May 2005 Archive
- April 2005 - June 2005-
Links- internally where there are follow-up stories we try, at the end of each story, to put a pertinent link to the top of the next relevant story. Regarding external links see note at end of page.
E-mail note: For obvious Virus reasons, we neither send nor accept e-mail attachments without prior notice and agreement. All messages sshould be sent plain text.
RNW May comment - Evaluates the likely impact of podcasting on radio and concludes it's an opportunity to increase listening, enhance relationships with audience and community, and gain income from sponsors and advertising.
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.
2005-05-31: BBC Unions meet today to consider proposals by the Corporation, including a 1-year moratorium on compulsory redundancies, with some signs of breaks in a united front by the unions to fight the loss of some 4,000 jobs.
The unions after holding a one-day strike had called of a 48-hour strike planned this week in view of concessions offered (See RNW May 28)
Indications are that the National Union of Journalists is the most militant and may reject the offer but the craft union Amicus and technician's union BECTU more likely to accept it.
2005-05-31: The Organization of News Ombudsmen (ONO), which represents nearly a hundred print and broadcast ombudsmen from around the world, has voted at its annual conference in London to change its bylaws so as to allow full membership only to people who work for news organizations.
The move would rule out two ombudsmen- Ken Bode a former reporter for NBC News and CNN, and William Schulz a former executive editor of Reader's Digest - recently appointed by the US Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), at the instigation of its chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson to monitor National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) news programs.
They would still be allowed to become associate members but would not have voting rights.
Tomlinson, a Republican who amongst other activities was director of the Voice of America in the Reagan administration, soon afterwards appointed Republican and former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) official Ken Ferree to replace Kathleen Cox, considered non-partisan, as chief executive of the CPB
He has said the ombudsmen appointments were made to bring balance to US public broadcasting, which he says carries too little from a conservative viewpoint.
His actions have come under criticism as being part of an agenda to impose a right-wing agenda on the organizations.
Amongst those behind the rule change, although he abstained from voting on it, is NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin, who was ONO president until his term ended last week.
He told the New York Times, "We want members who are responsive to readers, not to governments or lobby groups. I was worried about the political nature of the appointment and I was worried about the precedent."
Bodein an e-mail said the change "makes sense, and I will be happy with associate membership" but Schultz did not respond to the paper's request for comment and a CPB spokeswoman said it had no comment.
Incoming ONO President Ian Mayes, the readers' editor at The Guardian in London (a bête noir of US conservatives) said that the "nature of ONO could be changed by a flood of inappropriate members" and that all organizations adjusted their rules to "maintain their integrity."
RNW comment: Unsurprisingly this decision has already come under strong attack from the right in the US, some of whom consider the change as being made explicitly to exclude the CPB. Whilst some develop arguments against the decision logically - we wonder if they'd have had the same view, however, had it been a Russian media stooge who was being excluded - the US in our view is seeing a combination of far too little investigative reporting and a pattern of virulent right wing attacks on media reports unfavourable to the administration whenever there is an error or something that cannot be fully substantiated.
It's a pattern we associated with the former Soviet Union - but then so was the use of torture, which is presumably why most of the world then looked up to the US and may be why much less of it now does.
New York Times report:
2005-05-31: The BBC is building up to full promotional mode for its Beethoven season that will see Radio 3 clear its schedules from June 5 through to June 10 to broadcast the complete works of the composer whilst BBC TV will mount its biggest ever retrospective devoted to the works of a composer including a drama-documentary series, Beethoven, on BBC2 TV and musical discovery series Beethoven Uncovered and a master class from pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim on BBC Four.
Radio 3 as well as its broadcasts will offer downloads of all nine of Beethoven's symphonies after the broadcast of their performance by the BBC Philharmonic, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda.
Commenting on the Radio 3 programmes, its controller Roger Wright said they formed "a unique event in Radio 3's history."
"Our listeners have huge loyalty, curiosity - and stamina!" he added, " and I'm sure they'll be joined by many others keen to learn more about Beethoven and his music."
He also noted that the station was to follow up the broadcasts with a celebration in one day of all the music of Anton Webern, and an exploration of the complete works of J S Bach."
BBC Radio 3 Beethoven Experience web site:
2005-05-30: We start our look at print comment on radio this week with two Chicago Tribune reports by Maegan Carberry on Q101 shock jock Erich "Mancow" Muller who's making a pitch for Howard Stern's territory when the latter moves to Sirius satellite radio.
Profiling the host himself, she sets the scene in his studio then continues, "In this environment [with a banner that features a beast--half man, half cow--between two women with breasts the size of their heads. It reads, "Born on a mountain ... raised in a cave ... booze and broads is all that he craves.]", it's hard to see the political, moral side of Mancow that his representatives hope will make him the FCC-friendlier alternative to Howard Stern when the New York shock jock moves his show to Sirius satellite radio."
Stern's move is opening an opportunity and Muller says, "We're going to have the biggest morning show in the nation within the next five years." He has already signed up for syndication with the Talk Radio Network (TRN), and has a number of mid-West affiliates with Los Angeles XTRA-AM 570 joining today.
TRN CEO Mark Masters says he's pushing the host in all major markets and several other markets are poised to pick up Mancow this summer.
Tom Taylor, editor of industry magazine Inside Radio commented of the Los Angeles signing, "If he can make a dent [in L.A.], other places may be willing to look at him."
XTRA-FM 570 station General Manager Don Martin said he wanted to sign Mancow because he liked the numbers Mancow attracted in Chicago: "The audience I go after is men 18 to 34," Martin said. "Mancow brings in numbers. If there's somebody out there that is going to be 'the next' in the syndicated world, he's got the best shot at it. He's got mass appeal."
Commenting on his show plans, Mancow said hew has had to walk a fine line since the FCC's "indecency" crackdown: He has toned down sexual content in favour of more social and political commentary--but he mainly attributes his show's evolution to his personal growth.
"I don't understand why people still label me with an image I had 10 years ago," he said. "When I first started the show, it was for a 22-year-old guy. What I'm interested in now has totally changed, and the show has changed." Mancow said he now aims his show toward a 26-year-old man who is more mature, and that the content is a mix of fun and socially conscious material.
Caerberry also filed a report on Muller's family life since he married Sandy Muller, at 27 ten years younger than the host, in 2003: The couple met when she was an intern on the show and now have twins on the way.
She commented of her brothers' reactions to his style, "It's just guy humour. They know that. They know I wouldn't be with someone disrespectful. Now they all love him. He's got a great heart, which a lot of people don't get to see."
Caerberry reports a different style at home - "Absent are the girlie pictures hanging in his studio office. His home is filled with regal-looking, oversized couches covered in maroon and gold fabric, potted plants and a cat named Bloop, who Mancow got in his single days."
"I was really impressed the first time I came here," Sandy said. "I was totally expecting a bachelor pad. He got help from a woman designer, but he picked a lot of it himself."
Next a woman with rather different talents to those of Mancow: She's Sue Scott, the only female cast member of Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion" radio variety show who was profiled by Joanne Kaufman in the New York Times.
"Ms. Scott, 48, who is in the middle of her 13th season," writes Kaufman, "is known to the show's listeners as the aptly named Sugar, the sweet if unrefined outer-borough-born girlfriend of Guy Noir, private detective. She is also Marlene Brower, a blue-collar Minnesotan who works as a spokeswoman for the duct tape industry and says 'ja' more often than the farmer's daughter, and Marlene's successor, the super-model valley girl Cynthia Maxwell. In addition, she's the fearsome and officious, full-of-herself psychologist Judith Flexner, a characterization inspired by the late astronomer Carl Sagan. And she is middle-American everywife Barb -'These are the good years for Jim and me' - in the faux public service spots sponsored by 'The Catsup Board.'"
Kaufman comments of Tucson-born Scott's roles, "Figuring out how to play to the coasts without ridiculing the heartland can be a difficult balancing act. But Mr. Keillor gives Ms. Scott free rein to create her characters - 'whatever it is I hear when I read the script,' she says. 'I pulled Sugar out of the hat, based on everything from Gracie Allen to old movies and Broadway shows.'"
And Keillor's comment," "Sue Scott is my daughter's hero," he wrote in an e-mail message. "She is 7, and in some ways so is Sue Scott. She is vibrant, Ethel Merman, Katharine Hepburn, Cherry Jones, Sue Scott - if you see them you know it's them."
And sticking with New York Times but this time a report by Jessica Bruder on Seton Hall University's student-run radio station WSOU-FM.
The station noted Bruder has a "2,400-watt signal that extends from here in South Orange to much of New Jersey and across the five boroughs of New York City" and has the field to itself in terms of hard rock programming since K-Rock (WXRK-FM) moved to become more mainstream.
"Jersey being as densely populated as it is, and them broadcasting with a signal like that, they reach a lot of kids," said Eric Peltier, the director of rock promotion at the Music Syndicate, an independent music marketing company in Weehawken. He listed some bands that have profited from WSOU exposure, including Thrice, Thursday - "in that screamo-melodica vein" - Killswitch Engage, and Shadows Fall. "They had the foresight to get behind those bands very early on," Mr. Peltier said admiringly.
The station's influence is not limited to its transmission area and its promotions director Scott Puglisi said that at the South by Southwest Music and Media conference in Austin, Texas, earlier this spring he had "labels coming up to me and embracing me, saying you guys pick up music before anybody else, and we respect you for that."
"People who care about the harder side of radio really pay attention to what they spin," said Matthew Field, an editorial assistant who is the in-house specialist on college radio at College Music Journal. "Within the New York radio market, WSOU is probably the No. 1 college radio station that caters to hard rock, metal, hardcore and punk."
Ironically some of the station's success is due to an enforced shift when Seton, a Catholic University, ordered the station to change from its former heavy-metal format to (See RNW Oct 19, 2001)
"The Catholic Church threw the book at us and said you can't do metal anymore," recalled Tom Katchisin, a former WSOU program director who is now a host and programmer for Sirius Satellite Radio. "Some people were like, 'Hey, we need to burn the school down.' Others were like, 'We're going to quit.' We were all just having a hard time getting along."
Peltier said of the change, "Metal has this stigma on it that hardcore never really had. People hear metal and they think big hair, really bad makeup. People hear hardcore and it has a totally different, do-it-yourself image. I think they had taken the metal format as far as they could possibly take it, and when they hit that wall where they were forced by the administration to open their viewpoint a little bit, it gave them an opportunity to look at new trends."
Finally, before turning to suggested listening, a question - and answer - from Paul Donovan in his Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times.
"How many, I wonder, listen to radio in the dark?" he asks "I mean listening in the dark because we want to - because it is romantic, or spooky, or atmospheric, and we want to feel our flesh crawl while Christopher Lee reads The Black Cat on Radio 2 just before midnight. Twelve years ago, I heard Marlowe's Tamburlaine the Great on Radio 3 in pitch-black surroundings, alone in an unheated, unlit Devon cottage. Its power was beyond description. Every line rich, deep and magnified, a conquering sword. An earthquake in a peasant's ears, indeed."
The comments lead to Donovan's recommendation of this week's BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour drama (09:45 GMT and 18:45 GMT), descry=bed in its listing as "Ears Wide Open. Five plays all set in the dark."
"The overall title, Ears Wide Open," writes Donovan "is not just reminiscent of the Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman film Eyes Wide Shut, but signals similar themes, including sexual jealousy. It also shows the power of radio 'to delight and provoke the senses', in the words of Liz Webb, producer of the first two plays."
"Radio," she says, "builds images in the mind of the listener. These images can be intense, since they are dependent on the individual imagination. So, when it works, every listener hears their own very personal and vivid play."
Still with drama, and this time BBC Radio 3 whose Drama on 3 slot yesterday features King Baabu, Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka's play dramatising life under the regime of General Sani Abacha.
And sticking with Radio 3 next Sunday at 08:00 GMT sees the start of "The Beethoven Experience", a week in which the station is playing all of Beethoven's works. It is also going to offer downloads of all his nine symphonies.
For those with an interest in the composer, that's all the week taken up.
For light relief, however, there's always the 17:30 GMT comedy slot on BBC Radio 4 -we'd suggest Wednesday and Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive plus The News Quiz on Friday - and from BBC Radio 2 the Saturday lunchtime (noon to 13:00 GMT) comedy hour that last week featured The Smith Lectures followed by Parsons & Naylor's Pull-out Sections and next week has The Smith Lectures followed by It's Been a Bad Week.
Also from Radio 2 next Saturday at 19:30 GMT is Hello We Are Coldplay in which Steve Lamacq tells the story of the band.
Chicago Tribune - Carberyy on Mancow career moves:
Chicago Tribune - Carberry on Mancow's home life:
New York Times - Bruder:
New York Times - Kaufman:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2005-05-30: Former Adelaide radio host Jeremy Cordeaux, who retired from talk station 5DN before it was taken over by Sports Entertainment Network (SEN), which is now seeking voluntary liquidation (See RNW May 26), says he has been fielding calls about a possible return according to the Adelaide Sunday Mail.
The paper says Cordeaux would not speculate on a return but the calls proved there was strong interest in the return of a "revitalised" talk station in the city.
SEN program director Peter Gowers told the paper negotiations were continuing about its future and no decision had been made as yet: He refused comment on suggestions that contractors had no been paid.
SEN leases its Adelaide licence - it also has a Melbourne station - from Australian Radio Network (ARN) and in the most recent ratings released this month was at the bottom with a 1.4 share compared to 6.4 for 5DN in its last ratings and 3.1 for SEN itself in February this year: Top rated Adelaide station 5AA had a 17.3 share in the most recent ratings and ABC 891 speech station was in fifth place with 10.9
Sunday Herald report:
2005-05-29: The most contentious licence issue last week was not a current decision but one from last year - the decision not to renew the licence of CHOI-FM, Montreal, that is now in the final stages of its progression to appeal in the Canadian courts.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) had a fairly quiet week as regards radio with just one announcements regarding services at Mount Tamborine, Queensland.
There it has opted to deny a request made by licensee Rebel FM to vary the technical operating conditions of the commercial radio services 4RBL and 4BRZ Remote North East Zone at Mount Tamborine.
Rebel had sought to modify maximum power in some directions and increase antenna height but Acting ABA Chair Lyn Maddock said that "after weighing up the competing considerations" they had decided that the "ABA does not consider that the additional overspill of the services into the Gold Coast market that would result from the changes can be justified."
It said there were credible arguments for the changes but the population in the Gold Coast licence area that would then receive a "fortuitous signal" would vastly outnumber the population covered in the Mount Tamborine section of Rebel FM's licence area.
The ABA has, however, opted to make FM channel capacity available for the 4RBL FM service at Barrington and Coomba Park/Stroud and to make FM channel capacity available in the Coomba Park/Stroud area for Rebel FM's second commercial radio service, 4BRZ. Barrington and Coomba Park/Stroud were identified by Rebel FM as radio blackspots.
In Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will soon find out if the courts uphold one of its most controversial decisions - that to deny renewal of CHOI-FM's licence last year (See below).
It has also been involved in a number of more routine radio decisions including (in order of province):
*Approval of new 9,000 watts "classic hit" AC English-language FM in Whitecourt to replace NewCap's CFYR-FM, Whitecourt, a transmitter of CJYR-AM, Edson, which will be deleted from the licence.
The CRTC rejected an intervention opposing the licence from a licensee authorized to operate a Classic Rock FM in Whitecourt and which argued that the area could not support both stations and also that NewCap had previously proposed an AC-based station in Cold Lake but in fact launched the station with a classic rock format. It suggested the same could happen in Whitecourt, thus putting the new station in direct competition.
*Approval of revocation of CKQC-AM, Quesnel, following the start of operations of a new FM approved to replace it.
*Approval of power increase from 14,100 watts to 16,100 watts for transmitter CKCL-FM-2 Vancouver, of CKCL-FM Chilliwack
*Approval of transmitter relocation, power increase from 76,000 watts to 93,000 watts and increase in antenna height for CFRK-FM, Fredericton.
*Approval of transmitter relocation and power increase from 520 watts to 3,200 watts of CKDU-FM, Halifax.
*Approval of application to change the contours of transmitter CKDO-FM-1, Oshawa, by increasing the antenna height.
*Approval of change to contours of CKTR-FM North Bay, by increasing the effective radiated power from 31 watts to 50 watts, by increasing the antenna height and by relocating the transmitter.
* Approval of power increase from 68,000 watts to 100,000 watts for CKFX-FM, North Bay.
*Denial of low-power 18.5 watts transmitter at Percé and 15.9 watts transmitter at Port-Daniel for CFMV-FM, Chandler. The commission rejected opposition by the licensees of CJRG-FM, Gaspé, CHNC-AM, ltée, and CIEU-FM, Carleton, all of which argued on the basis of the effects on their revenues.
*Approval of power increase from 180 watts to 1,480 watts and antenna relocation and height increase for CFCR-FM Saskatoon.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) says it has received nearly 60 submissions for licences in the country following advertisements it placed last month asking for submissions that it intends to use in drawing up a licensing plan for the country (See RNW May 28 and Apr 10): It has also announced in regard to services advertised earlier that it had receives one application each for community of interest licences advertised for Athlone, Carlow and Dundalk (See RNW May 26)
In the UK, Ofcom has been doing more consulting and document publishing. They included a consultation on proposals to simplify the procedure for amateur radio licences (See below), publication of its Broadcasting Code for television and radio, which combines codes from its predecessor regulators (A 4.15 Mb 89 page PDFt): The radio-specific references in this are very similar to the former Radio Authority's code and in particular note that stations must have particular regard to times when children are particularly likely to be listening.
The codes are broken down under ten headings - Section One: Protecting the Under-Eighteens; Section Two: Harm and Offence; Section Three: Crime; Section Four: Religion; Section Five: Due Impartiality and Due Accuracy and Undue Prominence of Views and Opinions; Section Six: Elections and Referendums; Section Seven: Fairness; Section Eight: Privacy; Section Nine: Sponsorship and Section Ten: Commercial References and Other Matters.
Ofcom also issued a Memorandum of Understanding with broadcasters regarding training and skills development (A 13 page 41 Kb PDF).
The US was fairly quiet for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) apart from routine licence activities, which included decisions giving the go-ahead for a number of new Low Power FMs, an approval formally welcomed by Democrat Commissioners Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps in a joint statement in which they commented, "Low power benefits recording artists by providing more outlets for airplay, especially on a local or regional level. It provides community coverage in often strikingly-successful ways."
"To promote these local stations, " they continued, "we hope the Commission would also move forward on its recent proceeding on low power FM radio and consider opening a new filing window for the many non-commercial entities that want to offer new low power FM radio services wherever possible."
The FCC also asked KCLK-FM, Clarkston, Washington, which is operating below minimum class C facilities, to show cause why it should not be reclassified to allow a first local FM in Boardman, Oregon.
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-05-29: A decision is expected soon on the future of Genex Communications' Montreal station CHOI-FM following four days of hearings by the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal into the station's appear against a refusal last year (See RNW Jul 14, 2004) by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to deny its application for a licence renewal in part because of comments made by its hosts.
The station has been allowed to remain on air until the appeal court's ruling.
The station has claimed that it was not given a fair hearing by the regulator, that the regulator, which acted as judge and juror, did not have the right to refuse renewal and that the refusal was censorship.
Guy Bertrand representing Genex said the CRTC "misled" them and gave it only 15 minutes to make its case. They " didn't even bother listening to our arguments," he said, "We never got a chance to defend ourselves."
The final day of hearings heard arguments on behalf of many of those who had been attacked by the station and Stephan Martin representing Quebec's music and show business industry asked the court to consider the effect on the victims.
Noting that people were called liars, traitors or empty-headed, and women were regularly degraded by comments about the size of their breasts he said, "Blasphemous words used to describe people . . . have no business on Canada's airwaves."
"Defamation suits never dissuaded the station's former hosts, André Arthur and and Jeff Fillion, from making unspeakably low comments," he added noting that one former host André Arthur has faced CAD 60-million (USD 48 million) in defamation suits during his long career and his former co-hold Jeff Fillion suits totalling CAD 6.5 million (USD 5.2 million)
Genex were also attacked by competitor Cogeco Inc. whose lawyer Éric Mongeau said the case had nothing to do with freedom of speech and everything to do with the station's responsibility to the public. He said it wasn't a case of "occasional blunders" but systematic ones that left the CRTC with no other choice.
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2005-05-29: US radio giant Clear Channel rather than being an opponent of pirate stations that interfere with licensed stations has become a pirate itself in Akron, Ohio, according to a report by MTV.com.
The publication asks how a pirate could keep going with illegal interruptions of the largest US radio operator for a week and then answers the rhetorical question: "Well, it couldn't. The fake pirate broadcasts and Web site, RadioFreeOhio.org, are all an elaborate promotional prank from radio giant Clear Channel to hype one of their new radio stations."
The web site currently contains its name followed by "The radio revolution begins. Tuesday May 31st. Stay Tuned" followed by an e-mail link to "firstname.lastname@example.org" but originally, reports MTV, claimed to be from a "movement of "concerned individuals who are compelled by their overwhelming sense of patriotism and pride to no longer accept what is considered the standard method of operation by a majority of Commercial Broadcasters."
It then went on to say the group claims it has been struggling to acquire the rights to a station in the area to bring "progressive conversation and viewpoints to the American public," which led to the decision to begin its "pirate" broadcasts from an abandoned rubber factory and also listed a number of stations in Northeast Ohio that should be forced to give up their licenses, with comments about their programming.
MTV says that web users traced the site to Clear Channel - which at first denied involvement but later admitted it on the same day that most of the site was taken down - and used the site's message boards to post the code that appeared to show Clear Channel was behind the station and also one message, "You've got to be kidding me. Clear Channel is everything that is wrong with media distribution these days. I'm not even from Ohio, and I'm offended."
MTV says that Clear Channel spokesperson Jennifer Geary finally confessed, "It is a promotional site, but we're not disclosing for what Clear Channel station at this time."
RNW comment: Assuming there has been interference to any licensed station[this may purely be a Clear Channel stunt] it would appear to us that the pirates involved should be held to the same standards that the National Association of Broadcasters lobbied for when it came to low power FM, namely that those who had operated pirate stations should not be allowed to hold an LPFM licence.
We thought then and still think that the ruling is too harsh but it should be applied to all.
We hope someone does complain and our view is that the FCC response should be a hearing to determine if Clear Channel is now fit to hold any licences: Of course should Clear Channel express its support for the removal of third adjacent channel protection (which would allow many more LPFMs) and also the provision against former pirate operators being allowed to hold LPFM licences, our view would be that it should just get its knuckles rapped. Otherwise we feel it should forfeit at the very least the licence for the station it was promotin, prefarably every Akron licence.
A little of sauce for the goose and gander fairness would do the world of good in this particular commercial v community radio context.
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-05-29: Life will become easier for Britain's amateur radio enthusiasts under proposals put up for consultation by the regulator to replace currently required paper licences, which have to be renewed annually, with a new electronic licence for life.
Ofcom says it is not proposing any other changes and will continue to require amateur radio operators to hold a Wireless Telegraphy licence and will continue any regulation that safeguards the integrity of radio spectrum used by the amateur radio community.
Under the proposals the current annual licence, which costs GBP 15 (USD 27) a year for most users would be replaced by the lifetime licence that would only be updated where amendments to detail were required: It would provide a free online licensing system to facilitate such changes.
Ofcom says it proposes to continue to offer a postal service for applicants who do not have access to, or prefer not to use, the internet, although this would incur a fee to cover administrative costs. Steps would be taken to ensure that disabled licence holders are not disadvantaged as a result.
Ofcom would continue to hold a database of the names and addresses of amateur radio enthusiasts and users will still need to hold a valid Radio Amateur Examination Pass Certificate to obtain a licence and Ofcom would retain the power to revoke the licence where, for example, a radio amateur breached the terms of the licence.
2005-05-28: Univision has switched its WCAA-FM and WZAA-FM in New York to a format primarily featuring reggaeton, the dance music that originated in Puerto Rico and is derived from Latin tropical sounds, reggae music and hip-hop: The move follows a similar switch on the West Coast a day earlier when Spanish Broadcasting System flipped Spanish Contemporary KXOL-FM (El Sol), Los Angeles, to a reggaeton "Latino 96.3" format (See RNW May 27).
Univision says La Kalle will primarily feature Reggaeton and Latin Hip-Hop music: The company says "Reggaeton is hotter in New York than in any other major U.S. city" and notes that recent Nielsen SoundScan report of Latin Album sales found that 8 out of the top 10 albums sold in the New York area were of Reggaeton music.
2005-05-28: A 48-hour strike by BBC staff planned for the end of the month to protest at around 4,000 planned job cuts has been suspended following talks at the conciliation service ACAS that continued through the night from Thursday until Friday. Many BBC news services were taken off air or severely disrupted in a first strike over the BBC plans on Monday (See RNW May 23).
The unions say he BBC has not addressed their fears over job losses but has made significant concessions over plans to "privatise" various functions whilst the Corporation in a statement said it was having a "productive relationship" with the unions.
The unions - Amicus, Bectu, and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ)- are due to meet again on Tuesday next week to discuss their next step and said the BBC proposals would be considered then, adding in a joint statement, "The unions are not recommending acceptance of this proposal. However, in order to allow for proper consideration and as a gesture of goodwill, the planned strikes on 31 May and 1 June have been suspended."
BBC director of People, Stephen Dando said: "The BBC believes an opportunity to resolve this dispute is now in sight. We welcome the union's decision to suspend next week's industrial action whilst they consult their members."
"The BBC has tried to be flexible in meeting the unions' concerns," he added, "and we very much hope that is the first step in what will be a productive relationship with the unions in the coming months."
Spelling out more detail in an e-mail to staff, BBC Director-General Mark Thompson says, "Although we made it clear that we could not wish away the reality of the need for change or the scale of the change programme, we approached the talks very flexibly and determined to find a resolution if at all possible."
He then goes on to say the Corporation tabled a number of fresh commitments and assurances, including:
* "A commitment, if the unions agree to the immediate launch of voluntary redundancy schemes in divisions, that no compulsory redundancies will be effected before 1 July 2006 at the earliest."
*"A commitment to review, towards the end of year 2 of the savings plan, the planned post reductions in the content divisions for year 3. The review would examine if new posts created by savings and reinvestment could mitigate the total jobs that will need to be reduced in that third year "
* "A commitment that we will not sell BBC Resources in whole or in part before 1 June 2007 (note: no decision to sell Resources has been taken - we are still reviewing options)"
8* "a commitment that people issues will be a top priority in the sale of BBC Broadcast and in outsourcing arrangements."
2005-05-28: Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) has announced agreement on a USD 5.2 million deal to sell KLBB 1400 AM and KLBP 1470 AM in Minneapolis-St Paul to Davidson Media Group, LLC.: It has been leasing them to the KLBB Company, a subsidiary of Greenspring Company, Minnesota Public Radio's taxable, for-profit affiliate.
The sale does not include the tower or property from which KLBB broadcasts and Davidson Media will use the tower under a lease arrangement. KLBP currently simulcasts the programming of KLBB.
MPR and Greenspring president William Kling said the sale, which would mark the end of MPR's involvement in commercial radio, "aims to further strengthen Minnesota Public Radio's focus on its non-profit public radio mission."
MPR launched a third non-commercial station - KCMP-FM (The Current) - in the Twin Cities in January using the frequency that formerly carried St.Olaf College's classical music public station WCAL-FM (See RNW Jan 27), which it bought for USD 10.5 million. Its other stations are classical music KSJN-FM and news KNOW -FM.
MPR has not said what it will use the proceeds of the sale for but Kling noted requirements for funding ranging from repayment of loans to purchase WCAL, the costs of conversion of stations to digital, and the demands of multicasting that will allow an extra service to be put on an existing frequency. MPR has said the sale will affect ten full-time employees who will be offered pa-offs depending on length of service.
2005-05-28: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) says that in response to adverts placed in April (See RNW Licence News Apr 10) it has received a total of 57 expressions of interest for new commercial services from 44 respondents.
They have come from existing operators and potential new entrants with the largest interest in regional services with proposals for seven services in the Mid-West and four in the North East: There were also expressions of interest in eight quasi-national services and nine for stations in Dublin and its commuter belt.
BCI Chief Executive Michael O'Keeffe said of the submissions: "We are delighted with the number and quality of responses received. The revised approach to the expressions on interest phase of the licensing process has been very successful and this is evident in the quality of the information provided."
"The success of BEAT FM, the first regional service licensed by the BCI," he added, "has evidently convinced others that this model can be successfully replicated in other parts of the country. It is also interesting to note the level of interest in AM broadcasting either in combination with FM to provide quasi-national coverage or on a stand alone basis. A full analysis of all the expressions received is now underway."
Organisations that have put forward submissions are:
Wider area submissions:
National AM - River Media.
National 26 Counties AM -United Christian Broadcasters.
National 26 Counties FM - United Christian Broadcasters.
Quasi National - News 106 Limited.
Quasi - National AM - Irish Christian Broadcasters.
Quasi - National AM-FM Hybrid - Irish Christian Broadcasters & Hybrid Mission Media.
Hybrid National service on AM/FM - Inhouse Technologies.
Multi City (including Dublin) - Fox Radio Ltd; Multi City (including Dublin) + Multi Town - Inhouse Technologies.
Beat FM, Clare FM, Galway Bay FM; Livewire Business Management; Power FM Ltd, Treaty Radio Limited.
North East of Ireland: Expert Promotions; Ollie Brady.
North East of Ireland (including Dublin and Kildare)- Power FM Ltd.:
North East of Ireland (including Fingal and Kildare) - Richard Mc Cullen.
Classic Gold FM.
Various Dublin-area applications:
Dublin: Classic Rock FM, Dublin Oldies Radio, Dublin Rock Radio Ltd; Solas FM.
Dublin and commuter belt: Dublin Rock Radio Ltd (which also put in submission for Dublin plus commuter belt and multi city); Irish Music Radio; Leinster Oldies Radio; Western Star Productions Limited; River Media.
Dublin plus commuter belt AM - Radio Maria Ireland Ltd.
Dublin City and County - GMG Radio Holdings; Radio Maria Ireland Ltd; Tourist Radio Ltd.
Dublin City & County AM - Sunrise Radio Ltd.
Dublin City & Part County - Vibecom Limited.
Dublin City and County and Louth - Premier Broadcasting Limited.
Border counties - Louth to Donegal - North & South Broadcasting.
Connacht - Connacht Broadcasting Services.
Cork City -Peter O' Neill.
Eastern Co. Wicklow & South East Dublin- East Coast FM Radio.
Co. Galway - Foundation in Christ Ministeries Limited.
Galway City and County - Grooveyard.
Co. Kilkenny - Kilkenny Community Communication Co-operative Society.
Limerick City & County Radio - Limerick Broadcast Group.
Midlands and West- County Tipperary Radio Limited & Midlands 103.
Midlands Region - River Media.
Munster - excluding Cork City & Waterford City and County - Radio Kerry.
South Coast of Ireland (Wexford to Cork) AM - Total Broadcast Consultant/ Egidio Giani.
West including Limerick - FGS Accountants.
West and North West - River Media.
Co. Wexford AM - Total Broadcast Consultant / South East Radio.
2005-05-27: Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has switched KXOL-FM in Los Angeles from its ballad-format Spanish Contemporary "El Sol" format to a bilingual "Latino 96.3" format targeted at what the company terms "young Hispanic Angelenos between the ages of 18 and 34."
It says the station will "highlight Reggaeton, an upbeat music genre with roots originating almost 20 years ago in Panama and Puerto Rico that's fast becoming the hottest new musical trend among Spanish - speaking audiences throughout the world. The music mix also includes hip-hop elements appealing to young Hispanics in Los Angeles."
The company has not announced the fate of El Sol's air personalities.
2005-05-27: Conservative US talk host Rush Limbaugh is going to have to wait until at least next week to find out which, if any, of his medical records are to be made available to prosecutors who are investigating whether he was involved in "doctor shopping" at the time he was addicted to the painkiller OxyContin.
The case was to have been heard at the start of this week but Judge Jeffrey Winikoff postponed hearing arguments when he did not receive copies of two defence motions that Limbaugh's attorney Roy Black filed at the end of last week.
The Palm Beach Daily News reported that Winikoff attributed the delay to security procedures put in place after 9/11, requiring paperwork to go through the clerk's office instead of directly to the judge and has rescheduled the case for next Tuesday.
Palm Beach Daily News report:
2005-05-27: UK subscription radio could be established in the UK within five years according to G-Cap executive chairman Ralph Bernard whose company according to the UK Guardian is examining whether such a service would be viable.
