France to move forward in line with digital broadcasting's evolution, including domains such as source coding and datacasting."
Previous Digital Radio Mondiale:
2005-03-12: Media regulator Ofcom has awarded the UK's first Community Radio Licence to Forest of Dean Community Radio, one of the 14 stations currently operating its service under a pilot scheme.
It has been on the air since July 2002 on AM serving the Forest of Dean area in Gloucestershire and was the only applicant for a community licence for the area.
In all Ofcom received 192 applications for community licences (See RNW Feb 19) and is now assessing frequency availability starting with the areas where the pilot schemes are operating. It says it hopes to by the end of June to decide on licences in these areas, which include major metropolitan areas such as London, Manchester and Glasgow, for which it has received more than 70 applications. It will then consider applications in other areas, aiming to allocate licences in these cases by late summer.
Ofcom has also released basic details of the five applications it received for a new Norwich FM licence and also published its reviews made of a total of 56 stations where there have been changes of control.
The control reviews included three stations operated by Forever Broadcasting, 25 operated by GWR, 22 operated by Radio Investments Ltd plus acquisitions by the London Media Company Ltd of Time FM (Thamesmead) and Fusion 107.3 (Lewisham) and Star 106.6; by Tindle Newspapers Ltd of Radio Ceredigion; by The Local Radio Company plc of Spirit FM; and by Southampton Leisure Holdings plc of SouthCity FM.
The Norwich applications were from:
*Crown FM Ltd - Offering a distinctive speech and music radio station for Norwich, with independent local news and information and a wide variety of classic hits from the last 40 years.
*Today FM (Norwich Broadcasting Ltd) - Offering a full-service radio station for over 35's in Norwich, which combines a comprehensive news and information service with soft adult rock, adult contemporary and gold music.
*NRG FM (Norwich Radio Group Ltd) - Offering a quality, full service radio station with a music base of classic chart songs from the 60s to the current day, blended with comprehensive locally-focused news and information relevant to the lifestyle of adult listeners in the Norwich area.
*Lite FM (Norwich) Ltd - Offering a locally-focused music, news and information service predominantly for listeners aged 35 and over in the Norwich area.
*Norwich 99.9 FM Ltd - Offering a music led station featuring a spread of top 40 hits from the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's with selected recent and current hits designed to appeal across a broad age range with an emphasis on local news, information, sport and features along with national and international news.
2005-03-11: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K. Powell has said farewell to staff and colleagues after presiding over his last meeting at the Commission, which he leaves formally next week after seven years, the last four of them as chairman.
Commenting on his spell at the commission Powell said, "Government service is not lucrative. It takes a powerful toll on you personally and on your family But at the end of the day it's still the highest privilege."
Powell also defended the Commissioners in general, gesturing towards Democrat Commissioners Michael J Copps and Jonathan S. Adelstein and commenting, "We do often disagree about the best way to achieve that [doing the right thing], but I've never met anyone who ever raised their hand and took an oath that weren't equally committed to doing the same thing, just as all of my colleagues are here. It saddens me when public officials and bureaucrats are criticized for ulterior motives, none of which I have ever found in a government bureaucrat."
He added that he had not yet decided what he wanted to do apart from taking a holiday with his family and reading a good book.
No successor has yet been named but amongst those thought to be in the running for the post are Michael Gallagher, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Rebecca Klein, a former utilities official in Texas who has ties to the president, and Powell's fellow Republican commissioner Kevin Martin.
The last released a statement saying it had been an honour and privilege to work with Powell and wishing him the very best.
Powell wrote Martin..."is a dedicated public servant who has worked tirelessly to improve the state of our communications industry, particularly as an advocate of new technologies. He should be commended for his many accomplishments, which span across every sector under our jurisdiction. He has eloquently articulated his vision for the communications industry and the FCC's regulation of it."
"Over the last four years, he has helped lay the regulatory groundwork so that services in each sector can thrive in the face of the challenges and opportunities the 21st century will present. He should be very proud, in particular, for the steps he has taken to foster new services and technologies; this certainly will be one of his most important legacies."
The New York Times tips Martin as the frontrunner to succeed Powell although it says aides to the chairman have made no secret that they would prefer Gallagher, a former lobbyist at AirTouch Communications and Verizon Wireless who has worked closely with Powell and in his current post played a major role in negotiations between the wireless industry and the Pentagon over steps to free valuable radio spectrum for use by the industry.
Martin it says is regarded as the front-runner to succeed Mr. Powell because of his ties to the White House and the fact that he would not need to be confirmed by the Senate to take the job.
Media Week report:
New York Times report:
2005-03-11: SMG, the former Scottish Media Group says that despite a 13% revenue fall at Virgin Radio and 4% fall in overall turnover, following disposals of its the publishing business, and stakes in GMTV and SRH and also various financial charges, its like-for like turnover for the 2004 was up 7% on 2003 to GBP 201.2 million (USD 385.2 million).
Its preliminary figures showed operating profit on a like-for-like basis up 3% to GBP 29.3 million (USD 56.1 million) and overall up 62% to GBP 17.7 million (USD 33.9 million) with pre-tax profit up 9% to GBP 17.5 million (USD 33.5 million- basic earnings per share were up 2% to 5 pence).
SMG said its television division had performed strongly and Virgin Radio had increased digital listening although it was hit by a weak national advertising market and audience figures and its Out of Home Division had seen a return to sales growth.
Total TV revenues for the year were up 10% to GBP 133.5 million (USD 255.6 million) with operating profits up 28% to GBP 23.0 million (USD 44.0 million) and Out of Home revenues, including outdoor and cinema advertising operations increased revenues by 9% to GBP 47.6 million (USD 91.1 million) although operating profits were down 21.8% to GBP 4.3 million (USD 8.2 million) as investment continued in outdoor.
At radio revenues were down 13.4% to GBP 20.1 million (USD 38.5 million) and down more than a third on the Virgin revenue of GBP 33.6 million (USD 64.3 million) when it bought the station in its Ginger Media Group purchase in 2000
SMG said advertising over the year had varied with an "encouraging" first quarter after which the quarters declined to "poorer", "patchy" and "very weak" but this year it expected a strong start with first quarter revenues up around 8%.
Virgin Radio's operating profits were down 41% to GBP 4.3 million (USD 8.2 million).
In a statement Chief Executive Andrew Flanagan said the "recovery in advertising markets, a strengthened balance sheet and a return to revenue growth made 2004 an important year for SMG."
"With the advertising recovery now established, our strong media brands can capitalize on their healthy market positions to accelerate growth," he added. "We've already seen encouraging revenue trends in 2005 so far and the excellent business development opportunities we've identified are set to further boost SMG's growth."
Flanagan also attacked the level of GBP 100 million bid (USD 192 million) for Virgin Radio from a consortium led by Labour Peer Lord Waheed Alli as unrealistic and said the station had "huge potential" under its current management.
The station is valued at GBP 160 million (USD 306 million) on SMG's books and Flanagan told the UK Guardian neither the peer nor the company's major shareholders had spoken to him about the offer since it was tabled.
"Alli has not come back to us," Mr Flanagan said. "He put in a number to us. We rejected that, but nothing has changed From our point of view, unless he has something to say or is more realistic about the value, there's nothing more to be said. There has been mudslinging but there's nothing further to say."
Flanagan said the company's valuation was supported "by a detailed valuation of future revenue streams, and it's supported by the opinions of investment banks. It's a very robust calculation" and continued, "What may or may not be offered to you is a different discussion. This business has huge potential and it's up to us to deliver that and demonstrate the paucity of the offer by Waheed Alli."
Regarding Virgin's problems and future he said it had suffered because it was dependent on national advertising and local advertising had been more robust and also because its main national signal is on AM - it also broadcasts on FM in London and digital nationally.
"AM decline is something we knew about when we bought into the business," he commented. "We expect digital to replace that. "We think we have a very strong position in the digital market. We're already established as a national player and we will benefit from the significant step up in sound quality."
The company's challenge is to "migrate our AM audience on to digital as fast as we can", said Flanagan. "Even though there's more competition in the digital world there's the huge strength of Virgin brand."
Virgin has been developing its digital offerings - Virgin Classic Rock and Virgin Radio Groove were launched last year on a London digital multiplex and the Internet and are also available on mobile phones under a deal announced earlier this month (See RNW Mar 3). It has also just launched a podcast service for the Virgin breakfast show (See Below).
Despite SMG's presentation speculation continues about a possible takeover and/ or break up of the business to which Flanagan responded, "You cannot stop people coming to you but one thing we are not about is selling assets on the cheap."
UK Guardian report:
2005-03-11: In more US radio results, Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) reported final quarter revenues up 30% on a year earlier to USD 45.8 million, well above its high-teens guidance, with full year revenues up 16% to USD 156.4 million.
Operating Income from continuing operations before depreciation and amortization for the quarter was up 27% to USD15.7 million compared to guidance of low double-digit growth and for the full year it was up 34% to USD 54.9 million.
Pro forma same station revenues were up 32% for the quarter to USD 45.4 million and 16% for the year to USD 155.5 million and overall SBS reported an Income (loss) from continuing operations before income taxes and discontinued operations of USD 16.1 million for the year, more than five times the USD 2.7 million for 2003 and for the quarter turned a loss of USD 518,000 into a positive USD 9.97 million, including a USD 5.46 million gain on station sales.
Chairman and CEO Raúl Alarcón, Jr., said "Our fourth quarter and full year 2004 results were the strongest in the radio industry, reflecting our success in implementing virtually all of our strategic, financial and operating initiatives. Leveraging our immensely popular content and strong ratings, all of our core stations posted impressive revenue growth, with our Miami, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago markets all generating double-digit gains."
"We are making notable progress in reducing the Hispanic media industry ratings and revenue gap across our markets, while translating these gains into improving cash flows," he added.
"Looking ahead, we have never been in a better position to take advantage of the rapid growth of our audience and we are very optimistic about the growth prospects for our company."
Denver headquartered NextMedia has reported final quarter 2004 revenues up 9.3% on a year earlier to USD 30.5 million and full year revenues up 7.7% on 2003 to USD 115.2 million but after an impairment loss of USD 14.6 million in the quarter operating income was turned from a positive USD 5.8 million to a loss of USD 9.1 million and for the year a positive USD 21.6 million became an operating loss of USD 11.6 million after impairment charges of USD 31.6 million
Overall NextMedia's net income of USD 1.1 million in the final quarter of 2003 became a net loss of USD 13.6 million and for the year net income of USD 9.5 million in 2003 became a net loss of USD 37.9 million.
Pro-forma net revenues for the final quarter were up 5.5% overall to USD 30.5 million and for radio were up 3% to USD 21.1 million but for outdoor they fell 2.1% to USD 9.4 million: For the year pro-forma net revenues in total were up 3.1% to USD 117.3, for radio they were up 4.2% to USD 32.1% and for outdoor they fell 7.4% to USD 13.8%.
NextMedia said overall Broadcast Cash Flow was up 1.33% in the final quarter to USD 11.9 million with pro-forma BCF up 0.8% to USD 12 million and radio pro-forma BCF up 5.5% to USD 21.1 million whilst for the year BCF was up 8.4% to USD43.9 million, pro forma BCF was up 0.4% to USD 45.9 million and radio pro forma BCF was up 4.2% to USD 32.1 million.
Looking ahead, NextMedia says it expects first quarter 2005 net revenue between USD 25.4 and USD 25.6 million with BCF between USD 8.1 million and USD8.4 million.
Previous Spanish Broadcasting System:
2005-03-11: Leaders of UK broadcasting unions are to meet BBC management today to discuss re-organization plans that are to lead to the loss of thousands of jobs at the Corporation.
Although they have said they will oppose the moves, trades unions have still not announced details of their plans to counter the BBC re-organization in which the corporation has announced that in a first stage 980 posts are to go and a further 750 be handed over to new employers in outsourcing deals from the 3,200 strong professional services union. The broadcasting union BECTU says up to 420 more staff in support roles in programme-making divisions and other BBC offices will also face redundancy or outsourcing under the plans.
They are being announced as part of action being taken to meet 15% cuts on programme-making departments announced by the Corporation in December last year, when it was said that some 2,900 jobs were to go.
Staff were told of the plans in a video from BBC Director-General Mark Thompson and a statement from the Corporation said the "first round" cuts together with "savings from better procurement " would release GBP 139 Million (USD 267 million) a year by 2008 "to reinvest in to programmes."
The division in which the cuts are being made include Strategy & Distribution; Policy & Legal; Finance, Property & Business Affairs; BBC People (HR) and Marketing, Communications & Audiences.
Thompson told staff the BBC governors had endorsed the plans but would consider these and further savings plans from the content and output divisions as a whole at their meeting next week before giving final approvals.
He said in the statement," In December I talked about the creative prize for the BBC and our audiences - but the cost is nothing short of transformation. We have made a strong start, showing we are serious about change and ensuring we are maximizing the value of our income for audiences' benefit."
"We need to make the BBC a simpler, more agile operation, ready to take the creative lead in a very different, very challenging digital future."
The unions have already threatened that compulsory redundancies and said sell-offs will be challenged by any means at their disposal, including industrial action.
Negotiators are due to meet senior BBC executives today with a further high-level meeting likely on March 21, when unions have been warned that announcements could be made about cuts in programme-making areas.
A National Union of Journalists spokesman, expressing deep disappointment, commented of the announcement, "The Corporation is promising so much to the Government but is not delivering anything to the staff."
2005-03-11: Harry Smith, the CBS TV Early Show anchor, has taken over the daily news and comment radio spot on the CBS News Radio Network that had been the province of Evening News anchor Dan Rather for two decades.
Rather stepped down from his anchor role on Wednesday night and broadcast his last Dan Rather Reporting radio the same day and .
Harry Smith Reporting began on Thursday.
Smith worked in radio at KHOW and KIMN in Denver and WLW in Cincinnati before joining Denver public TV station KRMA-TV and then moving to the CBS Denver affiliate KMGH-TV then to CBS news.
