April 2005 Archive
- March 2005 - May 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.
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RNW April comment - Looks at how the UK has introduced digital radio and considers how HD digital radio will fare in the US.
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.
2005-04-30: Clear Channel has reported first quarter net income down 59% on a year ago to USD 47.9 million with earnings per diluted share down 53% to 9 cents on revenues down 4% to approximately USD 1.9 billion.
It also announced that it was to spin off its live-entertainment business and also launch a separate initial public offering for 10 per cent of Clear Channel Outdoor. As well as its split, Clear Channel announced a USD 3.00 per share special dividend and 50% increase in its recurring quarterly dividend too USD 0.1875 per share ($0.75 per share annually).
The Clear Channel Entertainment spin-off is conditioned on receipt of a tax opinion of counsel and letter ruling from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) confirming its tax-free nature.
Clear Channel shares rose initially following its announcement but then fell back again to end the day just 0.19% down at USD 31.94 having touched USD 34.30 at one point.
In divisional revenue terms, Outdoor had a strong quarter with revenues up 11% to USD 579 million, "Other" revenues were up 5% to USD 138 million, radio was down 7% to USD 774 million and Live Entertainment was down 17% to USD 423 million, put down to lower ticket sales because of fewer big-name concerts this year.
Clear Channel said the radio decline was "primarily due to a reduction in overall commercial minutes, offset by average rate increases" an added that there had been a slower adoption than expected by advertisers of the shorter commercials being offered in its Less is More initiative although it expects "that this will improve as the year continues."
Commenting on the results president and chief executive Mark Mays said, "In what was a challenging first quarter, we maintained our focus on leading change, driving innovation and delivering value to our customers across our leading out-of-home media assets."
"Clear Channel Radio's results," he added, "reflect our first full quarter of performance in a 'Less is More' listening environment. While still early, we are already seeing proof that we are providing a better listening experience and more effective environment for advertisers. Early indications point to ratings improvements and pricing across all commercial lengths increased steadily throughout the quarter, continuing into the second."
Mays said Clear Channel remained "committed to maximizing shareholder value and returning cash flow to shareholders, underscored by our repurchase of over USD 670 million in common stock this year. Combined with the strategic initiatives announced today, we are taking the right steps for the future of our Company and have the utmost confidence in our plan and the people implementing it."
Commenting on the "Strategic Realignment of Businesses to Enhance Shareholder Value", Mays said in a company statement, "We're seeking to unlock the considerable value in our Company, and create a strong foundation for future growth, by improving the strategic, operational and financial flexibility in each of our leading business units."
He added, "We expect these transactions to highlight the fundamental value of each of our leading businesses in a tax efficient manner, so that current and future investors can more clearly evaluate the Company's overall inherent value. These initiatives are designed to optimally capitalize each business in a manner that generates enhanced equity returns while maintaining strong balance sheets and preserving financial flexibility. Each business will have sharpened management focus and an improved ability to attract, retain and reward employees in a way that's aligned with shareholders."
Mays stressed that the split move was not a sign of lack of confidence in radio, saying at the conference call that the company remained "bullish" about radio in the long term and saying in a statement, "We are highly confident in the future growth prospects of the broadcasting business. Our creative efforts to innovate the industry by giving listeners more of what they come to radio for and delivering a better environment for advertisers have already paid dividends with our listeners and advertisers. By reducing clutter, implementing unique advertising units with exceptional creative execution, and developing new, highly compelling programming through strong local, regional and national brands, we will continue to deliver outstanding entertainment and information to our listeners and superior results to our advertisers. We are the best equipped radio broadcaster to benefit from a rebound in advertising while leveraging the sustainability of local content."
Chairman Lowry Mays added, "Clear Channel's long history of creating shareholder value has taken another leap forward today. This bold strategic initiative that the Board approved is a transforming event for the Company and one that will unleash numerous benefits focused on allowing us to continue to provide shareholders with superior long-term returns. Our radio and television, outdoor and entertainment businesses are leaders in their respective industries. Each has respected management teams and unique opportunities for growth. We couldn't be more excited about our Company's future."
CFO Randall Mays commenting on the dividends said, "Clear Channel Communications is fortunate to own businesses which generate substantial amounts of free cash flow and under present circumstances we believe we can best demonstrate that ability by returning a considerable amount of excess capital directly to shareholders. Today's announcement of a special dividend and a 50% increase in our regular quarterly dividend enhances shareholder returns both at the outset and on a recurring basis."
Under the plan to split the company, Clear Channel Communications will retain no interest in the new Clear Channel Entertainment company, which will have a separate Board of Directors to be comprised of a majority of independent Directors not overlapping with Clear Channel Communications' Directors.
Current Clear Channel Entertainment CEO Brian Becker is to leave the company "to pursue alternative entrepreneurial opportunities" and will form a form a joint venture company with Clear Channel Entertainment "to pursue entertainment content opportunities."
Randall Mays will serve as interim Chief Executive Officer during Clear Channel Entertainment's transition to an independent company.
Regarding the Outdoor business, Clear Channel will retain its controlling interest but says the plan means, "A partially-separated Clear Channel Outdoor will enjoy greater strategic focus and flexibility. Additionally, Clear Channel Outdoor will be able to supplement its attractive organic profile by pursuing selective acquisitions using a currency based on its inherent valuation rather than the blended valuation represented by the Company's current common stock."
In other US radio results, Interep has reported commission revenue in the first quarter up 3.3% on a year ago to 17.5 million, mainly attributable to improvements in national spot advertising; its net loss applicable to common shareholders was down from 9.2 million a year ago (90 cents a share) to 5.7 million (51 cents a share) this year.
Chairman and CEO Ralph Guild commented, "Interep's commission revenue improved in the first quarter due to what appears to be an overall strengthening in the national radio market. This strength is continuing into the second quarter with a broad range of categories showing growth, including continued improvement in the Automotive and Retail sectors."
"Prudent fiscal management, coupled with increased demand for radio advertising," he added," should make for significantly improved operating results in 2005."
Bill McEntee, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer added that Interep was "excited about our prospects for 2005" and continued, "Last year, we implemented several cost-cutting initiatives in non-sales related areas, which are now being positively reflected in our 2005 numbers and are anticipated to reduce operating costs by approximately $6 million in 2005 compared to 2004. First quarter revenue exceeded the comparable period in 2004, and we outperformed our budget goals."
"Pacings for the second quarter," he said, "continue to be strong, and at this point we expect mid-single digit revenue growth for the quarter. Interep also continues to have adequate liquidity for its current needs with $4.4 million of cash and $8.0 million of availability under the revolving credit facility as of March 31, 2005."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
Previous Mark Mays:
Previous Randall Mays:
2005-04-30: WorldSpace India Private Ltd., which runs WorldSpace satellite radio in India, has appointed former IndusInd Media & Communications head Deepak Varma as its new managing director.
He replaces KR Harish, who will become CFO of WorldSpace's Asia operations.
WorldSpace is boosting its Indian operations with a new marketing and advertising campaign and is to start operations in other cities in India following its start of operations in Hyderabad earlier this month. It plans to extend them to Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and Kolkata (See RNW Apr 16).
Previous Indian Radio:
2005-04-30: Nine UK radio sales groups have confirmed that they are to take part in UK Leaders Live, a show to be simulcast tomorrow featuring the leaders from all three major UK political parties - Prime Minister Tony Blair, Conservative leader Michael Howard, and Liberal-Democrat leader Charles Kennedy on the last Sunday before the UK General Election on Thursday (See RNW Apr 9).
They include Capital Radio, Chrysalis, Emap, Saga, and UBC. The show will air from 09:00 to 10:30 GMT and will be hosted by radio and TV presenters Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Margherita Taylor.
2005-04-30: New US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin has announced that he intends to appoint Daniel Gonzalez as the Commission's Chief of Staff, Monica Desai as Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Chief, Kris Monteith as Enforcement Bureau Chief, and Tom Navin as Wireline Competition Bureau Chief.
He is also to appoint Michelle Carey to his personal staff as Legal Advisor for Wireline Issues.
Gonzalez has served as Chairman Martin's Senior Legal Advisor and Wireline Advisor since February 2002, and since September 2004, Michelle Carey served as Deputy Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau prior to which she was Chief of the Competition Policy Division for nearly five years
Desai has worked at the Commission since 1999 including a spell as an interim legal advisor to then-Commissioner Martin on spectrum and international issues and various common carrier and media issues; Monteith most recently served as Deputy Bureau Chief for Outreach and Intergovernmental Affairs in the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau; and Navin most recently served as the Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau's Competition Policy Division,
2005-04-30: Buckley Broadcasting's WOR-AM, New York, will end 80 years at its studios at 1440 Broadway today with a final broadcast from Joey Reynolds in his 01:00 to 05:00 slot after which all broadcasts will come from WOR's new studios at 111 Broadway.
The station, which first went on air in 1922, moved to New York from New Jersey in 1941. As well as the studio move it is also involved in a transmitter move from its current site since 1967 in Lyndhurst, New Jersey.
The site, on a former dump, is to be developed with other sites by the State of New Jersey and WOR is rebuilding its transmitter facility on nearby virgin swamp.
Previous Buckley Broadcasting:
WOR web site:
2005-04-29: US radio revenues in March were up 3% on a year ago according to latest figures from the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB): On a year-to-date basis they are now up 2%, having risen 3% in January and remained flat in February.
Within the figures local ad sales were up 3% for March, national revenues were up 5% and non-spot revenues were flat.
RAB's Radio Revenue Index that equates the pre-dot com base year 1998 to 100 showed a total spot index of 142.8 in March with the local sales index 142.3 and the national one 146.0: The comparative year-to-date indices were total spot 142.9; local 141.3;and national 146.5.
Commenting on the results RAB President and CEO Gary Fries said, "Radio is evolving at a rapid pace, both technologically and creatively. Growth should remain steady throughout the year, as the medium and its advertisers explore how to maximize the advantages emerging from this new landscape."
Previous RAB and RAB figures (February):
2005-04-29: Sirius has reported ending its first quarter with 1.45 million subscribers, says it now has more than 1.5 million and has increased its expected year-end figure from 2.5 million to 2.7 million but it also reported an increased loss, up from USD 144.1 million (12 cents a share) a year ago to USD 193.6 million (19 cents a share) this year.
Its revenues were up 365% over a year ago at USD 43.2 million, a much larger pro-rata increase than rival XM which increased its revenues 140% on a year earlier to USD 103 million (See RNW Apr 28) driven by subscription increases - it had a net gain of 305,437 subscribers in the quarter.
Sirius also reported an improvement in its monthly churn to 1.3%, the lowest since it began, and said it is now costing it USD 190 to add a new subscriber, 23% down on a year ago, a figure it expects to reduce to below USD 145 for the full year 2005: In comparison XM says it is now spending USD 90 to add a new subscriber.
Sirius is forecasting full-year revenues of USD 215 million, up from previous guidance of USD 210 million and adjusted operational losses of about USD 510 million compared to previous guidance of USD 480 million.
Commenting on the results, CEO Mel Karmazin said, "Coming off a strong finish last year, we continued to see increased demand for Sirius during the first quarter."
"Not only did we beat Wall Street consensus for subscriber and revenue growth," he added, " but we also registered our lowest churn ever, which clearly indicates a preference for our superior programming, as well as very high levels of customer satisfaction. Our strong results in the automotive channel are increasingly contributing to our subscriber growth, and we expect this momentum to build even further as more factory programs begin this year."
Karmazin also highlighted the addition of Martha Stewart Living Radio, the arrival of Howard Stern next January and of NASCAR in 2007, as likely to drive demand for Sirius's service.
At the company's conference call Karmazin expressed disappointment that Sirius products were not available in may stores in January because of low supplies but said this had now been remedied.
He also said that Sirius had no current intention of increasing its USD 12.95 a month subscription although research had shown they could get away with increases without hitting subscriptions and churn.
Sirius shares ended up 1.128% on the day at USD 4.73 whilst those of rival XM were down 3.88% to USD 27.25.
2005-04-29: The Florida Supreme Court has refused to hear conservative host Rush Limbaugh's appeal against an earlier 4th District Court of Appeals ruling that held that prosecutors had legally seized his medical records during an investigation in to whether he had "doctor-shopped" See RNW Oct 7, 2004). Limbaugh obtained about 2,000 painkillers, prescribed by four doctors in six months - to obtain large amounts of painkillers.
The court has not published the reasons for its 4-3 decision.
Limbaugh's records were sealed whilst his appeal as to be heard and it is not clear how soon state prosecutors will move to look at them.
So far the host, who is usually very speedy in posting news of decisions that go his way, has not posted any reference to the latest ruling on his web site.
10:00 GMT Update: Limbaugh's lawyer Roy Black has issued a statement (Still not posted on the host's site 12 hours later) saying that all along he had said there was no breach of the "doctor shopping" laws and adding, "Mr. Limbaugh appropriately sought treatment for severe back pain and for pain from an operation to restore his hearing. He has not been charged with a crime, and he should not be charged. His medical records will show that he received legitimate medical treatment for legitimate medical reasons."
"Only those who have suffered the long-term agony of chronic, severe pain will understand what Mr. Limbaugh was going through and why the appropriate medical treatment for his pain was so important," said Black.
RNW comment: The Black statement strikes us as the usual tendentious arguing with which he and Limbaugh are commonly associated by many people, ourselves included.
The information that has come out so far indicates to us that, although Black may be right about an important general point for patients' privacy, it's stretching credulity to the limit to try and get anyone to agree with the emphasis he puts on this case.
2005-04-29: The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has found that a New South Wales community station breached the country's Broadcasting Services Act 1992 by broadcasting advertisements but rejected other complaints that it had failed to encourage members of the community to participate in the operations and programming of the service and failed to establish a written conflict resolution policy.
Blacktown City Community Radio Association Inc, licensee of 2SWR, Blacktown, was held to have broadcast advertisements in Punjabi and Sri Lankan programmes - through the mention of a particular supermarket in one Punjabi programme and mention of a fashion business I another and
Through the mention of a number of businesses without required sponsorship tags in the Sri Lankan programmes.
The station had already taken action to prevent future breaches and the ABA opted to take no further action although it will continue to monitor the station's compliance with the rules.
2005-04-29: Viacom has named Michael J. Dolan, formerly Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Young & Rubicam Inc., as Executive Vice President And Chief Financial Officer to succeed Richard J. Bressler, CFO from March 2001, who is not renewing his contract.
Dolan takes over his new duties on May 11 and will report to chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone.
2005-04-28: XM added nearly 550,000 subscribers in the first quarter of this year to reach 3.77 million, on target it says to reach 5.5 million by the end of this year, and cut its overall loss from USD 170.1 million (96 cents a share) in Q1, 2004, to USD 119.9 million (58 cents a share): The figures a year ago included a one-time non-cash charge of USD 25.6 million -- a provision for deferred income taxes.
Revenues in the first quarter were nearly two-and-a- half times that of a year ago, up 140% to USD 103 from USD 43 million, driven mainly by subscription growth - it increased subscriptions by 541,140, a 68 percent increase over the 321,675 subscribers added in the first quarter 2004, and finished the quarter with 3,770,264 subscribers.
XM said the retail aftermarket accounted for almost 60 percent of total net subscriber additions driven by heavy demand for Roady2, SKYFi2 and the new MyFi portable, wearable radio: it cut the cost of adding a subscriber from USD 106 a year ago to USD 80 in the first quarter of this year.
EBITDA loss was cut from USD 78 million a year ago to USD 71.3 million.
XM President and CEO Hugh Panero said of the results," This was an outstanding first quarter by any measure. XM added more than 541,000 subscribers, kicked off comprehensive coverage of the 2005 Major League Baseball season, successfully launched our third satellite and exited the quarter with an annualized revenue run rate of $430 million."
"We are very pleased with our performance to date," he continued, "and remain on track to reach 5.5 million subscribers by year-end."
Panero also noted during the company's conference call that the company had not been harmed by raising its subscription from USD 9.99 to USD 12.95 but had gained a significant number of long-term subscribers though the move with 34% of subscriptions being for an annual or multi-year plan in the quarter, up from 24% in the final quarter of last year.
XM has also announced the launch of a 24-hour Spanish language sports channel in partnership with soccer play-by-play announcer and entrepreneur Andres Cantor. The channel, to debut in July, will feature in-depth coverage of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Soccer tournament, including qualifying matches and will also broadcast coverage of Latin American and Mexican baseball and boxing. XM will broadcast World Cup soccer matches in English on a separate channel.
Although the figures were above analysts' expectations, XM shares fell around 1.5% in early afternoon before rebounding and ending the day 2.72% up at USD 28.35. Those of rival Sirius, due to report today, fell further - down around 6.4% in early afternoon before recovering somewhat but they still ended the day 4.11% down at USD 4.67.
In other US radio results, Jefferson-Pilot Communications' has reported first quarter earnings up 5% on a year ago to USD 11.0 million in the first quarter with Broadcast cash flow also up 5% - to USD 23.0 million.
2005-04-28: According to the Drudge Report, the US Secret Service is investigating Air America Radio following a skit on the Randi Rhodes Show that featured an apparent gunshot warning.
The site quotes an unnamed government source as saying, "Even joking about shooting the president is a crime, let alone doing it on national radio... we are taking this very seriously."
Drudge reports the skit's contents as starting with an announcer saying, "A spoiled child is telling us our Social Security isn't safe anymore, so he is going to fix it for us. Well, here's your answer, you ungrateful whelp: [audio sound of 4 gunshots being fired.] Just try it, you little bastard. [audio of gun being cocked]."
Drudge also reports that Rhodes apologized for the skit that she called "a lame attempt at humour."
At a White House briefing spokesman Scott McClellan, asked about the broadcast, commented according to the official White House report, "I haven't heard anything about it until you must mentioned it, but it sounds very inappropriate and over the line to me from the way you described it."
RNW comment: Maybe it's our understanding of the meaning of the word "investigate (to look into something carefully to discover the truth)" or general lack of regard for Drudge's record of accuracy but we find Drudge's report his usual overblow and the quote one we hope for the sake of American "free speech" to be an invention.
We can't we see how a skit, as opposed to incitement to violence, can reasonably be termed a "crime" but wouldn't dissent, from the description of the skit as "lame" nor from McClellan's comment.
Previous Air America:
White House briefing:
2005-04-28: India's state run broadcaster Praser Bharati, which oversees Doordorshan TV and All India Radio (AIR), has been told by a parliamentary panel to cut down on their broadcasts of programmes with social messages, which bring in no revenue.
The radio and TV broadcasters had complained that they were obliged to broadcast programmes that no private broadcaster would contemplate airing and AIR said its stations were bogged down by these and cited the amount of airtime it devoted to such topics as Republic Day, Independence Day, parliamentary proceedings, environment campaigns, consumer protection and programmes for industrial workers for eradication of untouchability ( The untouchables are part of India's caste system).
The panel suggested that there should be limitations on the requirements to broadcast government and social programming to enable the broadcaster to attain a "meaningful balance between social obligations and financial considerations."
It also suggested that AIR "should encourage corporate entities and multinationals to spend a part of their social welfare budget on sponsoring such programmes."
Previous Indian Radio:
Previous Prasar Bharati:
2005-04-28: Infinity has announced the launch next month of what it terms the world's first podcasting radio station with all content to be created by its listeners.
The station will be heard on Infinity's KYCY-AM, San Francisco and streamed online at kyouradio.com.
Infinity chairman and CEO Joel Hollander said of the launch, "We're always thrilled when we can incubate new programming ideas and bring them to life on our radio stations in ways we never before imagined There is a profound shift underway in the way we use technology that allows everyone to have a voice. KYOURADIO harnesses that power by serving our listeners with content developed by them for them and offering a platform to share it with the rest of the world."
"We envision KYOURADIO not only as a place to hear a fresh and new perspective created from the outside, but an outlet with which to foster the creativity of undiscovered talent from all walks of life."
2005-04-28: Harris Corporation has reported revenue for its third quarter of fiscal 2005 up 18% to USD772 million with net income up 57% to USD 55.8 million (40 cents per diluted share, up from 26 cents).
Chairman, president, and CEO Howard L. Lance said it had been "another excellent quarter" and highlighted further penetration of our government business into civil and technical services markets and increased momentum in our already very strong tactical radio business."
He also said Harris's broadcast business "delivered higher gross margin in its core business and essentially completed the integration of Encoda Systems, which significantly expands our market reach."
Amongst the factors cited as aiding Harris's broadcast operations were increased sales in the U.S. of HD Radio transmission equipment - Harris says it has more than half the market for HD radio transmission equipment - but this was offset by soft international market conditions for both analogue and European-standard digital broadcast equipment.
Harris's Broadcast Communications segment reported revenue up 40.8% to USD 103.2 million with operating income up nearly 14-fold, from USD 500,000 a year earlier to USD 6.9 million.
2005-04-27: Cutting its advertising load has benefited its ratings in Chicago according to Clear Channel whose regional vice president and market manager John Gehron attributed a strong ratings performance in the Winter Arbitrons in part to the company's "Less Is More" initiative to scale back commercial breaks and reduce ads and promos.
"People found our stations more listenable," Gehron said of the change to the Chicago Sun-Times.
In the ratings Clear Channel's urban contemporary WGCI-FM held on to a 5.4 share and overtook news/talk WGN-AM, whose share was down from 5.9 to 5.3, for the top spot overall. WGN had been in top rank since fall 2002.
Clear Channels adult urban WVAZ-FM was third overall (4.7 down to 4.6), its smooth jazz WNUA-FM ( 4.0 up to 4.3) and adult contemporary WLIT (4.6 down to 4.3 ) were fifth equal.
Infinity's WBBM-FM was furth ( 4.3 up to 4.5).
In his Chicago Sun-Times column Robert Feder says the other big winner was Univision Radio's Spanish-language adult contemporary WPPN-FM ("Pasion 106.7 FM") that four months after its debut became the top Spanish station in the market: It increased its share from 1.0 in the fall ratings to 2.8 to take 12th rank overall, ahead of stablemate WOJO-FM (14th with share fell from 3.7 to 2.8) and Spanish Broadcasting System's WLEY-FM (17th with share down from 3.2 to 2.4).
RNW comment: It seems to us rather premature to claim without supporting evidence that reducing advertising clutter boosted Clear Channel's stations in the ratings although we would certainly find a station preferable without long advertising breaks and find it a reasonable deduction that fewer adverts could boost a station's audience.
At the same time, we'd also expect that as US terrestrial radio moves to digital - with the potential for more channels, and also exploits podcasting and Internet services, it would also find that it may well have to trim advertising breaks to keep its audience albeit with more outlets for advertising that may not cut back income in proportion to the reduction.
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2005-04-27: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin has asked for approval to increase the agency's spending in its 2006 financial year by 8.2% over the 2005 level to USD 304.1 million with a direct federal funding request of USD 4.8 million, up from USD 1 million. The balance of the payment would come from regulatory fees.
Martin told the House Appropriations Committee that to continue operating at its current level the agency would need a 3% increase for non discretionary increases such as salaries and inflation increases for office rental and contractual services.
In addition he sought an additional USD 14.27 million for an E-Government Personnel Program (USD 450,000), for a Licensing Integration Initiative (USD 1.35 million), a special Field Facilities Improvement Initiative at the Commission's offices in Columbia, Maryland (USD 9.3 million), and to hire 26 limited term FTEs (Full Time Equivalent staff) to increase the agency's Universal Service Fund audit and oversight activities in Fiscal Year 2006 (USD 3.17 million).
Asking for the funding, Martin said he understood "the Subcommittee seeks to ensure the Commission runs a tight fiscal ship, and I share that goal " and said he was working with his staff "to continue undertaking a comprehensive review of the Commission's budget and Commission operations to ensure that when we do receive our funding level for the next fiscal year, we are prepared to use our resources in the most efficient manner possible."
2005-04-27: The UK Times reports that, despite its protestations last month that its radio division was not up for sale (See RNW Mar 26) the Guardian Media Group (GMG) will in fact consider selling them if offered more then GBP 150 million (USD 286 million).
The paper says GMG rejected a GBP 115 million (USD 219 million) offer from Chrysalis Group and says unnamed senior sources at GMG have indicated that "Chrysalis fell well short of our value, which is £150 million to £175 million".
It adds that GMG is not under pressure to sell because its debts are a manageable GBP 450 million (USD 857 million) and falling, but the amount of borrowing means that it would struggle to expand by buying other stations.
The Times notes that GMG's radio operations lost GBP 2.1 million (USD 4.0 million) last year and says while that performance is expected to improve, few in the industry believe that the business can command a valuation of more than GBP 120 million (USD 229 million).
UK Times report:
2005-04-27: Philadelphia morning drive duo Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison (Preston and Steve) seem to have won their fight to go on air at Greater Media's rock station WMMR-FM.
The pair were signed up by WMMR when Radio One Inc. closed down its alternative rock WPLY-FM in February but Radio One claimed that they could not work for WMMR because of a six-month non-compete clause in their contract allied with a 12-month non-solicitation agreement.
They had argued that because their former station had been closed and competition would thus be against an entity that did not exist, the non-compete died with it and Federal Judge Cynthia Rufe agreed with their argument and issued a preliminary injunction against Radio One allowing the two to start work at WMMR.
Radio One in a statement said it would appeal against the decisions and Vice President of Operations Zemira Jones said, "We are deeply disappointed by the District Court judge's decision and intend to appeal. This decision not only impacts Radio One, but will have an adverse impact on all broadcasters, as it calls into question the enforceability of valid non-competition agreements when a format change occurs, which is common in the radio industry."
He added, "This decision is ironic in that it was Preston and Steve's decision to depart Y100 that led Radio One to change Y100's format and that change now serves as the basis for the judge's decision to bar enforcement of the non-competes."
"Contrary to press reports," he commented, "Radio One made every effort to renew Preston and Steve's contracts with Y100 beginning last fall. In spite of our efforts, Preston and Steve made a decision to leave for a competing station. In January, they announced their intent to depart Y100 upon the expiration of their contracts in February."
"Radio One attempted to find replacement talent, but ultimately made a business decision to introduce a contemporary inspirational format in the market "We continue to believe that we have a legitimate business interest in enforcing the non-competes, despite Y100's format change. We will continue to press our arguments on appeal and believe that we will ultimately prevail."
RNW comment: We are in general against allowing non-compete clauses since the broadcaster usually has much more power in the situation than does the talent, thus making any such deal too one-sided. In this case the talent won because of unusual circumstances but on the basis of Radio One's statement, a principle applied that seems quite reasonable does when looked at in detail seem to be finely balanced in that the hosts are said to have been determined to leave but would in the circumstances have been subject to a six months delay starting elsewhere because of the non-compete.
In general, our view is that it is a pity the system does not automatically impose a large punitive award against any station that has fired talent or not renewed a contract under existing terms and conditions and then tries to enforce a non-compete. If the talent is greedy and tries for a large pay hike, then they should lose such protection but the logic, if this is not being demanded, in our view is clearly that the station has considered them expendable and thus should not have any legal recourse to stop competition.
Previous Radio One Inc.
2005-04-27: UK media regulator Ofcom upheld no complaints against radio and 4 against TV in its latest bulletin compared to one radio complaint and one TV complaint upheld in the previous bulletin. It also considered a further five TV complaints resolved and rejected one TV complaint following an adjudication.
In addition a further 108 complaints relating to 100 TV items and 13 radio ones relating to 12 items were rejected or held to be out of remit compared to 141 TV complaints relating to 100 items and 18 radio complaints relating to 18 items in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2005-04-26: Online listening to BBC radio totalled 13.1 million hours in March, up nearly 60% on a year ago and up 17% on February: Of the listening, live listening reached 8 million hours, up by half on a year ago and 18% on February whilst on-demand listening totalled 5.1 million hours, up three-quarters on a year ago and 15% on February.
In addition there were more than 100,000 MP3 downloads of BBC radio programmes, taking the total number of downloads to date past 460,000.
In terms of network listening in March this year, the rankings were (Total listening hours-live plus on-demand and percentage change compared to February in brackets):
Radio 1 - (3,671,658 + 15%).
Radio 2 - (2,515,913 +13.5%).
Radio 4 - (2,163,698 +12%).
BBC 7- (1,199,454 +25%).
Radio 5 Live- (880,137 +2.5%).
Radio 3 - (666,526 + 12.5%)
6 Music - (639,007 +6.5%).
1Xtra - (577,151 +7%).
Asian Network - (221,859 + 16%).
5 Live Sports Xtra - (30,359 -20%).
The top five on-demand programmes were :
! - BBC Radio 4 soap The Archers with 445,334 listens in March - up 25% on February.
2 - Chris Moyles on BBC Radio 1 with 401,888 - up 15%;
3 - Essential Mix on BBC Radio 1 with 230,443 - up 22%;
3 - Radio 1's Chart Show with JK & Joel with 207,731 (In February its predecessor, The Official Chart Show, was sixth with 122,596);
5 - The Essential Selection on BBC Radio 1 with 202,357 - Down from fifth despite listening up 16%.
Dance Anthems from BBC Radio 1 dropped from fifth to seventh with 137,074 as listening dropped 6%.
Previous BBC Online figures:
2005-04-26: Eastlan Resources is trying to tap the radio ratings business for smaller US markets with the launch of its Analysis One product that provides a survey for markets with a population of up to 50,000 at a cost of USD 3,999.
Eastlan President Mike Gould said the product had been "designed with the micro-market broadcaster specifically in mind," adding, "Over the past couple of years, we've repeatedly been asked about the possibility of creating a survey product that would allow micro-markets the ability to look at multiple demos and day parts."