The paper says that he "warned that the provision of advertising-free broadcasting by the BBC, with 54% of the UK radio market, could limit subscription radio's growth" and added, "It works there [the US] because there is no BBC."
Speaking at an industry seminar on digital radio he said commercial broadcasters could compete more efficiently with the BBC by taking into account listeners' concerns about interruptions to programmes by advertising breaks.
"The BBC has listeners who listen to it because they don't have commercials. Our job is to ensure that commercials are programmed in a way that is seamless," commented Bernard.
As an example it suggests a GBP 5 (USD 9) a month fee for an advertising free version of Classic FM on digital radio.
RNW comment: If this suggestion is the thin end of yet another wedge to be used to weaken the BBC, we re-iterate our view that for all its faults BBC Radio is worth ten times all the commercial radio in the UK put together.
If the figure suggested is serious, it's such poor value - especially compared to the USD 11.97 (GBP 7) a month Sirius and XM charge for their service of 100 plus channels - that the obvious question is to ask what was put in Bernard's water.
The logical action is to sell his company's shares on the basis that he's so out of touch with reality that there's a serious risk of a major error in trying to get such a service going, although that could be the signal for Clear Channel or Viacom to make a bid.
And if his audience took it seriously, then it shouldn't be long before the shares of other UK radio companies are also up for a US bid.
UK Guardian report:
2005-05-27: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for a USD 7,000 penalty to Golden Gulf Coast Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of WQYZ-FM, Ocean Springs, Mississippi, for failure to maintain the requisite meaningful presence at the station's main studio but has refused to stop the station's sale to Clear Channel.
The Commission denied a petition lodged by WJZD, Inc., licensee of WJZD-FM, Long Beach, Mississippi, to deny transfer of the licence on the basis that GGCB has taken actions which resulted in an unauthorized transfer of control of station to Clear Channel, that the transfer would give Clear Channel an undue concentration of market power in the Biloxi Metro, and that the Commission must hold a hearing on Clear Channel's basic character qualifications before making a determination whether grant of the Assignment Application would serve the public interest.
The FCC accepted that control had not been transferred but that a Local Management Agreement entered into in 2003 was properly set up, rejected the competition for advertising claim, and that the violation was not sufficiently serious to warrant holding a hearing on Clear Channel's qualifications to hold the licence.
It also dismissed another informal objection that had been filed to the deal.
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-05-27: More potential bad news for UK commercial radio has come from the Local Radio Company, which has issued a profit warning saying that revenues fell 2% in April.
The company owns 27 local stations and is far less dependent on national advertising than other companies and its warning indicated that local advertising may not be as resilient as had been thought.
Its results for the first half of the year showed revenues of GBP 9.8 million (USD 17.8 million) including revenues from four stations it has acquired since it was floated on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in May last year: Revenues - for four months - the previous year were GBP 5.6 million (USD 10.2 million) and like-for-like revenues were up 19%.
Overall it had a pre-tax loss of GBP 940,000 (USD 1.71 million), up from GBP 853,000 (USD 1.55 million) in the previous six months but for the first time it made an operating profit albeit a small one of GBP 28,000 (USD 51,000).
During the period national advertising rose by 32%, taking their proportion of the total up from 7% to 10%.
Chief executive Richard Wheatly said his company was not immune to the month's fall in consumer spending and retail profits but on the positive side pointed to the recent statements from Scottish Radio Holdings and Emap that had fared much better than Chrysalis and G-Cap Media.
The company said May revenues are expected to be flat and those for June might show growth.
Previous Local Radio Company:
2005-05-27: Having taken measures to deal with diary problems at larger markets, Arbitron is now turning some attention to the smaller ones and has announced a multi-phase programme designed to increase the stability of its radio audience estimates in 110 small markets that are part of the "condensed market" radio measurement service.
In all Arbitron rates 114 condensed markets which are surveyed and reported twice each year, during the Spring and Fall Surveys using a sample size smaller than the 'standard' two-time per year markets with fewer discrete demographics are reported. The new programme will not be implemented in 4 condensed markets that are embedded in larger metro survey areas.
The programme starts with the release of the Fall 2005 survey results when Arbitron will include the in-tab diaries from the Fall 2005 and Spring 2005 survey when tabulating the audience estimates for the 110 markets involved.
Beginning in January 2007, Arbitron will begin surveying these condensed markets continuously, converting them from two Spring and Fall quarterly reports to Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall: It will take the sample currently allotted for Spring/Fall surveys and distribute it equally across the four quarterly surveys.
Beginning with the release of Spring 2007 reports, ratings reports will be issued quarterly and by the release of the Summer 2007 survey, each market report will be tabulated based on the in-tab diaries from the four most current quarterly surveys, the quarterly rolling sample approach used in Arbitron's RADAR network ratings service.
Dennis Seely, vice president, Marketing, Arbitron Radio, said of the changes, "Our customers in these markets have consistently told us that stability from survey to survey is a paramount need. Working in conjunction with the Radio Advisory Council and our customers, we've developed this program following almost two years of discussion and planning. We are effectively doubling the reported sample and increasing the reliability of the reported estimates and providing two additional reports per year, all without increasing the costs to our subscribers."
2005-05-26: Democrat US Federal Communications Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein has told the Media Institute that US distrust of its media is to a considerable degree because of the hidden commercialisation of media allied with absence of enforcement of regulations to also ensure that the public interest is served.
Adelstein commented, "From the outset, American broadcasting has been based on a commercial model, unlike some of its European counterparts. That model has fuelled the unprecedented success of the American media-the most dynamic and creative in the world.
But careful regulations to ensure that American broadcasters also serve the public interest have been wiped off the books over the last couple of decades. And media consolidation has worsened the problem. "
He said the FCC had perhaps been lax in enforcing rules that required broadcasters to give information about payment made to air things and "a simple disclosure of the source or sponsor of the information does not amount to government-compelled speech, nor does it infringe First Amendment rights of broadcasters. To the contrary, the law protects the rights of the American people to know the source of what is presented to them.
Although most of his remarks were devoted to sponsorship, payment and product placement on TV, Adelstein specifically brought up radio in the context of payments to get songs played and later said, "Another source of great annoyance to many listeners, potentially in violation of the law, is when radio disc jockeys casually mention their enthusiasm for some product or another in the course of their banter. Listeners are left wondering if the on-air personalities really liked the product, or whether the station was paid to promote it. "
"If there was payment of any kind, they better disclose it or they should face the scrutiny of the FCC," he commented, going on to add, "It is a cardinal right of every American to assume that radio and TV programs that appear to be based on authentic editorial judgments of the stations are in fact just that, unless the public is told otherwise."
"After all, the most fundamental responsibility of broadcast stations is to serve the public interest, and broadcasters are accountable to their communities. We have a right to know that people who present themselves to be independent, unbiased experts and reporters are not shills hired to promote a corporate - or governmental - agenda. "
2005-05-26: The Canadian Federal Court of Appeals has begun hearing the appeal by Genex Communications against the decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in July last year not to renew its licence, partly because "the station's hosts were relentless in their use of the public airwaves to insult and ridicule people (See RNW Jul 14, 2004).
At the start of the hearing, which is expected to continue until tomorrow, Guy Bertrand, who represents Genex, said the CRTC's decision was unprecedented and told Chief Justice John Richards, who is presiding over the hearings with Mr. Justice Gilles Létourneau and Mr. Justice Marc Nadon, "Never before in the history of the world, except in totalitarian states, has a radio station been closed, based on its use of words or verbal content. This is pure and simple censorship."
Bertrand argued that it was a matter for the civil courts not the regulator to decide if someone was defamed and said the Commission had no guidelines regarding verbal content.
He also argued that the radio station was not seeking the right to freely insult and abuse people at will. He said it was up to the civil courts, not the CRTC, to rule on whether people were defamed.
"Even if the court decided that it had legal jurisdiction over this matter, this would clearly violate freedom of speech," added Bertrand.
Bertrand tried to block the CRTC from presenting a submission to the court Tuesday, saying it was acting like the police, prosecutor and judge and this would pose problems if they had to go back before the Commission in future.
Genex owner Patrice Demers said he will appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada if he loses the appeal and told reporters outside the court, "It's not up to five bureaucrats of the CRTC to decide what is good or bad to put on the air.''
RNW comment: However this case ends, it highlights the core issue of the laws that are enacted by politicians and how far they think them through. If one assumes that Canada's lawmakers are reasonably competent it must necessarily follow that by allocating the powers they did to the regulator in such cases they did so with the intent and knowledge that at some stage they could be used.
Although we would prefer different means of dealing with such issues, for the courts to rule that the CRTC did not have the power to refuse renewal would certainly be a case of "activism" by the court to use a phrase currently in the news in a different context, albeit the court could consider the response disproportionate, even though Genex had been given some clear warnings.
In the final analysis, if Canada does feel it reasonable to limit what goes over public airwaves - one of the most infamous comments made on the station by one host was a suggestion that disabled older people should be gassed and another host also used the airwaves for attacks on the management of a station that fired him - it has then to decide what level of penalty is appropriate.
If it decides that certain comments have no place on the airwaves - and plenty of people in the US seem to think that such penalties should apply to potty mouths south of the border - then it should debate the matter fully but has the right to do so.
We'd certainly feel it a more civilised reaction to stop some of the extremist comments made on American airwaves than get in a tizzy about a four-letter word. The Taliban, of course, would have disagreed
Montreal Gazette/Canadian Press report:
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2005-05-26: Australian sports radio network SEN (the Sports Entertainment Network) is reported by the Australian to be struggling with high losses and believed to be seeking voluntary liquidation.
The network launched in Melbourne in January last year as SEN1116, the country's first 24/7 sports-talk station, using the frequency of the 3AK radio station in Melbourne, which it leased from Pacific Star Network.
This year it launched in Adelaide launch as SEN1323, leasing the frequency of Australian Radio Network's 5DN.
The network has not fared well in the ratings or with advertisers despite employing a number of high-profile former sportsmen and women as presenters.
SEN web site:
2005-05-26: Japanese radio broadcaster Nippon Broadcasting System Inc (NBS) which on Monday saw control pass to Fuji Television Network Inc after Fuji and Livedoor completed deals to officially end their fight for control of NBS, has announced that it has appointed executive managing director Hiroshi Isohara as president to replace Akinobu Kamebuchi.
It added that Kamebuchi will become executive counsellor and that Vice President Kunio Amai, and two current executive counsellors - former President Shigeaki Hazama and Kamebuchi's predecessor Michiyasu Kawauchi - will resign from their current positions to become advisers
Isohara will take up his new post on June 24 and the Yomiuri Shimbun reports that his prime tasks will be to re-establish the company's relationship with Fuji TV and also sort out its business alliance with Livedoor.
NBS, says the paper, also has to regain confidence from employees and sponsors, some of whom cancelled their advertising contracts during the battle for control between Fuji and Livedoor.
Yomiuri Shimbun report:
2005-05-26: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has received just one application each for three Community of Interest services advertised for the towns of Athlone, Carlow and Dundalk.
They were from Athlone Christian Media Ltd (Way FM Ltd), Carlow Christian Media Ltd, and WordFM Limited. Full details of the applications are to be published on June 1.
2005-05-26: Katy Abraham who with her husband George "Doc" Abraham hosted "The Green Thumb" radio gardening show for 50 years has died aged 83.
They began the show in 1952 on WHAM-AM, Rochester, New York, and their last show aired in December 2002 (See RNW Dec 16, 2002).
George "Doc" Abraham died in January aged 89 of complications from a heart ailment.
Los Angeles Times report:
2005-05-25: A study released by Bridge Ratings indicates that the purchase of an MP3 player initially cuts the owner's listening to radio, significantly more so for those aged under 24 than for older groups, but once the novelty has worn off they return.
When asked to compare their listening with that three months earlier, 19% of those who had owned an MP3 player for less than a month said they listened to radio more and 32% that they listened to radio less; for those who had owned a player for three months the figures were 15% and 30% respectively; and for those who had owned a player for six months 25% said they listened more and eight per cent that they listened less.
RNW comment: The results of this survey, allowing due scepticism about the accuracy of people's memories, don't seem surprising to us. After the first boost of enthusiasm, we'd expect many people to find it too much trouble to keep putting together their own material and to revert to the easier habits of just turning on the radio. We suspect however that podcasting could have more of an effect since once people get into the habit of allowing their computers to automatically load a show they like it's not that much hassle to put it onto a player and we suspect that this process will also end up being automated.
We'd expect that if the choice is turning a switch to get something satisfactory and having to spend any significant time putting together something that is preferable, the simple switch will always get a significant majority taking that option.
If however it were just a matter of putting a player into a cradle and picking it up later with the preferred option being loaded automatically then the balance would tilt somewhat.
Bridge Ratings web site:
2005-05-25: Just a day after BBC Director General Mark Thompson said there was no room for negotiation on plans to cut 4000 BBC jobs that had led to a strike on Monday that took much BBC news programming off air (See RNW May 23), the Corporation has agreed to meet unions at the government-backed Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) for talks, suggesting that there could be some room for compromise.
The unions - Amicus, BECTU, and the National Union of Journalists - have said they will make no further announcements about a further 48-hour strike planned to start on May 31 and a subsequent planned action while the talks are going on.
The unions want a guarantee that there will be no compulsory redundancies, meaning job cuts would take place over a longer period - they say the cuts can be made through voluntary redundancy and natural wastage- and also want a 90-day moratorium on the cuts. They are also opposing the plan to sell the BBC's Broadcast and Resources subsidiaries and outsource professional services departments jobs.
The BBC issued a short statement simply saying, "We can confirm that we have accepted an invitation today from ACAS to meet the unions at their offices on Thursday" whilst Thompson e-mailed staff a rather longer message.
He said that when the BBC received the invitation for talks at ACAS, "We accepted this invitation at once, without preconditions. We welcome the ACAS talks and will attend them in a positive and open-minded spirit."
Thompson also reiterated BBC figures that 62% of people scheduled on duty went to work on the strike day and continued, "Overall there was slightly less disruption to services than we expected. News and live programmes were significantly affected, but there were no blank screens or dead airwaves. Much of the core schedule of our TV and Radio and Music networks continued without change and we maintained a good online service."
"On the other hand," he said, " we were unable to bring listeners some of Radio 4's key programmes and continuous news both on TV and Radio was very constrained in what it could cover; services in the nations and regional television magazine programmes were also particularly hit. We very much regret this loss of service to our audience."
Regarding the planned cuts, Thompson said the plans were "only reached after very careful analysis and thought and they're based on priorities we can't duck. The need to meet the financial targets we agreed with the Government for the existing licence fee settlement. The need to pay for the future vision for the BBC we set out in our bid for a new Charter."
He added that the Corporation had "always recognised that it was important to hear the unions' perspective, to listen to their concerns and ideas and, if possible, work with them to find the best possible way of implementing the changes. That's why we were sorry when they broke off talks and decided instead to ballot for industrial action."
The journalists union said it had never refused talks at ACAS and "will take up the offer" but then went on, "However, given that the BBC has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the need for meaningful negotiations, the NUJ is continuing to prepare for the 48-hr stoppage scheduled to begin next Tuesday."
Its General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: "We have no firm indication that the BBC has anything to add at this stage but we will go to the talks with an open mind. The NUJ has been seeking proper negotiations from day one and we hope the talks at ACAS deliver this. If they don't, our members are ready to take further action next week."
For BECTU, its Assistant General Secretary Gerry Morrissey, said: "We welcome the invitation to talks at ACAS. Clearly the BBC would not have agreed to go unless they were prepared to n The BBC has also announced that it has selected four bidders for BBC Broadcast Limited to enter the next phase of detailed negotiations for its sale, part of the dispute between the Corporation and the unions.
They are Apax Partners, Exponent Private Equity, Macquarie Group and Thomson/Technicolor and John Smith, BBC Chief Operating Officer and Executive Board project sponsor, commented: "These short-listed companies have not only demonstrated an appreciation of the value of BBC Broadcast, but also impressed us with their future growth plans and how they will work in partnership with the BBC in the coming years."
The proposed sale follows the Corporation's internal review of its commercial businesses that concluded that, whilst the services provided by division are vital to the BBC, they did not necessarily need to remain owned by the BBC.
In another development over the BBC's future, it has released its response to the Government's Green Paper published in March last year: it says it is positive about the paper and welcomed many of its proposals but felt it underestimated the impact of emerging digital technologies on the relationship with audiences.
BBC chairman Michael Grade said that the BBC Board of Governors welcomed the decision to grant a new Charter for ten years with continued licence fee funding and the replacement of the governors by a BBC Trust that would have the final say on the launch by it of new services.
However it urged that the government wait until digital switchover before starting its next funding review. He also expresses the Corporation's fundamental opposition to the idea of "top-slicing" the licence fee- allowing other broadcasters to bid for funding for areas such as arts, educational, religious, and other public service programming.
Grade called the suggestion, made in the green paper and being pitched by ITV chief executive Charles Allen and Lord (Melvyn) Bragg its head of arts, as a "thoroughly bad idea." The BBC said it would "be damaging for UK audiences It would not be an efficient or effective use of public funding, since it would both spread limited resources more thinly and could increasingly substitute for other sources of investment."
2005-05-25: Former Infinity WYCD-FM, Detroit, DJ Erin Weber has been awarded USD 10.6 million in damages against Infinity by a federal jury: She had been fired in 2001 and alleged that this resulted from an allergy to another host's perfume.
Weber alleged that Infinity discriminated against her over allergy-related disability and retaliated after she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Infinity said she was fired for not turning up for work and that it had Infinity said it asked the other woman to stop wearing the perfume, which she did, and also modified Weber's schedule so she wouldn't come into contact with her.
Weber said exposure to the perfume Tresor -- described by its maker Lancôme as a combination of rose, lilac and other scents - led to her losing her voice and taking take lengthy absences from work.
The award, made after eight days of deliberation by a six-member all-woman jury, was comprised of USD 7 million in punitive damages, USD 2 million for mental anguish and emotional distress and USD 1.6 million for past and future compensation.
Infinity is to appeal
RNW comment: Whilst sympathy is in order this case - and our normal instinct is to support the underdog all things being equal - on the surface this case seems tailor-made for Infinity to overturn most of the award on appeal and we suspect the lawyers will end up doing much better then Weber. If the harm can be shown to be caused by an allergy to the perfume then our view is that any case should be primarily against its makers and Infinity, which presumably can have had no inkling whatsoever that the perfume could cause a problem, seems to have acted reasonably in asking for the other host to cease using the perfume and also in rescheduling Weber's working time.
We're also not quite sure why a matter of injury caused by one woman's perfume to another should come under the aegis of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission - unless that is Weber is claiming that women are more susceptible to allergies to perfume than men. And we bet there'd have be a court case the other way if males somewhere complained about females wearing perfume and bans were instituted. We'd need a lot of convincing that this award is in any way reasonable.
Detroit Free Press/AP report:
2005-05-25: UK Emap has issued a bullish preliminary statement, saying current trading in most of its UK divisions was good and that for radio, where it described current trading as reasonable, it expects growth in the current quarter with a 5% year-on-year fall in April to be outweighed by a 24% rise in May - mainly because of what Emap termed "bad deals" made last year - with June remaining in positive territory.
Overall for the year to the end of March its "normalised" turnover was up 2% to GBP 1.068 billion (USD 1.959 billion) with operating profit up 7% to GBP 229 million (USD 420 million), pre-tax profit up 5% to GBP 205 million (USD 376 million) and earnings per share up 4% to 57.9 pence.
Emap increased its dividend 6% to 24.9 pence per share. In divisional terms the weak points for Emap were UK TV airtime and its French operations.
Emap radio revenues, which include income from digital multiplexes, was up 2% to GBP 98 million (USD 180 million), but profits fell 8% to GBP 22 million (USD 40 million), largely because of the impact of investment in the company's new Birmingham heavy metal station Kerrang!.
The figures do not include a non-cash impairment charge of £30 million, the non-cash amortisation of goodwill, including goodwill on associates, of GBP 55 million (USD 101 million), loss on business disposals or closures of GBP 6 million (USD 11 million), and post acquisition reorganisation costs of GBP 2 million (USD 7.7 million):Including these its "statutory" showed operating profit down 12% to GBP 142 million (USD 260 million), pre-tax profit down 22% to GBP 112 million (USD 205 million) and earnings per share down 40% to 21.6 pence
Commenting on the results Group Chief Executive Tom Moloney, said, "Even in a tough year for Emap, we've achieved normalised EPS growth of 4%. Our UK consumer magazine and B2B businesses have performed well, but trading conditions have been more difficult in radio and in France. We have started the new financial year well, and although the economic outlook is uncertain, we are in line to deliver against our full year expectations."
Also in the UK, G-CAP owned Xfm, whose weekday breakfast host Christian O'Connell has been hired by Virgin (See RNW May 19), has hired Lucio, the drive time host from Emap's Kerrang! Station in the West Midlands as its weekend breakfast host to replace Sarah Darling.
Lucio this month won the 2005 Sony Gold award for The Daily Music Show of the Year (See RNW May 10).
His talent agency, Wise Buddha, commented on its web site that the move put him in a good position to bid for O'Connell's slot but said the station refused to comment on possibly priming him for this, although it said it expected "big things" of him.
Xfm programme controller Andy Ashton said Lucio was "one of the most exciting new radio DJs in the UK" and added, "We pride ourselves at Xfm on being able to spot the next big thing and we've definitely found it in Lucio."
Darling will remain with the station and continue to work on Music: Response with Ian Camfield.
Lucio began in radio at the University of Bradford station and then worked for Chrysalis on its Galaxy stations in Manchester, the northeast and Yorkshire before joining Emap-owned Hallam FM where in 2002 he launched the Late Night Lucio show.
Wise Buddha report re Lucio:
2005-05-25: Disney-ABC Chicago news/talk WLS-AM has hired talk radio veteran Kipper McGee as program director to replace Michael Packer who resigned in February (See RNW Feb 24).
McGee's most recent work has been as a consultant for Talk Radio Network and he was quoted by Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times as saying that landing the WLS job "a dream come true" and adding, "Most of my life I've lived within the Big 89 and followed every move, every step in the evolution of WLS with great interest. It's far more than just a radio station to me."
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
2005-05-25: Cumulus has announced that it is dropping Interep as its national sales representative after seven years with the company and moving its business to Clear Channel-owned Katz Media.
Katz will represent Cumulus's entire portfolio of 310 stations in 61 markets.
Commenting on the agreement, Cumulus' Chairman and CEO Lew Dickey, who when the company released its results earlier this month had hinted that a move might be on the cards (See RNW May 4) commented, "We are excited about our new partnership with Katz which expands upon the success we've enjoyed with them in our suburban New York markets."
The switch is another big loss for Interep, which lost Citadel's business to Katz in 2003 (See RNW Oct 4, 2003).
And not just losing business but now moving to being completely out of it is Big City Radio, which filed a certificate of dissolution in December 2003 (See RNW Dec 24, 2003), subsequently distributed its Entravision shares amongst its stockholders (See RNW Feb 10, 2004) and has now moved to distribute its remaining cash.
Its board has approved the distribution of some USD 2.75 million to holders of record in its stock as of May 24 on the basis of 19 cents per share. The distribution is to be paid on June 3 and it expects this to be its final distribution to its stockholders.
Previous Big City:
2005-05-24: Veteran Baltimore radio newsman Bob Lopez, who had been with WIYY-FM (Rock 98) for 27 years - he joined it as morning newsman in 1978- and was part of its Kirk, Mark & Lopez morning team for the past eight years - has died of lung cancer aged 52.
He had been in hospital for 14 months, first informing listeners of his illness in an interview from a hospital bed in March last year, and had continued to take part in the morning show whilst under treatment.
He had made light of his illness and the station featured him in a TV campaign last year in bed attached to tubes and monitors with co-hosts Kirk McEwen and Mark Ondayko holding a vigil at his bedside and the slogan, "Listen -- or we pull the plug!"
His widow Jean "Trixie" Lopez told the Baltimore Sun that her husband had been listening to rock music and cracking jokes until he lost consciousness a few hours before his death, commenting, "His philosophy was to live life and not to live the cancer, and he did that. He was just so direct with everything, so what you saw was who he was."
The station's web site carried a line saying "The battlements of the Hearst Broadcast Castle won't be the same without him" and described him as "Lopez - the longest running newsman in rock radio. He outlasted 14 different morning shows in his 27 year career."
In an official statement General Manager Ed Kiernan said, "Since 98 Rock's inception over 28 years ago, we have had more than 10 morning shows. Every show included, 'Lopez'. He was the driving force behind each show. An unabashed liberal, he was absolute in his beliefs. Lopez was extremely bright, incredibly passionate with an extraordinary sense of humour. He was 'one of a kind'.
The statement also says that in lieu of flowers a scholarship is to be set up in the name of his 13-years-old daughter Leandra.
Chuck DuCoty, who was 98 Rock program director from 1981 to 1991 before moving on to Milwaukee with Clear Channel and then Emmis in Chicago and last year became chief operating officer of The New Radio Group, told the Sun, "I think the one thing people might not realize is what a pioneer he was."
DuCoty noted that when Lopez joined the station most rock newscasts were fluff but he "wrote about serious news and serious issues ... but he wrote it in a way that the target audience -- specifically 18-to-24- year-old males - liked."
Lopez, he said, emerged as the No. 1 personality at 98 Rock, adding, "I'd go out and do appearances at bars or remotes or concerts and invariably the person that people wanted to talk about was Lopez."
Last month Lopez handed over just under USD 10,000 to the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, funds raised from sales of the stations "Laugh Hard" bracelets, commenting at the time that he felt fortunate that his illness gave him "the unfortunate opportunity to find out how many people truly in our area who have known me almost 30 years of my professional life, and what they think of me, and almost all of them think good things about me."
Baltimore Sun report:
98 Rock web site (Links to tributes from listeners):
2005-05-24: European broadcaster SBS Broadcasting SA has reported first quarter 2005 revenues up 24% to Euros 175.1 million (USD 219.8 million) with adjusted EBITDA up 77% to Euros 8.1 million (USD 10.2 million) and net loss down 21% from Euros 3.9 million (USD 4.9 million) a year ago to Euros 3.1 million (USD 3.88 million).
Excluding the impact of newly acquired businesses, C More, Prima TV and Romanian Radio stations, and the recently launched television stations, The Voice TV, VijfTV and Irisz, net revenue was up 13% and adjusted EBITDA was up 121%.
Commenting on the results CEO Markus Tellenbach said the company had "continued to improve our operating performance" and added that its "revenue growth outpaced the market in most of our territories."
"We also continued to invest in popular programming, start-up operations and complementary activities," he continued. "Through the successful launch of new digital channels and the acquisition of the C More Group we are rapidly expanding and diversifying our revenue streams. Moreover, we are executing this growth strategy in a manner that enables us to continue to expand our cash generating ability."
Tellenbach also noted a successful Euros 325 million (USD 408 million) bank refinancing that had allowed it repay its our C More acquisition debt and defeased and called for redemption our 12% Senior Notes, a move that will significantly reduce future interest rates.
" As we are not heavily leveraged based on our cash flows and total net debt," he said, "we are in a strong position to capitalize on the rapidly developing digital content market while continuing to seek prudent expansion opportunities to drive growth."
In divisional terms, SBS TV revenues were up 16.5% to Euros 133.2 million (USD 167.3 million), producing operating income of Euros 494,000 (USD 620,000), radio revenues were up 10.4% to Euros 12.9 million (16.2 million) with the divisional operating loss down from Euros 3.2 million (USD 4.1 million) to Euros 2.1 million (USD 2.7 million), and print revenues were up 7.8% to Euros 15.8 million (USD 19.8 million) converting a year-ago loss of Euros 2.5 million (USD 3.2 million) to operating income of Euros 188,000 (USD 236,000).
Previous SBS SA:
2005-05-24: UK media regulator Ofcom upheld no complaints against radio or TV in its latest bulletin just published compared to one radio complaint partly upheld and four TV complaints upheld in its previous bulletin.
In addition it considered three standards cases - two TV and one radio - resolved, gave details but did not uphold two TV standards cases and considered one TV fairness case resolved and two more not upheld.
The radio case consider resolved related to a track aired on GWR's Planet Rock that the complainant said included repeated use of the word "fuck" when he was listening with his young daughter at 17:30.
GWR had said that the track, You're Crazy by Guns 'N' Roses, was played as part of a 'Classic Album' feature: It added that audiences for such specialist shows tend to be relaxed about the use of strong language but nevertheless it had not intended to play an unedited version at that time and the track had subsequently been edited for broadcast and the production team reminded of the importance of reviewing such material before broadcast.
Ofcom said that in view of the action taken and apology given, it considered the matter resolved.
In addition to cases where details were given a further 17 radio complaints relating to 17 items and 101 TV complaints relating to 93 items were rejected or held to be out of remit with no further details given: This compares to a further 16 radio complaints relating to 15 items and 105 TV complaints relating to 93 items listed in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2005-05-24: Reporting on the move by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's publishing company, Mondadori into radio, the International Herald Tribune says that over the next two months it is to revamp Radio 101, whose purchase it completed in January this year (See RNW Jan 25).
The report notes that Mondadori's chief executive Maurizio Costa has said he wants to buy other stations but opportunities are scarce so it is too "early to tell if Radio 101 One-O-One will indeed be the first step in the making of a Mondadori radio empire."
Berlusconi has no direct role in running Mondadori but his daughter Marina Berlusconi is the chairwoman and his son Pier Silvio Berlusconi sits on the board and the Tribune says how the station reports news will be a major factor in the intensity of any attacks on the Prime Minister who has been accused of abusing his office to boost his business interests.
"It is already worrying that the prime minister owns the biggest media empire, so any expansion in the sector, whether it be in radio or anything else, is even more worrying," Giuseppe Giulietti, an opposition member of Parliament who deals with media issues, told the paper. "And this should not be something that worries just Berlusconi's political opponents, it should bother anybody who is interested in having a free market."
Expressing a less critical view, Andrea Alemanno, a director of research at market research company Ipsos Public Affairs, said, "We have to understand first why he is moving into radio before we can see what the public reaction will be. With the exception of a few intellectuals, the question about Berlusconi's conflict of interest doesn't excite Italians very much so there probably won't be a public outcry even if the radio station is successful."
Radio is a fast growing sector of Italian media and according to Nielsen Media Research increased revenues by 41% to Euros 400 million (USD 502 million) compared to a 16% increase for TV to Euros 4.6 billion (USD 5.8 billion) whilst newspaper revenues fell 4% to Euros 913 million (USD 1.15 billion) and magazine revenues were flat at Euros 1.2 billion (USD 1.5 billion).
International Herald Tribune report:
09:00GMT BBC Strike Update:
The one-day strike by BBC staff to protest at job cuts (See below) have taken off the air virtually all live news shows on its main Radio 4 speech channel and badly affected news shows on other stations.
On Radio 4, the shows cancelled and replaced with recorded shows included the breakfast Today programme, Start the Week (replaced by a pre-recorded edition), Woman's Hour, the World at One, PM, Front Row, You and Yours, Money Box Live, Four Corners, PM, Six-O-Clock News, Front Row, The World Tonight and the Midnight News.
Good Morning Scotland on BBC Scotland was also cancelled and other news shows in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland and on local stations were either cancelled or affected.
Virtually all the BBC's big-name news presenters on radio and TV did not turn up - some had already said they would refuse to cross picket lines - reducing output on BBC Radio Five Live and World service.
One name who did go on air was Shelagh Fogarty on BBC Radio Five Live - her co-host Nicky Campbell was not there for the breakfast show nor was morning show presenter Julian Worricker and the 08:00 GMT news report on the strike on the channel was provided by editor Jim Buchanan from BBC newsgathering in place of media correspondent, Torin Douglas.
Programmes on the station have been padded out with extended newspaper reviews and pre-recorded reporter packages from Sunday.
There were normal breakfast shows on BBC Radio 1 - hosted by Chris Moyles - and Radio 2- hosted by Terry Wogan.
2005-05-23: Most BBC News programmes will be off the air today and others were affected soon after midnight Sunday when corporation staff began to stage the first of four scheduled strikes to protest at plans to cut up to 4,000 jobs as part of a plan by the Corporation's Director-General Mark Thompson to save around GBP 350 million (USD 650 million) over the next few years.
Unions and staff have complained about a lack of consultation before the plans were announced and many star presenters have said that they will join the action or will not cross picket lines.
In national programming the flagship Radio 4 "Today" breakfast show has already been cancelled as has the BBC 2 TV "Newsnight" late night news and current affairs show and most BBC Radio 4 and Radio Five Live shows that rely on live presentation are likely to be badly hit including Woman's Hour, The World at One, PM, and the World Tonight on BBC Radio 4.