2005-03-11: SMG-owned Virgin Radio is now offering a podcast of the "best of" its "Pete and Geoff" (Pete Mitchell and Geoff Lloyd) Breakfast Show, the first UK radio station to offer podcast of a daily show although the BBC offers a podcast of its Saturday morning Radio Five Live "Fighting Talk" quiz show.
This was set up following a trial last year of an offer of MP3 files of Melvyn Bragg's Radio 4 show, In Our Time (See RNW Dec 18, 2004) and an earlier offer by the BBC of the Reith lectures as MP3s. The Reith lectures are no longer offered as MP3 files although they are still available in streaming audio on the BBC Radio 4 Listen-again site.
The Virgin podcast, which runs half-an-hour, only includes comments by the hosts, not the music they play, and has been sponsored by the government Central Office of Information and online travel company Expedia.
Previous Pete and Geoff:
BBC Radio Five Fighting Talk site:
Virgin podcast site:
2005-03-10: Emmis's WQHT-FM ( Hot 97) in New York, which has not yet got over the row over its tsunami song parody that led to the disciplining of its morning team is not in a new row, this time following a shooting incident at the station that has led the landlords to clamp down on visitors.
The building that houses the station is owned by the New York carpenters' union which, according to a report in the New York Daily News, has now said that visiting artists will only be allowed to take one person to the station with them.
It also wants a week's advance notice of who is to visit the station so that if can "call in the cops, hire extra security or rent a metal detector if necessary" according to the paper.
Union lawyer Brian O'Dwyer told the paper, "We are deeply concerned about the safety of our tenants and their employees. We've received numerous complaints from other tenants that they fear for their safety."
The row follows an incident at the end of last month when there was shootout outside Hot 97 following interviews with rapper 50 Cent and his former protégé The Game and there was also shooting outside the station four years earlier when the crews of Lil' Kim and rap duo Capone-N-Noreaga clashed following back-to-back appearances at the station.
A Hot 97 spokesman said the broadcaster's lawyers were reviewing the union's letter and had no comment.
New York Daily News report:
2005-03-10: UK Chrysalis Group, which has reported poor ratings and advertising leading to concern about its likely figures, has said in a pre-close trading update before it releases its interim results until the end of February (due on May 9) that its trading expectations remain in line with its previous announcements.
In a statement it referred to the impact of a "decline in audience figures and volatility in the national advertising market during the October to December quarter of 2004" on Chrysalis radio but said radio advertising improved during the first two months of this year.
"Revenue expectations for the full year," it added, "therefore, remain in line with the update given at the time of the Q4 2004 Rajar survey in January."
Regarding other divisions it said "Chrysalis Music has had a good start to the current financial year" and its Books Division was trading in line with budget.
Chrysalis stock fell heavily for a while in January following the release of ratings but then recovered (See RNW Jan 29).
2005-03-10: Christopher Lydon, who formerly hosted WBUR-FM, Boston, public station's "The Connection" until a row about his taking a share in the show (See RNW Mar 3, 2001) , is to return to the city's airwaves with a new show, "Open Source'' that will be co-produced by rival public station WGBH-FM and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. No firm start date has been set for the launch, although this is expected in the string.
The one-hour programme will be syndication nationally in the US by Public Radio International and broadcast on WGBH and the University station WUML-FM from Mondays through Thursdays: It will initially come from WGBH but is to move to WUML next after the latter's studios have been upgraded.
Lydon is also to also host a local student-produced program focusing on Lowell and the Merrimack Valley on Fridays from 7 to 8 p.m. and will work with the University to design a new communications major, contribute to WUML programming, staff training and student recruitment, help create a student-produced local radio program, and appear in University advertising.
University executive director of public affairs Louis DiNatale said of the arrangement, "We are extremely fortunate that Christopher Lydon has agreed to bring his professional expertise and unique vision to the University. His national show will not only attract more listeners to WUML radio, it also will provide a valuable resource for developing and expanding communications opportunities for more students on campus."
"'Open Source'", he added, "is designed as a broad-ranging civic and cultural conversation that will take unique advantage of the transformation of media - particularly the new range and freedom afforded by the Internet in combination with terrestrial broadcasting. It is expected to push the customary barriers of format, politics, participation and excellence in the new media."
Since Lydon left WBUR he has been involved in various guest-host and internet roles but his former show did not suffer in the ratings from his departure.
Previous Public Radio International:
2005-03-10: Tribune Co. has named Tom Langmyer, former vice president/general manager of KMOX-AM in St. Louis and national vice president/programming for Infinity Broadcasting's 10 news/talk radio stations, as VP/general manager of WGN-AM to replace Mark Krieschen who left last month (See RNW Feb 9).
Steve Carver, vice president and general manager of WATL-TV in Atlanta, who also oversees WGN for Tribune and led the search for the new GM, commented, "Tom's knowledge of the news-talk-sports format and his experience in managing a market-leading station make him an excellent fit for WGN. He is a proven leader who understands the Midwest region. He'll do a terrific job at leading the strong team at WGN."
Langmyer, who takes up his new post on March 21, said he was honoured to "be a part of Tribune and WGN, a Chicago institution", saying WGN is "Chicago's premier radio station and is respected nationally for having the finest broadcasters, a commitment to local programming and a strong dedication to community service."
The move is only one of a series in Chicago where executive employment has been unusually unstable this year. At classic rock WLUP-FM (the Loop), recently acquired by Emmis, veteran programmer Tim Dukes takes over as Program Director on Thursday: He was based in Atlanta where he was regional vice president programming for Clear Channel, overseeing its stations in Atlanta, Columbus and Macon, Georgia, and from last month had been a consultant to Commonwealth Broadcasting.
At Clear Channel's Gospel WGRB-AM, Mike Robinson has now been formally named as Program Director: Formerly assistant PD, he stepped in as interim PD last month after the company fired Sandra Robinson, who is not related to him, over suggestions of payola (See RNW Feb 19).
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-03-10: Latest Arbitron-comScore internet ratings, which include Live 365 for the first time, show that in January this year weekday listening, even including the new subscriber, was down on December 2004 by 5.7% with the previously rated networks showing falls from 10.5% to 20%.
The total listening overall from 06:00 to midnight was up 0.13% to 4,892,300 but that for weekdays down 5.7% to 2,798,800.
Rankings among the networks rated were unchanged as Live 365 came in at the bottom spot.
Leader Yahoo had a cumulative audience of 1,154,300 and AQH of 246,300 down 14.6%, for weekdays 06:00 to 19:00 and 2,074,400 and 189,100 respectively, down 8% for Monday to Sunday 06:00 to midnight.
Second ranked AOL had a cumulative audience of 1,094,100 and AQH of 117,800 down 10.6%, for weekdays 06:00 to 19:00 and 1,995,700 and 83,500 respectively, down 5.8% for Monday to Sunday 06:00 to midnight.
In third rank MSN services had a cumulative audience of 385,500 and AQH of 40,700 down 19.9%, for weekdays 06:00 to 19:00 and 473,300 and 23,500 respectively, down 24% for Monday to Sunday 06:00 to midnight.
Live 365 in its debut had a cumulative audience of 290,000 and AQH of 31,400 for weekdays 06:00 to 19:00 and 438,000 and 20,500 respectively.
Previous Arbitron-comScore ratings:
2005-03-09: Conservative "Christian and family" oriented US broadcaster Salem has reported 2004 revenues up 10% on 2003 59 USD 187.5 million with fourth quarter revenues up 7.8% on a year earlier to USD 49.3 million: It had net income for the year of USD 7.3 million (29 cents per diluted share) compared to a 2003 loss of USD 700,000 (three cents a share) that included a loss, net of income tax benefit, of USD 4 million (17 cents a share) as a result of the early retirement of USD100.0 million of the company's 9.5% senior subordinated notes.
Station operating income was up 16.6% to USD71.6 million and up 6.0% to USD18.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2004 while same station net broadcasting revenue increased 9.8% to USD177.7 million and SOI increased 21.8% to USD70.9 million for full year 2004 and for the quarter was up 9.2% to USD43.3 million and 15.0% to USD17.9 million respectively.
President and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III said of the results that the "fourth quarter 2004 same station net broadcasting revenue and station operating income growth of 9.2% and 15.0%, respectively, will once again, significantly exceed the performance of the overall radio industry." "This strong performance," he continued, " is fuelled by growth at our start-up and developing stations, particularly at our News Talk stations, which achieved a 16.8% increase in same station net broadcasting revenue."
" The progress made in the News Talk segment of our business has further expanded our potential for future growth in 2005 and beyond. In 2004, we invested in new national programming talent with the addition of Bill Bennett, additional local news, traffic and weather content as well as in significant marketing and promotion of our News Talk stations. These investments resulted in an increase in same station listenership of more than 30% from 2003 to 2004."
In other US radio business, Emmis has declared a dividend of USD 0.78125per share of its 6.25% convertible preferred stock, which is convertible to Emmis Class A Common Stock at a rate of 1.28 shares of common stock per share.
In Baltimore, Infinity has now moved to the final stage of its USD 7.5 million sale of WBMD-AM and WBGR-AM with the posting by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of its approval of their transfer to Family Stations, Inc. that was announced last year.
A previous planned sale by Infinity five years ago to Expanse Communications fell down.
2005-03-09: The Capital-GWR merger that will create the UK's largest radio group has now passed another regulatory hurdle with a formal announcement by the Office of Fair Trading that the companies have now satisfied all the pre-conditions for the merger, which was approved in December last year subject to requiring Capital Radio to divest its East Midlands 106 Century FM station (See RNW Dec 23, 2004).
The merger still requires court sanction and formal approval by the shareholders of both companies of an agreed scheme of amendment and the companies say in a statement that they intend to post the merger documentation "as soon as practicable, at which time they will also each release trading updates in advance of the results for the periods to 31 March 2005."
Century is valued at around GBP 25 million (USD 48 million) and Capital, which says it has received a large number of offers, may opt either for a direct sale or station swap deal with another UK group.
2005-03-09: Attempts by the Hoosier Public Radio Corporation to force a number of school and college stations to share their broadcasting hours with it through a little-used Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule appear to be foundering.
Hoosier was attempting to use a rule saying other non-commercial or educational stations can apply for time sharing when the licence holder is on air for less than 12hours a day, an attempt seen by some observers as trying to get a toe in the door for the expected higher value of the licences when digital broadcasting has expanded the services they can offer (See RNW Sep 9, 2004).
Hoosier had applied for time sharing at various stations and had filed to oppose licence renewal but in decisions just released the FCC has so far shown Hoosier the door in all cases and has renewed the licences of American Family Association's WATI-FM, Vincennes; Carmel/Clay School's WBDG-FM, Wayne Township; Franklin Township Community School's WRFT-FM, Indianapolis; and South Madison Community School's WEEM-FM, Pendleton all in Indiana plus Western Kentucky University's WKPB-FM, Henderson, Kentucky.
The FCC has also announced formally that it is to review the licence transfer of a number of Oklahoma stations sold by Oklahoma Democrat Gene Stipe who had been convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice but has slapped the wrist of Andrew Jay Schwartzman of the Media Access Project for urging various commissioners and staff to overturn the Media Bureau decision to allow the sale.
The New York Times reported last month that the Commission was to review the decision (See RNW Feb 27), saying that when Schwartzman first queried the decision with FCC chairman Michael J Powell's office he was told Powell would not seek a review (Also Feb 27).
The stations involved are KESC-FM, Wilburton plus KMCO-FM, KNED-AM, KTMC-AM, and KTMC-FM, McAlester, and their sale by Little Dixie Radio, Inc. and Bottom Line Broadcasting to KESC Enterprises, LLC and Southeastern Oklahoma Radio, LLC was completed on January 28 with applications for renewal of the licences then filed on February 1.
In a joint statement Powell plus Democrat commissioners Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps note a call by the purchasers that they recuse themselves from taking part in the review because of the approaches made to them and their staffs by Schwartzman, an approach described by the two companies as prejudicial and impermissible intrusions into "the calculus of consideration of individual decision makers."
The three note that the FCC's Office of General Counsel is examining whether its rules were breached but say that it would be inappropriate to recuse themselves since this is only required when "there is a serious doubt about the agency's ability to act fairly and impartially" adding that "of particular importance in making that assessment is whether the ex parte communications contained information outside the record that the parties did not have an opportunity to rebut."
In this case, they say, the General Counsel's Office has directed that "all written ex parte presentations and summaries of all oral ex parte presentations" should be sent to the applicant companies and that this addresses the issue of potential prejudice.
They add that any individual commission may choose to recuse himself or herself from a proceeding but say "to take such action when there is no basis for doing so threatens to encourage unwarranted recusal requests and interfere with the efficient and effective functioning of the agency."
The FCC has also announced agreement of a consent decree with WVRM, Inc., licensee of non commercial educational Station WCNJ-FM, Hazlet, New Jersey, which it had been investigating over allegations that it had breached underwriting regulations. Under the agreement, the FCC ends it investigation and WVRM pays USD 10,000 to the US Treasury and sets up procedures and training to ensure future compliance with the rules.
Previous Media Access Project:
2005-03-09: European broadcaster SBS Broadcasting SA has reported 2004 net revenues up 17% to Euros 678 million (USD 897 million) and for the fourth quarter up 8% to Euros 211 million (USD 279 million).
Operating income for the year was up nearly 69% to Euros 72.9 million (USD 96.5 million) and for the quarter was up 66% to Euros 39 million (USD 51.8 million) and net income for 2004 was up from Euros 30 million (USD 40 million) in 2003, when it recorded a non-cash investment gain of Euros 29.2 million, to Euros 49.8 million (USD 65.9 million) including non-recurring investment gains of Euros 9.8 million and non-recurring tax benefits of Euros 9.9 million (Up from Euros 1.09 to 1.59 per share).
For the quarter, net income rose from Euros 2.6 million (USD 3.5 million) to Euros 37.6 million (USD 49.7 million), again including gains.