The survey uses a sample of 200 covering all demographics but only for a limited number of day parts.
Earlier this month, Eastlan added another market to its roster with a deal with Southern Broadcasting, which has a five-station cluster there, to survey the Northeast Georgia (Athens) market, previously an Arbitron CSAR market.
2005-04-26: More radio stations round the world are trying podcasting cum MP3 offerings on their web sites with amongst the latest addition a new podcast from Corus Entertainment that is offering what it says is the first podcast in Canada of national music-based programmes. On offer for download across Corus' new rock and classic rock stations are popular music documentary programs The Ongoing History of New Music and Legends of Classic Rock are now available.
The programmes, developed by Corus' in-house Interactive team, can be accessed through Classic Rock 101 and CFOX-AM, Vancouver, Q107 in Calgary, The Hawk and FM 96 in London, Ontario, and The Edge and Q107 in Toronto.
The Ongoing History of New Music, which has been on the air for more than a decade and is hosted by modern rock music historian Alan Cross, is the longest-running music documentary feature in Canada and the themes, facts, issues, myths and personalities behind today's music culture.
Legends of Classic Rock, hosted by Rock 101 Vancouver PD and musicologist, Jeff Woods, gives listeners the stories behind the music.
Corus Radio National Program Director Ross Winters said, "Eighteen- to 34-year-olds have the MP3 players and they're eager to try out this new technology, but until this point, there has been very little content that appeals to them. So, Corus Radio offers them a solution: on-demand music-based programming from our rock stations-number 1 and 2 with the same group, in virtually every market we're in."
Corus is planning to extend the service, which began earlier this month, with other podcasts including syndicated spoken-word content.
In Ireland, state broadcaster RTÉ has also dipped its toes into the waters with its first offering, an MP3 file from Lyric FM's Artszone of a tour of various famous Dublin buildings by Dr Hugh Campbell of the School of Architecture at University College, Dublin.
The programme was made to mark the Architectural Association of Ireland's inaugural series of lectures in modern architecture.
RTÉ Lyric FM site:
(MP3 to Download - 10 Mb).
2005-04-26: The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of Ireland (BCCI) has upheld three complaints against radio, one relating to a "joke" newsflash in December last year saying that Pope John Paul 2 was clinically dead, and one against TV out of 25 complaints considered at its board meeting this month: Of the 25, four were considered frivolous or vexatious and closed, consideration of two was deferred and adjudications made on 19.
The radio complaints upheld related to a programme item, a promo, and an advert that referred to premium rate services without detailing the related tariff.
The programme complaints upheld were both against the "Breakfast Show with Eamon Dunphy" on Talk 106. One related to a mock "newsflash" during an interview on the Northern Ireland peace process saying that Pope John Paul II was clinically dead and that Cardinal Ratzinger was in charge for the time being.
Complainant Fr. Declan Moriarty had phoned the station about the newsflash and was told it was a joke and complained that he the "joke" distasteful, anti-catholic and insensitive to people suffering from Parkinson's disease and/or arthritis.
Upholding the complaint, the Commission commented "The humour throughout the sketch was based on the failing health of the Pope with its 'punch-line' being a purported unintelligible speech made by him, during which canned laughter was used. Basing humour on the real illness of an individual, and announcing his 'clinical death' in a spoof newsflash is not acceptable. Not only is it insensitive, it is asinine and highly offensive. Also, the manner in which the piece was presented gave cause for concern. It was not until near the end of the 'sketch' that a listener would have been aware that it was a 'spoof' comedy sketch. Such crass treatment of the Pope's grave state of health was unwarranted and in extremely bad taste."
The other complaint upheld related to a promotion for Dunphy's show, purporting to be an advertisement for UK Business on the Move, that featured a man boasting crudely about the number of 'Filipino' women he had sex and about the 'sister of the Quartermaster of the branch of the IRA' with whom he had also engaged in similar behaviour.
The complainant said she could not understand how the material promoted the show and objected to the crude language, denigration of women and, in particular, to the racist undertones of the piece.
Upholding this complaint the commission commented, "The scenarios presented included discriminatory references to women, some of which were also racist, lewd sexual descriptions and puerile male bravado. In the opinion of the Commission the language and the descriptions used denigrated women including women from particular ethnic backgrounds. Such reference to, and treatment of, any section of the community is unacceptable. The language and content of the sketch were in very poor taste and offensive."
2005-04-25: This week we start our look at print comment on radio in Chicago with a positive note and a different perspective on local host Erich "Mancow" Muller, best known for on-air comments that led to complaints against him to the Federal Communications Commission.
The other side, publicised by Robert Feder in his Chicago Sun-Times column, is a generosity of spirit as revealed in the host's support for competitors who have fallen on harder times.
The most recent example was Muller's reaction to a column concerning veteran Chicago host Kevin Matthews who opted not to renew his midday contract at Infinity's WCKG-FM - at the end of March Feder had reported that Matthews was being offered a renewal only if he took a pay cut of a third.
Matthews was attacked for his decision by WGCK afternoon host Steve Dahl and Feder subsequently ran a readers' letters column in which some letters attacked Matthews: Muller reacted by jumping to his former rival's defence.
As Feder's column had it: "'Shame! Shame! Shame!' Muller wrote in a letter to me that he also posted on his Web site. "Your recent article featuring readers letters was an abomination. We can rebuild Iraq, but let's keep kicking Kevin Matthews when he's down.
"It's very easy for these within-earshot experts to pummel without any understanding of what it's like to be talent in a corporate media mindsuck. Yes, I bashed Kevin -- but I'm a smart mouthed morning man and he was my competition! Steve 'Backstabber' Dahl gloated and readers pounced when Kevin couldn't fight back. It's cheap and dirty."
Feder notes that Muller had a similar response in 2002 when WBBM-FM morning duo Ed Volkman and Joe Bohannon were pulled off the air in a contract dispute with Infinity - they eventually re-signed for seven years at more than USD1.5 million a year each.
Asked why he did it, Muller said, "I've always thought the battle between radio personalities was a joke. It's play time. Underneath, there's a brotherhood in this shrinking business."
RNW comment: Although we note that the hosts involved were from a rival organization and Dahl was making his comments from inside the Infinity tent, Muller's reaction seems to be both generous and an intelligent recognition of longer-term self-interest for all in the business. It's certainly a plus in our view.
On then to comments on another host who jumped ship - and again a fairly generous attitude to him: In this case the host was Bob Edwards who moved to XM last year after National Public Radio moved him from his slot as host of its Morning Edition programme.
NPR ombudsman Jeffrey A. Dvorkin in a recent column noted that almost a year after Edwards left readers still asked about him, albeit in declining numbers.
Writing, "I think it's time to invoke some closure on this issue so we all can move along," Dvorkin summarized what had happened through responses to questions in an e-mail from a listener.
He also, as might be expected went on to indicate that the decision had been proven right, quoting NPR's senior vice president of programming Jay Kernis as saying a year later "Morning Edition is a better radio program, and 800,000 more listeners a week attest to that."
Edwards still comes out well, though: Dvorkin contrasts his response to leaving NPR with that of another host, Tavis Smiley, writing, "Bob was a recent guest on Tavis Smiley's show on PBS. As many NPR listeners know, Tavis hosted a radio program of the same name on NPR for three years until this past January. In leaving radio, Tavis publicly criticized NPR. On his television program, he tried to get Bob to join him in denouncing NPR."
"To his credit, Bob wouldn't be drawn into that. In fact, Bob stated the opposite -- that he admired and respected NPR. He also said that he still listens. Bob showed himself to be a very classy guy in that interview." (Maybe that's why the listener's response to Dvorkin's reply included the conclusion, "Guess I will have to invest in satellite radio.").
And after hosts and the positive, on to some of the more usual bickering from the US, this time in relation to Air America.
In an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times last week, City Journal senior editor Brian C. Anderson said the service was failing, writing, "The liberal Air America Radio, just past its first birthday, has probably enjoyed more free publicity than any enterprise in recent history. But don't believe the hype: Air America's left-wing answer to conservative talk radio is failing, just as previous efforts to find liberal Rush Limbaughs have failed."
Anderson then went through a number of reasons frequently put forward as to why liberal talk fails as well as contrasting the Air America success in reaching more than 50 markets with that of William J. Bennett's morning talk show, launched at the same time as Air America, and which reached more than 120
"And look at Air America's ratings," he continued. "They're pitifully weak, even in places where you would think they'd be strong. WLIB, its flagship in New York City, has sunk to 24th in the metro area Arbitron ratings - worse than the all-Caribbean format it replaced, notes the Radio Blogger. In the liberal Meccas of San Francisco and Los Angeles, Air America is doing lousier still."
Unsurprisingly - and one phrase in Anderson's item - "even if we were to grant the premise that conservative talk radio can sometimes be crudely simplistic" - does indicate some problem for him in terms of being somewhat challenged in terms of imagination and recognizing facts, Air America did not take the same view.
Responding in a letter to the paper, Air America CEO Danny Goldberg referred to the original comment as "petulant and inaccurate, an indication that conservatives are having a hard time dealing with a robust alternative to the monopoly they had on talk radio since the 1980s."
He failed to produce any details to refute the comments made about failure in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco (In Fall last year, for example, WLIB, which was 24 against fifth for WABC, which carries Limbaugh, and after increasing its Fall 2003 share from 1.1 to 1.4 in summer 2004 - after it moved to Air America - dropped back to 1.2 whilst WABC went from 3.3 to 4.1 to 4.5) but commented, "Every one of the original stations that picked up Air America has experienced dramatic increases in ratings. Our audience more than quadrupled what it was just nine months ago. We are on in 53 markets, including 16 of the top 20."
RNW comment: When we did an online check about WLIB's ratings we noted that the conservative sites in general emphasised any figures showing the network doing badly and skipped over those that showed a positive light whilst left-wing ones did the opposite but the latter tended to also feel they had to give the bad news as well whilst more of the former opted to just give one side.
On now to some suggested listening, starting with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Background Briefing and its most recent edition , The Lesser Evil, in which Michael Ignatieff, Professor of Human Rights at Harvard University, spoke of the unpalatable decisions that those in power have to make sometimes with particular reference to the Gulf War - which he supported - and mistakes by the Bush administration.
We'd also suggest BBC Radio 4 and the Friday Play last week, My Ms And Me in which comedian and writer Jim Sweeney describers his 20 years as a victim of multiple sclerosis with humour and honesty.
Then also with an ear to those dealing with physical and/or mental difficulties, on Sunday in "Drinking With Cowboys", the first part of A Brush with the Bottle on Radio 4, recovering alcoholic Andy Mayer told of his descent into dependence on alcohol: "Tough Call", next Sunday's programme at 16:40 GMT, deals with his recovery.
Sticking with a positive note, the new series of "This I Believe", based on the original CBS series from 50 years ago, began running this month on US National Public Radio (See RNW Mar 24) and so far has included contributions from novelists Isabel Allende and John Updike and former US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
The transcripts and audio are on the NPR web site, allowing the opportunity to both listen and consider the words in more depth.
Then documentary and politics with a couple of suggestions, the first from BBC Radio 2 where tomorrow veteran British TV reporter Michael Nicholson in "Vietnam Notebook", the first of a two-part series, presents his personal history of the Vietnam war and the life for correspondents who reported on the conflict: Nicholson was amongst the reporters who scrabbled to get into the US Embassy to catch one of the last US helicopters to leave when Saigon fell thirty years ago.
And for a different perspective on that conflict, tonight at 19:00 GMT in Return to Saigon on BBC Radio 4, Megan Williams, born Hoang Mong Thu and who in 1979 arrived in Alabama as a refugee from refugee camps in Malaysia, returns to her homeland after 26 years living in the US and listens to the stories of those who remained.
For drama, but only for those who are prepared to accept gloom and language that would have the American Family Association rushing from the room with hands over their ear, we'd suggest Drama on 3 from BBC Radio 3: Yesterday's programme was Festen, adapted for radio from his stage play by David Eldridge.
Next Sunday the slot - at 18:00 GMT has Don Carlos with Derek Jacobi in the Sheffield Theatre production of the play by Friedrich Schiller.
Music next and first the weekday Performance on 3 programmes, also from BBC Radio 3 - each at 18:30 GMT that this week starts with an all-British concert tonight from the City of London Sinfonia with a programme that includes the premiere of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies's A Dance on the Hill; tomorrow features the final of the Manchester International Violin Competition; on Thursday has a retrospective of 60 years of the work of Luigi Nono; and on Friday includes the world premiere of Lyell Cresswell's Ara Kopikopiko (Maori for labyrinth).
For music - of a different nature - cum documentary "Music in Air Force Blue", aired last Friday on BBC Radio 4 told the story of tells the story of the Central Band of the RAF (Royal Air Force): It will be available on the site for a few days.
For sounds of a completely different nature we suggest The New Guinea Singing Dog at 10:00 GMT tomorrow on BBC Radio 4 - the dogs concerned have an uniquely musical howl, climb trees: They're threatened with extinction in the wild but there around 150 kept as pets in the US.
Finally a look to be broadcast next Sunday (19:00 GMT) on BBC Radio 4 in A World in Your Ear at how a prison radio station in South Africa is steering prisoners away from a life of crime. The programme, one of a series that picks up material from radio stations from round the world, is not available through the Listen Again BBC service so can only be head on the day.
Chicago Sun-Times- Feder:
Los Angeles Times - Anderson:
Los Angeles Times -Goldberg:
2005-04-25: China has begun digital audio broadcast (DAB) trials including broadcasts by Radio Beijing, which hopes to launch an official DAB service later this year, and by other stations in Beijing and Guangdong Province.
They are amongst a number of DAB developments using the Eureka 147 system - already being broadcast in some 30 countries - round the world including the submission in Norway of plans by state broadcaster NRK to end analogue broadcasts in 2014 and in the Netherlands to cut off analogue in 2019.
NRK has already identified four FM services that it indents to migrate to DAB only by 2007 with the remainder to follow: NRK is also developing new DAB-only formats, which it hopes to launch in autumn 2006 by when coverage of the country's national DAB multiplex should be up from its current 70% to 80% of the population and that of the country's regional multiplex, currently 30%, should also go up to the same level.
In the Netherlands, which began public service DAB services in early 2004, Minister of Economic Affairs, Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, has submitted his plans for the introduction of commercial digital radio licences to the House of Representatives. The legislation includes plans for issuing digital licences to commercial broadcasters by the spring of next year and cutting off analogue transmissions by 2019.
In Italy, where test broadcasts are already being run by commercial broadcasters and cover 65% of the population, the country's Media Authority has approved and published official regulations for DAB and the country's broadcaster is expected to start DAB transmissions soon.
In the Czech Republic, changes to the country's Act on Electronic Communications mean the public broadcaster, Czech Radio, can increase its digital offerings on the national multiplex. Czech Radio is also lobbying the government Telecommunications Office for enough frequency spectrum to allow the national multiplex to cover the whole country.
World DAB Forum President Annika Nyberg commented of the developments, "Establishing strong legislation and regulation is the first step to creating a digital radio market that is beneficial to both consumers and broadcasters. We are pleased to see more and more countries adopting such legislation and thus laying the groundwork for a smooth roll out of DAB digital radio services."
Previous World DAB:
2005-04-25: The BBC has started running promotions of the new Radio 4 "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series that is to start on May 3, what it terms the "last ever instalment of the late Douglas Adams' classic tale."
The original Hitchhikers was commissioned by the BBC in 1977 and began airing in March 1978 without much promotion: it subsequently led Adams to write his best-selling cult novels that were subsequently developed as the basis for a TV series, video-games and a Disney film that has just been released.
The broadcast next month follows on from the penultimate series that aired last year (See RNW Jun 24, 2004), also adapted and directed by Dirk Maggs from Adams' last two books- So Long & Thanks For All The Fish and Mostly Harmless, and will also feature the voice of the late author as Agrajag by weaving into it recordings made before his death in 2001.
The cast also includes Simon Jones and Mark Wing-Davey, who were in the original radio series as Arthur Dent and Zaphod Beeblebrox, Sandra Dickinson and David Dixon, who starred as Trillian and Ford Prefect in the 1980s TV version who this time play Tricia McMillan and Ecological Man respectively, actor Stephen Fry and Hollywood star Christian Slater who will play John Watson, also known as Wonko the Sane, a character who lives in an inside-out house.
BBC Hitchhiker's Guide web site:
2005-04-24: The past week saw no major developments but a steady flow of activity from most of the regulators: In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) issued no licence decisions but did announce that it has begun an investigation into the Western Australian Aboriginal Media Association (Aboriginal Corporation) (WAAMA), licensee of Perth community radio broadcasting service 100.9FM in response to complaints that the station is not serving the interests of the Perth Aboriginal community.
Complainants also alleged that applications from members of the Perth Aboriginal community for membership of the station had been refused and that the programming format contains insufficient material that is of interest and relevance to the Perth Aboriginal community.
The ABA says it will investigate WAAMA's compliance with the conditions of its community broadcasting licence, including specific examination of:
*Whether WAAMA remains a suitable licensee.
*Whether WAAMA continues to represent the Perth Aboriginal community; and
*Whether WAAMA encourages members of the Perth Aboriginal community to participate in the operation of the service and the selection of programs provided by the service.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in a number of radio licensing decisions that included, in order of province:
*Approval of relocation of transmitter to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's tower with consequent increase in antenna height for CJRY-FM Edmonton.
*Approval of conversion of CJAV-AM, Port Alberni, to 6,000 watts FM and authorization to simulcast the programming of the new FM station on CJAV for a transition period of three months following the commencement of its operation.
*Approval of application for 1.6 watts English-language developmental community FM in Nakusp.
*Approval of new 600 watts "pop adult" format English-language FM commercial radio station in Sechelt. The application has originally been opposed when a different frequency was proposed, by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and was opposed by Central Island Broadcasting Ltd., now known as Island Radio Ltd. (Island) on the grounds of possible economic impact on interference to CKWV-FM Nanaimo.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Licence renewal until 31 August 2012 of Inuktitut- and English- language radio network held by Okalakatiget Society, Nain.
*Approval of frequency change to 106.7 MHz, increase in antenna height, and power increase from 1,600 watts to 2,000 watts for CIKZ-FM Kitcheners-Waterloo, a Country format FM on 99.5 MHz, which was found to suffer greater interference than had been anticipated because of a rare transmission phenomenon, called "thermal ducting" that is due to atmospheric conditions causing variations in the propagation of signals through layers of warm and cold air. These layers can trap radio signals and conduct the signals over long distances causing high signal levels at distances well beyond the normal range of reception.
Other options that had been considered included a power increase - ruled out because of objections from another licensee that would suffer from interference; a transmitter relocation that would provide inadequate power to properly serve the market and construction of a new tower that would have been prohibitively expensive.
*Approval in part of new 13,300 watts multi-genre music format FM. The format is being used successfully by an Internet-based radio station, and 60% of all music to be broadcast would be Canadian selections. The application was for the 106.7 MHz frequency now allocated to CIKZ-FM and the applicant has to come up with a suitable alternative: Two other mutually exclusive applications for the frequency were rejected -to change CJTW-FM Kitchener, to the 106.7 MHz frequency; for an English-language FM in Brantford that would also have used it.
*Short-term renewal until 31 August 2009 of licence of CKLC-AM, Kingston. The shorter term was related to a review in 2003 that showed the station to be playing less than the required percentage of Canadian musical selections. The licensee had acknowledged its non-compliance but said it had subsequently taken action to comply with its licence conditions.
*Approval of English-language 50 watts. low-power FM tourist radio station in Perdue
The CRTC also issued a public notice concerning streamlined renewal for some of the licences due to expire this year and that it intends to renew for the full seven-year period unless interventions are received by May 24.
Licences involved included:
CHWV-FM, Saint John.
CHTD-FM, St. Stephen
CKHJ-1-FM New Maryland, NB
CIOK-FM, Saint John.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
CKXG-FM Grand Falls.
CICQ-FM Mount Pearl.
CKML-AM, Chalk River.
CJLF-FM-1, Owen Sound.
CJKL-FM, Kirkland Lake.
CJTN-FM, Quinte West.
CHUR-FM, North Bay
CKAT-AM, North Bay.
CJET-FM Smiths Falls.
CJWL-FM, Iroquois Falls.
CKNR-FM, Elliot Lake.
CION-FM-2 Saguenay (Chicoutimi).
CJCQ-FM, North Battleford
CHQX-FM, Prince Albert
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has approved in principle the takeover of two local stations: They are Radio Kerry, which is involved in talks with Midland Radio Group, who operate Shannonside Northern Sound, and Highland Radio in Donegal, which is the subject of takeover talks with Scottish Radio Holdings, who also own Today FM and Dublin's FM104. Both deals will also have to go before the Competition Authority.
In the UK Ofcom has posted full details of the four applications it has received for the new Ballymena licence it has advertised (See RNW Apr 9): They are in PDF format and total 4.23 MB.
It also announced the award of four new community licences following its award last month of the UK's first Community Radio Licence to Forest of Dean Community Radio (See RNW Mar 12).
They went to:
*Havant -- Angel Radio (Havant), which began broadcasting in March 2002 and currently operates a pilot access/community radio services specifically for persons aged 60 and over who live in Havant.
In all seven applications had been made for community licences in the Solent area. Ofcom says it is considering whether it can find frequencies for further community licences in the area.
*Stoke on Trent - Cross Rhythms City Radio, which serves the Christian access/community in the Stoke-on-Trent area has broadcast as a community radio pilot for over three years. Two other applications were made for licences in Staffordshire but the other applicants did not gain a licence
GTFM (Pontypridd) - another pilot station, a partnership between a local residents' association and the University of Glamorgan that aims to provide a local and inclusive radio service for the residents of Pontypridd.
Afan FM (Neath and Port Talbot), a music-based information service aimed at young people aged 11-25
Ofcom says it will consider at a later date a further three applications received from groups in South Wales.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has set a date of November 1 for the start of its FM Auction 62. In all it proposes to auction 173 new FM licences, 143 new FM allotments, and 30 construction permits unsold from its auction 37.
The FCC has also issued details of further withdrawal payments for companies involved in its FM Auction 37.
LaGrange Broadcasting Corporation has been assessed for a payments of USD 26,630 after deducting from the total owed USD 25,000 it had paid as a deposit: It owed USD 35,000 as a final withdrawal payment for a USD 389,000 gross bid for a CP in Refugio, Texas, and a USD 14,130 initial payment relating to a USD 471,000 gross bid for a CP in Meridian, Texas.
Huryan Family Media has been assessed for USD 4,290 in initial payments after deducting from the total USD 10,000 paid as a deposit. It owed USD 1,969.50 related to a gross winning bid of USD 101,000 for a CP in Leakey, Texas, and USD 2,320.50 relating to a gross winning bid of USD 119,000 for a CP in Torrey, Utah.
Spearman Properties, LLC has been assessed for USD 35 in initial payments after deducting from the total USD 10,000 paid as a deposit. It owed USD 5,175.00 related to a gross winning bid of USD 230,000 for a CP in Mason, Texas, and USD 4,860related to a gross winning bid of USD 216,000 for a CP in Rocksprings, Texas.
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site
2005-04-24: Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin expects to bring the satellite radio company into profit by 2007 with advertising revenue then of around USD 100 million a year and ultimately sees satellite radio in the US gaining around 100 million subscribers according to comments he made in an interview with Advertising Age.
The publication notes however that he has to reconcile plans for advertising with resistance from subscribers to commercials and says he has no plans to put them on Sirius's 65 music channels: They will all go on its 55 news, talk, entertainment and sports channels and Karmazin expects ad revenue of up to $8 million this year, $50 million in 2006 and $100 million by 2007.
Karmazin forecasts that satellite radio will eventually gain more subscribers than cable and satellite TV combined - they are in around 90% of 108 million US homes but Karmazin notes that satellite radio also has a potential market in some 200 million cars on the road and also benefits from the potential for subscription and advertising revenue. He sees advertising revenues as being up to 30% of satellite radio's total revenues and comments of the idea of putting them on music channels, "The No. 1 annoyance consumers have to music on radio has been the commercials. Our business works so well with that paid subscriber that we don't need to mess with it by putting commercials on it."
Karmazin did not knock terrestrial radio, calling it a "great business" but adding that like the newspaper business it had now become a "mature" one and that in competing with satellite was facing disadvantages currently of poorer sound quality, the need to run advertisements on music channels in competition with satellite's commercial-free service, and the bandwidth advantage of satellite, which meant for example that they could run every football game being played rather than just one as a local station did.
Karmazin also comments on the ability to allow sponsorship of an entire channel and says of the ability to make "thing national" that this means Howard Stern will be available throughout the US not just in syndicated markets - and will also carry far fewer adverts with his show.
"There's no question in my mind that this thing is not only for real, it's huge," he said.
Regarding suggestions that his company's service should be subject to indecency legislation, he says, "Indecent speech, and Howard's show is not indecent, is protected speech under the Constitution. The interest that the government had in indecency was protecting children. In free, over-the-air broadcasting, you can't restrict the program from coming into your home. In the case of cable and satellite television and satellite radio, you can restrict it. So the idea of the government regulating HBO or regulating any of the cable TV channels or satellite radio channels, I don't see what the legal basis of it is."
He also comments on competing technologies such as portable players - "Listening to radio is a very different experience than listening to your own music" - as co-existing with satellite and argues that his company's product wins the battle decisively for a driver -- 83% of time listening to satellite, 7% to other music devices and the rest split between AM and FM.
Advertising Age report:
2005-04-24: The financial windfall that Japanese Internet company Livedoor has gained from the deal being done by Fuji TV Network to take control of radio broadcaster Nippon Broadcasting System and also pump finance into Livedoor through a purchase of new shares (See RNW Apr 19) will potentially put pressure on Livedoor according to reports in the Japanese media.
In all reports the Asahi Shimbun, Livedoor will end up with JPY 147 billion (USD 1.4 billion) in cash - more than the total financial assets it listed last year.
This says the paper will put pressure on Livedoor President Takafumi Horie to invest the funds to produce a similar return on assets that the company had previously enjoyed and to do so speedily: Livedoor has in the past acquired around 30 companies, mainly in the financial sector, often through share swaps that have depended on it keeping a high share price and the paper says that should it fail to keep up returns the share price could fall and put pressure on the company's business model.
Horie said he had learned "many things, which I think will be useful in new M&As [mergers and acquisitions)" and has also said he intends to use some of the funds to develop Livedoor's Internet portal and some to fund further acquisitions.
RNW comment: Nowhere in this whole story have we seen any comment about constructive plans to improve NBS's services and the tale in some way seems to be a reprise of the corporate raids made in the US through leverage buyouts in the 1980s. At that time US companies focussed - as Japanese companies continued to do - on traditional performance measures such as sales or earnings growth rather than the cost of capital and return on it.
In that sense Horie is two decades behind the US but will face the same pressures that applied to many LBO (Leveraged Buy Out) deals in the US and frequently led to collapses of the companies involved. As a radio company rather than an opportunity for financial manipulation NBS is probably best out of his hands but the real irony would be if problems in keeping up the pace make Livedoor itself vulnerable: We might yet see Fuji take it over at knock-down prices if the Japanese economy weakens.
Asahi Shimbun report:
2005-04-24: US National Public Radio (NPR), which in 2003 launched its Tomorrow Radio initiative to test and demonstrate the technical viability of multicasting with iBiquity's HD Radio system, is to begin offering five programmed music formats to multicasting stations this summer and will develop more channels.
Tests had shown supplemental audio channels to work better than had been expected (See RNW Jan 14, 2004).
The five music formats will be classical, jazz, electronica, triple-A and folk and NPR is also developing a news and information service and formats that "would serve culturally diverse audiences."
NPR has established a Multicast Receiver Team of seven NPR member stations - WOSU-FM, Columbus; WUSF-FM, Tampa; WFAE, Charlotte; WNYC New York Public Radio; Chicago Public Radio; Northern Indiana Public Radio; and Colorado Public Radio - that is holding detailed conversations with selected receiver manufacturers, aimed at a nationwide multicast receiver initiative for public radio listeners.
Twenty-four NPR member stations will begin multicasting in this year out of 56 public radio stations already broadcasting in HD radio and a total of 312 public radio stations committed to conversion.
NPR's vice president for engineering and operations Mike Starling, the "father" of the Tomorrow Radio initiative said digital radio was the biggest innovation in the medium since Armstrong invented FM in 1933 and added, "Public radio looks at multicasting with HD Radio as more than just a new technology. It's a creative, cost-effective way to extend our public service at a time when demand for public radio is greater than ever. We want to offer better and more choices for our listeners. That's why NPR and public radio are making such significant investments in multicasting technology."
2005-04-23: UK radio ratings organization RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) has announced that it has committed a further GBP 500,000 (USD 960,000) to its "roadmap to change " to a metering system.
Starting in June it will commence national field tests of Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) and the Eurisko's Media Monitor recruiting some 3,500 adults and a further 350 children to take part in the tests.
Arbitron has already spent GBP 1.5 million (USD 2.9 million) on testing audiometers and after its most recent tests excluded the GfK/Telecontrol MediaWatch (See RNW Feb 15).
RAJAR managing director Sally de la Bedoyere said the further spending confirmed its commitment to developing an audience metering system and added that the fieldwork tests were "to focus largely on compliance issues and how respondents relate to the audiometers."
"These include," she continued, "the actual time respondents put on the audiometers and whether they wear them all day; whether there is a time of day when they are less likely to wear them; whether there are any demographic groups which have a problem wearing them; and how children will cope with wearing/carrying them. The tests will also provide a first opportunity to analyse listening data which has been captured on a national basis, and ascertain whether there are any regional variances in the data, or, indeed, in compliance."