News shows in the regions plus Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are also expected to be hard hit and the disruption will also affect output on Tuesday because items will not have been prepared in advance.
There has been support for BBC staff from other broadcasters including staff from Chrysalis's LBC news station in London who will hand out croissants and orange juice to strikers on the BBC picket lines.
In a letter to the journalists union, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) they said, "We don't wish to take sides in this dispute; we just wanted to show support and solidarity for the colleagues and friends whose jobs are in jeopardy."
The NUJ has urged journalists, trades unions, and civic leaders in the UK and Ireland to support the strike and not co-operate with BBC requests for comment, stories, pictures, interviews or requests to appear as guests.
2005-05-23: A mixed bag this week in our look at print comment on radio, starting in the US with Low Power FM, which is now four years old and proving its value according to a recent report by Mike Janssen in Current Magazine although it notes that it has been limited to smaller towns and cities as a result of a congressional decision, after heavy lobbying from commercial radio, to insist on third-adjacent channel protection, thus limiting considerably the areas where stations could be started.
Current looks at three stations of the 633 LPFMs listed as on the air as of May 19 by the web site LPFMDatabase.com, which also notes that 1212 LPFM have been granted with 230 Construction Permits cancelled, 983 CPs listed as active, and 917 call signs assigned.
The stations are WUVS in Muskegon, Michigan, KREV in Estes Park, Colorado, and KYRS in Spokane, Washington State, and they span a range that illustrates what Hannah Sassaman, program director for the pro-LPFM Prometheus Radio Project says is a "true diversity" "we couldn't have anticipated."
WUVS says Current "has a professional sound, a paid staff and the can-do attitude of a much bigger broadcaster."
Its general manager and program director Paul Billings, a former corrections officer who invested his 401(k) savings in the station, says he retains a paid staff of 11 rather than use volunteers because "you can write them up; you can come down harder on them."
It has an annual budget of around USD 150,000 and when it went on air in 2002filled a local gap in a market where no station was catering to African-Americans or playing urban music: Current notes that it was the only station in town to carry his speech when President Bush campaigned in Muskegon, and the only one to warn listeners to boil their water after a water main broke- it was the only station in town with a live deejay at the controls.
In contrast to the "professional sound" that Billings aspires to, KREV, the first LPFM run by a United Methodist Church, whose members put up most of the USD 20,000 needed to get it running airs choral and inspirational music in early mornings and then later in the day turns to jazz, folk, classical and world music. Its staff, reports Current, record concerts and interviews in Estes Park, and the station might soon add locally written and performed radio dramas to its regular broadcasts of the old Lux Radio Theater hour.
Station manager Paul Saunders commented, "I've heard it's been said that we're bringing good old radio back. If they're willing to put up with amateur radio, then we're excited to do it."
In Spokane, KYRS sticks closer to the traditional community radio model with volunteers hosting programs featuring jazz, blues, hip-hop, indie rock, punk, heavy metal and Persian and Russian music. Two shows are in Spanish and public affairs shows include interviews, environmental news and syndicated programs such as Democracy Now and Free Speech Radio News.
It is operated by Spokane's Citizens for Clean Air and was started up by getting 120 listeners to donate USD100 each and join a "founding members" circle. Its only paid staffer, station manager Lupito Flores, says its goal is to "give a little slice of the airwaves back to the community."
KRYS reports Current is an early collaborator with full-power community stations, a practice that could become more widespread and its volunteers have attended workshops led by staffers from KBCS in Bellevue, a Seattle suburb, and KBOO in Portland, Oregon.
Still with US non-commercial radio we noted an article in the Jewish Week by its Washington correspondent James D. Besser that expressed concern about the possible effect of lobbying against National Public Radio's middle east coverage becoming entangled in Bush administration attempts to curb what it sees as "liberal bias" in NPR.
Besser quotes University of Richmond political scientist Akiba Covitz as saying, "It's a very complicated situation for the Jewish community. This controversy is part of a broader trend of trying to limit criticism of the president. He wants no government money going to anyone who does not support him, and that means NPR."
Besser notes that The New York Times reported that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which doles out Congressional funding for public broadcasters, may monitor NPR news for indications of bias in Mid East news, a move that reportedly came in response to complaints from pro-Israel media watchdog groups and major Republican campaign contributors, including Cheryl Halpern, a former chair of the Republican Jewish Coalition who serves on the CPB board.
At the same time the report quotes a number of Jewish leaders as insisting that NPR is biased against Israel but then says an official with a major Jewish group commented, "There are real risks here. This is going to be seen as an attempt at censoring the press. Do we want Jewish and pro-Israel organizations to be associated with that? "The administration isn't cracking down on NPR because it's unfair to Israel; it's cracking down because it doesn't like the coverage of its policies. Our concerns could get lost in the backlash to that."
[RNW note: What we have heard on NPR does not to us indicate so much an anti-Israel bias as one that recognizes injustice to Palestinians and, as with all reporting, cannot always establish facts promptly. That said, we have seen no evidence of deliberate attempts to mislead by NPR, which is more than can be said of some statements from the US and Israeli Armies and by extension their countries' governments (as for example in the US Army allowing a memorial service for Pat Tillman to be conducted as if he had been killed by enemy action when the US Army knew his death to be a result of American fire and an were aware an investigation had determined the death was caused by an act of "gross negligence"].
And in a third report on US public broadcasting a brief note on an Associated Press report we saw in the New York Times on the start of a 24-city tour to gather audio of US memories by the StoryCorps Project, sponsored by NPR and the CPB among others.
The project was created by radio documentary maker David Issay and will involve two mobile recording studios touring the US and recording interviews with people by someone from the project or of family and friends interviewing each other. Those participating receive a CD of the interview and a second copy will go to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress where it will become part of a digital archive.
The report gives details of the reasons and some of the stories of people who have taken part so far
On then to commercial radio and first a UK Independent report by Tim Luckhurst on Xfm breakfast host Christian O'Connell's move to Virgin.
The introduction summed up the context of the move: "It is known as 'the curse of the Sonys'. Your top presenter wins a clutch of Sony awards, the Oscars of the radio industry, and next thing you know he has been poached by a rival willing to make an exceptionally generous offer."
O'Connell will move to Virgin's breakfast show and Luckhurst comments that in the UK "radio's early morning dominance has been dented, but not broken."
"Getting ready for work or school, Britain listens to the wireless," he writes. "Many listeners are half asleep, but breakfast is the battleground on which the success of entire radio stations is built."
Paul Brown, chief executive of the Commercial Radio Companies Association, agreed and commented: "Traditionally, radio has been a morning medium, television an evening medium. It is hard-wired into the DNA of the British. People don't have time for a primary medium in the morning. Radio is a secondary medium. It fits into people's lives while they are performing ablutions, picking up their tool-box and making toast."
Paul Jackson, Virgin's acting chief executive, who first proposed O'Connell for the Xfm job when he was working for Capital and is delighted to have enticed him to Virgin, added, "Your breakfast show is your flagship. It defines the entire tone of your station. Listeners who tune in at breakfast time may stay for the whole day. It is the time when the biggest possible audience is available."
Of O'Connell he said," "He is the number one radio broadcaster of his generation. He has grown and grown. In an ocean where they are very few and far between, Christian is a giant."
And the qualities needed? Brown says, "Great radio presenters are extremely rare. You can't train them. They are either good at creating a microcosmic world in which people want to join them or they are not. They work in a tiny, closed environment, surrounded by white walls and flashing lights, almost completely alone, and yet perform to millions as if they are talking to two or three intimate friends. They have to be extrovert and introvert at the same time."
And also from the UK, some fairly perceptive comment on radio soaps by Paul Donovan in his Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times.
In "Soaps in a Lather" he notes that this week the BBC Asian network will mark the first birthday of its "Silver Street " soap, the "Archers" will steal its thunder with a wedding of 80-year-old Julia Pargetter, and later this year BBC World Service will kill off Westway after eight years.
Donovan comments on both Westway - "Tuning in after a long absence last week, I realised I no longer knew who anyone was or what was going on. There was nothing to grasp, no character who seemed remotely familiar"; Silver Street - "The same fate seems to have overtaken Silver Street, which needs more karma and less drama. Where is that nice Hindu family, the Chauhans, doing their best to raise four children? Their daughter has been secretly dating an older man, a Muslim. They have lost out as the focal point to the flashy footballer Jaggy Singh, who has been cheating on his pregnant girlfriend, Simran. The first birthday of Britain's first Asian soap is being "celebrated" by her stabbing him in the leg, showering his flat with blood. It is all rather grotesque, not so much Silver Street as Sleazy Street."; and the Archers - "The Archers, by contrast, makes you feel at home within a few minutes - even if you have been away. All classes and types are here. You know the characters because of the words they use, their sighs and pauses. There is the cad (Brian), the flirt (Tom), the oik (Matt), the closet fascist (Sid) and the parvenu (Lynda), but it is all beautifully nuanced, funny and familiar, and full of evocative sound effects that tell you where you are. Political correctness makes an occasional appearance, of course, but so does brucellosis. One gets used to it."
He concludes, "I wish Silver Street well, but it is full of strain and tension. I urge all concerned to listen to The Archers - made by a broadcaster whose expertise has helped create similar radio soaps in Russia, Afghanistan, Burma and Nigeria - to see how it should be done."
After that suggested listening, and for anyone who wants to listen or go further The Archers will presumably be unaffected by today's BBC strike and has a whole section of the website for audio and other details.
After which straight to controversy and today's edition of Counterpoint on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National in which Wolfgang Kaspar in " Muslims, Democracy, and the Rise of Terrorism" expresses concern over the manner in which democracy is being parachuted into various Muslim cultures and US Hoover fellow and self-described "libertarian" Jennifer Roback Morse talks about the roles of marriage in Western cultures and puts her case against "gay marriage"
Also from the ABC is last week's Europeans which in "Heroes and Villains" examines the re-assessment of history going on in Europe sixty years after the second World War, a conflict in which Hollywood and much American myth airbrushes out the 27 million estimated deaths in the former Soviet Union never mind around 11 million Chinese Deaths -the UK toll by comparison was around 390,000 and the American fewer than 300,000.
Then back to BBC Radio 4 and for a change in tone from last Friday we'd suggest "The Day I Met The Queen" in which various people who have - met her that is - reminisce about the meeting: No suggestion of Republican bias for this programme.
From BBC Radio 2 we'd suggest "The Real Eurovision" from Saturday in which Steve Lamacq put his ear to the musical scenes of France, Germany and Spain and next Saturday (19:30 GMT) when "The Songs of the Byrds: A Legacy" looks at how the sound of this 60's band influenced many musicians.
Also next Saturday from BBC Radio 3 there is the start, in Jazz File at 17:00 GMT, of a three-part series on the history of Riverside Records, a label behind many key albums in the 50s and early 60's and following it at 17:30 is Opera on 3 (RNW note: Unlike other recommendations this is not normally available on demand but just as a live programme) which next Saturday features Ernest Chausson's only opera, " Le Roi Arthus" on the legend of King Arthur.
Flipping back to Jazz at 12:30 GMT tomorrow BBC Radio 4 brings back a new series of Ken Clarke's Jazz Greats in which the former British Chancellor (Finance Minister) today looks at the life of Dizzy Gillespie.
Africa next and more Radio 4 now with this week's Book of the Week (Monday to Friday 08:45 GMT with a repeat at 23:30 GMT) which in "On Being African" features the experiences of five African writers plus in the 14:45 GMT slot "Africa's Fourth Estate" that looks at various aspects of African media.
And to end with two more from BBC Radio 4 - at 19:00 GMT tonight in the second of his "The Things We Forgot to Remember" - last week's edition on The Battle of Mers El Kebir when the British sank much of the French Fleet to stop it getting into German Hands is still available until then - another former Conservative Minister - Michael Portillo - looks at the Spanish Armada.
Its followed by a programme to delight or dismay depending on your point of view: "Cashier Number Six Please" at 19:30 GMT looks at automated voices.
Current Magazine - Janssen:
Jewish Week -Besser:
KREV web site:
KYRS web site:
New York Times/AP - StoryCorps Project:
UK Independent - Luckhurst:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
WUVS web site:
2005-05-23: Australia's inaugural 2005 Gold Siren Award, for creative excellence in radio advertising has been won by the Victoria Bitter campaign, which uses comedy and the Victoria Bitter theme song to sell beer.
The advert, written by Josh Stephens and Ben Coulson from George Patterson Partners (Melbourne), and produced with creative director, James McGrath, will be entered automatically for the Cannes Radio Lions awards.
2005-05-22: Last week saw preparations for the introduction of digital radio in Australia and movement on community radio funding in the UK and Ireland but routine activity elsewhere with only routine radio decisions in the US.
In Australia the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has moved on with preparations for digital radio by launching a consultation about use of spectrum and whether some spectrum should be held back for digital use (See RNW May 21). It also released two rulings that stations had breached industry codes by not responding to a complaint and upheld the substance of a complaint against one of the stations (See RNW May 20).
On the licence front it has invited applications for two new community radio stations for the Upper Murray region of NSW and Victoria. The deadline for applications is July 8.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a fairly quiet week with just a few radio related decisions. In order of province they included:
*Refusal of application to amend the licence of youth-oriented contemporary Christian music station CFEQ-FM, Winnipeg, to allow it to change the way in which it spends on Canadian Talent Development (CTD):
The station wanted to phase out spending on scholarships and producing CDs and increase its spending on local music concerts or on concerts involving local artists and to add a CTD initiative entailing annual expenditures on audio recordings, video productions, and/or talent contests.
In refusing the commission noted, "CTD commitments are one of the standard criteria against which applications for new licences are assessed and that they form the basis for conditions of licence" and added, "The Commission expects applicants to seriously reflect on the worth and practicality of the various types of CTD plans before finalizing their applications. The Commission considers that changes to such conditions of licence should only be requested in the most exceptional cases."
*Approval of frequency change and power increase from 50 watts to 250 watts for CHPD-FM Aylmer, changes that will change the status of the station from a low power unprotected service to a regular Class A1 FM service. The CRTC noted that CHPD-FM is a German-language FM radio station of particular interest to members of the local German-speaking Mennonite community, a great many of whom do not speak English and said it provides four hours of programming per day to a rural area that has no other local broadcaster.
*Approval of power decrease from 14,000 watts to 5,270 watts allied with antenna height and transmitter relocation for CKLY-FM, City of Kawartha Lakes (Lindsay).
*Approval of conversion to FM of soft Adult Contemporary CHUC-AM, Cobourg, to FM: It allowed three months simulcasting of the Am signal with that of the new 1,030 watts FM but refused to allow it for six months.
The CRTC rejected opposition from CHUM Limited, licensee of CKPT-AM and CKQM-FM, Peterborough, and Corus Entertainment Inc., the parent of the licensee of CKRU-AM and CKWF-FM Peterborough: They had objected on the basis of possible effects on advertising in the Peterborough market.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has appointed a Commissioning Officer for its Broadcasting (Funding) Scheme, and also published announced after an extensive review of the Scheme it has carried out in conjunction with The Community Radio Forum of Ireland (CRAOL) (See RNW May 19).
In the UK, Ofcom has also been active in terms of community licences and has published its Community Radio Fund policy statement (See RNW May 21).
Ofcom has also published details of its reason for awarding the new commercial FM licence for Banbury to The Bear ("The New 102 Ltd") against competition from two other applications (See RNW Feb 10).
It notes that when the licence was advertised it advised that in assessing factors for the award it would be likely to place particular emphasis on the ability of each applicant to maintain its proposed service for the duration of the licence period and would also be likely to consider speech content more important than music.
In making the award it said it "considered that the ownership of The Bear by CN Group, which owns a number of radio stations including the one of the same name in nearby Stratford-upon-Avon, would allow the new Banbury service to benefit from being part of an experienced, financially stable, company able to utilize the sharing of human and other resources between stations located in close proximity."
"The group's ability to maintain its proposed service," added Ofcom, "was further demonstrated through its audience and revenue forecasts, which were based on realistic expectations, consistent with its own experience, of the likely performance of a station serving a small market such as
Ofcom also noted commitments to 25% speech output in daytime, and the broadcast of two extended news bulletins each day and in terms of providing evidence of support for the bid commented that the Bear's application "provided the strongest evidence of likely demand for its format and programming proposals, by way of market research, the results of which supported both the music mix and the specific speech elements."
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-05-22: Los Angeles KBBT-FM (The Beat) morning host Steve Harvey has left his morning show on the Radio One station after a five-year run saying he wants to spend more time with his family according to the Los Angeles Times.
His place is to be taken by the seven-foot-tall former NBA star John Salley, co-host of Fox Sports Net's "Best Damn Sports Show Period."
Harvey boosted KKBT's ratings when he moved to the station in September 2000, moving to the top of the English-language morning shows in the market and in winter 2001 had a 4.8% share, more than double the stations share a year earlier but his ratings had been slipping and in the most recent ratings was tied for eighth place.
The paper quotes KKBT general manager Sue Freund as saying the station was not dropping him because of ratings and saying, "His ratings were suffering, but we weren't trying to get rid of him. He'd still be on the air if he didn't want to leave . Steve Harvey's done a lot for us as a radio station."
The paper says it could not reach him for comment but in a statement released by KKBT before his last show on Friday he said, "My last day on air will be a painful one, and as I close the door on this chapter, please know that the people of Los Angeles have made me a better person, and I thank them for that."
The WB network last week cancelled a third season of Harvey's variety show "Steve Harvey's Big Time" and Freund said the host was in talks to work on future radio and TV projects with Radio One.
She said that Harvey, who had started syndication of his show in Dallas, where his family lives, had first asked to cut back on the Dallas show and then asked about leaving altogether.
Previous Radio One:
Los Angeles Times report:
2005-05-21: Following the decision by the Florida Supreme Court not to hear US talk host Rush Limbaugh's appeal against an earlier Appeals court decision that seizure of his medical records under a search warrant was legal (See RNW Apr 29), the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office has now filed a motion to open the records, which had been sealed whilst the various legal actions progressed.
The records are being held by Palm Beach Circuit Judge Jeffrey Winikoff who in 2003 allowed prosecutors to take the records and a hearing has been set before him on Monday.
According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Limbaugh's attorneys are expected to ask the judge to review the records privately to determine which are relevant to the investigation.
An opening to allow this is in the motion to open the records filed by Assistant State Attorney James L. Martz: It says, "The State of Florida has been advised by Petitioner's counsel that he intends to avail himself of the suggestion of the appeals court for review of the records by the issuing judge. The State of Florida has no objection to withholding all disclosure to any third parties of any information that it reviews contained in the records pending timely filing by Petitioner for hearing on scope of records seized and/or disclosure to third parties of records irrelevant to this prosecution."
South Florida Sun-Sentinel report:
2005-05-21: The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA), preparing for the introduction of digital radio, is asking for comments on whether it should restrict the allocation of frequency suitable for digital audio broadcasts (DAB) so as to ensure that it will be available when digital is introduced.
The ABA noted that" For digital radio to be introduced a pre-requisite is the availability of suitable spectrum different digital radio technologies require different frequency bands and the candidate bands are already extensively used. In most cases, they are also under continuing demand for other services, especially analogue radio and digital television."
"In contrast to the situation with the digital conversion of free-to-air television," it says, "shortage of suitable spectrum is likely to be a significant constraint on the development of digital radio in Australia."
"The most likely digital radio technologies for adoption in the short term," it says, "are able to make use of both BSB (Broadcast Services Band) and other spectrum. Although the availability and suitability of non-BSB spectrum for digital radio is a relevant factor in considering whether restrictions on BSB allotments are appropriate, this paper is primarily concerned with whether there should be restrictions on further allotments of BSB spectrum only."
The ABA says that if digital radio is introduced in the short term it is likely that the Eureka 147 DAB system, which is the system currently being used in trials in Australia and which is favoured by the country's commercial broadcasters (See RNW May 12), but regarding DAB frequencies, the ABA noted that, unlike the UK -which does not use the VHF Band III (174-230 MHz) for TV, Australia uses it extensively for analogue and digital TV, and it and the other suitable spectrum for DAB - L-Band (Non BSB spectrum) - would restrict coverage, at least until analogue TV is switched off.
Since these frequencies would mean digital radio would not be able to "match the very wide coverage of some existing MF-AM radio services" it suggests that in the medium term, a possible solution would be to use the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) standard that is "better suited to covering wide areas due to its ability to use the MF Band (526.5-1606.5 kHz)."
It notes that dual standard DRM/Eureka 147 receivers will become available and that a prototype was demonstrated at the IBC 2004 conference and trade show in Amsterdam.
2005-05-21: UK media regulator Ofcom has published its Community Radio Fund policy statement following responses to its consultation document as to how the fund, which is to be set up to provide assistance to community stations, should be managed and administered.
It says that it received a total of 35 responses from industry bodies, radio stations and individuals including the CMA (Community Radio Association); the CRCA (Commercial Radio Companies Association); Emap Performance; the Christian Broadcasting Council; and Public Voice and a number of the experimental 'Access Radio' pilot stations that were set up in a trial before the community station legislation was enacted.
"Although there were some specific negative responses to the questions raised by the consultation, the majority of contributors felt that the proposed approach, as put forward by Ofcom, was generally appropriate," says the organisation, adding, "There were a number of useful suggestions as to how the scheme might be further enhanced or improved, as well as some more general comments about the potential impacts of the new fund."
Ofcom had posed five questions in relation to the fund and on the specific questions it says:
*There was a high level of support (29 responses in favour, 2 against) for its proposal that the Community Radio Association should be invited to nominate a representative to serve on the Community Radio Fund Panel although dissent was expressed by The Wireless Group plc and Sussex Surrey Radio Limited.
There were other comments relating to ensuring that the panel was seen to be independent of Ofcom.
*There was also a fairly high level of support (24 responses in favour, 4 against) for Ofcom's proposal that "in future, an expanded fund might be used to support stand-alone projects as well as core competencies [RNW comment: They do like jargon!] within community radio stations."
The Wireless Group opposed the proposal and said the fund should be phased out over time and both the CRCA and Public Voice expressed concerns over suggestions that Ofcom should seek to expand the scale of the fund.
* There was also a high level of support (26 responses in support, four against) for the suggestion that funding be based on an assessment of individual applications taking into account both relative needs and merits.
*There was also support (26 responses in favour, 3 against) for the idea that payments should be made as a single lump sum, supported by many respondents on the basis that this would keep administration costs to a minimum, although some objected to the idea.
*There was wide support (28 in favour, one against) for allowing groups which have already received support from the Community Radio Fund to make subsequent applications in future years although the Wireless Group again objected, saying that the fund should be used only to provide one-off support for newly-launched services.
RNW comment: The Wireless Group - at the time under the control of chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie, who is to lose his job if Ulster TV's takeover of the group goes through - seems in this document to be in essence against any funding and fighting a rearguard action to keep it down as much as possible. That would be consistent with MacKenzie's general approach but not necessarily that of Ulster TV.
Ofcom says that following the responses it plans to go ahead with setting up the fund "broadly as proposed in the consultation document" and particularly notes concerns about the independence of the fund and the need to separate the regulatory role of the organisation from the additional funding role
Ofcom document (13 page, 176kB PDF):
2005-05-20: According to BIA Financial Network Inc. (BIAFn) America's top ten revenue generating radio stations in 2004 were the same as a year earlier despite what it terms a "disappointing year for radio in terms of growth."
There was also comparatively little movement in the top ten with figures from the company's Investing in Radio Ownership Report showing Clear Channel's AC WLTW-FM in New York, which billed USD 70.2 million, retaining top spot and Infinity's News WINS-AM in New York retaining second rank with USD 60.6 million.
In third place was Infinity's Alternative KROQ-FM, Los Angeles, up from fourth rank with USD 60.3 million billed, followed by Clear Channel's News/Talk KFI-AM, Los Angeles - up from eighth with USD 60.1 million billed and in fifth rank was Emmis's CHR/Rhythmic KPWR-FM, up from sixth with USD 58 million billed- the only station in the list not owned by Clear Channel or Infinity.
"It is not surprising to see little change in the top revenue stations given the lacklustre year radio experienced in 2004," according to BIAfn Vice President Mark Fratrik.
"It is also striking to see how little the list of the top stations has changed over the last several years, with only three stations moving into the top 10 since 2000," he added. "With the total industry revenues increasing at below 3% in 2004, it is difficult for a station to make enough of a big leap to overtake the top stations in the industry."
The three stations listed by BIA as moving into the top ten were KFI, which was 34th in 2000, KPWR, which was 11th and - in tenth rank - Clear Channel's KOST-FM, Los Angeles, which was 18th in 2000.
Notably down the ranks in the five years were Clear Channel's KIIS-FM, Los Angeles, which billed USD 54.3 million in 2004 to take seventh spot (It was top ranked in 2000 and third in 2003), Infinity's WFAN-AM, New York which billed USD 52.5 million to take eighth rank in 2004 (Seventh in 2003 but second in 2000), and Infinity's WXRK-FM, New York, which was ninth with USD 52.2 million billed in 2004 (Ninth in 2003 but third in 2000).
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-05-20: Scottish Radio Holdings has followed others in the trail of warnings of weak radio performance with radio revenues down 7% on a year ago in April this year although this is better than the figures reported earlier this month by Chrysalis and G-CAP: SRH says May is doing better albeit still down on a year ago, and estimated that June revenues will be essentially flat.
For the half-year to the end of March it reported turnover up 10% to GBP 51.9 million (USD 95.2 million) with like-for-like revenues up 4%: Radio revenues were up 12% and like-for-like revenues up 3% whilst its press revenues were up 7%.
Overall SRH operating profits were up 20% to GBP 13 million (USD 23.8 million - adjusted earnings per share were up 13% from 20.8 pence to 23.6 pence): Within the figures radio operating profits were up 21% and press operating profits were up 15%.
Commenting on the results SRH Chairman, Lord Gordon of Strathblane, said, "With excellent operating margins in both radio and press, and healthy cash flow, SRH is in a strong position to continue to develop the Group. First half profits growth has been a particularly good achievement against a strong first half year in 2004, with both operating divisions showing impressive increases."
On the current situation he said, "trading in radio is somewhat lacklustre, and we experienced a 7% decline in total broadcast revenue in April. May is looking better, although still below last year, and current indications are that June will be similar to last year. Press advertising and circulation revenues were up 8% in April and we expect press to continue to perform well in May and June."
"Notwithstanding recent radio revenue challenges, the Board remains confident of a good result for the group for the year as a whole, "he concluded.
SRH shares ended the day down 1% at GBP 8.61 leading to renewed speculation that Emap, which took a 27.8% shareholding in the company in January last year at GBP 9.30, could soon make a takeover bid. Emap is due to release its full-year results on Tuesday next week.
Previous Lord Gordon:
2005-05-20: Citadel is adding a fourth-FM in the New Orleans to its holdings with a USD 7 million purchase of Soft AC WKSY-FM, Picayune, Mississippi, from Guaranty Broadcasting Co.
It already owns Alternative KKND-FM, Urban Oldies KMEZ-FM, and Rhythmic AC WDVW-FM in the market.
2005-05-20: The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has found that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Triple J Breakfast Show breached the Corporation's Code of Practice in November last year by "using inappropriate and gratuitous language" and the Corporation also breached its code by failing to respond to a complainant: In another case it held that commercial station 3 CAT-FM, Geelong, Victoria, breached its codes by failing to respond to a complaint although the programming itself was not in breach.
The ABC case related to a discussion on the show of a magazine article in which Delta Goodrem interpreted her song lyrics: The hosts quoted the lyrics of two songs, including one line that went, " out of the blue, there I met you, I can't believe you dumped me for that cum guzzling slut."
A complaint was made to the corporation in November last year but in February this year the ABA received a written complaint that the broadcaster had failed to respond to a protest about the language used.
The ABC agreed that the presenter's words were "inappropriate and gratuitous in the context of the broadcast" and that they breached its code: It said it has apologised to the complainant and noted that the broadcast was made in the final week of the show concerned but that it had brought the matter to the hosts involved - neither now work at the station - and also said it had reviewed Triple-J's complaints handling procedure and introduced a new system.
In the case of 3 CAT, the ABA found that licensee Geelong Broadcasters Pty Ltd had breached codes by not responding to a complaint but held that the complaint itself - saying the station had vilified Christians - was not upheld.
Previous ABC, Australia:
2005-05-19: London Xfm breakfast host Christian O'Connell, who earlier this month won three Gold Sony Awards including that for breakfast show of the year (See RNW May 10) is to leave the G-Cap station and take over the breakfast show at SMG-owned Virgin.
He will replace the current breakfast team of breakfast team Pete and Geoff (Pete Mitchell and Geoff Lloyd) who are to move to another slot at the end of the year (See RNW May 18).
Following the announcement G-CAP shares fell, ending the day 1.7% down at GBP 2.95, making it worth around GBP 484 million (USD 890 million) - the company has lost considerable value since it made its stock market debut earlier this month with a value of GBP 527 million (USD 970 million) and that sum was some GBP 184 million (USD 346 million) down on the combined value of the pre-merger Capital Radio and GWR in September last year.
O'Connell, who has joked that in his current role he has more awards than listeners, said the move was "a dream come true" and continued, "I can't wait to reach out to the country and beckon them to join me each morning with the combination of my show and the music we all love."
He told the UK Guardian his new show would be able to challenge all UK competitors with the exception of Terry Wogan on BBC Radio 2, whose show in the latest ratings was way ahead of all rivals with 8.09 million listeners a week and whom O'Connell said "is in a league of his own."
"But anyone else is fair game. British radio has got brilliant and varied breakfast shows, but not doing what I'm doing," he told the paper.
O'Connell will have a major job closing the gap on BBC Radio 1 breakfast host Chris Moyles whose weekly reach in the latest ratings was 6.17 million compared to 1.2 million for Virgin's show.
O'Connell said making the move was "a difficult decision but it's the right time for me to move to a national station" and paid tribute to Xfm, telling the paper, "I joined Xfm from a small station in Liverpool and they took a big risk on me. Four and a half years later, after saying I was leaving, it was quite sad. They've been brilliant to me, always supported me and let me do stuff on breakfast that's never been done before.
Xfm managing director Graham Bryce returned the compliment and praised O'Connell for "an amazing four years of breakfast radio".
Virgin Radio acting chief executive Paul Jackson described O'Connell as "the leading radio talent of his generation" and said signing him put the station "at the top of the radio game in London and across the country."
Previous SMG (Virgin owner):
UK Guardian report:
2005-05-19: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has appointed Catherine Fitzgerald as the Commissioning Officer of its Broadcasting (Funding) Scheme, which is designed to support new television and radio programmes and is funded through an amount equal to 5% of Ireland's television licence fee.
It has also published announced after an extensive review of the Scheme it has carried out in conjunction with The Community Radio Forum of Ireland (CRAOL) that its Community Radio Support Scheme is to receive a significant funding increase that will allow it to make Euros 125,000 (USD 160,000) available to the sector over the next 18 months for such purposes as station evaluation and development and training.
2005-05-18: HD radio, the Ibiquity in-band on-channel digital radio system adopted by the US gets a pretty firm thumbs-down from Mark Ramsey of Mercury Radio Research in an article "The Premature Death of HD Radio".
Taking the stance that an innovation needs to attract users not serve producers, Ramsey presents a convincing picture of a technology introduced to serve broadcasting companies not their listeners arguing among other points that, as the pre-requisite to get people to listen to HD is to buy a receiver, there are two routes to get them to do this, either get a receiver with another purchase such as purchasing an automobile with HD as standard [RNW comment: Something the satellite radio companies have pursued] or because it offers exclusive content[Something else that satellite is pursuing].
HD writes Ramsey "presumably solves an industry problem, namely how to keep up with technology, expand our offerings to advertisers, and compete more effectively with Satellite Radio" and he then goes on to ask, "But what audience problem does it solve uniquely?"
He argues that the reasons most commonly given are flawed saying more choice is not really what is wanted by most people and when it is other sources can provide even more choice, and that better audio quality is also an over-rated reason - he suggests people by moving to MP3 players over CDs are clearly making a choice that quality is not what they most want [RNW comment: A point we have made is that listening surroundings are crucial in this respect and in an automobile extraneous noises remove the edge that a perfect signal can deliver.]
What listeners do want he suggests is more control - something HD provides to the broadcaster not the listener, fewer adverts - on which he comments, "HD Radio won't help us there."
He goes on to suggest that the market for HD radios is for the kind of people who have already made the leap to satellite and who are unlikely to cancel satellite to get something that varies from place to place unlike the consistent availability of a satellite service.