In divisional terms, SBS TV revenues were up 8% to Euros 42.1 million (USD 55.7 million); radio revenues were up 26% to Euros 12.0 million (USD 15.9 million) - mainly because of revenues from stations acquired in 2003; and revenues from print operations, which were acquired in September 2003m, totalled Euros 63.4 million (USD 83.9 million) compared to Euros 21 million (USD 27.8 million) in the four months to the end of 2003.
CEO Markus Tellenbach said the company's operating and financial performance "exceeded our expectations and we are in a strong position to build on those gains this year."
"In 2004 we continued to improve our operating performance while also investing in complementary activities to drive growth. As a result our revenue growth continues to outpace the market with increased viewing shares in most of our markets as we develop new revenue streams by leveraging our broadcasting assets."
..."During 2004 SBS acquired Romania's leading FM radio network Kiss FM, and FM radio network Radio Sta, bought subject to competition authorities' approval, from MG Media Group Holding S.A. for Euros 22.5 million (USD 33.7 million) and increased our ownership in its Swedish Radio operations from 51% to 59% through a cash capital contribution of Euros 4.4 million (USD 5.8 million)."
In addition, in Greece SBS SA is still involved in a fight over operation of its Athens station Lampsi FM following the October annulment by the Greek Council of State of all 15 of the country's four-year FM licences awarded by the Greek Ministry of Press and Mass Media in March 2002.
The decision could not be appealed under Greek law but SBS has filed a complaint with the EC Commission on the grounds that Greek rules on media ownership contravene EU law and is to follow this with a further complaint against a 2005 law adopted by Greece relating to disclosure of ownerships interests in Greek law. SBS says this change prevents any listed company from owning any part of an FM in the country.
SBS adds that the position under Greek law is unclear but that it expects all the stations to be able to continue on air until a new radio licence tender process is initiated and then, provided they participate in the tender, until new licences are awarded.
Previous SBS SA:
2005-03-09: Sirius has announced that it is to be offered as a factory-installed option on more automobiles starting from this month when it will be available on the new 2005 Volkswagen Jetta and later this year when it will become available on the new 2006 VW Passat: It is already available on the 2005 Beetle and Beetle Convertible.
It is also be available in the fall on the 2006 Mitsubishi Raider.
2005-03-09: Fuji TV, which made a JPY 5,950 (USD 57) a share tender offer for shares of Japanese radio broadcaster Nippon Broadcasting System (NBS) to stymie an attempt to take control of NBS by internet service provider Livedoor says that it has secured a 36.47% holding, comfortably above the third it needs to gain veto rights on changes.
Fuji said in a statement that it had planned to acquire 4,135,341 shares but in the end bought all the 7,896,354 tendered at a cost of JPY 47 billion yen (USD 447,000), taking its holding to 11,961,014 shares.
Livedoor, controlled by 32-years-old entrepreneur Takafumi Horie, had acquired 35% of NBS in a surprise raid last month and said it had subsequently increased its holding to 45% of the voting shares (See RNW Mar 6): Not all the shares of NBS carry voting rights and Fuji says its holding gives it 39.26% voting rights.
Had Livedoor gained control of NBS it would have acquired significant influence over Fuji TV, in which NBS is the largest shareholder with a 22.5% holding, and through that the larger Fujisankei Communications Group.
Now that Fuji has a 25% holding in NBS the two companies lose voting rights each other under a provision of the Japanese Commercial Code that kicks in once one company owns more than 25% of another.
It is also likely that NBS will be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange whose rules say that if the top ten shareholders hold more than 80% of outstanding shares for a year it has to be delisted and if the holdings exceed 90% it must be delisted immediately.
Amongst major NBS shareholders Tokyo Electric Power Co., Kansai Electric Power Co., Kodansha Ltd. and Dentsu Inc. were reported to have gone along with the Fuji bid but others including Toyota Motor Corporation and Asahi Breweries Ltd. held out on the basis of difficulty in explaining any decision to their own shareholders. Before the announcement was made, NBS shares had risen above the Fuji offer, closing at JPY 6,600 on Monday.
2005-03-08: UK media regulator Ofcom has awarded the new Belfast FM licence it advertised last year to UTV (Ulster Television) against competition from ten other applicants and that for Cornwall to Atlantic Broadcasting Ltd. against competition from seven other applicants (See RNW Dec 11, 2004).
The latter bid, Atlantic FM, was for a full service station specifically for Cornwall, featuring locally-focused news, information and speech content mixed with adult-oriented popular music for a broad audience with particular appeal for listeners aged 25-54 and the Belfast bid, U105, for a personality-led station offering topical speech and music, from the Gold era to the present day and aimed primarily at the over 45 age group in Belfast and the surrounding area. The station will broadcast on FM to Belfast and the surrounding area, and on the Freeview digital TV platform to all of Northern Ireland.
Commenting on the success, UTV Group Chief Executive John McCann said, "UTV has a demonstrable track record in providing successful local television and radio services. U105 will be part of this long-established, successful media group, operating to the highest standards of public company governance and regulatory compliance, with a strong balance sheet and a track record of excellent financial performance."
U105 chairman Roy Bailie added "We are absolutely thrilled to win this licence against stiff competition from local, national and international radio groups. U105 will appeal primarily to those aged over 45 living in Belfast and the surrounding area, an audience underserved by existing stations. Seven out of ten listeners in this age group do not currently listen to local commercial radio, and we plan to change that with U105, which aims to be on air by early 2006."
"The radio station will inherit immediately the brand strength of UTV which our research revealed will enhance early take-up and drive listener loyalty. Our plans include a substantial marketing budget of more than GBP 2 million (USD 3.8 million) to ensure U105 has a high profile and widespread awareness in its formative years."
The Belfast win was extra good news for UTV , which on Monday reported 2004 turnover up 18% to GBP 63.5 million (USD 121.6 million). Pre-tax profits up 28% before goodwill amortization to GBP 17.5 million (USD 33.5 million), up 46% after goodwill amortization to GBP 13.9 million (USD 26.6 million) and earnings per share were up 24% to 23.3 pence.
The increase was driven by TV, whose operating profit was up 29% to GBP 15.2 million (USD 29.1 million) on revenues up 16% whilst radio operating profit was flat at GBP 2.5 million (USD 4.8 million) on revenues up 8% as was new media operating profit of GBP 900,000 (USD 1.72 million) despite a 40% revenue increase.
UTV has been expanding its radio holdings - last month it completed the acquisition of the LMFM station serving Louth and Meath whose purchase it announced in December last year- and it also owns two FMs in Cork, an FM in Limerick and Q102 in Dublin as well as Juice FM in Liverpool: it is also a partner in Absolute Radio UK, a joint venture that also includes Absolute Radio International (ARI), and Eurocast (owned by five of Germany's private radio stations) and was set up to become a major player in UK radio market.
Also in the UK, Channel 4, the TV operator, is reported by Brand Republic to be set to buy a 51% interest in the Oneword digital speech radio station from UBC Media: Oneword broadcasts on the national Digital One multiplex plus satellite, terrestrial TV and cable platforms.
UBC agreed a development deal with Channel 4 last year (See RNW Sept 26, 2004) after taking control of Oneword by buying out its Hong Kong partner USI holdings and chief executive Simon Cole announced in July that it intended to take full control (See RNW Jul 25, 2004).
Brand Republic report:
2005-03-08: According to a Pew Research study just released, although US TV increased its dominance as the medium for news about the 2004 presidential election, the internet overtook radio as a source for Americans.
In all it says 37% of the adult population and 61% of online Americans - used the internet to get political news and information;
Network TV was said by 39% of those polled to be the medium from which they got most news of the campaign, whilst cable got a 37% vote and local TV 17% compared to 21%, 22% and 36% in the 2000 election [RNW note: the survey allowed multiple answers so percentages do not total 100]; In comparison Newspapers got a 39% unchanged vote; radio increased its figures from 15% to 17%; the internet took its share up from 11% to 18% and magazines' share fell from 4% to 3%.
More than half those who had internet access used it to get political news and the dominance of men over women decreased - 56% men to 44% women from a total of 36.5 million people in 2000 had become 53% to 47% from 63 million by 2004.
Unsurprisingly use of the internet increased with income and educational attainments and the main reason given for going online was convenience, with mainstream news web sites getting most use, although many also said that it allowed them to get information they would not otherwise be able to obtain.
Questioned about the media they used regularly US National Public Radio was cited as a frequent source by 15%, a service they listened to sometimes by 18% and one they listened to rarely or never by 66%: In comparison the local TV figures were 66%, 18% and 16%; network TV evening news got 45%, 25% and 28%; newspapers 51%, 20% and 29% and Rush Limbaugh 5%, 11% and 83%.
Pew report (33 page 650kb PDF):
2005-03-08: English DJ Tommy Vance has died aged 63 after a a stroke: His radio career began in Seattle in the early 60s and included work on UK pirate radio as it ended and BBC Radio 1 when it began.
Vance, born Richard Anthony Crispian Francis Prue Hope-West, worked at KOL in Seattle under the name Rick West after ending up on the US West Coast following a spell in the British merchant navy and took the name by which he became best known after the station signed an American DJ called Tommy Vance, who subsequently changed his mind and decided not to join.
Vance moved to KHJ in Los Angeles in 1965 and then returned to Britain, thus escaping the risk of being drafted for the Vietnam War, working first on the pirate station Radio Caroline South and then, following the protests of his then-wife about not being able to see him most of the time, joined Radio Luxembourg.
This did not suit him and he then briefly joined another pirate station Radio London before moving to BBC Radio 1 where he worked with the late John Peel on Top Gear.
He also he released several records, including covers of the Rolling Stones' Off The Hook and Herman's Hermits' Silhouettes.
When commercial radio was launched in Britain in 1973 he joined Capital Radio and then moved back to the BBC where he presented the Radio 1 Friday Rock Show for some 15 years as well as hosting the Sunday afternoon Top 40 Countdown for a couple of years and also hosting shows for BBC Radio London and the British Forces Broadcasting Service.
He moved to Virgin Radio in 1993 and started to develop his TV career, which included work on the VH1 digital channel. His latest radio work was with the digital Virgin Classic Rock station and he also did voiceover work as well as continuity announcing for BBC Radio 2.
DJ Dave Cash, who worked with Vance at Radio Caroline, Radio 1 and Capital Radio, told BBC Radio Kent, "He was a very private guy, but to his friends he was great, you could always rely on him. He's a bit like John Peel and Kenny Everett - he's irreplaceable, he was a total professional. Tommy was part of the group that actually cared about the music he was playing."
2005-03-07: Yet again last week was not a positive one for US terrestrial radio in most of the comment we noted in print, and certainly not in the column, "All Hail The Death Of Radio" by Mark Morford of the San Francisco Chronicle.
His first words - "Corporate radio sucketh, whole and large and true" -set the tone and the following paragraphs filled in with more " There is not a single person out there right now who is listening to any of the one zillion lifeless Clear Channel or Infinity-owned rock stations anywhere in the nation who is saying to themselves, gosh this KLOG station is just exceptionally good and clever and smart and plays amazingly fresh music and makes me want to listen all the time and oh my God I am so going to pick up the phone right now and try to be the 157th caller so I can win tickets to go see Dave Matthews live in Portland! Woo! "
" This is the problem with rock radio. It has become the last option, the thing you listen to only when all other options fail, when you're too tired to pop in a CD or too lazy to reach for the iPod or just a little too buzzed on premium tequila and post-coital nirvana to care about searching your glove box for that old AC/DC tape."
" It has become background noise, something you leave on just to keep you from falling asleep as you drive to Sacramento, more ads than music and more generic than electrifying, a nearly dead form that lost its spark about 15 years ago and that is quickly giving way to Sirius and XM and your ability to burn your own custom-mix CDs for pennies apiece and listen to them for three days and throw them away and burn a new one."
Which, of course sets up Morford for comments about other options such as the I-pod and podcasting until suddenly " when lo and behold the one remaining decent alt-rock station in the Bay Area, Live 105, was playing a new song by a red-hot band called Kasabian...And I was all, whoa, this is good, followed by hey wait, this is on the radio, followed by wow, radio actually introduced me to an excellent piece of new music I've never heard, followed by the realization that this hasn't happened since about, oh, 1996, followed by the sad recognition that only a handful of major-station radio gems remain on the dial anywhere in the country, stations that still fly their flags of ragged independence like beacons in a wasteland of sameness and blandness and endless replays of Beyoncé and Eric Clapton and Sting, while the FCC stands behind them all like a psychotic nun with a giant ruler and a deep scowl and callused nipples."
Later he continues with the theme that indicates value for radio "We are now ushering in, like it or not, the era of random choice, of TiVo and iPod and all-custom content all the time. Which is, of course, fabulous. But also, not The eternal argument still stands: We still need content filters. We still want cool all-knowing ever winking authorities, music-drunk or media-drenched experts who know a bit more than us and who have their cultural s-together."
For many, of course, the technological developments and their likely impact are the story as in an analysis, "The New Radio Revolution" in Business Week by the trio of Heather Green, its Internet editor, Tom Lowry, its media editor, and reporter Catherine Yang.
The article asks, to use its own words, "How fast is technology turning radio upside down?" and goes on to consider the implications of new competitors on US terrestrial radio, all driven by the change to digital and including various ways to access music, podcasting, on-demand audio services, and satellite radio.
Of Podcasting, it comments, "For all the hullabaloo it's generating, podcasting is not even close to being a business yet" and continues, "Maybe a few will come up with a way to make a living doing it. Maybe not. Regardless, a trend is afoot that could transform the USD 21 billion radio industry. Consider the basics: With no licenses, no frequencies, and no towers, ordinary people are busy creating audio programming for thousands of others. They're bypassing an entire industry."
They note the ambitions of podcasters, some of whom are gaining sponsorship from large companies, and the involvement of some major broadcasters including the BBC and Boston public station WGBH-FM and also talk of the threat from other sources such as satellite radio.