In all three fieldwork tests are to take place: The Arbitron PPM is to be placed with both a fixed panel, similar to BARB (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board, the UK TV audience organisation), of 700 respondents (15+ plus children) and a rolling panel, similar to the current diary method, of 1400 respondents (15+ plus children) and the Eurisko Media Monitor is to be placed with a rolling panel of 1400 respondents (15+ plus children).
RAJAR will share the results of the PPM tests that include encoding signals from a small number of TV station with BARB.
Previous de la Bedoyere:
2005-04-23: Astral Media and Corus Entertainment have welcomed the Canadian Federal Government's decision to uphold a January decision by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) giving the go-ahead for a station exchange between the two that will give Astral five FMs in return for seven AMs and an FM from Corus (See RNW Jan 22).
The companies expect the deal to close at the end of May and Astral Media Radio President Jacques Parisien said they were "very pleased" and continued, "Based on our market research, we have determined what the best fit will be for each station within our three strong radio brands Énergie, RockDétente and Boom fm. We are looking forward to offering the best radio content in each of these regional radio markets and are confident that these five new stations will be a strong complement to our existing radio offer in Québec."
2005-04-23: Yet more US stations have been flipped this week to the JACK-FM - "playing what we want" format variations of it.
In Seattle Infinity flipped its KRQI-FM (K-Rock) Alternative format to the JACK FM on Friday following a flip earlier in the week of its 80's format WXPT-FM (Mix 104) in Minneapolis to the JACK format.
In Portland, Oregon, Entercom put "Charlie", a variation of the format, on its oldies KKSN-FM frequency, move KKSN to AM on the KOTK-AM signal and dropped the Talk Radio for Guys "Max 910" it had been airing on the latter frequency.
It's web site describes Charlie as "kinda like an I-Pod on Shuffle... except Free!" whilst the KISN site has an explanatory note from Vice President/General Manager Erin Hubert that says of the changes, "We feel like we have the best of both worlds...the ability to launch an exciting new station with nothing like it in Portland, while keeping a great Oldies station on the air that we know you love. We'll also begin streaming KISN on the Internet very soon, so you'll be able to listen anywhere when you're on the web as well."
Hubert also comments on the implications of the introduction of digital HD radio to the market, writing, "As more and more "HD radios", as they'll be known, make their way to cars and homes, the quality of the AM frequency will take on an even better quality sound than what FM offers today. This evolution is going to make music stations relevant to the AM dial once again, and we wanted to be ahead of the curve by putting KISN back to its original dial position."
Charlie FM web site:
KISN-AM web site:
2005-04-23: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that two French-language AMs breached Canadian regulations - CJRC-AM, Gatineau, through a host's "aggressive use of an offensive phrase" in an interview and in CJAD-AM, Montreal, by failing to keep logger tapes.
The first case related to a 2004 interview by Daniel Séguin, host of L'Outaouais ce matin, with Patrice Demers, the president of Genex Communications, whose CHOI-FM at the time was in the headlines because of a refusal to renew its licence (See RNW Jul 14, 2004)
The panel says that the discussion over a protest by station supporters and freedom of expression gradually became more heated, to the point where Séguin twice told Demers to "envoyer chier" ("fuck off"): It adds that it is clear that Daniel Séguin was faring well and had the upper hand and the Panel does not understand why the host descended from the relatively high road to the level of a personal attack.
"The Panel," it says, "recognizes fully that Daniel Séguin wished to give Patrice Demers some of his station's own medicine but this Panel did not find similar language acceptable in [a previous decision involving CHOI-FM as broadcaster] and it does not find it acceptable in the present case It considers the use of the coarse and offensive language cited in this paragraph in breach of Clause 9 of the CAB Code of Ethics [and] also considers that the use of such aggressive language to insult his invited guest was improper and in breach of Clause 6 of the Code."
CJRC, in its response, had commented on the context of the comments, writing, "Following your comments, we listened to the complete interview, not merely the comment to which you refer in your complaint, in order to put the interview in context. We noted that in the minutes following the interview, Mr. Séguin apologized for his offensive remarks. We also listened to the comment made by Daniel Séguin on August 18, 2004 when he recalled the interview of August 10, 2004 and specified that he had addressed Mr. Demers in a fashion similar to that used by CHOI-FM. Mr. Séguin broadcast a CHOI-FM promotional message to that effect during which the following statement is made: 'C'est nous autres les numéros 1, toutes les autres allez chier' ('We're number 1 and the rest of you can fuck off.')"
In the CJAD case, the panel had received a complaint about comments made by the host on the eponymous Tommy Schnurmacher Show regarding the country's Governor-General and one of her trips overseas.
In accordance with CBSC procedure, the Council requested less than two weeks after the broadcast that the broadcaster holds copies of the logger tapes for the program in question and the station had confirmed that it had copies.
The CBSC, which noted that it could not adjudicate the complaint without the recording, said that the station should have set aside the tape when first contacted and that it had breached Canadian rules by not doing so.
2005-04-22: A US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) talk force says it will issue a voluntary indecency code for broadcasters in the summer, probably as early as June, in a move to avoid stricter government regulation.
Gary Chapman, chairman of LIN TV Corporation. and co-chairman of the NAB task force on responsible programming, told the Los Angeles Times members had discussed suggesting a five- to 10-second delay on some broadcasts, perhaps including live news feeds to prevent onlookers from shouting expletives into open microphones.
He said stations might be asked to beef up employee training about indecency standards, and educate parents about channel blocking technology with another suggestion that networks be urged to let their local affiliates preview telecasts.
"We would certainly want to be self-regulated [rather] than government regulated," said Chapman.
The move came just after a new poll by the Pew Research Center showed Americans as holding what the Pew termed "ambivalent views about the appropriate role for government in curbing sex, violence and indecency in the entertainment media."
Pew polled a total of 1,505 Americans in the period March 17-21 and it says its respondents, "have doubts about the effectiveness of government action, and believe that public pressure in the form of complaints and boycotts is a better way of dealing with the problem. They also blame audiences more than the media industry for objectionable material."
"Significantly, " it adds, "Americans see greater danger in the government's imposing undue restrictions on the entertainment industry, than in the industry producing harmful content (by 48% vs. 41%)."
Nearly four-fifths said inadequate parental supervision rather than inadequate laws is mostly responsible for children being exposed to that sort of offensive material and nearly nine our of ten that parents, rather than the entertainment industry, bear the most responsibility for keeping children from seeing sex and violence in TV and movies.
In seeming contradiction of this attitude, however, three-quarters favoured tougher enforcement of rules limiting broadcast of indecent material at times when children are most likely to be watching, 69% backed proposals for steeper fines, and 60% backed proposals to extend broadcast indecency rules to cable TV.
In some areas there were significant differences amongst various political and cultural groupings - 57% of conservative Republicans thought harmful content was a greater threat than undue government restrictions compared to 36% the other way whereas among liberal Democrats the proportions were 72% to 21% in the other direction. There were also age-related differences with a greater percentage -- 56 to 33 amongst the 18-29 group - of younger Americans finding undue government restriction more harmful and the balance tilting the other way in older groups -- 33-48 amongst those above 65.
Los Angeles Times report:
Pew report (43 page 127 Kb PDF):
2005-04-22: Arbitron has reported first quarter revenues up 3.4% on a year ago at USD 76.6 million with expenses up 2.4% to USD 44.4 million and earnings before interest and income tax expense (EBIT) up 2.5% to USD 32.7 million.
Helped by a 57% reduction in interest charges to USD 1.1 million, net income was up 9.6% to USD 18.1 million ( 63 cents per diluted share compared to 57 cents).
President and CEO Stephen Morris said the company was "starting the year on track despite a continued challenging economic environment for our largest customer segments - radio and advertising agencies" and added that the company was, for the first time, to pay a quarterly dividend of ten cents per share.
Arbitron says it expects second quarter revenues to be up by between 5.5% and 7.5% on a year earlier with earnings per diluted share in the range of 31-33 cents compared to 27 cents for Q2 last year.
For the full year, following a change in rules for expensing stock options, which now move into the first quarter of 2006 instead of the third quarter of this year, Arbitron has updated its guidance to an increase between 5% and 7% for full year revenues with EBIT up between 5.5% and 7.5% and net income up between 4% and 6%.
It notes that the guidance does not reflect the costs that would be associated with any future rollout of a PPM-based local market ratings service or with the proposed PPM-based national marketing research service
2005-04-22: Miss Info (Minya Oh), the Korean-American member of the Miss Jones in the Morning team at Emmis's Hot 97 (WQHT-FM), New York, who has been off the aid since January following the row over the broadcast of the "tsunami song" parody that led to the dismissal of two members of the show and suspensions of others, is now back with the station and has her own show.
Miss Info, who was not suspended, had queried the broadcast of the show on air and was abused for her pains by other members of the team including eponymous host Miss Jones (Tarsha Nicole Jones), who suggested she should quit and accused her of thinking she was superior because she was Asian (See RNW Jan 24).
Miss Info subsequently refused to return to the show, apparently because of differences with Miss Jones and in February said the station was trying to fire her because she had not gone back (See RNW Feb 20).
At the time attorney her Ken Thompson told the New York Daily News she felt she could no longer work there comfortably, saying she "wants very much to go back," but can't work with show host Miss Jones" because of the way Miss Jones has treated her,"
Thompson also said WQHT had offered his several alternative slots, including a weekend entertainment segment, but they were "unacceptable demotions."
According to the Daily News Miss Info has now accepted a deal that from the end of this month gives her a Saturday morning show from 08:00 to noon as well as providing e "celebrity drama" reports in the 7 and 8 p.m. hours on Funkmaster Flex's show that airs from Monday to Thursday.
The paper quoted Miss Info as saying," "I am looking forward to being back at the No. 1 hip-hop and R&B station."
So far Hot 97 has not posted information about the show on its web site.
Previous Miss Info (Minya Oh):
Previous Miss Jones (Tarsha Nicole Jones):
New York Daily News report:
2005-04-22: Sirius Satellite Radio CEO Mel Karmazin was paid a salary of just under USD 150,000 - he was appointed with a base salary of USD 1.25 million a year - and also received stock options valued at just above USD 14 million - related to a grant of 3 million restricted awards of stock that was announced in November last year - according to a filing by the company to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Karmazin also received options on 30 million shares
Joseph P.Clayton, his predecessor as chief executive, was paid USD 600,000 in salary, a bonus of the same amount, just below USD 90,000 in other benefits plus restricted stock awards valued at USD 2.36 million and an option on 2.75 million shares according to the filing.
On top of this Clayton exercised stock options in 2004 that were valued at USD 13.8 million, allowing him to purchase 2 million shares and also as of the end of the year had retained a total of
In addition, Clayton realized $13.8 million in value during 2004 from the exercise of stock options to purchase 2 million shares 13.5 million exercisable and unexercisable options valued at USD 68.8 million.
RNW comment: In the immediate term, Karmazin certainly doesn't appear to have benefited financially from his move to Sirius, As we reported earlier this month the Moonves/Freston duo that succeeded him at Viacom were each paid a total that should amount, unless the stock does very badly, to around USD 50 million plus last year (See RNW Apr 17).
2005-04-21: Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff Co has announced that it is to "explore a sale of its major subsidiaries, Susquehanna Media Co. and The Pfaltzgraff Co" because no younger member of the family that owns the company wants to take the helm.
Susquehanna Media, which employs more than a thousand people, owns 33 radio stations, cable systems in six states. Internet provider BlazeNet, and e-business solutions company Susquehanna Technologies (SusQtech) whilst the Pfaltzgraff Company is a pottery company that grew during six generations of family ownership and management from a modest-size shop that once produced salt-glazed stoneware in the early 1800s to a large manufacturer.
Louis J. Appell, Jr., chairman of the privately- owned company said in the statement, "This has been a difficult and carefully considered step. The radio and cable operations and Pfaltzgraff have strong reputations and management teams, as well as hard-working, loyal employees."
He continued, "However, the passage of time has had a major impact on corporate and family circumstances, including the absence of a member of the younger generation inclined to assume a leading management role. Consequently, the family shareholders concluded that we have a responsibility to examine the potential strategic options for our businesses."
"At this time, we have decided to initiate a sale process, at the conclusion of which we will
determine if the offers yield a compelling value to our shareholders."
The company has retained UBS Investment Bank to manage the sale of Susquehanna Media Company, and Sawaya & Segalas & Co. LLC to manage the sale of The Pfaltzgraff Company.
Appell said that until any possible sale "all involved - customers, listeners, subscribers, suppliers, employees and the communities we serve - can be assured that our business philosophy, culture and commitment to quality, service and value will not change."
2005-04-21: Top-rated Sydney breakfast host Alan Jones was sitting briefly on a potential profit of AUD 19.4 million (USD 14.9 million) following the float of Macquarie Radio Network (MRN) on Wednesday although by close of business the shares fell back slightly to AUD 1.50 each (USD 1.18) taking his profit down to AUD 14.3 million (USD 11.3 million).
Jones acquired a total of 11.25 million options priced at AUD 0.2243, exercisable until his contact ends in 2010, when he jumped ship from 2UE, now owned by Southern Cross Broadcasting, to Macquarie's 2GB in 2002 under a deal that also paid him an estimated AUD 5 million (then USD 2.5 million) a year (See RNW Feb 8, 2002).
Jones took his breakfast show lead with him to 2GB, which overtook 2UE as the top-rated Sydney talk station, and is now worth around AUD 20 million (USD 15.7 million) more than when he joined it.
MRN only offered some 4% of its stock in the float, aiming to raise around AUD 3 million ( USD 2.36 million), some four-fifths of which will be used to repay debts to companies controlled by John Singleton and Mark Carnegie, the main MRN shareholders with a 93.6% holding, with the rest going to pay the expenses of the float.
In addition to Singleton and Carnegie, Macquarie chief executive Angela Clark has 2% of the company paid for by an interest-free loan from the company: The remaining shares went to MRN staff plus a small group of people including 2GB morning host Ray Hadley, who also jumped shift from 2UE, but only got 100,000 shares.
Also getting shares was MRN chairman Max Donnelly whose son took a quick profit according to the Sydney Morning Herald: It reports that he gave each of his children 2000 shares on the proviso they would have to pay back the original AUD 2000 if they sold and his nine-years-old son, who wanted an X-Box, worked out that they cost AUD 400 ( USD 315) and put in a sell order at AUD 1.20 to cover the cost of one.
Donnelly was quoted by the paper as saying the float had been "very positive for morale - not that it needed to be positive" and playing down suggestions that the listing was linked to Jones's options.
"The reason we floated was to get access to capital markets for acquisitions if the cross-media [ownership] laws change," he said. "We are looking at acquisitions in the right situation."
[RNW note: Australia's government is expected to change current laws restricting media ownership that currently prohibit owning more than one newspaper or radio or television station in the same capital city.]
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2005-04-21: As pressures mount in the US for terrestrial radio to take advantage of digital technology - iBiquity's HD radio in the US, manufacturers, retailers and broadcasters have been involved in meetings at NAB 2005 (The 2005 National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas) and a number of manufacturers have announced the introduction of new receivers.
It is now a little over a year since the first HD receiver was sold in the US - to a customer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (See RNW Jan 5, 2004) just before iBiquity formally launched its HD in-band-on-channel system at the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (See RNW Jan 8, 2004) and much is being made by iBiquity of price falls as more models have been put onto the US market.
Amongst manufacturers now offering HD equipment, which includes automobile, home and portable receivers, are ADA, Boston Acoustics, Panasonic, Polk Audio, Radiosophy (formerly RIVERadio), Rotel, Sanyo and Yamaha.
iBiquity Digital Corporation president and CEO Robert Struble said that with commitment by leading US broadcasters to introduce HD to some 2000 stations and around 60% of the US population able to receive HD he expected that by the end of this year "at least a dozen different manufacturers" would be offering HD receivers with prices dropping by half or more from 2004 levels.
Models on offer range vastly in sophistication with one Sanyo model just announced to offer not only AM,FM and HD but also the ability to play digital audio files such as MP3 and WMV as well as CDs and with a auxiliary input for portable players.
Tom Van Voy, VP of Sales and Marketing/AV Division, Sanyo, commented, "For too long, AM and FM radio listeners have watched as all other communications media made their transitions to digital."
"With HD Radio, the technology is now available to take radio into the digital age. For car owners, this means everything from the elimination of multipath interference to on-demand access to news, traffic and weather. This is truly an exciting time in the field of mobile entertainment. HD Radio is one of a few technologies that have the potential to transform the way we access information."
NAB says that more than 104,000 people registered to attend this year's convention, up7% on a year ago: Of the total just more that 23,000 were from outside the US.
2005-04-21: UK Guardian Media Group has said it is to switch Jazz FM in London to its new Smooth FM format on June 7 at 09:00 GMT
Ten days before that it will remove Jazz FM references from its broadcasts and switch to continuous music in line with its new format.
Full details of planned programming are to be announced shortly together with details of a GBP 1.5 million ( USD 2.8 million) marketing campaign to be launched in connection with the change.
2005-04-20: After a previous quarter in which, although revenues were up, it wrote off USD 18 billion because of a change in accounting standards and got much of the bad news out of its books (See RNW Feb 25), Viacom has reported first quarter revenues up 5% to USD 5.6 Billion, led by a 19% increase to USD 1.71 billion in revenues for its Cable Networks division: In contrast outdoors and entertainment division revenues were each up 6% - to USD 429 million and USD 891 million respectively, radio revenues were up 2% to USD 463 million, and TV revenues were down 5% to USD 2.14 billion.
Operating income figures also showed cable leading the way with profits up 20% to USD 622.5 million: Outdoor was also 20% up to USD 16.5 million followed by entertainment with a 10% increase to USD 58.5 million but radio operating income was down 5% to USD 189.5 million and TV was down 8% to USD 304.4 million.
Viacom says its radio revenue growth reflected US advertising growth and the fall in operating income was primarily due to increases in programming expenses and higher employee-related and promotional expenses.
Overall Viacom reported net earnings from continuing operations down 5.3 % on a year earlier to USD 585 million, (36 cents compared to 35 cents per diluted share): It notes that the figure included recognition of a tax benefit of USD111 million from the resolution of the Company's federal income tax audit for the years 1997 through May 4, 2000 that if excluded would take the earnings down to USD 508 million (29 cents per diluted share).
The results were above analysts' expectations and Viacom shares rose slightly, up at one stage to USD 35.17 and ended the day 1.64% up at USD 34.72).
Viacom, which last year span off its Blockbuster business, is looking at splitting into two divisions, one to include the broadcasting operations and the other the faster-growing cable business, and chairman and CEO Sumner M. Redstone said of this "We continue to explore the separation of Viacom into two new and focused entities that could better position our businesses for continued growth and enhance shareholder return We are diligently working to determine and resolve all the issues raised by the proposed transaction and expect to complete the analysis in the second quarter."
Of the results Redstone said, "Viacom is off to a very solid start in 2005, highlighted by the continued extraordinary performance of our Cable Networks operation, which recorded 19% gains in revenue and 20% growth in operating income in the first three months of the year. Outdoor posted double-digit operating income gains of 20% on mid-single digit revenue growth, and Radio continued to show top line improvement reflecting our targeted station and programming investment strategy to drive future growth. "
"Although Television revenue and operating income declined in the first quarter because of the absence of the Super Bowl and political ad spending," he added, "CBS is going into the upfront advertising season with the strongest ratings and demographic mix in over 10 years, which bodes very well for us for the rest of 2005 and into 2006."
Viacom says for 2005 it is "on track to deliver mid single-digit growth in revenues and operating income and high single-digit growth in earnings per share" based on 2004 revenues of USD22.5 billion, operating income of USD5.1 billion and diluted earnings per share of USD1.54, excluding the non-cash impairment and severance charges and the tax benefit it recorded in 2004.
2005-04-20: Chicago WDEK-FM (Nine FM) program director and afternoon personality Sky Daniels has left the Newsweb Corporation station just under a year after he launched the format.
Robert Feder in his Chicago Sun-Times column says the departure was by mutual consent with the station and Daniels resigned to care for his ailing father in Cleveland and to spend more time with his family in Los Angeles.
Matt DuBiel, who doubles as creative services director and midday host, will take over Daniels' PD duties and his afternoon shift will go to Johnny Mars, who moves from evenings.
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
2005-04-20: Ulster Television (UTV )has confirmed that it has started talks over a possible offer for the UK Wireless Group, which owns national station talkSPORT and 16 local stations in the UK.
It issued a statement saying, "The directors have noted the recent press speculation in relation to a possible offer by the Company for Wireless Group plc."
..." The directors confirm that the Company has entered into exploratory discussions with Wireless Group plc in relation to a possible offer, but discussions are at a preliminary stage, and may or may not lead to an offer being made."
Earlier the UK Guardian reported that UTV was involved in exclusive talks to buy the Wireless Group with a bid above the GBP 100 million - USD 187 million / GBP 0.90 per share - offered by its chairman and chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie in February (See RNW Feb 14) according to the paper.
MacKenzie's bid faltered when his backers, Veronis Suhler Stevenson, pulled out (See RNW Feb 24).
The paper says MacKenzie - who is frequently quoted in the paper - was unavailable to comment but adds that Goldman Sachs, the investment bank orchestrating the Wireless Group sale, has granted a period of exclusivity to the company and says it understands that the biggest shareholders in TalkSport's owner, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and investment group Liberty Media, had urged Wireless Group's bankers to end the uncertainty.
It also says MacKenzie and senior management at TalkSport are expected to quit if the UTV takeover bid is accepted by Wireless Group's non-executive directors.
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Guardian report:
2005-04-20: Sirius Satellite Radio has announced a four-year deal for an unspecified amount with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. to create a special channel Martha Stewart Living Radio that "will provide original programming specifically designed for women listeners and their families."
It says the channel will" leverage the company's expertise in the lifestyle arena to create programming focused on topics such as cooking, entertaining, gardening, home-keeping, decorating, holidays, collecting, health and whole living, crafts, and weddings, as well as how-to projects for parents and children, and information and tips for owners and their pets."
Sirius says Stewart, currently serving home detention at her 153-acre estate in Bedford, N.Y., about 45 minutes north of New York City, will be a "be a regular presence on the channel" but did not expand further involvement.
Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin said the channel would "will have tremendous appeal to women, who are completely underserved by traditional radio programming" and added, "We expect our partnership with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to generate both significant subscriber growth and substantial advertising revenue, as sponsors will rush to embrace this huge, brand-loyal audience."
Stewart left jail six weeks ago following a sentence for lying to the government about a stock sale, and had already negotiated deals to create a daily cooking show and a version of "The Apprentice".
Sirius's rival XM, which has more than three-times as many subscribers as Sirius, which has 1.2 million, said it had been interested in a show from Stewart but not a whole channel.
Its spokesman Chance Patterson told the Associated Press in a story in the New York Times, "We evaluated this deal and passed on it, particularly given what we felt was a limited ad revenue return for our investment We were more interested in doing a show. We didn't feel it justified doing a whole channel."
New York Times/AP report:
2005-04-20: Infinity, which last month agreed a USD 35 million sale of KFRC-AM in San Francisco to Family Stations, Inc. (See RNW Mar 12) has now announced a purchase for an undisclosed amount from Family of KEAR-FM in the city.
The deal will give Infinity six stations in the city where it already owns KCBS-AM, KFRC-FM, KYCY-AM, KITS-FM and KLLC-FM.
Infinity has also announced that it intends to sell its San Jose stations KBAY-FM and KEZR-FM and chairman and CEO Joel Hollander said the combined deals would "strongly enhance" Infinity's position in San Francisco and were "consistent with our strategy of concentrating on markets where we generate the most revenue and cash flow."
Hollander's former company, Infinity-operated syndicator Westwood One, has announced that Peter Kosann and Chuck Bortnick have each been appointed Co-Chief Operating Officer.
Kosann will be responsible for all of the Company's Network Operations including Programming and Affiliate Sales, and will continue to oversee radio Ad Sales for the Westwood One network and Metro Networks while Bortnick will be responsible for all of the Company's Metro Networks Operations, Metro Television Operations; and SmartRoute Systems, as well as new business development and acquisition integration.
Both Kosann and Bortnick assume their new positions immediately and will be based in Westwood One's New York office, reporting directly to Shane Coppola, President and CEO.
Previous Westwood One:
2005-04-19: According to the UK Independent, the Daily Mail Group is considering a GBP 700 million (USD 1.3 billion) bid for the merged Capital-GWR Group -- GCap -- which at close of business last week was valued at a combined GBP 630 million (USD 1.13 billion) - GBP 330 million (USD 623 million) for Capital and GBP 300 million (USD 567 million) for GWR.
The Mail Group has a 29.9 % share in GWR, which will give it around 15% of the combined group, and the paper quotes DMGT finance director Peter Williams as saying a 15% shareholding in GCap is not a long-term sustainable position.
He added that DMG - "the only group to have invested from the start of commercial radio in this country" - and continued, "Ultimately, we can't sit at 14 or 15 per cent [of GCap]. But we are not under any pressure to do anything. We are highly supportive of the merger and of the management."
He noted that DMGT took its time in deciding about investments - a function of its "generational" approach to business and said he thought there would be no change in the DMGT radio shareholding in GCap "for the foreseeable future".
The paper says analysts think the radio group would be a good fit with DMGT and Numis Securities analyst Lorna Tilbian was quoted as saying, "I'd be very surprised if DMGT don't end up owning it [GCap] one day. They will just wait till the next downturn and then top up their shareholding before launching an all-out bid."
The paper notes however that it is unclear how regulatory authorities would react to a takeover and notes that the combined ownership of newspapers and radio stations could pose particular problems in London, where DMGT owns the Evening Standard newspaper, and Nottingham, where it owns the Nottingham Evening Post and would own Trent FM after a takeover.
Also in the UK, SMG has announced that has appointed the current managing director of Yahoo! UK & Ireland, Fru Hazlitt, as its new Chief executive of Radio.
Hazlitt was formerly Capital Radio's Head of Client Development and Agency Sales Manager, then its Group Sales Director before moving to Yahoo where she has also held the positions of European Sales Director and Sales & Marketing Director for Yahoo! Europe.
She will be responsible for Virgin Radio, and its newly launched sister stations, Virgin Radio Classic Rock and Virgin Radio Groove and replaces John Pearson who announced his resignation in October last year for personal reasons (See RNW Oct 13, 2004).
She will join SMG in late summer and until then Paul Jackson, Virgin Radio's Programme Director, will be Acting Chief Executive of Radio.
UK Independent report:
2005-04-19: Infinity and HP have announced agreement to work together to deploy "Visual Radio" in the US: this is a service developed by Finnish mobile phone company Nokia that allows people to listen to FM radio on their mobile phones and at the same time receive through the cellular network text and graphical information synchronized with the broadcast.
This would include such information as the title and artist of a song playing, the ability to purchase the song or other songs or ringtones by the artist, and check concert information for the artist.
The service is seen as potentially increasing revenue for both the station and the mobile phone company through the purchases and increased use of the mobile network and also increasing listener loyalty and station advertising revenue.
Infinity is the first US broadcaster to commit itself to using the technology and chairman and CEO Joel Hollander commented, "Mobile phones are the most widely used portable device and we're thrilled to be leading the Visual Radio effort in the United States in concert with HP and Nokia Partnerships that afford us the opportunity to integrate our content with new technologies and serve our listeners with an additional interactive environment are central to Infinity's long-term growth strategy."
HP chief strategy and technology officer Shane Robison said, "Broadcasters and content creators are embracing new technologies and business models that enable them to reach listeners in new ways. Infinity's adoption of the Visual Radio service in the United States is evidence of the exciting possibilities that lie ahead for the radio industry."
"Since introducing the Visual Radio service in 2004, HP has worked with industry leaders like Infinity to bring Visual Radio to listeners around the world, and we expect more and more broadcasters will soon follow Infinity's lead," he added.
The Visual Radio service is already used by stations in Britain, Germany, and Nordic Countries: Nokia is developing the concept and handsets that can use the service whilst HP sells and markets it to broadcasters and mobile operators who provide the delivery system and bill customers for use of their services and additional content and services purchased by Visual Radio users. The broadcasters create the content that is provided in the channels that are synchronized with their broadcasts.
2005-04-19: Japanese Internet company Livedoor and Fuji TV Network have now signed an agreement to end their bitter fight over control of radio company Nippon Broadcasting System (NBS).
According to the Yomiuri Shimbun Fuji TV will spend a total of JPY 103.4 billion yen (USD 961 million) to Livedoor to buy all the shares in NBS that the latter had acquired, around JPY 300 million (USD 2.8 million) more than Livedoor paid.
A payment of JPY 67 billion (USD 622 million) will be made on May 23 to acquire Livedoor Partners Co., a Livedoor affiliate that holds 32.4 percent of NBS's outstanding shares and in addition Fuji also is to pay 36.4 billion yen (USD 338 million) for Livedoor's 17.6 percent stake in NBS, by taking advantage of the Industrial Revitalization Law, which encourages realignment of corporate groups.
This amounts to 6,300 yen per share, around the average that Livedoor paid for the shares it acquired during an initial purchase of 35% of NBS in an after-hours deal in February and later purchases that took its holding above 50%.
The Yomiuri says Fuji also plans to acquire stock from other shareholders under the Industrial Revitalization Law and turn NBS into a wholly owned affiliate on Sept. 1.