To sell HD, he says, it has to offer a service that listeners want, namely content, writing, "It is the content in the technology - what we put on the radios - not the presumed 'gee-whiz' factor, which can make HD Radio a hit. And make no mistake: That content must be special and magnetic and unique. Splintered versions of our existing formats will not be sufficient HD Radio will demand star talent and will, I predict, be driven by non-music content - talk and entertainment - if it is to be driven at all. "
Ramsey says that "HD Radio is already competitively outfoxed, before it even gets out of the gate" and notes other options available including Podcasting and streaming audio - which as WiFi - being developed as a free service by a number of US cities - and cell phones with high-speed Internet connections.
Ramsey concludes that radio's "long term relevance is not linked inextricably to the fate of HD Radio."
"Our industry," he comments, "must understand that we have a seat at the table of wireless audio - the biggest seat with the broadest distribution. And we can use our influence and muscle and talent and resources to develop and own that big seat until the end of time. But it will take vision and commitment and an awakening to the realities of what business we're really in and what opportunities and threats are on the horizon."
Radio Marketing Nexus - Ramsey article:
2005-05-18: Clear Channel says its "Less is More" advertising initiative has resulted in increased ratings and also large increases in purchases of shorter advertising spots.
In a statement Clear Channel Radio President and CEO John Hogan writes, "Clear Channel Radio stations sound great and are clearly the best environment for listeners and advertisers. The response from both is exceeding our expectations."
"Early ratings reports," he added, "show audience share is up and we're meeting with more advertisers, at higher levels, than in the past 20 years. Radio's importance to advertisers is clearly being elevated and that benefits Clear Channel Radio and the industry as a whole."
Clear Channel says that in the most recent ratings it gained in the ratings in nearly two-thirds of the top 50 markets and increased its share of listening by 12 plus listeners by 5.3% in the top ten markets.
In addition it says advertisers have bought two to five times as many 30 second and 15-second spots this year compared to a year ago.
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-05-18: UK Virgin radio breakfast team Pete and Geoff (Pete Mitchell and Geoff Lloyd) are to move to another slot at the end of the year according to the UK Guardian.
It says that the duo felt three years on the breakfast show was enough and says the SMG-owned station's acting chief executive, Paul Jackson, is in the final stage of negotiations with a new breakfast presenter, thought to be an established name.
It quotes Jackson as saying, "We've been talking about this since the beginning of the year... Pete and Geoff have been very successful on breakfast, but they have never seen themselves as part of the establishment and three years on breakfast is enough for them They are absolutely part of the fabric of Virgin Radio and there's no acrimony here between Pete and Geoff or them and the station."
The paper says no decision has been made on what time they will move to although they will remain together - they have been a combination for a decade, eight years of it at Virgin - but adds their agent Alex Armitage has said they will examine solo projects: It quotes Armitage as saying, "They have no intention of leaving the station, which they love, but they are sick of each other being the first person they see in the morning."
Earlier this month Toyota placed its entire advertising budget for its RAV4 All-Wheel-Drive vehicle - thought to be around GBP 1 million (USD 1.8 million) - with Virgin and launched an extensive online campaign across Virgin Radio's website as part of its overall sponsorship of the breakfast show.
This deal lasts until the end of the year and may be a factor in when the station has agreed that they should move shows.
Previous Pete and Geoff:
UK Guardian report:
2005-05-18: Arbitron has announced that it is to further boost the sample size of its RADAR (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) national radio ratings service, which it increased by steps from 12,000 in 2002 to 50,000 in March 2003 and then up to 80,000 for RADAR 84, released in March this year.
When it took over RADAR from Statistical Research Inc (See RNW July 3, 2001) the ratings had been based on telephone surveys.
Starting with the release of RADAR 85 in June 2005, Arbitron will add 5,000 diaries to each sample taking the total up to 100,000 for the release of RADAR 88 in March 2006
Arbitron says the move will allow it to expand its "new Market by Market Reporting tool, which currently reports the top 10 DMAs, to the top 25 DMAs by June 2005."
Previous RADAR (RADAR 84 results):
2005-05-18: In more US results, LBI Media has reported first quarter net revenue up 6% on a year earlier to USD 20.5 million - up 7% excluding revenues related to its leasing of its TV production facility - attributing the rise to increased radio and TV advertising and noting that the percentage increase was dampened because comparison was with a strong 2004 first quarter when revenues were up 18%.
In divisional terms radio net revenues were up 8% to USD 9.6 million and TV revenues were up 5% to USD 10.9 million with radio operating income up 68% to USD 4.4 million but TV operating income was down 20% to USD 3.1 million
LBI's net income was up 28.6% to USD 1.8 million, including a USD 1.4 million decrease in non-cash employee compensation expense during the quarter.
Executive Vice President and CFO Lenard Liberman said of the results, "I remain very enthusiastic about the prospects for both our television and radio operations in 2005. Our radio stations in Los Angeles have continued to demonstrate impressive ratings performance. In Los Angeles, our Que Buena format was the Number 1 station among persons 18-34 in the Winter 2005 Arbitron ratings book."
Regarding TV he added, "While we would have liked to see greater television revenue growth, the fact is that we are comparing to the first quarter 2004 when television revenues increased 36%. Our prospects for the second half of the year are much brighter."
2005-05-17: XM Satellite Radio says it now has more than 4 million subscribers and is on target to hitting 5.5 million by the end of this year.
This compares with 1.5 million subscribers and a forecast of 2.7 million by the end of the year announced by rival Sirius last month (See RNW Apr 29)
XM President and CEO Hugh Panero said of the numbers, "XM has continued to increase its subscriber base at an impressive rate since its launch. It took 23 months for XM to reach its first one million subscribers. It took eight more months to reach our second million, six months to hit three million, and less than five months to exceed four million."
He added, "XM remains focused on providing compelling content, developing innovative radios and expanding our distribution channels at retail outlets and automobile dealerships -- an approach that has successfully led us to four million subscribers, and one we will continue to pursue to 20 million subscribers by 2010 and beyond."
XM shares were up 0.2% to USD 28.32 at the end of Monday's trading having hit 29.08 at one time while Sirius was up 2.4% to USD 5.48 having touched USD 5.50 at one stage.
2005-05-17: Outgoing UK Wireless Group chairman and chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie - who is to leave the company following Ulster TV's bid for the company that has been recommended by its board (See RNW May 10) - comments in the UK Media Guardian on his success in turning round the station and also has yet another go at his commercial rivals.
"When I first bought TalkSport in the November of 1998, it was called Talk Radio and was a commercial disaster losing GBP 11 million (Now USD 20 million) a year with a turnover of GBP 6.6 million (USD 12 million)," he wrote. "Our biggest rival, Virgin, was storming ahead with an audience of 4.6 million and profits north of GBP 15 million (USD 27.6 million) ."
And now? " So we set about reinventing the station, turning the format from news to sport. It worked. We flogged ourselves to death and as I hand over the keys to my friends from Ulster TV, TalkSport's audience is at a record 2.5 million. Virgin listeners, however, have now collapsed to 2.4 million. Thank you Lord."
On the future he writes, "TalkSport is just the beginning. It should spawn the spread of popular and profitable commercial speech stations across the country - which is long overdue. All that is missing are the people who have the foresight to invest in speech stations that will make speech formats the huge success that they are in America and Australia."
"After all, commercial music stations need to think of fresh formats to combat the iPod generation, plus the growth of satellite radio in the US, which may one day blow DAB out of the game."
out of the self-satisfied tent of radio executives who, despite all the evidence to the contrary, believe they and the industry and doing just fine."
[RNW comment: As MacKenzie will have around GBP 7 million(USD 13 million) to play with from his shares and options plus severance pay, there shouldn't be much problem for him to find satellite channels to air a talk station and put his money where his mouth is. His remarks, as so often, however, don't make it clear which side of his mouth he means-after all he's promoting speech stations but killed one and turned it into a sports outlet rather than trying to make talk successful.
We also doubt satellite will in fact be able to prosper in the UK unless the self-interested campaign of those like MacKenzie and his former employer Rupert Murdoch manage to put the boot into the BBC: Unlike the US, there hasn't been the incentive to subscribe to radio to get away from massive advertising loads and the combination of the lack of that driver plus competition from new technologies make us conclude that subscription satellite radio is unlikely to "blow DAB out of the water."
However we wouldn't object to MacKenzie trying: If he makes it good luck to him: If he ends up penniless we can't see mass public subscriptions to pull him out of bankruptcy but would anticipate some choice remarks that would probably add a little colour to the world.]
In other UK radio moves, Chrysalis has hired BSKYB marketing head Barnaby Dawe as managing director of its flagship Heart FM in London, which in the last ratings was the most listened to station in the city although Capital FM still had more listeners.
Dawe replaces Steve Parkinson who Emap hired in March in the newly created role of brand director, overseeing all of its radio brands - Kiss, Magic, Kerrang!, Q, Smash Hits, The Hits, Heat and Mojo (See RNW Mar 25).
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Guardian - MacKenzie:
2005-05-17: Public radio has managed an almost clean sweep of the medium's awards in this year's Peabody Awards just announced although Univision's television, radio and on-line health-education initiative Salud es Vida Entérate! (Lead a Healthy Life Get the Facts!) also took an award.
The six radio winners were:
*On the Media - from WNYC Radio, National Public Radio, New York
*Studio 360 American Icons: Melville`s Moby Dick - from WNYC Radio, Public Radio International, New York.
*The War in Iraq from National Public Radio, Washington, D.C.
*Leonard Bernstein: An American Life from CultureWorks and the WFMT Radio Network- an 11-part radio documentary, hosted by Susan Sarandon, on Leonard Bernstein's life, career and music.
*Let the Good Times Roll from The Rhythm and Blues Foundation, Washington, D.C., and Public Radio International.
*To the Best of Our Knowledge from Wisconsin Public Radio and Public Radio International
Peabody Awards site:
2005-05-17: Sir Cliff Richard has officially opened the new studios in Frinton, Essex, of Big L - Radio London, arriving for the ceremony in a replica London bus similar to that used in his film "Summer Holiday".
The activities were started by DJ Ian Damon, one of the original Radio London DJs in its pirate days, and the new station was officially launched by Mike Read with a play of Richard's latest release "What Car": His 'I Could Easily Fall in Love with you' was the fist record played - by Pete Brady -at the pirate station's first launch in 1964.
The station's current roster of DJs includes Mike Read, Michele Stephens, Ian Damon and Randall Lee Rose: it will broadcast on 1395 kHz - a signal that during the day it can only be received in East Anglia and the South East, but at night can be heard all over Europe as well as online and on Sky digital channel 940 but was off the air for a while shortly after its launch because of a transmitter fault.
Big L web site:
2005-05-16: Only a very short time ago most of the print cover on radio that we noted from the US seemed to feature the threat from satellite but the focus has changed very speedily and in the past week it was very much a matter of podcasting as the latest technology and the JACK and variant formats as the change for terrestrial radio.
Podcasts first - and as it happens Infinity's former KYCY-AM, now podcast station KYOU, goes live today -
and a Washington Post report by Marc Fisher that in our opinion rather, depending on your viewpoint, over-eggs the benefits of, or threat from, podcasting.
Fisher starts by writing, "The story of entertainment technology today is the story of control. TiVo lets you skip TV commercials, broadband lets you download the music you choose, iPods give you the ability to program your own portable music and satellite radio grants you a selection of dozens of musical genres
All of which leaves traditional broadcast radio sounding like something from the era of three TV networks."
He then goes to make a general point that four formats news-talk, AC, Hits, and black-oriented formats account for more than half of US radio listening and writes: "For more than a generation, the radio industry has attributed this to listeners, saying they demand that narrow focus."
"But the on-demand media revolution has revealed that argument to be little more than corporate spin. Younger listeners, at least, are grabbing hold of the idea that they can control their media landscape, and they are choosing a far more varied menu of music and other aural entertainment than the big radio companies have been serving up About half of Americans age 55 or older have bought 'Me Media' devices, such as TiVo and iPods, that put the consumer in the control booth, but according to a new survey by the Arbitron ratings company and Edison Media Research, about 90 percent of everyone younger than 55 is already on board. And though iPod users do download monster hit songs online, they buy and trade a much more varied mix of music than can be heard on the air."
Fisher gives a brief plug to KYOU -"You're out there creating, riffing, ranting and raving, and Infinity is going to give voice to your vision," the station's Web site says. For all that creating and riffing, the station will compensate producers of the amateur shows solely by giving voice to their work -- no money will change hands. Infinity will try to sell advertising on the programs" and then goes on to ask whether the moves traditional radio is taking to stave off threats are being made too late.
He notes that although an Arbitron-Edison Media poll found people saying they wouldn't drop radio for their portable devices, it also found that those who owned them listened less to broadcast radio than others and "Perhaps the more telling finding comes in the percentage of people who say they 'love' their iPod (35 percent) or their satellite radio (40 percent) versus those who 'love' over-the-air radio (19 percent)."
In the past five years he notes, the percentage of Americans listening to Internet radio has climbed from 5 percent to only 15 percent but then continues, "The far greater threat to radio's status as the ubiquitous medium of pop culture -- it's the only medium people use in relatively equal parts at home, at work and in the car -- comes from the iPod, which shares that portability. Station managers and deejays complain that teenagers, especially in more affluent communities, seem to have tuned away from radio entirely."
"But," he finishes, "the study says there's still time for radio to respond: Only 20 percent of Americans own an iPod, subscribe to satellite radio or listen to Internet radio, whereas 95 percent of the country regularly listens to radio."
In the Los Angeles Times we noted a report from Stephen Kiehl and Rob Hiaasen of the Baltimore Sun that says some consider the JACK format to be the best response so far from broadcast radio to the perceived demand for more variety but others are more sceptical.
" The new identity," says the report, "means a vastly expanded playlist of 1,200 songs, culled from the hits of the last four decades in all genres, from pop to R&B to classic rock to Motown. It also means no DJs, no promotions or contests and fewer commercials. "
It quotes Chris Butterick, general manager of Jack FM in Jackson, Mississippi, as saying, "Jack is a revelation. Radio had forgotten what its purpose is. People want to hear music and variety. Jack is all about the listeners."
It goes on to note however that radio consultants critical of the format say research shows that listeners want to feel a connection with a station - and that comes through on-air personalities.
"I always ask people to name a station that stayed successful without personalities, and nobody has come up with one," said Robert Unmacht, a long-time radio programmer and consultant based in Nashville. "Radio is about the music, and it's about doing radio with personality."
Another consultant, Mike Henry, chief executive of Paragon Media Strategies in Denver, who helped launch the first JACK station in Vancouver, Canada, in 2002, also criticized radio's past policies, saying, "In the last 20 years, all these spots and sales promotions and contests were designed to deliver to advertisers, but we've lost sight of the fact that we have to get the listeners first."
And in response to comments from radio consultant and media professor at Emerson College in Boston Donna Halper that "Take away the elements that make it personal, take away all the liveliness, you get a jukebox," the article notes that it's "a jukebox jammed with hits. All of the songs played on Jack stations had to appear in the Top 40 at least once. In that way, the stations aren't breaking new music as much as recycling a lot of oldies."
"If you play 1,500 titles and they're not hits and they're unfamiliar, then you get a radio station that very few people can listen to," said Henry. "With this large body of music, you're going to hear hit after hit after hit that's going to be Led Zeppelin followed by Madonna followed by John Mayer followed by the Beastie Boys followed by Marvin Gaye.
"The format trains the listener to understand you might not like this song, but you're going to know it and you'll probably really like the next one."
[RNW comment: Which means to us that those people who have their portable player and have built up a large library of music probably don't need JACK-format radio at all since it won't give them anything new and they'll already have the hits they like. On the other hand they might well go for a station with some personality that adds in local information and general information and comment plus some new material. What next? Radio with real, live, people?].
Finally from the UK, other concerns about radio, this time about its general financial prospects in a Colin Grimshaw report "Can radio regain its lustre?" we noted in Brand Republic. It was written against a UK background in which radio listening is actually up but that to the commercial sector is down and advertising revenues are being hit.
"Radio has not had a good six months," writes Grimshaw. "The medium's poor fourth-quarter advertising performance has continued into 2005, and its market share has been overtaken by the booming online sector. All this has caused media observers to ask whether radio has lost its gloss."
The medium's "market share has been overtaken by the booming online sector" he notes and adds, "The consensus is that radio has lost the sexy image it gained with the trebling of its take of the advertising cake between 1993 and 2000. Much of this can be attributed to the rebirth of the Internet as the new growth medium. TV is also prospering at radio's expense, as diminishing concerns over TV inflation have prompted advertisers to shift spend back out of radio into TV."
There's also criticism of radio management that echoes that in the US of some time ago: "Some blame for underperformance is laid at the door of radio owners who, it is said, have become too internally focused, concentrating on growth through ownership consolidation and failing to stimulate organic growth through the selling of the medium."
There are also problems from a soft advertising market that has led to some advertising being placed at the last minute and also according to Matt Blackborn, executive buying director at Starcom Mediavest, the situation in which most radio stations are operating at their maximum level of advertising minutage and cannot increase the level without the risk turning off listeners. This means e only way they can grow revenue is by increasing listening figures, which commercial radio has failed to do.
"Since they can't put prices up on the back of audience growth, it limits their flexibility in offering good-value deals to new advertisers,"' says Blackborn.
Although there are many short-term problems, the report says the longer-term prospects for radio are brighter and will be helped by the introduction of electronic audience metering, and alliances between the Radio Advertising Bureau and the trade bodies for outdoor and the internet to promote the advertising multiplier effect of radio when used in conjunction with other media.
"More than anything," it concludes, "radio needs to become sexy again the future of radio hangs on its transition from an 'invisible' medium into interactive multi-platform entertainment for the digital age."
Now listening recommendations and first a programme from Irish State Broadcaster Radio Television Éirann and last Tuesday's RTÉ Radio 1 in which Vincent Browne in his Tonight Show examined the case of Dublin man John Manweiler who has been awarded nearly Euros 3 million (USD 3.8 million) in damages, the highest made by an Irish High Court jury, for his wrongful detention in St Brendan's Hospital, Grangegorman.
Manweiler said during the detention he was forced to take the psychotic drug clopixol, although he said he was never psychotic. He was only weaned off it in 1994. The programme in a strong forensic job used reconstructions and expert analysis to look at the case in the context of a system that still has the same potential for error and at the dilemmas faced by staff as well as Manweiler's treatment.
Worth around an hour and a half - which itself says something about the virtues of allowing time for a proper consideration of a topic rather than cramming everything into a few minutes.
So no US recommendations this week but a cue for another "forensic" programme, this time from Australia where the ABC Background Briefing programme on Sunday was "Cold Case Confidential", an examination of the fascination with murder cases that included interviews with Australian author Helen Garner, who in 1993 won a Walkley Award for her TIME magazine account of a murder trial following the death of a toddler at the hands of his step-father, and Anthony Zuiker, creator of the Crime Scene Investigation TV series.
And then BBC Radio 4 whose "A Year in the Arab Israeli Crisis" has just finished: The whole four-part series in which Edward Stourton followed the Arab-Israeli issue over 12 momentous months is now on the station web site.
Also on the site is Inside the Harem, a two-part series first broadcast last year and now being repeated, in which British Muslim Shagufta Yaqub examines polygamy amongst British Moslems. [An interesting and thoughtful series although to us it highlighted as much the capability of humans to delude themselves as informed a listener about the issues. We at least felt that the arguments of the "leading Muslim scholar" at Cambridge University who argued that men are biologically designed to desire a multiplicity of women and that polygamy should be legalised in the UK could well justify a sentence of having to satisfy four women with most severe punishment if he failed to fully satisfy any one of them.]
Also on the Radio 4 site now are all five of this year's Reith Lectures, "The Triumph of Technology",in the final lecture of which Lord Broers, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, addressed the ethics of technology.
And for another recommendation from Radio 4, a combination of history and pop in "Fifty Years Around the Clock" from Saturday in which Anthony H. Wilson traced the story of the first rock'n'roll song.
For a different kind of music there's BBC Radio 2 and "Living in Harmony", the second in a six-part series on close-harmony singing that airs tomorrow at 19:30 GMT, The first programme is on the site until then.
It's followed by the third instalment of The Ivors at 50, the six-part celebration of Britain's songwriting awards.
And for even more different music, Radio 2 next Saturday at 18:00 GMT has The Real Eurovision in which Steve Lamacq looks at music to be found in Europe before being followed at 19:00GMT with the channel's cover of the 50th Eurovision Song Contest live from the Palats Sportu in Kiev, Ukraine.
For drama, BBC Radio 4's Afternoon Play today is "A Breath from Other Planets" by Marty Ross, which is based on events in the life of composer Arnold Schoenberg in Vienna in 1907 when his wife Mathilde begins an affair with his closest friend Gerstl and helped fire the composer into revolutionary musical and creativity plus BBC Radio 3 next Sunday at 19:00GMT for A Taste of Honey By Shelagh Delaney.
And finally after the heavy stuff some light relief -we'd suggest the Now Show from BBC Radio 4 at 17:30 GMT on Friday and the Saturday lunchtime-hour of The Smith Lectures at 12:00GMT followed by Parsons & Naylor's Pull-out Sections at 12:30 GMT.
Brand Republic - Grimshaw:
Los Angeles Times - Kiehl and Hiaasen:
RTÉ Radio 1 Tonight Show web site:
Washington Post - Fisher:
2005-05-16: Cumulus has jumped into the gap in the Nashville market left by South Central Communications when it switched its Oldies station WMAK-FM to the JACK-FM format and dumped DJs Coyote McCloud, Cathy Martindale and Bobby Knight.
It switched its WRQQ-FM from Hot AC "Star 97" to Oldies 97.1 and is planning to hire the DJs according to Mike Dickey, Nashville market manager for Cumulus, who told the Nashville City Paper the move was a "no-brainer."
"I would say that the folks at South Central are either the smartest people in the entire world or have made the biggest mistake in the entire world," Dickey said. "We feel like they've made a massive mistake leaving not only great talent hanging out there, but also leaving over 150,000 loyal listeners that really want a family-friendly oldies radio station."
The paper notes that WMAK had ranked fourth among adult listeners age 25 to 54, while Star 97 has been ranked 14th, and notes that Dennis Gwiazdon, vice president and general manager of South Central in Nashville, dismissed suggestions that the JACK format is an untested, unproven fad.
"It is worth noting that in virtually every market where JACK-FM, or even a clone, has been launched, the station involved has seen immediate ratings improvement and wide-spread support from listeners," Gwiazdon said.
Nashville City Paper report:
2005-05-16: UK commercial radio may be in for some more bad news if reports in Britain's Sunday newspapers are accurate.
According to the Observer, Emap, which is due to report its interim results on May 24, will be reporting a dramatic decline in advertising inline with results already released this month by G-CAP and Chrysalis.
The paper notes that analysts have already downgraded DMGT (Daily Mail and General Trust, owner of the Daily Mail newspaper, which also has radio holdings) and says more downgrades are expected as results are announced.
It quotes Colin Macleod, research director at the World Advertising Research Center, which compiles estimates for the Advertising Association, as saying, "There are two main factors driving advertising: corporate profits and consumer spending; and the latter has taken a big hit."
The Independent focuses on the performance by G-CAP and says that a number of top shareholders have told the company they are unhappy with the structure created by the merger of Capital Radio and GWR to form the company and want either executive chairman Ralph Bernard or chief executive David Mansfield ousted.
The paper notes that the structure is similar to that proposed by TV companies Granada and Carlton Communications when they merged to form ITV in 2003 -- shareholders, led by Anthony Bolton of Fidelity, forced Michael Green to resign as executive chairman, leaving Charles Allen as chief executive.
It quotes an unnamed "leading investor" as saying, "We feel that the group may have to take some difficult decisions, and to turn the ship around you need only one hand on the tiller."
UK Independent report:
UK Observer report:
2005-05-16: Restrictions on what can be aired on radio and advertised in other media have led condom producer Durex to advertise its product through podcasts, which are not subject to US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) indecency rules according to a report in Advertising Age.
It says Durex has launched a brand integration campaign "featuring unscripted X-rated banter on the 'The Dawn and Drew Show,' the No. 2 podcast as currently ranked by visitors to PodcastAlley.com", behind "this WEEK in TECH" in which a number of former TechTV hosts and others discuss the week's technology stories.
In the first podcast last month Dawn and Drew, a Wisconsin husband and wife team, and their dog, Hercules, put various samples from a Durex variety pack to the taste test. In a subsequent show, they tried a new line of tingling lubricants reports Advertising Age.
Liz Daney, senior vice president and chief media officer for Interpublic Group of Cos.' Fitzgerald & Co., Atlanta, which arranged the Durex podcast buy said, "The 18 to 24 [year old] segment is the first generational wave where we're really starting to see the impact of broadband. It's the first group where they're spending more hours online than they are with TV."
She added that their spending on the campaign had been "incredibly small" but had tripled hits to the Durex web site from an admittedly low base during a period of no other brand advertising.
Regarding other advertising possibilities she commented that, "These days traditional media are just very, very prudish about [condoms]" and added, "Nobody wants to get slapped with an FCC fine. ... The thing about condoms is that young adults look at them and are kind of concerned about how they're going to feel, and they're a little embarrassed to spend a lot of time in front of the store display. By showing people interacting with the brand makes it seem like something you don't need to be embarrassed about."
Advertising Age report:
PodcastAlley.com web site:
2005-05-15: Last week again saw a steady flow of radio decisions from the regulators but there were no major issues.
In Australia the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) published just one decision, the award of a new community licence in Eden, New South Wales to Eden Community Radio Inc (ECRI).
ECRI had been broadcasting on the frequency under a temporary community licence
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was a little busier. Radio announcements in order of province included:
*Approval of power increase from 22,100 watts to 65,000 watts for a new News/Talk commercial FM radio station in Halifax authorized in November last year.
*Approval of acquisition of CJUK-FM, Thunder Bay by Newcap Inc. from Big Pond Communications 2000 Inc. Objections had been raised on the basis that the acquisition would be "licence trafficking" since the station had only been approved in November 2000 but Newcap said CJUK-FM was founded with minimal investment and significant debt, by shareholders with little experience in broadcasting and had accumulated an operating deficit of more than CAD 100,000 (USD 79,000) by the end of 2003 and that "The modest success of the station was accomplished by the president and general manager taking very small salaries and by forgoing the interest on shareholders' loans." It said there would be no windfall profits and the CRTC, after careful examination of financial details, agreed and approved the deal.
The CRTC also issued public notices regarding a number of applications. They included the following radio items, which have an intervention or comment deadline of June 17:
*Application to renew the licence of Type B community station CFAI-FM, Edmundston, expiring 31 August 2005.
*Application to renew the licence of commercial station CHOY-FM, Moncton, expiring 31 August 2005.
*Application to use frequency 101.9MHz with an effective radiated power of 50 watts for low-power English-language tourist information FM approved for Moncton in November last year.
*Application to change the contours of a new News/Talk commercial FM radio station in Moncton approved in November last year by increasing the average effective radiated power from 40,300 watts to an effective radiated power of 70,000 watts, by decreasing the antenna height and by relocating the transmitter (non-directional antenna/antenna height 211 metres).
*Application to use frequency 90.9 MHz with an effective radiated power of 1,600 watts for FM transmitter in Port Elgin approved in Adult Classic Hit FM radio station in Kincardine, with transmitters in Goderich and Port Elgin, in February this year.
Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to amend the licence of radio programming undertaking CBF-FM-10 Sherbrooke, by changing the frequency of its transmitter CBF-FM-2 Magog, decreasing the average effective radiated power from 1,010 watts to 420 watts, by increasing the antenna height and by relocating the transmitter
Application to renew the licence of the radiocommunication distribution undertaking serving Prince Albert (CKSF-FM), expiring 31 August 2005: CKSF-FM distributes, in non-encrypted mode, the programming of CBKF-FM Regina.
The Commission has also announced that it has received applications for commercial licences for Calgary, Alberta, and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and has asked for expressions of interest by July 27 from others also wishing to apply.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has signed a new five-year deal with West Limerick Community Radio Limited (West Limerick 102) for a community service for West Limerick (See RNW May 11).
It was also involved in the release of the latest ratings that showed listening in the Republic was down on the year-earlier period (See RNW May 12).
In the UK Ofcom upheld in part one complaint against radio in its latest bulletin and has also announced that it has awarded the new Banbury commercial FM to The Bear, owned by The CN Group, which was competing against two other bids (See RNW May 11).
Ofcom also released its latest Consumer Panel report - Consumers and the communications market: where we are now? (A 65 Page 4.32 Mb PDF) which concentrates mainly on telecommunications but did note in its reference to broadcasting that consumer knowledge of broadband and digital TV is relatively high but that "whilst a majority of residential consumers have heard of digital radio fewer than half understand what this term refers to" and that knowledge of third generation mobile technology is particularly low. Awareness and understanding, it said, was related to age and significantly lower for those aged 55 and over.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been backed by a judicial decision to revoke the licences of Family Broadcasting Inc's WSTX-AM and WSTX-FM, Christiansted, U.S. Virgin Islands (See RNW May 14).
It also blocked one licence transfer but allowed two other deals to go ahead (See RNW May 11).
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-05-15: BBC Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer has now set the record straight on the plans for the late Alistair Cooke's "Letter from America" slot.
The UK Guardian on the same day had carried two stories - one saying that the BBC had "chosen former Sunday Times editor Sir Harold Evans to take over its Radio 4 slot vacated by the late Alistair Cooke" and the other saying the "former Letter from America slot will be presented by a roster of four or five "heavyweight hitters" including Brian Walden and former Sunday Times editor Sir Harold Evans."
In a letter to the paper Damazer writes, "We are currently in negotiations with Harry Evans to become part of a pool of significant commentators and journalists who will, in turn, deliver A Point Of View, the replacement programme for Letter From America."
"I think Brian Walden has done a splendid job delivering the first run of A Point Of View." He adds. "Judging by the hundreds of emails a week his talks have generated, his many listeners think so too. I expect to be offering Brian Walden another run of A Point Of View and Brian has indicated he is keen."
UK Guardian - Damazer letter:
UK Guardian - Evans to get Cooke slot report:
UK Guardian - pool of people to get Cooke slot report:
2005-05-15: Latest Toronto ratings from Canada's Bureau of Broadcast Measurement show that Erin Davis and Mike Cooper, who are to join Rogers' CHFI FM in September - rejoin it in Davis's case (See RNW May 1) - helped to take Standard's E-Z Rock (CJEZ-FM) to top rank.
The top stations in the marker were E-Z Rock, with share up 0.4 to 8.5%, then Q-107 and CFRB, which tied in second place with 6.9%, a fall of 0.4 for Q-107 and gain of 0.2 for CFRB.
Tied in fourth were CBC Radio 1 and CHUM-FM with 6.7%, a fall of 0.5 for CBS and of 2.7 for CHUM.
CHFI was up 0.1 to 5.7 in sixth place: It had been top ranked with an 11.1 share when it fired Davis from its morning show and brought in "Jay & Billie" (Jay Oliver and Billie Jo Ross -"Mad Dog and Billie" at the time they jumped ship from EZ).
Davis and Cooper's breakfast show was top ranked in its slot with an 8.5% share, up 0.4.
2005-05-14: Chief Administrative Law Judge Richard L. Sippel has upheld the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and ordered revocation of the licences of Family Broadcasting Inc's WSTX-AM and WSTX-FM, Christiansted, U.S. Virgin Islands.
The decision follows an inquiry that began in 2001 as to whether the licences should be revoked or transferred from Family's principal stockholders Gerald Luz James and his wife, Asta James, to their four adult children. In October 2002 Family was ordered to show cause why its licence should not be revoked (See RNW Oct 3, 2002)
Luz James, Family's President, had been found to have operated the stations in disregard of a licensee's "core responsibility" to provide uninterrupted broadcasting amongst other violations.
After multiple proceedings the judge has held that Family was not able to demonstrate that under the direction of Luz James' daughter Barbara James-Petersen the stations would be operated in accordance with the law, FCC regulations and the terms of the station's authorizations.
In particular he concluded that Ms James-Petersen would be under the direction or control of Luz-James and noted:" It is clear that Ms. James-Petersen has no control over the working capital of Family's broadcast stations."
Accordingly he ruled that to allow the licence transfers could not be in the public interest, that they had to be denied, and the licences revoked.
2005-05-14: Southern Cross's 3AW in Melbourne, Australia, and host Rex Hunt are being sued for AUD 100,000 (USD 76,000) by a former radio producer and colleague over comments made by the host.