The article notes the write-downs by Viacom of USD 10.9 billion of the book value of Infinity and by Clear Channel of USD 4.5 billion and suggests that much of the appeal of these options is down partly to self-inflicted wounds by the big groups - "Listeners," they write, "increasingly bored by the homogeneous programming and ever-more-intrusive advertising on commercial airwaves, are simply tuning out and finding alternatives.
They quote Rishad Tobaccowala, chief innovation officer at Publicis Groupe Media, as saying, "Radio pissed on their own product and then cluttered it up."
"As digital forms of radio proliferate," they say, "listeners will enjoy an abundance of new programming -- but much of it still lacks a proven business model. What's more, even tested radio businesses could see ad revenues wither as new rivals snatch away listeners."
For radio to make money, says Business Week, "execs must be as innovative with the business model as they are with technology. Satellite is losing money, but its subscription approach is expected to pay off in a couple of years. Now, Net radio players and cellular services are experimenting with subscriptions, too."
"It's possible to imagine people paying monthly fees to hear programming-on-demand on the phone, PC, or in the car. Listeners could buy a song they hear on the radio with the click of a button. Companies could sell subscriptions and place ads inside customized traffic information, weather reports, or sports tickers. "This is the tyranny of choice," says Fred Jacobs, founder of radio industry consultant Jacobs Media. "Companies need to rethink the competitive scenarios and take risks."
Even though satellite has not made a major dent in terrestrial radio audiences overall, it is having impact where it counts financially according to Lehman Brothers analyst William Meyers who estimates that since many satellite listeners listen during the daily commute, the most lucrative hours, satellite alone will cut traditional radio revenue growth after 2006 to 2.5% from 4%.
The biggest hope for terrestrial radio it says is going digital because iBiquity's HD system, which has been adopted in the US, will allow broadcasters to offer more channels and also add functions allowing storage of programming for later replay and also provide on-demand content such as traffic and weather information: For that to happen, though, it says the price of receivers will have to fall drastically and the auto companies will have to be convinced to offer factory-installed HD and satellite has a head start in this area.
The article closes on a cautious note by quoting Emmis CEO Jeffrey H. Smulyan as noting the past changes that radio has survived and saying, "I feel good about the radio business" and then concludes, "On one point, he's right to be optimistic. Thanks to the new technology, more people than ever will be creating and listening to audio programming in coming years. But the radio industry, a members-only club for the best part of a century, is turning into a free-for-all.
Randy Dotinga in his column for the North County Times also takes up the issue of technological change and its likely impact. He comments on the way the VCR and later TiVo affected TV viewing though offering the ability to view when you wanted and went on, "And the land of radio? It's been stuck in a time warp. If you wanted to tune in to your favourite morning show at noon instead of 6 a.m., you'd have to fiddle with a handful of blank cassette tapes."
Podcasting is seen by Dotinga as an audio equivalent of TiVo and he suggests that, by making it easy for people to choose and control what they listen to, it could have one of two effects - helping "old broadcasters gain a new audience" or by making it easier for people to control how they listen "remind people why they hate the creatively challenged world of radio in the first place."
Dotinga also notes that, in the US anyway, stations are already considering charging for podcasts but suggests that the core question on how it affects the future of radio comes in how it affects listening.
"On the one hand, it could allow people to avoid ever hearing something new," he writes. "Or it could make the eclectic world of Internet radio more accessible, potentially hurting terrestrial radio stations."
Outside the US, radio isn't faring that badly and it was noticeable that in much of the comment about government plans to renew the BBC Charter and licence fee funding last week that radio was getting the positive comment whilst TV got the brickbats.
One such comment we noted from Christopher Howse in the UK Telegraph buried in a comment generally hostile to the BBC read, "But the programmes most worth preserving with the £3.7 billion, are the ones that are not watched at all. I mean radio programmes. Television without advertisements may let you park your little children in front of it without their toddling up to you a few minutes later and demanding some sweet drink that looks like it is coloured with Sudan 1, but music on radio is the pure serene only if it is free from annoying ads for car insurance. Everyone who works for Radio 4 might well vote Labour, but the Today programme remains agreeably English in a way that breakfast television is disagreeably English."
..." The whole day's programming on Radio 4 informs and entertains in a Reithian manner lost to a television mentality that chases the tat ratings, even on public service channels."
[RNW note: There is now no requirement for a radio licence in the UK since BBC radio is subsidised from the charges for the compulsory licence for receiving TV: The fee is GBP 121 (USD 233) a year for a colour TV and a third of that for a black and white TV.
Of that latest BBC figures were have seen are that all its radio services combined cost around GBP 1.20 (USD 2.30) a month/ GBP 14.40 (USD 27.70) a year, a figure that covers its five national analogue channels, seven national digital channels, local radio services and online streaming.]
Another tribute, albeit with a very slight barb, to British radio - or rather BBC radio - cam from Paul Donovan in his UK Sunday Times Radio Waves column.
Writing of comedy on radio he comments, "Tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of the start of Round the Horne, best remembered for the deliberate and delicious mincing effeminacy of Hugh Paddick and Kenneth Williams - "Hallo, I'm Julian and this is my friend Sandy" - and one of the best-loved shows of all time. True, the day will be marked, on the invaluable digital station BBC7, by Maureen Lipman's witty tribute, The Bona History of Julian and Sandy."
"But does it serve mainly to remind us that never again will radio produce classics of the calibre of The Goon Show, Hancock's Half Hour, Beyond Our Ken and the rest, and thus induce not laughter but melancholia? Is there no radio made now that will still be enjoyed in 40 years' time? "
" To those gloomy souls who e-mail me to that effect, and there are many, I would say the following. Radio will never again produce comedies that attract ratings of 10m (The Clitheroe Kid), 12m (Educating Archie) and 20m (ITMA) because, breakfast aside, only television now gets mass audiences." "Second, radio has created many modern successes (including Room 101, Goodness Gracious Me and Little Britain), though they tend to migrate to the screen, and nobody can know whether they will be dragged from the archives in 2045."
"Third, hundreds of thousands of Radio 4 listeners still enjoy a show that sparkles as brightly as when it began nearly 40 years ago, in 1967. Just a Minute is, with the exception of Desert Island Discs, the most perfect programme for radio yet devised."
"Listen to Pam Ayres talking for a whole minute at midday today about her five-toed hen, without repetition, deviation or hesitation, and you will see that there is no reason it should not go on for another 38 years. Its panel is inevitably changed every so often, sometimes after the death of panellists such as Kenneth Williams, and the BBC brings in people such as Ross Noble or the best-selling Berkshire poetess."
The barb - "The real omission from today's output is satire - not the lightly amusing Punt and Dennis variety, but the savage style of Hogarth. The last really vicious joke I heard was on Week Ending in 1989, suggesting that Margaret Thatcher's last orgasm occurred on the night the Belgrano was sunk. At the time, I thought that was disgusting, and still do. But, what with Guantanamo torture and Britain becoming like Burma and introducing house arrest, maybe it is time once again for the knife to be both inserted and turned."
Which is of course a cue for our first recommendations for listening -- The Bona History of Julian and Sandy which airs on BBC 7 today at 08:30 GMT with repeats at 22:00 and 03:00 GMT Tuesday and Just a Minute from BBC Radio 4 - last week's edition with Pam Ayres, Julian Clary, Clement Freud, and Tony Hawks is still on the Listen Again part of the web site until this evening when at 18:30 GMT the latest edition features Tony Hawks, Chris Neill, Tim Rice, and Linda Smith.
Also in terms of comedy, at 12:50 GMT with a 19:40 repeat, Radio 4 each day this week has Victoria Goes to Ambridge, a week of spoof episodes of the BBC Radio 4 Archers soap written for the British Comic Relief charity effort; on Wednesday at 18:30 has the first in a new series of Clare in the Community and on Friday, also in the 18:30 GMT slot is The News Quiz.
Still with comedy and tomorrow at 11:30 GMT Radio 4 has Kington's Anatomy of Comedy, the first of a three-part series in which the humorist looks at why people laugh and how you get them to do it.
It is preceded at 11:00 GMT with a programme of considerable charm - A Bird Singing in the Dark - in which three blind people aided by fellow students from the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford use their hearing to map the territories of birds and bats in the 25 acres of grounds.
Sticking with Radio 4, tomorrow at 09:00 GMT in the Long View, Jonathan Freedland, historian Justin Champion, actor John Sessions and Don Horrocks of the Evangelical Alliance, look at the tensions between moral and religious outrage and freedom of expression, taking their starting point from Jeremy Collier's pamphlet A Short View of Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage, which was published in 1698 and had a profound effect n Restoration drama.
It makes quite a good companion to the station's Crossing Continents that tonight at 20:30 GMT looks at the introduction of creationism into the science curriculum of the high school at Dover in Pennsylvania.
Crossing continents geographically the ABC Australia Media Watch programme last week (available on the Internet complete with a transcript) looks at plans by the BBC to make its archive available for creative re-use with a pilot probably due by the end of this year - but only within the UK - and also an interview with the former chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, Professor David Flint, who has written a book "Malice in Medialand."
A conservative, the Professor stumbles considerably when brought to task by interviewer Richard Aedy and its hard not to conclude that his political bias has affected his ability to imbibe facts and wonder how he became a Professor - until that is you realize it was a Law Professor and then wonder even more if the assumption is that a good lawyer should be prepared to counter arguments from an opposing point of view.
Also from the ABC, last week's Background Briefing looked at boycotts of Australian wool organized by animal rights protestors who object to the practice of mulesing -- removal of wool-bearing skin from the crutch of a sheep to control fly strike - that the protestors consider to be brutal and that is illegal in Britain.
Back in the UK BBC Radio 2 tomorrow at 20:30 GMT starts a four-part documentary The Artie Shaw Story and on Saturday in its hour of comedy cum variety at 13:00 GMT has Jammin followed by the Lee Mack Show.
And then finally BBC Radio 3, which on Sunday had its World Music Awards (now available on the web site barring technical problems), which certainly had variety.
ABC Australia Radio National site
Business Week - New Radio Revolution:
North County Times - Dotinga:
San Francisco Chronicle - Morford:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Telegraph - Howse:
2005-03-07: Former and again to be British DJ Chris Evans says in an interview in the UK Sunday Times that, despite being paid GBP 75 million (currently USD 145 million) for his share of Ginger Media Group when it was taken over by SMG in 2000: he also confesses in the interview to exposing himself, something he still apparently finds amusing, and to having had nightmares until recently.
The question of debt, according to his accountant, who is also quoted in the article, is not one of being broke but of his spending money when he did not have cash available: "Chris being Chris, he bought a couple of properties, and his money is tied up in shares and other properties, and he had to take on bank borrowing to buy them," said Kirit Doshi of Spiro Bentley.
"'Is he now out of debt?' We are about to close on the sale of a couple of properties to clear the debts, yes. His assets are way, way in excess of his debts."
"'Can I put an accurate figure on what he is worth?'"
" The accountant laughs. "I don't think I should tell you. But let us say it's in excess of GBP 25million (USD 48 million).
And as for his habit of thinking his body worth displaying, the article says, "And then there is his willy, which Evans uses as a business tool. At Ginger Media Group, which owned Virgin Radio and the television shows, the boss was in the habit of interrupting meetings by standing up to pull down his tracksuit bottoms, revealing an erection with the words 'What's that all about, then?' He would also wander naked into the general office to ask for a glass of water."
"Questioned about this, he is far more relaxed than when discussing nightmares. 'If you get your willy out, it's the funniest thing in the world,' he says. "
"Everybody laughs - everyone of our generation. I wouldn't do it in front of my mum, for example. Girls love it; boys - 'Oh, I can't believe you did that.' It also takes the night to a new level. I actually haven't done it for a while. But I will do it again."
The paper in a news report says friends have traced Evans' habit of exposing himself to the death of his father from colon cancer when he was 13 and says the first known incident came soon afterwards when he dropped his trousers during a geography lesson at school.
Working on his own shows, Evans would expose himself to staff who had annoyed him.
It reports that he once commented to producer Fiona Cotter-Craig of his penis, "I bet you haven't seen one of those for a long while."
She commented, "It was very unpleasant. It was at eye-level, inches away from my face." The paper notes that such actions could amount of an offence of indecent exposure with intent to insult a female under the 1824 Vagrancy Act, an offence that can carry a penalty of up to three months' imprisonment and also notes that an employee in such circumstances could potentially resign and claim constructive dismissal.
RNW comment: Evans, who will be 40 next year, seems to us to need another kind of Willy - the William Whitelaw (former British Home Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister amongst other things) who used to warn former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher when her ideas were likely to be seen as going much to far and thus protect her from her own follies.
He is currently riding a wave after his success in hosting the UK Radio Aid tsunami event with further radio shows due on BBC Radio 2 and possibly commercial radio (See RNW Mar 5) but his record with his TV production has been far from outstandingly successful. That could all collapse very quickly if he ran low on money and foul of any laws.
Evans in our view certainly has talent, albeit it's not talent we personally rate particularly highly, but he won't hone those talents if his main input is from sycophants.
UK Sunday Times - Evans feature:
UK Sunday Times - Evans news report:
2005-03-06: Last week was fairly quiet for the regulators with the main story being in the political-disciplinary ruling in Australia where more complaints against the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) over its cover of the Iraq war were upheld although even now the total upheld is only a third of those made by former Australian Communications Minister Richard Alston: Elsewhere matters were fairly well routine.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority(ABA) as noted upheld four of its five draft findings leaked last year that the ABC's AM radio programme breached the ABC Code of Practice in broadcasts on the Iraq war (See RNW Mar 2)
It also announced that it was to make channel capacity available to improve radio services in the Wagga Wagga region of New South Wales, the Rockhampton/Gladstone area of Queensland and allocated a new community licence in Queensland.