In a further deal, Fuji will spend JPY 44 billion (USD 409 million) on new shares to be floated by Livedoor under a third-party equity allocation scheme, thus taking a 12.75 percent stake in Livedoor.
The paper also says the two firms are to form a business tie-up promotion committee to periodically discuss a business combining the Internet and broadcasting services and plan to achieve tangible results in six months and adds that Livedoor has deferred a plan to propose at the NBS's shareholders meeting at the end of June that a majority of NBS board directors be replaced.
Fuji TV Chairman Hisashi Hieda said at a news conference that he hoped the alliance would open up new business opportunities and Livedoor President Takafumi Horie said he was happy to be able to announce as initially planned that his company would form capital and business tie-ups with Fuji TV.
In yet another move, the paper reports that Softbank Investment Corp. is to return all of the Fuji TV shares - 13.88% of the company - it had borrowed from NBS in March, a move seen as an attempt by Fuji to prevent Livedoor from gaining indirect control of the TV company.
RNW comment: This saga seems to us to have ended with a typical Japanese solution including a degree of face saving for all: Horie makes a little money and gains some business advantages whilst Fuji TV has used its might to see off any bid to take control of it through NBS, which at the time of the initial raid was its largest shareholder with a 22.6% holding.
The saga has also led other Japanese companies to perceive that they too could be at risk and build up defences against hostile takeovers, which are almost unheard of in Japan and led the government to delay changes in the law that would have allowed foreign investors to buy Japanese companies using stock swaps.
2005-04-19: Indian public broadcaster Prasar Bharati has grown its revenues by nearly 27% in its 2004-5 financial year compared to a year earlier, reaching a total of INR 830 crore (USD 190 million - A crore is 10 million).
Its TV leg, Doordorshan increased its revenues to INR 655 crore (USD 150 million), aided by broadcasts of cricket series against South Africa, Australia and Pakistan and election-related advertising, whilst All India Radio (AIR) revenues were up 32% to INR 165 crore (USD 38 million).
In contrast to the public broadcaster, private FMs in India have been losing money. Figures from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) show that overall in 2003-2004 there was a loss of INR 122 crores (USD 30 million), up from INR 118 crores (USD 27 million) the previous year.
During 2003-04 a number of stations were closed including Radio City in Lucknow, Radio Mirchi in Pune and Win 94.6 in Mumbai as their losses mounted and only 21 stations in 12 cities are still operating although bids were made for stations in 40 cities.
Changes in the pipeline may however change this and the industry is fighting to have high licence fees replaced with a revenue-sharing system that would ease the problems and earlier this month Information and Broadcasting minister S Jaipal Reddy said his ministry had approved a proposal to allow limited Foreign Direct Investment (See RNW Apr 14).
Previous Prasar Bharati:
Previous Indian Radio:
2005-04-19: Australia's commercial radio industry is to extend its on-air advertising campaign aimed at raising awareness of the effectiveness of radio advertising: The campaign, initially planned to last two years and cost AUD 40 million (USD 31 million) will now run for at least an additional year, adding another AUD 20 million (USD 15.5 million) to its cost.
Announcing the extension, Joan Warner, chief executive of industry body Commercial Radio Australia, said the campaign had "made a significant contribution to the healthy growth in advertising spend for radio over the past two years " and added "we hope to build on this growth and want to continue to communicate the benefits of radio to advertisers and potential advertisers."
Figures from the Commercial Economic Advisory Service of Australia (CEASA) show a 14.2% increase in Australian radio advertising expenditure to AUD 842 million (USD 646 million) for the 2004 calendar year, taking its share of total advertising to 9.3%.
"Breaking through the nine per cent barrier is a major achievement for the radio industry and underpins the ongoing strength of radio as an advertising medium," said Warner.
Latest figures from by PricewaterhouseCoopers show healthy growth in radio advertising revenues for Australia's five major capital cities - up 8.92% on a year ago to a total of USD 47.2 million for the month of March 2005: Stronger growth was of 16.4% in Perth followed by 15.7% for Melbourne; 14.5% for Brisbane); 9.9% for Adelaide and 8.7% for Sydney.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2005-04-18: For our look at media reports on radio this week, we have a mixed bag of reports - on formats, on hosts, and on the nature of some shows, starting with a report from Rona Marech in the San Francisco Chronicle concerning one aspect of the "Latino media" in the US.
It begins with a report on a call broadcast in 2002 on the Spanish-language "Raul Brindis and Pepito Show" that ended up costing Univision a USD 28,000 penalty for broadcasting it without advance consent from the person on the phone (See RNW Jan 13 - the stations at the time were owned by Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation).
The issue behind the article is not the rule that was broken but the content - a public outing as a homosexual for Roberto Hernandez, a salesman at one of the seven stations that broadcast the show.
Marech says on-air mockery of gay men, lesbians and transgender people is common on Spanish-language radio and television according to media watchers and quotes Iván Román, executive director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists as saying, "If I were to put on a scale the sensitivity of Spanish-language radio to gay and lesbian issues, I would have to put it at less than 1 on scale of 1 to 10. It's ridiculous. It's seen as perfectly normal to ridicule gays and lesbians, to see them as less than human."
The report also cites examples of shows on Liberman Broadcasting Corporation's KBUE-FM in Los Angeles where "Los Guapos de la Mañana" aired a segment featuring a transgender female character discussing celebrity gossip while a song about a gay man who died of AIDS is played in the background - it notes that the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has posted recordings of the show on its Web site - and Spanish Broadcasting System's WSKQ-FM in New York whose broadcasts included a prank call to the mother of a man they pretended had been arrested for public gay sex and airing a parody of a salsa song about a man who was raped by another man.
Liberman corporate vice president Andrew Mars denied that there were any problems with the show, saying he would "categorically deny" the allegations and adding, "We don't attack any gender or no gender."
Although Univision refused comment because Hernandez, who is now working for another company, is suing it for sexual harassment and invasion of privacy, it had argued at the time that since he was an employee there was no obligation to inform him the conversation would be broadcast.
According to Monica Taher of GLAAD it also subsequently sent its stations a lists of words it wanted to prohibit on air - in Hernandez' case the hosts repeatedly used the word "joto" - a pejorative term for a gay man, before and after the call.
Univision would not confirm this but did say, "Univision, like most broadcasters, especially now is very sensitive to indecency, and policies are in place to make sure the talent abides by the rules."
There are also complaints that Spanish-language stations get away with breaches of regulations and attract only small fines if violations are proven.
Lisbeth Melendez Rivera of the National Latino Coalition for Justice commented, "If you had an English DJ saying 'faggot' and 'fudge packers' -- don't tell me the FCC wouldn't get on their butts," Rivera said. "I guarantee you the same words in English would bring a higher fine. ... We want parity on this issue, and this is not parity."
Taher does see some signs of improvement however and said Hernandez's case is setting a precedent, commenting, "This will allow us now to keep pushing for more accuracy and objectivity when it comes to LGBT issues on the radio."
There are also some signs of change in English-language talk radio, notably in the US as fears have grown of heavier penalties for "indecency" offences but also north of the border where, according to Jordan Press in the Toronto Globe and Mail, Toronto's leading "shock-jock" team has toned down its act.
The Dean Blundell Show ( Dean Blundell with sidekicks Jason "Danger" Barr and Todd Shapiro) on CFNY-FM (Edge 102), notes Press, has now eased off after gaining notoriety in the past for discussing fellatio on air and inviting Steve-O of MTV's Jackass series, into the station's glass-front Yonge Street studio and watching while he urinated in front of pedestrians.
A little over a year ago the hosts were briefly suspended after ignoring orders to end the Steve-O interview, an action that Press says headed off action by Canada's watchdog, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC), and since then writes Press, "the three hosts have been making themselves the targets of more of their jokes -- and inviting others to laugh along with them."
Blundell comments, "We talk about all kinds of stuff We just don't feel the need to be incredibly graphic."
Yeah, maybe we've gone into areas we shouldn't have . . . but I can't do what everybody else in this city does We're not shock jocks and we're not assholes . . . We don't set out to get in trouble. We just set out to be unique."
Program director Allan Cross commented, "I don't know if . . . the Dean Blundell show is so much shocking as it is in contrast to the other conservative programs we have in the market."
"If you were to take our morning show and place it in a city like Philadelphia or even Los Angeles or any of the other big American markets where the whole shock-jock thing is happening, they would be considered to be mild and tame and conservative "Sometimes when you're a step or a step-and-a-half ahead of the rest of the crowd you may find yourself in sticky situations. But that's the risks we're prepared to take."
The change by hosts has come in large part from regulatory pressure and that for Spanish station may yet come from that as well as pressure put on advertisers by protesting groups, but it's market and ratings pressures that have dominated in the sudden fashion in the US to switch from limited top 40 playlists to variants of the JACK-FM format, which originated in Toronto.
At the time the marketing emphasis was more in terms of wider choice, but now its sometimes tied to the impact of the I-Pods shuffle mode as in Chicago where Emmis was up-front about the impact of the new technology.
As Alison Neumer wrote in the Chicago Tribune, "The sleek electronic device pictured on Q101's Web site looks an awful lot like an mp3 player Then there's the station's new slogan, 'Now on shuffle'", before going on to quote Emmis Radio vice president of programming, Chicago, Mike Stern, as saying, "With an iPod in their hands, people are getting used to having a huge variety When listeners ask for more variety, radio has answered by going deeper, but we're spreading widthwise."
Neumer asks, "Why the sudden popularity of variety after the long-time success of targeting?" and then goes on to quote Mike Henry, chief executive of Paragon Media Strategies and a consultant who helped developed the JACK format, as saying people today want change and diversity.
"The Jack formula has worked and defied radio wisdom because it appeals to a pent-up demand that has grown and grown as radio has delivered narrower and narrower content," said Henry. "A lot of people want to be surprised, they want variety."
Tom Taylor, editor of Inside Radio, expanded the thought by saying, "It's unpredictability within a range--we're not going to play Tibetan chants, but we want to produce that 'Oh, wow' factor ... that little moment of surprise."
Not everyone in Chicago agreed: Elroy Smith, operations manager and program director at hip-hop and R&B station WGCI-FM commented, "People don't stand next to the radio 24 hours a day. You need to play hit songs as often as possible because people punch in and punch out."
Compared to Q101, which has increased its range from around 200 songs up to 1,000-1,200, WGCI's active playlist has about 300 songs that, depending on popularity, can get upwards of 50 spins a week.
"We need to play what's successful and popular now," said Smith. "If it took me a whole week to hear my favourite song, I don't know if I'd fall in love with the song or the station."
Rod Phillips, program director of Kiss FM 103.5, which plays 100 different songs a week, said listeners may say they want variety, but they like the hits, and typically the most narrow stations are the most successful.
"Who are they going after? There's not a playlist that men and women 18 to 34 will both like." Phillips said. "This all things to all people is hard to pull off."
RNW comment: We see merit in both arguments here and suspect that like many things the crucial issue is one of balance between the familiar and the new. In the end, many people are going to be satisfied with a limited choice and familiarity and others are going to want the wider range of choices.
At the latter end, we see a range of decreasing choices starting with I-Pods and online sources that give massive choice, satellite radio with a wide range of genre programming, and terrestrial radio.
At the former end, some people may opt to make their own limited selection of hits for an MP3 player, others to pay for satellite and not be interrupted by commercials whilst knowing that the wider choice is available at the press of a button, and many to stick with familiar local stations.
In the end JACK to us is another limited format and its success will depend on producing a blend that appeals to enough listeners in a market: The real issue is how far a combination of personality and choice can beat the computer-generated playlists into which so much effort has been put. We rather hope they can, particularly if a local station can use a local personality and attract the audience by a combination of that and local emphasis since this is an area where terrestrial has unique advantages.
On all the other fronts, once a listener is prepared to pay for satellite or downloading of their own choice, terrestrial is having to play catch-up.
On then to another way the broadcasters can hold onto their audiences, this time by using the technology for their own ends. We reported earlier this month on an expansion by the BBC of its use of Podcasts (See RNW Apr 15), a development taken up in the UK Independent by media correspondent Ciar Byrne.
After outlining the system and its growth from the iPodder software developed by former MTV presenter Adam Curry, Byrne quotes Simon Nelson, controller of BBC radio and music interactive as saying he didn't think the success of its early trials of the service was down to novelty and adding, "MP3 players are becoming increasingly available, particularly among audiences who don't traditionally listen to speech radio programmes. We want to make these programmes available to people who may find them of interest and educational.''
One of the problems noted is that of copyright and the BBC is currently developing software that would allow people to download music radio shows to MP3 players for a limited period, although it has yet to reach agreement with rights holders.
Byrne also notes that internet music industry magazine, Record of the Day, is about to become one of the first UK websites to offer music podcasts although it is to limit its podcasts initially to a few tracks a week, mainly from unknown artists to whom the record companies want to attract attention.
Paul Scaife, publisher of Record of the Day, said: "Initially we will feature five tracks a week, with a DJ reading out reviews and a couple of interviews. It's great if the public listens to it and like it, but we are really aimed at the industry - people who can turn the tracks into hits. [RNW comment: With a subscription charge of around USD 265 a year, Record of the Day has a somewhat limited attraction for its full service].
And then our suggested listening. We begin with BBC Radio 4 and From Our Own Correspondent, which has just won the Radio Programme of the Year prize in the Broadcasting Press Guild awards: it is broadcast on Thursdays at 10:00 GMT and Saturdays at 10:30 GMT with select and latest editions available on the BBC web site.
Also worth a listen from Radio 4 are Four Corners and Brains for Sale, an investigation by Hugh Levinson of academic plagiarism and the battle between those who want to use technology such as the Internet to gain an advantage without the effort and those trying to develop means to track the cheats.
For music cum documentary we suggest BBC Radio 2 tomorrow (19:30 GMT) and God in the Music Machine in which Sally Magnusson travels to Nashville to explore Christian music, the fastest-growing genre in the US music industry.
Also from Radio 2 we'd suggest 1984, a reading of George Orwell's novel that began last week (Friday 1915 GMT) with the second of eight episodes at the same time this Friday.
For comedy we stick with Radio 2 and its Saturday 1200-1300 GMT hour of The Day the Music Died followed by Parsons and Naylor's Pull-Out Sections and also suggest BBC Radio 4 with its 17:30 GMT slot and The Right Time on Wednesday (the first in a three-part series), Ed Reardon's Week on Wednesday and the Now Show on Friday.
For drama, we suggest BBC Radio 3's Drama on 3 last Sunday - Volpone, Ben Jonson's classic satirical comedy of the English Renaissance and this week's Friday Play from BBC Radio 4 (20:00 GMT) - My MS and Me, in which Jim Sweeney, actor, writer and regular improviser with The Comedy Store Players, delivers a candid, lively account of his experiences of living with Multiple Sclerosis
Finally something of interest to most people from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It's most recent Background Briefing on Radio National was on Happiness - apparently it is now thought by some to be measurable and to create the conditions for it.
The way forward, however, won't be a happy thought for many - London School of Economics Professor Richard Layard says we should start with the mentally ill, not cut taxes, and foster relationships
Chicago Tribune - Neumer:
San Francisco Chronicle- Marech:
Toronto Globe and Mail- Press:
UK Independent - Byrne:
2005-04-18: UK Chrysalis Group's London flagship station Heart FM launches its new breakfast show today with host Jamie Theakston being promoted as offering a more intelligent option from himself and co-host Harriet Scott than rivals whom he has termed "laddish" and "tired."
Rivals Chris Moyles at BBC Radio 1, Johnny Vaughan at Capital FM, and Pete and Geoff (Pete Mitchell and Geoff Lloyd) at SMG-owned Virgin Radio all have more frenetic styles and Theakston told the UK Guardian, "There are a lot of white middle-class men in their late 20s and 30s doing a similar brand of presenting. If you put Pete and Geoff, Johnny Vaughan, Bam-Bam [The breakfast team on Emap's Kiss FM] and Chris Moyles in the same room it would get quite noisy, with people talking at each other and nobody listening," said Theakston.
"Our show will be very different - the audience will be at the front, they are the most important element of the show, not the presenter. If you listen to some of the other shows they seem far more interested in themselves than the audience," he added.
"That schtick is quite tired, it's a spin-off from the Loaded [magazine] era and I don't know whether people find that way of interacting that interesting any more. We've got a great opportunity to take advantage of a gaping and obvious hole in the market."
The new show, which replaces a predecessor hosted by Jono Coleman and Scott, is to retain segments from its predecessor including "I-Play" and "Dates You Don't Want" and is adding some new ones.
It's currently promoting "Rude Awakening" and "Generation Gap" segments, asking, "Do you know somebody who deserves a rude awakening? Did they have a late night last night, or do you just want to get your own back on them, tune in after 6am every weekday morning and nominate somebody you know below."
"Do you have children? Think you know what your kid knows and they know all about the grown up world? Then register now to take part in Generation Gap."
In recent ratings, breakfast show fortunes in London have fluctuated considerably with Capital FM retaining the top audience throughout but in one survey losing the listening hours crown to Heart, which had been in second place for audience until the most recent ratings when Emap's Magic FM overtook it to take second place (See RNW Jan 28).
In those ratings, Magic took its listening share for the quarter up from 4.8 to 6.1%, just behind Capital with 6.2% and ahead of Heart, which slipped from 5.4% to 5.3%. In the London commercial breakfast show battle, Johnny Vaughan at Capital was well in the lead with a weekly audience of 1.13 million in the most recent ratings and Coleman for Heart had 748,000, putting pressure on Theakston to add half as many again listeners in a market in which a resurgent Moyles has been adding to the competition to those he inherits if he is to catch up.
Previous Pete and Geoff:
Heart FM web site:
UK Guardian report:
2005-04-18: Canadian broadcaster CHUM has reported what it termed a "strong second quarter in both radio and television" with radio leading the way: Net earnings more than doubled from CAD 1.16 million (USD 937,000) to CAD 2.52 million (USD 2.04 million - CAD 0.04 to 0.09 per share) for the quarter to the end of February and were up 62% year-to date to CAD 24 million (USD 1.94 million) on revenues up respectively 12.4% to CAD 141 million (USD 11 million) and 7.4% to CAD 302 million (USD 244 million).
In divisional terms, radio revenues, helped by the acquisition of three stations, were up 9.2% in the quarter to CAD 29 million (USD 23.4 million) and up 9.1% YTD to CAD 65.1 million (USD 52.6 million) with radio EBITDA up 31.7% for the quarter to CAD 8.5 million (USD 6.9 million) and up 27.7% YTD to CAD 21.6 million (USD 17.4 million).
TV revenues were up more in the quarter - 13.3% plus to CAD 109.6 million (USD 88.5 million) - and less YTD - 6.9% to CAD 231 million (USD 187 million) and TV EBITDA was up 7.7% for the quarter to CAD 10.1 million (USD 8.2 million) and 25.1% YDT to CAD 43.8 million (USD 35.4 million).
Other revenues were up 11.1% for the quarter to CAD 2.8 million (USD 2.3 million) and 5.1% YDT to CAD 5.5 million (USD 4.5 million) with EBITDA up respectively 32.6% to cut its loss to CAD 4 million (USD 3.2 million) for the quarter and 21% YTD to cut its loss to CAD 7.9 million (USD 6.4 million).
Chum commented that its radio segment "recorded excellent performance in the second quarter and first six months of fiscal 2005."
"The Company's AM and FM stations recorded revenue growth of 14.4% and 5.4%, respectively, on a same station basis in the second quarter," it added. This increase in revenues, combined with continuing careful management of operations expenses in the FM stations and a reduction in operations expenses in the AM stations, resulted in an increase in EBITDA of 36.8% compared with the corresponding quarter last year."
For TV, excluding the impact of the acquisition, which closed in December last year, of Craig Media Inc. (CMI) revenue was up 2.5% for the quarter driven by a 14.9% increase in advertising channels and a subscriber increase of 5.4% for its specialty TV channels whilst for the YTD revenues were up 2.1%, with specialty channels again providing the growth as advertising revenues rose 13.8% and subscriptions 6.9%.
President and CEO Jay Switzer expressed disappointment with the short-term advertising softness for its conventional TV operations but said it anticipated continued momentum from its radio segment. The company is to re-organize its conventional TV operations allied with a continuing re-branding into CityTV or A channels and its radio division has filed applications for a national terrestrial subscription service- competing against satellite applications from alliances including Sirius and XM - and also for a new Vancouver FM.
2005-04-17: Last week saw a steady but fairly slow run of routine activity from most of the media regulators but there were no major issues.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has invited applications for 37 open narrowcasting radio services to serve New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.
Each licence carries a reserve of AUD 4.000 (USD 3,075) and applications have to be in by May 12.
In Canada, there was a steady flow of radio-related work from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) including, in order of province:
*Approval of transmitter relocation and reduction in antenna height for CFWM-FM Winnipeg.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Renewal of broadcasting licence for the radiocommunication distribution undertaking serving Nain (CKOK-AM) and Happy Valley/Goose Bay (CKHV-AM), from 1 September 2005 to 31 August 2012.
*Approval of application by Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. (Aboriginal Voices), licensee of CFIE-FM Toronto, for authority to use a subsidiary communications multiplex operations (SCMO) channel1 for the purpose of broadcasting a predominantly Vietnamese-language radio service.
*Revocation of licence of CJTN-AM, Quinte West, following successful launch of FM that is to replace it.
*Approval of power increase from 41,300 watts to 76,000 watts and transmitter relocation for CIKI-FM, Rimouski.
*Approval of power increase from 34,033 watts to 30,610 watts and antenna height increase from 344.9 metres to 358.9 metres for CJEB-FM Trois-Rivières.
*Approval of new 4,710 watts transmitter in Swift Current for CBK-FM Regina to transmit the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's national English-language network service Radio Two.
In addition the CRTC has announced receipt of an application for a commercial service to serve Grande Prairie, Alberta, and has called for applications from other who have an interest although it notes no conclusion has yet been reached as to whether or not a service should be licensed.
The commission has also issued a public notice regarding the following applications for which the deadline for comment is May 20:
*Application to increase the power of the transmitter CJFW-FM-1, Kitimat, of CJFW-FM, Terrace, from 50 to 170 watts, relocate the transmitter and decreasing the antenna height. The proposed change could result in a status change from low power unprotected service to a regular Class A1 transmitter.
*Application to decrease the power of CKMM-FM Winnipeg from 100,000 to 70,000 watts, relocate its transmitter and increase its antenna height from 110 to 206.1 metres.
*Application to increase the power of CFMX-FM-1, Toronto, from 13,300 to 24,500 watts.
*Application to renew the licence of the Type B community radio station CHAI-FM Châteauguay expiring 31 August 2005.
*Application to renew the licence of Type B community radio station CKMN-FM Rimouski and Mont-Joli.
There was nothing of radio moment from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom has updated its list of commercial FM licences to be offered over the next 15 months.
*Swansea larger licence: Ofcom notes that it is seeking agreement for use of the frequency 102.1 MHz for this service but that because of potential interference to the Classic FM service from Wenvoe on 101.7 MHz there may be restrictions on the ability to use any site other than Kilvey Hill, already used by Classic FM on 101.3 MHz, Real Radio on106.0 MHz and The Wave on 96.4 MHz.
*Northallerton - smaller licence - no transmission site or frequency has been suggested by Ofcom for this licence: it says it will await final transmission proposals from the successful applicant but expects that the service will be able to utilize a maximum effective radiated power (ERP) of 200 Watts mixed polarization.
*Ipswich - smaller licence. Ofcom says it intends to use the 102.0 MHz frequency for this service but no transmission site will be cleared until the successful applicant has finalized its transmission plans. It is expected that this frequency should be able to be used at a maximum effective radiated power (ERP) of 2 kW (mixed polarization)
*Warwick - smaller licence. Ofcom says it intends to use the 107.3 MHz frequency for this service, although no transmission site will be cleared until the successful applicant has finalized its transmission plans. It is expected that this frequency should be able to be used at a maximum effective radiated power (ERP) of 200 watts (mixed polarization)
*Shrewsbury - smaller licence. Ofcom says it does not intend to clear a transmission site for this service, nor specify a frequency for it, until the successful applicant finalizes its transmission proposals. It expects that the service will be able to utilize a maximum effective radiated power (ERP) of 500 Watts mixed polarization
*North-East England - larger licence to cover the main Tyne & Wear and Teesside conurbations in North-East England. Ofcom says it is seeking agreement for the use of two FM frequencies for this service with 97.5 MHz is being cleared for use from the Burnhope site at a maximum ERP of 10.0 kilowatts mixed polarization plus a second FM frequency available for this licence, which should be able to be used at a maximum ERP of 1 kilowatt mixed polarization and possibly a third low power frequency.
*Plymouth - smaller licence. Ofcom says it does not propose to clear a transmission site for this service, nor specify a frequency for it, until the successful applicant finalises its transmission proposals and adds that it expects the service will be able to utilize a maximum effective radiated power (ERP) of 1Kw mixed polarization.
*Southend - smaller licence. Ofcom says it does not intend to clear a transmission site for this service, but expects to allocate the frequency 105.1 MHz with a maximum effective radiated power (ERP) of 500 Watts (mixed polarization) and adds that the proposed frequency will be interference limited by the existing Solent regional service (Wave 105) and by a high power transmitter at Lille, in France, both of which operate on 105.2 MHz.
*Rotherham - smaller licence. Ofcom says it does not intend to clear a transmission site for this service, but expects to allocate the frequency 96.1 MHz - previously used for the Rotherham relay of the Sheffield service Hallam FM - with a maximum effective radiated power (ERP) of 200 Watts (mixed polarisation) and notes that the frequency will be limited by potential interference from the Trent FM Nottingham service on 96.2 MHz.
*Hull - larger licence. Ofcom says it intends to use the 99.9 MHz frequency for this service, although no transmission site will be cleared until the successful applicant finalises its transmission proposals and adds that it expects that this frequency should be able to be used up to 1Kw ERP, mixed polarisation.
*Newry - smaller licence. Ofcom says it intends to use 100.5 MHz for the main frequency for this service, and adds that is willing, in principle, to make further frequencies available to extend coverage throughout the Newry and Mourne district. It says no transmission site will be cleared until the successful applicant has finalized its transmission plans and it expects the frequency should be able to be used up to 2Kw effective radiated power (ERP) of 2 kW.
*Andover - smaller licence. Ofcom says it intends to use the 106.4 MHz frequency for this service, although no transmission site will be cleared until the successful applicant finalizes its transmission proposals. It adds that it expects that this frequency should be able to be used at a maximum ERP of 200 watts mixed polarization.
*Exeter - smaller licence. Ofcom says it does not intend to clear a transmission site for this service, nor specify a frequency for it, until the successful applicant finalizes its transmission proposals and adds that it expects the service will be able to utilize a maximum ERP of 1 KW mixed polarization,
*Bristol - larger licence. Ofcom says it intends to use the frequency 106.5 MHz for this service, although no transmission site will be cleared until the successful applicant finalizes its transmission proposals and adds that this frequency should be able to be used at a maximum ERP of 1 KW mixed polarization.
*Oxford/South Oxfordshire - smaller licence. Ofcom says it does not intend to clear any transmission sites for this service, nor specify the main frequency for it, until the successful applicant finalizes its transmission proposals. It adds that it expects the main frequency should be able to be used up to an ERP of 500 watts mixed polarization.
Ofcom adds that it expects to offer a second frequency of 106.4 MHz, which will be heavily interference-limited, primarily by the co-channel Mendlesham transmitter of the existing East of England regional service operated by Vibe FM. This second frequency may be able to be re-used at a number of locations on a co-channel basis, and is expected to be able to utilize a maximum ERP of 200 watts mixed polarization.
The US was fairly quiet but the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued notice of an interim default penalty for In Vibration Inc. that in its FM auction 37 bid USD 878,150 for FMs in Cedar Key and Perry, both in Florida.
In Vibration so far owes USD 26,244.50 - 3% of the total it bid: This will be taken from the USD 46,500 it had put down as a deposit and the remainder of the default payment due assessed after the licences are re-sold.
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
FCC web site:
CRTC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-04-17: Viacom, which went heavily into loss in 2004 because of a USD 18 billion write-down of the value of its radio and outdoor divisions (See RNW Feb 25) paid each of its three top executives packages potentially worth USD 50 million each in salary, bonus and stock options according to documents it filed after close of business on Friday.
The payments made to chief executive Sumner M. Redstone and co-president and co-COOs Tom Freston and Leslie Moonves totalled around USD 160 million although around USD 33 million of the payment to each executive was in share options that currently have no value since the stock is below the price at which they may be exercised.
In addition to the options Redstone was paid USD 4.97 million base salary plus a USD 16.5 million bonus, Freston received USD 4.2 million in salary and a bonus of USD 16 million, and Moonves USD 5.7 million in salary and a USD 14 million bonus.
In addition there were additional smaller amounts paid to Freston and Moonves; the former, who is based in New York charged USD 43,100 for nights he stayed at his Los Angeles home instead of a hotel and the latter, who is New York based, charges USD 105,000 for nights he stayed at his home in New York instead of a hotel.
When Freston and Moonves were promoted into their current roles in July last year following the departure of former President and COO Mel Karmazin, now with Sirius Satellite Radio, their package included:
*An initial base salary of $5 million per year (of which million per year is deferred).
*Annual bonus compensation under the Senior Executive Short-term Incentive Plan, with a target bonus set at 200% of base salary.
*A grant of stock options to purchase 1.5 million shares of Class B Common Stock, of which 500,000 vested on December 31, 2004 and the remaining 1,000,000 vests in four equal annual instalments, and four annual awards, commencing in 2005, of 115,000 restricted share units that vest upon certification by the Committee that the one-year performance criteria established by the Committee for the year in which the units were granted has been achieved.