According to the Herald-Sun, Mike Frazer claims the trouble began after he arrived at a formal function at the Brighton Yacht Club in "beach attire" with his dog while Hunt was being awarded the Centenary Medal in September 2003.
Frazer said Hunt ridiculed him at the time and then in February last year belittled him on Derryn Hinch's 3AW Drive program.
Frazer initially complained to the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) whose records, reports the paper, show Hunt as saying, "Mike Frazer would make that bloke that got on the end of the Queen's bed look like an amateur Mate, you're gone. Walking along Brighton beach picking up dog droppings is a far cry from a 3AW producer."
The ABA found Mr Frazer had been vilified, but the comment was essentially factual. In March last year 3AW general manager Shane Healy sent Frazer a letter apologising on behalf of Hunt and the station.
Frazer, who worked at 3AW on and off for 23 years, said, "I put in many good years at 3AW and covered many stories, and I can't work out now why this sort of attack against me has been broadcast. I was devastated. I feel very hurt about what happened . . . I'm not going to give up."
Melbourne Magistrates' Court refused an application from Frazer to force 3AW to provide further tapes of Hunt's on-air remarks about him.
Previous Southern Cross:
2005-05-14: The latest MusicLab report from the NPD Group shows that while radio still rules the roost, other listening, particularly on computers and digital listening devices is growing at a fairly fast rate.
Since last year it says, the numbers of people listening to radio has fallen 4% -- from 203 million people aged 13 and over in March 2004 to 193 million this year - whilst the numbers listening to music stored on a computer rose 22%from 63.2 million to 77.2 million and online listening was up 18% from 45.3 to 53.5 million.
" The rise of digital listening and storage for music continues unabated this year," said Russ Crupnick, president of the NPD Group's Music & Movies division. "Technology companies are providing new tools to consumers in the form of powerful music-enabled PCs and portable music players, music companies are answering the call for more content and consumers are responding positively."
2005-05-14: Radio London, the successor to the eponymous pirate station, also known as "Big L"and launched from the MV Galaxy in December 1964 - it closed down on August 16, 1967, the day after the Marine Offences Act that killed off pirate stations broadcasting offshore to an audience in Britain - will be back on analogue radio tomorrow.
The station, whose last song in 1967 was the Beatles' "A Day In The Life" (which had been banned by the BBC at the time ) and whose DJs included Kenny Everett and the late John Peel, and Tommy Vance, will broadcast from the Netherlands on the 1395 kHz frequency, and will also be available online and on Sky satellite channel 940, where it launched earlier this year.
Behind the launch is Radio London fan Ray Anderson who tried unsuccessfully for eight years to get a permanent licence in the UK - he did succeed in -- before finding a way round the system by broadcasting from the Netherlands.
He is planning to play the best of old and new music on the station, which he sees as a commercial alternative to BBC Radio 2.
The launch DJ for the new station will be former BBC Radio 1 DJ Mike Read, who is to broadcast a weekday show for the station.
2005-05-14: Radio hams from Asia, Australia, Europe and North America have now made contact with India's recently launched Hamsat satellite according to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
The Times of India quotes ISRO publications and public relations director Dr S. Krishnamurthy, as saying ," They have all reported great clarity in transmission and have sent clear recordings to us."
The satellite has two transponders but ISRO officials said only the ISRO-designed transponder was switched on for power supply reasons.
"It is enough if one transponder is on. The other transponder will be switched on sometime later," said Krishnamurthy.
The second transponder was designed by Dutch engineering student William Gerard Leijenaar who approached ISRO about its launch some two years ago: In an e-mail to the paper he said, "This is my major project. I want this hobby of mine to become my work in future."
Previous Indian Radio:
Times of India report:
2005-05-13: Infinity has launched America's first commercial HD multicast station by creating a new station, WUSN-FM 99.5 HD-2 "Chicago's Future Country" using the digital HD spectrum that will also transmit WUSN-FM.
The two stations will be programmed independently, with the newe station focussing on new music, and each digital station will include such text information as song, title and artist information for display on HD receivers.
WUSN-FM began digital broadcasts in June 2003 and has been granted experimental authorization from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to broadcast the supplemental audio service (multicast). CC) to broadcast the supplemental audio service (multicast).
"There is no limit to the number of uses involving HD Radio," said Infinity chairman and CEO Joel Hollander, adding, "This announcement is just the first of many related to Infinity's digital broadcast strategy. We will continue to be aggressive in converging new and traditional media through creative programming and advanced delivery methods."
[RNW comment: The comment proves its author both numerically and linguistically challenged or just a bullshitter in our view - we trust he'll get HD to do his job as well, thus increasing Infinity's profits and hopefully sparing us from future dumb marketing blether. Or maybe we could hope for some well thought out and expressed views of HD's potential?]
2005-05-13: UK GMG Radio has reported revenues in the year to the end of March up 16.7% to GBP 24.5 million (USD 45.7 million) and has moved to an operating profit according to the UK Guardian, which is owned by the same parent.
The paper says that the move from Jazz FM to Smooth FM by its Manchester station - re-launched in March 2004 (See RNW Dec 9, 2003) - helped boost turnover at the station by 53%: of its other stations, Real Radio increased turnover by 23% in Scotland, 11% in Yorkshire and 7% in Wales whilst Jazz FM in London - to be re-branded Smooth FM next month (See RNW Apr 21) increased revenues by 10%.
The increase contrasts with revenue falls announced earlier this month by G-CAP (See RNW May 10) and Chrysalis (See RNW May 11) and is attributed in part to the low reliance on national advertising, which is only around 30% of revenues.
GMG Radio chief executive John Myers said of the results, "This is an impressive increase by any standard and, given that most other major radio groups have seen their revenues slide in the last year, our group has outperformed the market by a considerable distance."
UK Guardian report:
2005-05-13: Salem's WIND-AM in Chicago has taken Illinois football and men's basketball away from Infinity's WSCR-AM, its home for around 15 years, and will start airing coverage of games and coaches shows under a three-year deal with the University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics' Illini Sports Network that starts on July 1.
The move follows an open bid held by the university for the rights that was won by WIND with an offer that promised "100 per cent clearance", meaning that an Illini game will never be bumped by other programming, a condition that WSCR was not able to match because of other rights it holds or is bidding for.
The station web site now promotes itself as "Chicago's brand new News-Talk 560 WIND where you will always find a consistent view on daily events. You can find us on the left side of your radio dial, but right on the issues."
It was formerly home of the White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks but in 1985 was switched to Spanish-language and then converted to Christian news-talk, with hosts such as Bill Bennet, Laura Ingraham, Michael Medved, and Michael Savage by Salem when it acquired it in a station swap with Univision (See RNW Oct 5, 2004).
Salem's general manager for Chicago and Milwaukee David Santrella said the deal offered "benefits to both parties. The Illini gain full clearance for all football and men's basketball games. For our part, News Talk 560 WIND strengthens its position through this premier association, and gives alumni another reason to tune into our station."
Dave Johnson, assistant athletic director/executive producer of the Illini Sports Network said they'd had a "wonderful relationship with WSCR-AM" but "WIND-AM 560 produced a more comprehensive bid in terms of clearances of our games and coaches shows and we are delighted to move on to a new partnership."
2005-05-13: BBC broadcasts on both radio and TV are likely to be severely disrupted by strike action announced by its unions - Amicus (The Manufacturing, technical and skilled persons' union), BECTU (the Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union) and the NUJ (National Union of Journalists), - to protest plans to cut nearly 4000 jobs at the corporation.
The unions have announced strikes on Monday May 23 for the whole day and for 48 hours covering Tuesday May 31 and Wednesday June 1 with a further date for a 24-hour strike to be announced.
The BBC said in a statement that it regretted the decision to take industrial action and added, "By threatening the BBC's output, the unions put at risk the BBC's relationship with the public which is not in anyone's interest."
"Industrial action," it said, "will not remove the need for further consultation or the need for the BBC to implement changes which will enable us to put more money into improved programmes and services We will, of course, do everything we can to bring the best possible service to viewers and listeners during any industrial action."
NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: "We have absolutely no doubt that BBC staff will act with their feet and walk out in huge numbers, causing major disruption to programme output.
"The BBC must drop its opposition to meaningful negotiations if it wants to avoid serious damage to programmes. It is time for BBC management to stop lecturing staff and start listening to their concerns."
"[BBC Director-General] Mark Thompson's savage cuts package is heavy handed, rash and unnecessary," added Dear. "A staggering one in five jobs is under threat. Quality and standards cannot possibly survive such an onslaught. He has provoked deep felt anger and disbelief among BBC staff. "
BECTU assistant general secretary Gerry Morrissey said they would "aim to cause the greatest amount of disruption possible to highlight our anger at the scale of job cuts and our concern about the effect these will have on the future of the BBC. We expect overwhelming support for the strikes and we hope the BBC will return to the negotiating table to discuss these unacceptable job cuts with us."
2005-05-13: Latest Arbitron-comScore Internet ratings, show overall numbers listening in March fell back on February - by 3.8% overall to 5.575 million and by just 0.2% weekdays to 3.428 million.
AQH figures also dipped overall - from 460,800 to 459700 - but were up from 707,400 to 729600 for weekdays 06:00 to 19:00.
Rankings among the four networks rated were unchanged but Yahoo and Live 365 increased the numbers listening while AOL and MSN fell back.
Leader Yahoo had a cumulative overall audience of 2477800, up 2.2% and weekday cumulative audience of 1512300, up 5.6%: its AQH figures were up from 282,200 to 372,800 and up from 189,100 to 244,300 respectively.
Second ranked AOL fared less well with its overall cumulative audience down 5.5% to 1981900 and its weekday cumulative audience down 4.0% to 1113700: AQH figures rose from 162,800 to 164,500 weekdays but fell from 111,800 to 111,600 overall.
In third rank MSN services had an overall cumulative audience down 15.8% to 760300 overall and 4% to 569800 weekdays; AQH figures rose from 128,900 to 129,900 weekdays but fell from 76,500 to 74,300 overall.
In fourth place Live 365 in its third month of ratings fell back slightly in cumulative audience overall - down 0.2% to 499,600 but weekday cumulative audience was up 1.1% to 350900; its AQH figures fell from 42,900 to 41,300 weekdays and from 28,200 to 25,300 overall.
Previous Arbitron-comScore ratings:
2005-05-13: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that a broadcast by CHOM-FM, Montreal, in the afternoon of a song containing the phrased "fucked up" breached Canadian codes.
The broadcast in September 2004 of "Locked in the Trunk of a Car" by Canadian group The Tragically Hip led to a complaint from a listener about the broadcast at a time when people might be driving their children home from school.
The CBSC forwarded the letter in October 2004 to CHUM but the complainant had received no response by November 9, 2004, and asked the CBSC to pursue the matter: Again no response was received until in February this year the CBSC National chair telephoned the station which then responded to the complainant and argued that the use of the word was "appropriate in relation to the song's content."
"More importantly," continued the reply, "it was not used disparagingly; therefore the song was played as received. Upon receiving your letter, we reviewed the song again and feel that CHOM made the right decision at that time."
The complainant responded by saying that by becoming a member of the CBSC CHOM had "agreed to follow certain broadcaster codes" and its reply failed to take up this issue and was also responding well beyond the guidelines established by the Council.
The CBSC panel agreed with the complaint and ruled that there had been a breach.
2005-05-12: In further digital radio developments, Japan is reported to be likely to advance the introduction of digital radio broadcasts to next year and the Australian commercial radio industry has called for adoption of the Eureka 147 Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) system as superior in an Australian environment to Ibiquity's HD system although its says the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) system could at some stage be used as a complementary digital system for wide area and international coverage purposes.
Japan is expected to start digital radio broadcasts in Tokyo and Osaka next year, five ahead of the initial schedule for its introduction, according to the Asahi Shimbun.
The paper says that the plan to speed up the introduction of digital radio is a response to a mew mobile device TV service that is scheduled to start next year: The Japanese digital radio service will offer still images and text services in addition to audio and was originally to have been introduced throughout the country in 2011 by state broadcaster NHK and a new broadcasting company that was to have been set up by such entities as radio stations, receiver manufacturers, telecommunications companies and trading houses..
The paper says the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has now issued a report calling for a piecemeal introduction of digital radio starting as early as next year.
Prospective owners of the new company owners already belong to the Digital Radio Promotion Association, which has been conducting test digital radio broadcasts in Tokyo and Osaka, and the paper says the communications ministry plans to license four other digital radio service providers-two national broadcasters and two regional broadcasters in or after 2011.
In Australia the commercial radio industry has now published its views on the introduction of digital audio broadcasts, recommending adoption of the Eureka 147 system used in most of the world with digital broadcasting eventually replacing AM and FM following a lengthy simulcast period to allow time for consumers to replace existing radio sets in homes and cars.
In its submission to the Australian Federal Government industry body Commercial Radio Australia calls for a moratorium of at least ten years on allowing new entrants to the industry and also for a moratorium on allocation of any new community or narrowcast analogue licences until planning for the migration to digital of current licensees is completed.
It says digital spectrum should be "loaned" to existing commercial radio broadcasters at no extra cost and that spectrum licences should be held by consortia of commercial radio broadcasters and national broadcasters ABC and SBS with no third party multiplex operators allowed during the no new entrants period.
It says existing commercial broadcasters should be permitted to develop new services such as data services but no digital-only services should be licenses.
Commercial Radio Australia says it supports the "full conversion" approach because this reflects the reality that digital radio is a replacement technology and says it supports the adoption of Eureka 147 DAB as the technology that is both the most mature and the most powerful. It also notes that only DAB has so far produced affordable receivers, essential for digital radio to flourish, from a wide range of manufacturers and adds that DAB multiplexes that utilise a wideband signal in combination with time interleaving are "the best solution to combat the effects of frequency selective fading" whilst the IBOC (iBiquity HD system in the US) and Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) systems being narrowband have to rely solely on time interleaving. It also says DAB uses a much higher bit rate transmission system and thus allows more flexibility in configuring services.
DRM it suggests might be a supplementary system in future for international or wide area coverage.
It also notes the development of DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting), particularly in Korea (See RNW Feb 19), will drive down the cost of DAB broadcast equipment since it uses the same multiplexes and transmitters.
The submission also says that compelling new content such as new audio streams and data channels will be required to encourage listeners to purchase digital radios and argues that the IBOC/HD approach does not allow for sufficient new services.
It also points out that to adopt IBOC/HD would make Australian broadcasters reliant on a proprietary system and that the system, based on 20KHZ bandwidth channels on a 10KHZ raster in the US, would have to be altered to an 18KHz bandwidth and 9KHZ raster in Australia thus meaning that even if this is technically possible cheap mass-market US receivers might not work in Australia.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Asahi Shimbun report:
Australian commercial radio submission (1.49Mb 48 page PDF):
2005-05-12: According to the New York Post, Disney is considering selling off its ABC radio division in a deal that the paper estimates could raise a billion dollars.
The paper says sources tell it the future of ABC radio is at the head of the to-do list of incoming CEO Bob Iger: It notes that Disney does not publish financial information for the division but that trade publication Inside Radio estimated revenues for it of USD 435 million in 2004.
The paper says radio is one of the slowest-growing segments in the media industry, forcing corporate owners to take various steps to keep it from dragging down the rest of their businesses and points to the plan by Viacom to split itself into two groups, one of the faster growing cable and other businesses and the other of the traditional broadcast businesses of CBS and Infinity.
New York Post report:
2005-05-12: Trades Unions at the BBC have called for renewed talks with the corporation about planned job cuts proposed by Director-General Mark Thompson (See RNW Mar 22) following votes in favour of protest strikes.
The Unions -Amicus, BECTU, and the NUJ - are to meet today to plan industrial action, probably a 12 or 24-hour stoppage some time in the next four weeks: Under British law action has to be taken within four weeks of the announcement of the result of a ballot.
The BBC said it was "disappointed" by the decision and added, "Given the scale of the changes that the BBC needs to make, and that the unions have not allowed us to talk to them in order to address their concerns, we are not surprised by the ballot result."
In all just under half of BECTU's members at the BBC voted with 78% in favour of a strike - the figures were higher in BBC Broadcast where 55% voted and 88% favoured a strike and BBC resources where 56% voted with 86% in favour: Of NUJ members, 64% voted with 84% in favour of strike action.
News and live broadcasts could be hit - particularly sporting events such as the (Soccer) FA Cup Final on May 21 and BECTU has said it will try to ensure that its action affects transmissions.
BECTU's lead BBC official, Luke Crawley, said of the votes, "This is a clear signal to Mark Thompson that he is going too far, too fast, in his plans for changes. We've got an overwhelming mandate for strike action, proving that the Director General is badly out of touch with his staff."
NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: "This result is a reflection of the huge anger at the scale and impact of Mark Thompson's cuts. The cuts package is badly thought out, doesn't add up, will do irreparable damage to quality and standards and has been soundly rejected by staff.
"BBC staff have shown that if Mark Thompson and senior management are not prepared to protect the future of the BBC, they are. Now is the time for the BBC to stop lecturing staff and start listening to their concerns".
2005-05-12: Greater Media has announced that the Philadelphia morning drive duo Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison (Preston and Steve) will launch their breakfast show on its rock station WMMR-FM on Monday.
The pair last month won a court decision stopping their former employer, Y100 owner Radio One Inc., enforcing a non-compete clause in their contract because it has closed down the station (See RNW Apr 27).
In an open letter on the station web site the pair say they are "thrilled and totally pumped at the way the folks at this legendary station [WMMR] have embraced us but at the same time "profoundly saddened by the ending of Y100."
"We plan on doing everything we were doing at Y100 and much more," they say. "Everything you enjoyed (dear God, we hope you enjoyed it!!!) will be back."
WMMR web site:
2005-05-12: Irish ratings for October last year to March this year show listening down on the year-earlier figures.
The latest JNLR/ TNS MRBI report shows overall listenership in the Republic at 85%, down two points, with national stations down 1 point to 55% and the figure excluding Dublin and Cork down 2% to 57%.
Amongst national stations, with full 2004 figures in brackets, RTÉ Radio One had an unchanged 26% listened yesterday figure (27%); 2FM was down 2 to 22% (24%) and Lyric FM retained 3% (3%) whilst national commercial station Today FM added 2 to reach 15% (15%).
The figure for regional station Beat FM was up 1 to 18% on the year-ago figure and among local stations Limerick's Live 95FM retained 56%, as for the full year, Galway Bay FM was down 2 to 50% (up 2% on the full 2004 figure) and WLR-FM was down 7 to 47% (down 1 on the full 2004 figure). The report says the sample bases were too small for other local stations to receive reach figures in the latest period.
In Dublin the top five local stations were FM 104 with an unchanged 20% on the year-ago and full-year figures - RTÉ Radio 1 led with an unchanged 29% year-ago figure but was down 1 on the full year number- followed by 98FM, which was down 3 to 17% (Full year was 19%); Q102 with an unchanged 12% (the same for the full year - it was behind RTÉ 2FM which was down 1 on a year ago to 15% but the same as the full year; Spin 1038 with 10%, up 5 and now close to Today FM which was up 1 to 11% in Dublin ( Full year figures were 9% for Spin and 10% for Today ); and NewsTalk 106FM with an unchanged 5% for both the previous period and full year.
In Cork 96 FM County Sound had 47%, down 2 on a year earlier and up 2 on the full year, followed by RTÉ Radio 1- down 1 on the year-ago and 3 on the full year with 24%; RTÉ 2FM with 16%- unchanged on the year-ago figure but down 1 on the full year; Red FM with 15%, down 2 on a year ago and up 1 on the full year; and Today FM with 14%, up one on a year earlier and down 1 on the full year.
Previous Irish Ratings:
2005-05-12: BBC London DJ Danny Baker, who was the winner of this year's Sony Gold Award for DJ of the Year (See RNW May 10), is to leave his breakfast show on the station to write a film script but will return to the station in the autumn.
Baker announced his departure on air the morning after winning the award saying people thought he was "crying wolf" when he had mentioned his plans before.
Baker has hosted the show for three years and it is not clear whether he will return to the breakfast slot or to another time.
So far the station has not posted details of who will take over but rumours are that Jon Gaunt, who won three Sony Gold awards in 2001 (See RNW May 1, 2001) and is now hosting a mid-morning phone-in show on the station is amongst the favourites.
2005-05-11: Following the inauspicious debut of Britain's largest radio company G-Cap Media (See RNW May 10) Chrysalis Group has also reported a revenue decline.
Group turnover for the six months to the end of March was down 4.9% on a year earlier to GBP 78.4 million (USD 147.6 million) with radio revenues down 2.2% to GBP 32.6 million (USD 61.4 million): Overall Chrysalis had pre-tax profits of only GBP 300,000 (USD 565,000) compared to GBP 2.2 million (USD 4.1 million) a year earlier with earnings per share down from GBP 1.03 to GBP 0.09.
Total operating profit was less than half the year ago figure - GBP 1.7million (USD 3.2 million), down from GBP 3.7 million (USD 7.0 million), a fall put down mainly to increased losses at Chrysalis Books, although both music and radio divisions also reported "marginally lower" first half profits.
Chrysalis was also downbeat about prospects, forecasting full-year revenues to be down 5% to 6%: it said advertising revenues in March and April, hit in part by reduction in government advertising in the run-up to the UK General Election and also by cutbacks by major advertisers, were down 12.5%, a little better than the 17% decline G-Cap reported for April.
Chief executive, Richard Huntingford noted, however, ratings success for its Heart FM station in London (See RNW May 6) and said this should boost revenues later in the year.
Chairman Chris Wright in his report said the figures were "in line with the company's expectations."
Regarding suggested disposals of the company's music business he gave the idea the cold shoulder, commenting, "We have recently completed the annual Group-wide review of our businesses. The Board concluded that the strategy of focusing on both our market leading music and radio businesses continues to be optimal in the interest of creating long-term shareholder value."
Regarding radio, Chrysalis said its acquisition just announced of G-Cap's Century 106 was "entirely consistent with our strategy of investing in radio licences covering large metropolitan areas where there are good opportunities for audience and revenue growth. "
"Century 106," it commented, "is a well established, profitable broadcaster and will allow us to create a leading Heart branded, adult contemporary offering across the East and West Midlands - an area attractive to both national and local advertisers."
Chrysalis also said it was a likely buyer as the UK radio industry consolidated, commenting, "The ongoing consolidation of the UK radio sector is likely to offer up further interesting opportunities for
Chrysalis Radio. We will continue to review potential acquisitions which offer both a good strategic fit with our existing stations and can be made at a price that allows us to deliver a return to shareholders."
On digital, it commented, "Digital will be an important driver of future growth. We believe our strong brands are well suited for digital roll out, offering advertisers familiar and compelling demographics covering almost 30 million adults across the key urban areas of the UK. Digital technology will also enable us to pursue broader, deeper and more interactive relationships with our listeners and offer this advantage to advertisers."
2005-05-11: Latest Australia ratings show more good news for Austereo as a resurgent Triple M, the top-rated FM in Brisbane and Melbourne took its Sydney share up from 8.4 to 9.8 and took third rank, knocking the company's 2-DAY down to fourth although it had increased its share from 9.0 to 9.5. Its Mix 94.5 also maintained the lead in Perth.
Also doing well was Macquarie Network's 2GB, which retained the lead with share up from 11.4 to 12.3 and saw Alan Jones increase his breakfast dominance while its commercial talk competitor Southern Cross's 2UE fell back from seventh to eighth as its share dropped from 8.6 to 7.2. DMG's Nova held on to the second spot and increased its share from 9.6 to 10.0
In the Sydney breakfast slot, Alan Jones took 2GB's share up from 14.6 to 15.7 and Angela Catterns at ABC also increased her share - from 10.6 to 10.8 and took the second rank from Nova, which was pushed into third as its share from the Merrick and Rosso team (Merrick Watts and Tim Ross) fell from 10.7 to 10.3.
2-Day's Kyle and Jackie O (Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O) closed the gap, increasing their share from 9.4 to 9.6 but in the commercial AM talk market Mike Carlton at 2UE lost share - from 8.6 to 8.1- although he retained fifth rank.
In the morning slot, John Laws for 2UE lost share - from 11.4 to 8.8 and fell back from second to fifth: 2GB with Jones followed by Ray Hadley in the time slot held the lead with share up from 12.6 to 12.9.
City by city, the top three stations were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: 5AA 17.3 (16.8) -same rank; Mix 14.8 (16.7) - same rank; SAFM 14.0 (14.2)- same rank.
* Nova 12.7 (12.0) - remained fourth but closed the gap a little.
*Brisbane - Triple M with 18.2 (17.1) - same rank; B105FM 10.5 (12.5) - same rank; NEW 97.3 FM with 10.4 (11.7) - same rank.
*Melbourne - 3AW with 15.6 (13.8)- same rank; Triple M with 11.4 (10.7)- up from fourth; Gold with 10.8 (10.0) - up from fifth;
*ABC 774 with 10.3 (11.5) fell from second to fourth
* Nova with 10.0 (11.1) fell from to third from fifth.
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM 17.1 (16.7) - same rank; 96FM with 11.7 (14.2) - same rank;
ABC 720 with 11.1 (11.2) - Up from fourth.
*Nova with 10.9 (11.3) fell from third to fourth.
* Sydney: 2GB 12.3 (11.4) - same rank; Nova with 10.0 (9.6) - same rank; Triple-M with 9.8 (8.4) - up from eighth.
*2-DAY with 9.5 (9.0) fell from third to fourth.
ABC 702 was fifth equal with 8.8 (8.7) equal in share with Mix and 2UE with 8.6 (9.1) was down from seventh to eighth with 7.2 (8.6).
Commenting on the results, Austereo CEO Michael Anderson said Triple M was "becoming the radio story of the year" and added, "It has had incredible growth in Brisbane and Sydney and is consistently strong in Melbourne."
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Southern Cross:
2005-05-11: Emmis, which for some time has considered separating its radio and TV arms, has announced that it has hired a financial advisor and legal counsel to "assist in evaluating strategic alternatives for the Company's television assets", moves that could lead it to sell all or part of its TV assets.
If all the TV assets are sold Emmis could raise around USD 1 billion.
Its board also announced that it had approved a "Dutch Auction" tender offer to purchase up to 20,250,000 shares - some 39% - of its Class A common stock at a price per share not less than USD17.25 and not greater than USD19.75.
Chairman, President and CEO Jeffrey H. Smulyan said of the possible disposal of TV assets, "Our decision to explore strategic alternatives for our television assets comes from our ongoing dedication to lowering our debt and putting us in a better position for growth, but also from the recognition that, in order to reach their full potential, our television stations need to be aligned with a company that is larger and more singularly focused on the challenges of American television. Our television employees have proven themselves to be the best operators in American television, and they deserve the opportunity to continue the good work they've done in the last seven years."
Smulyan, who is Emmis's largest shareholder, has said he will not tender any of his shares for the share buy-back
2005-05-11: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has blocked one licence transfer but allowed two other deals to go ahead: Blocked was Forever Broadcasting LLC's acquisition of three stations in Pennsylvania from Forever of PA, LLC, as part of a move by the four principals of both companies to "simplify the organizational structure of the individuals' ownership for corporate and tax purposes."
The move involved WFBG-AM and WFGY-FM, Altoona, WLTS-FM, State College and WRKY-FM, Hollidaysburg, and required a waiver since it would have given one company control of six commercial stations -- two AM and four FM stations -- in the Altoona Metro contrary to regulations prohibiting ownership of more than five stations in a market with 14 or fewer full-power, commercial and non-commercial radio stations.
The FCC said the voting interests of each of the Four Principals will change substantially if the proposed transaction is approved and consummated and noted that Forever PA acknowledges that more than 50 percent of the voting rights in the assignee will be redistributed in connection with the assignment of the licenses, thus constituting a change in control.
In Washington State it has given the go-ahead for Inland Northwest Broadcasting, LLC. to acquire KZZL-FM, Pullman, and KRAO-FM, KCL-AM, and KMAX-AM, Colfax, from Palouse Country, Inc.
Radio Palouse, Inc., which owns KQQQ-AM and KHTR-FM, Pullman, had objected on the basis that under the deal Inland's principals would have "attributable" interests in six of nine commercial stations in what it termed the "Moscow-Pullman-Colfax"
The FCC noted that there was no Arbitron market as defined and that Inland had argued that listeners in the three communities could listen to at least 15 commercial stations although most were licensed outside the area. It denied the objections and approved the deal.
In New York State and Pennsylvania it has given the go-ahead for Media One Group II, LLC to acquire WKSN-AM and WHUG-FM, Jamestown, from Vox Allegany, LLC, plus WQFX-FM, Russell, Pennsylvania, from Southbridge Radio Corporation.
Cross Country Communications, LLC , licensee of WKZA-FM, Lakewood, New York, had objected to the deals on the basis that Media One would assume a near-monopoly position as the predominant seller of radio advertising in the market.
Media One currently owns WJTN-AM and WWSE-FM, Jamestown, but the FCC said that there were 20 stations in the market and thus its rules allowed a single owner for up to six commercial stations and Media One would only have five after the deal. It gave the go-ahead.
2005-05-11: UK media regulator Ofcom upheld in part one complaint against radio and upheld four complaints against TV and another against TV in part in its latest bulletin just issued compared to no complaints against radio and 4 against TV upheld in the previous bulletin.
It also considered a further radio complaint and three TV complaints resolved compared to five TV complaints resolved in the previous bulletin.
In addition one TV standards and two TV fairness and privacy complaints were not upheld with details given and a further 16 radio complaints relating to 15 items and 105 TV complaints relating to 93 items were rejected or held to be out of remit with no further details given. This compared with 108 complaints relating to 100 TV items and 13 radio ones relating to 12 items rejected or held to be out of remit in the previous bulletin.
The radio complaint upheld in part was a complaint of unfair treatment against Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2 in an item "How to Sue" that involved listeners calling in about their experience of lawsuits.
The complainant said comments about him in an item over a dispute over a noisy cockerel was included untrue claims about him and that the story involved was not relevant to the subject matter of the programme. The Ofcom bulletin agreed that the programme was unfair to the complainant but not that the item was not relevant.
Considered resolved was a BBC Radio Scotland programme in which listeners were asked to e-mail suggestions of things to throw at unsuccessful soccer managers and the Catholic Media Office objected to one suggestion that a former Celtic Manager should be "pelted with communion wafers."
The BBC admitted that editorial supervision had not been as stringent as usual on this occasion, said that senior editorial staff accepted that the email should not have been selected, noted that the comment had not gone unchallenged and said it had taken action to ensure greater care in future. Ofcom considered this action was sufficient.
Ofcom has also announced that it has awarded the new Banbury commercial FM to The Bear, owned by The CN Group, which was competing against two other bids (See RNW Feb 10).
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has signed a new five-year deal with West Limerick Community Radio Limited (West Limerick 102) for a community service for West Limerick.
The station has three broadcast studios- in Newcastle West, Rathkeale and Abbeyfeale- as well as outside broadcast facilities and broadcasts daily from 07:00 to 01:00
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2005-05-10: BBC Radio 2, which won the award in 2001 and 2002, has added a third Sony Gold Award - the UK Radio Industry "Oscars" - this century as Station of the Year 2005.
The BBC took two other Station of the Year Awards, one to BBC Radio Foyle for stations with audiences under 300,000 and the other to BBC Three Counties Radio for stations with audiences from 300,000 to a million.
From the commercial industry Emap scored with Radio City in Liverpool taking the Gold for stations with a million plus audience and children's station Capital Disney took the Gold for Digital Terrestrial Station of the Year.
UK commercial radio also took the Special Award for its UK Radio Aid tsunami appeal that was broadcast in January (See RNW Jan 18) and has raised some GBP 3.25 million (USD 6.1 million) in aid.
Also doing well was independent production company Unique, which took two golds, both with shows for the BBC.
Amongst individual winners, BBC Radio 2 DJ Steve Wright was awarded the annual Gold Medal and Christian O'Connell of G-Cap's Xfm was the biggest winner with Golds in the Breakfast Show of the Year, Entertainment Award and Competition Award categories. Zane Lowe at BBC Radio 1 took two golds.
The Gold winners in this year's 32 categories were:
*The Special Award- UK Radio Aid.
*The Gold Award- Steve Wright.
*Station Of The Year - BBC Radio 2
*Station Of The Year -1 million plus - Radio City 96.7.
*Station Of The Year - 300,000 - 1 million - BBC Three Counties Radio.
*Station Of The Year - under 300,000 - BBC Radio Foyle.
*Station Of The Year - Digital Terrestrial - Capital Disney.
*The Daily Music Show Of The Year - Kerrang! 105.2 Drivetime with Lucio
*The Weekly Music Show Of The Year - Somethin' Else for FCUK FM.