The Wagga Wagga changes involve making an FM frequency available at Tumut for the existing commercial FM service, 2WZD-FM, Wagga Wagga; made FM channel capacity available to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in the South West Slopes/Eastern Riverina area for a future national radio service to the region; increased the power of the community radio service in Tumut from 10 W to 20 W and made technical specifications available to allow the existing community radio service 2AAA to relocate its transmitter site in the future to alleviate reception difficulties in its coverage area. It has also decided to make FM channel capacity available for a high power (10kW) open narrowcasting radio service at Wagga Wagga to be allocated in the future.
In Queensland, the changes involve making FM capacity available to Rockhampton commercial radio services 4RO-AM, 4RGK-FM and 4ROK-FM at Biloela to enable them to resolve reception deficiencies in Biloela; at Agnes Water for commercial service 4CC-FM; and FM channel capacity for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Rockhampton and Gladstone for future national radio services.
The community licence allocated went to Bidjara Media & Broadcasting Company Ltd (BM&B), the sole applicant for a permanent community licence in Charleville: It had already been operating a service on the allocated frequency under a temporary community licence.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), was involved in a number of radio decisions. They included (in order of province):
*Denial of application to add transmitters at Penticton and Vernon for CILK-FM, Kelowna. The applications had been opposed by other broadcasters with services at Penticton and Vernon and Kelowna, who expressed concern that approval would be a step towards a back-door entry into the two markets.
The CRTC agreed with the concerns and noted that if the applications were to be approved, the applicant indicated an interest in introducing local programming into the Penticton and Vernon markets in the future.
*Denial of application for a 50-watts commercial Christian music FM in Kelowna. This was also opposed by the other broadcasters in the area on various grounds including the impact on existing operations and also on the basis that the applicant's projected advertising revenues are understated and unrealistic
It was also suggested that this was an attempt to obtain a full-power licence through the back- door.
The CRTC noted that since 1999, the average annual PBIT of the radio stations in the Kelowna market was just 2.0% compared to am average 13.5% for all British Columbia, Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories radio stations was 13.5%, and for 16.6% for Canadian radio stations overall.
*Approval of use of 107.7 MHz (channel 299A1) for new 250 watts transmitter at Oshawa for CKDO-AM, Oshawa: The original frequency requested by CKDO was technically mutually exclusive with that approved for use by CKMB-FM Barrie.
*Renewal until August 31 of the licence for the English-language radio network for the purpose of broadcasting the baseball games of the Toronto Blue Jays originating from CJCL-AM (The Fan), Toronto.
*Administrative renewal until August 31 of the licence for CJRC-AM, Gatineau.
There were no radio decisions from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom has advertised a new commercial FM licence for Swindon and the surrounding area. It will cover an area with an adult population of around 150,000. Applications have to be submitted by June 2.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) denied an application to reconsider a sale to Cumulus of seven stations in the Columbus, Mississippi, market and on the same day confirmed a USD 10,000 penalty on a California amateur radio operator (See RNW Mar 5).
It also confirmed a USD 4,000 penalty on Saga for broadcasting a phone conversation without first informing the other party to the call (See RNW Mar 3) and substituted an admonishment for a USD 3,000 proposed penalty on a Montana AM and reduced from USD 8,000 to USD 6,400 a penalty on a Hawaii FM (See RNW Mar 2).
It also announced that it was now prepared to grant a further 23 construction permits for winning bids for FM stations in its Auction 37.
Payments are due on March 18 and the stations are in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington state and Wyoming.
Fifteen of the permits went to College Creek Broadcasting, which was the highest bidder in the auction with 38 high bids totalling USD 35,556,000 (See RNW Nov 24, 2004) and also liable to the highest amount -- USD 844,950 - of a total of subsequent withdrawal penalties that totalled USD 1,559,186.
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-03-06: News Corporation's STAR is likely to disassociate itself from Radio City, its FM radio associate in India, to get a go-ahead for the Space TV direct-to-home joint venture with Tatas in which it has a 20% share according to the Financial Express.
The paper says a source has told it that the Indian government has consistently indicated to STAR that it must get out of radio and obey Indian laws to get the DTH licence approved: "It was put forward by the government almost as a pre-condition for clearing Space TV's DTH licence," the source added.
Direct foreign investment is not permitted in Indian private FMs and STAR's role in Radio City has been under government scrutiny for almost two years following allegations that Star subsidiary Music Broadcast Pvt. Ltd. (MBPL) had funded Radio City's four stations (See RNW Feb 2, 2004 and Sept 25, 2003).
As well as the funding row, the paper says STAR was learnt to be providing content to Radio City and the government had threatened to cancel the Radio City licence, alleging that STAR was running it in proxy. The matter is now in the Indian courts and the case is sub-judice.
Previous Indian Radio:
Financial Express report:
2005-03-06: Japanese whiz-kid Takafumi Horie, president of internet service provider Livedoor, says he will press on with his attempt to take over the Nippon Broadcasting System (NBS) radio company, which is opposed by the company and many businessmen in Japan.
The situation is complicated by the Japanese practice of company cross-holdings that mean any successful bid would give him influence over the Fuji TV group that has cross holdings with NBS: Both are affiliated to the Fuji Sankei media group.
Horie's youth - he is 32, and the manner in which he first acquired a 35% holding in NBS through an after-hours surreptitious raid on its shares last month , said to have been partly arranged by the Japanese arm of the US securities firm Lehman Brothers, have not been well received in Japan.
Fuji TV says an alliance with Livedoor is unacceptable and it will increase its stake in NBS to prevent the latter from gaining an indirect foothold in the TV company.
NBS had responded to Livedoor's share purchase by saying it would issue share warrants worth JPY 15.8 billion (USD 158 million) to Fuji TV, thus diluting Livedoor's stake but the latter then sought a court injunction, claiming that the warrants were motivated by management considerations and violated Japan's commercial code.
Japan Today reports that Livedoor says it has now taken its holding up to 45% in terms of voting rights but that market sources said trading volumes in NBC had decreased and it was unclear if Livedoor could get enough further shares to take its holding above half.
NBS employees have expressed their opposition to Livedoor's bid and in a statement said, "We support the management, which is committed to remaining in the Fujisankei Communications Group. We oppose Livedoor's participation in our business."
The Daily Yomiuri reported that 177 from 238 employees, excluding executives, attended the meeting and voted unanimously to approve the statement as did 40 other employees who submitted proxy votes.
The statement continued, "We do not believe that Livedoor President Takafumi Horie cares about our listeners. He seems simply to want to acquire the assets rather than entering the broadcasting business."
"We do not think Mr. Horie understands what reliable broadcasting is and what accurate reporting is."
The Yomiuri quoted Fuji TV Chairman Hisashi Hieda as saying, "The NBS employees are really determined. A company becomes worthless when employees don't work."
Japan Today report:
2005-03-06: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now released its reports on consumer inquiries and complaints for the second half of 2004 indicating a significant fall in indecency complaints compared to the first half, specifically the first quarter, of the year when 693,080 indecency complaints were received, nearly all relating to the Super Bowl (See RNW Feb 12).
As with the first half of the year, there were large variations between the quarters in the second half of the year: In the third quarter 121,688 indecency complaints were sent in - fewer than half those received in the second quarter - but this more than doubled in the final quarter to 317,833.
There were also significant variations month to month: In the third quarter 949 of the 1,036 radio and TV broadcasting complaints received in July related to indecency; in August the figures were 922 from 1,034; but in September the total jumped to 119,991 of which 119,817 were indecency complaints.
In the final quarter of 119,829 complaints 119,785 related to indecency; in October the figures were 190,805 from 190,882 and in December, when total of 129 other complaints was the highest in the quarter indecency complaints plunged and the figures were 7,243 from 7372.
Previous FCC complaints figures:
2005-03-05: Former Virgin breakfast host and radio mogul Chris Evans who returned to radio for the UK Radio Aid tsunami relief show in January (See RNW Jan 18) is to host two shows for BBC Radio 2 during the Easter bank holiday and is also reported to be at an advanced stage in negotiations over a national show on UK commercial radio.
After his tsunami aid show Evans had denied any intention to return to the airwaves, telling the UK Guardian he didn't "want to go back to radio" (See RNW Jan 22) but he now said of the Radio 2 shows - on March 25 and March 26 from 14:00 to 17:00 GMT - "My love of radio is no secret so I'm excited about doing this for Radio 2. I'm looking forward to playing some great music on a bank holiday."
BBC Radio 2 Controller Lesley Douglas said of the shows, "Chris Evans is a unique talent and Radio 2 listeners are in for a real treat over Easter."
The station has also announced other Easter highlights including a full-length interview with Eric Clapton, who is 60 on March 30 as is interviewer Johnnie Walker in "Eric Clapton - Slowhand At 60." The programme airs on March 26 and April 2 at 20:30 GMT.
The UK Guardian reports that Evans is also in advanced negotiations over a new national commercial show to be simulcast nationwide by Capital Radio, Emap, and GWR on all their main stations.
The show would need Ofcom approval since current rules require peak time programming to be produced locally by stations but it can approve if it considers the move is in the public interest as it died with the Radio Aid show that was also aired nationally on most British commercial stations.
The paper comments that Evans, who last broadcast for the BBC in 1997 before he quit his Radio 1 show after rows with its then controller Matthew Bannister, is seen by the commercial companies as the only radio broadcaster in the country who can challenge the dominance of the BBC.
UK Guardian report:
2005-03-05: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K Powell has told Fox News that he doesn't support extension of US indecency laws to cable and subscriber channels and added to the warnings that the courts might rule out an extension.
"I think when the Congress takes a hard look at this, if they really study the constitutionality . . . that it's difficult and unwise to extend it," commented Powell.
When it comes to media ownership regulations, however, Congress is probably better placed to make the rules than the FCC according to outgoing Media Bureau Chief Kenneth Ferree, who announced in January that he was to step down on March 4 (See RNW Jan 25).
A Reuters report says Ferree commented that congressional action would create certainty and remove the likelihood of the lengthy court challenges that have tied up ownership regulations in the past.
Citing the legislation introduced last year to restrict TV networks from owning stations that reach more than 39% of the national audience as opposed to the 45% recommended by the FCC, Ferree said, "Maybe there's a lesson in that, that they ought to step in and say, 'Okay, here are the rules'. If it doesn't happen, the reality of this will continue to percolate along, it will be at the agency, we'll be back in court."
Another FCC chief is also to leave this month when Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau K. Dane Snowden steps down on March 11: Powell has named the bureau's deputy chief for policy Jay Keithley as acting chief.
2005-03-05: Top rating Sydney 2GB breakfast Alan Jones is facing possible contempt of court charges over comments he made saying evidence given to the Orange Grove inquiry by New South Wales Premier Bob Carr's chief of staff Graeme Wedderburn was rubbish [The inquiry is into a re-zoning decision where corruption has been alleged- construction of Orange Grove, a large retail complex at Liverpool, west of Sydney, was originally approved by Liverpool Council but led to complaints from Westfields, owner of a nearby retail center and a major contributor to the premier's political party.].
Commissioner Ian Harrison, SC, has announced that he thinks the host's comments that he says indicate Jones thinks that Wedderburn is lying and the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) could be ridiculed if it didn't agree.
He commented, "It seems to me to be clear enough from the text of what Mr. Jones has said ... that he has formed a view that Mr. Wedderburn is lying and that this commission would be, or might be, either the subject of ridicule or adverse comment if it formed a different view."
Harrison read a transcript of Jones's comments onto the commission record, saying in part, "This bloke's kidding He must think we're stupid if we believe all this ... It'll be interesting to see what ICAC makes of Wedderburn's evidence, but I tell you what: if you believe that you'll believe anything."
Last year, Carr himself was threatened with possible contempt charges by the ICAC over public comments he made vindicating a senior member of his cabinet.
Harrison says he expects to finish taking evidence in the inquiry by the middle of next week and added that after that he intended "to revisit the question of whether or not, in the light of the comments made by Mr. Jones in the two programs to which I have referred, I should give consideration to certifying a contempt in writing to the Supreme Court It goes without saying that Mr. Jones should have an opportunity in that event to be present and to be represented."
Jones has not commented so far.
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2005-03-05: Microsoft's MSN Music and spoken audio specialist Media Bay, which has more than 75,000 hours of audio in its archives, have announced that they are to put more than 1,400 radio shows online, mainly at 99 cents for an half-hour programme.
They are from Media Bay's RadioClassics catalogue and include such programmes as "The War of the Worlds," "The Adventures of Superman," "Gunsmoke," "The Shadow" (75th Anniversary) and "The Jack Benny Show."
As a promotion - termed in the news release a "celebration " of the addition of the material to the MSN service - MSN Music will webcast a different RadioClassics show free each day next week.
The shows are
Monday- "The Adventures of Superman: Baby From Krypton" (original broadcast Feb. 12, 1940).
Tuesday "The Jack Benny Show: Will TV Replace Radio?" (original broadcast Feb. 12, 1950).
Wednesday, "Gunsmoke: Change of Heart" (original broadcast Sept. 3, 1955).
Thursday, - "Dragnet: The Big Confession" (original broadcast March 30, 1954).
Friday- "The War of the Worlds" with Orson Welles (original broadcast Oct. 30, 1938).
In online ratings, Arbitron-ComScore, which at the moment lists ratings for America Online, Yahoo and Microsoft services, is to add Live365 starting from its January 2005 release due out shortly. The addition of Live365 will give its network of some 10,000 stations aggregate ratings, which is represented by Ronning Lipset Radio, which also handled advertising for the other rated networks.
Bill Rose, senior vice president of Arbitron U.S. Media Services Marketing, said the addition would "increase the value and utility" of the ratings service, adding that its goal was to expand the service to cover "more of this growing medium so advertisers can invest their dollars with more confidence."
2005-03-05: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has denied a petition that they should reconsider allowing Cumulus to purchase seven stations in the Columbus, Mississippi, market with the two Democrats on the commission issuing dissenting statements.