The payments have been criticized as excessive and the New York Times quoted compensation specialist Brian Foley as saying, "The compensation is beyond breathtaking, and it dwarfs what their competitors are earning. If any one of the men had gotten that payment as chief executive, it would still have been a story, but the fact that all three got it is amazing."
He noted that the three Viacom executives earned more than the combined compensation of the leaders of the other three top US media companies, Time Warner, whose capitalization is some 140% more than that of Viacom, and the Walt Disney Company and News Corporation, which are roughly equal in capitalization.
He noted of the share options that "if the stock performs as projected by Black Shoales, which is the accepted industry method of measuring option value, they would be USD 34 million ahead."
Viacom, which in its proxy note says "In 2004, the primary performance goals were amounts of operating income before depreciation, amortization and non-recurring charges (OIBDA) and free cash flow" defended the payments: Its spokesman Carl Folta, said the overall compensation was "based on the operating performance of the company, and that was excellent in 2004." While Viacom's share price declined 18 percent last year, he added that the compensation "was not based on the stock price."
He pointed out that the operating income at MTV, which is under Freston, rose 16% in 2004 and that of CBS, under Moonves, was up 25% and also to the "the overall position of the company's businesses at the end of the year."
Another critic Richard Greenfield, who follows media for Fulcrum Global Partners, said Freston and Moonves "deserved major pay cuts because of the way the stock has performed" and noted that they were sharing the job formerly handled by Karmazin.
RNW comment: Economist J.K. Galbraith many years ago spoke of the remuneration of a chief executive as being of the nature of "warm personal gesture to himself" and this story seems a reasonable illustration of the accuracy of the remark and the future may yet illustrate the accuracy of another of his comments - "recessions catch what the auditors miss."
Galbraith, of course, was also perceptive on the defence of such payments in the context of an argument for economic inequality that rests on an odd behavioural assumption - that the rich will work harder if their incomes are increased but the poor will work harder if theirs are reduced.
New York Times report:
Viacom web site (Links to filings under investor information):
2005-04-17: Despite virtually flat overall revenues - up just CAD 281,000 to CAD 155.3 million (USD124.6 million), Toronto-based Corus Entertainment has reported an "excellent" second quarter to the end of February with net income up 56% on a year ago at CAD 12.9 million (USD 10.4 million- up from CAD 0.19 per share to CAD 0.30 per share).
Radio and TV led the way with combined revenues for the quarter up 10%: Radio led the way with segment profit for the quarter on advertising revenues up 12% to CAD 53.5 million (USD 43.2 million) was up 29% to CAD 10 million (USD 8.1 million).
In comparison, TV segment profit on revenues up 9% to CAD 81.7 million (USD 66 million) was up 15% to CAD 30.4 million (USD 24.6 million).
Content revenues however were down 39.4% to CAD 20.8 million (USD 16.8 million) as output was reduced and merchandising income fell: Profits fell from CAD 2.8 million (USD 2.3 million) to CAD 1.5 million (USD 1.2 million).
For the half-year, revenues were down 1.2% to CAD 336 million (USD 271 million) with a similar underlying pattern of strength in radio and TV undercut by weakness in content revenues.
Radio division year-to-date revenues were up 10% to CAD 119.1 million producing a 22% increase in profit to CAD 31.0 million (USD 24.9 million) and TV revenues were up 6% to CAD 180.2 million (USD 144.5 million) producing a 14% higher profit of CAD 75.4 million (USD 60.5 million).
Content division, revenues were down Z5 ($39.8 million compared to $65.0 million) to CAD 39.8 million (USD 31.9 million), attributed to lower library sales and lower merchandise revenue from sales of Beyblade: Segment profit dropped by more than two-thirds to CAD 1.6 million (USD 1.28 million) from CAD 5.4 million (USD 4.33 million).
Commenting on the results, President and CEO John Cassaday said Corus benefited from an "improved competitive position and strong category growth in the two principal segments in which we compete, Radio and Television Pacing for Q3 continues at these strong levels. Our Content Division was profitable and is performing in line with our expectations."
He added that Corus was increasing its guidance for fiscal 2005 up from profit of CA 180-190 million (USD 144 -152 million) to CAD 190-200 million (USD 152 - 160 million).
Executive Chair Heather Shaw said they were "pleased with our exceptional revenue and earnings growth in our core media properties in the first six months of the fiscal year."
In the US, Journal Communications has also reported strong radio performance in its first quarter with revenues up 9% to USD18.2 million, while operating earnings rose 23%, to USD3.8 million: For Journal's overall broadcasting division including TV - revenue was up 7%, to USD37.2 million, but operating earnings were down 17%, to USD5.4 million, put down to the absence of political advertising this year and overall softness at many of the company's television stations.
Journal says March broadcasting and radio revenues were each up 4%, to USD 15.4 million and USD 7.4 million respectively.
Salem is also forecasting a healthy first quarter: It has increased its guidance to revenue growth and same station net growth of around 10% each.
2005-04-17: A long-running dispute between Radio New Zealand and its news division managing editor Lynne Snowdon who has just been given two-months notice after being on sick leave since early 2003 is set to continue according to the New Zealand Herald.
Snowdon, who is 50 and has been paid her full salary of NZD 105,000 (USD 75,000) whilst off duty had been accused of financial mismanagement and had suffered stress. She told the paper she was determined to continue her fight, which has cost each side legal bills of around NZD 100,000 (USD 71,000), and the paper says the bill may go much higher because of Snowdon's claims of defamation and unjustified dismissal.
"I just want to get back to work," Snowdon said. "It's terribly frustrating. I have to pursue my remedies through the courts to prove that I haven't done anything wrong."
Radio New Zealand had initially claimed Snowdon was not fit for work for health reasons but in the Employment Court in July last year backed off that claim and now cites an irretrievable breakdown in the employment relationship as grounds for the dismissal.
Snowdon's relationship had broken down with former Radio New Zealand chief executive Sharon Crosbie, now retired, and followed a performance assessment in October 2002, consequential removal of certain delegated authority, a requirement by Radio New Zealand that she respond to the assessment and a criticisms made of the news division in a 2003 report by accounting firm Deloitte.
In July last year an employment court said she was fit to return to work and Snowdon says that since then the broadcaster has been trying to dismiss her. She objected to a demand by the broadcaster for a meeting at its solicitor's officers but the employment court refused her request for an order to prohibit the broadcaster from requiring her to attend.
The meeting never took place and in February this year, the Court of Appeal refused to overturn the employment court decision although it said Snowdon was "understandably concerned that the proposed discussion could be simply a precursor to a dismissal" and said Radio New Zealand had "been heavy-handed in directing Ms Snowdon to attend a meeting at its solicitors' offices given that the parties are presently involved in litigation in the Employment Court."
Previous Radio New Zealand:
Appeal Court ruling (106 kb PDF):
New Zealand Herald report:
2005-04-17: Arbitron is to go-it-alone with its Houston trial of its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings system rather than continue co-operation in its conduct with Nielsen Media Research.
Nielsen has agreed at Arbitron's request to focus its activities relating to a potential PPM joint venture on other priorities including more detailed examination of the PPM's audio detection capability and of the various issues that would have to be resolved to deploy the PPM for local ratings for radio and TV.
Arbitron's PPM and International President Pierre Bouvard said in an e-mail to customers, "Given the progress of the Houston PPM market trial, by the time Nielsen would make its decision, the Houston demonstration market will be up, running and producing audience estimates. So, instead of spending time determining how Nielsen might fit into to an already functioning Arbitron organization in Houston, we would rather we spend our time with Nielsen focused on those issues that hold the most promise for bringing the PPM to the marketplace."
Plans have also been announced to launch a PPM panel in Norway through an agreement between TNS (Taylor, Nelson, Sofres) and the Norwegian National Radio Steering Committee that represents NRK, P4, Kanal 24, Radio 1, Nordic Web Radio and the Association of Local Radio Companies.
Initially the plan is for a panel of 200 with the number to potentially be doubled early next year.
TNS has been working with Arbitron on international development of the PPM since 2000 when it set up a new television audience panel in Singapore; it has also deployed the PPM in Belgium and China.
2005-04-16: Washington, D-C-based WorldSpace, which is currently trying to boost its service in India as well as develop the services it offers from its AfricaStar and AsiaStar satellites as well as launch additional satellites to cover South America and parts of northern Europe not within the range of its existing satellites, has filed for a USD 100 million Initial Public Offering (IPO).
WorldSpace, the only licensed DARS (Digital Audio Radio Service) provider outside North America, South Korea and Japan, will trade on the NASDAQ market under the symbol WINR.
The company was launched in 1990 by Ethiopian-born CEO Noah Samara and was an initial shareholder in XM satellite radio, in which it sold its stake in 1999 after helping with development of technology and programming.
It says in its filing it has spent around USD 1.2 billion so far on satellite launches and infrastructure and will use proceeds from the IPO to build ground repeater stations that will improve coverage in India and acquire subscribers in China. UBS Investment Bank will be the underwriter for the deal.
In India WorldSpace currently has a monopoly of satellite radio and provides some 35 audio channels, but it could potentially face competition from a new Indian-government backed venture (See RNW Apr 4).
To meet potential competition it is boosting its operations with the launch of two more services, a channel devoted to Punjabi music and another, Spin, targeting international music fans.
Bangalore-based WorldSpace India is also launching a new marketing and advertising campaign and will strengthen its sales, distribution and customer support network.
WorldSpace India launched operations in Hyderabad earlier this month and is to extend them to Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and Kolkata.
Its director, Consumer Audio Business, Sanjay Ramakrishnan, says its mandate is to "to build the WorldSpace brand, and popularise satellite radio as an entertainment medium in all the cities that we are launching in and acquire new subscribers."
It has also announced "WorldSpace Live" that will be used as a vehicle for transmitting live music events.
Previous Indian Radio:
Indian TV Com report:
IPO Home report:
2005-04-16: Japanese Internet company Livedoor has offered to sell its shares in radio broadcaster Nippon Broadcasting System (NBS), to Fuji TV for JPY 100 billion (USD 923 million) according to the Nihon Keizai newspaper. Both Fuji TV and NBS are members of the Fujisankei Communications Group, which has opposed Livedoor's attempts to force an alliance with Fuji TV.
The paper says Livedoor is asking for Y6, 500 per shares it bought for an average Y6, 300 each but does not detail sources for its information: If the story is accurate, Livedoor stands to make around USD 30.5 million from its holding of around 16.5 million shares in NBS having acquired 35% of the stock in an after-hours raid in February and then built this up to over 50%.
Livedoor has confirmed it is involved in talks with Fuji over a capital and business alliance (See RNW Apr 15) and there have also been suggestions that Fuji TV would take a 15% shareholding in Livedoor that would help protect it against any bid by Livedoor for the TV company itself.
Japan Today report:
2005-04-16: Comments about the likelihood of the late Pope John Paul II being impeded in entering heaven because of his religious beliefs have led to a Pittsburgh radio host being fired.
Marty Minto told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he had been discussing events on his afternoon show on Salem's WORD-FM from the perspective of an evangelical Christian but was called into the office and "told that I was being let go because I was alienating the listeners."
"As far as I'm concerned, I was doing what I've always done on the radio -- look at events around the world from a biblical perspective," Minto commented. "I've always been willing to talk about controversial subjects."
"I made it clear that the discussion was not an attack on the character of the pope but, rather, a look at the teachings -- not only of John Paul, but the Catholic Church in general," Minto said, adding that he responded to a question about whether the pope would go to heaven with the belief held by many evangelical Christians that a person must be "a born-again believer."
Minto had hosted the show, the only one locally produced by his station, for three years and the paper says WORD-FM general manager Chuck Gratner did not dispute Minto's account of events.
"We ended our relationship" with him because of differences in how he conducted his show," Gratner said.
"WORD-FM needs to function in this city in support of the entire church -- that means everybody -- and not focus on denominational issues," he said.
The Rev. Ron Lengwin, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, told the paper the diocese had not complained about the show but had been told of the dismissal by station management.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review report:
2005-04-15: Following what it considers a successful trial with three programmes, the BBC has a announced that it is to podcast up to 20 more radio shows and also include a series of radio programmes in its next trial of the Interactive Media Player (iMP) that will offer rights-protected, time-limited downloads of both television and radio programmes.
The four months of the Corporations first MP3 trial - of In Our Time (Radio 4), Fighting Talk (Radio Five Live) and TX Unlimited (1Xtra)- generated 270,000 downloads and announcing the extension of the downloads and podcasts, Simon Nelson, Controller of BBC Radio and Music Interactive, said at Music Radio 2005 that the technologies could "transform the value we deliver to audiences and make our programmes more accessible for both new and existing audiences."
So far the BBC has confirmed the following programmes for the new trial:
Today (Radio 4, daily) - 8.10am interview
In Business (Radio 4, weekly) - Peter Day examines trends and developments in industry and the world of work
From Our Own Correspondent (Radio 4, weekly/twice weekly) - personal reflections by BBC correspondents around the world
In Our Time (Radio 4, weekly) - Melvyn Bragg and guests explore the history of ideas
Reith Lectures (Radio 4, run of six) - Lord Broers on The Triumph of Technology
Sportsweek (Radio Five Live, weekly) - get under the skin of the week's big sports stories
Fighting Talk (Radio Five Live, weekly) - sparky sports debate with points for punditry
Rumour Mill - (Radio Five Live, weekly)
Mark Kermode film review slot (Radio Five Live, weekly)
Radio 1 speech highlights - to be confirmed
Go Digital (World Service, weekly) - how technology is changing our lives
Documentary archive (World Service, twice weekly)
TX documentaries (1Xtra, weekly) - various subjects
Gaelic Letter (BBC Radio Nan Gaidheal, weekly).
2005-04-15: Emmis has reported revenues for its fourth quarter - to the end of February - up 5% on a year earlier to USD 137.9 million and full year revenues up 9% to 618.5 million with pro-forma revenue figures a 3% increase for the quarter to USD 137.9 million and for the year up 7% to USD 627.1 million.
Overall Emmis made a loss per share from continuing operations for the quarter of seven cents compared to 26 cents a year earlier compared to 26 cents a year earlier but these figures exclude a USD 12.4 million impairment loss in the quarter.
Commenting on the results (which rather bury the overall picture for the year although Emmis notes that based on a third party appraisal, the Company recorded a non-cash charge of approximately USD 303.0 million, net of tax, in its fourth quarter as a cumulative effect of an accounting change) Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said the "Emmis team" had delivered "another strong performance this year" and added, "We outperformed our markets, enhanced the quality of our balance sheet and were honoured by FORTUNE as one of America's Best Companies to Work For. This honour is particularly noteworthy; we aren't just the best performing media company in the country, we are also one of the best places to work."
In divisional terms, fourth quarter reported radio revenues were up 9% to USD 61.2 million, including USD 5.7 million from its international operations, and for the year also up 9% to USD 275.9 million with corresponding pro forma figures a 4% increase in the quarter to USD 61.2 million and a 3% increase for the year to USD 284.5 million.
TV reported net revenues were flat for the quarter at USD 56.6 million but up 12% for the year at USD 236 million with pro forma revenues also flat for the final quarter but up 13% for the year.
Publishing had reported revenues up 6% in the quarter to USD 20 million and up 2% for the year to USD 77.7 million with pro forma revenues the same.
Emmis says this year has begun strongly and it forecasts total net revenues for the first quarter of USD 160.2 million with radio revenues of USD 75 million of which domestic radio revenue is forecast to be USD 70.3 million.
In other US radio news, Beasley Broadcasting has updated its first quarter guidance and says it now expects consolidated net revenue growth of 8-10%, up from a previous forecast of 3%. It adds that it expects station operating expenses to be 16-18% up on a year ago including non-recurring charges.
Chairman and CEO George G. Beasley said, "Revenue growth during the first quarter was consistently strong in each month of the period and benefited from continuing strength at our Philadelphia, Las Vegas and Ft. Myers station clusters. Station operating expenses will reflect approximately USD1.4 million of non-recurring employee separation costs, as well as higher programming and promotional expenses. Excluding the non-recurring employee separation cost, core station operating expenses are forecast to increase approximately 8-10% over 2004 first quarter levels."
Previous George Beasley:
2005-04-15: Latest Arbitron-comScore internet ratings, show overall listening in February this year was up 18.5% on January to a weekly cumulative audience of 5.8 million and weekday listening increased by 22.7% to a cumulative audience of 3.4 million; AQH figures were up from 316,800 to 460,800 overall and up from 472,400 to 707,400 for weekdays 06:00 to 19:00
Rankings among the four networks rated were unchanged but MSN nearly doubled the listening to its two outlets - MSN Radio and WindowsMedia.com.
Leader Yahoo had a cumulative audience of 2,425,500, up 16.9% overall and weekday cumulative audience of 1,431,800, up 24%: its AQH figures were up from 282,200 to 372,800 weekdays and up from 189,100 to 244,300 overall.
Second ranked AOL fared less well with its overall cumulative audience up only 5% to 2,096,400 and its weekday cumulative audience up 6% to 1,160,400: AQH figures rose from 117,800 to 162,800 weekdays and from 83,500 to 111,800 overall.
In third rank MSN services had a cumulative audience up 91% to 903,000 overall and 62% to 625,300; AQH figures rose from 40,700 to 128,900 weekdays and from 23,500 to 76,500 overall.
In fourth place Live 365 in its second month of ratings increased cumulative audience overall by 14% to 500,800 and for weekdays by 20% to 290,000; its AQH figures rose from 31,400 to 42,900 weekdays and from 20,500 to 28,200 overall.
Previous Arbitron-comScore ratings:
2005-04-15: Montreal-based Astral media has reported what it terms "solid growth" in its second fiscal quarter to the end of February with revenues for the quarter up 6% on a year earlier to CAD 125.7 million (USD 101.5 million) and for the half year up 8% to CAD 246.5 million (USD 199.1 million).
Net earnings from continuing operations were up 17% for the quarter to CAD 20.4 million (USD 16.5 million- CAD 0.36 per share) and 20% for the half year to CAD 45.9 million (USD 37.1 million - CAD 0.82 per share). Overall, after a loss of CAD 935,000 (USD 755,000) from continuing operations, Astral's profit for the quarter was CAD 19.4 million (USD 15.7 million) whilst for the half year, after taking into account a loss of CAD 1.29 million (USD 1.0 million) on discontinued operations they were CAD 44.7 million (USD 36.1 million)
EBITDA was up 11% for the quarter to CAD 34.4 million (USD 27.8 million) and up 14% for the half year to CAD 76.9 million (USD 62.1 million)
In divisional terms, TV revenues were up 4.5% to CAD 94.6 million (USD 76.4 million) for the quarter and 6.6% to CAD 196 million (USD 158 million); for radio they were up 12.3% to CAD 23.8 million (USD 19.2 million) for the quarter and 8.3% to CAD 50.9 million (USD 41.1 million) for the half year; for outdoor they were up 10.5% to CAD 7.3 million (USD 5.9 million) for the quarter and 19.6% to CAD 19 million (USD 15.4 million) for the half year.
Commenting on the results, Astral President and CEO Ian Greenberg said they were "very pleased with the solid growth the company demonstrated this quarter In what is traditionally a slower quarter for advertising revenues, our quality programming and innovative advertising offerings nonetheless continued to drive subscriber and advertising revenue up over last year with all divisions contributing to bottom-line growth for the quarter."
2005-04-15: Japanese Internet company Livedoor and Fuji TV have started to talk about a possible alliance that could settle their dispute that began when Livedoor made an out of hours raid on radio broadcaster Nippon Broadcasting System (NBS) according to the Asahi Shimbun.
The paper says the deal is still far from firm but would involve Livedoor selling most of its shares in NBS, in which it has a little over a half share, to Fuji TV, which would then make NBS a subsidiary: The paper says the deal would involve Livedoor moving some of its shares in NBS to subsidiary Livedoor Partners Co., which holds 32.4 percent in the radio broadcaster, and that would then be sold to Fuji TV.
It says that in addition the two companies would set up a capital and business alliance, the former by means of an issue of new shares by Livedoor to Fuji TV that would give the latter just under 15% of the internet company and would be followed by business alliances, such as integration of broadcasting with the Internet.
The paper says any arrangement is up against a tight deadline since if Livedoor wants to replace a majority of the NBS directors at its general shareholders' meeting, as it has indicated it might, it will have to lay down details of its plans this month.
It adds that there is opposition to the plan from some executives of both Livedoor and Fuji TV with the former arguing that Livedoor should buy shares in Fuji TV and the latter that Fuji would not gain from holding Livedoor shares.
Asahi Shimbun report:
2005-04-15: According to a new Arbitron-Edison Media Study, Americans are far less likely to tune away from a radio station during a commercial break than they are when watching TV.
The report, "Spot Load 2005: Managing Commercial Inventories for Your Advertisers and Your Listeners", says 49% of Americans say they never change radio stations when commercials come on when they are listening at home in comparison to only 6% who say they never change TV channels when commercials come on.
The study is to be discussed online during a May 4 web cast by Bill Rose, senior vice president, U.S. Media Services Marketing, Arbitron Inc. and Joe Lenski, executive vice president, Edison Media Research.
It focussed on what listeners think about, and how they react to, the number and duration of commercials that they hear on radio with specific reference to variations relating to format, demographic and listening location.
The report says that listeners prefer more shorter commercial breaks -- 57% preferred three commercial breaks of four spots as opposed to 34% who preferred two commercial breaks of six spots - and notes that nearly a quarter of all listeners were aware of stations with fewer and/or shorter commercial breaks.
RNW comment: We find it slightly surprising, and maybe disturbing, that some three quarters of Americans are apparently paying so little attention to the radio they listen to that they are unaware of differences in commercial breaks. We are not surprised that, this being so, fewer bother retuning a radio when a commercial break comes on - presumably their listening is in general a noise in the background for them that is half-listened to thus making it not particularly obtrusive when adverts come on - it is after all much easier to mentally cease listening than not to notice a change in picture and sound on a TV, even if it weren't for the annoying habit - barred in some countries - of increasing the volume when the adverts come on.
2005-04-14: US satellite radio companies are likely to reach around 20 million subscribers over the next five years but will then have to consider new approaches to sustain rapid growth according to a report from Forrester Research.
Principal analyst Ted Schadler, the author of "The Future of Digital Audio", says that the early success of the medium is being driven by subscribers with above-average incomes and suggests amongst future options a two-tier service, the current USD 13 a month full-service subscription including commercial-free music channels and lower level subscription such as USD 8 for a service with limited commercials.
The report also forecasts rapid growth in podcasting and online listening, saying by 2010 around 12.3 million households will use MP3 players to listen to podcasts and nearly a third of US households will listen to online radio overall and around half of those with broadband, which by then will be around 60% of US households.
In contrast it says digital - iBiquity's HD system in the US - radio will lag and by 2010 will only reach around 9.7 million.
The report says radio and music industry executives need to learn lessons from the experience of TV in competing with cable and suggests that their tactics should include subscription services, on=demand delivery and development of advert-targeting strategies to enable radio to maximise results from the new services it can deliver.
"If radio and music executives can successfully shift their thinking to embrace new audio delivery methods, both industries will benefit from new revenue streams and increased consumer loyalty over the next several years," said Schadler adding, "Consumers want to listen to what they want, when they want, on the device of their choosing. New formats like online radio and podcasting, where downloadable content is sent directly to an MP3 player, give consumers more programming and ultimate flexibility."
People's Daily/Xinhua report:
2005-04-14: Emmis in Chicago is acknowledging the existence of the I-Pod and trying to turn it to its advantage in its promotion of WKQX-FM (Q101), which has expanded its play list and adopted a new slogan "Now on Shuffle."
The move is not, however, without its critics according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times: He quotes a comment from trade publication Inside Radio saying, "Should a medium that's already universal be comparing itself constantly to a new gadget that's in the craze phase? Radio in the '70s and '80s didn't compare itself to 8-tracks or cassettes."
Emmis however contends that there is no point trying to duck reality. It sent 300 pre-programmed iPods to the station's top advertisers and media buyers and Marv Nyren, vice president and general manager of Q-101, said he spent USD 20,000 on them to reinforce his message to the advertising community.
"By using an iPod, we took a very proactive stance," he said. "We know that our audience is really into them. Is it better to pretend they don't exist?"
Feder also quotes a rather ambiguous response from morning host Erich" Mancow" Muller, who's not included in the current marketing campaign: He joked, "Now I'm trying to talk them into sending XM and Sirius Satellite radios to everyone."
RNW comment: We find ourselves in agreement with Emmis on this one. Behaving like an ostrich won't make new technology and competitors go away, so it seems to us that it's a smart move to co-opt them into boosting your own product if you can deliver something that is attractive.
Previous Erich "Mancow" Muller:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2005-04-14: India's Information and Broadcasting Ministry has approved a proposal to allow limited Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country's private FM radio but is continuing to bar such investment in news and current affairs programming.
Currently India allows Foreign Institutional Investors (FII) to hold up to a fifth of the equity in a private FM and the ministry is proposing the same cap on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
Speaking in New Delhi Information and Broadcasting minister S Jaipal Reddy said that he hoped to take the matter to the Indian cabinet soon after sending details of its proposals to various ministries for their comment.
Previous Indian Radio:
Indian Express report:
2005-04-14: Salem has announced the appointment of Jon Horton, formerly with Emmis for a decade and later chief operating officer for Mondosphere Broadcasting, as vice president of operations reporting to Joe D. Davis, executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Horton, a consultant to Salem since February this year, will continue to advise Salem's Contemporary Christian Music-formatted stations as well as overseeing Salem stations in the Northwest and Great Lakes regions.
2005-04-14: The US National Radio Hall of Fame has announced its 2005 nominees: The winners in each of four categories will be inducted in a ceremony to be held in Chicago on November 5 during a national radio broadcast that will be produced and distributed by Westwood One.
The nominees are:
NETWORK OR SYNDICATED - ACTIVE
Indianapolis based comedy duo Bob & Tom (Bob Kevoian & Tom Griswold).
ABC News White House correspondent Ann Compton.
National Public Radio host, Marian McPartland, whose Piano Jazz has been on the air for a quarter of a century.
Syndicated host Dr. Laura Schlessinger
NETWORK OR SYNDICATED - PIONEER
Abbott & Costello, the comedy team of the 1940s.
Gang Busters, the law enforcement reality series created by Phillips Lord and hosted by Col. H. Norman Schwarzkopf that aired on NBC, ABC, CBS and Mutual.
The Great Gildersleeve comedy series that starred Harold Peary and Willard Waterman, and aired on NBC.
America's longest-running radio broadcast, Music and the Spoken Word that features The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
LOCAL OR REGIONAL - ACTIVE
Marty Brennaman, "voice of the Cincinnati Reds" on WLW-AM, Cincinnati since 1974
Texas personality Ron Chapman of KLUV-FM, Dallas.
KGO-AM, San Francisco, talk host Ronn Owens.
WPLJFM, New York, PD and veteran on-air personality Scott Shannon.
LOCAL OR REGIONAL - PIONEER
Jess Cain, morning talk show host for over 33 yeas on WHDH-AM, Boston.
Mike Murphy, talk show host for over 24 years on KCMO-AM, Kansas City
Jean Shepherd, the late radio humorist and storyteller on WOR-AM, New York
Preston Westmoreland, former Phoenix, Arizona, afternoon personality
US Radio Hall of Fame web site:
2005-04-13: Canadian commercial radio revenues in 2004 were up 2.5% on a year earlier at CAD 1.2 billion (USD 970 million) but earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) was down 1.3% to CAD 224.1 million (USD 181 million) according to figures just released by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
During the year, the country gained 29 new stations to reach a total of 544 but AM numbers were down 13 because of conversions to FM.
English language revenues were up 4% and those of Aboriginal stations up 5.7% but those for French language stations fell 4.6%.
Within language sectors, revenues for Canada's 164 English language AM stations fell 0.1% to CAD 259.5 million (USD 210 million), but EBIT grew by 76.8% to CAD 4.9 million (USD 4 million).
The 274 English language FMs increased revenues by 5.5% to CAD 738.7 million (USD 597 million) but EBIT was down 0.5% to CAD 192.4 million (USD 156 million).
The 15 French language AMs in Canada saw revenues down 13.2% to CAD 22.6 million (USD 18 million) and losses before interest and taxes increased from CAD 2.6 million (USD 2.1 million) to CAD 4.7 million (USD 3.8 million). The 77 French language FMs suffered a 3.4% revenue decrease to CAD 172.5 million (USD 139.4 million) and their EBIT was down 10,8% to CAD 27.8 million (USD 22.5 million).
Ethnic and Aboriginal stations - eight AMs and six FMs - increased revenues by 4.9% to CAD 20.3 million (USD 16.4 million) and their EBIT was up 73.1% to CAD 3.2 million (USD2.6 million).
2005-04-13: Florida radio host Jennifer Ross (real name Elena Whitby) is appeal against USD 17.2 million in damages awarded to her former employer, Infinity's "Sunny 104.3" (WEAT-FM) because of her move to rival WRMF-FM in September 2000 in breach of a no-compete agreement.
Ross is personally held responsible for USD 1 million of the amount and James Crystal Licences, the former owner of the WRMF - it was sold in 2002 to Palm Beach Broadcasting for USD 70 million - for the rest but attorney Rob Haile, representing her and the former owners of the station said the licensees would pay the host's USD 1 million if her appeal failed.