*The Breakfast Show Of The Year - Christian O'Connell's Breakfast Show (Xfm).
*The Specialist Music Award - Zane Lowe (BBC Radio 1).
*The Entertainment Award - Christian O'Connell's Breakfast Show (Xfm).
*The 'Music Special' Award - Teenage Dreams So Hard To Beat (BBC Speech & Campaigns for Radio 1)
*The DJ Of The Year - Danny Baker (BBC London).
*The Music Broadcaster Of The Year - Zane Lowe (BBC Radio 1).
*The News Programme Of The Year - Vote Friction (Unique the production company for BBC Radio 1).
*The News Output Award - The Beslan Siege (BBC World Service News & Current Affairs & Newsgathering for BBC World Service).
*The News Story Award - The Tsunami (BBC Radio News for Five Live).
*The Sports Award - City Till I Die (BBC Radio York).
*The Speech Award - Beyond Belief - Islam and Women (BBC Religion and Ethics for Radio 4).
*The Speech Broadcaster Of The Year - Jeremy Vine (BBC Radio 2).
*The News Journalist Of The Year - Eddie Mair (BBC Radio 4)
*The Feature Award - Missing The Message (Unique the production company for BBC Radio 1).
*The Short Form Feature Award - Blind Man's Beauty (BBC Radio and Music Factual for Radio 4).
*The Information Award - Unhappy Hour (Viking FM News Team for Viking FM & Magic 1161).
*The Drama Award - Laughter In The Dark (Catherine Bailey Productions for BBC Radio 3).
*The Comedy Award - The National Theatre Of Brent's Complete And Utter History Of The Mona Lisa (Above the Title Productions for Radio 4).
*The Event Award - The Drive Show: D-Day Anniversary (BBC Radio Kent).
*The Interactive Radio Award - Three Counties Breakfast (BBC Three Counties Radio).
*The Competition Award - Christian O'Connell's Rock School (Xfm).
*The Community Award - The Stephen Nolan Show (BBC Radio Ulster Factual for Radio Ulster).
*The Station Sound Award - Kiss 100.
*The Promo Award - A77 Guardian Angel Campaign (West Sound Commercial Production for West Sound, West FM & SouthWest Sound FM).
*The Station Programmer Of The Year - Richard Maddock (Radio City 96.7).
Previous Sony Awards:
Sony Awards web site:
2005-05-10: Britain's biggest commercial radio company G-Cap Media, formed from a merger of Capital Radio and GWR, made its market debut on Monday, saw its valuation at GBP 527 million (USD 970 million) end up around GBP 184 million (USD 346 million) down on the combined value of the two companies in September last year as it announced that its revenues were down 0.8% on the year ago figures in the six month to the end of March at GBP 58.5 million (USD 110 million).
Underlying operating profit from analogue radio in the period was down 5.6% to GBP 13.6 million (USD 25.6 million) with underlying profit before taxation down 10.7% to GBP 10.8 million (USD 20.3 million)
Chief Executive David Mansfield said of the results, "While the last six month period has been difficult in terms of our trading environment, we have made significant strategic progress as a Group. The highlight has been the successful formation of GCap Media, where we will see operational benefits from the early integration of our two management teams"
GCap also announced agreement on a GBP 29.5 million (USD 55.5 million) sale of its East Midlands station Century 106 FM - required to gain regulator approval of the merger- to Chrysalis.
The deal is subject to approval by the Office of Fair Trading and Chrysalis says if it goes through it will re-brand the station using its Heart FM brand.
Chrysalis Chief Executive Richard Huntingford said of the acquisition, "106 Century FM is a great strategic fit for Chrysalis and it will make an excellent addition to our radio business. The combination of 100.7 Heart FM in the West Midlands and 106 Century FM in the East Midlands will strengthen our branded radio network in this important region. It also extends our national presence, which is increasingly attractive to advertisers."
"This acquisition," he added, "is consistent with our strategy of growing our radio business by acquiring high quality, complementary assets that provide an opportunity to create additional long term shareholder value."
Chrysalis Radio Chief Executive Phil Riley added, "Both of our existing Heart stations, in London and the West Midlands, are market leaders, and we are always looking for ways to develop the brand into new regions The addition of 106 Century FM to our radio business is an excellent opportunity to do this. "
"106 Century FM and Heart have traditionally targeted the same important demographic and, based on our success in the West Midlands, we believe that there is considerable potential to grow both audience and yield."
Chrysalis says it will finance the purchase through a combination of its own resources and a GBP 20 million (USD 37.7 million) facility from the Royal Bank of Scotland.
In other UK radio business, Ulster TV (UTV) has announced that it is making a GBP 98 million (USD 185 million) bid for The Wireless Group, a move that has been recommended by the TWG board and appears to spell the end at the group of its chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie.
MacKenzie, whose own bid had run into financing problems, stands to end up with around GBP 6 million (USD 11 million) from his stock and options plus a pay-off of around GBP 1 million (USD 1.88 million): He is expected to leave once the deal goes through.
UTV in a statement said its offer - 91 pence a share in cash or a partial share alternative of 71.5 pence in cash and 0.03951 New UTV Shares for every Wireless Share- had already been accepted in respect of 51.2% of the company's shares.
These acceptances, by Liberty Media and News International, it said were binding even if a higher offer was made and it added that it had agreed, subject to the Offer becoming unconditional in all respects, to buy News International Limited's entire holding of Wireless B Shares - 18,410 Wireless B Shares, all of the such shares currently issued.
Previous Wireless Group:
2005-05-10: In more US radio results, Entercom has reported first quarter net revenues up 8% to USD 94.3 million with station operating income up 10% and same station revenues up 6% to USD 94.3 million.
Overall Entercom had net income up 35.7% to USD 16,237 (Up from 23 cents to 34 cents per basic and diluted share) including USD 5.5 million (7 cents a share) gain from its sale of KDDS_AM, Seattle.
During the quarter Entercom completed its second USD 100.0 million share repurchase program and announced its third USD100.0 million share repurchase program.
Commenting on the results, President and CEO David J. Field said, "We are very pleased to report that Entercom delivered record-breaking results and strong top line and bottom line growth during Q1. Same station revenues grew 6%, doubling the growth rates of our markets, which were up 3% during the quarter. Furthermore, Entercom delivered 10% same station operating income growth while same station operating expense growth was held to 3%."
"Our future prospects," he added, "continue to improve, driven by a number of recent developments, including positive traction on company and industry initiatives (such as accelerating adoption of 30-second commercials), our newly announced acquisition in Greenville (which should close later in the year) and several recent format changes. We have also continued to create additional shareholder value by deploying our strong free cash flow towards our share buyback programs."
Looking ahead, Entercom said its second quarter" will be negatively impacted to a small degree by several recent format changes" and it expects an increase of around 4% in same station net revenues and operating expenses.
2005-05-10: An Italian court has imposed suspended prison sentences on a Roman Catholic cardinal and a director of Vatican Radio and ordered them to pay damages to be set by a civil arbitration body after finding them guilty of polluting the atmosphere through electromagnetic emissions from Vatican Radio's transmission complex at Santa Maria di Galeria near Rome.
The case arose after complaints from residents of nearby Cesanoresulted in investigations that showed a higher incidence of tumours and leukaemia than average and electromagnetic energy three times the Italian legal limit (See RNW Oct 9, 2000).
The Vatican had argued that the emissions met European standards, which are lower than Italian ones, and that under a 1951 agreement with Italy the transmission site was part of Vatican City, which is considered an independent sovereign state, and that Italian laws did not apply and refused to pass on summons issued against three officials: Father Roberto Tucci, chairman of the radio's management board who was subsequently made a cardinal; Father Pasquale Borgomeo, its director general; and Costantino Pacifici, the deputy technical director.
A Rome court upheld the Vatican's claim that it was outside Italian jurisdiction in February 2002 but in April 2003 the Supreme Court of Cassation overturned the decision, thus allowing the case to go ahead, leading to the conviction of Tucci and Borgomeo. Pacifici was found not guilty.
Reuters said defence lawyers have said they will appeal the latest decision and Vatican Radio said in a statement, "This verdict is clearly unjustifiable. We are hopeful that in the appeals stages, Italian justice will recognise that the broadcaster's management acted correctly."
The agency also reported that one consumer's group, Codacons, has already demanded 200.6 million euros (USD257.5 million) in damages and others are likely to join suit.
Previous Vatican Radio:
2005-05-10: Responding to criticisms about problems in reaching cell phone-only households for its surveys and thus under-reporting the listening by younger people, Arbitron has posted an update on its attempts to address the issue.
Commenting that the "move to total reliance on cell phones has evolved from a curiosity to a full-fledged trend," Arbitron says it has been conducting its own research on the impact this could have for its radio ratings surveys and that it is "especially aware of those formats targeted at the younger demographics."
Commenting on the scale of the problem it says its best estimate is that 7% of American households are now cell-phone-only and that this rises to a fifth of those 15-24.
It says that the development may be a factor in "lower young male proportionality figures we are seeing in many markets" and notes that tackling the problem by applying larger weighting leads to bounce in the date and that there is also an additional problem that it does not know if those living in cell-phone-only houses have different listening habits to those in houses with landlines.
Arbitron says it has now completed three studies with a fourth planned for summer this year and has so far concluded that cell-home -only homes can be reached as can respondents of all age groups and different races and ethnicity but consent rates are lower.
The summer survey, it says, will be used to investigate possible differences in listening patterns in cell-phone-only houses and assess whether its current samples adequately represent listening patterns.
It notes additional difficulties in reaching cell-phone-only households, partially because of a legal prohibition on automatic dialling cell phone without the owner's prior consent and also the fact that cell phone owners take their number with them when they move and therefore may be residing in a different market to that which Arbitron has on record and also that unlike landlines, where there is generally a line for a household, cell phones are normally just used by individuals, thus posing problems in the weight given to a household where there may be a number of cell-phone users.
Arbitron says its summer survey will specifically look at the impact of including cell-phone-only households in its surveys, specifically in terms of impact on response rates, on the quality of the data, to assess the differences, if there are any, in listening estimates and assess any operational changes it needs to make.
Arbitron report (6 Page 146 Kb PDF):
2005-05-09: Last week saw more coverage on radio as a medium than in any other so far this year, notably three articles in The Nation that unsurprisingly concentrated on the left of the political spectrum, some praise for British DJ Chris Evans as being back en route to finding his way again, author Lynn Truss on why she still writes radio drama, and, to start off, a Palm Beach Post editorial on Rush Limbaugh's latest court defeat whose first sentence struck us as rather appropriate in the current context of US right-wing attacks on the country's judiciary.
"Declining to engage in judicial activism," it began, "the Florida Supreme Court refused last week to hear talk show host Rush Limbaugh's argument that prosecutors illegally seized his medical records. The decision was a ruling for law enforcement, not against privacy."
It then went on to comment on the decision that "If Mr. Limbaugh had raised any new credible legal issue, there might have been reason for the Supreme Court to hear the case. But he argued, in essence, that he deserved a hearing because he didn't like the appeals court decision."
It also notes later, "Prosecutors had to persuade two judges before getting the records. The Republican-led Legislature made doctor shopping a felony in response to repeated examples of abuse. Privacy rightly protects people from unwarranted, random searches. Privacy does not allow people to conceal possible evidence of a crime."
RNW comment: As this particular case has progressed, looking at it from outside the US we have come to conclude that in the end the Limbaugh argument - one that, of course, he excoriated when it was O.J. Simpson in the dock - has depended on playing the celebrity card and hoping to get public pressure to influence a court in his favour.
The objections he raises seem ridiculous to an outsider since the prosecutors in going the route they did had to give a judge sufficient evidence to authorize the issuing of a search warrant, a rather higher bar to jump we'd have thought than using a subpoena where they could have said there was a legitimate police investigation going on and issued the subpoena without further judicial investigation.
We suspect Limbaugh would have been screaming political bias at the maximum volume had this been done and that District Attorney Barry Krischer was being fairly intelligent in taking a route that would have left his office much more exposed to such allegations.
We still take the view that penal measures may well be not be the most productive way to deal with much drug taking and addiction and that jailing, at considerable public expense, tens of thousands of American citizens has contributed more to creating budget problems than to solving drug ones.
At the same time, we also take the view that if the idea of punishment in such circumstances is to deter others it is logical that the more famous a person is the less leeway they should be given. In these circumstances, the logic of Limbaugh's past comments on other people is to hoist him with his own petard and give him the maximum jail sentence. The prosecutorial offer of probation and community service rejected by the host seems, as time goes on, to have been reasonably fair and we can't but feel that it would not now be unjust that he should get a rather more severe punishment if charged and found guilty of doctor shopping and laundering money to cover this up.
On then to another host who's had his fair share of problems including drug ones - with alcohol: As Vincent Graff in the UK Independent on Sunday heads his article on Chris Evans, "He torpedoed his career, lost his wife and blew a fortune. But is he down? Is he hell! Yes, he made a bit of a hash of things. But he's back, and doing what he does best."
Evans was back on the BBC last Monday - a Bank Holiday in the UK and preceding a general election- and on his three-hour BBC Radio 2 show (Still available for just a few more hours on the station's on-demand service) he had as guests the leaders of the three main British political parties.
Of this Graff writes, "The leaders of the Lib Dems and the Tories, and the Prime Minister. On Radio 2. Talking about Kid Creole and the Coconuts. In election week. Only Chris Evans would have dared ask. And only Evans would have got a yes."
Graff then runs through some of Evans' recent history, fired by the BBC and Virgin, marriage burned out, blew millions, much of it in a lawsuit against Virgin " And yet somehow the old magic appears to have returned. Since the start of the year, Evans has hosted the Brit Awards, taken part in Comic Relief and interviewed the Prime Minister for a radio show in aid of the tsunami victims. He has also, without a great deal of fanfare, found a place on Radio 2 on bank holidays. He will be back on at the end of this month, and again on 29 August."
As Graff points out, the return isn't about money -Evans is still a multi-millionaire - and neither according to her is Lynn Truss's work in writing radio dramas. Writing in the UK Sunday Times, she starts by tacking the issue of money head on: "Why do people write for radio? Well, I'll give you a small hint to begin with: it's not for the money. When I told a writer friend recently that I had written a new six-part series of dramatic monologues for Radio 4, she actually patted me on the shoulder in pity. 'Couldn't get out of it, I suppose?' she said."
Not so it would appear as Truss later writes, "The true reason I write for radio, you see, is a sappy one. I just love it. The most direct of all media, radio is the nearest thing we have to thought-transference. It can also be secretly transformative Since writing my own first radio piece 10 years ago, I've produced about 40 hours of the stuff. I love the sheer difficulty: everything you wish to convey has to be presented through dialogue. In a novel, you can describe in plain prose how a character is, perhaps, feeling nostalgic for a golden childhood afternoon. In a play for the stage, someone can wordlessly hide a gun in a drawer. On screen, you can let music and computer-generated effects tell the audience, "Blimey, this is exciting; that river is about to burst its banks!" But on the radio, you can rely on none of these namby-pamby devices, and the joy is all in trying to avoid (or disguise) such speeches as, "Howard, get off that trapeze at once and help me fry these onions!" or "Darling, I hope you're not having one of your flashbacks to the trenches again. I didn't like the way you just took that gun out of that drawer."
Truss has just written a series of monologues that start airing on BBC Radio 4 this week and she comments that it " may be time to see a specialist, because the constraints of the radio monologue are even tighter than are those of normal radio drama. The story is told entirely from one person's point of view and addressed to a non-specific person who doesn't exist. Dialogue can be present, but it has to be in the form of 'so he said and then I said'."
She concludes, dismissing the old saw that the pictures are better on radio, "To me, the world of radio drama is a bit like the ancient notion of the afterlife: a place of shades. It's a consoling world of babbling murk, where just one of your five senses is singled out, and it's perfectly reasonable for Brian suddenly to spot Adam in the lambing shed because you can't see him there for yourself. When radio grabs you and pulls you in, the words don't serve to conjure up pictures. The words are pictures. And long may that continue, I say. "
So on to The Nation and its trio of articles, one dealing with Air America, one with Amy Goodman and her "Democracy Now! Show and another an article "Confessions of a listener" by Garrison Keillor.
Although we consider all three worth a read, we'll limit ourselves to some of Keillor's remarks.
He starts of by writing a rather long sentence about radio as it was: "I am old enough to be nostalgic about radio, having grown up when it was a stately medium and we listened to Journeys in Musicland with Professor E.B. "Pop" Gordon teaching us the musical scale, and the guest on The Poetry Corner was Anna Hempstead Branch, who read her sonnet cycle, 'Ere the Golden Bowl Is Broken,' and the gospel station brought us Gleanings From the Word, with the whispery Reverend Riley trudging patiently through the second chapter of Leviticus, and at night there were Fibber and Molly and Amos and Andy and the Sunset Valley Barn Dance with Pop Wiggins ('Says here that radio's gonna take the place of newspapers. I doubt it. Y'can't swat a fly with a radio.'), but I don't feel a hankering to hear any of it ever again."
Continuing - and continuing to eschew the short, staccato style that seems rather in fashion for many, he writes, "I am rather fond of radio as it is today, full of oddities and exceptions. It is an unmanageable medium. Management is at work trying to format things, but reality keeps breaking through the bars. You twiddle the dial, and in the midst of the clamour and blare and rackety commercials you find a human being speaking to you in a way that intrigues you and lifts your spirits, such as a few weeks ago when a man spoke about his mother, in Houston, who as she was dying of lung cancer made a video for her severely retarded daughter to watch in years to come, which the daughter does not watch, being too retarded to comprehend death, which in itself is a mercy. It was very graceful, a fellow American telling a story unlike all the other stories. Pretty amazing. And all the more so for showing up on a dial full of blathering idiots and jackhammer music."
After more comments on his radio listening ("My taste is catholic; I don't go looking for people like me (earnest liberal English majors) ") what is being taught as broadcasting ("I dropped in to a broadcasting school last fall and saw kids being trained for radio careers as if radio were a branch of computer processing. They had no conception of the possibility of talking into a microphone to an audience that wants to hear what you have to say "), the future of radio ("After the iPod takes half the radio audience and satellite radio subtracts half of the remainder and Internet radio gets a third of the rest and Clear Channel has to start cutting its losses and selling off frequencies, good-neighbour radio will come back. People do enjoy being spoken to by other people who are alive and who live within a few miles of you.") Keillor also comments on some of the right-wing hosts.
"I enjoy, in small doses, the over-the-top right-wingers who have leaked into AM radio on all sides in the past twenty years. They are evil, lying, cynical bastards who are out to destroy the country I love and turn it into a banana republic, but hey, nobody's perfect. And now that their man is re-elected and they have nice majorities in the House and Senate, they are hunters in search of diminishing prey. There just aren't many of us liberals worth banging away at, but God bless them, they keep on coming."
And on why right-wing talk is so popular - complete with a sting " The reason you find an army of right-wingers ratcheting on the radio and so few liberals is simple: Republicans are in need of affirmation, they don't feel comfortable in America and they crave listening to people who think like them. Liberals actually enjoy living in a free society; tuning in to hear an echo is not our idea of a good time. I go to church on Sunday morning to be among the like-minded, and we all say the Nicene Creed together and assume nobody has his fingers crossed, but when it comes to radio, I prefer oddity and crankiness. I don't need someone to tell me that George W. Bush is a deceitful, corrupt, clever and destructive man--that's pretty clear on the face of it. What I want is to be surprised and delighted and moved."
And on a positive note that I could have been written as a cue to suggested listening, "the Internet has become an enormous extension of radio.) That's why public radio is growing by leaps and bounds. It is hospitable to scholars of all stripes and to travellers who have returned from the vast, unimaginable world with stories to tell. Out here in the heartland, we live for visitors like those. We will make the demented uncle shut up so we can listen to somebody who actually knows something."
It would be churlish after that not to follow the cue so first up we suggest around seven minutes from US National Public Radio and The Club from Nowhere that told some of the story someone who did know something - of the late Georgia Gilmore, one of a group of women in Montgomery, Alabama, who sold food to help fund the Montgomery bus boycott - and who was fired as a cafeteria worker for her organizing efforts.
After that we'd again note that Chris Evans show is available for a few hours on BBC Radio 2 and then suggest BBC Radio 4 with Lynn Truss's monologues "A Certain Age" - the first, The Father, airs at 10:30 GMT on Friday.
Also on Radio 4 tomorrow the second in the "Building A Healthier Britain" series at 10:30 GMT looks at the issue of cot deaths - and tells the story of how hundreds of thousands of infants died because a simple mistake allied with the failure to analyse facts. The mistake was to put infants to sleep on their fronts, a practice recommended in a Dutch report and widely adopted. When the figures of cot deaths were analysed in a study in 1991, it was found that 93% of deaths in the sample occurred when babies were put to sleep on their fronts. A British government campaign to put them to sleep on their backs led to a 70% fall in cot deaths in the UK - from around 12 a day to one a day.
That in turn is a cut to one of the items on Counterpoint on ABC Australia's Radio National last week. In Statistics and Lies, US Professor Joel Best - author of "Damned Lies and statistics" and "More damned lies and statistics" commented on why he wrote the books.
A short excerpt from the transcript is quite illuminating: " at some point I began to realise that in at least the United States there's a recipe for drawing attention to a social problem and it has three parts. The first part is to give a terrifying example, and the second part is to give the problem a name, 'this is what this is an example of', and then the third part is to provide a number, and the number usually indicated how big the problem is. It's usually a big number. I began to realise that a lot of these numbers had no basis at all, and what bothered me particularly was not that the numbers of the people I disagreed with were pretty dubious, but I began to realise that the people I agreed with were also using numbers in a very casual way, and that led me to write some books."Best later gives an example that should put to shame many innumerate and ignorant journalists: He became aware of articles saying anorexia killed 150,000 people a year in the US, found that the death toll of the group mainly affected - young women - was far less. As he commented, the death toll of women aged 15-44 in the US was around 50,000 a year from all causes... "So what are the odds that 150,000 of those 50,000 are anorexics?"
On to drama and two suggestions, one the Friday Play from BBC Radio 4 last week -- A Kind of Home: James Baldwin in Paris by Caryl Phillips that explores author James Baldwin's time in Paris - and Drama on 3 on BBC Radio 3 on Sunday, a dramatisation of Primo Levi's play "If not now, When?" that tells the story of a group of Jewish partisans fighting their way west from Russia at the end of the Second World War.
Next Sunday we'd suggest BBC Radio 3's Sunday Feature, "The Astor Place Riots" that tells the story of the 1849 riots in New York in which 23 people were killed by militia and more than 100 injured in clashes that were on the surface rooted in a feud between the actors William Macready, and Edwin Forrest.
And finally more of people who actually know something in Coming Home, a five part-series on BBC Radio 4 at 08:00 GMT (repeated 20:30 GMT this week) in which veteran BBC correspondent Charles Wheeler presents five personal interpretations of what the end of the Second World War meant to people
ABC, Australia - Counterpoint:
NPR - Cooking for Civil Rights:
Palm Breach Post - editorial on Limbaugh:
The Nation (Current online edition has Keillor article plus reports on Air America and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!):
UK Independent - Graff:
UK Times -Truss:
2005-05-09: UK radio ratings organization RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research), which has been criticized for allegedly under-rating its listening by The Wireless Group, which eventually lost a court case on the issue of introduction of electronic metering (See RNW Dec 17, 2004) and SMG over low ratings for its Virgin Radio because of what it said was under-sampling of its key demographic target (See RNW Jul 31, 2004), is now under attack by Sunrise Radio, which is also expressing dissatisfaction with its latest ratings (See RNW May 8).
Tony Lit, Managing Director of the Lit Corporation that owns Sunrise, has told Asians in Media (AiM) that the survey was "flawed" and "did not "correctly gauge what the Asian audience is."
Lit added, "We're in RAJAR because we need to be in there. The other stations - Radio XL, Spectrum, Asian Sound, Sabras... each one of them over the years has come off the system We know we have to be in RAJAR to be in the game and show the big agencies that we have a unique audience, and for the advertisers to take us seriously as a player. But the smaller players in the Asian industry up and down the country have all opted out."
The report notes that figures for Sunrise fluctuate considerably and puts that down to the fact that they are extrapolated from a small number of diaries.
Lit commented that the figures did not make sense, saying, "If Capital loses 200,000 listeners, then that share goes to someone else. But how does Sunrise lose around 90,000 and [the BBC] Asian Network lose 90,000? And then next week we see a jump in figures. Are you telling me the best part of 200,000 just switch off, and come back next quarter?"
RAJAR managing director Sally de la Bedoyere told AiM that it allocated more diaries to ethnic households than were being paid for but a lower than average percentage of Asian households filled in the diaries.
Asians in Media report:
2005-05-09: India expects to have its first amateur radio satellite HAMSAT, fully operational soon following its successful launch last week, along with a much larger CARTOSAT-1 surveying satellite.
The launch of both satellites on an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle went smoothly and Project Director N Narayana Murthy said both satellites have been put into precise orbits, thus extending their life expectancy.
HAMSAT will operate in the operate in the UHF/VHF band and has two transponders, one developed in India by amateur radio operators, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Amsat-India, and the other developed in the Netherlands.
Amateur radio played a significant role in relief operations in India during the tsunami disaster at the end of last year and the satellite is expected to be valuable in proving low-cost reliable communication during emergencies.
Previous Indian Radio:
2005-05-08: The past week has seen a steady level of radio work from the regulators although there was nothing dramatic.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has advertised new community licences for the Moss Vale area and Young, both in New South Wales and has also been involved in further disciplinary actions against a community station over rule breaches by taking advertisements.
The latest ruling, which followed a ruling reported in our previous licence news (See RNW May 1), was against Waverley (Sydney) community station 2RES, which breached its licence conditions by broadcasting sponsorship announcements (See RNW May 3).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been involved in a number of radio decisions including (In order of province):
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Approval of application to change the frequency of CKXX-FM, Corner Brook's transmitter CKXX-FM-1, Stephenville, increase its power from 12 watts to 234 watts and decrease the antenna height from 118.2 to 103.4 metres. The increase will change the status of CKXX-FM-1's from that of a low power unprotected service to that of a regular class A1 FM station.
*Renewal of licence of French-language Type B community station CIEU-FM Carleton and its transmitter CIEU-FM-1 Paspébiac, from 1 July 2005 to 31 August 2011.
*Renewal of licence of French-language Type B community station CIBL-FM Montréal from 1 July 2005 to 31 August 2011.
*Renewal of licence of French-language Type B community station CHAA-FM, Longueuil, from 1 July 2005 to 31 August 2011.
*Renewal of licence of French-language Type B community station CINQ-FM Montréal, from 1 July 2005 to 31 August 2011.
*Renewal of licence of CFIN-FM Lac Etchemin and its transmitters CFIN-FM-1 Armagh, CFIN-FM-2 Saint-Malachie, CFIN-FM-3 Saint-Anselme and CFIN-FM-4 Saint-Jean-de-l'île-d'Orléans from 1 July 2005 to 31 August 2011.
There were no licence decisions from Ireland although the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) was involved in the sponsorship of the Réalt DJ competition whose 2005 winner was announced last week (See RNW May 7).
In the UK, Ofcom advertised two new FM licences - for Swansea and Northallerton - and also announced that it had received 14 applications for a new Solent FM and five for a new Torbay FM (See RNW May 7).
Ofcom was also involved in a raid on - and closure of - the transmitter of a Birmingham pirate station whose signal had been interfering with air traffic control signals to planes landing at the city's airport (See RNW May 4).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given the go ahead to a Saga purchase of four stations in Ithica, New York (See RNW May 5) and also MBC Grand Broadcasting, Inc.'s purchase of KSTR-FM, Montrose, Colorado - in the Grand Junction market - from Leggett Broadcasting, Inc.
MBC Grand is the licensee of KNZZ-AM and KTMM-AM, KJYE-FM, KMGJ-FM, and KMOZ-FM, Grand Junction, Colorado, and the application had been filed during the period in which the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit had stayed the effectiveness of the new local radio ownership rule adopted by the Commission on June 2, 2003.
Western Slope Communications, LLC. and others had responded to an invitation to comment by objecting on the grounds of market concentration but the FCC said that under the rules one entity could own up to six stations in the market, which has 21 commercial and non-commercial educational radio stations, and allowed the deal.
The FCC has also issued a orders requiring two companies to show cause why their stations, that are operating below minimum Class C requirements, should not be reclassified CO to allow another services.
The stations involved were Opus Broadcasting's KXRR-FM, Monroe, Louisiana, and Texas License Company, LLC.'s KYKX-FM, at Longview, Texas, where the changes are requested to allow a first local service for Pleasant Hill, Louisiana.
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-05-08: The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute has awarded BBC World Service a Roosevelt Four Freedoms Medal, "for its extraordinary history as a universal voice of freedom" and to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War according to the Corporation.
The award is made annually to people and institutions on the basis of commitment to the principles President Roosevelt identified in 1941 as essential prerequisites of democracy: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
Until 1982 the Freedom Medals awards were made only to Americans, including Presidents John F. Kennedy and Harry Truman - since then they has also gone to non-Americans including Czech President Vaclav Havel, South Arican leader Nelson Mandela, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Anna, the Dalai Lama and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
The BBC, announcing the award, quotes from the citation: "In the darkest days of World War II the voice of the BBC World Service was the expression of hope not only for the valiant people of Great Britain but also for all of those who lived under the tyrannical yoke of Nazi oppression."
"The courage of your reporters, the accuracy of their reporting, the brilliance of their writing, but most of all the integrity of the BBC operations have established the highest standards for media everywhere."
Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute website:
2005-05-07: In more US radio results, Cox Radio has announced first quarter revenues up 5.9% on a year earlier to USD 98.6 million, station operating income up 9.1% to USD 37.1 million, operating income up 11.4% to USD 29.5 million and net income up 24.1% to USD 13.77 million (from 11 cents to 14 cents per diluted share).
President and CEO Robert F. Neil commented, "We had a very strong first quarter with business building steadily throughout the quarter. Our first quarter revenue growth of 5.9% exceeded our guidance, the industry and the markets in which we operate. In addition, we grew first quarter operating income by 11.4% demonstrating the attractive operating leverage that can be achieved in a healthy revenue environment."
Looking ahead to the second quarter, Neil said Cox continued "to be pleased with the way the market is evolving. While April was not as robust as the first quarter, May and June are pacing very well excluding the impact of the termination of the Atlanta Braves broadcasting agreement in 2004."
He said Cox expects to deliver second quarter revenue growth in the low single digits, which excluding the impact of the Atlanta Braves in 2004, equates to same station revenue growth in the mid-single digits."
NextMedia has reported first quarter net revenues up 5.7% to USD 25.8 million but had an overall loss of USD 7.2 million compared to net income of USD 300,000 a year ago.
Its pro-forma results showed radio revenue up 1.1% to USD 17.6 million and outdoor up 5.1% to USD 8.2 million with overall net revenue up 2.4% to USD 25.8 million.
Next is predicting second quarter net revenue between USD 31.8 million and USD 32.4 million with adjusted EBITDA between USD10.0 million and USD 11.0 million compared to USD 6.1 million in the first quarter.
In other US radio business Clear Channel has announced agreement to purchase 5,690,800 shares of the Company's common stock from affiliates of Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, L.P. at USD31.63 per share, a total of USD 180 million.
The deal is to take place on May 9 and the company says it will not affect its previously announced plans to spin off its entertainment division and sell shares amounting to a tenth of its outdoor operations.
The past week has also seen a number of radio deals the largest of which, in state order, were:
A USD 23 million purchase by Bustos Media from First Broadcasting Investment Partners, LLC., of 80's format KXCL-FM, Lincoln, in the Sacramento market. Bustos will re-format the station as a Spanish language format on closing.
Bustos already owns KTTA-FM in the market and First Broadcasting will retain KREL-FM, which it recently converted to the "Bob" format and will amend to include elements of both formats.
A USD 7 million purchase by Coast Radio Company from Chase Radio Partners of KABL-FM, Walnut Creek, in the San Francisco market.
Linked deals involving Star Broadcasting Inc. and Cumulus: Star is borrowing a total of USD 2.35 million from Cumulus to complete its acquisition of WPGG-FM, Evergreen, Alabama and WTKE-AM, Holt, Florida. After completion of the WPGG deal, Star will trade the station to Cumulus in exchange for WNCV-FM, Niceville, in the Ft Walton Beach market, plus USD 1.5 million.
In the case of WTKE, when the deal is completed, it will be traded to Cumulus for WYZB-FM, Mary Esther, Florida and Cumulus will then pay USD 1.5 million for WYZB and has also agreed a separate option deal giving it the right to buy WBAU-AM, Ft. Walton Beach.