T&W Communications, Inc. had first objected in 2002 to the transfer to Cumulus of the licences of seven stations it had been operating under Local Marketing Agreements - WKOR-FM, Columbus plus WMXU-FM and WSSO-AM, Starkville, then owned by Golden Triangle Radio, Inc.; WKOR-AM, Starkville, then belonging to Charisma Broadcasting Co.; WSMS-FM, Artesia, then owned by MSBravo Communications, Inc.; and WJWF-AM and WMBC-FM Columbus, then owned by MSRadio Columbus, Inc.- saying this would cause undue concentration of control of advertising in the market.
The FCC, which then ruled to allow the licence transfer, has now rejected a further petition by T&W to reconsider its decision, saying that no new evidence was brought as to why the applications should be denied.
Dissenting statements were issued by Democrat Commissioners Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps.
Copps said he dissented for the same reasons he dissented to the underlying Order and also noted that the FCC had eliminated former merger review process requirements that required specific market analysis when a merger or acquisition gave one corporation 50 percent or two corporations 70 percent of the revenue in the market.
Adelstein, who was not a member of the Commission at the time of the original decision, noted the same change and said also that the original order had said the benefits to the public outweighed the competitive harm of the concentration although it did "not enumerate these benefits" and added that he believed "this transaction at a minimum warrants further inquiry."
The FCC also denied a petition for reconsideration by California amateur radio operator Jack Gerritsen of a USD 10,000 penalty for operating an unauthorized amateur service.
Gerritsen had objected that the procedure followed had denied him due legal process and also alleged that the FCC was trying to deprive him of his First Amendment rights of freedom of speech.
The FCC described the arguments as "without merit" and added that Gerritsen was persisting with his illegal operations and it directed the Bureau's Western Region to continue to coordinate with the United States Attorney for the Central District of California in pursuing possible additional sanctions against him.
2005-03-04: Texas radio legend Ron Chapman has announced that he is to retire from his morning show on Infinity's oldies KLUV-FM Dallas after some 45 years on air in the city and a broadcasting career that spanned more than half a century.
Chapman, who is 69, had been on oldies KLUV for five years and had previously been the top-rated voice at KVIL-FM for more than three decades.
Announcing his impending retirement Chapman told his listeners on Thursday that he would remain with the show until the end of June and would be back periodically after then.
The Dallas Morning News quoted a statement from the host saying, "I've had a career most people can only dream of, but while I'm still in excellent health, I'd like to get off the clock and enjoy some truly quality time with my wife Nance."
"I would do almost anything for KLUV and Infinity Radio, but my bones are telling me it's time to slow down and smell the coffee - at 9:15 a.m. instead of 4 a.m."
KLUV General Manager David Henry said it had been a privilege to work with Chapman since 1992, commenting, "Not only is he a great colleague, but he's been a great friend of mine. He's been my mentor."
Hal Jay, a morning radio host at WBAP-AM since 1981,who has known Chapman for 25 years, described Chapman as the "benchmark" of what morning radio should be.
"He's so good at what he does," Jay said. "He could always make himself sound like he's involved in everything going on in Dallas/Fort Worth. I don't know how he did it."
Chapman began working in radio at WHAV in Haverhill, Massachusetts, in 1953. He joined KLIF, then 1190-AM, in 1959 under the name Irving Harrigan and became half of the popular KLIF morning team "Charlie and Harrigan."
He left KLIF in 1965 and produced two popular local music shows for WFAA-TV but returned to radio in 1969 on KVIL and by the mid-1970s had become the area's top morning host.
He was named major market personality of the year in 1989, when the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) presented its first Marconi Awards honoring the best stations and personalities in the radio business.
When he announced in 2000 that he was leaving KVIL to become morning host at KLUV he told The Dallas Morning News he volunteered to move when research showed that his audience wasn't listening to KVIL's new light-rock format after his show.
"In the current KVIL format, I'm the old guy," he said then. "But at KLUV, not only will I be the old guy, but that's preferable! Half of the music on KLUV is music I played for the first time in this market. I'm going where the music fits my clothes."
Dallas Morning News report:
2005-03-04: The former "Regular Guys " team of Larry Wachs and Eric Von Haessler who were fired from Clear Channel's Atlanta WKLS-AM (96 Rock) in April last year after a skit meant to mock the FCC campaign against indecency led to inadvertent airing of sexual content during a commercial break (See RNW April 11, 2004) will be back with the company next month.
Their web site carries a notice of their return to air on March 21 on Clear Channel's WGST-AM and comment from Wachs saying he had , "really enjoyed this year-long taste of the retirement way, but I must say I am glad the struggle is over. I'll probably be working until the day I drop. Even if I don't need the money. I like to have a place to go and a goal for every day, without it I might as well dry up and blow away like a camel turd in the desert."
He adds, "Von Socky and I signed back on with the magical Clear Channel folks to appear on WGST 640 AM every Monday through Friday morn, from 8am-12 noon...Here's an actual photo of us signing so George Noory listeners will not spread conspiracy rumors and may actually listen. Fueled by orange juice and PBR, we signed documents into the wee hours in the Clear Channel sukkah."
It then continues, "And you gotta give credit where it's due. The Clear Channel folks have done a mitzvah. A wrong was replaced with a right. God bless them and all their families."
..." Most of all thanks to you, the many listeners and advertisers who, astoundingly, never stopped whining the whole time about our dismissal. We thought for sure the demand would slacken along about last July. I'm beginning to appreciate that Malcolm Gladwell and his Tipping Point theories more so."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Regular Guys:
Regular Guys web site:
2005-03-04: WorldAudio Group, the Australian company that has built up a national network using narrowband licences under the Radio 2 brand, reported losses for the six months to the end of 2004 up 2.7% to AUD 2.69 million (USD 1.2 million) and advertising revenues down 65% to AUD 94,000 (USD 73,000).
The company has now lost around AUD 43 million (USD 33.6 million) since its foundation and has around AUD 2.5 million (USD 2 million) left in hand following an AUD 8 million (USD 6.3 million) rights issue last September.
It currently broadcasts on the high end of the AM band - 1600 plus - in addition to channels on the Austar Digital and Foxtel Digital Subscription TV platforms and is involved in a satellite radio trial using the WorldSpace AsiaStar satellite, which covers much of northern Australia and its terrestrial signals are generally weak and not easy to find or hear, and many analysts say it has no chance of building a profitable business on these existing licences.
WorldAudio Group, however, is arguing that its existing network gives it the same right to digital spectrum as mainstream commercial radio companies in Australia; Should it succeed it would then have a strong network but the industry body Commercial Radio Australia is lobbying against the argument.
It could also have a possible future on satellite but, should that prove successful elsewhere, larger Australian groups are expected to move into the field.
2005-03-04: Nashville radio sports host George Plaster has settled his dispute with Gaylord Entertainment over his departure from its WTN-FM, which it sold to Cumulus, and subsequent attempts to keep him from working for Citadel's WGFX-FM, saying his move would breach a non-compete clause that Plaster said died when the station was sold. (See RNW Aug 27, 2004).
The Tennessean reports that Plaster received a USD 350,000 payment to cover his attorney's fees and other costs according to a source close to the case but quotes Gaylord attorney Cyrus Booker, who would not comment on the amount, as saying, "There wasn't any agreement on the part of Gaylord to pay any damages to Mr. Plaster. There was just some reimbursement that was agreed to."
Although Cumulus was not involved in the lawsuits, Booker said some obligations existed between Gaylord and Cumulus involving the matter
Plaster said he was pleased with the terms of the settlement and relieved that the court battle was finally resolved, telling the paper, I'm very satisfied. I'm glad it's over."
..." Litigation is a strange journey and sometimes you wonder if it ever has an end. When it all started I think everybody just assumed I would be constantly consumed by it. But as it goes along after awhile you just finally say, 'You know what, you've got a life, start living it. Quit worrying about this.' Honestly, in the last half of it, I really did do that."
2005-03-04: The US radio industry has now started releasing its second wave of "You Hear It Here First' commercials to promote terrestrial radio's role in launching new music.
The release follows the January launch by the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) of initial advertisements featuring artists such as Nelly, Avril Lavigne, Ludacris, Hoobastank, Alicia Keys and Ashanti, saying how radio contributed to their success (See RNW Jan 12).
The latest adverts feature emerging artists such as R & B artist Brooke Valentine, country act Julie Roberts, rock group Blue Merle, electro-rock band The Bravery and the Los Angeles alternative group The Ditty Bops.
Entercom President and CEO David Field commented of the campaign, "One of the patently false criticisms circulated about radio in recent years has been that stations no longer discover new artists. Nothing could be further from the truth. Last year alone, radio broke 1,000 new artists. By featuring new, up-and-coming talent, this next wave of spots drives home our message that radio takes chances and unearths tomorrow's stars."
The spots begin airing this week across the country and Emmis Programming SVP Jimmy Steal added, "These commercials remind listeners that radio is an organic and spontaneous medium that constantly surprises listeners with new, compelling and previously unheard content."
2005-03-03: Infinity has announced that it is to launch an online stream of 11 of its leadings news and talks show starting from March 14 and will announce at a later date details of other formats that will be streamed.
Announcing the move, Chairman and CEO Joel Hollander commented, "The millions of people who tune in to our radio stations are increasingly looking for alternative ways to receive the information vital to their everyday lives."
He added that as "more listening is being done away from home and the car, we must extend our stations beyond their dial positions to meet the needs of the consumer. We believe streaming our stations online will not only exceed their expectations, but will also create an outlet with which we can target a larger audience and increase time spent listening."
Infinity had shied away from streams earlier but has arrangements for streaming of some of its stations through America Online's AOL Radio Network: It has been streaming WCBS-AM since December last year.
The stations now being added include All-News 1010 WINS, KNX-AM, WBBM-AM, KCBS-AM, KYW-AM and WBZ-AM, and News/Talk stations KMOX-AM (St. Louis), KDKA-AM (Pittsburgh) and KRLD-AM (Dallas). Infinity says the news stations have a weekly audience of some 12 million and the news/talk ones add a further 1.5 million.
The move comes as developments in online advertising are building in conjunction with technological changes that are extending the range of listening options.
Developments are adding those in "Wi-Fi" zones to the potential audience and the development of mobile multi-media phones is likely to produce a range of handsets that will allow users to access Internet streams.
Already handsets announced or on the market allow those with GPRS or third-generation mobile phone capability to download songs and earlier this week SMG-owned Virgin Radio announced that users with mobile phones capable of accessing high-speed third-generation or 2.5-generation networks would be able to receive Virgin Radio, Virgin Radio Classic Rock and Virgin Radio Groove after downloading a free piece of software from the station's website
Virgin web site:
2005-03-03: The British Government has proposed that the BBC should retain its licence fee and its Royal Charter be renewed for ten years but is also proposing changes in control that would see the creation of a BBC Trust to replace the current governors.
The composition of the proposed trust would be like that of the existing board of governors and it would have ultimate responsibility for the licence fee.
In a foreword to the paper, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Tessa Jowell says the review currently underway is "truly unique" because of changes in the media and technology since the previous review: Britons she notes can now potentially view more than 400 TV channels, listen to more than 300 radio stations, can watch or listen through computers or mobile phones as well as via radio and TV receivers can interact with programmes because of digital advances, or shift listening or viewing times for convenience and potentially create their own schedules as on-demand services grow.
Research, she said, showed that whilst people were taking up new digital services, they saw " maintaining Public Service Broadcasting as more important, not less, as more and more commercial services crowd on to the scene."
However, she added, people were not uncritical and some "commercial competitors feel that the BBC is too free to expand into areas already well served, and so stifles new and existing businesses and limits creativity."
The BBC, says the report, should continue as a "broadcaster of scale and scope, active in all the main genres" and "should retain the sort of commitment to new talent that has made Radio 3 the largest commissioner of new music in the world and Radio 4 one of the largest commissioners of new writing."
It says the long-time BBC mission to 'Inform, educate and entertain" remains but to clarify the public service remit adds "five distinctive purposes that all BBC services should aim to fulfil:
*sustaining citizenship and civil society
*promoting education and learning
*stimulating creativity and cultural excellence
*representing the UK, its Nations, regions and communities
*bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK
The main changes proposed for the BBC are in terms of its governance. Currently the government appoints a chairman and governors who are responsible for both regulation of the organization and assessing its performance: They in turn appoint a Director-General responsible for staff and output: licence payers have no say in how the organization is run.
Under the proposed system, the Corporation would be run by a Trust whose chair and members would be appointed buy the government but subject to public appraisal and that would receive input from elected regional broadcasting councils. This trust would be responsible for regulating the BBC and would be separate from its management.
The proposals specifically exclude UK media regulator Ofcom from a role of oversight or scrutiny as had been suggested by some and the report comments, "It might not be obvious to the licence fee payer how Ofcom was going to resolve any conflict between what was good for the BBC and what was good for the commercial sector."
Day to day running of the BBC would be under an Executive Board chaired by the Director-General and the reports notes of the respective roles that the Executive would be "concerned with delivery, the Trust with oversight."
Although the report does not bar BBC commercial activity is suggests four criteria to assess whether the corporation should be engaged in the activity - its fit with Public Service Broadcasting, whether "BBC ownership the most effective economic exploitation of the capital involved," BBC brand promotion, and "Market distortion - are BBC commercial services being sold or structured in a way that might give them an unfair advantage over the competition?"
In line with this it says some BBC support services such as production studios and broadcast services could potentially be sold, that there is no good argument for it retaining its small book publishing operation and says that it is not clear that its magazine publishing - it is the fourth largest publisher of magazines in the UK - represents good value for money for licence fee payers.
In radio, the report aggress with BBC suggestions that its existing 10% voluntary quota
should be extended to cover sport, radio in the Nations and the new digital radio stations.
It also noted that BBC's Radio 3 and 4 would not be commercially viable if the BBC did not provide them - and notes differences with Classic FM, the UK national classic music channel that it considers complements Radio 3 rather than competes with it
Commercial radio complaints about the scope of BBC analogue channels it says mainly relate to BBC Radio Five Live, Radio 1 and Radio 2.