Haile told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel of the verdict, "I was stunned. It's grossly excessive."
He added, "I think the jury really just didn't quite understand what was going on. Infinity Radio found an expert whose flawed calculations didn't account for changes in the radio market when determining how much money Ross' defection cost Sunny 104.3. Their expert assumed that nothing had changed, that iPods hadn't arrived, that satellite radio hadn't arrived."
Infinity had asked for USD 13.3 million in damages and its attorney Alan Rosenthal commented of Haile's argument, "The jury heard all of that and rejected it. The owners went and sold that radio station for a $22 million profit. The jury got that quite clearly."
South Florida Sun-Sentinel report:
2005-04-13: UK UBC Media has joined the ranks of radio companies trying to parley radio services into a profitable music download system and is to invest around GBP 400,000 (USD 760,000) to develop software that will allow "at the touch of a button" downloads of songs heard on the radio.
UBC is one of two holders of UK data spectrum licences that allow use of a digital radio signal to transmit data and has been testing technology that will allow the tracks to be downloaded onto media smart card.
According to the UK Guardian it says its service will be "more keenly priced" than Apples I-Tunes; the paper quotes UBC Finance director Jenny Donald as saying it will announce a deal with a major radio station in a couple of weeks and is in talks with recording companies about royalty payments and manufacturers about producing a portable digital radio receiver including a smart card within a year.
"Some digital radio sets have a record button, but that records a exact copy of the audio broadcast with DJ talking over the songs. But the spectrum we've got will mean a perfect copy of every song played on the radio will be downloadable," said Ms Donald. "We think it is a most compelling way to buy music, much more compelling than someone who gets an iPod and crawls all over the Internet looking for music for it. You are listening to the tune, you like it, it only costs about a [dollar] and you can just push a button to download it."
UK Guardian report:
2005-04-13: Deals with satellite radio and others could soon rebound on US sporting rights holders when it comes to their deals with terrestrial broadcasters according to the New York Daily News.
It reports dissatisfaction by such companies as Infinity Radio over deals such as Major League Basketball's 11-year USD 650 million tie up with XM as well as a more recent agreement between MLB Advanced Media and MobiTV and Cingular Wireless that allows Cingular subscribers to listen to feeds of local radio cover of games on their cell phones.
The local rights holders say these deals reduce the value of their packages and undercut their exclusivity, for which they pay a premium.
Infinity chairman and CEO Joel Hollander told the paper the Cingular deal was "another slap in the face of local (baseball radio) rights holders."
"It's a further dilution of our rights," he added. "We love the baseball product we carry. We don't love the fact major league baseball is spreading our local feeds over a number of other outlets."
Hollander also rejected arguments from Cingular that the new outlets provided extra listeners and thus an additional attraction for the station's advertisers.
"Where are those people listening?," he asked. "Arizona? North Dakota? Look at the Yankees and Mets. We are selling these teams (to advertisers) in the tri-state area. If the radiocast is on the Internet, or a cell phone, that's good for displaced fans. That doesn't do me any good when I'm paying the rights fee."
Infinity holds radio rights to 10 major league teams, including the Mets, for which WFAN pays USD 8 million a year and the Yankees for which WCBS-AM pays USD 10 million a year and the paper says the dilution of rights means that local clubs, negotiating new deals with Infinity-owned stations, could either be facing a substantial decrease in rights fees or have to find new radio homes.
New York Daily News report:
2005-04-13: Canadian weather channel personality Sophie Chiasson has won a total of CAD 340,000 (USD 275,000) against Genex Communications and former CHOI-FM morning host Jean-François (Jeff) Fillion and his co-hosts for defamatory comments made against her.
The award was made up of CAD 100,000 in moral damages, CAD 200,000 in punitive damages, and CAD 40,000 for legal expenses with Genex being ordered to pay CAD 30,000 (USD 24,000 immediately).
The judge commented in a written judgment that Fillion and his co-hosts, as well as Genex Communications and Genex head Patrice Demers, had no respect for human beings: He split the damages 45% each between Genex and Fillion with the remaining 10% being shared equally by Fillion's three co-hosts Yves Landry, Denis Gravel and Marie Saint-Laurent.
Fillion quit the station last month, citing amongst his reasons pressures from the lawsuit and also pressures in relation to a decision, to be heard by a Federal Court next month, by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to refuse licence renewal to the station, largely because of comments that continued to be made on the station despite various rulings against it (See RNW Mar 18).
In the Chiasson case, Fillion was said by the judge to have carried out verbal harassment of her for five years, continuing his comments even after she filed her lawsuit in 2002. He had commented on the size of her breasts, said the size of her brain was not related to it, and also accused her of sleeping with men twice her age.
The station has previously settled complaints out of court but Chiasson insisted on going to court. Genex says it is to appeal and said the damages were greater than those normally awarded in such cases.
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2005-04-13: Tapes of lost episodes of the BBC Radio 4 farming soap opera "The Archers" dating back to 1977 found by a broadcast assistant during a spring clean at BBC Radio Wiltshire will fill in gaps in the archives for the programme according to the BBC, which until 1994 kept only selected episodes of the programme.
The reel-to-reel tapes were donated to the station by listener Dr Barbara Carter six years ago but had been put aside at the time and ended up amongst the other tapes: In all she had taped some 25 omnibus editions of The Archers for her elderly mother including episodes with the plot that saw Shula Archer lose her virginity in a haystack.
Broadcast assistant Gerry Hughes said of his find, "I must admit that I'm not the tidiest of people but I can't believe that I hadn't spotted these tapes earlier. On the spine of the boxes, I saw the words The Archers and the date 1977. It is such a find and a real treasure for us to have here at Radio Wiltshire."
Archers Editor Vanessa Whitburn added, "It's wonderful to get these tapes, part of Ambridge's history. Now we can store episodes in a more compact way, the more of these we find the better. "The BBC was only able to keep selected episodes over the years and many everyday episodes were lost."
2005-04-12: XM Satellite Radio has announced new deals with AOL Radio Network (AOL(R))and Air America Network.
With the former, it will create a co-branded service will include a free, web radio offering and an enhanced premier radio offering that will be available to AOL(R) members at no additional charge and as a premium service to others through AOL's radio portal that is to be launched in the summer.
In addition to the new online radio service, XM will integrate selected AOL original programs such as Radio KOL, AOL(R) Music Sessions and AOL(R) Music LIVE! into its satellite radio service.
AOL Inc chairman and CEO Jon Miller commented of the agreement with XM, "The combination of our leadership in online programming and XM's leadership in satellite programming represents a giant step in digital media. This relationship creates important and valuable opportunities across our core businesses enabling us to provide unique value for our large web audience, enhanced programming for our existing and new AOL members, and the ability to introduce new premium services."
Under the Air America deal, XM will become the official satellite radio network and its, America Left talk channel will be renamed Air America Radio in May and will include an expanded line- up of Air America Radio programming, including the recently debuted "Springer on the Radio" hosted by Jerry Springer and upcoming "Rachel Maddow Show," among others. XM's Air America Radio channel will also feature shows currently carried on America Left, including "The Ed Shultz Show" and "The Alan Colmes Show."
Air America Radio CEO Danny Goldberg commented, "XM was a natural fit to be the official satellite radio network of Air America Radio, given its large subscriber base, numerous distribution channels and demonstrated growth The quality of XM's other partnerships, their Washington, D.C. location and proximity to the centre of our nation's political workings, along with millions of subscribers, made our decision easy."
XM Satellite Radio President and CEO Hugh Panero said his company was "thrilled to be partnering with AOL" and added of the Air America agreement, "The surge in Air America Radio's listenership blends well with XM's strong subscriber growth and we look forward to growing with them in the coming years."
Previous Air America Radio:
2005-04-12: A new British-based website Podshows.com, the idea of former Virgin Radio DJ Daryl Denham and former Radio 1 chart show host Wes Butters, has been launched offering paid-for podcasts by a number of British DJs and personalities at prices from around GBP 0.49 (US 93 cents) - around double that for a one-hour show- in at attempt to cash in on the new technology with a range of shows varying from music shows hosted by the DJs to talk and comedy.
For some of the DJs the new service may be a way to by-pass broadcast radio and for others to gain an additional audience.
The founding DJs teamed up with talent management agency MPC Entertainment and so far the site has deals with Warner Music and Universal; it will not play full songs in the shows, only around two-thirds of a song, but will carry a link to a download service that will allow an immediate purchase.
As well as Denham, whose offering is a Daily Denham Show, and Butters, with Official UK Top 40 Singles and Album shows, others so far listed on the site include former Capital DJ Steve Penk - an offering of wind-up albums at 79 pence (USD 1.50) each, former BBC Radio 1 DJ Paul Gambaccini with The Classic Countdown and The Jazz 40 and Tony Blackburn, who currently has four shows on air, with a We Love The 70s! show.
Non-music offerings include a report on the Michael Jackson trial, show biz stories in Hollywood Hijacked and opinion from Yellow Cab driver Peter Franklin in The Gabby Cabby and TV critic Garry Bushell.
The site promotes itself as an alternative to broadcast radio, commenting, "Let's face it who wants radio anymore? The reason you bought an MP3 player is because you want to hear what you want, when you want. That's where podshows.com comes in - it's the world's first website to give you unique downloadable radio shows. "
2005-04-12: In another sign of healthy US public radio, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) says the combined audience for its regional stations and programming from its distribution arm American Public Media has now reached nearly 15 million a week.
Total listening it says rose by 14% from Fall 2003 to Fall 2004 when it was estimated by Arbitron to be 14.6 million a week and added that the audience for stations affiliated to American Public Media was up to 28.5 million a week: last month US National Public Radio (NPR) said its audience had risen by 41% over the past four years to reach 23 million a week in Fall 2004 (See RNW Mar 31).
American Public Media programmes include A Prairie Home Companion, Marketplace and Marketplace Morning Report and MPR says the weekly audience for the first is now some 4.3 million listeners each week, up 5%, whilst that for the two business programmes is more than 8.7 million, up 9%.
Other notable increases were 155 percent for Speaking of Faith and 31% for Sound Money.
2005-04-12: UK media regulator Ofcom has upheld just one complaint against radio and one against TV its latest bulletin compared to none upheld in the previous bulletin.
In addition a further 141 complaints relating to 100 TV items and 18 radio ones relating to 18 items were rejected or held to be out of remit compared to 184 TV complaints relating to 149 items and 19 radio complaints relating to 18 items in the previous bulletin.
The radio complaint upheld was against Radio Ramadhan (Preston), which was granted a Restricted Service Licence from 16 October to 16 November 2004.
Ofcom received a complaint from an Imam who had taken part in a discussion programme and felt that he had been unfairly treated and a further 58 complaints from listeners who were offended by the treatment of the Imam but the station was unable to provide the required recording when asked for it.
Accordingly, although no ruling could be made on the complaint itself, the station was found in breach of its licence conditions through failing to keep the recording and the failure will be held on record and taken into account should a new licence be applied for in future.
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2005-04-11: This week we concentrate our look at print comment on radio with articles relating to factors that seem currently to be the greatest threats to US terrestrial radio - US broadcast indecency laws that could boost a move to satellite radio, satellite radio itself, and other listening methods that technology is making or has made, available.
First the issue of US broadcast indecency laws, termed by Geov Parrish on WorkingForChange.com "The obscenity police" involved in the "FCC's misguided crackdown on obscene speech."
Parrish says the crackdown is likely to intensify with the appointment of Kevin Martin as FCC chairman, commenting that on the issue of regulating broadcast content Martin "is very much in league with social conservatives who've been all worked up about the increasingly potty-mouthed commercial media in recent years."
Parrish disassociates himself from much that is broadcast although expressing concern over regulation, writing, "I should say right here that I'm no fan of some of the truly nauseating material that passes for "humour" on some of these sexually over-amped morning shows." "Listening to some middle-aged morning jock egg on a 14-year-old girl calling in to describe her fellatio experiences is not only unentertaining, it's sickening. But there are more than a few problems with setting up the FCC as some sort of cultural nanny, deciding what is and isn't fit for society's sensitive ears to hear."
Parrish goes on to comment on current mentality in the US that has led to clamping down on "naughty words and salacious content" but has weakened public service requirements the "public service" requirements of a broadcast licence.
Commenting on the latter requirements, Parrish writes, "Once upon a time, this meant that stations, in order to get their license to broadcast, had to demonstrate a certain level of public service in their programming. All that is gone now, fallen victim to Reagan-era deregulating, and so it's more than a little absurd that a station can be recklessly irresponsible in its broadcasts -- as in, for example, certain brands of hate-mongering talk radio -- and that's just fine. The FCC could not care less. But slip up and say one of those words you're never supposed to say, and the FCC will be on you like a ton of bricks."
"The FCC, particularly in the new regime under Martin, has got it exactly backwards," he comments. "Cable TV and print publications trade in naughty words and salacious content all the time, and the republic has not ground to a halt; if audience members don't like what they're seeing or hearing, they simply tune out. Nobody's really all that harmed if some rap song drops an 'f' bomb, or Janet Jackson exposes a nipple for three milliseconds."
"Martin's crackdown, and the whole notion of regulating broadcast content so that it doesn't offend anyone, tends to result in programming that's so stupid it's offensive," argues Parrish.
"We don't need to be protected from words most ten-year-olds know quite well. We don't need to be protected from anything. But we do need to restore the notion that broadcasters have a responsibility to the public. And that responsibility should be measured by what a station does to contribute to the greater good -- in music, in talk, in TV programs."
On then to satellite, and first a brief article by Paul Farhi in the Washington Post that encapsulated for us one of the strengths of satellite - it's willingness, at the moment anyway, to try both the new and the old.
In "A Blast From the Past: WEAM's Brief Return", Farhi pens an appreciation of Terry "Motormouth" Young's weekly tribute to 1960s radio on XM's Channel and a show that aimed to re-create the sound and feel of WEAM, AM 1390.
Young, who is 52 and a lifelong professional DJ, recalls the era, and pulled together vintage tapes of WEAM's DJs from collectors and station jingles from a company that archives them. He also did some research to find out what a Top-40 station in Washington (actually, WEAM was based in Arlington) would be talking about in the mid-1960s.
Farhi notes that the playlists were tightly controlled at the time as well as now but noted greater diversity - "Over the course of an hour yesterday, Young played the Beatles, Aretha Franklin, the Troggs, the Swinging Medallions, the Monkees, and Martha and the Vandellas."
On then to technology and first an upbeat note for terrestrial radio from Marc Fisher, also in the Washington Post.
The title of his report, "Podcasting: A Made-to-Order Change for Listeners -- and Perhaps Stations, Too", indicates its tenor.
"In theory," writes Fisher, "podcasts will draw listeners away from the sameness of over-the-air radio and into a world of infinite variety."
He later notes, however, that some feel podcasting can be co-opted to the aid of terrestrial broadcasters, writing, "Tom Webster, vice president of Edison Media Research, and executives at some of the largest radio companies are suggesting that radio stations develop their own podcasts and make them available at no charge to listeners seeking a more varied or obscure selection of tunes."
"The idea," Fisher writes, "is to ease the pressure that broadcasters now feel to broaden the array of music on over-the-air radio. Give choosier listeners what they want, without making them wait for the 11 p.m. Sunday show, when radio has traditionally offered less popular forms of music."
He also suggests that just as "Internet radio evolved from making your own radio station in your bedroom into an industry dominated by MSN and AOL, so too will podcasting go corporate."
Then there's the technology on the horizon, in this case WiMax, which Monica Rivituso in Smart Money says "has the potential to be much more transformative than any lone gizmo."
WiMax is a new wireless standard that can provide wireless broadband over distances of 3-10km (2-6miles) compared to the 30 metres (hundred feet) or so of the currently widely deployed Wi-Fi.
It could potentially pose severe competition to existing cable-based services - deployment costs could be around a tenth of that for laying cables, and Rivituso speculates on the idea of set-top boxes combining high-speed wireless broadband, voice-over-IP and a television receiver and quotes Eric Mantion, senior analyst at Scottsdale, Arizona-based market research firm In-Stat, as saying, "That makes it horribly attractive from an economic standpoint compared to any other technology current or planned."
Such a package suggests Rivituso could also, given the number of Internet radio stations available, also pose a threat to existing radio including the satellite companies.
The technology from our perspective of course is only relevant in that it is distributing an aural service and in the end it's the content that counts, giving us a cue for a brief quote from the new controller of BBC Radio 4 Mark Damazar in an interview conducted by John Walsh from the UK Independent.
Talking of the station, Damazer said, "I started listening to the station when I was at university, so I've been familiar with the landscape for three decades Sometimes I come across a piece that is below our best standards, but that's quite rare. I don't know how many hours of freshly originated programmes there are, but it's measured in several thousands."
"Some are wild successes, clearly defined by reason of their brilliance or their longevity, which has been sustained and renewed - like I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. Then you'll hear the occasional feature or documentary that has some magical ingredient to it - Melvin Bragg's Thursday-morning programme [In Our Time], for instance, is brilliant because it sets itself genuinely high and, for the audience, probably aspirational goals of intellectual thought though it's for a mass audience, in peak time, available to all - I think that's practically a definition of public service broadcasting.
So on to programmes and first In Our Time, which airs on Thursdays at 08:00 GMT and is also available from the BBC Radio 4 web site as streaming audio or also as an MP3.
Then from the same station, Armitage and Moore's Guide to Song in which poet Simon Armitage and musicologist Allan Moore analyse popular songs and how they combine lyrics and music to create an overall effect. The first of three programmes last week looked at cover versions - the delights of various renditions of Tonight from West Side Story in particular are worth a listen.
Sticking with music, BBC Radio 2 on Tuesday at 19:30 GMT has the second and last part of The Motown Invasion - Adam White's story of the first Tamla Motown tour of the UK, exactly 40: The first programme is on the web site until then.
Following this at 20:30 GMT on the station is Piaf, the second part of the story of the French singer Edith Piaf: Again the first programme is on the site until then.
After music comedy and BBC Radio 2 on Saturday has a combination of musical parody in The Day the Music Died at 12:00 GMT followed at 12:30 GMT by the satire of Parsons & Naylor's Pull-out Sections.
For Drama we'd suggest BBC Radio 3's Drama on Sunday spot that has just aired
Ben Jonson's classic satirical comedy of the English Renaissance Volpone and also the Raj Quartet in BBC Radio 4's Classic Serial slot on Sunday Afternoons at 14:00GMT. The first episode of nine - from yesterday- is on the web site and will be repeated at 20:00 GMT on Saturday
Finally documentary and first a couple of drug-related items: The first was from Background Briefing on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National service, which yesterday was "What went wrong with Vioxx?", the story of the anti-arthritis drug that has now been withdrawn because of side effects - up to 140,000 Americans may have had a heart attack as a result of taking the drug, which is a prime example of how the "market" works since in the US direct-to-consumer advertising allowed it to be marketed widely.
On the other side of the coin, Costing the Earth on BBC Radio 4 last week looked out how the withdrawal of malaria led to an increase in the mosquito population and subsequent spread of malaria at the cot of tens of thousands of lives in much of the world after its withdrawal because of environmental concerns in the US.
Previous Marc Fisher:
Smart Money - Rivituso:
UK Independent - Walsh:
Washington Post - Farhi:
Washington Post- Fisher:
WorkingforChange - Parrish:
2005-04-11: Radio New Zealand is planning a re-vamp under which its afternoon and evening programming will move away from its current programme-based format towards news with some specialist programming according to the Dominion Post.
The paper says that under the changes, foreshadowed in a 30-page "proposals for change " document, veteran afternoon host Wayne Mowat's afternoon show is likely to be dropped.
Mowat began his radio career in the 1960's as a copywriter on 4ZB in Dunedin before becoming a host on commercial radio. He spent five year's on National Radio's Nine to Noon before becoming the regular host of his current 1300-1630 weekday "In Touch with New Zealand " show.
Consultations are under way with staff about the changes, which are expected to be introduced in August.
New Zealand blogspot report:
2005-04-10: Although there were threats from new Federal Communications Commission unless they impose their own indecency curbs they might face legislative action, there have been no real developments in the matter in the US over the past week; elsewhere the regulators had a quiet to routine time.
There were no radio announcements from Australia and only two from Canada where the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved a new 31 watts FM transmitters in La Ronge, Saskatchewan, for CKBI-AM, Prince Albert, and CHQX-FM Prince Albert.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has advertised for expressions of interest in new commercial radio services. They have to be submitted by May 25 and will be used in drawing up a three to five year licensing plan for Ireland.
In the UK, Ofcom has announced the award of the new Durham commercial licence to Durham FM (See RNW Apr 8) Have to amend this as seem to have not loaded correct story): it also advertised a new FM licence for Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria (Also RNW Apr 8) and announced receipt of four applications for a new Ballymena FM (See RNW Apr 9).
In addition it posted on its web site the full details of the five applications made for the new Norwich FM (See RNW Mar 13 - They are in PDF format and total 4.98 MB).
It has also issued a consultation concerning a request by CN Group to change the format of Kix 96 in Coventry: The station's licence currently requires a format of a roughly equal mix of music between the Current Top 40, Reggae/Soul, and Dance plus Irish music in non-daytime.
CN, for competitive reasons, wants to change this to allow Kix to "play a mix of adult contemporary music from the 60s/70s/80s/90s/00s and current-recurrent hits" with current chart comprising "no more than 25% of music output."
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued notices to three licensees to show cause why stations should not be downgraded from Class C to Class CO (See RNW Apr 9) and granted special temporary authorization to allow a Georgia University FM back on air (See RNW Apr 7).
It also announced that it is now ready to grant a further 15 construction permits relating to its FM Auction 37 and a further CP related to its AM auction 32 (See RNW Apr 6).
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-04-10: A Jacob's Media survey just posted on its site holds bad news for Arbitron in terms of its capability to poll an adequate sample of younger listeners, especially those who are alternative fans.
Jacobs poll shows that 17% of Americans no longer use landlines but only cell phones and this increases to 19% of those 30-34 and a third of 18-29 year olds: 28% of alternative fans says Jacobs are in the "cell phone-only category."
The Jacob's report continues, "As I understand it from Arbitron's conference call earlier this year, this problem will not be addressed until 2006 at the earliest.
Arbitron's ability to reach its demographic calls among younger consumers is a well-known problem, but when one-third of 18-29s are 'unreachable' due to only having a cell phone, this presents a crisis for stations that are targeting this demographic."
Fred Jacobs draws the conclusion, "The future of radio depends on companies and stations that make an effort to reach young listeners. As we know, new technology - cell phones, mp3 players, videogames, the Internet - compete for eyes and ears. It is critically important that Arbitron speed up its plans and strategy development for surveying young listeners."
In response to the Jacobs Poll, Arbitron VP/Domestic Radio Research Dr. Ed Cohen told FMQB that his company was "moving as fast as we can" and added, "I don't know of any other company that has done as much as we have done. We're about as far out in front as you can get. But it's one thing to just dial them and another to get them to work within the system. We have to make sure the system works right."
Cohen also pointed out that landlines are tied to households, while cell phones are generally tied to individuals, which leads to statistical issues.
FMQB web site:
Jacobs Media release:
2005-04-10: India's radio advertising revenues could increase tenfold to INR 1,600 crore (USD 366.5 million - 1 Crore is 10 million) a year by 2010 if the government backs development of private FM according to KPMG executive director (entertainment) Rajesh Jain quoted in the Financial Express.
India's information and broadcasting minister S. Jaipal Reddy, speaking at Frames 2005, the annual conference on entertainment organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), has said that the country's radio industry will be "liberalized" soon (See RNW April 6): India's commercial industry has blamed government policy, particularly high licence feeds, for holding back its growth.
Mid-Day Multimedia's GO 92.5 FM station manager Shariq Patel noted, "In Mumbai FM channels pay about INR 13 crore per annum (USD 3 million 1 Crore is 10 million) to the government by way of licensing fees."
Sumantra Dutta, former chief executive officer of Radio City, said that the government would have to allow foreign direct investment in radio "If the growth in cable and satellite television is to be replicated " adding, "The ministry has to act soon else they will lose the opportunity to exploit this medium effectively."
PriceWaterHouseCoopers executive director Deepak Kapoor, although not as bullish as Jain, also foresaw strong growth in radio, saying, "The proposed multiple frequencies as part of Phase II will provide the potential for niche advertising, which will help operators get better realizations. We project these factors to drive radio advertising annually by 22% to almost treble from its current size in the next five years."
Previous Indian radio:
Financial Express report:
2005-04-10: XM Satellite Radio has announced a regular quarterly dividend on its 8.25% Series B Convertible Redeemable Preferred Stock. It is payable on May 1 in shares of the Company's Class A Common Stock at a rate of USD 1.0313 per share of Series B Preferred Stock owned, with fractional shares to be paid in cash.
2005-04-09: The UK Commercial radio industry, which got together for the first time in January this year for the UK Radio Aid show that was broadcast on commercial stations all over the UK and raised GBP 3.3 million (USD 6.2 million) for tsunami aid, is to repeat the idea with a political phone-in show, UK Leaders Live.
The show will feature the leaders from all three major UK political parties - Prime Minister Tony Blair, Conservative leader Michael Howard, and Liberal-Democrat leader Charles Kennedy - and will be broadcast on May 1, the last Sunday of the UK election campaign.
It will be hosted by radio and TV presenters Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Margherita Taylor and will be broadcast from 09:00 to 10:30 by around 150 UK commercial radio stations.
2005-04-09: Salem says it has now increased the power of its Chicago Christian Teaching and Talk station WYLL-AM to 50,000 watts day and night, a major improvement to the signal, which had previously been limited to only 5,000 watts at night.
Salem says that with the new signal contours it will be able to reach more than 9 million people in the day and nearly 8.7 million at night, reaching north to Racine, Wisconsin, and south to well past Kankakee, Illinois.
In a statement David Santrella, general manager of WYLL and WIND-AM, said, "The implications of this for our listeners, programmers and advertisers are tremendous. We now will be able to offer consistent service to our listener base 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and our advertisers and program clients also will benefit from our increased reach."
Salem acquired the signal for USD 29 million from Infinity, which had to divest a Chicago station as a result of the Viacom takeover and moved its WSCR-AM Sports signal to the former WMAQ-AM signal (See RNW Nov 14, 2000).
2005-04-09: Four companies have applied to UK media regulator Ofcom for the new Ballymena commercial FM in Northern Ireland. They are:
Radio Ballymena - Proposing music from the past four decades plus local news and information.
Mid FM (Ballymena) - proposing a locally focused, classic hit radio station combined with local news and information.
Tower FM - Proposing a fully featured local radio specifically for Ballymena comprised of information and speech mixed with music aimed at ages 35 to 65
Seven Towers FM - proposing a music and information station for adults with a strong commitment to local content.
2005-04-09: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has askedlicensees of three US stations to show cause why they should not be reclassified from Class C to Class CO to allow new or upgraded services elsewhere. All are currently operating below minimum Class C standards.
In Oklahoma, Renda Broadcasting Corporation's KMGL-FM, Oklahoma City would be reclassified to allow a first local service at Shattuck, Oklahoma.
In Tennessee, Citadel's WSKZ-FM, Chattanooga, would be reclassified to allow an upgrade for WTSK-FM, Rockmart, Georgia.
In Texas, CCB Texas Licenses's KAJA-FM, San Antonio, would be reclassified to allow a first service for Garwood, Texas.
In each case, should the companies involved object to re-classification, they have 180 days to file acceptable plans to upgrade their existing facilities to bring them up to class-C and three years from the granting of a construction permit to finish construction of the new facility.
2005-04-08: The Howard Stern empire has fought back in Florida with a decision by the host to prohibit renewal of his top-rated morning show contract for Beasley Broadcasting's Fort Myers station WRXK-FM (K-Rock).
The News-Press in Fort Myers reported that Stern is not renewing terrestrial contracts and quoted K-Rock PD John Rozz as saying Stern would be missed but it was clear the host wanted to leave terrestrial radio.
"We do love Howard," Rozz said. "Our deal expired ... He's going some place else at the end of the year . He spent the entire day yesterday in front of the parent company Viacom begging to get out of his contract."
The Rozz reference was to comments made by Stern on Wednesday in which he said while commenting on calls by U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (Republican- Wisconsin) for criminal prosecution of for individuals who violate US broadcast indecency regulations, "I am begging Viacom, openly, over these airwaves, to fire me Infinity should get me out of here They're holding me to the contract and I'm afraid to break the contract, because I don't want to ever do anything illegal or wrong. I'm very, very clear on that. I'm a pretty honest guy. I try to live by the laws, but it seems like I'm being set up."
Stern then railed against US politicians who have called for indecency regulation to be extended to cable and satellite stations, saying the call was not to do with indecency but the fear of terrestrial broadcasters, particularly Clear Channel, that they would not be able to keep listeners for their censored broadcasts.
"I find this very disturbing that since I signed my deal with satellite," commented Stern, who had noted that his show had kept its audience and sponsors despite the attacks on him, "there's a lot of rich, powerful people in this country trying to figure out how they hold on to these dumb radio stations of theirs and how they are going to get people to listen to censored media."
CNN Money had a slightly different emphasis to the story, reporting that Stern has said he had been prepared to go along with a renewal until his agent reminded him that Beasley had earlier pulled him off the air in Miami because of its concerns over possibly indecent material.
Stern added that Beasley hasn't paid him under terms of his contract with the Miami AM station and also commented on the hypocrisy of being aired in one market not another.
"You've got to be kidding me," Stern said. "How am I indecent in Miami, but I'm not indecent in (Fort Myers)?"