A USD 2.2 million purchase by Win Radio Broadcasting Corporation from Atmor Properties Inc. of Korean format WGSM-AM, Huntington, in the Nassau-Suffolk market.
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-05-07: Following yet another ratings success by the BBC (See RNW May 6), British commercial radio has pledged a joint fight-back according to the UK Guardian
The paper notes in particular the importance of BBC Radio 2, the most listened to UK station with a share of more than 15: Its breakfast show hosted by Terry Wogan had an average audience of 8.1 million in the first quarter of this year and the station's drivetime show under Johnnie Walker attracted 5.2 million.
Keith Pringle, managing director of London's Capital FM - which next week will be part of GCap Media the company formed from the merger of Capital Radio and GWR - said one plan under consideration involved launching a programme format that would suit a UK-wide network of radio stations, but with enough flexibility to allow individual stations to tweak the show for local markets.
He added that potential sponsors are also being offered the chance to put their names on radio features that will be broadcast simultaneously around the country.
"We are looking at a number of programme opportunities that will be a full network show," he told the paper. "We are also looking at providing national promotional and sponsorship solutions for advertisers. It is the first time for a long time that commercial radio has spoken with one voice to excite the advertising industry."
The commercial industry says that it loses talent because the BBC can offer national shows and the paper says sources close to the talks say one way of countering the talent drain would be a networked commercial show.
Mark Storey, managing director of programming at Emap, owner of Kiss FM and the Magic network, said commercial radio needed to branch out from its local heartlands and become a national force.
Only Classic FM of the 285 analogue commercial stations in the UK has a national FM licence whereas the BBC has four national FM stations.
"We are very good locally and we generally rule in those areas, but commercial radio has got to have a greater national presence," said Storey.
UK Guardian report:
2005-05-07: Copyright concerns have led Infinity's Chicago WCKG-FM afternoon host Steve Dahl to remove podcasts of his show - and also downloads that he had been offering before he offered podcasts earlier this year - from his web site.
In a message explaining the move, Dahl says, it turns out that "podcasting the re-broadcast of a successful radio show is a little more complicated than I originally thought."
"Although it seems like it would be simply time-shifted streaming, " writes Dahl, "podcasting is not currently considered 'streaming' and is not covered under Infinity ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC licenses or under the statutory streaming license. As a performer who enjoys getting royalties himself, I can't really argue with that, as it turns out So for now, I am suspending the daily podcasts and also the downloads of the show, since they seem to fall under the same heading as the podcasts, and now everyone at Infinity is aware of the fact that I'm also doing them."
Dahl goes on to say that the station will begin streaming its output including his show live sometime next month, and adds that he is working on a daily 'Best Of' podcast, or maybe even a little quick 5 minute exclusive podcast for our podcast subscribers.
"The digital copyright laws are ever changing and ever expanding and quite lucrative," comments Dahl. "I recommend that area of law to you youngsters out there thinking about going to law school. In the meantime, please forgive me for this little interruption in bringing you the future."
It also turns out that Infinity's vaunted format change to make KYCY-AM in San Francisco the "world's first podcasting radio station" (See RNW Apr 28) isn't quite as comprehensive as it sounded. The station's actual programming will not be podcast but will be available as a live stream through KYOURadio.com.
2005-05-07:UK media regulator Ofcom says it has received 14 applications for the new Solent FM commercial licence and five for the Torbay FM it also advertised in February (See RNW Feb 5).
It has also advertised new commercial FMs for Swansea, which will cover an area with an adult population of around 300,000, and Northallerton, which will cover an area with an adult population of around 300,00. Each application involved a non-refundable fee of GBP 5,000 (USD 9,000) and the closing date for each is August 4.
The licence applications are:
*All Talk FM - a 24-hour speech bid.
*The Arrow (Solent) Ltd. - Chrysalis's bid with its Arrow adult rock format.
*C106 - Emmis Atlantic Radio Solent's bid with a classic rock cum early evening sports talk format.
*The Coast 106 - Celador's bid with a contemporary easy listening station for the over 45s.
*106 Fun FM! - A bid for a pre-school and primary school age children's station from
*Children's Radio UK (Solent) Ltd.
*Kerrang! 106 - Emap' bid with its Kerrang rock format.
*Melody 106 - Solent Regional Radio Ltd.'s bid with an easy listening station.
*Original 106 FM - An album-led Adult Alternative bid backed by Canwest..
*Saga 106 FM - Saga's bid with a music and lifestyle station for the over-50s.
*Smooth Solent - An easy listening bid targeted at the over 50s.
*Solent Life 106 FM - A lifestyle speech, music and information station targeted at the over 45s.
*South Coast Radio - An easy listening bid for those 55-70.
*Tide FM - A full service station for the over 50s.
*Virgin Classic Rock Ltd. - SMG's bid with the Virgin classic rock format.
*Palm FM - A full service bid backed by Sunrise Radio.
*Riviera Radio - Speech and local news plus music of the past four decades.
*Torbay FM - local news, information and sport plus hits of the past four decades.
*Torbay Radio - A full service bid from Tindle Radio.
*Your Radio - News, information and lifestyle plus classic tracks from the past five decades.
2005-05-07: Scott de Butléar, representing Spin 1038,has won this year's Réalt DJ competition, organized in association with the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) and Foras na Gaeilge.
The competition, now in its second year gives aspiring DJ's an opportunity to broadcast through Irish on their local stations and six stations took part, each selecting a short list of competitors from nearly a hundred entries.
Those on the shortlist attended a training event hosted by Lisa Ní Choisdealbha of the BCI and Ray Foley of Today FM in January of this year after which one person from each station went through to the final.
The competition winner's prize includes an opportunity to broadcast on air on Spin 1038, a chance to appear on Pop 4, TG4's pop music chart show and to feature weekly on "Top 40 Oifigiúil na hÉireann".
2005-05-07: Seattle morning co-host Robin Erickson is suing her employer on charges of sex discrimination and creating a hostile work environment because of the behaviour of another host at the station, B.J. Shea whose show on talk station Entercom's KQBZ-FM (The Buzz) follows the show she hosts with John Maynard.
Robin & Maynard started in Seattle radio nearly two decades ago, working for various stations, and signed a five-year deal with KQBZ-FM in 2003.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that despite the suit being centred around Shea, he isn't named in the law suit that contends that the problem is in part the promotional policy of the station - slogan "Radio for Guys": It adds that the Shea programme, which "specifically targets a young male audience", "regularly features verbal attacks on women. These attacks repeatedly and crudely attack women in general and specifically in the workplace, claiming, among other assertions, that women are bad employees whose presence in the workplace is bad for men."
The suit also contends that Shea mocked Erickson "on the basis of her gender and age" on the air in August, for which he was disciplined, but later on-air attacks resumed.
Erickson says station management retaliated against her for filing complaints and complaining that inadequate disciplinary measures had been imposed - Entercom says she told management "only the termination of B.J. Shea would satisfy her" - and that Shea's staff, with whom her show shares a studio posted offensive signs including one reading "All Women are Filthy Lying Whores" and that when she asked that the offensive signs be removed they took away almost everything.
Erickson says this action was intended to "cause hostility by other employees" toward her.
Erickson is seeking "unspecified damages for "emotional distress, anxiety, humiliation and embarrassment" as well as medical and legal expenses."
Entercom says the paper denies that Erickson "has any cause of action against it and, specifically, denies that plaintiff is entitled to any relief whatsoever on the basis of the allegations in her complaint."
The company's vice president of human resources said that despite the situation "the shows are going on as usual."
Seattle Post-Intelligencer report:
2005-05-06: In the latest US radio results Radio One, Regent, Salem and SBS, and have all reported healthy revenue rises on a year ago - up between 7% and 21%.
Radio One Inc. net broadcast revenues were up 11% to USD 77 million, station operating income was up 10% to USD 37.5 million, operating income was up 13% to USD 28.7 million, and net income was up 10.2% to USD 9.7 million (from eight cents to nine cents per share).
President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III, said the company had "a good quarter, although one that started out a bit soft but ended quite strong as we grew faster than our markets by roughly 500 basis points."
He also highlighted the completion of Radio One's acquisition of a controlling interest in Reach Media, Inc., the owner of the Tom Joyner Morning Show and related businesses and the reduction on the cost of capital through the redemption, completed during the quarter, of its High Tides (See RNW Feb 24).
Looking ahead he commented, "On the M&A front, we expect our recently launched stations in Houston, Philadelphia and Charlotte to be growth drivers for 2005 and beyond. We are cautiously optimistic that the improving signs we saw in the radio industry during the back half of the first quarter will continue through the second quarter and, hopefully, through the remainder of 2005."
Radio One is predicting mid-single-digit growth in net broadcast revenue and station operating income in the second quarter.
Regent reported net broadcast revenues up 7.1% to USD 18.6 million, operating income down 0.5% to USD 1.497 million, and net income up 21% to USD 386,000 (an unchanged one cent a share).
Same station net broadcast revenue was up 5.4% to USD 16.2 million and same station operating income was up 12.3% to USD 4.5 million and pro-forma net broadcast revenue increased 3.8% to USD18.6 million with pro-forma Station operating income increased 8.0% to USD 4.9 million
Chairman and CEO Terry Jacobs commented, "The first quarter improved steadily throughout the period. We delivered 5.4% same-station revenue growth, which significantly outpaced the 2% radio industry advertising growth in the first quarter."
"Our impressive growth," he added, "reflects our success in operating market-leading stations, driven by our product performance and community involvement. We offer compelling programming that reflects the local tastes and interests of the individual communities we serve. This local connection is unique to radio, and is especially strong in the middle and small-sized markets. Our financial performance reflects our success in translating our market leadership into results for advertisers, while prudently managing our costs. We are a fundamentally healthy company that continues to create stockholder value."
Regent says it expects 3% -- 5% same station net broadcast revenue growth for the second quarter of 2005 over the second quarter of 2004and overall net broadcast revenue between $23 million - $23.3 million, station operating income between $8 million - $8.2 million, and earnings per share of approximately 5 cents.
Jacobs said of the prospects, "We are on pace to deliver a solid second quarter. Once again, we expect to outperform the radio industry and are well positioned for the second half of the year. Our mix of start-up, developing and mature properties should enable us to deliver solid revenue, cash flow and earnings growth. We have a very strong balance sheet with the capacity to take advantage of acquisition opportunities that will enhance our long-term growth. Overall, we are off to a good start this year and look forward to a healthy 2005 and beyond."
Salem net broadcasting revenues were up 10.8% on a year ago to USD 47.8 million with operating income up 15.5% to USD 9 million, station operating income up 10.8% to USD17.3 million, and net income up 92.5% to USD 2.4 million (From five cents to nine cents a share).
Same station net broadcasting revenue increased 11.0% to USD41.2 million and station operating income was up 17.5% to USD16.2 million.
President and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III, commented, "Our first quarter performance, which significantly exceeded that of the overall radio industry, was driven by revenue growth of 25.5% from our national advertising business as well as 15.7% same station revenue growth at our Contemporary Christian Music radio stations. We also were able to leverage our 11.0% same station revenue growth into 17.5% same station operating income growth."
He added, "We are well positioned to drive returns for our shareholders over the long-term as we develop to maturity the significant number of radio stations we have that are in a start-up or early development stage. This is our most significant growth opportunity and we intend to fully exploit it by continuing the development of our Contemporary Christian Music and News Talk stations."
For the second quarter Salem is forecasting net broadcasting revenue between $50.9 million and $51.4 million, station operating income between $18.5 million and $19.0 million, and net income between 11 cents and 13 cents per diluted share.
Spanish Broadcasting System reported net revenue up 21% on a year ago to USD 35.3 million, exceeding its low double-digit guidance, and attributed the growth mainly to double-digit growth in its core markets of Los Angeles, New York and Miami.
Operating income from continuing operations was up 10% to USD 8.5 million and SBS's loss from continuing operations was trimmed from USD 3.2 million in the first quarter of 2004 to USD 2.5 million but overall net income applicable to common shareholders of USD 9.6 million a year earlier became a net loss of USD 2.2 million (From a positive 15 cents to a loss of three cents a share).
Chairman and CEO Raúl Alarcón remained upbeat about the performance, commenting, "We are one of the best performing companies in the broadcasting industry, as indicated by our first quarter revenue growth. Due to the superior positioning of our assets in the nation's largest media markets, our ability to consistently deliver our target audiences to advertisers, and our success in converting ratings to revenues, we have continued to outperform the broadcasting industry."
"All of our core assets," he added, "posted impressive revenue growth in the first quarter, with our Los Angeles, New York and Miami markets all generating double-digit gains. Further, our newest station, KRZZ-FM in San Francisco, is exceeding our most optimistic expectations since its launch less than six months ago. There is no doubt that we are maximizing our assets to the benefit of our shareholders. The strategic programming investments we made in our station group during the past year have resulted in tangible increases in our operating and financial performance, while bolstering our outlook over the long-term. We are in an exceptional position to continue to capture the rapid growth of Hispanic America."
SBS is also proposing to arrange new credit facilities (See RNW Apr 2) that is says, if completed, will incur a loss on extinguishment of debt totalling approximately USD 32.9 million related to call premiums, discount write-offs and deferred financing costs write-offs.
It says it expects second quarter revenue growth to in the low-double-digit range and operating income from continuing operations before depreciation and amortization growth to be in the low- to mid-single-digit range.
Previous Radio One:
2005-05-06: The first UK radio ratings for the year just released by RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) show the BBC increasing its dominance with its weekly reach up 0.5% on a year ago to 32.54 million and increasing its share of listening to 54.2% from 52.6% a year ago: The UK commercial sector by comparison fell back with weekly reach down 2.1% on a year ago to 30.98 million and share down from 45.5% a year ago to 43.8%.
Among the national commercial networks, GWR-owned Classic FM and SMG-owned Virgin lost audience since the last ratings allowing the Wireless Group's TalkSPORT, which gained around 488,000 listeners a week to move into second rank for the first time with a weekly reach of 2.48 million compared to 5.98 million for Classic which lost 227,000 and 2.42 million for Virgin, which lost 41,000.
In the London commercial fight, Chrysalis's Heart FM jumped above its rivals to become the most-listened to station with a 7.0% against Capital FM's 6.1% although the latter held its lead in reach with 2.11 million listeners a week compared to 1.87 million for Heart.
There was a strong swansong at Heart for Jono Coleman who in his last ratings - he has been replaced with Jamie Theakston -- added 224,000 listeners a week - a 28% increase - over his previous figures to hit a total of 972,000: Capital's breakfast show, hosted by Johnny Vaughan, added 108,000 listeners since the previous quarter to reach 1.24 million.
Within the figures, compared to the previous quarter:
*BBC Radio 1 gained 31,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.957 million and a listening share of 8.4%, up from 8.2% (7.6% a year ago).
*BBC Radio 2 gained 26,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 13.331 million and a listening share of 16.5%, up from 16.4% (15.3% a year ago)
*BBC Radio 3 lost 112,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 1.988 million and an unchanged listening share of 1.2%, down from 1.3% (1.2% a year ago).
*BBC Radio 4 lost 144,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.262 million and a listening share of 11.4%, down from 11.5% (11.0% a year ago).
*BBC Radio 5 Live, excluding Sports Extra, gained 153,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6.134 million, and a listening share of 4.6%, up from 4.3% (5.1% a year ago).
(Including Sports Extra it gained 5,800 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 6.178 million and a listening share of 4.6%, up from 4.4%- 51% a year ago).
*BBC World Service lost 167,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.148 million and an unchanged listening share of 0.50%, down from 0.6% (0.6% a year ago).
*BBC Asian Network lost 92,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 443000 and a listening share was down from 0.3% to 0.2% (0.3% a year ago).
On the commercial side for national networks:
*GWR's Classic FM lost 227,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.977 million and a listening share down from 4.4% to 4.1% (4.5% a year ago).
*The Wireless Group's talkSPORT gained 488,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.482 million and a listening share up from 1.6% to 1.9% (1.9% a year ago).
*SMG-owned Virgin (total including all AM and FM) lost 41,000listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.461 million but listening share was up from 1.4% to 1.5% (1.4% a year ago).
Digital national commercial networks:
*Core lost 25,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 97,000, too small for share to be rated.
*Emap-owned Kerrang! lost 11,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.118 million and an unchanged listening share of 0.5%. A year ago it was digital only but now the network also includes an analogue station
*Oneword gained 9,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 121,000, too small for share to be listed.
*Planet Rock gained 25,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 286,00, increasing its share to 0.2% from 0.1% (0.1% a year ago)
*Q lost 47,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 328,000and an unchanged share of 0.1% (0.1% a year ago).
*Smash Hits lost 3,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 711,000 and an unchanged listening share of 0.2% (0.2% a year ago).
*The Hits gained 7,000 to end up with a weekly audience of 833,000 and an unchanged listening share of 0.3% (0.2% a year ago).
*The Storm gained 18,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 85,000, to small for share to be rated.
*Sunrise lost 89,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 447,000 and share unchanged at 0.3% (0.7% a year ago)
Because commercial channels have a greater share of digital spectrum than they do of analogue frequencies, the BBC has taken the view that it's lead will eventually be reduced and in her comment on the ratings Jenny Abramsky, Director of BBC Radio & Music highlighted the performance of its digital services, saying, "In a strong quarter for BBC Radio, I am particularly pleased with the performance of our digital services. "In a lively digital market place growing numbers of listeners are discovering and enjoying our unique offering of music and speech."
The Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) in its reaction noted that commercial radio took a 71% share of listening in 4-14 year olds and 63% in the 15-24 demographic and also noted that local commercial radio takes a 76% share of all local listening in the UK.
Regarding digital it noted that this had helped national commercial radio take a record 10.2% share of all listening with hours listened up 3% from last quarter.
CRCA Research and Communications Manager Alison Winter commented that the figures reward particularly "those Commercial Radio companies investing in new technology as loyal listeners to digital services drive up the overall National figure."
"Meanwhile the core advertiser demographic of Housewives has put in a strong Quarter 1 performance with hours up by 35% since new RAJAR methodology began," she added.
Previous GWR (Classic FM owners):
Previous RAJAR ratings (Final quarter 2004):
Previous SMG (Owns Virgin):
Previous Wireless Group (TalkSPORT owner):
RAJAR web site (links to quarterly reports):
2005-05-06: Bangalore University is planning to launch an FM radio service in August, starting with two-hour a day service that would be increased to 24 hours and focus on education, health, hygiene, HIV/Aids, and college and university related news.
The head of the university electronics department professor Ashok Kumar said they were hoping to be allocated the 105 MHz frequency and name the station BU FM 105.
Some INR 3.5 million (USD 80,000) has been set aside for the project and the university is talking to state broadcasting overseer Prasar Bharati about generating revenues through advertising.
Previous Indian Radio:
Previous Prasar Bharati:
2005-05-06: Nearly half of Americans would listen to a radio station " a lot more" if it had noticeably fewer commercial breaks according to an Arbitron/Edison Media Research study just released that also showed four-fifths of those polled accepted that listening to commercials was a "fair price to pay" for free radio programming.
The study - using 1003 telephone interviews with Arbitron diary keepers - was conducted in March, after Clear Channel had introduced its "less is more" campaign to reduce advertising clutter an a number of other companies had announced that they would take similar action.
Although Arbitron stresses the positive in a number of findings, saying for example that "A majority of listeners say they never tune away from radio commercials " the figures indicate cause for concern by advertisers as the statement is followed by figures that when listening in a car a third of listeners say they "always" or "usually" change stations during a commercial break and 28% say they switch immediately when in a car, 11% when listening at home, and 6% when listening at work - a significant effective drop in the numbers who are going to actually listen to an advert compared to ratings numbers.
Unsurprisingly more people found TV ads more intrusive than radio ones - they also say TV ads gain more attention from them - and said they would tune out when they came on (RNW comment: We wonder if they'd bother if they had no a remote control and also how many of those who leave a radio on during an advertisement break actually listen to the adverts as opposing to mentally tuning them out.)
The report says listeners said they generally preferred more frequent, shorter commercial breaks although there were variations in preferences according to the age and sex of the listener and format of the station with younger listeners more annoyed by too many commercials and more likely to respond positively if stations reduce the number of commercials they air.
Older listeners, says the report, are more bothered by adverts they consider "annoying" than just by the amount.
Compared to a 1999 study fewer listeners perceived that the station they listened to most had increased the amount of commercials over the past year - 22% compared to 32% whilst 56% said the advertising load was the same and 14% that it was playing fewer commercials.
In seeming contradiction to some of the other figures, fewer people than six years ago say they are listening to radio less because of a perceived increase in commercials - 12% down from 19% and 18% of 12-24 year-olds down from 31%.
Asked how they would react to a reduction in advertisements, 24% said they would listen to their favourite station more with one fewer commercial per hour, 38% if two fewer were aired, and 57% if five fewer were played.
The report also says that satellite radio subscribers and owners of portable MP3 players are more likely to be affected by the number of commercials - 22% of satellite subscriber, twice the figure for non-subscribers - say they are listening to radio less because of more commercials and 34% of MP3 players say radio advertisements are "always" or "usually" intrusive compared to 24% of those who do not own one.
The report makes eight recommendations including aggressive promotion to advertisers of the benefits of radio as opposed to TV ad, promotion by stations of the fact that they are "free" and of any reductions in adverts, producing not just fewer but better adverts and having different spot load strategies to suit circumstances.
Arbitron's SVP of Marketing for U.S. Media Services Bill Rose said, "One of the key insights from this study is that a 'one size fits all' spot load strategy may not be the best choice for every radio station." "We've seen differences, based on the age, gender, format preference and location of listening, in how listeners respond to commercials and the way they are scheduled," he added.
Edison Media Research EVP Joe Lenski commented, "There is considerable evidence in this study that reductions in radio spots loads should lead to greater time spent listening to radio -- as long as these spot load reductions are noticeable and stations inform their listeners of the changes."
"Radio stations should continue to promote the fact that they are providing free content to their listeners and that in the future, with HD radio and other advances, even more free content will be available to radio listeners."
Arbitron study (1.12 MB 22 page PDF):
2005-05-05: In more US results Citadel, Univision, and Westwood One have both reported first quarter revenue increases that in Citadel's case took it into profit compared to a loss last year and in Univision's case exceeded guidance of high teen growth.
Citadel said its net revenues were up 6% to a record USD 92.0 million, station operating income was up 10% to record USD35.6 million, overall operating income was USD 26.1 million compared to an operating loss of USD 3.8 million a year earlier, and net income was USD 11.9 million (10 cents per basic share, 9 cents per diluted share) compared to a loss a year earlier of USD 29.5 million (23 cents per basic and diluted share). The 2004 figure included non-cash expenses of USD10.6 million due to the write-off of deferred financing costs as a result of the refinancing of the Company's subordinated debt.
Commenting on the results, chairman and CEO Farid Suleman said Citadel continued "to report record revenues, operating income, station operating income and free cash flow despite a difficult environment for the radio industry."
"We continue to invest in our programming costs while managing our overall station operating expenses, resulting in same station operating income growth of 7% and free cash flow growth of over 20%," he added. "
Suleman also noted Citadel's stock repurchase programme, saying, it "continues to utilize its free cash flow as well as its availability under its credit facility to maximize shareholder value through both station acquisitions and stock repurchases under the Company's stock repurchase programs" and adding, " As of April 2005, we have repurchased approximately USD148 million, or 10.5 million shares, of our common stock."
Univision has announced a 23% revenue increase to USD 433 million with operating income up 29% to USD 116.4 million and net income up 41% to $44.5 million (from 9 cents to 13 cents a share): It adds that excluding the effect of variable interest entities net revenue was up 14% to USD 402.4 million
Chairman and CEO A. Jerrold Perenchio commented of "outstanding first quarter operating results, reflecting the strength of our competitive positioning and the benefit of realized synergies among our media assets."
"Young Hispanics," he added, "are showing an ever increasing interest in Spanish-language television, radio, music and Internet destinations, which has contributed to the Univision
Network beating the English-language broadcast networks in total audience delivery - Hispanic or non-Hispanic - for the first time in our Company's history. I am confident in our ability to capitalize on our strong momentum and make this year's network upfront sales efforts the most successful in our Company's history."
President and CEO Ray Rodriguez added, "Univision has been growing consistently and performing better than ever We reached the largest television audiences in our history, solidified our leadership in Spanish-language radio, generated record-breaking sales in our music business and became the first Spanish-language website to be accredited by the MRC."
In divisional terms TV revenues were up 13.5 % to USD 294.2 million, radio revenues were up 13% to USD 71.5 million, Music was up 135.6% to USD 62.2 million and Internet revenues were up 30.8% to USD 5.1 million with Operating income up 15.3% to USD 86.5 million, 19.6% to USD 18.9 million, 566% to USD 12 million respectively for TV, radio and music with the loss for Internet cut from USD 2.5 million to USD 1 million.
Univision says it expects second quarter revenues up by mid single-digit percentages, operating income up mid to high-single digit percentages, and diluted earnings per share between 24 cents and 25 cents.
Westwood One reported record first quarter revenues of USD 134.1 million, up 3.5% on a year earlier, saying it benefited from a 5.8% and 1.1% increase in revenues from local/regional and national commercial advertisements, respectively, which includes increased revenues from complementary distribution channels.
Operating and net income, however, were each down - by 5.7% to USD 29.2 million and 10% to USD 15.8 million (from 18 cents to 17 cents per diluted share) respectively.
President and CEO Shane Coppola said the company was "pleased with the consistent performance of our local/regional business which is the result of our significant investments over the past two years," and added, "We are confident that we will generate similar returns in our national business as we continue to accelerate investments in network programming."
Westwood One also noted its stock repurchase programme under which in the quarter it bought approximately 2.1 million shares of its common stock for approximately USD48.6 million: Westwood's board authorized an additional USD 300 million of repurchases at the end of April that together with approximately USD 102 million of remaining authorizations means the company can now spend up to USD 402 million on repurchases.
It also announced The Company also announced the initiation of a quarterly cash dividend with a first payment of 10 cents per share to be made at the end of this month.
CFO Andrew Zaref said that "as the Company continues to generate significant net cash provided by operating activities we are positioned not only to grow, but also to return value to our shareholders both through our current common equity repurchase program and through the payment of a dividend."
Looking ahead, Westwood One says it expects full year revenue growth of low-to-mid single digits, resulting in mid single digit growth in operating income before depreciation and amortization.
Previous Westwood One:
2005-05-05: Long-time top-rated Vancouver morning host Brian Forst ("Frosty") is retiring after more than 40 years with Corus Entertainment's CKNW-AM (Giant 98): He began at the station in 1963 and became host of its morning show in 1973.
CKNW station manager Lou Del Gobbo in a story posted on the station web site commented, "We recognize the significant contribution Frosty has made to the station and would like to thank him for bringing levity and humour to the morning show for over 40 years. We are asking Frosty's fans to help us pay tribute to him by telling us their favourite Frosty moment or by sending him a message directly by visiting www.cknw.com."
Frosty's slot is to be taken by a new news-oriented morning show hosted by Philip Till who moves over from his afternoon phone-in show.
CKNW web site:
2005-05-05: Following the fight over control of Japanese radio broadcaster Nippon Broadcasting System Inc (NBS) between Internet company Livedoor and Fuji TV Network, the Japanese Diet (Parliament) is to start discussions on revising the country's Radio Law and Broadcast Law to -prevent a foreign company gaining indirect control of a Japanese broadcaster.
Current laws provide for revocation of a broadcaster's licence if a fifth or more of voting shares are owned by foreigners but do not prohibit "indirect foreign control" through stock ownership via Japan-based subsidiaries of foreign companies and Japanese companies in which foreign companies hold major stakes although if the voting rights ratio reaches 20 percent or more, a broadcasting company can reject a foreign company's demand to include its name on the shareholders list.
Being proposed is legislation to set a 20 percent cap on the indirect ratio--a foreign company's voting rights in a Japanese company multiplied by the voting rights of a Japanese company.
The measures are being proposed because Livedoor financed its bid for NBS shares by a JPY 80 billion (USD 765 million) agreement under which Lehman Brothers was issued with convertible bonds that, if all converted to stock, would have given Lehman more than 40% of Livedoor's voting rights and indirect control of NBS in which Livedoor had acquired a majority stake.
If the proposed laws do make it onto the statute book, Nippon Television Network Corp. and Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. in whom foreign companies hold stakes of just under 20% could be in breach of them although the Yomiuri Shimbun says the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry says that companies will not be subject to the clause if either a foreign company's voting rights ratio in a Japanese company or the Japanese company's voting rights ratio in a broadcaster is less than a certain ratio: The level proposed of 10% would mean both broadcasters would remain within the law.
Yomiuri Shimbun report:
2005-05-05: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved Saga's UD 13.3 million acquisition of four Ithica, New York, stations - WHCU-AM, WTKO-AM and WQNY-FM, and WYXL-FM that was agreed last year (See Jun 12, 2004).
It denied objections from the Finger Lakes Alliance for Independent Media ("FLAIM") and a number of local residents who said the deal would mean Saga had an undue concentration of ownership in the market.
The objectors had argued that as opposed to nine stations in the market under the Arbitron definition now being operated, "terrain obstructions" limited the stations providing "listenable" service and also contended that only seven stations were effectively competing in the market and also that the only stations that should be considered were the five licensed to Ithica: In each case this would mean that Saga's acquisitions would take it above the maximum allowed.
The FCC held that the objectors had not sustained their argument and approved the deal.
2005-05-04: Both Cumulus and Entravision have reported first quarter revenues up by a tenth - by 10.2% to USD 72.1 million for Cumulus and by 10% to USD 57.2 million for Entravision whilst Saga reported an increase of just over 9%.
Cumulus pro-forma revenues were up 3.2% on a year ago to USD 71.7 million and its station operating income was up 12.8% to USD 21.6 million and overall it turned a net loss of USD 1.98 million a year earlier to net income of USD 823,000 (From a negative three cents a share to a positive one cent.)
In the company's news release Chairman, President and CEO Lew Dickey said the results were "marked by strong top line growth and even stronger EBITDA and free cash flow growth" but at the company's conference call he was less bullish and noted a 4% drop in national advertising business in the first quarter and June national pacings down more than a fifth.
As a result he said that Cumulus would make an announcement within 30 days about possibly switching representation from Interep to Katz, taking national sales in- house, or putting Cumulus staff into the sales offices that Interep operates for the company.
Entravision, despite its revenue increase, remained in overall loss although it trimmed it by 14% from USD 5.23 million to USD 4.49 million (The per share figure was down by 56% from nine cents to four cents but the company now has 124 million shares outstanding, up from 97 million).
In divisional terms, Entravision net revenues were up 12% for TV to USD 30.8 million, up 11% for radio to USD 19.8 million and up 8% for outdoor to USD 6.6 million.
It noted that Pro Forma Net Revenue and Pro Forma EBITDA as adjusted were up 11% and 40% respectively, exceeding high end of guidance and chairman and CEO Walter Ulloa said its results highlighted "solid fundamentals across all three of our business segments, with our radio and television properties significantly out-performing their industries."
"Our top line growth is being fuelled by our success in capitalizing on our market leading stations and strong ratings to garner a larger share of Hispanic advertising dollars," he added. "As we expand our revenues, we remain focused on controlling our expenses and improving operating leverage as we seek to maximize the cash flows generated by our diverse asset base. Our operating momentum coupled with our presence in the most populated and highest density Hispanic markets positions us for continued growth as the year unfolds."
At Saga, where revenues were up 9.1% to USD 31.8 million, net income was down from USD 2.5 million (12 cents a share) a year ago to USD 2.2 million (10 cents a share).
In divisional terms its radio revenues were up 9% to USD 28.4 million with operating income up 1% to USD 6.9 million. Same station radio revenues were up 2% to USD 26.4 million and pro-forma radio revenues were up 2% to USD 28.4 million.
It is forecasting second quarter revenue growth between 2% and 4%.
2005-05-04: Authorities have closed down a Birmingham, England, pirate station whose garage music was interfering with air traffic controller's instructions to planes making their final descent to the city's airport.
The interference affected planes in an area above the city centre enabling authorities to both warn pilots of the problem so that there were no safety problems and also to trace the offending transmitter to an apartment in a tower block in Highgate in the city.
Police and Ofcom inspectors seized the transmitting equipment and are now trying to trace the station's studio and DJ, who are thought to have been operating from a nearby site according to the Birmingham Evening Mail.
It quoted an Ofcom spokesman as saying, "There was not a safety issue in this case although we take these situations seriously. We have come across this particular station before. Our next step is to find out who these guys behind it are."
Birmingham Evening Mail report:
2005-05-04: Chicago classical public station WFMT-FM is hiring Peter Whorf, managing producer of the weekday newsmagazine program "Eight Forty-Eight" at WBEZ-FM, as its new program director to replace Dennis Moore, who resigned last November according to Robert Feder of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Whorf has a strong background in classical music programming and holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the University of Missouri; he was program director of WNYC-FM in New York and KBIA-FM in Columbia, Missouri, before he joined WBEZ in 2000.
Feder quotes Steve Robinson, senior vice president of radio for WFMT parent company Window to the World Communications, as saying of Whorf, "He loves classical music and has a deep appreciation of WFMT's unparalleled 50-year legacy. He's also bursting with ideas about how we can increase our audience while still respecting and honouring WFMT's half-century of tradition. We can't wait to start working with him."
Feder also reports that Dan McNeil is to remain afternoon host at Disney/ABC-owned WMVP-AM under a new five-year deal rumoured to double his current salary of around USD 300,000 a year.
Also in Chicago, Newsweb Corporation has changed the call letters of its suburban WAIT-AM to WCPT (for "Chicago's Progressive Talk") in anticipation of a move on Thursday to progressive talk programming from Air America and Ed Schultz of Jones Radio Networks.
Feder says Newsweb's WSCN-AM is picking up the WAIT call letters.
Previous Air America:
Previous Jones Radio Networks:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2005-05-04: The latest - and last - report of the BBC Programme Complaints Unit, covering the period from Jan 1 to March 31 but in fact only dealing with complaints lodged before the start of February shows the unit dealing with 146 complaints concerning 96 items: Complaints received after February 1 are to be dealt with under the Corporation's new complaints procedure that is now in effect.
Of the complaints, 19 were upheld against 13 items, 12 of them partly, compared to final quarter 2004 figures of 122 complaints against 31 items upheld, 13 of them partly, out of 498 complaints concerning 243 items
The latest report lists details of one complaint of fairness or inaccuracy upheld against radio compared to complaints upheld against nine TV items whilst no taste or standards complaints were upheld against radio with three upheld against TV items.
The radio complaint upheld concerned a BBC Radio 4 "World This Weekend" report on the possible use of the Parliament Act to push through the ban on hunting with hounds that interviewed two parliamentarians who were each critical of the Government's intention to use this Act.
Although no view was expressed about the pros or cons of hunting as such, the unit said it had been a mistake to discuss the merits of the act without ensuring that a contrasting view was given.
For the 12 months to the end of March, the unit notes that it dealt with 1,333 complaints concerning 740 items. Of these 511 were fairness and accuracy complaints linked to 332 items and 822 matters of taste and standards linked to 408 items.
Previous BBC Complaints Bulletin:
2005-05-03: The much-vaunted pledges to cut down on advertising clutter on US station, led by Clear Channel with its "Less is More" initiative is more a matter of public relations than fact according to John Mainelli in the New York Daily Post.
The paper randomly selected an hour from 14 morning drive shows in New York and totalled the adverts and promotional breaks, including sponsor "tags" (with traffic and weather reports), sponsor-connected contests, and promotional announcements of 5 or more seconds, finding that totals ran up to more than 22 minutes and that two Clear Channel stations appeared to be ignoring company policy.
It found Hip Hop Power 105 (WXTQ-FM) to have a total of 17 minutes and 15 seconds and Classic rock Q104 (WAXQ-FM) to have 14 minutes, each ahead of the 12 minutes per hour in morning drive - 10 minutes for the rest of the day - listed in the "less is more" policy.
Of Clear Channel's other stations, Z-100 (WHTZ-FM) with 11 minutes, Lite-FM (WLTW-FM) with 10 minutes 40 seconds were within the limits: WKTU-FM was not listed in the chart the paper printed.
Heading the list with 22 minutes 5 seconds was Disney's news-talk WABC-AM - put down in part to over-runs by live spots- followed by Infinity stations News WINS-AM with 20 minutes 10 seconds, News WCBS-AM with 19 minutes 10 seconds, sports-talk WFAN with 18 minutes 20 seconds and Howard Stern's station K-Rock (WXRK-FM) with 17 minutes 50 seconds.
At the end of the list was Emmis's Hot-97 (WQHT-FM) with 10 minutes 30 seconds, a low level put down by a company spokesman to a "higher quality product" decision - not the result of ads lost following the tsunami-parody.
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Post - Mainelli Report:
New York Post - chart:
2005-05-03: Sirius is following Infinity into the podcasting show business with the announcement that from May 13 Adam Curry, the former MTV personality who developed the technology that made podcasts possible, is to produce a daily podcast programme for the satellite radio company.
Last month Infinity announced that it was launching what it terms the world's first podcasting radio station with all content to be created by its listeners and broadcast on KYCY-AM, San Francisco and streamed online at kyouradio.com (See RNW Apr 28).
Curry's show will run four hours on weekdays on Sirius channel 148 and will feature what Sirius terms "highlights and insights from the world of podcasting": Its launch is timed to coincide with that of Curry's podcasting entertainment and information network PodShow.com,
Curry said of the venture, "Podcasting is not just about portable media players. Podcasting is an entirely new form of broadcasting that enables anyone to create powerful content. By combining the creative talent and content of available podcasting with superior programming of Sirius, we can create and showcase talent that terrestrial radio listeners would not be able to hear. We think that this partnership is about introducing the best of podcasting to the world."
2005-05-03: The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has found that the Waverley (Sydney) community station 2RES breached its licence conditions by broadcasting sponsorship announcements that in total exceeded the permitted five minutes an hour.
The breaches complained about were in the station's Voice of India programmes broadcast at lunchtime on January 16 and 30 this year and the licensee, Radio Eastern Sydney Cooperative Ltd, admitted that if pre-recorded sponsorship announcements, "live tags" and presenter's comments were added together these came to seven minutes 25 seconds in the first show and five minutes fifty in the second.
It said the presenter's comments, which included details about a concert and of the menu at a sponsoring café, were of benefit to the Indian community in its service area.
It added that it had subsequently told the presenter to ensure the programme makes a proper distinction between sponsorship and community service announcements, adheres strictly to regulatory time limits, ensures all pre-recorded announcements included pre-recorded tags, that all live sponsorship announcements are strictly timed and that community service announcements are properly identified and said it undertook to meet the requirements and would monitor the programme carefully to ensure this.
The ABA ruled that this was not satisfactory and required a written undertaking to monitor the show during this Month and provide a report to it that included the number and duration of sponsorship announcements per hour of broadcast; the number and duration of community service announcements per hour of broadcast; and transcripts of material broadcast as community service announcements. It also required that tapes be retained until the end of August for provision to it should it request them.
2005-05-03: Beasley Broadcasting has reported first quarter results in line with its previous guidance with net revenue up 10% on a year earlier to USD 28.6 million, operating income down 12% to USD 4.1 million but net income up eight-fold from USD 200,000 to USD 1.6 million (from one cent to seven cents per diluted share).
Beasley noted that the net income figure from a year ago reflected a USD 2.4 million loss on extinguishment of long-term debt and that station operating expenses this year - up 16% on a year ago to USD 22 million included USD 1.4 million in "non-recurring employee separation costs" as well as higher programming and promotional expenses.
Chairman and CEO George G. Beasley said "consolidated net revenue growth during the first quarter was consistently strong in each month of the period" and added that this reflected improved performance at seven of Beasley's ten market clusters.
" Excluding the non-recurring employee separation cost, " he commented, "station operating expenses increased approximately 9%, reflecting our continued investment in station programming and promotions, which we believe makes our clusters more competitive."
Beasley is forecasting second-quarter revenues up 5% on a year ago.
Previous George Beasley:
2005-05-03: Atlanta-based media and market intelligence company Naviguage, which is touting its in-car monitoring technology, the IQMonitor, as a competitor to Arbitron and Nielsen Media Research, is to test the system in five of the top radio markets this year starting in Houston.
The Wichita Business Journal quotes Navigauge's senior vice president of media Drew Simpson as saying that Houston, a test market for Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) and the seventh-ranked US radio market, gives it the "diversity needed to perform the testing with 34 radio stations" and adding, "the major groups are represented here -- and of those, 11 fall under Hispanic formats."
The Journal reports that Navigauge, having mapped the demographic make-up of the market's population, will this month set up a panel of approximately 1,100 participants will have their vehicles outfitted with its equipment, a VHS tape-sized device that is connected in a vehicle's trunk or under the dash to its radio.
This monitors and time stamps each change of a radio receiver including the source it is playing such as CD, tape, or AM or FM or satellite radio, whether a vehicle's ignition is on or off, and where it is using a Global Positioning System that can also be used to help trace a stolen vehicle using a Stolen Vehicle Location Service card. Naviguage says it will also be able to track outdoor advertising and retail broadcasts.
Arbitron meanwhile has announced agreement with global information and media company VNU to set up by the end of this year a pilot panel of more than 6,000 households as a demonstration of the 'Project Apollo' national marketing research service which would collect multi-media and purchase information from a common sample of consumers.
The pilot would use Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) in conjunction with A C Nielsen's Homescan technology, which tracks packaged goods purchases, to gain what the two companies describe as "a better understanding of the link between consumer exposure to advertising on multiple media and their shopping/purchase behaviour."
"The pilot panel," they add, "will be designed to give advertisers the ability to estimate and quantify the top line revenue growth that could be achieved using Project Apollo. The pilot will also showcase the enhanced ability of the 'single-source' marketing research service to measure the return on investment for marketing efforts."
The two emphasis that this project is distinct and separate from their radio and TV ratings services and Susan Whiting, president and chief executive officer of Nielsen Media Research, and executive vice president of VNU's Media Measurement & Information Group said the agreement reflected progress "toward developing and deploying an innovative national marketing research service based on a portfolio of technologies and other resources from multiple companies."
"We are looking to this pilot to demonstrate to advertisers the superior return on media investments that Project Apollo would make possible," she added.
Following the agreement, Arbitron has updated its 2005 guidance and says it now expects Earnings Before Interest & Taxes (EBIT) between USD97.0 million and USD98.9 million compared to EBIT of USD98.4 million for 2004.
Net Income is expected to be between USD58.7 million and USD60.0 million compared to USD60.6 million for 2004 and Earnings Per Share (diluted) for the year is expected to be between USD1.87 and USD1.91. As previously stated on January 25 and April 21, 2005, Arbitron expects year-end 2005 revenue to increase between 5 percent and 7 percent over year-end 2004 revenue.
For the second quarter 2005, Arbitron now expects Earnings Per Share (diluted) to be between USD0.28 and USD 0.30 versus USD 0.27 in the second quarter of 2004 with revenue to increase between 5.5 percent and 7.5 percent compared to the second quarter of last year.
Wichita Business Journal report:
2005-05-02: The well-worn topics of US talk hosts and satellite radio again featured heavily in print cover of radio last week and we've opted to start on the former topic and a New York Daily News article from David Hinckley about the standards it should be judged by, "information or entertainment?"
Hinckley's answer is "It's a trick question. The answer is "both" and he goes on to note Air America's apology for its skit that seemed to suggest shooting US President George W. Bush (See RNW Apr 28) and the absence of an apology from New Jersey station WKXW-FM over comments by afternoon co-host Craig Carton who, the station said, didn't aim to offend anyone Monday by saying belittling things about Asian-Americans in a mocking voice.
Expanding on the nature of talk radio, Hinckley writes, "WKXW program director Eric Johnson told the Star-Ledger that Carton's program with Ray Rossi shouldn't be judged as a news show, but entertainment, 'very much like a sitcom.'"
"Rush Limbaugh and Air America," continued Hinckley, " have both said much the same thing: that their priority is entertainment But when Limbaugh gets standing ovations at Republican gatherings, it's not because he makes 'em laugh. It's because they think he helps 'em get elected."
From New Jersey came a harsher view of Carton in an editorial in the Record that began, "It must be hard being a shock jock. The job requires an almost constant level of anger and venom, day in and day out. Anything is better than being boring - even racism and ignorance."
After summarising Carton's "disgusting diatribe against Asians" and noting that he is "the same swell guy who made the vile remarks about acting Governor Codey's wife and mental illness" the editorial comments that he says he represents "the average guy in New Jersey, blue-collar white people ... And no one gives a damn about us anymore."
It describes the output of Carton and his "Jersey Guys" co-host, Ray Rossi as "Keep the home fires burning. Spread a little prejudice and hatred. Appeal to the worst in people" and concludes, "Mr. Carton is a bigot. And that's about as un-American as you can get."
RNW comment: At one time we'd have agreed with that conclusion but as time has gone by it is beginning to seem that for a significant proportion of Americans being a bigot is as American as apple pie.
From occasional listening and reading transcripts of a number of hosts, we can't quite work out how anyone finds them entertaining or informative so have to conclude that the appeal is their pandering to the bigotry of many of their listeners.
After the negative, more of the positive - and somehow US satellite radio companies are still managing to keep most comment on their services positive.
There were, as usual, quite a few articles on satellite radio in the US media over the past week but we opted for a report from the UK
Sunday Times by Andrew Sullivan.
After painting a gloomy picture of other US media - newspapers, broadcast TV - facing problems he says radio "the last powerful, free-at-use medium that America has left is also on the ropes."
Sullivan notes the basics about Sirius and XM and then writes, "Why is this happening? Consolidation in the regular radio market has led to huge companies squeezing more ad revenue and commercial time out of existing formats. And who wants to listen to endless, screechy radio ads on the motorway? But satellite radio is commercial-free. It's also free of censorship in an increasingly puritanical America."
And later " Satellite radio therefore avoids omnipresent advertising and nannying government. Its singular characteristic is the personal attachment of listeners to the programmes they love. To give a simple example: a much loved old-style radio broadcaster on National Public Radio, Bob Edwards, was fired last year to make way for a more youth-oriented, "contemporary" audience[RNW comment: Not accurate. Edwards was moved ut of his hosting role and chose to depart rather than take the job offered]."
..." His loyal listeners were aghast. But Edwards had an option he wouldn't have had a few years before. He simply moved to XM, where his passionate following was more than eager to pay the small fee for the pleasure."
The article being in a UK paper there is also a conclusion relating to the UK [RNW comment: And a cynic might say to the business fortunes of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation that owns the Sky satellite platform in the UK and has a significant vested interest in weakening the BBC] " Think of this burgeoning new universe and then think of something like the BBC. Satellite radio is built on real consumer choice, keeps subscription fees voluntary, and holds the government and commercial interests at bay. The BBC is a statist behemoth almost a century old, with mandatory fees and thorough-going political meddling."
And Sullivan's conclusion, "From this side of the Atlantic, the old model looks doomed. Just wait a while before it sinks beneath the satellite waves."
And finally from the Sunday Times radio columnist Paul Donovan, "A balancing Act" - the title of his column but also in a way a balancing column to that of Sullivan.
The balancing act of the title refers to what Donovan terms, "an intriguing gap [that] has opened up between the BBC and commercial radio as regards impartiality."
He compares the attitude of commercial radio and of the BBC to known political activities by their staff and presenters.
"Sandi Toksvig, billed on the Liberal Democrats' website as a 'prominent supporter' since 2001, provides the voiceover for their latest party election broadcast tonight," writes Donovan. "Such is her commitment that she also narrated the one last week. You might think such blatant partisanship would bar her from anchoring the election results on London's LBC, where she hosts a two-hour show every weekday. Not at all. Toksvig has been chosen to do the honours on Thursday, alongside David Frost and Andrew Pierce."
LBC's managing director Mark Flanagan comments that "Within the bounds of the law, we take no view on what our presenters do away from LBC" whereas at the BBC there is a sharply different perspective.
David Jordan, chief political adviser at the BBC, commented, "There is no way the BBC would allow someone presenting the election results to participate in a party election broadcast" but adds that the BBC has no objection to Toksvig hosting her Radio 4 travel show every Saturday, and that the Radio 2 music presenter Dermot O'Leary was perfectly within his rights to attend a Labour event at the Old Vic last weekend, which drew an official letter of complaint from the Conservatives to Lesley Douglas, the controller of Radio 2.
RNW comment: Take your pick of attitudes about presenters since we can see arguments on both sides relating to this although in the end we'd go for the BBC position when it comes to presenting news and political programmes in the run-up to an elections.
As for the Sullivan argument against the BBC, regular readers will already know that our view is that BBC output on a good day contributes more to the world in terms of almost anything artistic than the total output of the Murdoch broadcast operation from its start albeit regulation has actually kept Sky news reasonably fair and balanced - massively so compared to Fox in the US - and Sky has been quite innovative in its sports services, a financial mainstay of the TV empire.
This is particularly true in the range of radio outside news and music where the BBC far outstrips the whole UK commercial industry combined and every other radio broadcaster if you're looking for comedy, drama, documentary and so on.
Which of course is a cue for listening suggestions and as usual the fact that we list programming that is has specific quality, is available online at no fee and in nearly all cases on-demand for a period after the broadcast pretty well rules out most commercial operations and puts the public broadcasters at the top of the list.
Add in a predilection for programming with some depth and most of US public radio is ruled out since it rarely seems to run anything longer than five minutes. Which forces us back to licence-fee funded or part-funded broadcasters and a suitable finger sign to Mr Murdoch and his organization.
So to begin with, over to his former country Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and the Media Report on ABC Radio National: Programmes are kept on the site for four weeks and the two most recent programmes - "All the News that's fit to Blog" from last Thursday and "Journalism under Threat" from a week earlier are both worthy of a half-hour listening.
So to, at just under an hour, is yesterday's Background Briefing from the ABC - Conspiracy Theories - that deals with truth, spin, disinformation, and the proliferation of conspiracy theories in a world where the Internet can spread almost any loony suggestion and find loons to believe it.
Then to the BBC and first suggestion has to be tomorrow, 17:30 GMT, BBC Radio 4, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - the latest and last series that starts its run this week.
Then going even further back in literary time, the Woman's Hour Drama on Radio 4 this week (09:45 GMT and repeated at 18:45 GMT) is "Claw Marks on the Curtain" by Saki (H.H. Munro), the Burmese-born Briton who managed to be a colonial policeman, a political satirist, a journalist, a historian, an author of novels, short stories and plays, and a soldier - he was killed by a German sniper in November 1916 while serving near the French town of Beaumount-Hamel. For those who haven't heard of or read him, worth a listen and a cue to, in the context of the UK election, bring up one of his quotations: "We all know that Prime Ministers are wedded to the truth, but like other married couples they sometimes live apart."
And if we had to choose one day we'd go for Thursday's programme "The Toys of Peace" - toys that cannot be used for warlike purposes - well not until
Later on Thursday, Radio 4 has the solemn reporting on the UK General Election from 21:00 GMT whilst on BBC Radio 2 at 21:00 GMT in "Parsons & Naylor's Pull-out Sections" Andy Parsons and Henry Naylor deliver a special election edition of their topical comedy and sketch show - followed by reporting on the real election.
Still with Radio 2, tomorrow (19:30 GMT) sees the second and final part of Michael Nicholson's Vietnam Notebook (The first part is on the site until then): It's followed at 20:30 GMT by "The Ivors at 50", the first in a six-part series on the eponymous song writing awards named after Ivor Novello that were launched in 1956.
Also from Radio 2 on Wednesday (21:00 GMT) we'd suggest the "Richard Perry Story", the first of tour programmes on the legendary record producer who began with God Bless Tiny Tim and moved on to produce hits for, among others, for Fats Domino, Barbra Streisand, Harry Nilsson, Carly Simon, Ringo Starr, Art Garfunkel, Leo Sayer, Julio Iglesias, Willie Nelson, Randy Travis, and Ray Charles.
Finally a little self-indulgence and BBC Radio 4 next Sunday at 19:30 GMT when "In Business" is about "Radio Me" in which Peter Day looks at the changes and challenges to traditional radio emanating from the Internet.
New Jersey Record - leader re talk hosts:
New York Daily News - Hinckley:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Sunday Times - Sullivan:
2005-05-02: Yet another potential competitor to terrestrial radio has now been launched commercially in Korea where TU Media on Sunday started transmitting satellite digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) that can be received by mobile phones.
TU, part of mobile operator SK Telecom, runs seven satellite DMB video channels - news, sports, soap operas, games, movies, and the firm's own station - plus 20 audio channels and plans to double to number of video channels.
It charges a one-off fee of KRW 20,000 (USD 20) plus KRW 13,000 (USD 13) a month for the service and so far only two handsets are available Samsung Electronics' SCH-B100 and SK Teletech's IBM-1000, each priced at around USD 800.
Korea Times report:
2005-05-02: According to the Chicago Tribune, Jam Productions, which is based in the city, is likely to be amongst the US entertainment industry players potentially interested in taking over Clear Channel's Entertainment division, which the company announced last week is to be split off and floated independently.
Jerry Mickelson, co-founder of Jam, the country's largest independent concert promoter, told the paper others likely to be interested are California-based are AEG Live and House of Blues Entertainment Inc.
As regards his own company, which was recently awarded USD 90 million in damages against Clear Channel (See RNW Mar 23), Mickelson told the Tribune, "We'd be interested, without a doubt. If the price is right, there will be some buyers."
He added that the situation was unclear, commenting, "Does it mean they sell to somebody else? Do they sell it in pieces? I don't think anyone can predict what will happen."
[RNW note: As we understood it, initially at least, the plan is to form a new company - with no overlapping directors with Clear Channel - by distributing a share of Clear Channel Entertainment for every Clear Channel share held although this but there would be nothing to preclude such a company putting itself up for sale or selling parts of itself.
The one thing that does seem clear is that the synergy promised by Clear Channel when it bought SFX Entertainment five years ago in a share deal worth around USD 3 billion (See RNW Feb 29, 2000) has turned rather sour.
Instead of synergy between the radio and entertainment's divisions, the deal seems rather to have provided the company with public relations problems as fans saw it as increasing ticket prices, rivals complained that Clear Channel was abusing its clout and some went to court, and similar complaints of abuse of power came from record labels and artists. And to add insult to injury investors didn't like the division, which they saw as low-margin and also subject to major fluctuations in business levels.]
In other US radio business, Spanish Broadcasting System says it intends to enter into new senior secured credit facilities with affiliates of Lehman Brothers Inc., Merrill Lynch and Wachovia Securities: The proposed new facilities will provide around USD 400 million in funded term loans, plus a revolving loan facility and SBS says it intends to use the funds to repay amounts outstanding under the Company's existing senior credit facility and retire all of the Company's outstanding 9-5/8% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2009.
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Tribune report:
2005-05-02: The French Connection retail chain has acted illegally by playing the output of its "Fcuk FM" station through the windows of its shop in Regent Street, London, by wiring them up and making them part of a sound system according to a High Court ruling.
Lord Justice Sedley said the window panes were functioning as part of a loudspeaker system and the outer surfaces were "plainly in Regent Street" and the broadcasts thus breached laws against "operating loudspeakers in a street".
The decision overturned ruling by Marylebone magistrates in October last year when they ruled that French Connection had committed no offence.
This is London/PA report:
2005-05-02: All 50 employees at Malaysian radio station Time Highway Radio (THR.fm) have been given notice by the station's new owners, Astro All Asia Networks plc, which late last month paid MYR 30 million (USD 7.89 million) to Anaza Sdn Bhd for the station's owner Radio Lebuhraya Sdn Bhd.
Borhanuddin Osman, executive director of Astro's radio subsidiary Airtime Management and Programming Sdn Bhd (AMP), told the Malay Mail Astro will continuously find ways to optimise the use of its manpower and added, "This will increase the station's operational efficiency, productivity and overall competitiveness. Unfortunately, this results in some positions being affected."
He said the staff were being offered a "fair compensation package, including payment in lieu of notice."
Borhanuddin also told the paper there would be no immediate changes in THR.fm's operations, saying, "Of course, we will be maximising programming and marketing synergies with our existing stations. Any changes to be made in the future will be based on market research and aimed at fulfilling the needs of radio listeners in Malaysia."
THR.fm CEO Abdul Aziz Hamdan said that some of the radio station's employees would be offered positions by AMP and asked about rumours that he would become THR.fm general manager, said, "Would I go from being a chief executive officer to a general manager? Yes, during the transition period I will be at AMP. What lies ahead, I can't reveal yet."
The paper says that as Astro has control of English, Malay and Chinese radio stations, THR.fm may go 100 per cent Tamil/Hindi programming.
There have also been job losses in the US following completion of the sale of all five Midcontinent stations in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to Backyard Broadcasting last year (See RNW Sep 24, 2004).
According to Kelo TV, eight people were fired immediately including long time morning radio announcer Chad McKenzie of KELO AM and General Manager Mike Costanzo: At the time of the purchase Backyard said the stations were "beautifully run and received in the community so we come in with no idea to make changes or make things different."
Previous Backyard Broadcasting:
Malay Mail report:
2005-05-01: Last week was again fairly routine for the regulators although appointments of his team by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin in the US may presage a more active role by him in the near future.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has rules that New South Wales community station Blacktown City Community Radio Association Inc breached the rules by taking adverts (See RNW Apr 29).
It also announced that it is to change a number of technical specifications for stations in the Gold Coast where community station 4MET has moved its transmitter from Lower Beechmont to Mount Tamborine on a temporary basis along with other broadcasters who facility provider, TX Australia, offered to accommodate on a 90 metre tower adjacent to its original Mount Tamborine facility.
Stations involved - commercial radio service 4HTB and community radio services 4RHI and 4CAB - were allocated their licences under a 2000 plan for the area that made the four frequencies available.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been involved in a number of radio decisions including (In order of province):
*Revocation of licence of CKNL-AM, Fort St. John, at the licensee's request following conversion to FM.
*Approval of application for fifth - and final - extension - this time until 2 February 2006 - of the deadline to commence operation of new transmitter in Lake Manitoba of CINC-FM, Thompson.
*Denial of application for a 135 watts transmitter in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli for CJDS-FM, Saint-Pamphile.
CJDS-FM was originally approved as a single market station and the application was opposed by CIBM-FM Mont-Bleu), the licensee of CHOX-FM La Pocatière, and by CFEL-FM Montmagny.
CIBM-FM said the proposed signal would penetrate CHOX-FM's primary contour and be five to six times more powerful than the primary transmitter. It had also requested authority to operate a transmitter in Saint-Aubert in order to improve the reception of CHOX-FM's signal in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli.1
CFEL-FM said the proposed signal would fragment the market in a market of less than 5,000 inhabitants and noted that it is already suffering from the increasingly fragile economy in Montmagny buffeted by the closing of several businesses.
*Approval of new 12 watts transmitter in Saint-Aubert for CHOX-FM La Pocatière. This application had been opposed by the municipality of Saint-Aubert, CFEL-FM Montmagny, and CJDS-FM, Saint-Pamphile but the commission said the transmitter would not have an undue negative impact on the existing broadcasters because the station has been serving this area since 1938.
*Approval of application to move CKRB-FM, Saint-Georges-de-Beauce, to 103.5 MHz and increase its power from 2,175 watts to 17,000 watts.
*Denial of application by CIRA-FM Montréal to move to 103.5 MHz.
*Approval of application to add a 50 watts FM transmitter in Victoriaville to rebroadcast the programming of CKYQ-FM, Plessisville.
It also published a public notice with a June 1 deadline for comment, relating to:
*Application to renew the licence of serving CHFB-FM, Bonnyville, expiring 31 August 2005.
*Application to add a 950 watts FM transmitter at Manning to broadcast the programming of CKKX-FM, Peace River.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Application for third extension - this time to 27 February 2006 - of the time limit until to commence the operation of community station at Forteau, authorized in 2002
*Application to renew the licence of the commercial station CJBQ-AM, Belleville, expiring 31 August 2005.
The Commission noted apparent failure to comply with regulations concerning the broadcast of a minimum of 35% Canadian content for category 2 music over the broadcast week.
*Application for fourth extension - this time to 25 May 2005 - of time limit to commence operation of new AM at Lévis (previously Saint-Nicolas), authorized in 2000.
*Application to renew the licence of the Type B community radio programming undertaking CKAJ-FM Saguenay, expiring 31 August 2005.
The CRTC also issued a public notice with an intervention deadline of June 3 including the following radio applications:
*Application to use the frequency 99.3 MHz for new Edmonton Smooth Jazz FM approved in April lat year.
*Application to increase the power of CKUA-FM-11, Fort McMurray, from 16 watts to 2,500 watts and by decrease the antenna height to 74.1 metres.
This will change the station from a low power unprotected service to a regular Class A transmitter.
*Application by CKLE-FM Bathurst/Caraquet to broadcast a maximum of one hour and thirty minutes of English language programming each week to consist of translations of French-language programs and information broadcast on the radio station. The licensee said it would not broadcast English-language commercial messages.
*Application to use 105.1 MHz for a new Easy Listening FM in Halifax approved in November last year.
*Application to decrease the power of CFJB-FM, Barrie, from 46,000 watts to 41,000 watts, relocate the transmitter and increase the antenna height.
CFJB has also submitted a second request to increase its power from 17,000 watts to 20,000 watts, and to relocate the transmitter and increase its antenna height.
*Application to renew the licence of Type B community station CHOC-FM, Saint-Rémi expiring 31 August 2005.
*Application to renew the licence of campus-based CJOS-FM, Caronport, expiring 31 August 2005.
In Ireland there were no licensing decisions but 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 (See RNW Apr 26).
There were also no radio decisions in the UK but Ofcom has published the annual report of its Consumer Panel, a 32-page PDF (167kb) detailing the work it has done throughout the past year. Most related to telecommunications although the issue of switching off analogue TV was also raised.
The US was also quiet apart from routine decisions although, as noted, new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin, has now listed a number of top-level appointments (See RNW Apr 30).
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site
2005-05-01: Erin Davis, the former CHFI-FM morning host in Toronto who was dumped in June 2003 by the Roger's station (See RNW June 22, 2003) and then ended up with Standard-owned rival E-Z Rock 97.3 FM (CJEZ-FM) last year (See RNW Sept 9, 2004) is heading back to CHFI in September and taking her co-host with her according to the Toronto Star.
Her stint with E-Z as co-host with its morning team of Mike Cooper was as a temporary stint while his regular partner Christine Cardoso took maternity leave.
Standard has taken Davis off-air but posted a note on its web site saying, "As long time listeners of EZ Rock know, Christine Cardoso is on maternity leave till summer and we hired Erin Davis to fill-in for Christine while she was off. Erin did a wonderful job for us. Maybe too good. Happily for her, she's been offered a full time job by another radio station in the very near future. Unfortunately because of the competitive nature of our industry, we've both agreed to end Erin's work with us a bit early.
All of us at EZ Rock wish her all the best and much success. Mike will be doing the show with Andrea Rooz for a couple months till Christine is back. So many radio stations never tell their audience what going on with their air talent changes. We wanted to make sure you knew."
Davis on her web site described EZ's action as "a classy and magnanimous move on the station's part."
"I was let go," she continued, "as gently and kindly as one possibly can be, and I'm really doing fine. It's public knowledge now, too, that Mike has also resigned for a wonderful job opportunity. I am thrilled for us both; we remain the very best of friends and are extremely grateful for your support, patience and understanding through all of these changes. We promise you that it will be worth it."
CHFI has posted no note about the forthcoming change and still lists the morning team of "Jay & Billie" (Jay Oliver and Billie Jo Ross -"Mad Dog and Billie" at the time they jumped ship from EZ to take over Davis's slot: EX had moved them over from CISS-FM when it changed to the Jack-FM format.)
There is no indication of what the team will do but the Toronto Star reported that Davis says she asked that no one lose his or her jobs on account of her new position and believes her request will be taken seriously.
Erin Davis web site::
Toronto Star report:
2005-05-01: SMG-owned Virgin Radio has now launched its Classic Rock station on digital satellite. Transmissions began on Friday, ahead of the scheduled May 1 start and are currently through WRN's 'Radio' service on Sky EPG number 934.
This service was developed for broadcasters who are awaiting their own channel number or want to trial a station or operate on a temporary basis and now runs two channels - "Radio" on channel 934 and "on Air" on channel 938.
Virgin Radio intends to move the classic rock, which plays rock from the past 40 years, to its own channel when one becomes available later this year.
2005-05-01: Japanese Internet Company Livedoor, which earlier this month (See RNW Apr 19) agreed a deal to end its fight with Fuji TV Network for control of radio broadcaster Nippon Broadcasting System (NBS) is reported to have proposed 12 company officials, including its President Takafumi Horie, as candidates to take a majority of seats on the NBS board.
Livedoor currently has a majority stake in NBS and the move is seen as a way to ensure the agreement it made with Fuji is implemented.
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