On the first it noted direct competition in some areas with TalkSport and in relation to a recommendation that the Government commission a review of the BBC's approach to sports rights negotiations says it will consider this further once Ofcom has dealt with the official complaint that TalkSport has made.
Regarding Radios 1 and 2, it says that, though they "may be distinctive when the whole of their output is surveyed, a question may remain over the nature of some peak-time output" and adds that the proposed BBC Trust will have to consider how peak time programmes meet the remit it has proposed.
It also notes the complaint that the BBC can currently change formats without regulatory scrutiny unlike commercial services and says that "Under the next Charter, all BBC radio services
would be held to the detail of their service licences, and any significant change would need
to be subjected to tests of public value and market impact overseen by the BBC Trust", adding that "the BBC should not launch any new radio service, national or local, without again subjecting proposals to public value and market impact tests overseen by the BBC Trust."
The BBC welcomed the proposal for the Charter and continued funding but chairman Michael Grade expressed disappointment over the removal of the governors, commenting that the Corporation had already set in train steps to modernize the Corporation's governance that included the "creation of an independent Governance Unit, the introduction of service licences and a stringent public value test."
"It is regrettable that our own reforms have not had time to prove themselves," he said " I recognize that our changes have been essentially more behavioural than structural. We had hoped that these crucial reforms would be allowed time to prove their worth."
Govt Green Paper (118 page 1.42 Mb PDF):
2005-03-03: A survey commissioned by Canadian Satellite Radio (CSR) and Sirius Radio Canada, the two applicants for a subscriber audio service licence for Canada that are tied up with XM and Sirius respectively, says that nearly a fifth of Canadians, around 4 million people would express an interest in subscribing to a Canadian satellite radio service within the next year if it were to become available.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is currently considering applications to supply radio subscription services in the country from these satellite companies as well as an Astral-Corus terrestrial bid .
The survey, conducted by Decima research, involved interviews with 2,005 adult Canadians to gauge awareness of satellite radio and gain knowledge about its appeal. It showed 17% overall saying they would definitely or probably subscribe within the next year if Canada had a service: This went up to 33% of those who had direct experience of listening to a satellite radio service, and 24% amongst those who were familiar with the idea of satellite radio and down to 14% amongst those who were not.
As well as interest in a legitimate Canadian service, the survey showed considerable "grey market" potential for satellite radio - using a US address to subscribe to the services although listening in Canada - should licences not be granted in Canada: 8% said they would still subscribe through a U.S.-based service if a licence is not granted.
Stephen Tapp, president and COO of Canadian Satellite Radio commented, "With 17 per cent of Canadians saying that they would definitely or probably subscribe if the licence is granted, interest in satellite radio for Canada is already here The rapid adoption of satellite radio in the U.S. coupled with the growing awareness of this technology in Canada will only strengthen the growing grey market phenomenon here. Conservatively, we believe that the estimated benefit to Canada, should the two satellite radio applicants be approved by the CRTC, could reach CAD 2 billion (USD 1.6 billion) during the next 10 years."
Brian Levy, CEO of InterTan Canada, parent company to Radio Shack Canada, said they wanted the service to be legally available in the country, adding, "Based on our past experience, I don't think that forcing Canadians into the grey market does anything other than inconvenience citizens and reinforce the old notion that to buy the newest technologies, you must spend your loonies in the United States. Forcing people into that situation isn't right for consumers, and it deprives the nation of tax revenue, in addition to damaging Canadian retailers."
Previous Canadian Satellite Radio:
2005-03-03: British broadcaster Richard Bacon is to replace Neil Fox on Capital FM's drivetime show from May under an exclusive contract that means he will drop his BBC Radio Five Live late night weekend show and his weekday breakfast show on the BBC 7 digital speech channel.
Fox, who last year left the UK commercial radio chart Hit 40 show after 11 years with it (See RNW May 29, 2004) had a contract with Capital until September but is leaving early by mutual agreement with Capital: He has been with the drivetime show for eight years and with Capital for 18 but has been taking on more TV work.
He told the BBC, "I have been and always will be a radio man but I've got a lot of ITV shows coming up and I've learned you just can't do it all. "I'm chuffed for Richard, he's a great broadcaster."
Capital FM managing director, Keith Pringle, who said Fox had known for some time that he had to drop the radio show because of his TV commitments, said, "I'm very excited about Richard joining Capital FM. He's a sparkling talent who is as smart as he is funny."
Bacon, whose broadcasting career began at BBC Radio Nottingham, was fired from the BBC TV Blue Peter children's show in 1998 after tabloid newspaper reports that he had taken cocaine: He subsequently worked on various TV and radio shows.
The BBC said in a statement, "Richard has been on Five Live for just over a year and has done a terrific job at the weekends. He is now out of contract with us and free to work wherever he likes, so we wish him well."
He had no contract for the BBC 7 seven show but according to his agent was booked to record links every two weeks and is to record one more set before leaving the show.
The BBC has said that Phil Williams is to stand in for Bacon on the Radio Five Live show until a permanent replacement is named but has so far not announced details of his replacement at BBC7.
BBC news report:
2005-03-03: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 4,000 penalty on Saga for broadcasting a phone conversation without first informing the other party to the call.
Saga had argued that the action - in a call by its WLZX-FM host Christopher Laursen to rival host Dave Sears at Western Mass Radio Company's WRNX-FM, Amherst (See RNW Feb 20, 2004) - was not wilful because it was an isolated incident and it had taken reasonable precautions to prevent such violations.
The FCC rejected the argument and also an argument because of a history of compliance saying it had found "various Saga affiliates in violation of the Commission's rules in several other proceedings in the past four years."
2005-03-02: Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens has told a US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) meeting that he wants to extend US indecency laws to subscription radio and TV according to a Reuters report.
It says he told the NAB, "Cable is a much greater violator in the indecency area" and went on to suggest Congress could make laws concerning this, adding, "I think we have the same power to deal with cable as over-the-air broadcasters."
He added that he disagreed "violently" with assertions by the cable industry that Congress does not have the authority to impose limits on its content, saying, "If that's the issue they want to take on, we'll take it on and let the Supreme Court decide."
Stevens said there had to be "some standard of decency" but "No one wants censorship."
He received backing from another Republican, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton from Texas, who said h would be supportive of extending restrictions, commenting," "If we can work out the constitutional questions, I'd be supportive of that I think they ought to play, to the extent possible, by the same rules."
The US Senate Commerce Committee last year narrowly defeated an amendment to a bill boosting fines for indecency that would have extended such limits to cable and satellite services and an extension would potentially fall foul of the US Constitution.
A spokesman for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, which represents cable operators, told Reuters the high court had previously ruled that content regulation for subscription television services violated free speech rights and added, "We believe any regulation of cable content raises serious First Amendment objections and will oppose efforts to impose regulation on cable programming."
RNW comment: Dictionary definitions would seem to make it only fair to ascribe some combination of the words and phrases "unctuous", "hypocritical", "propagandist and "playing to the gallery" -the Senators -- "Censorship" is exactly what Stevens wants, even if it would be limited censorship, and we doubt that Barton thinks the courts will really rule that such an extension would be in line with the First Amendment.
2005-03-02: The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has ruled that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's AM radio programme breached its code of practice in some of its coverage of the war against Iraq and said that that although overall the broadcaster's coverage "was of a high standard overall, keeping listeners well informed of developments in the war" in six cases the programme breached Australian requirements that "every reasonable effort must be made to ensure that [news and current affairs programs] are balanced and impartial."
The ABA investigation followed complaints by former Australian Communications Minister Richard Alston about the programme's cover in March and April 2003 that had at first been considered by the Corporation's Complaints Review Executive, which dismissed all but two of the 68 incidents of alleged bias, and then by its Independent Complaints Review Panel, which rejected allegations of overall bias by the programme but upheld a further 15 of the complaints.
Of these, 12 were upheld on the grounds that the programmes concerned contained serious bias, four on the basis that they failed to comply with editorial instruction against the use of emotional language or editorial comment and a final one on the grounds that sources relied on by the program were not adequately identified.
The ABA ruling confirms four of its five draft findings against the ABC that were leaked in November last year (See RNW Nov 3, 2004): It had been asked to investigate 43 of the alleged breaches of its codes and acting ABA chair Lyn Maddock commented, 'While AM presented a range of views and perspectives during the period in question and was therefore balanced, the language and presentation styles used in some programs would have caused an ordinary reasonable listener to think that the programs were predisposed to particular views on some issues."
"The ABC plays an important investigative role in analysing and commenting on significant community issues and studio presentation teams play a key role in setting the tone of news and current affairs programmes. 'While scepticism and probing questions are a useful way to explore issues, when a program uses tendentious language in connection with a controversial matter, listeners are likely to understand that the program favours a particular view of the issue."
The ABC welcome the ruling that overall the programme's coverage was balanced and managing director Russell Balding commented, "The ABC notes that of the 43 alleged breaches of the ABC's Code of Practice submitted to the ABA by a former Minister for Communications, the ABA found 4 breaches - which related to a few minutes out of many hours of coverage of the war" but said he noted the ABA's comment that "'the ABC may wish to consider whether the Code should more clearly differentiate between news programs and current affairs programs" and would ensure these comments were taken into consideration when the Code is reviewed shortly.
Balding concluded, "The ABC, however, continues to be concerned that the basis upon which the ABA seeks to justify its conclusions is flawed These concerns were set out in the ABC's submission to the ABA in January 2005 and in the interests of informing public debate on these matters, I am releasing this submission."
"I remain of the view - as I have said on a number of occasions - that AM's extensive coverage of the war in Iraq was professional, comprehensive and balanced."
Previous ABC, Australia:
ABA ruling (909 Kb 132 page PDF):
ABC submission (118Kb 12 page PDF):
2005-03-02: Univision has reported fourth quarter 2004 net revenues up 13% to USD 463.1 million on a year earlier and full year revenues up 36% to USD 1.887 billion with net income for the quarter up 14% to USD 67.2 million (diluted earnings per share were up from 17 cents to 19 cents) and for the year up 65% to $USD 256 million (diluted earnings per share were up 44 cents to 72 cents).
Radio net revenues in the quarter were up X% (from 76.2) to USD 84.1 million; the full year figures were an increase from USD 83.6 million to USD 328.4 million, but are not representative since Univision Radio, the former Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation, was not acquired until September 2003.
Univision pro-forma figures for the year, prepared assuming that the transaction had occurred as of
January 1, 2003, show net revenues up18% to USD 1.787 million, net income up 51% to USD 255.9 million and diluted earnings per share up 50% to 72 cents.
Chairman and CEO A. Jerrold Perenchio said he was proud of the results and said, "...based on the terrific momentum in our television and radio ratings, I believe we are positioned for growth and success in 2005 and beyond."
President and COO Ray Rodriguez added, "In our first full calendar year with Univision Radio, we were able to offer advertisers valuable cross-platform opportunities. Thanks to our unique ability to reach our audiences in their homes, offices and cars, we are confident that this year, we will continue to grow with advertisers who want to reach our nation's Hispanic audience in effective and compelling ways."
Looking ahead Univision says it expects first quarter revenues this year, including the effects of variable interest entities (VIEs) to increase by high teen percentages; it adds that the effects of the VIE's is expected.
In other US radio business, Salem has announced that it is to spend USD 9.5 million on acquiring two further stations in Florida to strengthen its existing Tampa Bay cluster of WTBN-AM 570 and 910.
Being bought from WGUL-FM, Inc., are WGUL-AM, Dunedin, currently simulcasting WGUL-FM's hit format, and News-talk WLSS-AM, Sarasota. Salem says it expects to operate both stations in its News Talk format.
Arbitron has announced the payment of the company's first cash dividend - of ten cents per common share, to be paid on April 1: The company has just above 31 million shares outstanding.
President and CEO Steve Morris commented, "This is a milestone for the company. We have significantly reduced the debt we assumed when we went public in March 2001 and continue to generate strong cash flows from operations. The Board is pleased that the Company's solid and consistent business model allows us to reward our investors with a direct and tangible return in the form of a dividend. Most important, we are building value for shareholders without compromising our ability to invest in the Portable People Meter (PPM) in order to grow our core business and expand into new markets."
2005-03-02: UK media regulator Ofcom upheld one complaint against radio and four against TV, one of them relating to too many adverts, and also imposed a GBP 25,000 (USD 48,00) against Playboy TV in its latest bulletin; it also considered two further radio cases and one TV case resolved and rejected another TV complaint.
This compared to one radio complaint upheld and a TV complaint partly upheld in its previous bulletin, which also considered two radio complaints and a TV complaint resolved and two TV complaints not upheld.
Ofcom also listed, with no further details, 167 TV complaints against 153 items and 22 radio complaints against 20 items that were either not upheld or ruled out of remit: The comparative figures in the previous bulletin were 180 TV complaints relating to 143 items and 18 radio complaints relating to 16 items.
The radio complaint upheld was against the use of the word "fuck" in the lyrics of a broadcast of Cassetteboy's "George Bush is an Islamic Fundamentalist" in Eddy Temple Morris's The Remix on Capital's Xfm in London - this part of the complaint was considered resolved - and also about the presenter's comments concerning the US president and World War 3.
He commented, "...I've no doubt that anybody listening to this in the UK would probably want to kill George Bush and anybody listening to this in America I'm sure is going to vote Democrat on Tuesday"
And also said, "My opinions are not the opinions of Xfm or Capital Radio - just trying to stop WWIII - OK?"
Xfm acknowledged that the host's judgment has been questionable and said he had subsequently been warned not to present such a biased and offensive view and also reminded that he should check all recordings for inappropriate content prior to broadcast.
The Ofcom panel considered the complaint over the song lyrics resolved because of action taken by the broadcaster to prevent any further such broadcasts but upheld the other complaint on the basis that it breached codes relating to presenters' views.
Considered resolved were complaints about the Fred MacAulay Show on BBC Radio Scotland and Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2.