And a last word from Fort Myers resident and Stern fan Bob Wilder who told the News-Press Stern's disappearance from the local airwaves was a sad day for people who liked to get a laugh or two on the way to work.
"The thing I liked about him was that he told it like it is - from his perspective," said Wilder, who noted Stern's rants against President George W. Bush last fall were some of the most biting commentary anywhere. "Last year he was particularly good."
CNN Money report:
2005-04-08: Yet another US radio station has changed format to play a wider range of music with a change by Entercom's Oldies WBBF-FM, Rochester, New York, to become "Fickle 93.3 Random Radio."
The station website, currently under reconstruction, boasts one line "Homogenized, pre-packaged, sterile music. Not for you. You're Fickle" and then another saying, "You'll never now what you'll hear - it's the station that will make every hour a new listening experience that's why we call it RANDOM RADIO."
RNW comment: Apart from the fact that to anyone with an IQ the first comments on the site are a pretty severe condemnation of much of US radio and an obvious reason for not listening to much of it- and the second rather banal, the move to various formats increasing the size of playlists is beginning to seem more like panic and mass hysteria than sensible programming by competent companies. If this is the best that US radio can come up with in the face of the kind of choice available elsewhere it's time to sell the shares! We'll be very interested to see how many Jacks, Bens, Dougs, and others survive the decade.
2005-04-08: UK media regulator Ofcom has advertised a new FM licence for Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria.
The licence will cover an area with an estimated 15-plus population of 65,000 and applications, including a non-refundable GBP 5,000 (USD 9,400) fee have to be submitted by July 7.
It also announced the award of the new Durham FM licence to Durham FM, which was competing against two other applications (See RNW Jan 8).
Durham FM is owned by the Local Radio Company and is proposing a "friendly, locally involved radio station aimed particularly at 25 to 54 year-olds, focussing on local news, information and issues relevant to life today in and around Durham and featuring the best music from the past four decades and today."
2005-04-08: The US Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a government-funded not for profit group that oversees public broadcasting, has named two ombudsmen, former NBC newsman Ken Bode and former Reader's Digest executive editor William Schulz.
The CPB says Bode and Schulz will initiate their own reports as well as respond to program issues raised by the public and government officials and the public broadcasting community. All decisions to review programming - and all reports on broadcasts - will be made by Schulz and Bode.
CPB President and CEO Kathleen Cox said of the appointments in a news release, "Congress has asked the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to both protect the production of public broadcasting from undue interference and to ensure that it represents high standards in accuracy, balance and objectivity. The ombudsman office is a tested and reliable way to support those twin objectives."
"The new Office of the Ombudsmen offers an independent sounding board and a public advocate for those concerns," she added. "Media organizations who have established similar ombudsman functions report significant benefits to the quality of their work."
CPB Chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson emphasized that CPB "will not permit concerns over balance to allow CPB to engage in pre-broadcast censorship or post-broadcast penalties of public broadcasters" and added that the presence of ombudsmen and the presence of free and honest debate "will help ensure the goal of balance and accuracy in public broadcasting."
RNW comment: This seems yet another appointment where the best guide to the motivation behind an action is to ask Who Benefits? And Why Now? The answer to the latter is most likely to be related to the recent row over the plans by the US Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) to air children's show featuring the character Buster the Bunny in which Buster visits a real-life lesbian couple in Vermont. Education Secretary Margaret Spelling wrote objecting about the episode and PBS withdrew from distributing it, although its maker continued to supply it to stations that wanted to take it.
The complaint following repeated conservative criticism of PBS as biased and a hardening of attacks by conservatives on any US media they perceive as out of line with their values.
As to why it seems to us that this is most likely to be an attempt by the CPB board to insulate itself partly from criticism by creating a cut-out in the form of the ombudsmen, whoever they are and whatever their views.
US National Public Radio already has an ombudsman and PBS is in the process of appointing one so, it proceeds with the appointment, soon there will be two layers of ombudsmen - they are all men - for US public broadcasting.
We won't necessarily see the move as ill-advised but we think the CPB board is on a hiding to nothing if they seriously think that it will deflect criticism. The ombudsmen will be operating in a partisan environment where a complaint that spurs action is likely to lead to a thousand more complains (probably more, all from the same e-mail campaign if some organizations like the Parents TV Council have their way). We don't expect any coruscating comments but a well-considered and phrased factual response could actually make a few more people realize the dangers from giving way to bigotry.
2005-04-08: UK Emap's finance director Gary Hughes has resigned and is to leave the company after the preliminary results announcement at the end of May 2005.
According to the UK Times, he will receive a GBP 400,000 (USD 750,00) pay-off because Emap decided when he would leave: "I resigned and we then talked about a leaving date," he told the paper. "The company decided that I should go in May and I have a 12-month contract."
In a statement released by Emap, its Chief Executive Tom Moloney said Hughes had done "an excellent job for Emap over the last five years His desire now to look for broader career opportunities elsewhere has my full support, and in the meantime we wish him a happy and well-deserved rest."
As well as his pay-off, Hughes recently received a further GBP 750,000 (USD 1.4 million) after a share-based reward scheme vested.
UK Times report:
2005-04-07: Saga Communications is fighting the threat from satellite radio by insisting that shows it airs cannot also be on satellite radio according to the Detroit Free Press.
The paper quotes Saga chairman, president and CEO Ed Christian as writing of satellite radio in an e-mail to Saga station managers, "Indeed, they are our enemy. Don't kid yourself. They are out to rip off your listeners in any way they can."
A fortnight ago Christian forced the Michigan-based "Handyman Show with Glenn Haege" to choose between remaining on 12 Saga stations or on satellite: The show remained with Saga.
He has also threatened the same action for a number of other syndicated radio shows -- Dr. Laura, Bob Brinker Moneytalk, the Satellite Sisters and liberal pundit Alan Colmes and is awaiting responses from them.
Christian compared the rise of satellite radio to Nazi Germany at the onset of World War II, drawing only mild protest from their first incursions saying at first satellite radio was just music with no commercials, but then came talk radio programs and discussion of advertising. "Now they are seizing our major league baseball and college football and basketball rights," Christian wrote in his e-mail.
Detroit Free Press report:
2005-04-07: Another US station has switched to the JACK FM format, this time KFMB-FM (Star 107) in San Diego.
The Midwest TV-owned station has switched from Hot AC and its web site now carries a heading, "Jack knows U2. Do you know Jack?" and then a message, "You're probably kind of used to radio stations playing some type of music. You know, this and that some play one type of song others may play two or even three types of songs. Welcome to a new type of radio station. Welcome to JACK FM . we play what we want. We can't talk much about it, because it's kind of hard to describe you just have to hear it to believe it."
The station had been broadcasting teasers for several weeks about a "new era" and switched formats just after 10 A.M. on Wednesday during the Jeff and Jer Show. The station site still lists the duo's morning show and so far has not announced major staff changes but afternoon co-host Jen Sewell is out although partner Greg Simms is expected to remain with the station.
The site also has a "music" link that shows the last 20 songs played that gives a flavour of the output.
The web site also has a "music" link that shows the last 20 songs played that gives a flavour of the output.
KFMB web site:
2005-04-07: Delphi Corporation has announced sales of five million satellite radio receivers in the US, a number that makes it by far the largest supplier to Sirius and XM, who between them say they have around this number of subscribers - 3.77 million for XM announced earlier this month and around 1.2 million for Sirius.
Jeff Owens, vice president, Delphi and president, Delphi Electronics & Safety, said the company regarded its success as a validation of its "growth strategy."
"With satellite radio, we have proved we can take our capabilities in new directions that will generate value for Delphi's customers and investors," he added. "We expect consumer interest in satellite radio will continue to expand as more automakers make satellite radio receivers standard in their new models, and we're well-positioned to support this continuing growth."
Delphi has also announced that it is continuing to develop a system. Demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, that integrates the receiver into the radio head unit.
"The next step for factory-installed satellite radio is what we refer to as 'up-integration,'" said Dr. Robert Schumacher, general director, Integrated Media Systems. "Vehicle engineers need more space in the vehicle and our customers want greater value. By integrating the receiver and the radio head unit together, we will help deliver on both needs. We are also providing telematics data capability into the satellite receiver system and currently offering traffic information and messaging."
2005-04-07: BBC Radio 4 "Today" breakfast show presenter John Humphrys could make around GBP 270,000 (USD 510,000) from a flotation of the YouGov opinion polling organisation.
YouGov is hoping to raise around GBP 3 million (USD 5.65 million) through a flotation later this month that values the company at around GBP 18 million (USD 34 million): It was founded in 2000 by two Conservatives, Nadhim Zahawi and Stephan Shakespeare, who had worked together on Jeffrey Archer's abortive campaign to become Mayor of London and its innovative online polling technique and accuracy in predicting the 2001 election results in Britain helped it gain contracts with The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times.
The two still hold more than three-quarters of the shares: Humphrys received 200,000 shares five years ago in return for writing a weekly Internet column.
The BBC regularly reports the company's poll results but Humphrys says there is no conflict of interest as decisions on use were made by the programme's editor not by him.
UK Times report:
2005-04-07: Salem has announced a USD 900,000 cash deal to acquire KHLP-AM in Omaha, Nebraska, from Journal Broadcasting Group. It says it intends to switch the station "Omaha's Advice station K-HELP" to its News Talk format when the acquisition is completed.
Salem EVP and COO Joe D. Davis said the addition of KHLP supported Salem's "strategy of building radio station clusters in each of our markets allowing us to better serve our listeners and our advertisers and, at the same time, gain technical and operating efficiencies. KHLP will join KCRO-AM, our Christian Teaching and Talk-formatted station, and KGBI-FM, our Contemporary Christian Music station, providing Salem with a third format to serve Omaha and surrounding areas."
Journal CEO Doug Kiel added, "While Journal rarely seeks station divestitures, the sale of KHLP to Salem actually strengthens our very successful Omaha operations by allowing our people and resources to be even better focused on our core stations in the market."
Journal still has five FMs and two AMs in the market.
Salem has also announced completion of its station exchange with Univision in which it gains WIND-AM, Chicago, KKHT-FM, Houston, and KNIT-AM, Dallas in exchange for WPPN-FM, formerly WZFS-FM, Chicago.
Two other stations in the deal, which was announced in October last year (See RNW Oct 5, 2004) Salem's KSFB-FM - now KVVZ-FM - and Univision's KOSL-FM - now KSFS-FM, will continue to operate under local marketing agreements until the completion of the exchange, expected in the second quarter of this year.
2005-04-07: Georgia University station WUOG-FM is now back on the Athens airwaves after a 17-day hiatus because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said it had not received a licence renewal application. It has now granted a special temporary authorization to resume broadcasting.
The station was closed down by the FCC after it said it had not received the required online application and WUOG then filed a late application and special authorization request.
It could potentially be fined up to USD 325,000 for broadcasting without a licence.
Georgia University student paper report:
2005-04-06: US radio revenues in February were flat on a year ago according to latest figures from the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB): On a year-to-date basis they are now up 1%, having risen 3% in January.
Within the figures, Local ad sales stayed even for the month, national revenues dropped 1% and non-spot revenues were down 5%
RAB's Radio Revenue Index that equates the pre-dot com base year 1998 to 100 was a total spot index of 141.3, with the local sales index 143.4 and the national one 132.4: The comparative year-to-date indices were total spot 143.1; local 142.7; and national 144.9.
Commenting on the results RAB President and CEO Gary Fries said, "Radio revenue is levelling out as the industry adapts and evolves to the new consumer centric marketplace."
Putting his familiar gloss on the figures, he continued, "Radio is in a growth mode in every aspect as innovative new formats debut, new advertising platforms are developed, and digital Radio technology rolls out."
Previous RAB figures (January):
2005-04-06: Radio One Inc. has yet again revised its first quarter guidance for this year upwards: It now says it expects first quarter net broadcast revenue growth of 5-6% and station operating income growth in the mid-single digit percentage range
In a March update it had forecast net broadcast revenue growth of at least 4% for the quarter, and station operating income growth in the low-single digit percentage range. Including one month of financial results for Reach Media, Inc., which the Company acquired 51% of at the end of February 2005, it then said it expected to report net broadcast revenue growth of at least 8% for the quarter, and station operating income growth in the mid-single digit percentage range.
Commenting on the latest update EVP and CFO Scott R. Royster said, "The last two weeks of March were two of the strongest last two weeks of a month we have seen in a long, long time. Radio One saw its net broadcast revenue (before taking into account the impact of its acquisition of Reach Media) grow in excess of 10% in March, capping off a successful first quarter. We feel good about our prospects based on current business conditions."
In other US radio business, Mapleton Communications has agreed a USD 5.1 million agreement to buy KMZT-AM in Piedmont, California, from Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters. It is to switch the station to a simulcast of its KPIG-FM, Monterey, which is already simulcast by Mapleton's KPYG-FM, in San Luis Obispo.
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2005-04-06: India's information and broadcasting minister S. Jaipal Reddy, speaking at Frames 2005, the annual conference on entertainment organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), has said that the country's radio industry will be "liberalised" soon.
He said the ministry was planning to establish 300 more private radio stations and was working on a revenue-sharing formula for the industry, which has criticised the current high licence fees as making it unsustainable.
Only 21 of the 108 FM frequencies auctioned so far are operational and private FM stations lost INR 1,220 million (USD 27.9 million) in 2003-04.
"The government is committed to strengthening the scope for expansion of radio in the private sector and we may accept the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in favour of a revenue-share model," he said,
Regarding the planned new stations, Reddy commented, "It may not be good news for All India Radio (AIR), but I don't want AIR, especially its FM, to survive without competition. Sheltered development is stunted development."
The minister also announced that the government was framing simple guidelines that would pave the way for the setting up of community radio stations and said the country was likely to see more than 4,000 such stations established over the next three years.
Previous Indian radio:
Business Standard report:
2005-04-06: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says it is now ready to grant a further 15 construction permits relating to the 288 FM licences it auctioned last year, raising just under USD 150 million (See Licence News RNW Nov 24, 2004): It had already announced readiness to grant 89 permits.
Payment has to be made by April 19 and the permits involved relate to winning bids in Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, and Wyoming.
It has also announced that it is ready to grant an AM CP relating to a station in Las Vegas, Nevada, put up for auction with two others in its Auction 32 in 2002. Payment for this CP is also due by April 19.
2005-04-06: The BBC is running a TV and poster campaign in Iraq to promote the availability of the BBC Arabic service on FM in the country.
The TV advert, recorded in Iraq, is being aired this month on Iraq's first independent satellite channel Al-Shari TV and promotes FM relays in Al Amara, Al Kut, Al Naseriya, Baghdad, Basra, Irbil, Kirkuk, and Mosul.
Alan Booth, Controller of BBC World Service Marketing Communications & Audiences, said, "The BBC's position in Iraq is increasingly strong, with at least 3.5 million people listening to BBC Arabic, mostly on FM.
"We are keen on making even wider Iraqi audiences aware of the world-class programming BBC Arabic offers them.
2005-04-05: To use the description ABC's WDRQ-FM used when at the end of last week it fired almost all its air staff and moved from Top-40 to DOUG-FM with an "iPod shuffle like format, US radio over the past few days has moved into a significant shuttle phase.
Following hard on the heels of WDRQ, Infinity's WXRK-FM (K-Rock) in New York has widened its musical selection and become "K-Rock. Great Rock."
It started running without DJs after the end of Howard Stern's show on Monday and kicked off with the opening of "Hell's Bells" from AC/DC leading into a montage of songs and the line "Now, More Rock Than Ever Before."
It has also launched a The K-Rock 2 Internet stream dedicated to playing the latest music offerings from today's new artists.
Operations Manager Rob Cross said the station was always looking for ways to "further connect with our listeners" and added, "Enhancing our playlist, while simultaneously launching a web stream whose sole purpose is to feature breaking music, enables us to serve a wider audience with the music most frequently requested without changing the fabric of the radio station."
In Oregon, KTMT-AM in Medford has dropped ESPN programming after a ten year run as a sports outlet and switched to a Spanish-language Radio Lazer regional Mexican format. The market already has one Spanish language station in KRTA-AM, which began putting out a part Spanish signal in 1992 when it was KYJC-AM. It switched call letters and language in 1995.
In the Quad Cities area the former Clear Channel Classic Country 1270 is now progressive talk WKBF-AM taking Air America shows plus Ed Schultz.
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-04-05: UK radio increased its share of the country's advertising in 2004 and is forecast to have a fairly healthy 2005 according to latest figures from the country's Advertising Association.
In 2004 its share edged up to 6.8% from 6.7% in 2003 and for 2005 the Association is predicting a 3.4% increase within a total increase of 4.3%.
The largest predicted increases for this year are of a third for Internet advertising followed by 6.2% for Outdoor: TV spending is expected to increase by 4.8%.
In 2004 radio advertising was up 5.6%, TV advertising was up 5.4% and newspaper advertising was up 4.3%.
The latest figures, for February this year, show the top radio advertisers to be the government's Central Office of Information, which spent GBP 1.08 million (USD 2.03 million), MG-Rover cars with GBP 510,000 (USD 956,000) and Renault with GBP 497,000 (USD 932,000).
2005-04-05: Interep has reported final quarter commission revenues in 2004 down 5.1% on a year earlier to USD 22.4 million with full year commission revenues down 10.6% to USD 78.5 million: It says a significant part of the decreases is down to Citadel's cancellation in the final quarter of 2003 of its representation contract with the company.
Total revenue was up 13.6% in the final quarter to USD 26.8 million and up 16.4% for the year to USD 103 million with losses applicable to common shareholders cut from USD 6.27 million to USD 1.86 million (60 cents to 16 cents a share) for the final quarter and from USD 38.2 million to USD 6.4 million (USD 3.73 to 60 cents a share) for the full year.
Chairman and CEO Ralph Guild said they believed the "fourth quarter signalled a turning point for both Interep and for the national radio ad market."
"We are managing our business around conservative growth goals, which should enhance our performance in 2005," he continued.
"Further, radio advertising is showing clear signs of recovery We are on track to exceed our financial expectations for the first quarter, and continue to see increased demand for national radio inventory. Major markets are experiencing near sell out conditions, and several categories are showing strength, including the important Retail and Automotive sectors. Moreover, Interep continues to drive growth through our business development initiatives which generated over USD72 million new dollars for radio in 2004."
SVP and CFO Bill McEntee added, "We believe 2005 will show significant improvement in both revenue and operating income before depreciation and amortization. Pacings for the first quarter are mid single digits over last year and we expect that positive trend will continue throughout 2005. We have streamlined our operations and instituted cost-saving initiatives without hindering our ability to generate revenue for our clients."
2005-04-05: Although Japanese Internet company Livedoor has now formally claimed to the country's Finance Ministry that it now has control of radio broadcaster Nippon Broadcasting System (NBS) - with 16.4 million out of 32.8 million outstanding NBS shares - it seems unlikely to achieve a second aim of gaining control of Fuji TV, in which NBS had the largest shareholding - 22.5% - when Livedoor's bid was launched with an out-of-hours purchase of 35% of NBS shares.
Subsequently, after the courts had thrown out a plan to issue additional share options to Fuji and dilute the Livedoor holding. NBS "loaned" Fuji TV shares to Softbank Investment Corp. (SBI), making FBI the largest shareholder.
SBI chief executive officer Yoshitaka Kitao told the Asahi Shimbun the move was made to thwart Livedoor President Takafumi Horie's attempt to control the TV network and that it was "a sufficient deterrent against President Horie."
Kitao said his opinion of Horie had changed, saying at first it was like his view of Softbank Corp. President Masayoshi Son, who also rose to fame early on his entrepreneurial skills and commenting to the paper, "I first thought he was an interesting man. Entrepreneurs in their 20s and 30s are usually inexperienced, but I used to envy them for their bold decision"
He said the attitude changed because of the approach and attitudes of Horie, saying, "I started to burn with indignation about what Horie is doing. He shouldn't pollute clean underground water (the capital market), because this is a world flooded with money. One wrong move and it becomes polluted He doesn't know how it feels to be on the side of the purchased company. I couldn't stand his attitude of suddenly saying to that company that he has control because he has bought its shares."
Kitao said he had no desire to meet Horie and also said he plans to stand down from the board of SBI Parent Softbank in June. SBI has increased its capital through the allocation of shares to a third party and Kitao said, "Now that the SBI group has a complete (capital) basis, we are entering an expansion period. Various takeovers can now take place."
Three members of the NBS's external board have already down, citing "personal" reasons although observers speculate the resignations were linked to the Livedoor acquisition of a controlling share: Their departure takes the number of broad members down to 16.
Also linked with the Livedoor-NBS saga is a move by Japan to tighten restrictions on foreign investment in the country's media, already limited to less than 20% of voting rights in a broadcaster.
The existing rules did not control indirect control through investment in other Japanese companies but the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications is now suggesting that this should be done through treating the share of a broadcaster held indirectly as part of a foreign company's holding.
Asahi Shimbun report:
2005-04-05: Former BBC Scotland lunchtime host Lesley Riddoch is to produce a series of 13-half hour programmes for the corporation featuring personalities - celebrities, politicians and less well-known figures - who have experienced a major life-change.
When she left the BBC amidst some acrimony she was expecting to produce her own show to fill her old slot but according to the Glasgow Sunday Herald the corporation has now confirmed that she will not return to the slot.
The new series, produced by Riddoch's production company, Feisty, will start on air in June: The paper says there is no generic name for the series with each programme to be given its own title.
It adds that the series will be made in Dundee Riddoch and her partner Turan Ali are creating a studio and is expected to be broadcast weekly in a daytime slot
Sunday Herald report:
2005-04-04: As the US moves towards expanding playlists with formats for the boys such as Jack, Doug and Hank - No Jill yet - we looked last week for articles that would take attention to the new formats that work on the basis that the former very limited repertory of music played by many stations was far too limited in a time of much more choice. Most were fairly straightforward accounts of changes to changes in a publication's area but we felt Corey Dietz in About gave a fairly good account of the history of US music radio formats and how the changes in technology have affected it today.
The heading "Maybe Commercial Radio Didn't Know JACK All These Years" indicates that Dietz has some scepticism about US commercial radio: He begins with sketching the development of "Top 40" in the 50s and its development during the next decade and success for two more and notes, "Top 40 remained an extremely viable commercial format through the 1970s and 1980s. Why? Because even though the amount of songs on the playlist were limited, the format pulled these songs from any genre of music as long as it was a 'hit', hence, creating a natural variety that overcame the repetition."
Then along came the specialization and slicing and dicing - "Consultants were readily available to help Program Directors figure out just how many songs it took to get females, 18-34, to listen; or males, 25-54 years of age; or adults, 18-49. Yes, radio stations were convinced the only way to get their portion of the ad dollar pie between all those AM and FMs out there was to go after just one slice and totally own it."
Advertising agencies says Dietz encouraged the idea because it made their buys much easier when they wanted to reach a particular demographic and in the end, "Some stations had libraries of 130, 140, maybe 200 songs. Imagine that: out of all the music created over the years, it was all strained down to the safe stuff, the songs that "tested" best."
Then "Listeners began to wonder if there was a better way for them to obtain variety in their music" and were aided by technology, the development of portable cassette and CD players by the early 80s.
Ten years later satellite radio got the go-ahead, although it did not become commercially available until 2001 (XM) and 2002 (Sirius) by which MP3 technology had allowed the use of small digital files and portable MP3 players were on the market.
"Listeners," writes Dietz, " were finally set free from commercial Radio which somewhere along the way - lost its way Some might say commercial Radio didn't know JACK about what people wanted which brings me to the crux of this article Mp3 files, iPods, Satellite Radio, SmartPhones, PDAs, and other technology is forcing commercial Radio to take a long, hard look at what it has become and how it can stay relevant."
"So, we've come full circle in a sense. We've gone from the early DJs who played whatever they wanted from whatever they had to decades of radio stations droning out the same small library of songs over and over again to a new attitude of "we play whatever we want" or we're "on shuffle mode" because JACK or DOUG or HANK like it that way."
Dietz asks who got it right and concludes that it was the listeners but "They just couldn't prove it until technology gave them iPods and other mp3 players so they could finally program their own portable stations and turn off the ones that refused to play the variety they really wanted to hear."
After some rumination that maybe humans and what they listen to are a complex mix of mood, experience and surroundings that cannot be as easily evaluated as the consultants would have it, Dietz concludes that the new formats may have success "unless they've [listeners] begun to like being the Program Director of their own iPod a little too much.
Many commercial radio company executives in the US are playing down the challenge from the new competitors, particularly that of satellite - the current edition of FMQB has comments from Saga Chairman, President, and CEO Ed Christian who in part blames bad publicity for terrestrial media on PR from the satellite companies: He also dismisses the Howard Stern move to satellite as a bit of Hard being past it and says this is "really Howard's last bite at the apple, because his act, as defined by the government and popular taste now, doesn't play."
RNW comment: Did the words Aesop, fable, fox and grapes come to mind together maybe with Nero (the software and the Emperor) and fiddling.
And what are the satellite companies fighting with? Well a combination of content and, on music channels at least, absence of adverts as well as a much wider range of music when it comes to attracting listeners from terrestrial radio and of tie-ups, technology and content when it comes to competing between themselves.
In the Contra Costa Times Sarah Mcbride of the Wall Street Journal notes that XM at the moment has the lead in the first two and Sirius is playing catch up with content.
She quotes Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin as saying, "They [XM] today are the technology leaders. We are the content leader."
XM executives she continues respond by saying that relying too much on big stars could backfire and quotes XM CEO Panero: "In pop culture, people come and people go."
The ultimate test of course, as Dietz says, is the listeners' response. And on that, PR or no PR in getting people to try satellite, virtually all the print articles we see from those who have comes up with a favourable verdict.
It may be they are bought very cheaply but we suspect there's far too much truth in the comments for terrestrial radio to sit on its JACK.
In the Houston Chronicle, Dwight Silverman said he finally succumbed when CM created its portable XM2Go equipment.
It may be that terrestrial radio is uniquely poor in Houston compared to the rest of the US or Silverman is doing a paid-for PR job but to us there's a ring of truth in his comment, " it's a huge improvement over what you can hear over Houston's super-lame broadcast radio choices, occasionally I still run through all the channels and don't hear anything I like The audio is cleaner and has greater fidelity than standard FM radio, so long as the signal comes from a satellite. If you are forced to use a ground-based antenna, audio quality is comparable to FM."
There is of course a PR push about portable satellite radio equipment and in Technology Review, Eric Hellweg, takes the concepts of the existing technology a little further.
"So what would happen," he asks, "if a satellite radio option started popping up on DVD players and cell phones? The inclusion of satellite radio capabilities onto portable devices would likely spur subscriber growth for the satellite radio industry, and may alter consumer purchasing behavior with regards to digital music downloads."
"Here's one shakeup scenario: If consumers could get satellite radio on an MP3 player, the argument goes, would they download fewer songs? And if satellite radio were available as an additional feature on MP3 players, cell phones, DVD players, and other devices, would people be more likely to subscribe to the service? Based on the responses from analysts and manufacturers interviewed for this article, the prevailing answers are yes and yes."
Hellweg cautions that the finances at the moment don't seem to favour speedy development and introduction of such technology (RNW comment: Maybe a little look at what is going on in Korea in terms of services for cell phones would indicate a more positive response) but still concludes, "While it's a foolish bet to think satellite radio everywhere will happen soon, it's equally questionable to bet against it entirely."
Finally before moving on to listening suggestions - courtesy of course of the Internet and technology that is also a potential significant drain on terrestrial listening in many places, a little tale from Australia.
In the Spike column in the Sydney Morning Herald, a segment "Tawdry FM" takes up comment made on Sydney 2-DAY FM by Kyle Sandilands of the "Kyle and Jackie O" team now heading the station's breakfast show.
"Is the 2-Day FM presenter Kyle Sandilands desperate to be noticed? " it asked. "We can only imagine so after his probing yet tawdry interview on family-friendly breakfast radio yesterday with Sarah, a prostitute, who at one point said she "loved c--k". Listeners and Kyle's co-host, Jackie O, weren't the only ones a bit shocked by the graphic chat, which a clearly titillated Sandilands was in no hurry to end."
The program director stopped the segment but was challenged on air about the action by the host: Managerial backing went to the PD with a statement from Austereo saying, "The interview was, in our view, inappropriate and was an error of judgment."
The column concludes, "Who knows what the advertisers thought? Perhaps Joyce should have listened more closely to Kyle and Jackie O's evening slots. Among their many gauche stunts was a urinating competition, "I pee for an iPod". All class."
And listening. First this week it seemed an obvious choice to look for a reasonable retrospective on the late Pope John Paul II. We did look at US National Public Radio but it showed to us the gaping hole that seems to exist in US radio when it comes to other than fairly straightforward news reports. Even there it was disappointing as a quick run down the descriptions of the various items on the site showed them all to be lacking in any bite.
So the recommendation has to be BBC Radio 4 and "An appreciation of the life of Pope John Paul ll" that was broadcast on Sunday. It runs around 40 minutes and not only has comment from a wide variety of Catholic leaders but also some reasonable dissent in terms of differences in Papal attitudes to government brutality in the communist bloc and South America, on contraception, on women, on seeing "difference" in viewpoint as automatically being "dissent" and so on.
The case is made compellingly that John Paul was authoritarian and centralizing in his influence, one Pole comments on his treating his fellow countrymen as "children" and listening to people but then going ahead and ignoring the points they had made and from an Irish commentator who suggested that much of what he did for the church was a "recipe for disaster."
Taking a cue from the Above, we next suggest Background Briefing from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Its latest edition looked at Condoleeza Rice and considered how far she may be able to change world events.
In terms of achievements in his time, one man who certainly did - and whose military prowess is significantly under estimated by most people - was Genghis Khan, the subject of the first in a new series of Great Lives on BBC Radio 4. Considering that the Mongols were outnumbered hundreds to one by the Chinese, conquering China on its own would seem an incredible achievement. To reach into the heart of Europe as well at the time is an immense one.
Then also from BBC Radio 4 we'd suggest the Afternoon Play from Thursday, Wooden Heart by Hattie Naylor, a drama based on the policy of the Swiss Government that ran until 1974 to forcible remove Jenisch gypsy children from their parents:
Also from Radio 4 is the second of P.J. O'Rourke's talks. "The Binds that Chafe" was perceptive, iconoclastic, and witty and thought provoking.
For more drama, we'd suggest BBC Radio 3's Drama on 3 on Sunday and "The Don" in which Jeff Young, inspired by Don Quixote, sets his tale of pursuit in the pubs and clubs of Northern England.
For a combination of drama, documentary and music, we suggest BBC Radio 2 on Tuesday (20:30 GMT) and "Piaf", the first in a four-part look at the eponymous French singer.
About.com - Dietz:
BBC religion site - links to Papal appreciation audio:
Contra Costa Times - MacBride:
Houston Chronicle -Silverman:
Sydney Morning Herald -Spike column:
Technology Today - Hellweg:
2005-04-04: India's Department of Space (DOS) is exploring the possibility of setting up a multi-media satellite platform to include radio, video and data according to the Financial Express, which says a DOS representative denied any knowledge of the idea whilst officials at the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and WorldSpace confirmed the development.
Any such move would break WorldSpace's monopoly of satellite radio in the country where it launched in 2000 as a free-to-air service and currently offers a basic 30 channels for INR 1,200
WorldSpace has sold around 80,000 receivers in India and after a weak start recently launched marketing campaigns and introduced lower priced receivers, some of which cost less than even below INR 3,000 (USD 70).
Previous Indian Radio:
Indian Express report:
2005-04-04:New York public broadcaster Educational Broadcasting Corp. (EBC), licensee of TV stations WNET and WLIW, has agreed to purchase Florida public stations WXEL-TV and WXEL-FM from Barry University, which has owned them since 1997, for an undisclosed sum.
Barry University President Sister Linda Bevilacqua told the South Florida Business Journal, "We were clearly impressed with EBC and their plan to work with the Community Broadcast Foundation. With the foundation's support and the financial backing and management skill of EBC, we envision a very bright future for WXEL, its staff and supporters."
She was backed up by Leslie Pantin Jr., chairperson of Barry University's board of trustees who said the deal was " very good for the community." said.
Steven Rattner, chairman of EBC's board of trustees, said the stations were separated by geography, but closely linked through a shared community of viewers and a common mission to inform, educate and inspire.
"We look forward to harnessing those synergies as we work in active association with Community Broadcast Foundation to expand the local public media services WXEL viewers, listeners and members expect and value, as well as to introduce exciting new educational and programming initiatives of which the entire South Florida community can be proud," he said.
No changes are expected until the deal, which needs local, state and federal approval and could take up to nine months, is completed
South Florida Business Journal report:
2005-04-04: According to the UK Independent, Britain's largest radio companies have decided not to bid for The Wireless Group, which owns talkSPORT, because of concerns about competing with the BBC.
The BBC dominates UK talk and sports radio with sports Channel BBC Radio Five Live, the direct rival to talkSPORT.
The paper says Chrysalis and Emap have decided not to bid although the station was put up for sale after a potential management buyout led by the Wireless Groups chairman and chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie failed; it adds that private equity groups 3i and CVC and one trade buyer are planning to put in offers by the deadline on Friday and says that the Local Radio Company and UKRD are interested in TWG's local radio stations but Goldman Sachs, which is running the auction, does not want to break up the company..
It comments that the group is unlikely to attract bids much above the nil premium 90 pence a share that MacKenzie had offered.
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Independent report:
2005-04-03: Last week saw only a low level of activity from the regulators in relation to radio with the main stories being the extension of digital radio trials in Australia and the UK regulator under spending its budget: For once, maybe because there appears to be a hiatus whilst its new chairman gets his feet under the desk, there was nothing beyond the routine from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has announced that digital trials currently being conducted in Melbourne and Sydney are to be extended for up to a year (See RNW Apr 1): It has also been involved in a number of analogue licence decisions.
In Tasmania, current AM services of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's local service and commercial services 7LA and 7EX are to be converted to FM: The ABC's national services are already on FM in the region.
It has also ruled that an additional community licence in the area would not on current evidence adds substantial diversity and proposes to review the community radio situation in the area in two years time.
In New South Wales it has invited applications, with a deadline of April 27, for a new community radio licence for Sanctuary Point and has also decided to make channel capacity available for commercial radio service 2MW Murwillumbah to rectify reception deficiencies.
Canada was fairly quiet as regards radio with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issuing only one licensing decision, the approval in Ontario of a 22 watts low power FM transmitter in Pembroke for CHRI-FM, Ottawa.
It also issued a public notice with a deadline for interventions of May 5 that included the following radio applications.
*Application to add a 250 watts FM transmitter at Banff to broadcast the programming of CBR-AM, Calgary. Associated with this is a request to delete the existing AM transmitter at Banff after a three-month simulcast period.
*Application from Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. (AVR) for a fourth extension of time limit - until December 5 - to commence the operation of a new Aboriginal-language station to serve Vancouver and for the first time - until the same date - for operation of a transmitter at Abbotsford.
*Application to renew the licence of the radio programming undertaking CJMO-FM Moncton, expiring 31 August 2005.
*Application to add a 750 watts FM transmitter at Huntsville to broadcast the programming of CJLF-FM Barrie.
*Application to change frequency of transmitter CHRM-FM-1, Les Méchins, of CHRM-FM, Matane.
*Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to amend the licence of CBU-FM, Vancouver, British Columbia, to add a 114 watts FM transmitter at Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. The licence is currently issued to The Yellowknife Rebroadcasting Society (The Society) as a radiocommunication distribution undertaking (RDU) that rebroadcasts CBU's programming. If the application were granted the society would request deletion of the RDU licence.
Application to increase the power of CFCR-FM, Saskatoon, from 180 to 1,480 watts and relocate its transmitter and increase the antenna height.
Also in Canada the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that comments made about immigration and immigrants on the Doc Mailloux show broadcast on CKAC-AM, Montreal, breached Canadian codes and were abusive an discriminatory about an identifiable group (See RNW Apr 1).
There was nothing from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom had some good news for licensees with the announcement that it under spent its 2004-5 budget and would be returning funds to licensees (See RNW April 2).
Ofcom has also posted details of its reasons for awarding the first Community Radio licence to be issued in the UK to Forest of Dean Community Radio.
It noted "Forest of Dean Community Radio is a well-organized and effective organization with experience going back some years. The group has identified a range of backers, and has the knowledge, community links and experience to take the project forward successfully."
Ofcom has also decided to allow through two late community radio applications, one from Citizen Radio, Slough, and the other from Community Voice FM, Middlesborough. In each case it accepted that receipt of the applications after deadlines was due to third party failure to deliver them on time.
Ofcom also published its latest Broadcast Bulletin, upholding no complaints against radio or TV (See RNW Mar 31).
Ofcom has also invited broadcasters to comment on the rules in its draft Broadcasting Code, due to be issued in late May, that relate to the European Unions Market Abuse Directive relating to insider dealing and market manipulation.
The directive had not been incorporated into UK law when Ofcom originally consulted about the code but The Investment Recommendation (Media) Regulations, which reflect the directive, will now come into force on 1 July.
These regulations provide certain exemptions for broadcasters from the new law, so long as they comply with alternative measures set out in the regulatory framework, in this case Ofcom's Broadcasting Code, which has had to be adjusted to take into account these new regulations
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-04-03: The issue of whether conservative US host Rush Limbaugh's medical records were properly seized by prosecutors investigating allegations of his "doctor shopping" - getting multiple prescriptions from different doctors without letting each know about the others - in connection with his addiction to painkillers is again before the Florida Courts.
Limbaugh's attorney Roy Black in a 22-page filing with the Florida Supreme Court is arguing that an earlier appeals court ruling that upheld the prosecutors' right to review his medical records misconstrued Florida's laws on privacy rights (See RNW Oct 7, 2004).
Black has argued all along that the laws prohibit using a search warrant to seize the records and that patients cannot be made to lose their privacy rights because a doctor might destroy records. Black says
Doctors would have no motive to destroy records relating to a patient's criminal case: that it is "the patient, who would have an interest in destroying records."
He says the "Whatever purported risk might exist that a physician would destroy patient records in response to a subpoena, is far outweighed by the overarching interest in patient confidentiality" that has been identified by Florida Courts and continues, "The mere possibility that the authorities might one day encounter an emergency with respect to patient records provides no support for the argument that the state should always be allowed to use warrants, in violation of the confidentiality statutes."
RNW Note: Limbaugh has posted a link to the filing (22 page 206KB PDF) on his web site and it is worth a read as some of the points are well made although much of it seems to us like much of Limbaugh's own comments to misrepresent the opposing case. So far we have seen no overwhelming argument put forward in refutation of the appeals court ruling although the case is finely balanced on some points.
We'd put a fair bet, however, that were the points being argued in a different case by someone Limbaugh was opposed to, he'd be giving them short shrift.
Limbaugh web site:
2005-04-03: California-based LBI Media has reported 2004 net revenues up 9% to USD 91.4 million with a strong performance from its TV arm whose revenues excluding the results relating to the leasing of its television production facility increased revenues 10% to USD 91.3 million whilst radio revenues were down 2% to USD44.8 million.
LBI puts the decline down to a fall in demand for Spanish-language advertising by national advertisers and strong results the previous year when radio revenues were up 16%.
Radio operating income was down 14% to USD17.4 million and adjusted EBITDA fell 3% to USD23.2 million.
Overall it reported net income down 22.2% to USD 13 million, attributed primarily to a USD 2.2 million increase in non-cash employee compensation and depreciation expense and a charge of USD1.5 million related to offering costs for our anticipated initial public offering during the year.
In the final quarter, net revenues increased 4% to USD 23.1 million with growth in both radio and TV: TV division net revenues increased 4% to USD 11.1 million and radio division net revenues increased 4% to USD 12.0 million. Overall in the quarter net income was down to USD 1 million from USD 3.6 million for the same period in 2003. LBI put this down mainly to a USD1.0 million increase in interest expense and depreciation expense and USD1.5 million of costs related to its anticipated initial public offering offset by a USD 0.3 million decrease in non-cash deferred compensation during the quarter.
Previous LBI Media:
2005-04-02: XM satellite radio says it now has a total of 3.77 million subscribers, having added 540,000 to its total during the first quarter of this year.
This is a net gain two-thirds higher than a year ago when it added just fewer than 322,000 new subscribers and its President and CEO Hugh Panero described it as the "best first quarter in the history of XM."
Emphasizing both content and technology as driving factors he added, Millions of consumers are choosing XM because of our outstanding programming, including unprecedented coverage of Major League Baseball and the most commercial-free music in satellite radio, as well as breakthrough products like the Delphi MyFi XM2go radio, the first portable, hand-held satellite radio."
2005-04-02: UK GWR, which is soon to merge with Capital Radio, might take out legal action against UK media regulator Ofcom over proposals that would allow its rivals to acquire digital national franchises.
GWR says that when the licence for the current Digital One national commercial franchise, in which it is the majority shareholder, was granted it was as a "sole" licence to operate national digital services and legal action over the proposal to create a second national commercial multiplex is an "option."
Ofcom published its radio review "Radio - Preparing for the future" in December last year (See RNW Dec 16, 2004) and consultations on the document closed last month.
It has said in its plans for digital radio that is has identified five additional blocks of spectrum that it plans to allocate for digital radio services and suggests allocating three of these to improve local digital coverage but said it was minded to allocate one or both of the additional blocks for national use.
GWR Chairman Ralph Bernard was quoted in the UK Independent as saying of the suggestion that a second national multiplex be licensed, "Ofcom would be breaking a commitment that was utterly clear and completely unequivocal, which led to us and others investing millions and millions of pounds."
Other groups such as Emap and Chrysalis passed up the opportunity to invest in Digital One and have no slots on it and Bernard added, "The only reason Chrysalis and Emap want more national multiplexes is that they want to try to find a way of peeking at the pie that someone else has cooked. They weren't even prepared to go into the kitchen at the time."
Under Ofcom's plans at least one digital local multiplex with up to eight channels would be licensed in every local area but this could leave stations that cannot get a channel on this without a digital option and Bernard told the paper this would "confine a significant number of stations to an analogue backwater and take choice of digital stations away from consumers."
Quentin Howard, the chief executive of Digital One, said that about GBP 30 million (USD 56 million) had been invested so far in the venture and added that another national platform would swamp the market at a time when existing national digital stations were years away from profitability. He said Digital One was promised a national monopoly running for "at least" 12 years from 1999.
RNW comment: This is one of those areas where past estimations of the greatest benefit to the public may well be in conflict with current ones. We cannot but think, however, that if a licence is offered on a particular basis to get a service started then the conditions applicable at the start should only be varied if there is an overwhelming case to do so.
In this case we tend to think that ultimately the greater benefit may well come from a national multiplex but there needs to be proper debate and presentation of costed options before any decision is made. At the very least, there should be a reducing scale of one-off entry costs - to be paid to the original investors in Digital One -for any new players who want to enter the market before 2011 so as to be fair to all concerned. If the would-be new entrants are not then prepared to cough up they don't deserve a licence.
UK Independent report:
2005-04-02: Takafumi Horie, president of the Japanese Internet group Livedoor that has claimed to take a majority holding in Japanese radio company Nippon Broadcasting System (NBS), has said that his company needs an equity alliance with Fuji Television.
NBS and Fuji are both members of the Fujisankei Media Group and had opposed Livedoor's taking control of NBS, after an after-hours raid in which it bought a 35% holding in NBS, which at the time had a 22.5% holding in Fuji TV, the largest single holding: NBS has since then loaned most of its Fuji TV shares to Softbank Investment Corp. (SBI), an affiliate of Internet investor Softbank Corp, which is now the largest shareholder in Fuji TV.
An earlier attempt to dilute Livedoor's holding by issuing share options to Fuji was ruled out by Japanese courts.
Horie was due to meet SBI President Yoshitaka Kitao at the start of this week but called off the meeting and now says he won't meet Kitao until after the June shareholders meeting of NBS at which Livedoor is to put its representatives on the NBS board.
Horie is also reported to have met Fuji TV President Koichi Murakamai after Livedoor claimed it had beaten off Fuji TV's opposition to its taking control of NBS - Fuji increased its shareholding in NBS but was unable to stop Livedoor claiming to have acquired a majority of voting rights.
RNW comment: We expect this case to run and run but in the end suspect that Horie doesn't have the firepower to win and suspect it is more likely that the saga could end with Livedoor being taken over by Softbank than in Horie gaining significant influence of Fuji.
Japan Times report:
2005-04-02: UK media regulator Ofcom says it has set its operating budget for 2005-06 at GBP 133 million (USD 250 million), 5% less than the GBP 140 million (USD 263 million) it set for 2004-05: It also says that it expects that expenditure for 2004-05 is expected to be GBP 124.1 million (USD 233.2 million) because of higher than expected efficiency gains from the merger of its predecessor bodies and also because that a number of major projects, scheduled for completion in 2004/05 will now be completed over the forthcoming financial year.
The difference is to be refunded to the industries it regulates and Ofcom says that networks and services operators will see their fees reduced by 8%, a total cost reduction of USD 2 million (USD 3.76 million) in real terms with corresponding reductions in TV licence fees will be reduced of an average 26%, an overall cost reduction of GBP 8.5 million (USD 16 million), and radio licence fees will go down 29%, a cost reduction of GBP 1.3 million (USD 2.4 million).
Should it come under budget in the 2005-06 year, savings will again be returned to the industry sectors.
Ofcom has also published its 2005-06 tariff: For radio licence applications, there is a non-refundable fee of GBP 100,000 (USD 188,00) for a national licence, whilst for local licences the rates depending on the number of people above 15 in the service area, are:
Category A (population 4,500,000 +): FM licence GBP 50,000 (USD 93,950) and AM licence GBP 14.500 (USD 27,250).
Category B (Population 1,000,000 -4,500,000): FM licence GBP 25,000 (USD 47,000) and AM licence GBP 8,000 (USD 15,000).
Category C (Population 400,000-1,000,000): FM licence GBP 10,000 (USD 18,800) and AM licence GBP 3,500 (USD 6,600).
Category D Population up to 400,000): FM licence GBP 5,000 (USD 9,400) and AM licence 1,000 (USD 1880).
In addition stations have to pay an annual fee, a proportion of their annual "relevant" turnover. For 2004-05 this will be:
Up to first GBP 1 million (USD 1.88 million) -- 0.300%
Between GBP 1 million and 5 million (USD 1.88 million to USD 9.4 million) - 0.450%
Above GBP 5 million (USD 9.4 million) - 0.675%
Renewal application fees are the same as above for a national licence but lower for local commercial licences where they are:
Category A - FM licence GBP 21,200 (USD 39,800) and AM licence GBP 14,500 (USD 27,250)
Category B - FM licence GBP 11,800 (USD 22,170) and AM licence GBP 8,000 (USD 15,000)
Category C - FM licence GBP 5,000 (USD 9,400) and AM licence GBP 3,500 (USD 6,600).
Category D - FM licence GBP 1,500 (USD 2820) and AM licence GBP 1,000 (USD 1,880).
For digital multiplexes Application fees are GBP 50,000 (USD 94,000) for a national licence and for local licences they are:
Category A - GBP 25,000 (USD 47,000)
Category B - GBP 15,000 (USD 28,200)
Category C - GBP 5,000 (USD 9,400)
Category D - GBP 1,000 (USD 1,880)
On top of this are annual fees of GBP 10,000 (USD 18,800) for national licences and GBP 500 (USD 9,400) for local ones.
Community licences will incur an application fee of GBP 600 (USD 1,130) plus an annual fee of the same amount.
Among other fees, applications for additional services licences on National FM services) will cost an application fee of GBP 20,000 (USD 3,760) with an annual fee of 10% of annual turnover subject to a minimum GBP 25,000 (USD 47,000) and the fees for Digital Additional Services Licences will be an application fee of GBP 250 (USD 470) plus an annual GBP 100 fee (USD 188).
2005-04-02: New Radio Venture LLC is adding a second station to its existing KMYL-AM Phoenix, Arizona, with a USD 5.525 million purchase of NRC Broadcasting Inc.'s Flagship Denver KNRC-AM.
Colorado-based NRC will retain two Denver stations KJAC FM and KCUV AM; it also owns 12 stations in Colorado.
2005-04-02: BBC World Service is to end its twice-weekly radio soap "Westway", set in a west London medical practice in October after eight years on air.
A BBC News report quoted a World Service spokeswoman as saying the new English language schedule from 2006 will be given over to factual programmes, with a world drama strand at the weekend and there was "just not enough room" for Westway.
She said the service would still invest in drama and that the decision to end Westway, which has a weekly audience of up to 20 million according to the British actors union Equity but only around a tenth of that according to the BBC's marketing department, "was "not a reflection of the programme's quality".
The show's cast features a diverse range of actors, including Nigerians, Asians and West Indians and the show has been praised for its culturally diverse cast, tackling issues such as tensions between Africans and Caribbeans living in London, and the bullying of a Muslim girl wearing a headscarf at school.
Equity opposes the decision and its national organiser for BBC television and radio Glen Barnham told the UK Independent, "We're shocked by the decision and we have written to [BBC Director General] Mark Thompson asking him to look at it again. He has been talking in terms of more popular drama and more diversity at the BBC. As far as diversity goes, Westway is far ahead of any other programme at the BBC, covering issues like asylum-seekers, Aids and same-sex relationships."
Paul Bazeley, who plays the Westway Health Centre practice manager, Jamsheed Dastoor, added, "Westway covers so many issues that might be taboo in countries where people are listening. It's trying to present a view of modern city life that's honest and not idealized. It's also a diverse company of actors, with Nigerians, Asians and West Indians. Surely this is what public service broadcasting is all about?"
BBC News report:
UK Independent report:
2005-04-01: The two rival US satellite radio companies - Sirius and XM - could start co-operating and consider offering a joint service according to a report in TheStreet.com that followed a question at the Banc of America Securities Media and Telecom Conference.
Asked if Sirius and XM might benefit by making radios that could work with either service and charging USD18 a month for the combined services rather than going their own way for a USD 13 a month fee for each service, XM Chairman Gary Parsons responded by saying it was the first time he'd hear the question and commenting, "I'd have no problem doing that."
The Street notes that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires the two companies to work on a system that can receive both and quotes an unnamed money manager as saying,
"They certainly want to create the impression that they are cooperating, but adding another chip adds costs" and continues, "Their real adversary is terrestrial radio. They ought to be working together to take listeners and advertising from them."
Another attendee commented, "I'd be surprised if they hadn't thought of that before," referring to the combined-service question [RNW comment: It's certainly seemed obvious to us if the calculations showed an overall revenue increase in going this route but if they didn't then we couldn't see their being much choice of any funding put into development of a joint service model - a pity since the more services are technologically compatible, the more a market is likely to grow.]
Regarding advertising revenues, Parsons said he saw advertising as eventually reaching around 15% of XM's total income but acknowledged that the biggest selling point with satellite radio is the ad-free music and said XM was keen to "not disrupt" that position. He saw advertising as a good fit in talk, news and sports programs that have "natural breaks" in the action [RNW comment: As if a change from one track to another isn't a "natural break" in music programming. What Parsons - and Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin - mean is that they think subscribers will put up with advertising within other programming but not in music programming. Regrettably to us, economic imperatives combined with Karmazin's appointment at Sirius, mean that the one-time chance that Sirius would stand out against adverts has now gone. We'd have seen ad-free as a definite plus for other programming as well as music and it would in our view have been a valuable additional choice to have had one totally advert-free service on offer.
2005-04-01: Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has announced agreement with Styles Media Group for a delay in the USD 120 million sale it announced last year (See RNW Aug 19, 2004) of its KZAB-FM and KZBA-FM, now being operated by Styles as KDAY-FM and KDAI-FM under a Time Brokerage Agreement.
The sale was originally due to close yesterday but is now being extended to July 31 this year or within 5 days following the grant of an FCC Final Order. As part of the agreement, Styles, which released USD 6 million of escrow in February will release an additional USD 14 million: The total USD 20 million released will be retained by SBS and credited towards the purchase price at the closing of the deal, which Styles says it expects to complete within the extended period, but will be retained by SBS should the closure not take place within by the new deadline.
2005-04-01: Australian digital radio trials in Melbourne and Sydney are to be continued for up to a year following requests from those taking part in the current series of trials that were scheduled to end in May using the Eureka 147 digital radio system, subject to any interest in keeping them going.
Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) is conducting the trials and Lyn Maddock, Acting Chair of the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA), announcing the continuation, said whether they would continue in the longer term would depend on "government decisions about how digital radio is to be introduced into Australia."
The trials do not give any long-term rights to the spectrum involved and she continued, "Recent government and industry announcements suggest that decisions on a way forward are possible before the end of the year. With the situation changing so quickly, the ABA had no wish to disrupt current trial arrangements."
'The ABA remains willing to consider applications for digital radio trials using other spectrum, or the same spectrum in other localities,' she added. 'I am hopeful that information gathered through the trials will be useful in the development of the Government's digital radio policy.'
The ABA notes the existence of other digital radio technologies that could make use of ABA-administered spectrum including Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), In-Band On Channel (IBOC - the iBiquity HD system authorized in the USA) and ISDB-TSB.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2005-04-01: US "Progressive" talk radio network Air America, expected by many to fold when it made a very shaky start last year, reached its first anniversary yesterday in fairly good health.
Within months of its launch its original model of insisting on station taking all its programming and the purchase of time on stations in Los Angeles and Chicago had proved flawed concepts and the network was down and nearly out to the delight of many conservatives in the US.
After various changes of management and ownership and a switch to a more conventional syndication service that allows stations to take the shows they want it now boasts 51 affiliates nationwide as well as its online offering and channels on both Sirius and XM satellite radio.
The network adds another host today when the Jerry Springer Show joins its roster.
Previous Air America (owned by Piquant):
2005-04-01: Clear Channel Radio in a question and answer session posted on its web site says its "Less if More" initiative to cut advertising has had a "Really terrific" response from listeners and an "equally great" response from advertisers.
It continues, "First we had anecdotal evidence (emails and calls to stations) that listeners just love it. And now we've got several independent studies that confirm the obvious: people prefer fewer, shorter commercials and they remember entertaining and informative ads no matter what the length."
Concerning adverts it says "We've sold more commercials of shorter lengths this year than ever before and the month-to-month trends are increasing as well."
The company also defends its move against sceptics, commenting of critics, "Look, it's easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize those who are leading change. What's much more important is jumping in to solve a problem. That takes courage and commitment and those are the people we're engaging with."
"That said, we have noticed that several of the prominent doubters have begun saying, 'Well, so far, we've been completely wrong.' We expect you'll see more folks change their position as the weeks move on. All you have to do is listen to a Clear Channel station today to notice the difference.
RNW comment: All of the Clear Channel Q&A may be true but its typical corporate speak to us, starting with the reasons for introduction of the policy as the need to correct three things - excess inventory created during the internet boom, the fact that TV and other media went to short spots "years ago" and the "reality that radio ads haven't kept up with the creativity that's been infused into commercials on other media." All of them says the company were "straightforward to fix and the fixes were overdue" in which case the obvious question is how come the whole radio business was so badly run that they weren't fixed.
As usual it's soft questions as a means of delivering positive bull and we can only trust that somewhere in the organization some harder questions are being asked with the result that challenges are being thought through. If not, this Q&A would seem a pretty convincing argument in favour of selling CCU shares.
At the very base level it would seem obvious to us that advertisers would prefer adverts that attract and that very lengthy advertising blocks are likely to reduce the attention to paid to those in the middle of the block as well as annoy listeners.
Equally obvious is that the adverts were there to boost income and that the companies only began to change their ways when reality began to obtrude in the forms of competition from such developments as satellite radio and portable devices to play back downloads.
What is not yet clear is how far those who have turned to the other options will stick with them to the detriment of terrestrial broadcasters but the anecdotal evidence from almost every comment we've seen from those who have tried satellite or moved some listening to other sources is that less may be more but its certainly nothing like enough to stem a continuing slow decline.
And a late PS: The comments are said to be from John Hogan, President and CEO of Clear Channel Radio but the site doesn't mention. An alibi for trite comments or maybe when the time comes for overconfidence about any threat from satellite radio?
Previous Clear Channel:
Clear Channel Q & A Post:
2005-04-01: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that comments made about immigration and immigrants on the Doc Mailloux show broadcast on CKAC-AM, Montreal, breached Canadian codes and were abusive an discriminatory about an identifiable group.
During the show that was the subject of a complaint, its host, the psychiatrist Doctor Pierre Mailloux, discussed various aspects of immigration making remarks that the CBSC panel described as mainly about pure policy aspects of the issue of immigration during which he launched an attack on Sikhs.
The panel says that on the policy issue, "although the host's views on the subject appeared very conservative and uninviting, they were not in breach of any broadcaster Code" but it ruled there was a breach in comments he made later in support of his contention that immigrants should leave behind their traditions and culture.
"No. You cultural communities come from a wacko country. You live a wacko culture. Don't bring it with you. That's the message to convey," he said. "I flee northern India because the Sikhs are a gang, a gang of bozos, and then I bring all that with me. No, no, you really don't get it. If you flee your country because it makes no sense, then don't bring those senseless things with you.
In ruling that there was a breach the panel said it "fully appreciates that Pierre Mailloux holds a strong opinion on the question of immigration and that he is prepared to share it readily and in forceful terms with his listeners" and also "acknowledges that, as unpleasant as the host's attitudes may be to some members of various immigrant communities (as well as the many more generous and receptive Quebeckers and Canadians), by virtue of the principle of freedom of expression, he is entitled to speak against the prospect of wide-ranging immigration." [ ]
."When, however, he holds identifiable groups up to ridicule and disrespect by making abusive or unduly discriminatory comments, he crosses the line of entitlement and loses the benefit of the shield of free expression...The bottom line is that the Panel considers that the host is entitled to espouse his chauvinistic intolerance until such time as his disrespect leaks into individual races and nationalities, as it did when he referred to the Sikhs as 'a gang of bozos'."
CKAC had told the complainant that it had to be recognized that "Dr. Mailloux expressed the opinion of many Quebeckers according to whom the massive arrival of immigrants from various ethnicities disturbs the social climate, particularly when the latter insist on keeping their practices and customs and believe that wearing the Islamic veil, the hijab, the turban or exhibiting the signs of the kirpan amount to a form of confrontation similar to that being currently staged in France" but went on to disassociate itself from some of the comments.
"Through our review of the program," it said, "we were able to determine that Dr. Mailloux's rant may have affected honest immigrants who quickly integrated into their new communities and that these comments could aggravate the manner in which various categories of citizens behave towards ethnic communities. We agree with your comment that Dr. Mailloux displays a manifest ignorance of the immigration policies and procedures in Canada and Quebec on the air and that his comments can be interpreted as being unfit and having the potential to attack the dignity of certain people. That is why we have directed Dr. Mailloux to show more compassion and reserve concerning immigrants."
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