In the first case the host and two guests were discussing stories in the day's newspapers with host Vic Galloway and the show had treated humorously a story about a baby girl accidentally burned to death in Russia after her grandmother put her in the oven to keep her warm but then fell asleep.
The producer had recognized that the treatment was inappropriate and instructed Galloway to move on from the story. Later in the programme the host and guest had apologized on air. The panel agreed the comments were inappropriate but considered the complaint resolved by the actions already taken by the BBC.
Also considered resolved were complaints by two listeners about remarks made on the Jeremy Vine Show in by the artist Sebastian Horsley who was interviewed following a newspaper article in which he admitted he regularly used the services of prostitutes.
The complainants objected to Horsley's comments about rape, dating children and a reference to his genitalia and one of them to the subject of prostitution being discussed at all in a lunchtime show.
The BBC said the guest had been thoroughly briefed before the show about what was expected and then made statements it felt were intended to shock. It agreed that some of the comments made were unacceptable and the presenter who had recognized this offered an apology and read out a selection of e-mails from listeners who condemned what they heard. Again the broadcaster's actions were considered to have resolved the matter.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2005-03-02: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has substituted an admonishment for a USD 3,000 proposed penalty on a Montana AM for failure to register its antenna and reduced from USD 8,000 to USD 6,400 a penalty on a Hawaii FM for failure to have Emergency Alert System equipment installed and operational.
The admonishment went to Dead Air Broadcasting Company, Inc., licensee of KDBM-AM, Dillon, and the fine to O'hana Radio Partners, licensee of KAWV- FM, Lihue; the latter had requested reduction or cancellation on the basis of inability to pay, remedial action taken, and its prior record of compliance with regulations.
It did not provide adequate documentary evidence of its inability to pay and the FCC as is customary rejected the plea on grounds of remedial action taken but did reduce the penalty on the basis of the company's prior history of compliance.
2005-03-02: Digital radio sales in the UK are now outstripping those of analogue receivers according to figures from UK retailer Dixons, which says that in January it sold more digital receivers than analogue ones: Digital sales by value in the UK outstripped analogue ones some time ago and by the end of 20034 some 1.3 million digital receivers had been sold in the UK according to the Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB).
Dixons also said that a survey of a 1,000 customers showed that, contrary to usual patterns where the young were usually the first to take up new technology, two thirds of digital receiver sales went to people aged 40 and above.
The increase in sales has been aided by a reduction in price of digital receivers - down from hundreds of pounds to around GBP 50 (less than USD 100) for a basic receiver - and also developments of early sets to offer more facilities including the ability to store programming for instant replay of an item that has been missed or to programme a receiver to record programmes for listening to later.
One receiver recently announced has the ability to "speak" the name of a station that has been tuned in and also speak the time, announce what alarms have been set and also adjust the volume automatically so as to avoid large variations that usually occur whilst changing channels because of differing signal strengths.
2005-03-01: Sea Launch has successfully placed the XM-3 satellite in orbit following a launch at 03:51 GMT from its Odyssey Launch Platform in the Pacific Ocean.
The satellite is a Boeing 702, which is designed to provide 18 kilowatts of total power at beginning of its life.
XM3 will now need to be manouevred into an orbital location for testing before a move to its final position at 85 degrees West Longitude.
XM's existing XM-1 and XM-2 satellites have problems with their solar arrays that will reduce their lives and they will become operational spares when XM's replacement satellites have been successfully launched and tested.
XM also announced that it is to put up its subscription charge from USD 9.99 a month to USD 12.95 from April 2 but also notes that it has expanded its service from 100 to 151 channels since its launch and has also made all its music channels commercial free.
Following the price hike, which takes it in line with its competitor Sirius Satellite Radio, XM says its basic service will include its Internet service XM Radio Online, which offers more than 70 channels of XM music and talk programming and is currently USD 3.99 per month), and the High Voltage channel, featuring the talk radio duo Opie & Anthony, which us currently USD1.99 per month.
Until the change, existing XM subscribers will be allowed to lock in their current USD 9.99 plans with a one-year pre-paid plan or for up to five years with further discounts
XM president and CEO Hugh Panero said of the change, "XM's growth to date demonstrates that the potential for satellite radio is far greater than anyone anticipated. This new pricing approach will help fund future technology development, enable us to offer more attractively-priced radios and maintain our programming excellence."
"Together, these initiatives should result in XM exceeding its current target of 20 million customers by 2010. Most importantly, XM is instituting the pricing change in a way that adds value to the basic service and provides existing customers the opportunity to lock in the current lower monthly rate -- a unique opportunity rarely offered by subscription entertainment services, including satellite radio, satellite television and cable television."
2005-03-01: Overall BBC online listening in January was up a fifth on a year ago to just under 9.1 million hours although the figures were skewed towards on-demand listening by technical problems, now resolved, with audio servers that affected listening in December and January.
Within the figures, live listening in January was down 4.4% to 5 million hours but on-demand listening was up by 78% to 4.18 million hours, presumably because people who could not get the live transmission moved to the on demand service (RNW note: We can vouch that at least one listener did.).
The web sites also saw a large general increase in use, recording 6.97 million visits, a number the BBC says showed a 70 per cent year-on-year increase of and was the highest ever for BBC Radio.
The BBC adds that digital-only services spearheaded the increase with listening to them reaching 1.2 million hours, more than half a million of them each for its 6-Music and 1 Xtra services: 6-Music had a total of just under 145,000 listening hours to its on-demand services and live listening reaching 367,000 hours with corresponding figures for 1-Xtra being nearly 324,000 hours of on-demand and just fewer than 200,000 hours of live listening.
Amongst its other networks, BBC radio 3 and 4 sites also recorded record numbers of users, the numbers for Radio 3 being aided by its Awards for World Music 2005 minisite.
In terms of individual programmes, six of the top ten were from BBC Radio 1, three from Radio 4 and one from BBC 7.
The top five programmes were:
The Archers on BBC Radio 4 with 456,975 listeners in January this year.
Chris Moyles breakfast show on BBC Radio 1 with 311,625.
I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue on BBC Radio 4 with 252,618 [RNW Note: This programme was also listed in 10th place for BBC 7, with 109,762 listeners on that service].
Essential Mix on BBC Radio 1 with 187,029.
The Essential Selection on BBC Radio 1 with 178,805.
In terms of network listening in January this year, the rankings were (listening hours in brackets):
Radio 1 (2,364,623.00)
Radio 4 (1,696,247.00)
Radio 2 (1,618,898.00)
BBC 7 (929,523.00)
Radio 5 Live (819,129.00)
6 Music (511,923.00)
Radio 3 (483,404.00)
Asian Network (179,133.00)
5 Live Sports Xtra (57,262)
As already noted in percentage terms the digital networks generally recorded the largest gains with 5 Live Sports Extra figures up 175% on a year ago; BBC 7 up 164%; 6 Music up 42%; 1Xtra up 38.2% and the Asian Network up 34%. Of the analogue networks, Radio 5 Live listening was up 43.5% but all the others recorded increased below 10% - 9.9% for Radio 4; 7/1% for Radio 1; 4.8% for Radio 2 and 3% for Radio 3.
2005-03-01: Reports from Chicago indicate that Piquant's Air America Radio, which lost its Chicago outlet at the end of March last year when its deal with Multicultural Broadcasting's WNTD-AM in Chicago and KBLA-FM in Los Angeles -- fell apart in a financial dispute (See RNW Apr 15, 2004) is hoping to be back on air in the city soon.
Newly appointed CEO Danny Goldberg, the former recording company executive and founder of Artemis Records, was quoted by the Chicago Tribune as saying, "It's the largest market we're not in yet I believe in the next 90 days, we'll have something to announce."
Goldberg added that although Air America had faced many problems in its existence, " finding an audience wasn't one of them This isn't a traditional radio network. It's like MTV or Rolling Stone; it's a cultural phenomenon."
Concerning the degree to which Clear Channel, regarded as conservative leaning, has become Air America's most important distributor, he said this proved that liberal talk was a sound concept. "Some people would consider it ironic. I consider it capitalism at its best," he said.
Previous Piquant/Air America:
Chicago Tribune report:
2005-03-01: In an interview with the New York Times, Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin outlines a scenario of a profitable feed-back loop for the satellite service built on a growth in subscribers feeding creating a critical mass that pulls in advertising - Sirius, like rival XM, offers advertising on its non-music channels - that goes almost entirely to the company's bottom line.
"This will become a very profitable company as you continue to grow your subscribers," Karmazin told the paper. "That's the key for us As you get more subscribers, you have more critical mass so that the advertising revenue side of things kicks in. As you add more and more subscribers, you're dealing with all this income coming in, and your costs are relatively fixed because your satellites are up in the air, your programming costs are there, so most of the incremental revenue comes right down to the bottom line and your free cash flow."
He said that when he left Viacom [RNW Note: where he was President and COO], he wanted something more "entrepreneurial" and noted that with Viacom "I didn't really have the time to devote to the radio business and I really love the business. I've been in it for a long time, and it's good to be back"
He drew parallels with his time at Infinity [RNW note - chairman and CEO before it was taken over by Viacom] and his current role, commenting, "I'm finding the analogy to be much more at the beginning and early days of Infinity. When in 1981, when I joined Infinity, we had three radio stations and the revenues were very small and from the period of time in 1981 until the time we merged it into Viacom, as an example, the market cap of the company went from where it was worth USD 10 million in 1981 to at the time of the merger into Viacom, Infinity was valued at USD 20 billion."
"So the analogy today is that Sirius is much more in its early stages of its growth. It's been doing extraordinarily well, but it's really on a rapid-growth trajectory as compared to a mature business as Infinity was when I left it."
Karmazin commented that he increased guidance for subscribers at the end of this year from 2.2 million to 2.5 million because he felt the lower figure was conservative and continued, "There's an awful lot of analysts that cover the company that believe the numbers are conservative and we will do more than 2.5 million this year."
The growth, he said, would come in part from automobile installations -Ford says it will install Sirius receivers in at least a million vehicles over the next two years and Chrysler is also increasing its installations - and also mentioned the Howard Stern deal.
Of that deal he said it was " market rate" one " It was a lot of money, but he brings a lot of value to Sirius both in adding subscribers and significantly jump-starting our second revenue stream of advertising. The fact that we do have two revenue streams positioned Sirius to make the offer that attracted Howard... We know that Howard is already having a positive impact on Sirius. Our brand awareness is at an all-time high and much higher than before the announcement. We also analysed holiday sales and saw a significant increase at retail in markets where Howard Stern's radio show airs.
Regarding advertising Karmazin said that "right now" Sirius would not put advertising on its 65 music channels but on the other 55 channels advertising would grow "dramatically", albeit from a low base, and said the Stern show, although it would "not be running as many commercials in Howard's show as Howard has been running currently" represented a "huge opportunity for us to deal with Howard on a huge, national level."
"Howard's only in about 40 U.S. markets," said Karmazin, " and once he starts with us, we're going to be able to provide a national footprint And we'll be able to give national advertisers the opportunity to be associated with him on a truly national basis for the first time in his career."
Regarding indecency regulation, Karmazin said that because a channel could be blocked and it was a subscription service, he saw satellite radio as more akin to satellite TV or cable than terrestrial radio adding, "And there are people speculating that satellite radio will grow because they're offering content that's not as lame as it might be on terrestrial radio, because of the FCC and Congress stepping down on it."
Karmazin was also upbeat about handling competition from XM, noting that the 8% share that Sirius had in its first year was above a quarter in 2004 and expected to be around a third this year.
"Somewhere down the road, content is going to decide who the winner is," he said. "But whether it's 50-50, 45-55, it's going to be a duopoly, with two companies dividing up all of the satellite radio market. And that's pretty good I think it [satellite radio] enhances the overall image of radio, because there are interesting things being done in radio, in large part thanks to satellite radio and thanks to the technology that we're able to do."
" FM radio will not go away, just like AM radio did not go away. But there's going to be a rapid growth of satellite radio. At the same time, I think there are two companies there; we'd like to be the biggest of the two. But we think the biggest thing is to garner audience away from those people who are listening in their cars to terrestrial radio as compared to those who are listening to satellite radio."
New York Times interview:
2005-03-01: Western South Dakota Native American-owned non-commercial public station KILI-FM has managed to retain its Rapid City translator station although it will have to change frequency from its former 88.3 to 88.7.
KILI, which serves the Lakota Indians with a service of community information and music, including Lakota music, is based in Porcupine on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation but its signal was difficult to receive in Rapid City and it lost its original translator frequency to Bethesda Christian Broadcasting's new "88.3 The Point" FM, which has just commenced broadcasting.
Because of a current Federal Communications Comission (FCC) moratorium on applications for new Low-Power FM licences this would have kept KILI off the air in Rapid City but Mark Pluimer, general manager of Bethesda, which also operates KSLT and KLMP Christian radio stations in Rapid City, told the Rapid City Journal that his staff did some checking and found that two out-of-state Christian broadcasters - Calvary Chapel Radio and the Educational Media Foundation (EMF) - had pending applications before the FCC to operate translator stations at 88.7-FM.
"So we went to them, and got the three of us together by phone," he said. "We explained that this is a Native American station, the only one in the market that does any Lakota broadcasting, and we're greatly concerned that (KILI) would not have access to the airwave here in Rapid City."
He added that EMF agreed to withdraw its application for 88.7-FM, and Calvary Chapel agreed to give its translator license to KILI.
Rapid City Journal report:
Links note: As far as possible we provide site links to the previous related story. Should these links not work, please advise us so we can sort out the problem.
Regarding external links, we give links where we can but an ever-increasing number of newspapers and stations either require registration or only keep items available for a limited period or move them to a pay-per-use archive (typically after 7 or 14 days in the USA).
Thus some links become outdated or sources you would have to pay for or subscribe to access. See links page for notes regarding various sites we think of value
Back to top :
- February 2005 - April 2005-
Radionewsweb.com, 38 Creswick Road, Acton, London W3 9HF, UK: