August 2005 Archive
-July 2005 - September 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 August comment - Could making choices too easy lead to narrower minds? We wonder what the effect of technology that makes it easy to listen to just what you "want" could have a wider effect in narowing minds and also affect broadcasters, who cannot narrow down to the same degree.
Considers the issue of payola and why it should matter - and apply beyond music to giving information about payments for other air time. RNW July comment - Considers the issue of payola and why it should matter - and apply beyond music to giving information about payments for other air time.
RNW June comment - As attacks are made again on it considers why we need public broadcasting.
2005-08-31: Sirius Canada has said it will commit itself to increasing the French-language programming on its service in hope of heading-off a cabinet-ordered review of its licence approval according to a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) report.
CBC, a partner with Sirius and Standard Radio in Sirius Canada, notes that the cabinet has until September 14 to decide what reaction it will make to the approval of satellite radio licences to Sirius Canada and Canadian Satellite Radio (CSR), its competitor that is linked with XM. It notes that
Canada's Heritage Minister, Liza Frulla, is working on a proposal to recommend that her cabinet colleagues sent the matter back to the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for review.
The report quotes Sirius CEO Kevin Shea as saying, "We're well aware of the fact that Mme. Frulla does have some concerns with respect to the equality of French service, meaning the number of francophone Canadian services. What we are busy working at now . . . is to try and see if we can address some of those issues and quickly."
The CBC report notes that the CRTC has said the satellite licensees must each carry least eight original channels produced in Canada -- 25 per cent of which must be in the French language -- and a maximum of nine foreign channels for each Canadian one but that the CHUM-Astral consortium that has been granted an audio subscription licence for a terrestrial service comply with the more stringent regulations of the Broadcasting Act, which include 35% Canadian content and for French channels, a minimum of 65% French music.
Previous Sirius/Sirius Canada:
2005-08-31: Negotiations for Erich "Mancow" Muller to move to Infinity, which have now broken down, were mainly between the host, who kept them secret from his staff, and Infinity's president of programming Rob Barnett according to Robert Feder in his Chicago Sun-Times column.
Although Muller's contract with Emmis for his show on WKQX-FM - estimated at USD 2 million a year - still has a year to run, Feder says Rick Cummings, president of Emmis Radio, gave Joel Hollander, chairman and chief executive of Infinity, permission to approach Muller about the possibility of replacing Howard Stern on comedy/talk WCKG and in a number of other markets where Infinity airs Stern's syndicated morning show.
The host has now confirmed his intention to stay at WKQX and Marv Nyren, vice president and general manager of the station said they were "thrilled to know that 'Mancow's Morning Madhouse' definitely will be continuing with us."
Nyren added, "When Infinity came to us about having discussions with Mancow, we knew of his wishes to syndicate in big markets, and felt this was an opportunity we would allow him to explore. We understood that Infinity wanted Mancow in Chicago and in a number of other major markets where Emmis could not offer a syndication deal. If they could get him on by the start of the fall [ratings] book [on Sept. 22], all the better."
Former WCKG vice president of programming and station manager Jeff Schwartz, who resigned earlier this month to join Disney-ABC's sports/talk WMVP-AM (See RNW Aug 3) told Feder, "Corporate handled everything, and we had no contact with Mancow whatsoever. Rob Barnett made it clear that if a deal were consummated, it would be my job to get along with Mancow, and keep the station unified.
Feder notes that given long-time animosity between Muller and Steve Dahl, WCKG's afternoon host, Schwartz knew that would be no easy task and adds that by the time Muller publicly acknowledged the scenario -- and held out an olive branch to the window of opportunity already was closing. "Sensing the moment had passed, Dahl never responded," he writes.
Feder says a major point of contention involved compensation for Infinity's stations outside of Chicago and agent Mark Masters, whose Talk Radio Network has been aggressively marketing Muller for syndication, found Clear Channel Radio and other companies dangling potentially better deals in several key markets than Infinity's take-it-or-leave-it offer.
Muller himself commented after breaking off talks with Infinity, "I'm under contract to Emmis, and they hold all the cards. I am but a pawn in a chess game between two huge media conglomerates."
Previous Erich "Mancow" Muller:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2005-08-31: Lancashire-born model and daytime TV chat host Melanie Sykes and London Heart FM weekend host Nick Snaith are to co-host one of two new networked UK commercial radio chart shows that are to be launched in the autumn (fall) to complement the current mainstream "Hit40uk" chart show.
The show, with a working title "The AC chart" will be compiled from Music DVD, single and album sales, plus downloads and airplay; it will be produced by Unique, UBC Media's production company, and targeted at the 25-44 demographic.
So far it is scheduled to air on more than 50 stations including the Chrysalis-owned Heart network, Guardian Media Group's Real Radio stations, and G-Cap Media's Century networks, which reach just under three-quarters of a million listeners.
The other new show, the "Fresh 40 chart" will target a 15-24 demographic and will cover rhythm and blues, hip-hop, and dance music and also be compiled from a combination of sales and airplay; It will be produced by Somethin Else and is due to run on Chrysalis' Galaxy and Emap's Kiss and Vibe networks, with an estimated audience of just over three quarters of a million. So far its hosts have not been announced.
The current 'Hit40uk' chart, also produced by Somethin Else - it replaced the previous Pepsi Chart Show that had been produced by Unique - and hosted by Katy Hill and Simon Hirst, will continue.
It targets the 15- to 24 demographic and will air on around 120 stations including Capital FM and also Emap's Big City network: Emap is dropping its own Smash Hits show to take the new shows. Woolworths, which last year signed a GBP8 million (USD 14 million) deal to sponsor the Hit40UK show until March next year will remain as sponsor.
GCap Media is to handle airtime sales, sponsorship and promotional opportunities for all three charts but has not so far announced whether it has lined up sponsors for the new shows.
The commercial shows are scheduled to air from 4-7pm on Sundays in direct competition with BBC Radio 1's Official Chart Show, currently hosted by JK and Joel (Jason King and Joel Ross) and based on official sales figures of singles and downloads, and the commercial companies are hoping that by targeting niche audiences they will be able to attract listeners away from the BBC show.
In other UK radio deals, the UK Guardian reports that UBC, which already provides syndicated travel and entertainment packages, is also indirectly adding news through an agreement to sell advertising following news bulletins for Chrysalis and the Wireless Group, now owned by Ulster TV.
Under the deal Chrysalis and the Wireless Group will buy their bulletins from Sky News, now the exclusive provider for Chrysalis, which has ended its Independent Radio News (IRN) contract, whilst UBC will sell the advertisements and pay a share to them.
The deal, as with UBC's other packages, simplifies the purchase of advertising packages by national advertisers.
Previous G-Cap Media:
UK Guardian report:
2005-08-31: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 6,600 penalty on a Virginia AM for failure to enclose its tower within an effective locked fence and exceeding its nighttime power limit.
The Commission had already reduced an initial penalty on 4M of Richmond, Inc., licensee of WLEE-AM, from USD 11,000 on the basis of a previous record of compliance and had found that the company had acted in good faith by correcting or attempting to correct its violations of before being notified of them.
4M had argued for a further reduction of cancellation saying the breach was "minor" because the fence had only been defective for a four days - citing a previous case, which the FCC said involved a gate being left unlocked for only 30 minutes to facilitate repairs - and that the penalty notice was not clear regarding it exceeding its power limits, not specifying whether it had operated with 37, 39, 940 or 945 watts.
The FCC noted that even the 37-watts level was close to three times its authorization level and pointed out that its Notice of Apparent Liability said the station had exceeded the authorized night time power "by at least 200% on August 17, 18 and 19, 2002"
It rejected the arguments and confirmed the full penalty.
2005-08-31: Yet again as in its previous three bulletins, UK media regulator Ofcom upheld no radio complaints in its latest broadcast bulletin but it upheld one TV complaint relating to premium phone lines and considered three other TV complaints resolved: This compares with two TV complaints upheld and another resolved in its previous bulletin.
It listed details of no further complaints compared to details of one radio and five TV complaints in the previous bulletin and in addition listed with no details a further 159 complaints against 131 items that were rejected or held to be out of remit.
These included 17 radio complaints relating to 14 items compared to seven radio complaints relating to seven items in the previous bulletin - and 142 TV complaints relating to 117 items compared to 155 TV complaints relating to 116 items in the previous bulletin:
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2005-08-30: A study released by Sirius Canada says that just above three quarters of Canadians support the granting of satellite radio licences for the country and that among Quebecers [RNW note: The word Sirius used - we would have eschewed the Americanisation and favoured the term Québecois] 69% support the ruling and only 21% thought the federal cabinet should reverse the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission's (CRTC) decision to grant them.
The survey - of 1,200 Canadians, including 500 in Quebec, carried out this month - was released following calls for a reversal of the approval from various groups including some terrestrial broadcasters and CHUM and Astral who had said their terrestrial subscription radio plan would not be viable if satellite licences were granted: There were particular concerns expressed by Francophone objectors about the low requirement for French language programming (See RNW Aug 28). Canada's Heritage Minister Liz Frulla is reported to be ready to ask the country's cabinet to send the approval back to the CRTC for review.
Sirius says the objection were not shared by most Quebecers with 69% agreeing that having four [RNW note - this is for Sirius Canada and Canadian Satellite Radio, the consortium including XM, combined] commercial free French 100% French radio stations broadcast throughout North America would provide Quebec artists with great exposure; overall 71% of Canadians responded positively to the prospect of Canadian artists gaining exposure through being featured on satellite radio throughout North America.
Sirius additionally notes that 31% of Quebecers polled strongly agreed that the French channels would provide greater exposure to Quebec artists compared to 27% who expressed strong concern about the threat to Quebec culture from American English channels.
Commenting on the survey Sirius Canada President and CEO Kevin Shea said in a news release, "One rarely sees this kind of consensus in the country on any topic. We were delighted to see that
Quebecers support satellite radio just as the rest of Canada With satellite radio, Quebecers will get the opportunity to listen to French radio wherever they are in North America."
"At a time when Quebec artists such as Gregory Charles or Jonas are beginning to receive worldwide attention, but still finding current radio formats somewhat restrictive, satellite radio will open the door to a huge North American listening audience," added Shea.
The survey also showed awareness of satellite radio had increased from 44% last fall to 63% and the potential for satellite appeared strong with 22% of Canadians said that they would be interested in subscribing to a satellite radio service, 21% expressing interest in Quebec, and a third of those polled who were under 35.
The study also looked at the current "grey market" of existing and potential of Canadian subscribers to a U.S. service: Of those it polled, 2% said they were currently subscribers, 9% that they knew someone who already was a subscriber and 12% that they would be interested in subscribing in the US if satellite radio is not licensed in Canada, the latter, noted Shea, totalling nearly three million Canadians. He estimated that 100,000 Canadians were already subscribers.
2005-08-30: Austereo, currently the leading FM network owner in Australia, has reported full year revenues to the end of June up 2.8% to AUD 252.5 million (USD 189.7 million) but net profits were down 3.1% to AUD 40.7 million (USD 30.5 million) in what it termed a "competitive commercial radio market." It says it is hoping to develop multi-media operations profitably to counter the tough radio conditions.
Non-radio operations said the company "returned positive outcomes" but it noted a "more challenging year" for its Athens station "Village 88.3 "with softening post-Olympics advertising."
Chairman Peter Harvie said of the results,"The radio landscape is undergoing a period of change To hold ground is a credit to our teams on air, in programming, management and sales. Our key objective is to master the new environment and further build our Today and Triple M network brands. We will continue to improve, but can take some pride in the fact that we have completed another year as the clear leader of the industry."
CEO Michael Anderson said that there was a strong focus on the core business throughout the year and added,"Appointments in consumer insights, marketing, pricing and inventory management, as well as a strengthening of the general management team have assured our ability to maximise performance from our ratings. This year has also seen a solid commitment to a range of multi-media initiatives. The development of a specific team to concentrate on initiatives such as podcasting, re-development of our websites and opportunities within the 3G mobile platform has not only positioned us at the forefront of radio but has also given our clients integrated opportunities beyond traditional radio broadcasting. We see this area as being vital for Austereo moving forward."
2005-08-30: The US gained 592 licensed broadcast stations in the second quarter of this year according to latest figures from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which showed the total at the end of June as 26,895, up from 26,303at the end of March.
Within the figures, the number of licensed radio stations was 13,557, up 40 from the previous total of 13,517 with AM station numbers down 2 to 4759, commercial FMs up eight to 6213, and FM educational up 34 to 2585 while the number of FM translators and boosters was up by nine to 3906.
The FCC has also now listed a total of 498 licensed low power FM stations, the first time its list includes LPFM's, which made up the main part of the increase.
Previous FCC station numbers:
2005-08-30: Cox Radio has announced that its board has approved a share repurchase programme under which it is authorized to spend up to USD 100 million on buying back Class A common stock at management's discretion.
President and CEO Robert F. Neil said of the potential purchases, "Cox Radio's strong free cash flow generation has allowed us to de-lever and strengthen our balance sheet considerably over the last several years. This share repurchase program provides us with flexibility in the use of our free cash flow and an attractive vehicle for enhancing shareholder value."
2005-08-30: Arbitron has named Bob Patchen as its Chief Research Officer, a new position in which he will lead all of the company's research efforts worldwide.
In particular he will be responsible for the development of the company's Portable People Meter as well as being responsible for improving the performance of the radio diary used in the company's current ratings services.
2005-08-29: This week in our look at print comment on the media we have opted for the positive - at least positive from one point of view since in some cases the obverse is also true from another viewpoint.
In the first case the reaction of a number of US radio executives is likely to be very different to ours concerning a column on decline in US talk radio listening by Tim Rutten in his media column in the Los Angeles Times.
After noting the decline in ratings for a number of hosts, Rutten suggests that the party political partisan talk-radio may be for a demise and quoted Michael Harrison, editor of Talkers Magazine, as arguing that "the partisan, left-right approach, where hosts identity themselves as Republicans or Democrats, is an anomaly in the history of talk radio."
"The standard for the medium" said Harrison, " is more populist than partisan - where the host is suspicious of big business, big media and big government. The host is on the little guy's side and sceptical of all politicians, whether they're Republicans or Democrats" and he says that the populist approach is waiting in the wings "and will be there in a second, if the left-right approach falters."
Rutten goes on to quote host Hugh Hewitt as saying the ratings decline is a matter of the election cycle, commenting that the US is at the "low ebb of a political news cycle. The August after a presidential election is the worst time to do political talk radio" but then suggests that the fortunes of war may also have something to do with things "Is it any wonder that, in places like Minneapolis, talk audiences are switching to sports programming? 'Don't like Bush, tired of hearing about Falluja and Baghdad? well, what about those Twins?'"
He also suggests that the stuck-record factor may have something to do with it " the taste for talk radio is like a fondness for grand opera - to indulge it, you have to listen to the same song over and over."
And his conclusion? "Political talk-show hosts see everything through the prism of their partisan politics and insist, as an article of faith, that everyone else is always doing the same. In this sense, their approach to current affairs is less a conservative one and more a creature of that most powerful of American vices: narcissism."
"The controlling assumption is: I look at the world in this fashion and, therefore, everyone else does too."
"Anyone who's ever been trapped sitting next to that greatest of dinner party bores, an unrestrained narcissist in full cry, knows that the only coherent thing that comes to mind is escape."
"Maybe that's what's happening to political talk radio's audience. As the physicists say, the simplest explanation is always the most elegant."
Then there's radio to send you to sleep as in an affectionate short comment from Jane Johnson in the UK Independent.
"In an ever-changing, gimmick-obsessed media world, there are few constants," she writes. "But one thing you can always rely on is Radio 4's Shipping Forecast. As editor of Closer magazine, I have a working day that speeds past in a buzz of conversations with agents, celeb interviews, paparazzi pictures and coverline brainstorms. After all this, it's a real contrast to hear the predictable and calming Shipping Forecast as I drift off to sleep at night."
"There's something incredibly reassuring about it. It didn't matter that - until doing some research for this article - I didn't understand what it all meant. I have just become happily hooked on the calming voice of the announcer and all those poetic, far-off-sounding names in windswept coastal places - Lundy, Fastnet, Irish Sea, Shannon, Rockall, Malin and Hebrides."
And her conclusion? "I now know that the 350-word forecast is written to a set rhythm, and is enunciated in a deliberately calm and soothing way at dictation speed - presumably first and foremost to help a fisherman avoid danger, and secondly to lull people like me to sleep."
"You may also like to know that reports from the coastal stations around the UK are told in a clockwise direction, and that stormy weather is always announced first. Are you getting sleepy yet?"
And then there's technology and from Roland White, writing this week's Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times who entitled his column "pod almighty" and started with a probably all-too accurate comment: "Before we begin talking about radio, let's have a brief chat about iPods. Oh, go on, do let's: everybody else is at it. We all know that the main purpose of owning an iPod is to boast about the cutting-edge nature of your playlist: that obscure track from the Black Eyed Peas, the previously unheard acoustic number from Velvet Revolver. But I would like to stake my claim for the least fashionable and most embarrassing iPod content: Melvyn Bragg's attempt to explain the second law of thermodynamics."
White then goes on to say the development of podcasts is for him, "the best thing that's happened to radio in years. For the first time, radio has a simple and readily available equivalent of the TV video recorder: a way of listening to programmes after they've gone out. Readers have been kind enough in the past to send me details of radio recorders and clever timing devices, but none has proved as simple as podcasting and downloading."
White also notes the scale of the success of the development - "The Essential Mix on Radio 1 is a dance-music show that goes out at 1am on a Sunday morning, when many dance-music fans have better things to do. It gets a weekly audience of 100,000, but about 400,000 people download it to listen to at their convenience [RNW note: He means listen to the stream since as far as we are aware copyright problems are likely to prevent this being available as an MP3 or podcast although a stream is available on the Listen-Again part of the BBC web site] ."
A word of caution though: "There is only one drawback to podcasting: you need broadband to take full advantage. My last attempt at downloading In Our Time - the programme about Karl Marx - took one hour and 20 minutes. It would have been easier for Bragg to ring me up and explain it all over the phone."
[RNW note: The MP3 downloads of In our Time on Radio 4 are no longer available but programme archive is available as a Real Audio stream.]
However to be even more positive, enough of talk and on to some suggested listening this week.
And first voices and accents, heavily featured on the BBC this week as it airs some of the results of its Voices project. The web site has a number of links that allow browsing to regional voices from all over the UK - we would suggest Tyne and the "Fraudie or Georgie" section and Black Country dialect (Aynuk and Ayli's comedy routine and interview)sections as particularly worthy of a listen and also, linked to this topic, the BBC 1Xtra "Slanguage" documentary (Available as a 40KBPS MP3 or as a stream).
We'd also suggest the BBC Word 4 Word series - Wednesday at 08:00 GMT but the whole series is on the web site.
Then not to forget politics, just a note that fired WMAL-AM Michael Graham starts his show on Rightalk.com today and maybe those of leftist persuasions might visit the site whilst a few of the more conservatively-inclined could try Air America.
And for a perspective on the world , and in particular civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, the latest edition of Ockham's Razor from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National will presumably infuriate some but give others pause for thought: It interviews Gideon Polya over his estimates of what he terms "avoidable global mass mortality" and his view that Western mass media refuse to report this ... In Iraq he suggests that there have been around 300,000 extra deaths in a country with less than a tenth the population of the US as a result of the effects of the invasion and occupation of the country, figures calculated by comparing the estimated annual mortality rates before and after the invasion.
We'd also suggest last week's World in Your Ear from BBC Radio 4, an edition that looks at the political impact of radio and included a range from smuggling radio receivers into North Korea to US right-wing comment from Ron Black of WKY-AM, Oklahoma, on the London Underground bombings and a very different perspective on them from death row and Mumia Abu-Jamal, courtesy of Prisonradio.org; comment from Walter Cronkite on political reporting and Studs Terkel on being a 20th century man; and a tribute to Radio Free Europe on the 25th anniversary of the Solidarity uprising. It also has some Sudanese Radio - the station, financed by the US, broadcasts from Kenya.
And for yet different politics we'd suggest The Birmingham Rep Riot: Behind......the Scenes from BBC Radio 4 last week in which Birmingham based journalist Amardeep Bassey looks at the politics that led to demonstrations and ultimate cancellation by the theatre of Behzti, a relatively obscure play about corruption and abuse in a Sikh temple.
And in a timely choice in view of current US proposals about the United Nations, BBC Radio 4's Six Places That Changed the World this morning at 08:00 GMT looks at the foundation of the UN in San Francisco Opera House sixty years ago and speculates on the future for the organization..
And at 10:00GMT this morning the station in the second and last of its Elementary Dear Listener series looks at how offender profiling has moved from being derided to being recognised as a valuable tool in criminal detection: Last week's programme on the use of DNA in investigations is on the site until then.
Then to drama and perspective changes of a very different nature in BBC Radio 3's Drama on Three on Sunday- Thomas Middleton's Jacobean classic Women Beware Women
And form BBC Radio 2, for Rolling Stones fans there are two "Like the Rolling Stones" programmes -one aired on Saturday and on the listen again section of the site and a second to be aired at 18:00 GMT tonight that features the band in conversation with Paul Sexton in Toronto earlier this month.
Tomorrow, at 1930 GMT the station continues its "Bruce Springsteen Story" - the first of the three -part series is online until then.
Finally comedy and BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday at 17:30 GMT and the first of four "Peter Cook in his Own Words" programmes in which Michael Palin trawls Peter Cook's back catalogue for the funniest, rarest and silliest interviews and sketches that Cook ever recorded.
BBC 1Xtra web site:
BBC In our Time archive:
BBC Voices project:
Los Angeles Times -Rutten:
UK Independent - Johnson:
UK Sunday Times - White:
2005-08-29: Former BBC director general John (now Lord) Birt has told the International Television Festival in Edinburgh that the BBC Radio 4 speech channel is a "national treasure" but would benefit from the challenge of a strong rival.
In a speech in which he warned of the danger that the BBC could be forced into becoming a subscription service but said he would not support the idea because of those who would be cut off from the service, noting especially that it would affect the poor and the effect on children's programming - he said the change would be "a sad day I will not cheer" - Birt took up the idea of a new station to compete with Radio 4.
:"Radio 4 would perform better if it had competition," he said. "It would be wonderful if there was another Radio 4. There are lots of things about Radio 4 that would have benefited from competition. It's a national treasure... but I'm someone that believes in the benefits of competition."
RNW comment: Birt is of course British Prime Minister Tony Blair's strategy advisor and he has already suggested that licence fee funding should go to other broadcasters than the BBC. In the case of Radio 4 there has already been one attempt to set up a competitor through the digital and Internet "Oneword" station but that has not been able to compete with Radio 4 very strongly.
We would suspect that the only way any station could successfully even approach the standard of Radio 4 would be with significant public funding and that this lies behind Birt's thinking.
We are dubious about the idea that public broadcasting will be strengthened by dividing resources amongst a number of broadcasters when taken in the context of comments that Birt has made to the effect that the competition of new digital channels has driven down quality in UK commercial broadcasting. We would very much appreciate a strong competitor to Radio 4 but doubt there'd be any improvement in quality or real choice if its funding came through a reduction of the funding for BBC Radio.
Cynically maybe we also note that Birt has suggested such funding for commercial TV - and not ruled out a return to broadcasting thus potentially tying in future personal benefit and suggested policy not necessarily linked but it does seem rare that people suggest changes to their personal detriment!
We would also note that ultimately if Britain or any country wants to have strong public broadcasting it is going to have to make a decision to pay for it whereas politicians seem to thrive by suggesting that "efficiency" savings can achieve the impossible and produce the same with less resources again and again.
This seems to us the root of the current problems in Canada where Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) management has locked out staff in a dispute over management's wish to be able to contract out more of its programming. The Canadian system, created by the country's Conservatives during the Great Depression, has seen a massive reduction in public funding over the years: In 1990 the CBC received CAD 985 million from government funding but this year the amount is around CAD 10 million less (another CAD 400 million or so comes from advertising revenue). That amounts to less than a quarter than the amount Britons pay in their licence fee, the source of (advertising-fee) BBC funding.
In just the same way as Canadians cannot sensibly give the CBC a mandate for promoting the country's culture and keeping an independent voice but refuse to fund it, neither can Britain ultimately expect the BBC to keep up its services and quality without adequate funding.
Scotsman on Sunday report:
2005-08-29: After podcasting? Roadcasting! A prototype system for what they term "collaborative, mobile radio" has been designed by a group at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, that would allow drivers to share their music through an ad-hoc wireless network.
The system came about as a result of a project, sponsored by a major US automobile manufacturer, that formed part of the groups Masters degree in Human Computer Interaction.
The sponsor's research and development arm commissioned them to create a revolutionary application and service for the car that uses mobile ad-hoc networks for a release target of 2010 and the group identified "commuters and travellers as two large, underserved market segments ripe for innovative services utilizing car-to-car communication."
The team say their device can learn individual preferences and choose songs or podcasts that people want to hear and then match listening to sources that provide the required content.
It can be used at its most basic in auto mode in which once switched on it finds appropriate sources and plays them, switching between radio stations and sources by itself.
The device provides selections of musical style and artist that can be set so as to filter the audio to match preferences and the team have posted online details of how they developed the system including tables of what their investigation found to be widely considered positive and negative aspects of radio and DJ'ing.
On the positive side for radio they put three prime positive factors - "Plays music all", day, "Makes commutes less boring", and "Doesn't require much thought" - with corresponding negatives - "Commercials", "Redundancy" and "Annoying DJs." Whilst as for being a DJ the prime factors listed as positives were "Sharing music is fun", "Access to a captive audience" and "Recognitions" with the downsides "Music selection takes time", "Barriers to entry" and "FCC regulation".
They say their tests showed that the system did effectively match people with what they wanted to hear, and showed that people did listen to other people's stations even when their own was playing music they liked: They concluded, "Roadcasting is a compelling alternative to radio that changes the way people listen to radio and builds community. It effectively maintains the positive aspects of listening to the radio while minimizing or eliminating the negative aspects. Likewise, it enhances the positive aspects of being a DJ while reducing the negative."
RNW comment: The Roadcasting term in relation to this technology is probably related to the sponsorship but the team not that it cane be used in home or office and in our view for very straightforward road safety reasons that is where it should stay apart from the simple turn-on automatic mode. We just don't think that drivers should even be considering other than the most simple tasks while driving because it does affect concentration and lead to accidents.
At the same time the concept is interesting in that with a little preparation and simple technology it could develop into a way of pre-preparing a set of choices that can then be selected very simply during a commute in the same way as pre-sets are used for tuning into pre-chosen stations.
We suspect however that in as far as any device involved transmission onto a wireless network, however limited in scope, the greed of the recording companies won't take long to manifest itself with claims for copyright fees (Remember these are the people who on the one hand bribe stations to get play and on the other want extra money from the stations for streaming the audio!).
Roadcasting web site:
2005-08-29: Chicago classical radio pioneer Ray Nordstrand, has died aged 72 following a series of strokes.
He was associated with classical station WFMT-FM for more than half a century, having joined it as a part-time announcer in 1953, two years after it had been founded as a commercial fine arts station by Bernard and Rita Jacobs, while he was a 20-years-old economics student at Northwestern University.
He rose to become its general manager and president and was responsible for turning the station's programme guide into a slick monthly, Chicago magazine that became a cash-cow for the station's corporate parent until sold and also behind the creation of what is now the WFMT Radio Network, one of the world's most successful producers and distributors of classical, folk and jazz programming.
He was pushed out as publisher of Chicago magazine in 1993 and eventually both he and Norman Pellegrini, the station's long-time programme chief were pushed out of WFMT as well.
Chicago Tribune obituary:
2005-08-28: Yet again it was a week when future politics rather than past decisions formed the basis of the main news about the regulators with word from the US that the Federal Communications Commission is investigating indecency complaints including complaints against Howard Stern that could take the host off-air and from Canada that the government may yet ask the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to rescind its grant of satellite radio licence: Otherwise matters were fairly routine.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has proposed a new community service in Oatlands, Tasmania, and is seeking comment, with a deadline of September 9, on its plans.
Oatlands is around 50 km north of Hobart and outside the licence area of Hobart services although some may be received there: It is currently served by community radio group Mid FM, which has been providing services since May 2003 under a temporary licence.
The Authority has also released a booklet "Privacy Guidelines for Broadcasters" that provides guidance to broadcasters and the public about issues relating to privacy that broadcasters might encounter in their everyday practice.
The Guide notes that it is an advisory document without legally binding force although broadcasters have agreed their own codes; it adds that in considering any complaints about intrusion into privacy arising from the codes it will consider two main questions - "did the material relate to a person's private affairs?" and "was its broadcast warranted in the public interest?"
In terms of what is private it says that conduct may be considered private when it is carried on in circumstances that the parties would have had a reasonable expectation that their activity/conversation would be observed or listened to only by themselves but that in general conduct in a public place or information readily available to the public would not be so considered although in some cases broadcast of identifying material or an address could be considered private.
As examples of public interest matters that might justify instruction in privacy it suggests involvement in criminal matters; issues of public health or safety and consumer affairs/protection; matters of politics, government and public administration or relating to the conduct of organisations which impact on the public and seriously anti-social conduct, which causes harm to others.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) may have to face pressure to rescind its satellite radio licences as noted above: Otherwise it was again involved in routine licence-related work including the following (In order of province):
*Renewal until August 31, 2012 of licence of CJXL-FM, Moncton.
*Approval of application for new 1910 watts mainstream adult contemporary music format English-language commercial FM in Woodstock using the frequency 104.7 MHz. This was one of six applications for the frequency as below: It had been opposed by two of the competing applicants - by Corus, licensee of CKDK-FM Woodstock which opposed all the applications on the ground that the market could not support an additional commercial station, and by Tillsonburg Broadcasting Company Limited (TBCL), which said the market was already served by three stations including its CKOT-FM, Tillsonburg, whose music format could be overlapped or duplicated by the new station
* Approval of conversion to FM of TBCL's CKOT-AM, Tillsonburg, subject to it finding a suitable alternative frequency to 104.7 MHz.
The applications rejected were for a power increase from 50 watts to 3,100 watts of its Christian music CJFH-FM, Woodstock, that would upgrade the station from a low-power unprotected service to a protected Class A FM station; for a new 2,630 watts modern rock English language commercial FM; for a 3200 watts new soft adult contemporary English language commercial FM; and for a 3200 watts new gold-based adult contemporary English language commercial FM.
*Renewal until 31 August 2012 of licence of French-language Type B community radio programming undertaking CFNJ-FM Saint-Gabriel-de-Brandon and its transmitter CFNJ-FM-1 Saint-Zénon
It has also issued a public notice, with a deadline for interventions of September 28, relating to the following applications:
*Application for a 1,100 watts FM transmitter at Calgary to broadcast the programming of CBR Calgary so as to improve reception in the urban centre of Winnipeg.
*Application for CKSB-AM, St-Boniface, to add a 2800 watts transmitter in Winnipeg to improve service to the population of Winnipeg located in the urban centre.
*Application for CBW -AM, Winnipeg, to add a 2800 watts transmitter in Winnipeg to improve service to Winnipeg and its surrounding areas.
*Application to increase the power of CBAF-FM, Moncton, from 22,000 watts to 55,000 watts and increasing its antenna height.
There were no licensing decision from Ireland although the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) is involved in radio ratings there and has welcomed changes introduced in the latest ratings (See RNW Aug 26).
It also issued an invitation to tender for evaluation of its "New Adventures in Broadcasting Scheme'" that has been in operation since 1966 and whose objective is to support the development of new innovative and/or sustainable programming within the independent radio sector.
In evaluating the scheme, a key issue is the introduction by the BCI of its Broadcasting Funding Scheme.
In the UK there were no radio decisions and in the US attention was mainly on further indecency complaints made to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against Infinity and Howard Stern and also against Beasley Broadcasting's Fort Myers WQAM-AM and its morning host Hank Goldberg by Florida-based anti-indecency crusader Jack Thompson (See RNW Aug 26)
The FCC also extended until September 21st its deadline for reply comments relating to its low power FM proposals (See RNW Aug 25) and also seems to have finally ended Royce International's fight to prevent the sale - already completed - of its KWOD-FM, Sacramento to Entercom: On the same day it also denied calls to reconsider approval of another deal and refused a bid from a winner of five FM licences in its Auction 357 for a 35% new entrant bidding credit (See RNW Aug 24).
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
ACMA privacy guidelines (21 page .225 KB PDF):
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
2005-08-28: The Canadian cabinet is ready to ask the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to rescind its June decision to grant satellite radio licences to applications from Sirius Canada and Canadian Satellite Radio (CSR - the XM partner) as well as a terrestrial subscription audio licence to a CHUM/Astral consortium (See RNW Jun 17) according to a report from the Canadian Press.
Quoting unnamed government sources the report said an official close to the file had said in an interview on Friday, "Everything suggests that the cabinet will ask the CRTC to overturn its decision."
There has been opposition to the grant by Canadian terrestrial radio broadcasters and by CHUM and Astral, which are behind a competing subscription radio application using terrestrial transmitters, and various artists and Canadian lobby groups.
Francophone groups have been upset because of the requirement for only eight Canadian produced channels and the limited French services planned within the service -only a quarter of the Canadian output need be in French: Earlier this month a pressure group of Quebec authors, musicians, and artists has called on the country's federal government to reverse the CRTC decision (See RNW Aug 5) and last month CHUM and Astral Media along with a ten Canadian terrestrial broadcasters filed a notice of appeal against the decision (See RNW Jul 14).
John Bitove Jr., the Canadian partner with XM in Canadian Satellite Radio (CSR) and CSR CEO commented, "This is just absolutely shocking I think if it's true, there will be huge repercussions."
Bitove estimated such a decision could cost the Canadian economy CAD 2 billion (USD 1.7 billion) over the next 10 years - saying, "There are hundreds of thousands of Canadian consumers who want to purchase this product - either at a retailer or in a new car - who are going to pay the price if this is the decision," - and added that CSR will consider any legal options it may need to pursue the matter in federal court if the decision is rescinded.
Bitove said he believes the opposition stems mainly from discontent over the number of French-language stations, commenting, "So far, from what I understand, that's really the only issue that's been brought up - that three French channels is not enough," he said.
RNW comment: While we appreciate the cultural concerns behind the opposition, ultimately it seems to us that either Canadians are prepared to pay for their own satellites or they have to bite the bullet and go for the deals including Sirius and XM.
In practical terms the satellite services are already available in Canada to visitors - or Canadians with a grey-market subscription to Sirius or XM and all the politcal complaints cannot change this.
Even if a full Canadian system were set up we think it would be unable to compete and thus all that Canada can do is what the CRTC has done - negotiate for as muuch as it can gwith a weak hand.
CBC/Canadian Press report:
2005-08-28: In yet another release about the ability of its Portable People Meter (PPM) system to identify almost any kind of audio signal, Arbitron has announced successful testing of the system with iBiquity HD digital signals including multicast signals in which two or more channels can be transmitted in the digital portion of a signal.
The announcement followed trials last month on digital channels of an un-named top ten metro station.
Arbitron says previous tests had shown the PPM system can recognize a PPM code in a sub-channel that is encoded at a rate as low as 12 kilobits per second and it notes that "each distribution stream can have a unique identification code" thus meaning that the listener does not have to know to which channel they are listening.
RNW comment: As we have previously noted, we would consider the technology weak if it could not identify sources in almost any audio source.
Interestingly, however, we did note that Nielsen Media Research had found problems with its system when it came to video-on-demand (VOD) programming.
For technical reasons such formats could not be encoded in the same way as the signals of real-time broadcast or cable-TV transmissions and Nielsen has now agreed a deal with Sterling, Virginia-software company Anystream that will provide a means for also encoding that VOD programming.
2005-08-27: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) staff are planning to organize their own national news and current-events broadcast via the Internet as an alternative to the bulletins produced by the Corporation's management, which locked them out over a contract dispute nearly a fortnight ago (See RNW Aug 16).
The Toronto Globe and Mail notes that already locked-out CBC staff have produced Internet radio programs which have aired on local university stations in Calgary and Vancouver - plans are also being discussed to produce a version of CBC Radio's Metro Morning show at a college radio station in Toronto. In addition Radio-Canada workers have released a French language download cum podcast Premiere Chaine de Trottoir.
Some 150 CBC writers, producers and announcers from the broadcasters' TV, radio and web-based services, English and French met in Toronto earlier this week to discuss their alternative national service that they hope could start as soon as Monday although Mark O'Neill, producer for CBC Radio One's Toronto drive-time show Here & Now, who is helping to co-ordinate the project, it would initially be an Internet news site, with written reports and photographs from individual CBC staff members from across the country.
Around a week later the staff hope to be able to produce a regular national Internet radio broadcast, which will be downloadable on the Internet and there are also plans to make the feed available to campus and co-op radio stations across Canada, some of which have already expressed interest in running the show according to the paper.
The central office for the project is in Toronto's central Annex neighbourhood, and the paper says the initial budget for the planned national show, modelled roughly on The World at Six and As It Happens, is a few thousand dollars being provided by the locked-out Canadian Media Guild.
The have been doubts expressed by some staff, however, about the idea and O'Neill said, "Right from the very first conversations that started informally on the picket line, there's been that basic question: Is this something we should do? Quite apart from whether we can do it, is whether we should do it? It's been a fascinating debate There are those who have reservations for different reasons. Some people are concerned that this is breaking our own picket line in a sense. Others are just concerned about whether it will be good enough."
While the lockout has been in effect CBC management has been producing a news service heavily dependent on BBC World news along with a very limited service of Canadian items.
As well as formal web sites by the staff and CBC management concerned with news of the dispute, a number of staff have produced their own web offerings including CBC broadcaster Tod Maffin in Vancouver whose cbcunplugged site carries a running summary of news about the dispute and also on available audio.
CBC Management dispute web site:
CBC staff dispute site:
CBC Unplugged web site:
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2005-08-27: In North Carolina, former Charlotte morning host Danny Fontana who was dropped by Jefferson-Pilot's WBT-AM three years ago is planning a return to the market in charge of his own station according to the Charlotte Observer.
The paper says Fontana is buying WKMT-AM in Kings Mountain, currently a gospel-format station, and plans to make it the home of his syndicated faith: The station in May received approval to boost its daytime signal from 1,000 to 10,000 watts, meaning it can reach Charlotte and as far north as Huntersville but its night-time power is pegged at 106 watts, limiting its early morning and evening potential during winter.
The paper adds that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering the station's application for a new tower, and is expected to rule by winter: Fontana said with approval construction could be done by January in time for a power increase and format change in February or March.
His Charlotte-based Charis Radio Network is paying USD 950,000 to Geddings & Phillips Broadcasting for the station and says the new format is likely to be some variant of talk-sports-news; the station would be run by his son Casey, who is vice president of operations for Charis.
And Danny Fontana's postscript: "How do you stop from getting fired? You own it," he commented of the station deal."
He added that he wouldn't be competing with 50,000 watt WBT, saying, "I think if we were foolish enough to do that, we'd lose. WBT is the colossus of the South. It's not my intention to be their competition. We want to offer an alternative."
Charlotte Observer report:
2005-08-27: Consolidation in Australian radio has cost some more local radio jobs, this time in North Queensland where Macquarie-bank owned Macquarie Regional Radio, which acquired Hot FM and 4TO when it bought R.G.Capital's regional network for AUD 173 million (USD 122 million), has dropped more local content from its afternoon programming.
It had already cut a locally produced afternoon programme at the station and will now run a programme from the Gold Coast from noon to 16:00.
The move prompted Lindy Nelson-Carr, the Premier's representative in North Queensland, to say that concerns about loss of local radio jobs and content prompted by regional radio takeovers now appeared to have foundation.
She noted that Macquarie Bank gave an assurance in September last year in relation to the establishment of its radio network that all stations would remain under the same local format and management and added, "Those words, including the commitment to expanding their business to provide an exciting and rewarding environment for their listeners, clients and staff throughout regional Australia, may be starting to look very hollow. Local radio stations in a city the size of Townsville, or any regional market, should remain local."
We want to be able to relate to our presenters and don't want to be fed a diet from the Gold Coast."
Previous Macquarie Bank:
Townsville Bulletin report:
2005-08-26: Now it has been confirmed that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Enforcement Bureau is investigating complaints against Howard Stern - filed along with a complaint against Beasley Broadcasting's Fort Myers WQAM-AM and its morning host Hank Goldberg by Florida-based anti-indecency crusader Jack Thompson - speculation is mounting that Stern may be off the air in the near future, maybe as soon as today since Infinity had until Thursday to respond to a request for information from the Commission.
Under the terms of a USD 3.5 million consent decree that Viacom agreed last year with the FCC to settle all outstanding indecency complaints (See RNW Nov 11, 2004) Viacom agreed a company-wide compliance plan under which any breaches that led to a notice of apparent violation would result in the suspension of all employees materially involved in the broadcast concerned would be suspended: It also agreed that if a forfeiture order was subsequently issued further disciplinary action, which could involve dismissal, would be taken.
This would suggest that if Thompson's complaint is considered serious enough when the FCC receives replies to its August 15th requests for information- the complaint involved Beasley's WRXK-FM, Ft. Myers, and Infinity's WXRK-FM (K-Rock), New York - to issue a notice of apparent violation, Infinity would have no option but to take Stern off air.
FMQB reported that the complaint related to a broadcast on February 4 this year that included a contest that featured women golfing with strap-on dildos on their foreheads, followed by the contestants attempting to sing "Amazing Grace" with a four-inch sausage down their throats.
It quoted Thompson's letter as saying, "Porn stars were using dildos in the described fashion, among the sexual banter, and they were then allowing sausages to be stuffed down their throats, in a simulation of fellatio, while trying to sing, despite the gagging, 'Amazing Grace.'"
Thompson later, reported FMQB, sent a follow-up letter asking that the investigation should be expanded to include "expand to include each and every radio station that aired any of the particular Stern programs on the dates which are currently under investigation."
If Stern is taken off air, past Infinity practices in such cases would indicate that it is unlikely to release him early to go to Sirius although the satellite radio company has already said that it will launch Stern programming next month - when it tweaks its channels for the year - although Stern's formal start date is not until January next year. Stern's programming is to be put on Sirius channels 100 and 101 and the host has said he is already busy planning it. So far no details have been released of what will be on the channels although the launch channel is likely to only have promotional material in advance of his arrival.
In daily notes on his shows on Wednesday, Stern's web site comments, "Howard thought that with the amount of material that gets dumped from the show every day, it would be virtually impossible to fine him for anything. However, he said he prays he does get a fine so he can be thrown off the air and still get paid. Tom [WXRK general manager Tom Chiusano] pointed out that probably wouldn't be the case though because, even if a notice is filed, it could take up to six months before the repercussions are handed out.
FMQB web site:
2005-08-26: BBC Radio 2's Autumn (Fall) schedule just released has Johnny Depp and Val Kilmer taking a break from movies to present profiles of James Dean (on September 27 at 19:30 GMT and Marlon Brando (On October 4 at 19:30 GMT) respectively and also the return of British DJ Chris Evans for a new Saturday afternoon show, the highlights of which will be made available as a download or podcast.
Depp and Kilmer are following in the footsteps of Brad Pitt, who presented a documentary about singer Nick Drake for Radio 2 last year *(See RNW May 20, 2004) and the Depp programme is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Dean's death at the wheel of his Porsche in 1955.
Other highlights on the station will include a Sir Paul McCartney special recorded in Studio 2 at Abbey Road - in which McCartney will use vintage instruments from his own collection, he will revisit Beatles songs and play brand new tracks from his forthcoming album, Chaos & Creation In The Backyard, - and the world premiere broadcast of the first musical collaboration between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice - The Likes Of Us, which tells the story of Dr John Barnardo, founder of the Barnardo children's homes.
Also going for changes according to the UK Guardian will be Emap's Magic FM in London which the paper reports is planning a new breakfast show: It says that Magic's managing director Andrea Vidler has confirmed that changes are to be made to the More Music Breakfast show, currently hosted by Graham Dene but denying that former Capital Radio drive time host Neil Fox had been approached about the show.
The paper reported earlier this month that Magic was going to hire more celebrity names as hosts to boost its profile (See RNW Aug 11).
On the classical front, BBC Radio 3 has announced that it is to devote its programming on September 15 - "Webern Day" to the Austrian composer Anton Webern who was shot dead by a drunk American Army soldier on September 15, 1945, following the arrest of his son-in-law for black market activities.
Webern's works will be placed into Radio 3's regular schedule and introduced by Radio 3 presenters, along with guests including Webern biographers Malcolm Hayes and Katherine Bailey as well as composer Julian Johnson.
UK Guardian report:
2005-08-26: Sirius is offering three portable satellite radio receivers and in the UK Pure Digital has brought out a weatherproofed rechargeable DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) amongst other equipment offerings this week.
In the UK, Pure's Oasis DAB receiver allows 15 hours of use on a battery and can be connected to portable audio players or other devices or used with its own built-in speakers. It is weatherproofed to international IP65 water-resistance standards and will be available from September for around GBP 120 (USD 215). Its software is 'USB Upgradeable' over an Internet connection
The Sirius receivers are two small portable receivers primarily for automobile use and the Sirius S50, its first "wearable" receiver. This is 1.9 by 3.9 inches and 0.7 inches thick ( 4.8 by 9.9 by 1.8cm thick), and includes a full colour display, sleek black exterior and voice-assisted channel navigation and can store up to 50 hours of Sirius content, or a mix of Sirius programming and MP3/WMA files.
The battery life is around six hours and it can also be used with various docking stations and will be available around October for some USD 360 for a kit including a car dock and cigarette lighter power adapter, ultra-low profile antenna, DC input and line output. A home dock will also be available for around USD 100.
The other receivers are the Starmate Replay, and Sirius One.
The Starmate weighs 3.9 ounces (110 grams) and is 5 by 1.9 inches and 0.8 inches thick (12.7 cm by 4.8cm by 2cm thick) in size and is expected to be in retail stores by October.
It has a five-line screen that displays the artists name and song title and also features 44 minutes of replay facility and other features include "Game Alert," which prompts listeners when their favourite teams begin a game or when scores change; "Game Zone," which lists the user's favourite team scores on one screen; 30 channel presets; and one-touch access to traffic and weather reports for select cities.
It comes with accessories for use in an automobile at around USD 130 and a home kit will be available for USD 40.
The Sirius One is 2.8 by 4.5 inches and 0.8 inches thick (120 by 11.4 by 2cm thick) and weighs 5 ounces (140 grams). Sirius says it has been specially developed for quick and easy vehicle installation, and comes complete with four mounting options including sun visor, windshield, dashboard or instrument panel. It has 30 channel presets, will retail for USD 80 including a remote control and low profile antenna.
Sirius has also announced that from November in association with NAVTEQ it is to broadcast traffic data nationwide for 22 major US cities - Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco/Oakland, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa and Washington D.C. It says it eventually expects to extend this to 50 cities.
XM has not publicized new equipment recently but its Canadian partner Canadian Satellite Radio seems to be moving ahead in preparations for a Canadian launch and says that several thousand people have already signed up for its service, which should go on air by the end of this year.
On the transmission side of things, Harris Corporation is to showcase new digital radio solutions, with a particular emphasis on Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) systems at its booth at the Beijing International Radio and TV Show this year including its DRM On-Air Upgrade Kit enables Harris DX(r) and DAX(tm) Series AM transmitters to be upgraded for DRM operation quickly and cost-effectively in the field.
Harris says that following successful DRM demonstrations in China, Australia, Romania, the United Kingdom, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Mexico, Spain, and at the recent NAB2005 show in Las Vegas, its momentum in DRM is stronger than ever.
2005-08-26: The UK Guardian Media Group (GMG), which already had a 37.8% stake in popular music format Reading 107 FM, has taken control by purchasing the stake of the Milestone Radio Group.
It now owns 60.3% of the station whose other shares are owned by Goodhead Group, a company controlled by Reading FC chairman John Madejski.
GMG Radio chief executive John Myers told the UK Guardian, which is owned by the same group, "We were one of the original shareholders in Reading 107 FM and are proud of its achievement to date, so it makes sense to increase our stake to a level where we can now offer further management support. "
"There are no plans to change the station's name or format," he added. " We aim instead to increase the level of local output and invest in marketing in order to grow the audience further."
In other European radio business SBS Broadcasting SA has now set October 3 for an Extraordinary General Meeting of shareholders to consider its USD 2.55 billion purchase by Funds advised by Permira and affiliates of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) (See RNW Aug 23). All shareholders of record as of close of business on August 24 will be entitled to vote on the deal.
American media entrepreneur and SBS Executive Chairman Harry Evans Sloan stands to make Euros 178 million (USD 220 million) from his 11% shareholding in the group, which he founded in 1989.
UK Guardian report:
2005-08-26: Australian broadcaster and film maker Southern Cross Broadcasting Ltd has reported full year profits up 28.3% on its 2003-4 year at AUD 59.36 million (USD 45.06 million) on revenues up 33% to AUD 534 million (USD 405 million): Radio revenues were up 6.6% year on year at AUD 97.4 million (USD 73.9 million) and TV revenues were up 7.5% to UAUD 316.9 million (USD 240.6 million).
Chairman John Dahlsen said of the results, "The diversification of our media assets has continued to significantly enhance our financial position with strong trading conditions in metropolitan television, regional television and radio operations throughout the financial year."
Managing director Tony Bell said the company was "in a strong financial position with satisfactory advertising market conditions for its metropolitan radio and television and regional television stations, a consistent trading performance from Southern Star, an efficient operating structure, a strong balance sheet, market capitalisation of around AUD 900 million (USD 683 million) and an attractive debt/equity gearing of around 29%."
In radio terms he noted strong performances in Melbourne and Brisbane but said of Sydney that a more competitive radio market "still presents challenges for Radio 2UE, adding, "2UE's trading performance has improved since October 2004 and we expect this trend to continue."
Southern Cross's broadcasting division said Bell would continue to focus on increasing audience and revenue share. But at the same time "the company will continue to investigate opportunities to expand in appropriate areas that will enhance its existing media and television program production and distribution interests."
Previous Southern Cross:
2005-08-26: Latest Irish ratings just released for the period from July last year to the end of June this year show 86% of the nation's adults listening to radio each day in the country, up 1% on a year earlier; larger samples have been used for this survey, which has been augmented to make a new weekly reach figure available to stations and comparisons will in future be published on a quarterly basis.
Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) chief executive Michael O'Keeffe welcoming the changes commented in a news release, "As a member of the JNLR Committee the BCI strongly endorses the enhancement of the survey as presented today. The increase in the samples interviewed, particularly in local franchise areas, is to be welcomed. Not alone does the increase provide a more robust survey and greater demographic information for the stations, the additional material will be particularly useful for the Commission in the context of its radio licensing policy".
Amongst national stations (with earlier figures in brackets), RTÉ Radio One had a 26% listenership figure, (27% a year earlier and the same as the previous six months) and its share was down 0.5 to 23.5%; 2FM had 22% (24% a year earlier and 21% for the previous six months) and its share was down 1.8% to 15.2%; Lyric FM retained 3% (3% for both year earlier and six month figures) and its share was up 0.8% to 1.8% whilst national commercial station Today FM reached 16% (14% a year earlier and 15% in the previous six months) and its share was up 2% to 11%.
Regional station Beat FM was up 1% on a year ago to 19% (unchanged on previous six months) and its share was up 0.8% to 8.8%.
Among local stations Highland radio has a 65% listenership figure down 6% on a year earlier and a share of 59%, down 3%; Ocean FM- based on the period 1st Oct 04 to June 05 as this was when its surveys began - had a 63% listenership and 37% share; Limerick's Live 95FM has a 58% listenership, up 4% and 42/6% share, up 5.6%; Shannonside/ Northern Sound had a 57% listenership, up 2%, and 46.6% share, up 1.6%; and Mid West Radio had a 57% listenership, down 11%, and 43.6% share, down 11.4%.
Of these only Limerick was given figures in the previous six months ratings- then its listener was 56%.
In Dublin the top stations were FM 104 with 20%, down 1% on the year-ago figure (previous six month was 19%) - national station RTÉ Radio 1 still led with an 30%, unchanged from the previous year; RTÉ 2FM which was unchanged on a year ago to 15% but up 1% on the previous six months); 98FM, which was down 4 to 17% (Previous six month was 16%); Q102 up 1% with 12% (Previous six month figure was 13%; Today FM which was up 1 to 11% in Dublin (10% in previous six months); and Spin 1038 with 10%, up 3% (It had 10% in the previous six months).
In Cork the top five stations were 96 FM County Sound with 45%, down 6 % on a year earlier; RTÉ Radio 1 had an unchanged 24%; RTÉ 2FM down 2% to 15%; Red FM with 14%, down 2%;
Previous Irish Ratings:
2005-08-26: Former WMAL-AM host Michael Graham, fired by the Disney-ABC station in Washington DC for saying Islam was a terrorist organisation will be back on US airwaves again tonight - on a fill-in shift on Clear Channel's KFI-AM in Los Angeles.
He is standing in for John Ziegler in the 1900 to 2200 time slot, the first time he has been a guest host on the station although he has appeared on it as a guest according to the Los Angeles Times.
Following his original remarks the Muslim civil rights group the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) had organised a letter writing campaign to the station and its advertisers and its spokeswoman Rabiah Ahmed said, "It's unfortunate, but not a surprise that he's back on the air. He wasn't the first radio talk show host to make such hateful, bigoted remarks and we doubt he will be the last."
Los Angeles Times report:
2005-08-25: According to the Chicago Tribune plans by Emmis to hire Jonathon Brandmeier as morning host on its WLUP-FM will have to wait more than a year because Infinity is not prepared to release him early from his contract, which is said to have more than a year to run.
The paper also says that the same sources tell it Infinity has no plan to hire current Emmis' WKQX-FM 101.1 morning host Erich "Mancow" Muller to replace Howard Stern at its WCKG-FM.
The paper refers to an earlier report by Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times (See RNW Aug 24) but says the information seems to scotch published reports of Brandmeier returning to WLUP in time to exploit rival Stern's departure for satellite radio.
Feder meanwhile seems to back off a little on the suggestion that Muller might join WCKG at the end of his latest column which leads off with the hiring by Disney's ABC Radio of Jeff Schwartz, WCKG's former station manager and program chief of Infinity Broadcasting's comedy/talk who had just been promoted by Infinity to vice president of programming.
Schwartz is to become program director of ESPN sports/talk flagship WMVP-AM to in succession to Len Weiner, who left in June to become program director of Tribune Co.-owned news/talk WGN-AM (See RNW Jun 3).
Feder reports that Schwartz told staffers at WCKG, "As the eyes get puffy, the hair gets greyer and the wrinkles start to show -- and when opportunities are few and far between -- I have made the hardest decision in my professional career to move on. It's no secret that sports is my passion, and when ESPN made me a 'Godfather'-type offer, how could I refuse?"
Feder then comments, "Schwartz proved particularly adept at handling the egos and eccentricities of such Infinity franchise stars as Steve Dahl at WCKG and, earlier, Mike North at the Score.
He leaves WCKG at a time of declining ratings and no certain plan in place for the imminent departure of Howard Stern's syndicated morning show."
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
2005-08-25: A routine rehearsal of a 2-way between BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Richard Evans and the corporation's royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell [Their description:He is not a royal!] turned into an eight-minute argument that has now become public to the embarrassment of correspondent and corporation.
The actual broadcast went smoothly but the rehearsal exchange had been recorded and audio was circulated around the BBC: It began with Evans introducing Witchell by saying, "Okay, blah di blah di blah. Here's our royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell to tell us what happened today."
Witchell indicates dissatisfaction and then goes on, "your intro will say the Prince of Wales has led a commemoration at the Cenotaph, what has happened at the Cenotaph, they sounded the last post, they had a two-minute silence..." to which Evans says, "Well, just tell us all that then, you know."
Witchell responds, "No. I'm sorry, I'm not going to" to which the reply is, "Well, what do you want me to do?"
After this the exchange become more acerbic with the comments:
EVANS: "You tell me Nicholas what questions you want me to ask."
WITCHELL: "I don't want you to ask any, my dear chap."
EVANS: "I know you don't, I know you don't."
WITCHELL: "Start with, because that is in your cue, what happened, start with, you know, it is going to be one of the last occasions this happened."
EVANS" You tell me what to ask you."
WITCHELL: "I just have."
EVANS: "Right, what's the question then?"
WITCHELL: "Otherwise I'm going."
EVANS: "What's question one? Don't take it out on me, I'm just trying to do my bloody job as well."
WITCHELL: "And likewise and likewise and likewise. You know, it's just a pointless two-way but let's start..."
EVANS: "I'm the monkey not the organ grinder, all right? So what do you want me to ask you?"
WITCHELL: "I've told you four times now, this will presumably be one of the last occasions when a ceremony such as this happens..."
Later after more exchanges Witchell and a producer say:
WITCHELL: "This doesn't really suit a kind of two-way treatment. It's either actuality or a veteran."
Producer: "We've got a veteran."
WITCHELL: "Okay, well, so ... I think there is a misapprehension here. There haven't been things going on today, there has been one ceremony at the Cenotaph. This isn't like Remembrance Day when you've got ceremonies all over the country."
RNW comment: We have considerable sympathy with both correspondent and presenter in this case because all too often nowadays broadcasters air two-way exchanges that seem more designed to fill time than provide useful information to the audience and often feature someone in a studio asking for information from a correspondent on location who has far less information than the person in the studio - indeed often is merely a puppet who is fed with information to be regurgitated back, sometimes after the embarrassment of an introduction that covers all the main information anyway.
UK Guardian - transcript of exchange:
2005-08-25: Following up on Clear Channel's firing earlier this month of DJs Kaos and Syllli Asz under pressure from police groups (See RNW Aug 5) the St Louis River Front Times gives more details of their comments (RNW Note: In our report on July 29 we had expressed unease about the lack of detail given in published reports) and suggests that the detail puts the matter in a different light.
Reports said the two in their broadcast on KATZ-FM had "included comments on how to harm police officers and take away their radios so they couldn't call for help" but the River Front Times says this took place in the context of a postings on a message board popular with police concerning the shooting and killing Kirkwood police officer Sergeant William Menthe.
The paper says the postings, which abused Northwood's Police Chief Greg Moore, were made in the context of the surrender of the alleged killer arranged by his relatives that it comments presumably irked those posting the messages because he was treated humanely upon being taken into custody
This led to a question by Kaos to his partner asking if, after being handcuffed by a police officer, that cop wilfully took off the handcuffs and challenged Syllli Asz to a fight, would Syllli go for the cop's gun first or his radio?
Syllli says the paper responded by saying he'd go for the radio first, so that the cop couldn't call for backup.
It adds that numerous reports were made by the St Louis Post-Despatch and various commentators who had not heard the broadcast or a recording of it including Kevin Horrigan who wrote an opinion that "chided Kaos and Syllli for engaging in a "public-spirited dialogue with listeners on how best to beat up and otherwise neutralize police officers."
When the matter was raised with him the paper says he responded, "Yeah, I thought someone had actually listened to the broadcast. But if the station would not supply a tape in a timely manner, I'd be OK with writing based on second-hand accounts from good sources."
Art Silverblatt, a communications professor at Webster University, wasn't satisfied with Horrigan's rationalization, saying. "What they should do is include that in their discussion or opinion," says Silverblatt. "You can't be influencing opinion without having heard it. If you're going from second-hand accounts, that's not terribly responsible."
Responding to police comments, again by people who had not heard the broadcast but went from newspaper reports, David Klinger, an ex-Los Angeles policeman and an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said the paper, applies the same ethical logic to the police group's protocol. "If you're going to take a position in public about what someone's said or done, you'd darn well better have your facts straight," he says. "And in this case, that means listening to the tape of the broadcast."
Kaos has retained lawyer Scott Sherman who commented of his client, The guy's a comedian. And whether it's Chris Rock or [David] Letterman, comedians are going to use outrageous humour to comment on serious subjects."
"Anyone who wrote authoritatively without listening to this is irresponsible, because otherwise you're just guessing," added Sherman. "And when you do that, you make yourself vulnerable."
Previous Clear Channel:
St Louis River Front Times report:
2005-08-25: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has extended until September 21 the deadline for reply comments relating to its Second Order on Reconsideration and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking relating to its plans for low power FM.
At the start of this month the Commission had already extended by two weeks until August 22 and September 6 its deadlines for comment and replies to its proposals at the request of Station Resource Group but at the time denied a request by National Public Radio for an extension of the reply comment deadline to 30 days.
It has now agreed to the extra 15 days at the request of REC Networks which had argued amongst other things that the large number of comments filed and delays in posting paper-filed comments to the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System justified the extension to the reply comment deadline, agreeing that the large number of comments filed justifies this.
2005-08-25: US financed broadcasters Radio Sawa and Alhurra TV, both run by Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc., are now reaching a combined audience of 35 million adults a week and, despite anti-American sentiment in the Middle East, are regarded as credible sources of news and information by their audiences according to a survey carried out by ACNielsen. It is based on 14,000 face-to-face interviews conducted across nine countries in the Middle East in May and June of 2005
Nielsen says Radio Sawa has a weekly audience of 20.8 million adults and its listeners in the broadcaster's key markets ranked the station as one of their top two choices for radio news and information.
Alhurra, which is broadcast on two satellites, is said to reach a weekly audience of 21.3 million and more than three quarters of the audience say they are interested in watching it for news.
Both services scored well in terms of perceptions of news reliability according to Nielsen, which said that 77 percent of Alhurra's viewers and 73 percent of Radio Sawa's listeners consider the news reliable.
Norman J. Pattiz, Chairman on the Middle East Committee of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, said in a statement, "Since their inception, Sawa and Alhurra have shown that you can reach the masses in numbers that were unimaginable for U.S. International Broadcasting prior to their creation, while not sacrificing news reliability or access to elites."
Previous Radio Sawa:
2005-08-24: Emmis Communications has confirmed its interest in moving Jonathon Brandmeier, who most recently hosted mornings at Infinity's KCBS-FM in Los Angeles before it switched to the Jack format, back to its Chicago WLUP-FM (the Loop).
Robert Feder reports in his Chicago Sun-Times column that Emmis Radio president Rick Cummings its and its vice president of programming Jimmy Steal met Brandmeier in Los Angeles last Friday and quotes WLUP VP and general manager Marv Nyren as saying, "Emmis and the Loop have had conversations with Jonathon Brandmeier, and we do find some unbelievably appealing reasons he could be very successful in Chicago again. We're definitely moving ahead."
Nyren also said according to Feder that the deal was not necessarily contingent on Erich "Mancow" Muller leaving Emmis' alternative rock WKQX-FM (101.1) to join Infinity's WCKG-FM as earlier reports in Chicago had suggested.
Brandmeier so far has not commented in public.
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2005-08-24: BBC Radio 1 has announced that it is to hold the first John Peel Day on Thursday 13 October to celebrate the "life and massive contribution to music and broadcasting" of the late DJ - real name John Robert Parker Ravenscroft - who died of a heart attack while on holiday in Peru last year aged 65 (See RNW Oct 27, 2004).
It will take the form of a day with as many venues as possible in the UK staging gigs under the Peel Day banner and his widow Sheila Ravenscroft said of the plans, "John would have been honoured and fairly amazed that the anniversary is being marked in such a way. He would appreciate that in years to come Peel Day will give new bands across the country the chance to be heard."
Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt said the day will be "about celebrating John's legacy and his unrivalled passion for music... something we feel will be a fitting tribute to John" and Jason Carter, Executive Producer of Live Events at Radio 1, added, "Having spoken to all the major promoters in the UK and many people involved in live music, the strength of the feeling for this day has been fantastic, with everyone pledging their support."
The station web site on its John Peel section notes that before the day there "will be a very special London gig organised by Radio 1 with details to be confirmed nearer the time" and also carries a message saying, "How you can be involved! We're encouraging as many people as possible to organise their own gig as a tribute to John. This can be anything from a couple of unsigned bands down the local pub to hiring an entire venue and booking some Happy Hardcore DJs! It's entirely up to you."
In its report on the event the UK Guardian notes that at last month's radio festival in Edinburgh some of the DJs colleagues took to the stage in an informal session to share their memories of him including a story of his generosity from Feargal Sharkey, the former Undertones front man who sang Peel's favourite song Teenage Kicks.
He remembered sending a recording to Radio 1 and calling the station to get through to Peel straight away and being asked by Peel, who had listened to the song, "'do you want to do a John Peel Session?"
"But the concept of us getting from Ireland to London - it was not going to happen," added Sharkey. "Four of us were still at school. Seven years later we found out that John had booked and paid for the studio [where we recorded the session] in Belfast out of his own pocket."
Singer-songwriter Billy Bragg told how he first got played on Peel's show, saying, "My first experience of John Peel was when Life's a Riot came out. I was playing football with some mates in Hyde Park. John Peel was on the radio and he said to Kid Jensen 'I'd do anything for a mushroom biryani' and a little light went on in my head. I took the biryani to Radio 1's reception and left a record with it. Sure enough he played the track and said 'thanks very much for the biryani Billy, but I'd have played the record anyway.'"
BBC Radio 1 Peel Day page:
UK Guardian report:
2005-08-24: Arbitron has announced that it has successfully tested its Portable People Meter (PPM) technology with a number of podcasts from Clear Channel's WHTZ-FM into which its identification codes had been embossed.
The podcasts were downloaded from the podcast portion of Apple's iTunes Music Store to an MP3 played and then played over the headsets using a PPM headset adapter. Arbitron notes that its PPM has performed successfully with "virtually every significant type of audio distribution and compression system" including as Dolby, HDTV and satellite uplinks Digicypher and Videocypher.
Pierre Bouvard, president, Portable People Meters, Arbitron Inc. said in a statement, "Podcasting is a very different distribution system for traditional radio and the successful test of the PPM should further build confidence in how well it works with all types of audio programming."
"The state-of-the-art encoding system used in the PPM," he added, "does a better job of identifying alternate distribution platforms and time-shifted audio content than any other approach to portable electronic audience measurement that we've seen."
RNW comment: In this case we would have been amazed - and considered the technology a gross failure - if the PPM hadn't worked with a podcast.
The real question is whether it outperforms rivals and we have already been surprised that in tests conducted by UK radio ratings company RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) the Eurisko Media Monitor, an audio-matching pager-type device, outperformed the PPM in recognition of signals (See RNW Feb 15) since our perception was that an encoded signal should be much easier to match than a segment of audio.
RAJAR is now involved in further tests of the Eurisko Media Monitor, the PPM, and a new audiometer developed by IPSOS-RSL, which uses mobile phone technology to capture encoded signals (See RNW Jul 12).
2005-08-24: Australian radio advertising revenues in the country's five major metropolitan markets fell by just under 1% in July this year to AUD 45.3 million (USD 34.3 million) compared to AUD 45.7 million (USD 34.6 million) in July 2004 when they were up 25% on a year earlier according to latest PricewaterhouseCoopers Radio Revenue Performance figures.
They are up in Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth but down in Brisbane and Sydney and Joan Warner, CEO of industry body Commercial Radio Australia said the figures reflected the experience of other main media for some time.
"Radio has recorded good growth for the past three years and has been very resilient in continuing to attract advertising revenue compared to other media," she said, adding that the industry was confident that positive growth would continue for commercial radio long-term because of radio's effectiveness and efficiency for advertisers.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2005-08-24: In what we take it will be a final postscript to the long battle by Royce International Broadcasting to reverse the sale - already completed - of its KWOD-FM, Sacramento to Entercom, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has turned down an attempt to Royce to have its earlier decision to allow the licence transfer to be reconsidered.
The saga began in 1996 when Royce agreed to sell the station to Entercom for USD 25 million but Royce later tried to pull out of the deal; in 2002 it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a move seen by some observers as a ploy to prevent completion of the deal (See RNW Jan 5, 2002) but the sale eventually went through and was noted by Entercom with its second quarter results for 2003 (See RNW Jul 7, 2003)
The latest FCC release relates to Royce's June 2003 petition to the commission for reconsideration of a May 2003 decision to grant the assignment of the KWOD licence to Entercom and in rejecting this the FCC says that Royce's argument that the transfer was pending because of its appeal when on June 2, 2003, the FCC issued its Public Notice concerning new multiple ownership rules and that Entercom was therefore required to amend the Assignment Application to show compliance with the new local radio ownership rule is overridden by its "grandfathering" rules.
The FCC has also denied a call by Chris Kidd (Kidd Communications) to reconsider its earlier decision to reject a petition from Kidd and allow Paradise Broadcasting Inc.'s sale of KTHO-AM, South Lake Tahoe, California, to Live Wire Media Partners, LLC.
It also ruled that Matinee Radio, LLC, which was the winner of five FM licences in its Auction 37 is not eligible as a new bidder for a 35% new entrant bidding credit but is only entitled to a 25 percent new entrant bidding credit. The stations involved are in Magdalena, New Mexico and Albany, Goldsmith Groveton, and Marfa, all in Texas.
2005-08-23: Arbitron has announced that it is to report satellite radio listening from the Fall 2005 survey and from the Spring 2006 survey will include listeners to a terrestrial station's Internet stream in it s figures.
The announcement made follows Arbitron's presentation to last week's meeting of its twice-annual Advisory Council of what it termed a "a number of policy changes and service enhancements."
They include updates of previously announced initiatives such as its Small Market Reporting Enhancements that from Fall 2005 will address the issue of "bounce" in Arbitron's Condensed markets by utilizing a full year's sample in these markets, versus using the smaller sample from the traditional three-month Spring and Fall survey periods.
Regarding Internet streams from the Winter 2006 survey Arbitron is to only recognise the simulcast where all of a station's content including its adverts are streamed and to report only a single figure for the station including the simulcast audience. Arbtiron will nto report figure concerning Internet streams that are not pure simulcasts.
Satellite listening will be rated from the Fall survey this year - with prefixes of an XM for XM Satellite Radio and XS for Sirius Satellite Radio - for channels whose audience is large enough to meet Arbitron's minimum reporting criteria: At around an 0.1 share this means that a few of the satellite companies' top channels may make the ratings.
Still with US ratings, in Florida, Eastlan, the second-ranked radio ratings company in the US is to rate the Florida Keys market from Fall this year. It's charter subscriber for the market, previously an Arbitron CSAR market, is Vox Communications whose COO Ken Barlow commented, "The Florida Keys is an eclectic market and Eastlan's phone methodology will provide more accurate results. We also like saving money and Eastlan fits our budget."
2005-08-23: Listeners to the JACK-FM format find the most important elements of it to be Music Genre Variety according to a study by Bridge Ratings that says the 1,500 people aged 25-54 years that it polled for its survey gave this factor an average 9.4 on a ten point scale as the element "most important" to their listening enjoyment of a JACK station.
This was followed by Minimal Talk (an 8.9 rating), Music Familiarity (an 8.1), the seemingly contradictory Potential For Music Surprises (7.6) and then Station Attitude/Humour (6.9), No Announcers (6.2), Lack of News, Weather, Sports or Traffic (5.9), Perception of Fewer Commercials (5.0), No Contesting (4.7), Long Sets of Music (3.9).
They also tend to spend a little less time listening after about six months according to the report.
Bridge Ratings President Dave Van Dyke commented, "One of the more interesting aspects of these results is how the perception of fewer commercials is not as important as the lack of announcers, minimal talk or even the stations' attitude. Other formats we've studied show 'Long Sets of Music' as a much more important station element. However, while JACK listeners love the 'bunches of songs in-a-row', that asset is not as important as others."
"The lack of lifestyle information such as news, sports or weather is not a detriment to this format's appeal," he noted, adding, "In fact, that this type of information is not included in the presentation gets a higher score than the perception of fewer commercials is a revealing element of JACK's appeal."
The listening time information, gathered where stations had been with the format for nine months, showed that amongst those 35-44, 10% said they were listening more as time went on, 67% that listening was the same and 23% that they listened less.
Previous Bridge Ratings:
2005-08-23: Disney-ABC-owned WMAL-AM, Washington, has now dismissed host Michael Graham following his controversial remarks describing Islam as a "terrorist" organization" about which he remained defiant when suspended without pay (See RNW Aug 1) and still remains defiant.
On his personal web site Graham carries his account headed "WELL, THEY GOT ME...The First Amendment and I have been evicted from ABC Radio in Washington, DC."
He then goes on to blame CAIR (The Council on American-Islamic Relations) for his dismissal saying that CAIR had declared the suspension insufficient and demanding his dismissal.
"I have been fired for making the specific comments CAIR deemed 'offensive,' and for refusing to retract those statements in a management-mandated, on-air apology," he writes. "ABC Radio further demanded that I agree to perform what they described as 'additional outreach efforts' to those people or groups who felt offended. I refused. And for that refusal, I have been fired."
Graham goes on to say that he finds it "absolutely outrageous" that "pressure from a special interest group like CAIR can result in the abandonment of free speech and open discourse on a talk radio show" and adds that he believes "caving to this pressure is a disaster."
"I for one," writes Graham, " cannot apologize for the truth and I cannot agree to some community-service style 'outreach effort' to appease the opponents of free speech.
If I had made a racist or bigoted comment -- which my regular listeners know goes against everything I believe in -- I would apologize immediately, and without coercion...But we have now gone far beyond that, with demands that I apologize for the ideas my listeners and I believe in."
"The decision to give CAIR what it wants-a group with well-publicized ties to terrorists and terror-related organizations--will make it harder for the reformers to successfully face Islam's challenges. Still worse, silencing people like me will make it easier for Islamist extremists to dismiss all sincere calls for reform as mere 'bigotry.' When CAIR is able to quell dissent and label every critic a 'bigot,' the chilling effect is felt far beyond ABC Radio and 630 WMAL. If anyone is owed an apology, it is the moderate, Muslim community who have been failed once again by the mainstream media."
RNW comment: Unless Graham is arguing that station owners should be required to continue to employ hosts who disagree with their policy line we cannot see how he can back up his posted views about his dismissal.
[Surely what he would claim this would be a "socialist" policy of the state meddling with the broadcaster's freedom; it's also one that might well produce some interesting clashes.
For example, bearing in mind Graham's line of "Every Day We're On The Air, We're Keeping Reagan's Vision Alive" what if a host were to take, for example, to describe the late President Reagan as a terrorist - and by extension the United States as a terrorist country -for support given during his administration to the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN), which was certainly involved in the murder of civilians- check the case of the murdered American engineer Benjamin Linder if you have doubts. Also, as this is not a US party political divide, check on some of the support given by the US under the preceding Carter administration to various unsavoury groups and governments in South and Central America).
Station management it would seem took one view on its policy about the comments - and there is obviously room to disagree with Graham's bald statement describing Islam as a "terrorist" organisation on the basis of the behaviour of some who consider themselves Muslims (For his viewpoint in more detail follow the link below to his comments in the Jewish World Review).
At the same time, Disney it seems to us, if it really does believe in free speech, has behaved badly in simply removing Graham from its web site (This carried no story about Graham when we checked on Monday evening and a search, which last month went to Graham's page with comments and e-mails about Islam, now comes up with a "DJ Not found" response.)
This policy of airbrushing out the past, frequently carried out in the former Soviet Union, may becommon amongst US corporations but we think that in such cases a station that cares about freedom of speech should at least feel obliged to post a statement of its reasons for the action and allow a brief rejoinder by the person dismissed to allow its listeners to make up their own minds.]
Michael Graham web site:
Jewish World Review - Graham article:
2005-08-23: Funds advised by Permira and affiliates of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) are to acquire European broadcasting group SBS Broadcasting SA in a deal valued at approximately EUR 2.09 billion (USD 2.55 billion) according to an announcement by SBS SA.
The deal will be structured through the formation of an acquisition company jointly held by Permira and KKR that has agreed to pay SBS EUR 1.691 billion (USD 2.07 billion) in cash for substantially all of SBS's assets, and to assume substantially all of its liabilities, resulting in a total transaction value, excluding minorities, of approximately EUR 1.86 billion (US 2.28 billion).
Following completion of the acquisition, SBS will be liquidated and the cash purchase price, together with proceeds from the exercise of options, distributed to shareholders. The liquidation and the distribution are expected to occur in November 2005 with shareholders and option holders expected to receive in the liquidation approximately EUR 46 per fully diluted share (USD56).
SBS Executive Chairman Harry Evans Sloan said in a news release, "This transaction caps a tremendous period of growth and value creation for SBS. A EUR 46 per share distribution would represent a premium of 15.9% above the share price on August 12, 2005 (the last trading day before the publication of an article containing a rumour regarding the possible sale of SBS) and 37.8% above the share price six months prior to that date. "
"Since its founding 15 years ago and its listing in 1993," he added, "SBS has grown dramatically from three start-up Scandinavian television stations into one of Europe's largest broadcasting companies, reaching over 100 million people across nine countries. This achievement was only accomplished with the invaluable financial support of our investors and the hard work and dedication of our management team and employees."
SBS CEO Markus Tellenbach added, "Since joining SBS four years ago, I have worked with Harry and our management team to prudently expand our footprint, diversify our revenue streams and improve our cash flow generating ability, while strengthening our margins and balance sheet. Permira and KKR have exceptional track records in building businesses, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to work with them in building on SBS's position as one of the leading media groups in Europe."
In a joint statement, Götz Mäuser, Partner at Permira, and Dominic Murphy, Managing Director at KKR, said, "We are delighted to acquire such a high quality business founded and built by Harry Sloan and led by CEO Markus Tellenbach and SBS's strong management team. We believe that SBS's multi-territory presence, cross-media expertise and leading positions in high growth markets are excellent differentiators in a competitive environment. Both Permira and KKR are committed, long-term investors, and we look forward to working with management to build on SBS's success."
The acquisition has been unanimously approved by a special committee of independent directors of SBS, as well as by the company's board of directors and shareholders representing a minimum of 21.9% of the total outstanding common shares of SBS, including SBS's largest shareholder Liberty Global and all directors and certain officers of the company.
The transaction is subject to competition clearance and must be approved prior to closing by two-thirds of the votes cast by SBS shareholders at an extraordinary meeting, which is expected to take place in October 2005 and should another buyer appear and acquire SBS before May 21 next year, the agreement provides for the payment of Euros 50 million (USD 61 million) in damages to pay Permira and KKR.
Previous SBS SA:
2005-08-23: Emmis has announced agreement to sell nine of its 16 TV stations for a total of USD 681 million in three separate transactions - LIN TV Corp is to buy five stations (in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Mobile, Alabama; Pensacola, Florida; and Terre Haute, Indiana) at a total cost of USD 260 million; Journal Communications is to purchase three stations (in Fort Myers, Florida; Omaha, Nebraska; and Tucson, Arizona) at a total cost of USD 235 million; and Gray Television is to buy one station (in Charleston, West Virginia ) for USD 186 million.
The sales are part of Emmis's strategy announced in May to "lower debt" and position itself " for growth" and Emmis Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said. "We wanted to do what was right to get the best price for our shareholders, while providing our employees -- who have consistently been among the best operators in the industry -- with the best possible new owners. In making today's announcement, we made substantial progress toward these goals. We continue to move forward on discussions relating to the remaining seven stations and will make additional announcements as appropriate."
The stations being sold accounted for 53% of TV station operating income in the financial year to the end of February this year and 47% a year earlier.
After these deals are completed, Emmis will be left with TV stations in Orlando, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; Portland, Oregon; Topeka and Wichita in Kansas; and Honolulu, Hawaii.
2005-08-23: Westwood One has announced an extension of its agreement with the Recording Academy to remain The Official Grammy Radio Network Worldwide, a deal it has now had for eight years.
It says the multi-year deal (it does not specify how many years) will mean it will retain exclusive terrestrial radio rights to all Grammy Awards programming, as well as exclusive rights to all remote radio broadcasts from the Grammy Awards.
Westwood One's coverage of the 48th Annual GrammyAwards in February next year is scheduled to include the 48th Grammy nominations announcement, "Look Back" specials, nominations specials, and a live remote broadcast from rehearsals.
Previous Westwood One:
2005-08-22: This week in our look at the media we start by looking back, courtesy of Paul Donovan's Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times; headed "Passion fruits" it starts by noting the genesis of BBC Radio 4's "Desert Island Discs" programme in 1941 when Roy Plomley had the idea for a show that is still going strong after more than sixty years, during which it has only had three presenters.
Donovan then goes on to mention derivatives including With Great Pleasure and Private Passions, which on Sunday broadcast its 500th edition on BBC Radio 3.
The latter, which was put out to tender and won by Classic Arts - run by Wendy Thompson, a trained violinist, musicology graduate and former publisher; it was launched in 1995 with Elvis Costello as its first guest and Donovan notes that the latest guest, Katherine, Duchess of Kent, was the castaway on Desert Island Discs six years earlier.
He suggest comparison of the contents of the two programmes is instructive - the mix in 1989 included questions on miniskirts and white Courrèges boots she wore in the 1960s and the fact that she was with Jacqueline du Pré a few hours before she died whilst the latest programme is all about music.
"This," writes Donovan, " is a woman who could play a Mozart piano sonata in front of her school when she was 12, and for whom music is a way of expressing emotions that would otherwise be constricted. In her case, constricted by a life that, through marriage into the house of Windsor and its rigid protocol, she has chosen to lead. None of this, of course, she says. But, as in several editions of this rewarding programme, you learn to listen between the lines."
Then on to sister paper the Times in which Ian Johns in his Radiohead column on Saturday poked gentle fun at podcasting, commenting, "The concept of niche broadcasting was once neatly sent up by the comedian Graham Fellows. As his Yamaha organ-playing alter ego John Shuttleworth he offered us a local radio station so local that it was produced from John's front room. He was Tony Hancock's radio ham with his own home-run station. It was a joke in 1998, but now it has become a reality."
After comments on the technological development and what it has made possible, he summed up the development quite neatly: "As a podcasting expert on Radio 4's In Business recently put it, rather irritatingly: 'Scarcity is so 20th century.' But I confess that all this choice is giving me a headache. Over the years I have been able to accommodate the arrival of new stations - Radio 5, Classic FM, TalkSport - into my listening habits. But digital radio now offers even more national stations, including the World Service all day. And that's not to mention the thousands more available via computer as well as the BBC's Listen Again facility."
" The days of pottering around the house with a seamless audio flow seem to be over. Will I now, for instance, continue to catch the Sunday night repeat of Word of Mouth simply because it's one of my regular times for being in the kitchen listening to the radio? And now we have podcasting to contend with. I need to lie down in a darkened room with the radio off - or perhaps produce my own podcast to vent my frustration."
In his daily radio recommendations earlier in the week Johns had also commented, in relation to the BBC World Service series Pacific Footsteps that looks as Second World War battles that the series shows "how radio is adept at delving into the nooks and crannies of the past."
That programme is still available online but unfortunately the programme he then recommended, last Tuesday's Proms interval programme, "The Committee on Evil Literature" is not. It told the story of "how the fledgling Irish State, keen to establish a strong Catholic nation, prohibited writers ranging from Marcel Proust to George Orwell."
Worth bearing in mind that the Censorship of Publications Board in Ireland, founded in 1929, three years after the "Committee on Evil Literature" had produced its report, still regulates publications in Ireland albeit mainly nowadays to do with indecency or advocating abortion.
On then to the US, where little cannot be published although free-to-air broadcasts are subject to post-hoc censorship when it comes to matters of indecency or obscenity.
The problem to us is more in what is omitted by choice or lack of clarity in argument, which takes us to Rush Limbaugh.
In the host's caste it would seem that Media Matters somehow got to him about his comments on Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq who has been staging a vigil outside President Bush's ranch in Texas, since he has not only referred to them on his show but posted transcripts of parts of three shows to prove his case.
On his Aug 18th show, he said " the people who are making erroneous, fallacious, lying comments about things I've said on this program don't even listen to this program, and don't even go to my website to find out what I say. They rely on little pimple-faced kids that are working at wannabe websites who excerpt this program and others, take them out of context, and that's what they use as their source material."
Limbaugh then posts on his site transcripts from his Aug 18, Aug 15, and Aug 12 shows. Since we are certainly not going to pay for the dubious privilege of listening to Limbaugh to find out if his own transcripts are accurate (in our view there is far too much worth listening to for us to spend much time with Limbaugh anyway) we will take it that they are both accurate and complete in putting over Limbaugh's viewpoint.
So from the August 18 show a cameo or two on US commentary. First Limbaugh quotes - again we are taking it that this is accurate - CNN host Paul Begala as saying, "You gotta ask Rush. He's suggested that she's making it up, that her son died [sic]. They're attacking her personally instead of attacking her position on the war. You cannot ever win attacking a Gold Star Mother personally."
Round one here it would appear to Rush. None of the quotations given support any allegation that Limbaugh suggested that Sheehan invented a dead son. Of course it could be that Begala is poor at using language to accurately get over what he means to say.
Limbaugh then, however, goes on to put a noose from the same rope around his own neck with an excerpt from his Aug 12 show: "I find it difficult to be critical of Cindy Sheehan. I think she's a woman who lost her son, and I know there have been a lot of people lose their kids in war, and I don't care who they are, it's not easy, and people deal with it in their own ways" -- so far so good albeit the "I think" in terms of her being a mother who lost her son is presumably unnecessary unless Limbaugh is suggesting - heaven, forefend - that he might have got something wrong.
He then goes onto what he said on Aug 15: "I mean, Cindy Sheehan is just Bill Burkett. Her story is nothing more than forged documents. There's nothing about it that's a real, including the mainstream media's glomming onto it. It's not real."
So two sides of a coin with Limbaugh a little less tarnished so far - and he makes some valid points about the "moral authority" Sheehan may have (We can see no reason why the mother of a soldier who was killed and is against the war should have any precedence over a another mother in similar circumstances who supports it and thus the issue of "moral authority" of either side is irrelevant to any sensible argument.)
But then consider the real likely consequences of some of his later comments:" If this were a war for oil you know how easy it would be, ladies and gentlemen, for George Bush to get oil? We're in Qatar, right? We have an air base in Qatar. That's where the actual theater of operations is being run. We just claim it! We just say, 'Qatar is ours.' I'm sorry, 'Cutter,' for those of you in the mainstream press. 'Cutter is ours.' What are the imams and the leaders of Qatar going to do? We just take it.
"Same thing with Kuwait: 'Hey, Kuwait, you know we bailed you out of the fire enough times. We're taking your oil,' and we wouldn't have to go to war at all to get it. It's so patently absurd. The intellectual absurdity of all these arguments never once analysed, thought of, or challenged by the people who are indeed acting as the megaphone and that's why they're losing their credibility left and right, and that's why in the face of genuine, legitimate criticism such as from me or Hitchens [Writer and pundit Peter Hitchens], they have to then resort by discrediting the critic, lying about the critic, taking things the critic didn't say, amplifying them as lies, to try to distort the message of truth that is being said -- and it's been their line of attack with me for 15 years, and of course we'd have to say, based on election results and other obvious factors that their effort to nail me has failed every which way from Sunday that they've tried, and it will fail here as it always has in the last say ten to 15 years."
So a little challenge to anybody who's not completely to use an English phrase "pig ignorant": Check a little on oil reserves, then think a moment on the likely reaction of the people of not just Qatar (Ranked 13th in the world terms of oil reserves with 15.2 billion barrels by the U.S. Energy Information Administration) and Kuwait (fifth with 101.5 billion barrels) but also in Saudi Arabia (top rank with 261.9 billion barrels but that's an official figure unchanged for many years and could be an over-estimate whilst the Saudis say they could have nearly three times as many), Iran (third with 125.8 barrels) and various Arab states.
After that consider what has happened to Iraqi oil production (Iraq is ranked fourth in the world with 115 billion barrels). Unless the assumption is that all these countries - rulers and populations -will welcome the US taking over Qatar and Kuwait, we find it difficult to imagine that there would not be severe effects. Welcome the 10 dollar a gallon gas price - if you can get any after all the uprisings and sabotage that would go on - and thank you Rush!
The challenge - to Rush or anyone: Come up with a reasonable scenario where the US could get away with what he is suggesting and we'll publish it. If not treat him as an ignorant rabble-rouser and turn him off.
The latter, as it happens, is what listeners in Minneapolis-St Paul have been going. In a report on the latest ratings in the Star-Tribune, Deborah Caulfield Rybak notes that Limbaugh has lost 43% of his audience in the 25- to 54-year demographic over the past year and Sean Hannity has fared even worse and lost 63%.
Some are putting it down to a fall after an election year but others are not so certain and the paper quotes talk radio veteran Ken Kohl, Clear Channel's director of news and talk programming for northern California as saying, "We're not sure yet what's really going on. In general, the talk shows that are succeeding are ones that haven't been reliving the election, or constantly harping on the polarization between liberals and conservatives."
Kohl also attributes some of the fall to "war fatigue" saying, "I don't think a lot of people want to talk or hear about the war at this point."
RNW comment: In as far as the latter is concerned we would regard such an attitude as morally contemptible whilst a war is going on and soldiers are dying for their country even if the death toll is, by historical standards miniscule for the US (For the Iraqis not so - on a pro-rata basis related to population their death toll is now approaching 300,000 according to latest figures from Iraq Body Count.).
After which suggested listening - we would suggest Limbaugh but his site only provides audio to subscribers so with a clear conscience can go on to some more intelligent radio.
And first a good run today from BBC Radio 4 starting at 08:00 GMT with the second in the six-part series "Six Places That Changed the World": Today's programme looks at the consequences of the 1945 Yalta Summit.
Then at 10:00 GMT "Elementary Dear Listener", the first of a two-part series in which Kevin Bocquet uncovers breakthroughs that have changed police-work forever starting with the tale of how DNA finger-printing came about because of an overheard conversation in a pub. The technique, developed by geneticist Professor Sir Alec John Jeffreys was used in the first regional screen of human DNA to identify the rapist and killer of two girls in Narborough, Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986.
And in the 14:45 GMT slot this week the station has Ballast, an intriguing series of stories based on the use of ballast in ships, including the use of Irish families as ballast during the famine (they were apparently easier to unload) - and its side effects in terms of transporting alien life to a port or affecting building through the materials that had been carried as waste.
Finally at 1900 GMT in Document, the first part of the four-part "A Very British Coup" looks at the extent of the 1953 coup that toppled the elected government of Iran and put the Shah on the throne. When it took place Iran had just nationalised the oil fields that had fuelled Britain in two world wars and to get them back paid Iranian agents to foment dissent and also fanned fears of a Russian invasion to gain US support for a coup. Many in the West may have forgotten but few in Iran have.
After that a swing across continents to Australia and the latest Background Briefing on ABC Radio National: This looked at Freakonomics, the study by Chicago University economics professor Steven Levitt of similarities between the structures of gangs and corporations, links between crime and abortion (more of the latter now, less of the former in the future?) and so on.
And still in Australia, the solution to the nation's energy problems - according to the latest edition of Ockham's Razor technology now makes it possible to tap the energy of the vast hot fractured rock resource beneath the Innamincka area of Central Australia.
Based on the energy released by reducing the temperature of the top 1000 metres of the hot fractured rock by 100 degrees, the resource is calculated to be equivalent to 50-billion barrels of oil, or one-fifth the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia - enough to supply without emissions the base-load electrical power at current levels of all consumers in Australia for 70 years.
Both of the above are available either as streams (Windows or Real Audio) or also as MP3s.
Tomorrow we suggest a shift in tone and BBC Radio 2 with the start of two new documentaries - at 19:30 GMT in An American Life the first of a three-part Bruce Springsteen story followed by Birdsong: The Charlie Parker Story at 20:30 GMT
Then on Wednesday at 1835 GMT or thereabouts, sandwiched as the interval between the evening Proms concert, BBC Radio 3 in the Twenty Minutes slot has Einstein's Violin, a look at how the scientist's passion for music affected his life and work.
On Thursday we'd suggest Radio 4 again with the 17:30 GMT comedy slot and The Right Time and later at 19:30GTM Analysis which in "Flirting with Armageddon" suggests that the danger of nuclear Armageddon could be more real today than at any time since the Cuban missile crisis,
Then on Friday BBC Radio 4 again with The Last Tutor at 10:00 GMT, the story of Scot Reginald Johnston who was among other things tutor to the last Emperor of China then at 15:30 GMT Word of Mouth, which this week teams up with BBC Voices to broadcast a Romany family revealing secrets of their language and in the 17:30 GMT comedy slot a repeat of the Dead Ringers Edinburgh Festival special from last year.
Rush Limbaugh transcript:
Star Tribune - Rybak:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan
UK Times - Johns:
2005-08-22: India's Supreme Court is to consider whether copyright holders have the power to choose which of competing radio stations has the right to air music on which it has copyright even though a station denied the right is prepared to pay royalty fees.
The case is being heard because of a petition filed by Radio Mirchi owner Entertainment Network (India) Ltd (ENIL) following conflicting rulings on the issue in the Delhi and Bombay High Courts: The former is upholding the absolute right of the copyright holder to deny use but the Bombay Court said copyright holders could not choose which station to grant permission to so long as stations were ready to pay royalties.
ENIL is arguing that private FM in India, where stations are not allowed to carry news and current affairs, will be doomed if it does not have the right to use recordings.
Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL), which with T-Series and South Indian Music Companies Association (SIMCA) controls copyright on most sound recordings in India, argues that the Indian public will not suffer because it already allows use of the recordings it controls by All India Radio, which has a wider reach than the private FMs.
RNW comment: We find this an interesting case in terms of whose rights should take precedence and the parallels with the situation in the US relating to rights for online streaming of audio: Our view is that is has to be those of the wider public and that already copyright in many cases goes too far to protect the holders rather than serve the public interest.
In this case, however, we would suggest that the longer term interests of PPL are lie with developing FM and that it is making an unwise business decision in opting to be selective about who uses material for the same purpose although we would accept rights irrespective of payments, for example, to prevent unauthorized use in connection with advertising of a product, association with which could cause the reputation of an artist to be affected.
Previous Indian Radio:
NewindPress/ Press Trust of India report:
2005-08-22: The US Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) has issued a request for proposals for an African-American Public Radio Research Project in which it is looking for an African American market research company to, as it puts it, "perform quantitative research designed to help develop a strategic plan for new programming that will resonate with the African-American audience and increase listening to public radio among this group."
Responses have to be in by September 13 and the CPB says that because Initially "any programming that will be developed will be created in conjunction with public radio stations that currently target African-Americans" it would prefer research to be conducted in among African-American adults ages 30-64one or more of the Atlanta; Baltimore; Durham, North Carolina; Houston; or Jackson, Mississippi markets.
2005-08-21: Last week was another one in which the main regulatory news came in the form of yet more rumours that another US clampdown on "indecency" is - including suggestions on his show by Howard Stern that he was likely to be targeted again.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, which has just released a report on community radio in the country (See RNW Aug 16) has added another community radio station in Tasmania.
The station involved is 7BOD Break O Day at Bicheno, a remote locality surrounded by rugged terrain located approximately 36 km from St Mary's in the Break O Day RA1 licence area.
Bicheno only has two national services, 7ABCRR and 7ABCRN, each of which is low powered and serves only the township of Bicheno.
In Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has ruled that comments on CHUM's Talk Radio programme on CFAX-AM, Victoria, British Columbia, breached Canadian radio regulations against the broadcast of abusive language (See RNW Aug 20): It has also again been involved in a fair number of routine licence decisions. They included (In order of province):
*Approval of deletion of transmitter CKBF-FM-1, Wainwright, that is no longer necessary following the departure of British Armed Forces from the Suffield base area.
*Approval of transmitter relocation and decrease in antenna height of CKNG-FM, Edmonton.
*Renewal until 31 August 2012 of licence of CFCP-FM, Courtenay.
* Licence renewal until 31 August 2012 for French-language radio network originating from CKLE-FM Bathurst/Caraquet.
* Approval of frequency 93.3 MHz for 50-watts low-power tourist information service in Fredericton approved in November last year but for which the originally proposed frequency was unacceptable.
*Approval of 50-watts transmitter in Miramichi for CJFY-FM, Blackville.
Approval of 40 watts daytime and night time AM transmitter in Tuktoyaktuk for CHAK-AM, Inuvik
*Extension until 31 March 2006 of time limit for Sur Sagar Radio to commence operations of transitional digital undertaking in Toronto. This is the second extension of deadline.
*Approval of increase in antenna height and power increase from 795 watts to 4,300 watts for CIQB-FM, Barrie.
*Approval of transmitter relocation, increase in antenna height, and power increase from 4,493 watts to 8,600 watts for CFRH-FM, Penetanguishene. The change will improve reception of the station in Barrie, Borden and Angus.
*Renewal until 31 August 2012 of licence of CKOI-FM, Montréal.
*Renewal until 31 August 2012 of the licence of CJGO-FM La Sarre.
*Renewal until 31 August 2012 of the licences of CHOA-FM, Rouyn-Noranda, and its transmitters CHOA-FM-1, Val d'Or/Amos, and CHOA-FM-2, La Sarre.
*Renewal until 31 August 2012 of the licences of CHGO-FM, Val d'Or, and its transmitter, CHGO-FM-1, Rouyn-Noranda.
*Renewal until 31 August 2012 of the licence of CFDA-FM, Victoriaville.
The CRTC also issued administrative renewals of a number of licences on which it will not be able to make a substantive decision before the current licence expires.
Administrative renewals until November 30, 2005:
CIBM-FM, Mont-Bleu ltée.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
Administrative renewal to 31 December 2005 of licence of CYJQ-AM, St Johns.
* Administrative renewal to 31 December 2005 of licence of CJLF-FM Barrie and its transmitters CJLF-FM-1 Owen Sound and CJLF-FM-2 Peterborough
In the case of the administrative renewals below, the CRTC warned the organisations involved that if the licence renewal applications have not been received by 31 October 2005, the Commission might not renew these licences further.
Vancouver Public Aquarium Association CJKW-FM Robson Bight/Telegraph Cove
P.L.M. Broadcasting Ltd. CHOO-FM Tofino
Iqalummiut Nipingit Society Iqaluit.
Carcross Radio Society Carcross.
There were no radio decisions from Ireland or the UK although in the latter Ofcom issued yet another broadcast bulletin in which no radio complaints were upheld (See RNW Oct 16).
In the US, rumours as already noted are again floating around that a further clampdown on indecency is about to begin; other wise it was a matter of routine activity including a rejection by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of a complaint by Saga that Northeast Communications broke the rules in manner it approached New Hampshire Senator for support in opposition to Saga construction permit (See RNW Aug 19).
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-08-21: Cincinnati classical music public radio station WGUC-FM is from midnight tonight to take over the running of WVXU-FM and its affiliated X-star Network stations, which it has bought from Xavier University for USD 15 million.
The Rev. Michael Graham, president of Xavier University, said in a news release that the "sale of WVXU was a tough, but very necessary decision by the Xavier University board of trustees" and added, "The decision was made a bit easier by the possibility of 'keeping it in the family' so to speak with WGUC."
Richard Eiswerth, president and general manager of WGUC, told the Cincinnati Business Journal that, as already announced in March (See RNW Mar 16) he expects WGUC to become a full-time classical music station while WVXU- the flagship station of a group of seven public radio stations in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, will primarily focus on news, information and National Public Radio programming.
Ron Ott, chairman of the Cincinnati Classical Public Radio Inc. board of directors, added, "This is an exceptional opportunity for public radio in Cincinnati and WGUC is fully prepared to take on the challenge. The investment WGUC will make will not only preserve a news and information public radio station, but also ensure its own survival."
Cincinnati Business Journal report:
2005-08-21: Susquehanna Media, which parent Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff Co. put up for sale in April along with its other major subsidiary The Pfaltzgraff Co., one of America's leading marketers of casual dinnerware and accessories (See RNW Apr 21) has now set a deadline of September 13 for bids.
Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff Co. has already sold The Pfaltzgraff Co. to Lifetime Brands Inc. and the media division has sold its West Virginia-based SusQtech Internet consulting business to two undisclosed companies for undisclosed amounts.
According to the York Daily Record the date for the sale came out during a conference call related to private company's second-quarter earnings at which John L. Finlayson, finance and administration vice president and chief financial officer at Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff described SusQtech as "an under performing asset" that would "probably would have been sold regardless of whether the entire company was being sold."
The paper reports that in the second quarter Susquehanna Media revenues were just USD 500,000 up on a year earlier at USD 111.8 million, radio division revenues were USD62.2 million, those from cable USD48.8 million, and from other businesses were USD771, 000.
Net income for the quarter leapt from a loss of USD 570,000 to a net USD 9.3 million as a result of USD 9.1 million spent on extinguishing debt in the 2004 quarter.
York Daily Record report:
2005-08-21: Former Arbitron chairman and chief executive Theodore F. Shaker has died aged 83 following complications from a fractured hip.
A former network TV executive Shaker became chief executive of the then American Research Bureau in 1971. He changed the name and during his 17 years with the company grew its revenue from USD 10 million a year to USD 150 million.
New York Times report:
2005-08-20: SparkNet Communications, which last month announced that it was the exclusive licensor of the JACK FM format in the US (See RNW Jul 7) has filed suit in San Diego against Clear Channel of its use of the various slogans similar to the "playing what we want" slogan that it trademarked and of use of the internet address http://www.JackFMSanDiego.com for its KMYI-FM, San Diego.
The suit charges Clear Channel with cybersquatting and trademark infringement and in a news release SparkNet says that KMYI is not an authentic Jack Station and that its use on its WLTY-FM (Steve FM) in South Carolina of the "trademark PLAYING WHATEVER WE WANT" infringes on the Jack slogan
SparkNet co-president Garry Wall comments, "Clear Channel seems to believe its market dominance allows it to steal our valuable trademarks but SparkNet will defend its intellectual property and ensure that neither Clear Channel nor any other competitor trades off SparkNet's goodwill and the success of the JACK FM(TM) branded format."
Sparknet attorney Derek Newman adds, "This is a classic case of trademark infringement and cybersquatting. SparkNet has been innovative in both establishing its distinctive brands and in creating a unique and popular radio product. As the suit alleges, Clear Channel is now unlawfully using SparkNet's trademarks in an effort to improve its own radio stations. As a result, consumers are confused into believing SparkNet somehow endorses or is responsible for Clear Channel's competing products."
The action follows an earlier dispute with Bonneville, which had filed to cancel the trademark saying that it amounted to "allowing a party to monopolize the English language."
RNW comment: The nonsense here in our view is not so much that Clear Channel is abusing any market dominance but that US courts should even consider granting some of the trademarks - and indeed patents - such as on basmati rice and Mexican jumping beans. We tend to agree with Bonneville's contention and take the view that not only should trademarks not be granted on phrases in reasonably common use but also that any company that applied for them could potentially have to then face a hearing to renew each and every patent or trademark it holds.
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-08-20: The Canadian Association of Broadcasts (CAB), which represents private broadcasters in the country, is stepping up pressure on the Canadian government to amend the country's Copyright Act so as to remove fees for transferring music to hard drives for broadcast.
The CAB says that the issue is becoming of increasing importance as the industry has gone digital and thus music - the recording companies are expected to send around three-quarters of new music releases to stations in MP3 format this year - needs to be transferred, thus under current laws requiring an extra fee.
The CAB notes that commercial broadcasters in the country already pay more than CAD 43 million (USD 35.5 million) a year in copyright fees and that since 2003 they have been required to "pay an additional CAD 7 million (USD 5. 8 million) in copyright fees for the simple act of transferring a digital copy of a song onto their hard drives" and its President and CEO Glenn O'Farrell commented, "The reproduction right fees effectively tax radio stations for being innovative - for using the latest technology to deliver the highest quality of music to listeners."
The CAB notes that many other countries including the US already allow broadcasters exceptions from copyright liability for such "technical reproductions" and says the Canadian government had promised it would take similar action and adds that the Phase II Copyright Reform bill as originally introduced in 1996 contained true exceptions.
"The issue of an exception for broadcasters is long overdue and must be addressed in this round of amendments, " says CAB. "Canada's private radio stations cannot wait for another 10 years for the government to deal with this issue."
2005-08-20: Indian state radio and TV have been hit by an eight-day strike by administrative staff in support of a pay demand.
The All India Radio and Doordarshan Administrative Workers' Staff Association called the nation-wide strike to support demands that their pay scale be made on a par with the scale of the engineering and programme staff.
The action is having a limited effect on normal programming but is preventing the use of personalities where payment has to be approved and is also affecting the advance recording of programmes for which prior administrative approval is needed.
Previous All India Radio:
Previous Indian radio:
2005-08-20: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has ruled that CHUM's CFAX-AM, Victoria, British Columbia, breached the Canadian radio regulations against the broadcast of abusive language in September last year.
The matter was dealt with by the CRTC instead of the Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council (CBSC) because CHUM is not a member of the CBSC.
The complainant in this case called the station's open-line program Talk Radio during the broadcast, briefly participated in the discussion and challenged the guest's views, warning that they constituted a "message so filled with hatred as to be verging on insanity" and in a written complaint, the complainant alleged that the radio broadcast could constitute a case of hateful comments against Muslim people and the religion of Islam.
CHUM had defended the broadcast on the basis that the programme "brings out differences of opinion and occasionally people whose opinions might offend some of our listeners. "
"We seek out guests who have strong views on important issues and occasionally we might encounter a guest with extreme views," it said. "In those cases, our program hosts and talk show listeners have shown that they are not shy about challenging extreme views. The result we feel is programming that provides for the expression of a wide range of views on issues of the day."
It added that the host had "on several occasions challenged the opinions of the guest and clearly did not agree with many of the points that the guest made during the interview."
The comments at issue were made by guest Craig Winn, an American entrepreneur who at one point was briefly a dot-com billionaire (Shares in his Value America rose from an initial USD 23 to a high of USD 74.25 in April 1999 but had plummeted to USD 2 by the time he was ousted from the company a year later: He has subsequently written a number of books including "Prophet of Doom" introducing which, to use his own words, he says of the prophet Muhammed " According to the Qur'an and Hadith, Muhammad was a thief, rapist, and terrorist. It's hardly the example you'd want your neighbour to emulate.")
In his interview he made similar remarks and added, "The foundation of Islam is based upon a perverted pirate and terrorist. That may not sound pretty but unfortunately that's the truth, and to deny it will only get us killed [Muslims] do not have the capacity to understand what they're doing, nobody who has a rational coherent mind would follow the advice of a rapist and terrorist and mass murderer. So you have to start by them being irrational, they have been indoctrinated since birth and have either lost their ability to think or have found thinking to be dangerous in Islamic countries."
In its ruling the CRTC says the programme segment included comments abusive to Muslims on the basis of their religion, portrayed them as intellectually inferior persons, had the potential to inspire violence against them and were not effectively counter-acted or challenged by the host.
It has ruled that CHUM must develop appropriate programming guidelines with respect to the prevention of the broadcast of abusive comment, including the editorial responsibility of the licensee and host when presenting guests whose views are controversial, and specify, in those guidelines, the ways in which they will be communicated to the staff of the radio station. The guidelines have to be filed with the Commission within three months and it reminds CHUM that the licence for CFAX expires 31 August 2006 and requires it to provide, as part of its licence renewal application, a report on the implementation and effectiveness of the CFAX programming guidelines. The Commission, it says, " will consider discussing with the licensee the possibility of making these programming guidelines a condition of licence at that time."
RNW comment: Believing as we do that the best counter to bigotry and ignorance is open discussion and provision of information we find the CRTC striking a reasonable balance here.
We see no problem with requiring station hosts to do some basic work before inviting and interviewing a guest (A quick online search for Winn takes around 30 seconds to provide sites with details of his writing and rebuttals and a ten-minute browse gives enough to do a reasonable job of challenging some of the statements that could be anticipated as likely from him.).
We would not defend rules keeping such people off the airwaves but we find it a reasonable requirement to insist on stations as a condition of licence having to produce guidelines on issues such as this.
CRTC ruling (Includes transcript):
2005-08-19: Clear Channel says more than two dozen companies have responded to its call for an electronic radio ratings system that it issued in June (See RNW Jun 14).
In a release Clear Channel Radio president and CEO John Hogan commented, "The response has significantly exceeded our expectations and shows there are a number of fast-moving companies that are qualified to create an electronic measurement system that meets the needs of a primary broadcast medium. We are surrounded by examples of companies fielding sophisticated technology to consumers in a short amount of time. And we are also surrounded by ratings systems that deliver overnight results to other mediums."
"There is no medium that connects as strongly with its audience as radio," Hogan added. "The radio industry currently spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year to get non-competitive ratings information. That's no longer acceptable."
Clear Channel says it will keep details of responding companies confidential until it has produced a shortlist of finalists.
Clear Channel has also announced that it has named Michael Rapino as CEO of CCE SpinCo, Inc. -- a newly created entity that is to be spun off from the company and will hold substantially all of its live entertainment businesses, including global music, global theatre, sports representation and motor sports businesses.
Rapino was most recently president and CEO of Global Music for Clear Channel Entertainment's Clear Channel Music Group before which he led Clear Channel Entertainment's International Music unit.
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-08-19: Some British Members of Parliament are calling for the closure of London-based Arabic radio station Al-Tajdeed Radio, whose programmes are prepared in its London studios and sent to France or Holland from where they are transmitted using the Eutelsat Hotbird satellite to Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
The station is operated by the London-based Party for Islamic Renewal and sponsored by Saudi dissident Mohammed al-Massari and according to a BBC report carries reports similar to the views of Dr al-Massari: He has frequently declared that British troops in Iraq were legitimate targets and has posted videos of bomb attacks on them on his website.
The station also carried songs calling for Muslims to join a holy war according to the BBC, which reports that Patrick Mercer, the shadow minister for homeland security described the station as "extremely worrying" and said it should be shut down. He also said that Dr al-Massari, who has been in Britain since he sought asylum in 1994, should be brought in for interview and was probably a prime candidate for deportation.
"To hear jihad talk, albeit in Arabic, being broadcast out to Iraq where you are trying to do your job as a soldier, a policeman or whatever, I think it must be desperately demoralising," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
Mercer's views were supported by government Labour party MP Andrew Dismore who has been seeking action against the dissident since 1998.
A report on the ClandestineRadio web site says the station's Internet audio service went down on July 9, two days after the London bombings, but then says an announcement on the web site, which is still operating, said this was because of "an artistic failure in some server issues" and denies that there is any connection with the events or "intervention by authorities."
The station, says the report, was raided on May 6 by British authorities in connection to an investigation of suspected ties with the kidnappers of an Australian national inside Iraq
The ClandestineRadio report says that the Tadjdeed forum section and areas where videos are posted is also still functioning
Al Tajdeed web site:
Clandestine Radio report:
2005-08-19: The Indian government has opted to keep control of private Indian FM radio in Indian hands according to the Business Standard, which says the single largest shareholder in any private FM will have to own at least half the paid-up equity an be an Indian entity, although the condition will not apply to banks and lending institutions that hold a majority stake.
The paper says the conditions have been incorporated in a bid document, which is yet to be released, and that the government is only to allow resident Indians to be directors of radio companies, will allow foreign shareholders have no say in the management of FM radio companies in India, and that any change in ownership of the majority shareholder will need government approval.
The paper says companies will be allowed to run only one channel in each city and will not be permitted to air news and current affairs programmes.
It is also to impose financial standing requirements of a minimum net worth of INR 10 crore (INR 100 million, USD 2.3 million) for a company that wants to have stations in all cities, INR 3 crore (INR 30 million, USD 690,000) per channel for a station in a metro, INR 2 crore (INR 20 million, USD 460,000) for mid-sized cities and INR 1 crore (INR 10 million, USD 230,000) for small cities with a requirement of INR 50 lakh (INR 5 million, USD 115,000) in smaller conurbations.
Previous Indian Radio:
Business Standard report:
2005-08-19: DMG has hired Australian comedian Shaun Micallef for its breakfast programme on its new Vega station in Melbourne, which is targeting a 40 plus demographic.
According to The Australian, which says, he never listens to commercial radio but nevertheless terms him "an inspired, left-of-field choice" because of his lack of radio experience.
It compares him with Sydney Vega appointments such as veterans Angela Catterns, former ABC 702 breakfast host and Wendy Harmer, former breakfast co-host for 11 years on Austereo's 2Day FM, and adds that Vega general manager Sam Thompson says the choice of Micallef was determined by what listeners wanted - intelligence, humour and a unique personality.
Micallaf, a 43-year-old former lawyer from Adelaide who has written and acted in a host of shows for television, film and theatre, told the paper he is drawn to radio because it's a completely new medium for him and he likes its immediacy.
"You don't necessarily get that in telly, even if it's a live-to-air show," he says. "Radio seems to me to be a lot more intimate and you don't have to scream and yell as much to get the attention of the audience.
The Vega stations in Sydney and Melbourne will each have their own breakfast show but will then switch to shared programming. The Melbourne breakfast show is due to debut within three weeks but the output of the two stations will not be fully integrated until October.
The ABC, which appointed Julie McCrossin, formerly host of its morning programme Life Matters to replace Catterns on its 702 breakfast show, has announced that from Monday, its Australia Talks Back host Sandy McCutcheon will temporarily host Life Matters while it finds a permanent replacement.
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous DMG Australia:
The Australian report:
2005-08-19: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rejected a complaint by Saga Communications of New England LLC alleging that Northeast Communications Corporation broke its regulations by soliciting "an improper ex parte presentation by a United States Senator" in connection with a construction permit for a new FM translator station at Manchester, New Hampshire.
Saga had been granted permission for the permit on March 8, 2005 with the assigned frequency the same as Northeast's WFTN-FM, Franklin, New Hampshire, and on April 6 Northeast, which had already opposed the Saga application, filed a petition for reconsideration of the grant and a motion for stay.
Northeast also wrote to New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg objecting to the grant to Saga, asking him to look into the matter and request speedy FCC action. It also said any contact with the FCC also had to be sent to Saga.
Saga contended that Northeast violated the ex parte rules by unfairly attempting to use political pressure to persuade the Commission to take action its Saga's application and asked the Commission to dismiss Northeast's petition for reconsideration and to assess a forfeiture against Northeast.
The FCC said that although Northeast failed to specifically cite the ex parte rules in its letter to the Senator it did not violate the rules because it did ask him to also advise Saga of any approach made and it denies Saga's complaint.
2005-08-18: A Palm Beach County judge has ruled for conservative host Rush Limbaugh on a motion that prohibits the state's attorney's office from questioning his doctors for questioning without first advising the host.
The ruling followed the issuing of a subpoena to Limbaugh's ear doctor John Murray to question in him in connection with the host's drug use and allegations of doctor shopping for prescription painkillers to which the host became addicted.
Limbaugh's lawyer challenged it on the grounds that although District Judge Thomas Barkdull had permitted the examination of specific Limbaugh medical records (See RNW Jul 7) state law prohibits anyone from questioning a doctor about a patient's medical condition without obtaining the patient's permission.
Quashing the subpoena Circuit Judge Kenneth Stern, standing in for Barkdull, ordered prosecutors not to communicate with Murray or any other of Limbaugh's doctors without proper notice and a hearing beforehand: The state attorney's office has not said whether it will appeal.
RNW note: Reacting to the decision, Limbaugh posted a note on his site headed "Florida Judge Quashes Subpoena To One of My Doctors" together with links to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel report and PDFs of his attorney's motion and the court order.
The Sun-Sentinel story goes on the line that the decision "could jeopardize the future of the investigation" whilst the Palm Beach Post report (to which there is no link) gives a more neutral report saying the investigation "has hit another legal snag."
We would assess the latter as more accurate in tone: Reading the order it would appear that it simply rules on Florida law as regards questioning of doctors about a patient's medical condition and pushed the issue back to whether there is enough evidence in the medical records to proceed.
In other words it raises the hurdle but does not affect the case if evidence does exist, which presumably is what it all should be about: the rest is mere legal games.
Limbaugh web site:
Palm Beach Post report:
2005-08-18: Milwaukee rock station WLZR-FM, the former rock format Lazer 103, has now been switched by Saga to a new rock station format, 1029the Hog. Call signs are to change to WHQG-FM on Friday.
A message on the site sums up the change by saying, "What if you could build a radio station from scratch? We bet you'd put on the most listened to morning show in Milwaukee, and you'd play a LOT of ROCK. You probably wouldn't limit it to just a decade. Face it, there's a TON of great stuff to play from the 70's, 80s, 90's, right on up to today. Why not go Hog wild and play it all? Lots of songs every hour . in big, fat, juicy slabs of ROCK."
" We're on a mission. We're out to change rock radio in Milwaukee for the better, and to do that, well, it means more than just shuffling a few songs in and out of the station's library. Instead, we've set out to pick out great rock and roll to fit with our great morning show, Bob and Brian. Not just one decade, we're gonna play EVERYTHING THAT ROCKS."
This reflects the change that has seen it retain its non-musical top-rated Brian and Bob (Brian Nelson and Bob Madden) morning show but drop other air staff for around a month while the new music is introduced.
As Lazer, the station had been slipping in the ratings apart from the morning show, a fall exacerbated by the launch last fall of "The Brew", the 80s rock format on Clear Channel's WQBW-FM.
In the spring ratings this year, Lazer was in 10th rank with a 4.3% share, down from a fourth-place tie with sister station WKLH-FM in spring 2004 when it had a 6.0 share.
Although it did somewhat better in the 25-54 demographic where it was seventh with a 5.3% share this spring, the numbers were still significantly down on a year ago when it was second with an 8.4% share.
"The Brew" in the meantime has fared much better, pulling up from its 2.4% share and 13th rank in the demographic a year ago when it was light rock WLTQ to top the rankings this spring: since summer last year The Brew has grown its overall share from 3.2 to 6.8, putting it in second rank behind Journal's sports-talk WTMJ-AM whilst Lazer lost share from 5.8 to 4.3.
The Hog's first full song was Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold" from 30 years ago and commenting on the change Madden said on his first show that he had disliked the music on the predecessor according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
"For many years, I have hated the music on this radio station," he told the paper. I'll be honest. At 10 o'clock, I didn't listen. I turned the speaker off in our office. I would turn the speakers off as I passed by in the hallway. I would often turn on other radio stations that broadcast from this building."
Chicago also gained a new station at the end of last week when Infinity formally launched digital channel WJMK HD2, which brings back to the airwaves the oldies format that used to be on WJMK-FM before it was flipped to the Jack-FM format in June (See RNW Jun 4).
It features WJMK hosts including Dick Biondi, Fred Winston, Greg Brown, Paul Perry and Connie Szerszen but as Robert Feder notes in his Chicago Sun-Times column the situation at the moment is that pretty well no one can hear the station, which is on an HD digital second channel of the frequency: HD receivers he notes currently cost around USD 250 upwards.
However WJMK VP and General manager Dave Robbins remained upbeat, calling the launch "an historic day for radio as we welcome the era of live digital broadcasting on supplemental HD channels" and noting that the "day the first FM jock went on the air there were also zero radios available to the public, but it was historic."
Meanwhile in New York where oldies WCBS-FM staff were dropped when that was also flipped to Jack, Mark Fitzgerald has become the first of the former Oldies air staff to get back on air in the city.
Fitzgerald, who had been with WCBS for 19 years - most recently on the morning show with Micky Dolenz, has been working at WEBE-FM in Bridgeport, Connecticut, but has now signed on as a part time and fill-in host at Clear Channel's long-time ratings leader WLTW-FM ( Lite FM).
Fitzgerald will begin at WLTW on Saturday, working from 06:00 to 10:00 according to the New York Daily News, which quotes him as saying, "I couldn't be happier. "If you want to work in New York, Lite is at the top of everyone's list. It's a great station."
"And there's very little chance it will switch to a 'Jill' format tomorrow."
Previous Clear Channel:
1029 The Hog web site:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report:
New York Daily News report:
2005-08-18: SMG-owned Virgin Radio is to debut a new digital, satellite (Sky digital platform) and online station Virgin Xtreme on September 5.
The station, which will have a similar youth-oriented format to GCap Media's Xfm, will join existing Virgin digital stations Classic Rock and Groove, which in the most recent ratings had 127,000 and 74,000 listeners a week respectively and Virgin says it expects a similar performance from its new station.
The station will partially compete with Xfm and Emap's Kerrang! which GCap and Emap are building into national brands but will have a remit of contemporary music and will not include classic rock tracks that these two air.
Virgin is also planning two more stations as spin-offs from Groove, which has a classic soul and disco format: They will be urban and R&B stations targeted at younger girls and another similar station targeted at an older audience.
Virgin Xtreme web site:
2005-08-18: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is coming under increased pressure as its lock out of 5,500 unionised employees that began at the start of this week continues, hitting its news and current affairs programming severely.
Ian Morrison, spokesman for the media watchdog Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, told the Toronto Globe and Mail, "Essentially what you're getting is BBC for news on television, wire-service feeds on radio and a blizzard of repeat programming. Maybe in a week, they'll improve . . . but, for now, it's pretty damn crude and so unimaginative."
He added that the effects were particularly severe for those in remote regions of Canada and added, " "A woman in the Northwest Territories e-mailed me yesterday and said she's already feeling cut off from the rest of the North, and the rest of the country."
The CBC has dropped its regular programme news names and it just airing a generic CBC News: It could come under even more pressure as the weekend approaches with the risk to live programmes of sporting events
So far there is no sign of any break in the dispute and Canadian Media Guild negotiator Arnold Amber said there are no talks under way adding that that federal mediators had put ideas forward on Tuesday but they were rejected by CBC management.
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2005-08-17: Veronis Suhler Stevenson's Communications' 2004 Industry Forecast & Report in its 19th year predicts strong growth in communications spending - expected to grow an a compounded annual 6.7% between 2004 and 2009 and be the fourth fastest growing sector of the US economy but is less rosy about radio's future, partly because of the impact of satellite radio.
Overall it says technological innovation is leading to major shifts in the sector as new media fragments audiences and increases demands to customize and combined with more attention to return on investment.
The report - USD 1,995 for the full version - notes that consumer spending was for the first time the largest sector in communications in 2003, overtaking advertising even though the later is projected to grow 7.2% to USD 188.5 billion in 2004 after 3.2% growth in 2003, 1.2% growth in 2002 and a decline of 8.4% in 2004.
It also notes that what it terms "media supported by consumers " continued to take share from advertising supported media and as regards radio notes a 1.0% growth for broadcast radio to USD 19.6 billion in 2003 whilst spending on satellite radio nearly quadrupled to USD 95.1 million. It adds that it expects total spending in the sector to grow at a compound annual 7.9% between 2003 and 2008 to reach USD 28.8 billion at the end of the period.
This year it expects total growth in the sector of 4.6%, with broadcast advertising revenues up 2.7% but satellite subscription and advertising each to double - up 130% in subscriptions and 110% in satellite advertising.
There was some positive news for radio however in the latest of three Paragon Media Strategies studies on the effect on radio listening of new media- specifically satellite and Internet radio plus MP3s, podcasts, and personalized CDs.
The study, using a sample of 400 aged from 15 to 64, showed 51% saying that radio was their prime source for listening to music followed by normal CD purchases with 30% then TV with 7%.
Radio also headed the list as a source for new music with a 48% rating compared to 20% for word of mouth and 18% for TV and then Internet stations with 4%.
TV however takes the top rank for news and information with a 54% share followed by 16% for radio than 14% for news and information.
2005-08-17: Australia and New Zealand publishing and broadcast group APN News & Media Limited has reported half year net profit to the end of June up 17% on a year earlier to a record AUD 66.1 million (USD 50.8 million) and pre-tax profit up 14% to AUD 109.4 million (USD 84.1 million) on revenues up 10% to AUD 652 million (USD 501 million).
Its results show radio which takes in the Australian Radio Network (ARN) - 50-50 owned with Clear Channel International - and The Radio Network in New Zealand (TRN) - as the best performing division with EBIT up 28% to AUD 35.3 million (USD 27.1 million) followed by regional newspapers - up 16% to AUD 53.8 million (USD 41,4 million) and publishing - up 15% to AUD 106.5 million (USD 81.9 million).
In Australia, where ARN has 12 stations, it says results were driven by strong ratings and added that it intends to continue its focus on "maintaining the momentum established with the Mix and Classic Hits brands" and chief executive Brendan Hopkins said he did not anticipate these being hit by the launch of DMG's Vega FM in Sydney and Melbourne. Vega is targeted at a 40-60 demographic.
APN noted that ARN leads listening by the 25-54 demographic in the two cities, which account for 65% of the Australian metropolitan radio advertising annual spend, with a 40% share compared to 38% for Austereo and 22% for DMG.
In New Zealand, where it owns 116 stations including top ranked stations in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, it is continuing its rollout of eight networks and says it has a certain future since the government has agreed to 20-year licences, to be granted to existing broadcasters, from 2011.
APN says early results for the second half are "as anticipated" and "providing current trading conditions continue, the objective of double digit profit growth for the year as a whole will be achieved."
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-08-17: Clear Channel's Online Music and Radio network in its debut in the Arbitron-comScore Internet ratings has taken third place in the rankings for the five networks now rated.
The debut came in June listening figures just posted along with those for May when there were only four networks -- AOL, Live 365, MSN, and Yahoo.
The addition of the new network boosted the cumulative audience figure by nearly 17% while combined figures for the original four - all represented by Ronning Lipset Radio - fell by around 4% although not necessarily because of the new addition: In May figures for full week cumulative audience were down for all the networks although Monday-Friday figures were up for MSN and Live 365 compared to April.
The latest ratings in order of rank and compared to May and April figures were:
Leader Yahoo had a cumulative overall audience of 2,687,600, down 2.8% on May, which was down 1% on April and weekday cumulative audiences were 1,596,400, down 2.9% on May, which was 5.2% down on April: its AQH figures over the three months went from 258,700 to 256,900 to 220,700 overall and from 404,700 to 421,100 to 337,700 on weekdays.
Second ranked AOL had an overall cumulative audience up 1.7% to 1,611,500 over May which was 13.1% down on April and its weekday cumulative audience was down 2.1% to 896,600 compared to May, which was 9.2% down on April: AQH figures went from 103.300 to 120,800 to 91,700 overall and from 149.200 to 184,300 to 128,100 weekdays.
Third ranked Clear Channel in its first ratings had a cumulative audience of 860,900 overall and 683,000 weekdays with AQH of 59,700 overall and 103,900 weekdays.
Fourth-ranked MSN, pushed down a rank by Clear Channel's entry, had a cumulative audience overall of 702,800, 1.5% down on May, which was 3.2% down on April and 509,800 on weekdays, 0.5% down on May, which was 6.1% down on April: AQH figures went from 71,800 to 81,900 to 66,200 overall and from 122,100 to 140,800 to 109,300 weekdays.
Fifth-ranked Live 365, also pushed down a rank, had a cumulative audience overall of 535,900, 1.5% up on May, which was 2.2% down on April and 367,900 on weekdays, 7.3% down on May, which was 9.8% up on April: AQH figures went from 40,800 to 36,300 to 37,000 overall and from 65,000 to 59,300 to 59,600 weekdays.
Previous Arbitron-comScore ratings (April figures):
2005-08-16: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says there the number of broadcasting complaints in the first quarter of this year fell to half the level of the final quarter of 2004.
In all it logged 157,650 complaints compared to 317,833 in the final quarter of 2004, a fall it puts down to the drop in e-mail or write-in campaigns directed at specific radio or television broadcasts.
The vast majority of the complaints - all but 634 - were still related to indecency or obscenity allegations - in all 157,016 of the total with the numbers falling dramatically during the period, from 138,652 in January to 14,480 in February and 3,884 in March.
In other categories there were total of 16 accessibility complaints in the quarter, 555 of general programming criticism, and 63 relating to other programming issues.
The FCC adds that Radio and Television Broadcasting inquiries dropped sharply from 20,565 in the 4th quarter 2004 to 9,072 in the 1st quarter 2005 with falls in each of the top categories except Programming and Content where there were modest increases from 6,267 to 6,551.
Previous FCC complaints figures:
2005-08-16: LBI Media has reported strong second quarter results with net revenues up 7% on a year earlier to USD 26.4 million, an increase it says was mainly from its radio division whose revenues were up 21% to USD14.2 million whereas Television division net revenues were down 6% to USD12.2 million.
Operating expenses grew faster than revenues however - up 13% to USD 12.8 million and net income was down 10% to USD 6.4 million.
For the first six months net revenues increased 6% to USD46.9 million; operating expenses increased 12% to USD24.6 million; and net income 4% to USD8.2 million: Again radio revenues were up - by 15% to USD23.8 million - whilst TV revenues were down 1% to USD23.1 million.
Commenting on the results Executive Vice President Lenard Liberman said he was "very pleased with the performance of our radio stations across all markets" and said that with improved ratings LBI believed revenue growth should follow for TV.
2005-08-16: According to the UK Guardian the three top-rated London commercial stations - GCap Media's Capital FM, Chrysalis Group's Heart FM and Emap's Magic FM - want changes to the UK RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) ratings system, normally averaged out from three months listening to produce weekly figures, to end the volatility in ratings that they say is costing millions in lost advertising revenues.
The paper says the stations are proposing a system under which data would be drawn from six-months of listening figures and repeated quotations it published last week from Chrysalis Radio chief executive Phil Riley, who it says believes the system is stretched to breaking point (See RNW Aug 7) and said a spokesman for SMG-owned Virgin, which switched to the half-yearly survey period last year, said it made the move to present advertisers with more consistent listening figures, commenting, "We were looking to remove the volatility from our figures by creating a more robust sample."
It adds that GCap, Emap and Chrysalis declined to comment and a spokeswoman for RAJAR said it was looking at ways of increasing the survey sample to reduce volatility."
Previous GCap Media:
UK Guardian report:
2005-08-16: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) locked out some 5,500 employees on Monday following failure to agree a new contract with the Canadian Media Guild by the Corporation's self-imposed deadline that it had publicized at the end of last week.
The Toronto Globe and Mail said the CBC had said programming on all its services - online, radio, and TV - would continue but it added that local radio morning shows would be replaced with a national broadcast and TV newscasts cut down.
It quoted Richard Stursberg, executive vice-president of CBC Television, as saying the network would rely on its contingency plans and the tenth of its workforce that was not unionised to maintain its programming.
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2005-08-16: A report released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) into the country's 262 community stations using data collected by the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) shows music as the mainstay for stations, accounting for around 70% of total programming. There is a diverse range played including classical, hip-hop, electronica, jazz, and ethnic music, as well as more popular styles such as rock/pop, easy listening, and country music.
The report also notes that stations in all sectors met requirements under the country's codes relating to Australian music - at least a quarter of music in general but 10% for ethnic and classical stations - and some sectors exceeded requirements considerably, reaching just over half in the case of Indigenous services and around a third on youth services.
Overall Australia's community stations, which have an income of some AUD 46.6 million (USD 35.8 million) between them - an average of AUD 178,000 (USD 137,000) per station - produce around three quarters of their programming locally with the rest coming from satellite distribution sources.
The sector says the report, relied heavily on community support, with more than twenty thousand volunteers in total - an average eighty volunteers per station - and fee-paying subscribers averaged 471 per station; community participation was most evident in the ethnic, youth, and fine music sub-sectors with high levels of both volunteers and subscribers.
In terms of the nature of communities served by stations, the report lists 169 as general community stations (this figure includes some special interest community radio services such as gay and lesbian, arts, and specialist music stations); then 34 religious stations and 22 Indigenous (not including Remote Indigenous Broadcasting Services) and 14 RPH (radio for print-handicapped). No other categories were listed as served by more than ten stations.
Commenting on the report, Acting ACMA Chair Lyn Maddock said it was "a comprehensive report that illustrates the diversity of this important sector of the radio industry, and the way in which community radio serves distinct communities" and added that the research was "a very useful comparative tool to assist the Authority in assessing community radio licensees at licence renewal time."
ACMA report (602 Kb, 127 PDF):
2005-08-16: Yet again as in its previous two bulletins, UK media regulator Ofcom upheld no radio complaints in its latest broadcast bulletin but it upheld two standards complaints against TV, one involving giving "undue prominence" to a sponsor for which it fined Channel 4 TV GBP 5000 (USD 9,000) and the other a BBC series of documentaries on vice. There had been 58 complaints from viewers who felt that the content should not have been broadcast in the morning when children could be watching. Another TV complaint was considered resolved.
In the latest bulletin Ofcom also listed another five TV complaints and one radio complaint of unfair treatment that were investigated but where the complaints were not upheld and listed a further 162 complaints against 116 items that were rejected or held to be out of remit with no further details given:
These included seven radio complaints relating to seven items - the same as in the previous bulletin - and 155 TV complaints relating to 116 items compared to 111 TV complaints relating to 85 items in the previous bulletin:
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2005-08-15: First off this week in our look at print comment on radio has to be Susquehanna's firing of host Larry Krueger, morning-show producer Tony Rhein and long-time program director Bob Agnew over a show in which they mocked the reaction of Giants manager Felipe Alou to the way the station had handled things after comments made by Krueger including a reference to the Giants' "brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly."
Needless to say some saw the dismissals as an over-reaction but the general tenor was in support of Alou and agreement with the decision.
The San Francisco Chronicle in an editorial "KNBR clear the air" commented, " Felipe Alou, the Giants' proud 70-year-old manager who has seen the corrosive effects of racism in sports, is not one to suffer fools gladly. He refused to accept an apology from Krueger. Alou called the remark an affront to "hundreds of millions of Caribbeans."
It then notes that Alou seemed to become angrier as the station stuck by its initial decision to suspend Krueger for a week but take no other action and in an ESPN interview referred to the host as a "messenger of Satan."
"KNBR then decided," it comments, "to make fun of Alou's intense reaction to Krueger's slur by packaging the manager's ESPN sound bite with Satan references from the Comedy Central show 'South Park.'"
After noting the sequence that followed, the paper concludes, "However, this issue is not about the harshness of a radio personality's criticism of the home team. Sports-talk hosts should be encouraged to be unflinchingly candid in their critiques of athletes and games."
"In fact, this controversy is not about baseball at all. It is about whether racially offensive diatribes are permissible on the public airwaves. KNBR made the right call."
Some letters published by the paper ran the other way with allegations of "political correctness" and kowtowing to the team being freely thrown about.
One correspondent, Alex Hertz, threw in both referring to the host making "a mistake", and his comments being "blown completely out of proportion" and then going on to say " anyone knows that Krueger was the only KNBR host to freely criticize the direction of the Giants organization, and that the Giants would exploit any reason to get rid of him, which they now have.
Along with the firings for the "messenger of Satan" lampooning, political correctness has gone insane in San Francisco."
In even more critical vein Aaron Barulich wrote, "With the cowardly firings of decent human beings, KNBR has shown that it is just another reactionary radio station playing to the inflammatory, race-card remarks by Felipe Alou. "Satan's messenger" -- let's get real here. How can someone expect objective journalism and reporting after this blatant play to the station's benefactors."
Also commenting on the matter in the paper Scott Ostler headed his comments "Everybody looks bad in Kruegergate" and makes some telling points including the note that to refer to the comments as a "poor choice of words" was itself a poor choice of words in the context.
"This," he writes, "was no slip of the tongue, no spoonerism, no oopsie. Krueger's words were chosen and arranged in the form of a racial slur, spoken clearly and passionately by a professional talker to his multistate radio audience."
He also criticizes Alou for refusing to talk to Krueger, writing "By baseball's unwritten code of honour, if you have a beef against a guy, you say it to his face. Nobody said Alou had to accept Krueger's apology. But even a condemned man is allowed to make a final statement to those he has hurt."
The Giants? "Now the Giants are privately chagrined over Alou's escalation of the festivities, and embarrassed at being exposed as thin-skinned cry-babies who may have initially applied pressure on KNBR to fire Krueger."
KNBR's bosses? "They waited three days to discipline Krueger, making it look as if Alou was the only person offended. Wasn't anyone at KNBR listening to that program? What part of "brain-dead Caribbean hitters" did they deem acceptable? "
Ostler comments of the original one-week suspension that it was "weak as dungeon soup, and administered too long after the fact. Kruegerrated at least a month off, and some serious sensitivity work."
And his final comment: "Meanwhile, lest we forget, the Giants still suck."
In the Philadelphia Inquirer, Paul Waldman, a senior fellow with Media Matters for America, also took up the issue of comments by US radio hosts but in his case with reference to right-wing hosts not sports ones, and Rush Limbaugh in particular.
"YOUR TYPICAL practitioner of right-wing hate radio, whose daily rants feature not just a radical ideology but healthy doses of sexism, racism and homophobia, doesn't ordinarily get to interview someone like the vice president," he wrote before going on to comment on "[US Vice President] Dick Cheney just last month cozying up to Rush Limbaugh - and not for the first time." And then to say why he felt the description of Limbaugh as a purveyor of "right-wing hate radio" was correct.
"Limbaugh," he wrote, "says things like, 'If you want the terrorists running the show, then you will elect John Kerry' and said of Democrats, 'They hate this country.' Of sexual harassment, Limbaugh said, 'Some of these babes... like the sexual harassment crowd. They're out there protesting what they actually wish would happen to them sometimes.'"
"While Sen. Dick Durbin had to issue an apology for mentioning Nazi Germany in relation to abuses at Guantanamo, Limbaugh has for years referred to women as 'feminazis.' When he caught himself referring to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez as 'Cesar Chavez,' he said, 'Hugo, Cesar, whatever. A Chavez is a Chavez. We've always had problems with them.' Perhaps this is not too surprising from someone who once said, 'The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies.'"
Waldman then goes on to say comment on what he terms "unusual tolerance for extremism - from the right" by the US press and lists details of other hosts he thinks deserve opprobrium before concluding, "Rush Limbaugh is a talented broadcaster with a large audience. But imagine if the vice president chose to speak before a group who espoused Limbaugh's bigoted views as their official policy. Would he be criticized for doing so? Yes, and rightfully so. So why does no one ask him why he appeared with Rush Limbaugh?"
Then there's the question of what a station should do if a host is leaving, an issue taken up by Randy Dotinga in his North Country Times column, which last week was headed, "Goodbye, hello: the art of radio farewells."
"On one extreme," he writes, "there are the genial Jeff Detrow and Jerry Cesak of 'Jeff & Jer,' the long-time and highly rated stars of the weekday morning show on 100.7 Jack FM and its former incarnation, Star 100.7. Their last day is Aug. 31, and then they'll head across town to rival station. It looks like they'll get a chance to say farewell."
"And then there's the epitome of classlessness: the nationally syndicated morning host Howard Stern. Heard locally on KPLN/The Planet, he heads to the Sirius satellite radio network in January. Before then, his current bosses may decide to boot him off the air because he's been a world-class jerk."
After noting Stern's complaints of restrictions he faces and publicity for his soon-to-be employer Sirius, Dotinga quotes Edison Media Research Sean Ross as saying of Stern, "He's already been a program director's worst nightmare ---- the morning man who did an ongoing commercial for the other guys for more than a year/ Radio stations generally don't handle personnel changes well on or off the air, but this is one of the reasons why: They don't expect the old staff to be professional about it."
And from station management some views on their attitudes to farewells. Charlie Quinn, program director at soft-rock station KyXy comments, "If they're leaving the market or retiring from the airwaves and I feel that I can trust their good judgment, I would allow a short farewell."
And from Jack FM, general manager Tracy Johnson, who expects Detrow and Cesak to be allowed their goodbyes, "It is not only appropriate, but I have 100 percent confidence that they will do it professionally and with the right spirit, and that they will respect our station and company enough to not use it as an opportunity to promote where they are going," Johnson said. "In return, we plan to treat them with respect and honour their participation and involvement in the success of our station for the past seven years. We love them and will miss them greatly and are working on plans now to demonstrate that appreciation."
Finally before moving on to suggested listening, from Paul Donovan in his UK Sunday Times "Radio Waves" column considers the "other listening" in the UK radio ratings - the 2% or so that is not accounted for by the BBC and commercial stations.
This never gets discussed, he comments, noting that apart from the BBC and commercial stations, "Everything else - hospital radio, student radio, pirates, foreign stations wafting in on medium wave at night, and the RTE stations if you are in Northern Ireland - is classed as 'other listening'."
"This is a dull, all-embracing phrase," comments Donovan, "for a strange, quirky, sometimes exciting, often amateur and therefore unpredictable serendipity. Hospital radio, for example, is where Ken Bruce and Christian O'Connell began - the latter was sacked after two weeks after interrupting a track midway through to announce that the woman who had requested it had just died. You have to be careful here: one Scunthorpe hospital radio banned Rod Stewart's The First Cut Is the Deepest lest it upset patients. "
"'Other'" concludes Donovan, "will always constitute a tiny share of listening, but deserves more publicity than it gets - even 2% adds up to more than 21m hours of listening every quarter."
And now for suggested listening and to start off as the 60th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War - VJ Day, August 15, 2005 - is almost on us, we concentrate on various programmes to do with this to start off with.
First a four-programme collaboration between the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National and the BBC World Service - Pacific Footsteps.
In it Brent Clough follows the battles and examines contemporary life in four territories - The Solomon Islands, scene of the sea battles which began the Japanese retreat during the war; Papua New Guinea, which was invaded by the Japanese; The Philippines - a country where, apart for the few years of Japanese occupation, the US military has had a presence for two centuries; and The Northern Marianas, the first Japanese territory to be invaded by the US and territory that the US still keeps. All four programmes are on the web site (in streaming audio or as 40 BPS MP3s).
Then, with the current attempts by the Pentagon to prevent release of more photographs and videos from Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay in mind, we would suggest BBC Radio 4 series "Six Places that changed the world" that begins today at 08:00 GMT (With shortened repeat at 20:30 GMT) with a programme on Hiroshima. The others to follow are Yalta, site of the summit that helped divide the world into spheres of influence; Bretton Woods where the foundations were laid of the post-war international finance system; San Francisco, home of the creation of the United Nations; Delhi and the declaration of Indian independence, the largest act of decolonisation the world has seen; and Geneva where the convention on refugees originated.
The Hiroshima programme needs to be listened to in the context of the attempts by the US military to keep secret the horrendous nature of radiation sickness caused by the atom bomb, something also referred to in the August 3 edition of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Late Night Live programme (Still on the Internet as streaming audio or 64 KBPS MP3 format).
Not only did the US military try to keep things secret by barring journalists from the areas but it also censored and confiscated reporting by the late George Weller, of the Chicago Daily News of the aftermath of the Nagasaki bomb (Carbon copies found by his son Anthony were published by the Mainichi Shimbun in June this year), dismissed Japanese reports of radiation sickness as propaganda, and reacted to publication in the London Daily Express of a report from Hiroshima by Wilfred Burchett (On Sept 5, 1945) by deploying its own dishonest propagandist - New York Times science reporter William L. Laurence, who was in the pay of the US war department, to dispute the reports that radiation sickness was still killing people. Laurence, who had been given a seat in the plane that bombed Nagasaki, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the atomic bomb, an award that some are now moving to have withdrawn in view of information that has subsequently emerged.
Bearing in mind the use of depleted uranium in the Gulf Wars, denials of sickness to allied troops - and similar denials about the effects of Agent Orange - maybe Waldman should have gone for a bigger target than Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage et al.
Also with the Second World War, Reporting the War at 14:30 GMT each afternoon this week on BBC Radio 4 features extracts from some of the most memorable writing of the war.
Also with Japan in focus, BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour Drama this week (09:45 GMT with an 18:45 GMT repeat) is Kazuo Ishiguro's Pale View of Hills and as a final Japan-related programme we suggest The Reunion (from last Sunday but on the site and repeated on |Friday at 08:00) GMT in which Sue MacGregor reunites people who were interned by the Japanese in the Far East during the Second World War.
To move on a few years into the atmosphere of the Cold War that followed the Second World War, BBC Radio 2 tomorrow (19:30 GMT) airs the second of its Hollywood on Trial programmes - the first is available until then - looking at the McCarthy era and House Un-American Committee's activities.
And maybe as a complement to this, BBC Radio 4 earlier in the evening in Party Tricks features Michael Crick exploring the aggressive techniques used by political party activists (in the UK rather than the US) to win elections and in the morning in the fourth and final Radio Rage programme Lucy Ashe looks at Radio Maryja, based in Torun, Poland, a station that its supporters consider as upholding traditional patriotic values and Catholic virtue whilst its critics regard it as a mix of xenophobia, anti-Semitism and dangerous populism.
And after all the heavy programming some lighter relief to end with starting with BBC Radio 4 again and With Great Pleasure - last week's choice was from comedian Jo Brand and this Thursday's edition (10:30 GMT) features the choices of Richard Dawkins, Oxford Professor of the Public Understanding of Science.
Also worth a listen this week we think will be this week's Off the Page (22;00) GMT) hosted by Times columnist, broadcaster and former Conservative MP Off the Page.
And a laugh - there a Dead Ringers Edinburgh Festival special from 2002 on BBC Radio 4 at 17:30 GMT on Friday and still with Edinburgh BBC Radio 2 at 21:00 GMT on Thursday has Lee Mack and Friends...At the Fringe.
North County Times - Dotinga:
Philadelphia Inquirer - Waldman:
San Francisco Chronicle - Editorial re KNBR:
San Francisco Chronicle - letters re KNBR:
San Francisco Chronicle - Ostler:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2005-08-15: California Arbitrator Rebecca Westerfield has awarded former Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC) salesman 45-year-old Roberto Hernandez USD 270,000 for emotional distress caused when he was outed as a homosexual on the Houston-based "Raul Brindis and Pepito Show" in October 2002.
The award was made against Univision Radio, which took over HBC in 2003 (See RNW Sep 24, 2003).
According to Monica Taher, a media director for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Univision has also agreed Friday to sensitivity training for employees in its five biggest markets.
Westerfield did not rule whether Hernandez right to privacy was violated and dismissed Hernandez' claims of sexual harassment and that he had no choice but to quit his job and was owed workers compensation.
The award was for distress and approximately USD 20,000 in economic damages -Hernandez was out of work for seven months after he quit his job - but involved no punitive element. Hernandez was working for the Houston station involved KSOL-FM at the time of the incident which involved a prank phone cull that was broadcast without giving him advance knowledge or asking his consent, a breach of regulations that led the Federal Communications Commission to impose a USD 28,000 penalty (See RNW Jan 13).
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2005-08-15: UK GCap Media today launches a new "ourkindofmusic" format on the NOW digital multiplexes in Reading and Essex playing a range of what it terms heritage artists- like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald - alongside contemporary singers like Jamie Cullum and Diana Krall.
The format was developed by radio veteran Eddie Blackwell who said there was "a real gap for a radio station entirely devoted to what is often described as The Great American Songbook."
Also in the UK, SMG's Virgin Radio has signed up the News of the World's soccer supplement Score as the sole sponsor of its Rock 'n' Roll Football show, timed to start with last Saturday' s commencement of Premier League soccer in the UK.
Virgin head of sport, Dominic Johnson, hosts the show and claims to review every game intermingled with the music. The supplement is being re-launched backed by a TV commercial.
2005-08-14: The main news from the regulators last week was the decision of the Federal Communications Commission to launch an investigation into payola following the Sony-BMG settlement with New York state attorney Eliot Spitzer's office (See RNW Jul 26): Elsewhere actions were more routine.
In Australia the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ruled that that York Community Radio Inc, licensee of Western Australian community radio service 6YCR, York, breached Australia's Community Broadcasting Code of Practice by failing to have in place a written policy and procedure to facilitate internal conflict resolution.
The ruling followed a complaint to the ACMA's predecessor body the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) alleging that the station had failed to encourage members of the community to participate in the operations and programming of the service by requiring presenters to sign an agreement which includes the reimbursement of costs for damage to station property and had failed to establish a written conflict resolution policy.
Only the latter part of the complaint was upheld and the ACMA noted that in response to the breach finding, the licensee is now formulating an internal conflict resolution policy, which is anticipated to be finalised by mid-September 2005.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has again been involved in a number of routine radio licence decisions, including (in order of province):
*Approval of ownership change and control of CIZZ-FM and CKGY-FM, Red Deer, from Corus to NewCap.
*Approval of change of site for CJSE-FM's new transmitter CJSE-FM-2, Baie-Sainte-Anne, authorized in July last year. The original site has become unavailable.
*Approval of application by Eternacom Inc. for an 800 watts Christian music specialty English-language commercial FM radio station in North Bay to replace CJTK-FM-1, North Bay, which currently broadcasts the Christian music service provided by Eternacom's radio station CJTK-FM, Sudbury. Once in operation the licence for CJTK-FM-1 will be deleted.
*Approval of new 10,000 watts contemporary country music English language commercial FM in North Bay.
*Approval of new 250 watts English-language FM Type B community radio FM in Hanover.
*Approval of 36 watts low-power specialty English-language Christian music commercial FM in Blucher.
The CRTC has also made a number of administrative renewals that it notes do not dispose of any substantive issues in connection with the licences' full renewal.
*Administrative renewal until 28 February 2006 of licence of community-based campus radio programming undertaking CKUW-FM Winnipeg.
Administrative renewal until 31 August 2006, of licences of the following stations (in order of province):
Housecalls, Sportstalk, Home Discovery, Money Talks, and The Stirling Faux Show, all originating from CKNW-AM, New Westminster, British Columbia
ESPN Radio and Prime Time Sports originating from CJCL-AM, Toronto, Ontario
Standard Radio Inc. programmes originating from CJAD-AM, Montréal, Quebec.
CKTR-FM, North Bay.
Administrative renewal until 31 August 2006, of licences of the following transitional digital radio programming undertakings (in order of province).
CFMI-DR-1, New Westminster.
CKNW-DR-2, New Westminster.
CILQ-DR-1, North York.
CJFM-DR-1, Montréal.CKGM-DR-2, Montréal.
Also in Canada, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that a parody of TV advertisements for Lakota arthritis pain relief products broadcast by CKTF-FM, Gatineau, did not breach industry codes (See RNW Aug 11).
There were no radio decisions from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom has approved the Emap takeover of Scottish Radio Holdings subject to conditions relating to digital multiplexes (See RNW Aug 9) but it refused to allow a format change for CN Group's Kix 96 in Coventry from mainly chart and urban music to golden oldies music (See RNW Aug 10).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as already noted, has launched an investigation in payola following the New York attorney general's settlement with Sony-BMG (See RNW Aug 9).
The FCC has also cancelled a proposed USD 13,000 penalty on West Virginia WYJP-AM licensee WKLC, Inc. for violation of rules requiring the registration and painting of antenna structures.
FCC investigators had reported that a tower used by the station near St. Albans was a replacement for the original tower and said that it had not been registered and had never been painted.
WKLC had responded to the alleged violations by saying the structure was exempt from the requirements because it is less than 200 feet in height and had provided a declaration from the station's contract engineer saying that the height was 197 feet, seven inches.
The FCC accordingly opted to cancel the penalty but admonish the station and require it to demonstrate within 30 days that it has filed the relevant paperwork applying for a construction permit specifying the correct height of the tower and also an FCC Form 302 application for license.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-08-14: Two US radio stations, Clear Channel's WXTB-FM (98 Rock) in Tampa, Florida - the former home to Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) - and Citadel's WKLQ-FM in Grand Rapids, Michigan, have come under criticism from police over the past week because of stunts that led to them being called.
In Florida the station staged a stunt in connection with a new Fox television show called "Prison Break" in which three listeners shackled and dressed in what appeared to be jail uniforms, were competing to try to get motorists to give them a ride with the first to reach the station studios to win a trip to Los Angeles.
The stunt disrupted morning rush hour traffic on Friday and led to 30 or 40 calls to the police from motorists according to an Associated Press report.
Sheriff's deputies arrested the three and held them for a while according to Pasco County sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll who said no charges were filed as none of the trio tried to get into cars by force. Doll added that Doll Florida law would have allowed motorists and deputies to shoot the mock-prisoners if they were seen to pose a threat.
In Grand Rapids the stunt, which evokes memories of the Tampa pig castration killing stunt that landed Bubba in hot water -he was eventually cleared of animal cruelty charges (See RNW Mar 1, 2002) but later fired after indecency fines totalling USD 755,000 (See RNW Feb 25, 2004), was a threat to drown a dog.
It was promoted by the station on air and online and according to WZZM13 the station receptionist then spent the day fielding calls from angry listeners and advertisers who had also called police and fire stations.
The station audio featured a segment with the words "Just go ahead throw her in" with sounds of a splash and dog whining and the station also posted a picture of a dog on its web site.
Program director Darrin Arriens at first told the TV interviewer the responsibility was DJs Justice and Jim saying, "Those guys do their show as they want to do it" then backed off a little and said he was "Probably, partially, but not completely" responsible and added, "We never did anything extreme The dog situation was fabricated, there was never a dog."
The station also told the TV interviewer it was trying to promote public safety in the water and said that after the fake drowning, they ran an interview with a representative of from the Safe Kids Coalition but the representative, Melinda Howard, said this was misleading because they had carried out the interview earlier and she would "never condone what they did."
Nor did one advertiser according to the station - locally based "Pets Supply Plus" announced an immediate boycott of advertising on all Citadel Broadcasting stations.
Previous Clear Channel:
Washington Post/AP report:
2005-08-14: XM Satellite Radio is to broadcast emergency messages for Arlington County, the first partnership between it and any local government area in the US, in a deal under which it will make no charge for broadcasting the county's emergency messages on its Channel 214, which is dedicated to Washington D.C. area traffic and weather.
The service currently sends to subscribers messages by e-mail, cell phone or text that give them information such as road closures or problems and impending storms.
County chief information officer Jack Belcher commented to the Washington Post, "It just made sense to do this. It's a win-win solution for everyone. There was no money spent, but there's a lot of value in this service."
The service is provided through a connection, which cost less than USD 20,000, to the Roam Secure Alert Network, which powers Arlington Alert: Roam Secure CEO David Drescher said in a statement it paved the way for other customers to broadcast emergency information over the XM network.
For XM, spokesman Chance Patterson added, "By working with Arlington County, XM now offers drivers in the Washington area a way to get very current, very important and more detailed information very quickly. We hope it becomes a model for other local governments."
Washington Post report:
2005-08-14: Entercom's WRKO-AM, Boston, has dropped general manager Tom Baker as an economy measure according to the Boston Herald, which says Julie Kahn, who runs Entercom's local operations, will now take over his duties.
She will serve as general manager of WAAF-FM, WRKO, WEEI-AM, and WEEI-FM in Providence and told the paper the change was the result of "restructuring and a little more consolidation of management."
The paper says negotiations are continuing over Baker's termination date and that Kahn says he might be kept on in another capacity, perhaps as a consultant.
Boston Herald report:
2005-08-13: US Radio Advertising Bureau President and CEO Gary Fries, who has been in his post since 1991, has told the RAB board that he will step down when his current contract expires in December next year and will not seek a contract renewal.
In a statement Fries commented, "It has been an honour to serve and represent this industry. I want to ensure that the difficult and long process of identifying a successor will be effective and orderly."
RAB board chairman - and Buckley Broadcasting COO - Joe Bilotta added, "The RAB has had a venerable past and has been of great service over the years to its member stations, whether large or small, public or privately-held. Over the last 14 years, Gary has led the RAB and under his leadership has transformed the organization to its current status as a very sophisticated, technologically astute distributor of information and services."
Fries, whose career has spanned some 44 years, began as a part-time salesman at Stuart Broadcasting's KFOR in Lincoln, Nebraska, whilst still in college and took his first management post with KRGU, Grand Island, also in Nebraska, when he was 24, and has subsequently held numerous executive posts.
RAB notes that in Fries' time with it its membership doubled to more than 6,000 radio stations and 1,000 associate, network, representative firms and international organizations and adds that he raised "the profile of Radio and established the organization as a full-service resource centre for advertisers, agencies, member stations, the press, and the financial community."
2005-08-13: BBC Radio 4 has announced that its political correspondent Shaun Ley is to be the new presenter of its Sunday lunchtime news and current affairs show The World This Weekend.
He will take over on September 18 from James Cox, who has retired after presenting the programme for 12 years .
Colin Hancock, editor of the programme, said in a statement, "Shaun's proved himself as a superb senior political correspondent for the BBC and an excellent stand-in presenter on both The World This Weekend and The World At One. His rigorous interviewing style is perfectly suited to The World This Weekend, where he'll have the space to test foreign and domestic politicians and their policies. "
Cox, who began in journalism as editor of the student paper whilst at King's College, Cambridge, worked in newspapers before becoming interested in broadcasting during a year in the US as a visiting fellow to the Minnesota -based World Press Institute.
He joined BBC Scotland on his return to the UK in 1975 and from 1983 to 1986 was the BBC radio correspondent in New York. He moved to political reporting on his return to London and after a spell on the BBC2 TV Newsnight programme moved back to radio, being appointed to front the World this Weekend in 1994.
Ley, a graduate of the London School of Economics, joined the BBC in 1990 as a trainee on the BBC's regional journalist scheme and worked for the regional TV news programme Points West for five years before moving to BBC South East in 1995: There he presented a weekly political programme and was the region's Political Editor.
He became BBC network news Political Correspondent in 2001 and has presented editions of The World At One, Saturday PM, The Westminster Hour and The World Tonight on BBC Radio 4.
2005-08-13: Eight female staff from Pacifica's KPFA-FM have filed sexual harassment complaints with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DEFH) against station manager Roy Campanella II, who took charge of the Pacifica Foundation station in late 2004.
One complainant, senior manager Lemlem Rijio, said in a news release that when she rebuffed Campanella he "started to retaliate against me daily with threats of termination, harassment, slander, as well as hostile and discriminatory treatment."
The filing follows last month's signing by 70 members of the station's paid and unpaid staff of a letter of no confidence in Campanella, who they said created a hostile work environment.
Some of the staff then called at a Local Station Board meeting for the return of former General Manager Nicole Sawaya, now station manager at the San Francisco Unified School District's KALW-FM, who was fired in 1999 by Pacifica's National Board.
The dismissal led to a two-year court battle between dissidents and the board that continued until December 2001 (See RNW Dec 14, 2001): At the July meeting, seven female staffers called on the board to recognize Campanella's "unfitness" to run the station on the basis of "instances of hostility and gender-based treatment."
The Berkeley Daily Planet says the staff who have now filed a complaint allege that Campanella asked them out on dates and retaliated against those who refused his advances.
It said Bill Harvey, Secretary Treasurer of the Communications Workers of America had told it the plaintiffs chose to take their complaint before the DFEH because the department lacked the authority to threaten the station's licence whereas if they had taken their complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission the commission could have opted to seek termination of KPFA's broadcast licence.
Harvey said KPFA conducted two investigations into the allegations and declined so far to take disciplinary action against Campanella and added, "This is an effort to resolve the matter while keeping KPFA healthy."
The union has also filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board over an incident last May when, it says, Campanella threatened to assault Hard Knock Radio Executive Producer Weyland Southon.
Campanella told the paper none of his actions had "violated any laws" and said he was ready to work "openly and honestly with all of [his] co-workers."
The paper adds that the KPFA Local Station Board has scheduled a closed-door meeting this Sunday to determine Campanella's future with the station and quotes Board Member Chandra Hauptman as saying, "I find [the complaint] very disturbing because we have an internal process for redressing this situation and we haven't finished that process."
Berkeley Daily Planet report:
2005-08-13: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has now confirmed that its Melbourne 774 drive time host Virginia Trioli is to replace Sally Loane (See RNW Aug 8)as morning host on its Sydney ABC 702 station although no date has been announced for her to take on the new role; Trioli is to take a holiday and spend some time in Sydney before her start.
New 702 breakfast host Julie McCrossin who replaces Angela Catterns, who moved to DMG's new Vega station (See RNW Aug 12), will start on August 22.
Loane, who is married to a judge and whose show was nicknamed "The Pony Club" by some made her farewell broadcast yesterday and included a dig over perceptions of her found by ABC research: It showed Loane divided listeners with slightly older, middle-class, affluent supporters thinking her friendly, enthusiastic and reflecting their world view while detractors considered she catered for a white, Anglo-Saxon, North Shore audience, and was a "Miss Goody-Goody-Two-Shoes" who loved pearls, rugby and four-wheel drives.
"Good morning Sydney - and Leichhardt [RNW comment - An up-market West Sydney suburb named after the Australian explorer Ludwig Leichhardt] - thanks for listening," she said, before going on to note that ratings for the show were up from a 6.4 share to a 9 since she began it in 1999.
The Sydney Morning Herald, reporting on Loane's replacement, says a "Melbourne troika" of Trioli, Sue Howard, the head of ABC Radio, and Michael Mason, the head of ABC local radio in capital cities, was behind the change.
It says Mason confirmed that he was "very much involved" along with Howard and 702 station manager Roger Summerill, and added that Loane had done "an outstanding job but we just believe that we can grow that to another level. We want to be as relevant as possible to our charter."
Loane, says the paper, told it she was saddened not so much by going as by the way she was forced out and added, "I had been thinking for a long time of moving on. It's a very physically demanding job ... the very early morning starts - 5.30 am - the reading, there's quite a lot I won't miss."
Previous ABC, Australia:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2005-08-13: Hollywood now has no radio station based in it following the departure of Infinity's KNX-AM, which has moved out as part of a five-station cluster project that has seen the company's three FMs and two AMs move to a new home in Los Angeles' Miracle Mile district: The other stations - KRTH-FM, KTWV-FM, KLSX-FM and KFWB-AM- have already moved.
KNX was started 85 years ago by Fred Christian, an ex-Marconi shipboard wireless operator, as 6 ADZ, later KGC, and finally KNX. It first broadcast on September 10, 1920 from Christian's Hollywood home and moved into its Columbia Square location, which it shared with CBS-TV, in 1938.
KNX has grown massively in power over the years, starting with 5 watts, upgrading to 5,000 in 1929, to 10,000 in 1932, to 25,000 in 1933 and to its current 50,000 watts, which can reach all of Southern California, in 1934.
It moved to its current Newsradio format in April 1968
KNX web site:
2005-08-13: Salem has announced that following completion of its USD 9.5 million acquisition of WNTR-AM (formerly WGUL-AM) in Tampa, and WLSS-AM, serving the Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice market (See RNW Mar 2), it is to introduce its line-up of syndicated hosts to the stations this month
WNTR has launched with Air Force One, comprised of continuous speeches by some of America's 's conservative leaders including Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, and George W. Bush, and will run this programming until next Monday when it introduces its line-up of syndicated talk show hosts including Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Michael Savage and Hugh Hewitt.
WLSS begins the same temporary programming today and on August 22 will begin its new talk line-up with syndicated hosts which include the same as WNTR except for Michael Savage and will also include , Laura Ingraham.
2005-08-12: Online advertising in the US could overtake that of radio within three years according to figures out this year.
According to Research and Markets, the value of the US streaming audio and video advertising market in 2005 will be around USD 343 million, up 78% over the 2004 figure of USD 193 million, and it is expected to grow a further 47% in 2006 to USD 504 million.
The report, Streaming Advertising and Subscription Media 2003 - 2006 (Euros 2350 / USD 2930 for thos who want it), estimates the total revenue for streaming media subscription and downloads to grow from USD 641 million in 2004 to USD 1.35 billion this year and a further 35% to USD 1.8 billion in 2006.
This compares with US radio advertising revenues in 2004 of just above USD 20 billion according to the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and US Internet advertising revenues for the same year of USD 9.6 billion according to figures from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB).
Figures for the first quarter of this year, when radio advertising was up only 1% (See RNW Jun 4) showed US online advertising up 26% to USD 2.8 billion, which would take online ahead of radio by 2008 if the trend remained the same.
In the UK, online advertising grew 60% in 2004 to reach GBP 653 million (USD 1.2 billion), taking it just above the radio advertising total with a 3.9% share compared to 3.8% for radio.
2005-08-12: Dundee-based comic, magazine and newspaper publisher D.C. Thomson has re-entered UK radio and taken a 6.4% interest in UBC Media, which operates the Classic Gold Digital stations, has a half-interest in national digital station Oneword, and owns Unique, the production company.
Thomson, which took cash for its 9.7% holding in Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) when Emap took over SRH, bought 11 million shares at 25 pence each, spending a total of GBP 2.75 million (USD 4.97 million).
UBC sold 11.8 million shares in all with UBC chief executive Simon Cole selling 6 million, reducing his holding in the company to 12.1%; commercial director John Quinn sold 387,494, reducing his holding to 1.4%; and non-executive director and former radio and TV presenter Noel Edmonds sold 5.4 million to reduce his holding to 4.9%.
In the financial year to the end of March, UBC reported revenues up 20% on a year earlier to GBP 15.96 million (USD 28.85 million), more than doubled operating profit before losses on goodwill of GBP 704,000 (USD 1.27 million) and digital licences of GBP 1.5 million (USD 2.7 million) from GBP 405,000 (USD 732,000) to GBP 1.075 million (1.94 million); and overall reduced losses after tax from GBP 1.53 million (USD 2.77 million) in 2004 to GBP 1.15 million (USD 2.08 million).
2005-08-12: RadioScape has announced that it will showcase combined Eureka DAB/DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) receivers at this year's IFA Consumer Electronics trade fair in Berlin next month.
The company says it has worked with several leading manufacturers who at the show will launch receivers that handle DAB, DRM, FM with RDS, LW, MW and SW.
The receivers will be on display at one booth operated by the DRM Consortium and the other by broadcasters BBC, Deutschlandradio, Deutsche Welle, DRF, Littoral AM, Radio de la Mer, Radio Netherlands, RTL Group, Truckradio, and Voice of Russia who will discuss their plans for DRM services across Europe
Dave Hawkins, VP of RadioScape's Receivers Business, commented that the show was the "perfect showcase for the first, consumer-priced DRM/DAB radios" and added, "This will really help DRM take off with the general public."
"Our unique software architecture," he said, "has enabled us to create cost-effective, multi-standard, multi-application modules by using software stacks running on a powerful Texas Instruments DSP engine. DRM is a complex technology, but our expertise in developing with many other radio standards has enabled us to create and verify a complete, multi-standard radio solution in record time."
Hawkins said the receivers would now be available on schedule for the run up to the 2005 Christmas market and added that he anticipated DRM to be "the hot technology at IFA this year with many broadcasters and manufacturers making DRM announcements."
2005-08-12: In more US radio results, NextMedia has reported net revenues for the second quarter to the end of June up 12.5% on a year earlier to USD 30.7 million with operating expenses up 6.6% to USD 17.8 million, and operating income up 40.8% to USD 6.9 million.
Overall it reduced its loss from continuing operations before taxes from USD 2.6 million to USD 2.1 million but overall loss from continuing operations increased from USD 1.5 million to USD 4.4 million and net loss was up more than three-fold, from USD 1.2 million to USD 4.3 million
Pro-forma results showed net revenues up 11.8% to USD 34.2 million with radio up 6% to USD 22.8 million and outdoor up 25.3% to USD 11.4 million: The figures do not include NextMedia's pending acquisition of KBAY-FM, San Jose, California. . Radio division pro forma BCF was up 3.2% to USD9.7 million.
Six months figures show net revenue up 9.4% to USD54.8 million; operating income up 18.9% to USD8.8 million for the six months; loss from continuing operations up more than ten-fold from USD1.1 million USD11.7 million for the six months ended June 30, 2005; and net loss similarly up from USD 900,000 to USD 11.6 million.
Six month pro-forma figures show net revenue up 9.3% to USD 61.0 million and BCF up 8.1% to USD 23.9 million with radio division net revenue up 6.4% to USD41.4 million and BCF up 3.2% to USD16.2 million.
For the third quarter, NextMedia says it expects net revenue between USD 33.7 million and USD 33.9 million and BCF between USD 13.9 million and USD 14.2 million.
In other US radio business, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rejected a petition by Hilo Broadcasting, L.L.C. to deny Pacific Radio Group's acquisition of KKON-AM, Kealakekua; KPVS-FM, Hilo; KLUA-FM, Kailua Kona; KAPA-FM, Hilo; and KAGB-FM, Waimea, from Big Island Radio.
Hilo, licensee of KHBC-AM, Hilo, had objected to the deal on the basis of breaches of the FCC's multiple ownership regulations and undue market concentration but the FCC noted that the stations are not in an Arbitron-rated market and thus its contour-overlap methodology applied.
In relation to this Pacific had applies for a waiver because the contour overlaps were over the Pacific Ocean. It also pointed out that the deal was within its regulations regulating station ownership in non-Arbitron markets and also rejected a contention by Hilo that Pacific had assumed unauthorized control of the stations.
2005-08-12: According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has chosen Julie McCrossin, currently host of its Radio National morning program Life Matters to replace Angela Catterns as host of its breakfast programme on ABC 702.
The paper says details of the contract have been finalised and an announcement is expected by the end of today saying that she will start in a fortnight's time.
McCrossin began her broadcasting career after a spell with children's theatre group Pipi Storm after university: Her first experience was with the Gaywaves programme on community station 2SER and she has also worked on the ABC's rural radio as well as Radio National.
The station has also yet to announce a new morning show host to replace Sally Loane and the paper says the ABC is close to formalising a deal for Melbourne ABC drive presenter Virginia Trioli to take over.
It adds that one sticking point was the starting time for the show with Trioli preferring an 08:30 start like Melbourne 774, which opens with half an hour of news breaking interviews, and 702 management preferring 09:00.
Previous ABC, Australia:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2005-08-11: Susquehanna's KNBR-AM, San Francisco, has fired its Sportsphone 680 host Larry Krueger, Program Manager Bob Agnew and Morning Show Producer Tony Rhein following further ill-judged comments, this time made during a discussion on Tuesday's morning show of comments made by Giants manager Felipe Alou on ESPN's Monday programme Outside the Lines.
Alou severely criticised the station and Krueger over earlier comments made by Krueger disparaging him and Caribbean players on the team (See RNW Aug 8).
In a statement about the dismissals KNBR SVP and General Manager Tony Salvadore comments, "The segment, featuring inappropriate comedy sound bytes, demonstrated an utter lack of regard for the sensitivity of the issues involved and a premeditated intent to ridicule Felipe Alou's commentary. "
"KNBR," he adds, " will not tolerate such behaviour and has taken decisive action against the individuals responsible for these unfortunate events."
He then announces the dismissals of the trio and concludes, "KNBR deeply regrets the comments and actions of these individuals, which do not reflect our beliefs or values as an organization. We would like to express our deepest apologies to Felipe Alou, his players and the Giants organization for this offence to the Caribbean community."
RNW comment: In our view Salvadore seems to have it right this time if the station really does have values or beliefs that prohibit racist or near racist comments. Now we await some principles against homophobia, racism, and sexism to strike some of the big companies - results re-education on the way for talk hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and hip-hop station hosts too numerous to mention. Some expectation? The money's too good since they have too many fellow Americans sharing the views.
2005-08-11: BBC Radio 1, which yesterday launched on Sirius Satellite Radio in the US, has announced the completion of its most recent schedule changes at the channel with the appointment of Top of the Pops presenters Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates to host its early breakfast show every Friday from the end of September.
The show airs from 04:00 to 07:00 in the UK but is time shifted in the Sirius broadcasts to air at the same local times Eastern Time. Earlier changes at the station put JK and Joel in the slot from Monday through to Thursday starting the same week. Previous early breakfast show host Nemone is leaving the station..
Commenting on the appointment, Ben Cooper, Head of Mainstream Radio 1, said of the new show, "It'll be an ultimate guide to what to do at the weekend, and as they are passionate about different types of new music, love going to different gigs and generally having a good time it should make for some great radio."
Fearne commented, "I'm so excited about joining Radio 1. When I was a kid I did the classic thing of taping shows off the radio and dropping my own voice in - hopefully this show will be better than that! Most of all, I'm looking forward to talking about music, obsessing about music and playing loads of music."
Reggie added, " Fearne and I are proper mates - we both have a genuine love of music and very different sorts of music at that, but we do have common ground and that's when you get the golden moments."
In other UK radio news the UK Guardian reports that Emap's Magic FM, which in the most recent ratings was the third-ranked London commercial station by reach and the only one of the top five London stations to grow reach, listening share, and time spent listening over the past year, is to step away from its "more music, less talk" format and hire celebrities to host shows at weekends.
Emap says the paper is pumping money into its marketing, programming and commercial operations, in a bid to become the biggest station in the capital before exporting its formula across the Magic network.
It quotes Magic managing director, Andria Vidler as saying, "Emap is committed to growing Magic with investment in music, programming, imaging and marketing - but it is evolution not revolution. To begin with we'll be introducing some new high-quality weekend shows which will give Magic more talkability whilst still putting the music first."
The paper says the move is based on Vidler's experience while working at BBC Radio 2 and that if successful at weekends the formula could also be introduced on weekdays.
UK Guardian report:
2005-08-11: Clear Channel Communications Outdoor Holdings has announced Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for Initial Public Offering of Its Common Stock and also a registration filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with the proposed separation of Clear Channel Communications' live entertainment business into a separate publicly-traded company under the temporary name CCE Spinco. Inc.
Clear Channel had announced its intention to split off its entertainment operations and offer 10% of its Outdoor under an IPO when it released its first quarter earnings in April (See RNW Apr 30).
In other US radio financial business, Entravision has announced a tender offer and consent solicitation for its USD 225 million outstanding principal amount 8.125% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2009.
The offer is scheduled to expire on September 21, 2005, unless extended or earlier terminated and the total consideration for each USD 1,000 principal amount of Notes validly tendered and accepted for purchase will be fixed on the tenth business day immediately preceding the Expiration Time.
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-08-11: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has ruled that an advertising parody broadcast by CKTF-FM, Gatineau, did not breach the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Code of Ethics although it readily understood the offence found by the complainant.
The segment involved parodied TV advertisements for Lakota arthritis pain relief products, which feature an aboriginal spokesperson and featured a mock interview with one of the hosts who posed as a spokesman for the products.
He was questioned by other hosts who made references to "B.S. à plume" ("welfare bum with feathers"), "grosse femme nu-pieds" ("fat barefoot wife") and "on mange du hot hibou ce soir", ("We're having hot owl tonight"), comments that the complainant said was discriminatory towards aboriginals.
The CBSC concluded that "although the sketch did present some stereotypical commentary regarding aboriginals, it was primarily a parody of the television commercials rather than an abusive attack on aboriginals as a group."
The panel, it added, "readily concedes the rather tasteless choice of a satirical tool but it concludes that the parody only carries the theme established by the commercial itself to a logical, or perhaps ridiculous, extreme."
2005-08-10: In more US radio results, Clear Channel, which only a day earlier was publicizing extra listening to its stations as a result of its "Less is More " initiative has reported a 13% fall in profits in the second quarter compared to a year ago as a result of the same initiative; Entercom has reported a 5% revenue increase to a record; Interep commission revenues are up 5.3% and Regent reported a 2.3% increase, also to a record level.
Clear Channel said overall revenues in the second quarter were down 1% to USD 2.46 billion with net income down 13% to USD 220.7 million (from 41 cents to 40 cents per diluted share).
In divisional terms, radio revenues were down 6.5% to USD 931.9 million; Outdoor was up 7% to USD 684.5 million; live entertainment was up 1% to USD 749.5 million and other revenues were up 3% to USD 145.8 million.
Clear Channel is also forecasting a radio revenue fall of 55-5% in the third quarter but President and CEO Mark Mays focussed on the long-term impact of the changes.
"Our second quarter results reflect the short-term impact of our decision to reduce the commercial loads on our radio stations, combined with a less than ideal advertising environment, he said but then continued, "With just two complete quarters of "Less is More" behind us we are seeing positive trends."
"Early ratings results from the important spring ratings book show that ratings and time spent listening are on the rise. In addition, we are seeing real progress in the development of a 30-second marketplace. These early results underscore that "Less is More" is the right move for our business over the long-term. Overall, our operational focus remains on leading change, driving innovation and delivering value to our customers across all of our businesses. We believe this long-term and forward thinking approach will create shareholder value over the long-term."
Mays also referred to the company's stock buy-back scheme and announced that the company had authorized an extra billion of spending on purchasing its stock.
"A significant share repurchase is an attractive option for maximizing shareholder value and will enable us to maintain financial flexibility," he said. " We have a strong track record of announcing and executing material share repurchases and this decision will enable the company to return capital directly to shareholders in a significant way, over a longer period of time."
At Entercom, second quarter net revenues were up 5% to USD 119.5 million with same-station net revenues up 4% to the same total whilst station operating income was up 5% to USD 5.4 million and net income was up 1% to USD 24.28 million. Net income per share, however, was up 13% from 46 cents to 52 cents and Entercom noted that during the quarter it repurchased 200,000 shares of common stock for USD5.0 million under the Company's third repurchase program.
President and CEO David J. Field, said, "We are pleased to report that Entercom delivered record-breaking results during the second quarter. Same-station revenue grew 4%, outpacing our markets by 300 bps, notwithstanding the dampening effect of several format changes made during the quarter. Local revenues remained strong, growing at 6%. We also continued to enhance our future prospects by investing in compelling new formats and programming content, proprietary sales initiatives and technology."
Looking ahead, Entercom says it expects third quarter same station net revenues to increase 35-4% with station operating expenses to increase 3%.
Interep reported commission revenue up 5.3% to USD 21.7 million for the quarter - they are up 4.4% for the first six months to USD 39.2 million - primarily because of recent improvement in national spot advertising.
Overall it turned a loss applicable to common shareholders a year earlier of USD 6.1 million to a profit of USD 5.9 million (A positive 52 cents a share compared to a negative 59 cents). For the half-year it has turned a loss of USD 15.3 million a year earlier into a positive USD 100,000 (From a loss of USD 1.48 per share to a positive one cent).
Chairman and CEO Ralph Guild said, "With our second consecutive quarter of improved commission revenue, as well as our on-going success in paring down non-sales related costs, our 2005 performance continues to show improvement over last year. Demand for national radio advertising remains solid and several key categories, including foreign auto and telecommunications, are showing improvement in the second half of the year."
SVP and CFO Bill McEntee added, "We continue to be excited about our prospects for 2005. The cost-cutting initiatives implemented last year coupled with those added this year continue to reflect positively on our 2005 results. Second quarter revenue exceeded the comparable period in 2004, and again we outperformed our budgeted revenue goals."
Regent reported second quarter net revenues up 2.3% to USD 22.7 million but net income was down from USD 2.3 million a year ago to USD 2.2 million (an unchanged 5 cents per share).
For the third quarter it says it expects consolidated net broadcast revenues and station operating income of approximately USD22.5 to USD23.0 million with and station operating income of USD7.8 to USD8.1 million and earnings per share between three cents and four cents. It also notes that third quarter expenses will include approximately USD 1 million related to the retirement package for Chairman and CEO Terry Jacobs
Jacobs, who announced last month that he was to stand down from his current roles but remain with Regent as Vice-Chairman of the Board (See RNW Jul 28), said of the results, "We are pleased with our ability to deliver 3.5% same-station revenue growth in the second quarter, continuing our track record of outperforming the radio industry as a whole. We also delivered free cash flow growth of 9.0% and earnings per share of five cents, highlighting the profitability of our business model. Our ability to consistently outperform the radio industry stems from our focus on serving attractive middle-sized markets, combined with operating market-leading stations. Our results underscore our ability to translate our leading local positions into measurable financial results."
Clear Channel shares closed the day down 1.9% at USD 33.75 and Regent's stock was down 0.54% at USD 5.59 but Entercom was up 6.9% to USD 33.42 and Interep was up 14.5% to USD 0.79.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2005-08-10: UK media regulator Ofcom has rejected an application by CN Group to change the format of its Kix 96 in Coventry from mainly chart and urban music to golden oldies music about which it issued a consultation in April (See RNW Licence News Apr 10).
The criteria for allowing such a change are those of substantial alteration to the character of a service, that it should not narrow the range of services available, that the change would be conducive to maintaining or promoting fair or effective competition or substantial support from residents in a licence area for a change.
In this case Ofcom said the requested change would substantially alter the character of the service and would narrow the range of programmes available in the area and that insufficient evidence had been presented to support the change on competition grounds or of demand from residents in the area.
It said that the requested change would "have the potential to impinge further on the output of Classic Gold 1359 and Mercia FM", the two main competitors to Kix.
UBC-owned Classic Gold has opposed the change and welcomed the decision but so far G-Cap Media, which owns Mercia, has not commented although the station had complained in the past that there was too much overlap between it and Kix.
CN had argued that a change to shift its target demographic from 15 to 29-year-olds to 30 to 50-year-olds would allow Mercia to become stronger in the 15-34 demographic.
Previous CN Group:
2005-08-10: Latest Australian radio ratings just released show a strong performance for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's ABC 702 station in Sydney, which has recently lost its breakfast host Angela Catterns to the new DMG "Vega" station (See RNW Jun 11) and is about to lose its morning host Sally Loane (See RNW Aug 8).
Sydney Breakfast ratings show the station - whose breakfast programme has been hosted on an interim basis by James Valentine and Simon Marnie - gaining ground again on leader Alan Jones at Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB as he retained a share of 15.6 whilst ABC took its share up from 12.2 to 12.4 and third -placed Nova increased its share from 11.5 to 12.1.
Jones' main commercial rival, Mike Carlton, lost share at Southern Cross Broadcasting's 2UE - down from 8.4 to 8.2, although retaining fifth rank.
In the morning slot, 2GB again held on to its lead but its share - the slot is shared by Jones and Ray Hadley - was down from 12.6 to 12.3 but there was good news for John Laws, who on Monday celebrated his 70th birthday. He increased his share in second place from 9.4 to 10.6: ABC also increased share - up from 8.4 to 9.0 in fifth rank.
Austereo had mixed fortunes with its 2-DAY increasing share from 8.2 to 8.9 and moving up one rank to fifth slot and overtaking Triple M whose share fell from 8.4 to 7.4 and rank from fifth to eighth. 2UE also did well overall, increasing its share from 8.0 to 9.0 and moving up from seventh to fourth.
In the usual manner of putting a gloss on success and playing down area of poorer performance, Austereo singled out the performance of its Today network and 2Day in Sydney with CEO Michael Anderson said the strategic changes made to the network at the start of the year were beginning to show in the results.
"It's a promising result for the other Today network stations around the country," he said.
"We've put a lot of work into the network and Sydney and Melbourne were the first to experience the improvements. We'd expect those changes to begin to flow through to the other capital cities in the next few months."
He added that the decline for the Triple M network demonstrated the volatility of the Australian radio market and was backed up by Austereo chairman Peter Harvie who said, "We expect that sort of volatility. You're going to see a lot more bouncing around for every station and we're not going to let that distract us from our strategy."
City by city, the top three stations were (previous % share in brackets):
Adelaide: Mix 17.9 (15.4) - up from second; 5AA 16.8 (18.6) -down from top rank; SAFM 12.7(13.5)- same rank.
* ABC 891 moved up from fifth to fourth with 11.8 (10.7), swapping places with Nova, which dropped to fifth with 11.2 (11.7).
Brisbane - Triple M with 15.3 (15.4) - same rank; Nova with 12.4 - making its debut in the rankings; B105FM 10.0 (10.8) - down from second;
*NEW 97.3 FM dropped from third to fourth despite increasing its share from 9.0 to 9.9.
*Melbourne - 3AW with 13.7 (15.7)- same rank; Gold with 12.2 (12.0) - same rank; ABC 774 with 12.1 (11.6) - up from fourth.
* Triple M with 10.8 (11.6) - dropped from third to fourth while Nova with 10.2 (9.6) remained fifth.
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM 18.2 (18.6) - same rank; ABC 720 with 12.4 (11.8) - same rank; Nova with 11.3 (11.0)- same rank.
*96FM with 10.6 (10.7) - remained fourth.
* Sydney: 2GB 11.7 (12.3) - same rank; Nova with 10.2 (10.3) - same rank; ABC 702 9.9 (10.1) - same rank;
*2UE with 9.0 (8.0) rose from seventh to fourth, 2-DAY with 8.9 (8.2) rose one rank to fifth, and Mix fell from fourth to sixth with 8.6 (9.3) while Triple M was down from fifth to eighth with 7.4 (8.4).
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross:
2005-08-10: UK Chrysalis has signed Emma B (Emma Battersby née Boughton), who was most recently with BBC Radio 1, to host a new weekend show and also to deputise for Harriet Scott on its weekday breakfast show hosted by Jamie Theakston and Scott, according to the UK Guardian.
The paper says Emma B will join Theakston when Scott, goes on holiday at the end of August and will also host what Chrysalis calls "a variety of weekend shows".
UK Guardian report:
2005-08-09: Following hard on the USD 10 million settlement between the New York Attorney General's office and Sony-BMG over payola (See RNW Jul 26), the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now stepped in formally to investigate the issue of payola.
A statement from FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin says he is "very concerned" about the activities that led to the Spitzer investigation, notes the longstanding rules prohibiting payola, and says the "Commission will not tolerate non-compliance."
"I have directed the Enforcement Bureau to review the settlement agreement reached by Sony BMG and the New York Attorney General and investigate any incidents in which the agreement discloses evidence of payola rule violations," he continues. "
If the Bureau determines violations of the payola rules have occurred, the Commission will take swift action. In addition, if the Bureau is presented with evidence of payola rule violations outside of the Sony BMG Music Entertainment settlement, it is to thoroughly investigate those complaints as well."
The move was welcomed by Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein who in his statement said the commission had an obligation to enforce federal payola laws and should "enforce them vigorously."
"I believe this payola scandal may represent the most widespread and flagrant violation of any FCC rules in the history of American broadcasting," he continued noting that Spitzer's office has collected evidence on potentially illegal promotion practices of not only Sony BMG, but also other major record companies, independent promoters and several of the largest radio station groups.
"The airwaves belong to the public, not the highest bidder," said Adelstein. "The vitality of radio is sapped when music is selected based on bribes rather than merit. Radio listeners are deprived of hearing the freshest music, local artists and creative genius because the labels are predetermining what they get to hear -- and paying to get it played. We owe it to the American public, music lovers and creative artists - the ones who are hurt the most - to end this deception."
2005-08-09: Emmis has agreed to a settlement totalling more than USD 300,000 to resolve an investigation being conducted by New York state attorney general Eliot Spitzer and the State Athletic Commission into the "Slapping Contests" that it ran on its WQHT-FM (Hot 97) station from April 2004 to January 2005.
It will pay the city of New York USD 240,000 - equivalent to the maximum fine of USD 10,000 for each of 24 contests - and in addition will fund an extensive anti-violence campaign, including a USD 60,000 payment to Safe Horizon, one of the city's leading anti-violence organizations, and airing seven to ten public service announcements a week on the station from next Monday until the end of the year. Emmis will also sponsor special anti-violence presentations during October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The investigation showed that the station had sponsored 24 "Smackfest" contests between April 2004 and January 2005 - the maximum fine for each is USD 10,000 - in which participants, usually young women, took turns violently slapping each other. Winners of the contests were promised tickets to concerts and as much as USD 5,000 in cash. Videotapes of contests then were featured on the radio station's website.
The contests were alleged to be dangerous and in violation of state laws regarding the promotion of a combative sport and a statement from the Attorney General's Office announcing the settlement said, "Smackfest contests met none of these conditions and generated outrage in New York City for the demeaning nature of the events."
As well as the fine and anti-violence campaign funding WQHT parent Emmis Communications is permanently enjoined from engaging in, conducting, promoting or profiting from such contests.
Commenting on the settlement, Spitzer said in the announcement, "This agreement should be a wake up call to all those in the entertainment industry who think outrageousness is a clever marketing strategy. The law establishes set boundaries that cannot be crossed to protect our community's health and safety."
State Athletic Commission Chairman Ron Scott Stevens added, "This settlement accurately reflects the proper enforcement of New York State's "combative sports statute." The intention of the statute was to ensure the public's health and safety and this goal was met. I hope this matter sends the message that these types of dangerous events will not be tolerated in the State of New York."
In a statement posted on the Emmis web site, its Radio President Rick Cummings said, "Despite the fact that the contestants voluntarily participated in what was supposed to be harmless entertainment, it was not our finest hour, and New York City deserves better. We have listened to the concerns and worked closely with the Attorney General's office to come to an agreement that will benefit and educate the community."
Emmis Senior VP/GM Barry Mayo added, "This is a wonderful opportunity to work with the community that means so much to us. In addition to supporting and working with Safe Horizon, Hot 97 will launch a vigorous anti-violence campaign, which will include public service announcements, public affairs programming and the distribution of Safe Horizon literature from the Hot 97 fleet of vans. We are completely committed to this."
The issue had been raised by New York City Councilman John C. Liu, who along with other council members had written urging action, and Liu said, "Starting with Emmis' broadcast of racist and sexist profanity in its 'The Tsunami Song' and more recently, it's illegal 'SmackFest' prize-fights, the corporate chieftains at Emmis have broken the public trust by profiting from hate and violence. Today's legal settlement is not only a victory for the New Yorkers, but will provide another incentive for Emmis' corporate chieftains to stay within the legal and ethical bounds of our public airwaves."
In Philadelphia, Radio One Inc has agreed settlement of a claim brought over comments made by Tarsha Nicole Jones, when she was working for it in Philadelphia. Jones is now host of the Miss Jones in the Morning Show that was involved in the Tsunami song row at Hot 97 and led to the her suspension for a period and the firing of others from the show (See RNW Feb 3).
In February 2003 nurse Sally Brown had e-mailed a complaint about Jones's language when she was on the Beat, then on 103.9 FM and as a result was ridiculed on air according to her filing, which said that Jones for several days kept up the campaign and pointed out typographical errors in the e-mail.
According to the filing, the comments included, "Would you want a nurse like Sally Brown, who can't even spell hire, to take care of your loved one? She might give the wrong blood or hang the wrong IV, since she can't spell."
The Philadelphia Inquirer, which notes that Jones was suspended twice whilst with the Beat, noted that Brown had been asking for USD 500,000 in her claim but the settlement was kept confidential.
Previous Miss Jones:
Previous Radio One Inc.:
Consent order and judgment (13 page 380KB PDF):
Philadelphia Inquirer report:
2005-08-09: UK Emap's takeover of Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) that was announced in June (See RNW Jun 22) has now gained clearance from Britain's Office of Fair Trading, which has said it will not refer the deal to the Competition Commission, but media regulator Ofcom has said there will have to be divestures and changes to meet regulations relating to digital multiplexes and services.
Ofcom says that the GBP 391 million (USD 714 million) deal would put Emap in breach of codes regarding ownership of local digital multiplexes although it finds no problems with the acquisition of SRH's 21 local licences.
In the case of digital multiplexes regulations prohibit holding licences for two multiplexes where the potential audience for one service includes at least half the potential audience of the other.
Ofcom says this means Emap cannot hold both the Ayr and Glasgow multiplex licences and it also says rules limiting the number of services an organization can provide in a multiplex area also mean Emap would breach the regulations in the case of the Aberdeen, Ayr and Dundee & Perth multiplexes.
It says it is up to Emap how it comes into compliance and notes that the ruling does not hold up the takeover but does require Emap to take suitable action after completion. Emap is now due to make a stock market statement today and assume control of SRH.
Ofcom takeover assessment (40 KB 8 page PDF):
2005-08-09: Salem has announced second quarter net broadcasting revenues up 7.8% to USD 47.8 million, station operating income up 5.6% to USD 20 million and net income of USD 3.6 million (14 cents per diluted share) compared to a net loss of USD 200,000 (A cent per share) a year earlier when the figures included losses totalling USD 8.2 million - USD 4.0 million loss net of tax from early retirement of the company's 9.0% senior subordinated notes due 2011, a USD 300,000 loss net of tax from discontinued operation and other losses of USD 1.3 million, net of tax related to the change in fair market value of the company's interest rate swaps. In comparison this year's results included only a USD 400,000 loss, net of tax related to an accrual of litigation costs of USD 700,000.
In his comment, President and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III highlighted same-station figures, saying, "Despite a challenging quarter of flat revenue growth for the overall radio industry, Salem achieved 6.2% same station revenue growth and 10.6% same station operating income growth."
"Salem's performance," he added, " was a result of strong same station growth at our News Talk stations, which grew revenue by 23.7% and at our contemporary Christian music (`CCM') station in Atlanta, which grew revenue by 20.0% in the quarter. Our Christian Teaching and Talk stations continued their history of steady and consistent performance growing same station revenue by 5.7% in the quarter."
Atsinger said Salem was "confident about our future growth prospects" and noted strong performances by its stations in attracting female audiences.
"Our CCM format stations in Atlanta, Cleveland, Portland and Honolulu," he said, " each achieved their highest audience share to date in their female 25-54 target demographic in Arbitron's spring 2005 book. Also in the spring book, KLTY's female 25-54 audience share was tied for #1 in the Dallas market. This is a significant accomplishment since it is the first time a CCM station has been ranked #1 in the female 24-54 demographic in any major market. These audience trends position us favourably for future revenue and profit growth."
Looking ahead, Salem is predicting third quarter same station net broadcasting revenue growth in the mid single digits and same station SOI growth in the mid to high single digits compared to a year earlier with overall net broadcasting revenue to be between USD 50.0 million and USD 50.5, SOI to be between USD 18.0 million and USD 18.5 million approximately even with third quarter 2004, and net income per diluted share between nine cents and eleven cents.
In other US radio business, Sirius Satellite Radio is to redeem all its outstanding 15% Senior Secured Discount Notes due 2007 and 14.5% Senior Secured Notes due 2009 on September 8.
The 15% Notes will be redeemed at a price of 107.5% of the principal amount outstanding plus interest to the redemption date and the 14.5% Notes will be redeemed at a price of 104.833% of the principal amount outstanding plus interest to the redemption date.
2005-08-09: Former Radio New Zealand managing editor of news Lynne Snowdon has lost her bid to be re-instated pending a full court hearing of her claim of unjustified dismissal by the broadcaster (See RNW Aug 2).
Judge Coral Shaw ruled that it would be unjust to make the broadcaster re-instate Snowdon on an interim basis before the full hearing, which is scheduled in November.
Previous Radio New Zealand:
2005-08-09: Clear Channel says "dramatic increases in time spent listening" in the top 50 US markets are yet "another positive indicator that the company's Less Is More initiative is creating a more favourable environment for listeners."
It notes that Arbitron's Spring 2005 date show listening to its stations up by an average 14.5% on a year earlier and Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan says in a statement, "Over the past year, the Clear Channel team has worked extremely hard to make our stations sound even better for our listeners by running fewer commercials per hour and improving ad copy."
"This new, more entertaining environment has translated into increased time spent listening to our stations," he added. "In addition to making radio more engaging for our listeners, we've also made vast improvements to benefit our advertisers, including adding shorter, more effective radio spots, fewer spots per commercial break and improved creative."
Clear Channel is also claiming success online and says the June comScore/Arbitron Online Ratings Report shows its streaming traffic was up "an eye-popping 177%."
Clear Channel says it now has some 400 stations streaming programming and in an average week in June, Clear Channel Online Music & Radio sites pulled in more than 850,000 listeners for streaming broadcasts, 100,000 up on the previous month.
It says TSL for Clear Channel Online Music & Radio is up 51% year-to-date and that since January 2005, Clear Channel Online Music & Radio rose from last place to a very competitive third place in the number of weekly listeners.
RNW comment: Trust the PR people to talk of "eye-popping" increases when a year ago Clear Channel's streaming was a pretty moribund operation. Still it is a plus to see the company finally taking online semi-seriously albeit its service is vary limited in terms of on-demand and MP3 services as opposed to straight streaming operations.
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-08-08: Back to podcasting again this week in our look at print comment on radio with articles that see the technology as currently overblown in its publicity but with potential, as likely to have that potential stifled by commercial concerns, and as a potential threat to advertising.
On the last, an article by Paul Durman in the UK Sunday Times, suggests that just as personal video recorders are "scaring the living daylights out of television advertisers, fearful that viewers will quickly learn to fast-forward through the commercials" "the podcasting phenomenon is posing a similar threat to commercial radio."
Commenting in UK terms, Durman notes that existing radio companies have speedily embraced the technology as well as the amateurs, who were the first to adopt it and notes that in the UK last week, the BBC had eight podcasts in the top 10, with the Chris Moyles show at No 1. The top 100 included podcasts from Virgin, a pioneer of the technology with the Pete and Geoff breakfast show although its podcast is stripped of news, weather and travel information that would date and also, for copyright reasons, of the music in the show, LBC, CNN, Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal.
For the BBC, which does not depend on advertising, Chris Kimber, head of radio interactive at the corporation, said feedback from listeners had been "overwhelmingly" positive but Roger Parry, the chairman of Clear Channel International, expressed caution in terms of advertising saying, "You have exactly the same sort of issues that you have with a Sky+ box [A UK personal video recording system]. The conventional, 30-second spot is threatened. The more power you have to listen to something under your control the less likely you are to sit through (an advertisement)."
The article also notes concerns in terms of local advertising it that podcasts may be listened to by people from a distant geographic location.
James Cridland, head of new-media strategic development at Virgin Radio, looked at the technology more in terms of opportunity. The Pete and Geoff podcast, which he said is being downloaded 85,000 times a month and which he described as "the best of our breakfast show and what people tune in for - which apart from the music is the entertaining and wry observations on the world" is preceded by adverts specific to the show that run at the start of the podcast.
Cridland commented, "We're asking people, 'Do you fast-forward the ads?' No, they're not, which is interesting. If it was the same ads all the time, they would."
He added, "We believe we can reach new audiences for our advertisers that we otherwise couldn't. It's a great marketing tool. "There are a lot of people who will be able to sample what our breakfast show is all about who perhaps would not have otherwise listened to Virgin Radio."
Cridland also saw opportunities, as did Stan Ng, Apple's director of iPod marketing worldwide, in the ability to appeal to minority audiences because of the absence of geographical limitations on listening to podcasts.
There is however the question of copyright for music in a podcast and Ng commented
Ng is reluctant to share the computer company's thinking here. "We definitely are concerned with (protecting) copyright and intellectual property" although he would not go into specifics.
Ways round the problem could be to limit the life of a podcast or the number of times it could be played and the article says the music industry could be receptive to the technology.
It quoted Adam Klein, executive vice-president for strategy and business development at EMI, as saying, "We are hugely excited about podcasting. It's at a very nascent stage, but I think it could grow into a very nice complement to radio. We are very receptive to people approaching us to work out how everybody gets treated fairly, the consumers as well as the artists, the lyricists and the writers.
"We've all become a lot more sophisticated about how to create business models that could meet a broad range of interests," he added, "Everybody's trying to work out what's a responsible way to do this."
In the Los Angeles Times, Chris Suellentrop starts his article by commenting, "Steve Jobs has a good publicist. How else to explain July's month long media swoon over a phenomenon - podcasting - that is used by almost no one?
He later contradicts himself -depending on the definition of no one - by writing, "Media and technology reporters are obviously interested in podcasting, but so are political reporters (John Edwards podcasts! So does Nancy Pelosi! And Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger!), religion reporters (for whom "Godcasts" is the neologism of choice) and local news reporters, who get to write about the podcasters in their backyards (and employ Onion-like headlines such as "Tri-state man part of communications 'revolution.' "). "
After this he says, "Although podcasting triumphalists deserve to be deflated, the technology actually is a big deal" and goes on to suggest that the portability of the medium means many think it is likely to stay around.
In a comparison with radio, Andy Bowers, a Los Angeles-based editor at Slate and producer for NPR's "Day to Day" comments, "Radio's big strength has been portability. It's the one thing you can do while doing other things."
And looking at potential finance, Benjamin Walker, a former producer for the public radio show "The Connection" who now produces a show called "The Theory of Everything" that is broadcast on five stations and also is available via podcast, envisions the first "pledgecast," in which a podcaster, like some bloggers, receives voluntary contributions from the audience.
"What about listener-supported podcasts? It seems to me that that's a business model that could really easily transfer from public radio," Walker said. The listeners' money would go to support the show and its creators, rather than "the infrastructure of the stations."
In USA Today, Michelle Kessler's report included details of one US station that has already introduced a podcast containing music. However it's not material from the major labels. Seattle public station KEXP couldn't podcast some of its show because of music restrictions so it invited 14 unsigned or small-label bands from the Seattle area to contribute songs to a podcast. Richards asked a lawyer - a listener who volunteers at the station - to draw up a simple contract for the bands.
Kessler quotes morning DJ John Richards as saying we couldn't sit around and wait and wait for a major (label) to sign off on this" and says KEXP did not release numbers but said the podcast was a hit. KEXP, she notes, is now podcasting some live performances to which it owns the rights.
The problem with major label material however is much more difficult to resolve because, as the article notes, unlike broadcast radio or streamed signals, where blanket licensing agreements exist, for podcasting at the moment there would have to be specific agreements for each piece of music.
Because of the ease with which podcasts can be copied, the recording industry is more concerned about piracy than with broadcasts or streams and RIAA lawyer Steve Marks commented that a with a podcast people "are getting a copy of an entire program ... an unprotected copy that they can do whatever they want with."
After podcasts, what it's about - audio - and our suggested listening: Some is available as a podcast - which means that you can store and carry it more easily (not that a stream can't be recorded with the appropriate software) - and also download a little more speedily - we reckon their system imitations mean a 30 minute show from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (around 24 MB) takes us 9-10 minutes. Much worthwhile material isn't however available as a podcast although on-demand streams are available.
On that we picked up on a little late - now available only until around 19:00 GMT tonight was Betrayal on BBC Radio 4 last Monday in which journalist Eric Abrahams talks of his experiences in apartheid South Africa - he was banned and placed under house arrest: The betrayal it turns out was by his father and their conversation on the matter is illuminating of their relationship.
Then we'd suggest last Sunday's Wire on BBC Radio 3 - S, by Kazuko Hohki, one half of the Frank Chickens group, is the story of a teenage girl living in Tottenham who believes she is the moon princess in a famous Japanese folk story. It's a mix of fantasy and music with a charm of its own.
Before that the station in Prom 32 from this year's concerts featured American multi-vocalist Bobby McFerrin with the jazz ensemble Impure Thoughts, led by pianist Michael Wolff, and the African Children's Choir.
Also from Radio 3 this week if you didn't catch it on its first run, we'd suggest the repeat over four nights from tomorrow (at 20:45 GMT) of Nile Lands in which Zeinab Badawi visits the countries through which the Nile flows to explore, ad the BCB puts it, " how the river has shaped their different cultural identities and helped to form perceptions of Africa in the Western imagination."
And as a final suggestion from Radio 3 we'd go for next Saturday (17:00GMT) and the final part of the three part Rhythm 'n' Jews series in the Jazz File slot: This programme looks at the rediscovery of klezmer by The Klezmorim, the Klezmer Conservatory Band in California and Andy Statman and Zev Feldman in New York.
From BBC Radio 2 we'd suggest tomorrow night and at 19:30 GMT "Hollywood and McCarthy" the first of two programmes in which Michael Freedland tells the story of the activities of the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
Then Radio 4 and for those who appreciate acronyms try last week's edition of Word of Mouth in which Michael Rosen launched the new Word of Mouth competition known cryptically as WOMBAC (Word of Mouth Brilliant Acronyms Competition) in which listeners are invited to send in their own freshly minted acronyms that reflect contemporary Britain. Available on listen again until this Friday when this week's programme airs at 15:00 GMT
And finally why not comedy to end the week and we'd suggest the Now Show from BBC Radio 4 - Friday at 17:00 GMT with last week's show available until then.
Los Angeles Times - Suellentrop:
UK Times - Durman:
USA Today - Kessler:
2005-08-08: According to the London Times, recording companies are lobbying for US legislation to force radio stations to pay for performance fees for airing music, a situation that the global music industry body IFPI says is "contrary to international standards".
Statistics recently released by London-headquartered IFPI show worldwide performance rights collections totalled USD US 493 million in 2004 - up 4.5% on 2003 and up 19% over the past five years, a figure that covers a whole gamut of income including web casts, fees from broadcasters and public performances including clubs and hotels.
In most countries broadcasters pay performing rights to recording companies for airing their music as well as royalty fees to composers unlike the situation in the US where the radio companies have an exemption for the former although they pay a royalty fee to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). This used to be a revenue percentage agreement but an agreement last year replaced this with a set fee system agreed with the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) that will mean radio stations will pay some USD 1.7 billion to ASCAP over six years (See RNW Oct 19, 2002).
Reflecting this situation performing rights fees from Europe in 2004 were USD 358 million of the total and the UK alone paid recording companies USD 93.5 million for rights compared to USD 9.1 million from the US.
The Times says IFPI described the situation in the US as and "a major shortcoming"and has started to lobby for a change in the laws through its affiliate, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Lauri Rechardt, director of licensing and litigation at IFPI, told the paper he was convinced the change was just " matter of time" although from its point of view the timing should be " as soon as possible."
"We need to convince the political establishment that our cause is just. It needs to be put into legislation, as has been done in all other countries," he said. "It's been raised by the RIAA and the artists representatives."
He added concerning the implications, "The US is so huge [that] we would double the value of the global market. I estimate, conservatively, that the US radio market is worth half a billion dollars in performance rights."
RNW comment: So now we have the irony of recording companies on the one hand illegally bribing stations in the US to play their songs so as to increase sales and on the other hand lobbying to be paid for airing their music.
The reason US station have performing rights exemptions is, of course, a historic exception made on just that basis of the promotional value and we can see logic in the recording companies' case. We could also see furious counter-lobbying and suspect the fear of the media companies will outweigh the bribes of the recording ones when it comes to US politicians.
IFPI web site:
UK Times report:
2005-08-08: Susquehanna's KNBR-AM has suspended Larry Krueger, host of its Sportsphone 680 programme, for a week without pay following comments made about the San Francisco Giants on his show last Wednesday. KNBR has been the Giants' flagship station for 27 years and owns about 1.5 percent of the club.
Giants' manager Felipe Alou has quit his pre-game show on KNBR in protest at the penalty terming it a "slap on the hand" and saying it was equivalent to nothing.
My voice can't be coming out of the same airwaves,'' Alou said. ``I'm a man of principle and always will be.''
Krueger made his derogatory comments about Giants' players and Alou following the team's 3-2 loss to the Rockies its fourth loss in a row and second to the Rockies.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle Krueger commented, "I cannot watch this brand of baseball any longer. A truly awful, pathetic, old team that only promises to be worse two years from now. It's just awful and bad to watch. Brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly.''
He went on to criticize general manager Brian Sabean and his player- development staff, then said about Alou: "You have a manager in Felipe whose mind has turned to Cream of Wheat.''
The paper reports that Alou, who encountered blatant racism upon arriving in the States from the Dominican Republic in the late 1950s, was especially upset about the latter comment and told reporters, "I'm going to make sure that it is known worldwide,''
Alou added, "I had zero means when I was a 20-year-old kid in Louisiana, but I'm 70 now. I have the means now to identify people like that. They're going to know in my country tonight. (Even) the president of my country.''
He added of racist remarks, "I heard them in the South and some other cities, but not here. It tells me that a man like me and the Latin guys have to be aware it's not over yet, or it is coming back.''
The station web site does not carry details of the remarks in its story; it reports the suspension and says that Krueger on his show "was an outspoken critic of the current Giants situation and in the heat of the moment, made an unfortunate comment about Caribbean-baseball players. Although Krueger subsequently apologized on the air Thursday for his remarks and in person to Felipe Alou on Friday at SBC Park [RNW note: According to other reports Alou rejected the proffered apology out of hand], station management felt further steps were needed."
Krueger is then quoted as saying, "It was not my intention to offend or demean any group or individual with the Giants. I am sorry to those I may have offended and rest assured, there was no malice intended."
Tony Salvadore, KNBR Senior Vice President and Market Manager, says in the station's report, "Larry's choice of words in characterizing a group of players was unfortunate and he was the first to recognize that and apologize. But we felt that stronger action was required in this case We need to make it clear that Larry is free to comment on the Giants performance on the field and we stand by his right to do that. However, when those comments offend any segment of the team, then we have to act."
The Chronicle reports that asked whether Krueger's remarks were grounds for firing, Salvadore responded, "Larry's been a terrific employee here for eight-plus years. This is a severe financial penalty and a blow to his professionalism. If this had been a repeat offence, it would be different.''
The paper says the station tried to minimize the damage by removing the offensive reference from the transcript of Krueger's rant on its Web site and at one point making the topic off-limits on the air.
It also says Alou, who said he had no interest in hearing from Krueger, called a meeting with the team's seven Latin players in uniform to tell them about the situation and to get their reaction and adds that Edgardo Alfonzo and Omar Vizquel clearly took offence with Alfonzo terming the remark "a stupid and racist comment" and Vizquel saying the comments were insulting and the worst of that nature he'd heard since former Atlanta pitcher John Rocker's infamous interview with Sports Illustrated in 1999.
RNW comment: Yet again to us this is a case of a station's initial reaction being the usual weasel response - to play things down- that ultimately is probably a case of shooting itself in the foot where it would be much more sensible to act quickly and openly.
We see no reason for anyone to be convinced by the host's apology or station's action that there is any genuine or significant remorse. Far better for the station to have taken action immediately without allowing the row to develop, to leave the comments in the open but disown them, to actually encourage comment from the players about the issue so as to clear the air, and - rather than suspending the host, give him the option of no job or a month's pay at least to a charity chosen by the players and insist that he go on air with the players to allow a fair discussion.
If he then chose to talk himself out of a job, that would be his choice but one that would not leave a bitter taste as far as the station is concerned. If on the other hand the air was cleared and benefits were seen going to an organization suggested by the players, the mater would be properly closed.
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2005-08-08: Australian Broadcasting Corporation morning show host Sally Loane is to leave the corporation at the end of this month after nearly six years at its Sydney station ABC 702 according to the Sydney Morning Herald, which says she confirmed her impending departure but would not comment on whether she had been forced out.
Loane, a former newspaper journalist who is 50 and has two children, told the paper, "All I can say is I've been in that morning slot for 5½ years - a long period. It's a very tough job, the morning shift, because you have to start very early."
So far the ABC has not made any formal announcement about her departure and the paper says ABC management refused comment.
The Sun-Herald says that ABC Melbourne drive time host Virginia Trioli, another former print journalist, is said to have rejected an offer from Vega and is being tipped as a replacement for Loane
It also reports that a a significant shake-up is due at 702, whose breakfast host Angela Catterns left to join the new DMG Vega station that launched in Sydney at the beginning of this month.
It says that the station will launch a new breakfast show with a new host and could opt to end it earlier at 7.45am, before the 15-minute news bulletin and the 30-minute current affairs program AM, thus allowing the morning show to start at 08:30; in the meantime the breakfast show is being hosted by ABC Newsradio's Debbie Spillane until a permanent replacement is named.
As regards a new breakfast host it said station manager Roger Summerill commented, "We have narrowed it down a bit and we're much closer to making a call."
Possible replacements according to rumour include Ellen Fanning, who is under contract to Channel Nine until the end of the year, and Sarah MacDonald, former Triple J morning host.
Previous ABC, Australia:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2005-08-07: Last week saw no major developments for the regulators although there was a reasonable run of routine work in most areas.
In Australia, the only radio action from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) was a ruling on a complaint about advertising on a New South Wales community station that was made to predecessor the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) and which was upheld (See RNW Aug 6).
From Canada there was again a run of routine radio licence work from from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) including, in order of province:
Approval of application by CHUM Limited and Milestone Media Broadcasting (Edmonton) Limited (MMBEL), a corporation controlled by MMBEL, for the acquisition by MMBEL of the 49% partnership interest in Edmonton Vibe Partnership (EVP) held by CHUM; the current partners of EVP, have been authorized to operate a new commercial FM approved for Edmonton in 2004.
The Commission has not yet issued the licence for this service because the service has not yet commenced operations.
*Denial of application to convert CHOR-AM, Summerland, to FM. The CRTC said that the proposed station would extend the CHOR signal into the Penticton area where licensee Standard Radio already owns two stations and said the contours should be more closely aligned to the contours of the existing station.
* Approval of application to relocate transmitter CFXX-FM Whistler of CFXX-FM Vancouver and increase its antenna height.
*Approval of new 1620 watts Adult contemporary English-language commercial FM in Pembroke.
*Administrative renewal until 28 February 2006 of licences of CJRN-AM and CFLZ-FM, Niagara Falls. The CRTC notes that this does not dispose of any substantive issue relating to the renewal of the licences.
*Renewal until 31 August 2012 of the licence of CJXY-FM, Burlington.
*Approval of extension until September 23, 2006, of time limit to commence operation of CIRA-FM, Montréal's transmitter in Victoriaville authorized in September 2003.
*Administrative renewal until 31 August 2006 of licence for the transitional digital radio undertaking CIMF-DR-1 Gatineau, associated with CIMF-FM Gatineau.
The CRTC notes that this does not dispose of any substantive issue relating to the renewal of the licence.
*Approval of extension until 31 August 2006 of deadline to bring into operation transitional digital radio undertaking CIMF-DR-1 Gatineau. This is the second extension of this deadline.
*Administrative renewal until 31 August 2006 of licence for transitional digital radio undertaking CFXJ-DR-1 Toronto associated with CFXJ-FM Toronto.
The CRTC notes that this does not dispose of any substantive issue relating to the renewal of the licence.
*Approval of extension until 31 August 2006 of deadline to bring into operation transitional digital radio undertaking CFXJ-DR-1 Toronto. This is the second extension of this deadline.
*Administrative renewal until 31 August 2006 of licence for transitional digital radio undertaking CKTF-DR-1 Gatineau, associated with CKTF-FM Gatineau,
The CRTC notes that this does not dispose of any substantive issue relating to the renewal of the licence.
*Approval of extension until 31 August 2006 of deadline to bring into operation transitional digital radio undertaking CFXJ-DR-1 Toronto. This is the second extension of this deadline.
* Approval of extension until March 31, 2006, of time limit to commence the operation of the new transmitter of CBF-FM-1, Sherbrooke, in Magog.
* Denial of application by Dyracom Communications Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language progressive rock music format low-power FM radio station in Estevan. The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB), Rawlco Radio Ltd., which operates a number of radio stations serving medium and small markets in Saskatchewan, had objected to the granting of a licence that they said would not be not consistent with the objectives of the licensing policy for LPFMs.
The CRTC did not take up this issue but refused the licence on the basis of potential impact on the two existing commercial stations serving the market.
The CRTC has also issued a public notice for comments, with a deadline for submission of September 8, on a number of applications including:
*Application by Bel-Roc Communications Inc. for the use of frequency 92.9 MHz for the operation of new FM station in Haldimand County, Ontario, approved in April this year.
Bel Roc is also proposing to increase its antenna height and reduce power from 13,300 to 3.300 watts.
The CRTC notes that this application is technically mutually exclusive with an application submitted by CHCD Inc. to add a 1,352 watts FM transmitter at Haldimand County to broadcast the programming of CHCD-FM, Simcoe, using the frequency 93.1 MHz.
* Application by CJRT-FM Inc. to broadcast predominantly Korean-language programming from CJRT-FM, Toronto, using a Subsidiary Communications Multiplex Operations (SCMO) channel.
*Application to add a 220 watts FM transmitter at Toronto to broadcast the programming of CJKX-FM in order to adequately serve the population of downtown Toronto.
There were no radio decisions from Ireland but in the UK, Ofcom has announced the applicants for new commercial FM licences advertised for Swansea and Northallerton (See RNW Aug 6).
From the US there were no significant developments, although the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been petitioned to deny or restrict XM Satellite Radio's takeover of WCS Wireless, Inc. (See RNW Aug 5).
The FCC also re-instated a number of Calvaries Chapel applications for low power FM stations that were among 14 applications initially denies (See Licence News, Jul 31).
They included a station for Banning, California; and the FCC also re-instated and granted Calvary applications for LPFM stations in Aberdeen, North Carolina; Manitowac, Wisconsin; Santa Margarita, California; and Yakima, Washington.
In Arizona it turned down objections to the transfer of KRFM-FM and KSNX-FM, and KVWM-AM, and KVSL-AM from FFD Holdings, Inc. to Petracom of Holbrook, LLC., which is currently the licensee of KDJI-AM and KZUA-FM, Holbrook, Arizona.
The objection was made on various grounds including misrepresentation of financial qualifications and compliance with multiple ownership rules. The stations concerned are part of the holdings of Petracom Media, LLC and its three wholly-owned subsidiaries, Petracom of Joplin, LLC, Petracom of Texarkana, LLC, and Petracom of Show Low, LLC, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2004.
The bankruptcy court prior to approving the bankruptcy plans had authorized the Debtors' plan of reorganization the Debtors to cooperate with Textron Financial Corporation, the largest creditor in the bankruptcy proceeding, to transfer or assign the Debtors' FCC licenses to Textron or its designee. Textron named FFD Holdings I, Inc. ("FFD") as its designee, and on October 28, 2004, Petracom of Show Low, LLC, the licensee of the Show Low Stations, filed applications seeking Commission consent to assign its FCC licenses to FFD.
While these applications were pending before the Commission, the Debtors amended and finalized their Chapter 11 Plan and entered into a Memorandum of Understanding and Asset Purchase Agreement with Textron and FFD, which provided that the Show Low Station licenses would be assigned to Petracom Holbrook.
The court approved the plan and in December last year the FCC granted the initial application to assign the licences, a grant that it has now upheld.
In doing so it noted that Petracom Holbrook's initial narrative statement did not fully delineate the radio markets created by the proposed transaction but said Petracom Holbrook has rectified the omissions and provided a detailed analysis of multiple ownership compliance in each relevant radio market. Staff review, it said, further confirms that the proposed transaction creates two separate radio markets and complies with the local radio ownership rule in each market.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-08-07: Fisher Communications, Inc. has reported second quarter revenues down 0.75% on a year ago to USD 40.1 million and down 0.28% for the first half of the year to USD 70.1 million; it says that in each case the reduction was primarily down to lower political advertising offset by higher revenue from its Fisher Plaza.
It reduced its losses from USD 1.4 million to USD 1.1 million for the quarter and from USD 11.3 million to USD 6.2 million for the half-year, partly because there were no losses in derivative instruments this year compared to pre-tax losses on derivative instruments of USD1.4 million (USD0.9 million after tax) in the second quarter of 2004 and USD10.5 million (USD6.9 million after tax) in the six months ended June 30, 2004.
Acting President and CEO Ben Tucker commented, "We saw strength in local broadcast advertising in the second quarter of 2005, which helped to offset a decline in political advertising from the prior year."
In other radio business, stock in WorldSpace, whose initial public offering appeared to be successful - it said it was offering 11.5 million shares priced at USD 21 (See RNW Aug 5) and on the first day its price rose to USD 26 before it closed at USD 22.36 - has now dropped below the offer price ended end the week at USD 20. WorldSpace has not said how many shares were actually sold.
It is not clear whether the fall is due to business concerns or prejudice over the fact that the company's investors included group of Saudis that includes banker Khalid Bin Mahfouz, owner of the National Commercial Bank, banker to the Saudi royal family and Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law, and Salah Idris, the owner of a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan that the United States bombed in 1998 alleging it had ties to Osama bin Laden.
WorldSpace took the unusual step of making a disclosure to the US Securities and Exchange Commission saying, "Allegations of ties between certain of our investors and terrorism could negatively affect our reputation and stock price" but said the investors concerned, who had " repeatedly denied all such allegations" no longer have any "voting control rights" in it.
[RNW note: In response to a lawsuit from Idris, the US in 1999 opted to unfreeze US bank accounts on the day it had to respond to the suit. Justice officials said they took the action rather than reveal sensitive intelligence information but his lawyers say the decision was made not to defend the suit because there no sustainable evidence.
The lawyers, Akin, Gump, Hauer and Feld, hired the detective agency Kroll Associates to conduct an independent investigation into the plant and Kroll's report concluded there was no evidence of any dealings by Idris with Osama bin Laden or any other extremist Islamic individuals or groups and that there was no evidence to support US claims that a chemical weapons precursor had been found in soil samples taken from the vicinity of the plant.
WorldSpace, which had licensed its technology to XM Satellite Radio, sold the rights to XM after the bombing for USD 75 million.
The US has taken no formal action against Mahfouz although he was named as an alleged "financier" of Al Qaeda in the USD 1 trillion lawsuit filed by the families of the victims of the September 11 attacks. However his eldest son, Abdulrahman, had been a board member of the charity Muwaffaq that the US Treasury Department named as an al Qaeda front.
Amongst prominent Americans with business ties to the bin Laden family are US President George Bush's family - Harken Energy, owned by Mahfouz, took over Spectrum 7, which in turn had taken over Arbusto energy (which had USD 3.1 million in debts), founded by George W Bush and others: Bush became Spectrum President, a 14% share in the company, and was also rescued financially by the deal, which gave him collateral for his later investment in the Texas Rangers baseball team. He also was allocated Harken stock and a consulting contract after Harken bought Spectrum, but sold that stock for around USD 850,000 a week before].
2005-08-07: The UK diary radio ratings system used by RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) has again been attacked following the latest ratings according to the UK Guardian, which says senior radio executives have commented that the figures were "volatile."
The paper only quotes one radio figure, Chrysalis Radio chief executive Phil Riley, who it says believes the system is stretched to breaking point.
The paper notes that the ratings show the group's Heart stations as having listening hours down from 15.6 million a week in the previous quarter to 11.2 million whilst those for LBC's speech station were up by more than 90% and says the industry is questioning whether the figures "resemble listeners' actual habits."
Riley commented that the system was struggling to cope and added, "We're all seeing Rajar show more volatility than it used to. There are lots more stations in the diary than there used to be and the current system is being stretched to cope with that. The new system [RAJAR is evaluating three electronic systems] should reduce volatility, but we are yet to see what the contractors come back with."
"We've got an increasingly sophisticated market and we need an increasingly sophisticated RAJAR system to cope with it," he added.
Richard Menzies-Gow, media analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort Wassserstein, told the paper, "In our view the key feature is the ongoing volatility of station statistics quarter-to-quarter. While Rajar is addressing this issue in the move to electronic measurement, we think this cannot come soon enough for the industry."
RAJAR defended its figures and a spokeswoman commented that the volatility was real rather than just a function of the system.
"Volatility is due to two things," she said. "First, it is real. Volatility in the market is caused by the high competition, stations changing presenters and running marketing campaigns. It is accentuated by the closeness of competition and the explosion of it, especially in London.
"The second reason is that volatility can be caused by sample size, she added. "Electronic measurement will not stop it. Volatility is a feature of sample size, not methodology."
She added that Rajar is looking at extending the size of the sample - RAJAR's sample in the latest ratings was 31,303 nationally and 3,992 in London - used to address this issue and said this would be introduced before electronic measurement.
RNW note: In its posted response to the ratings, Chrysalis made no reference to any problems, just accentuating what it saw as positive: Overall listening hours for Chrysalis Radio (ILR) have shown an increase of 0.4% quarter on quarter - to a total of 47.6m hours. In the same period, reach has remained constant with 5.5m listeners tuning into the Chrysalis network each week. In London, listening hours for Chrysalis Radio rose by 3.5% to 22m hours in the quarter and Chrysalis has increased its market share in the capital to 9.9% from 9.6% in the previous survey.
UK Guardian report:
2005-08-06: Westwood One has reported record second quarter revenues - up 1.6% on a year ago - but operating income operating income was down 4% to USD 41.4 million and net income was down 8% to USD 32.1 million (Down from 26cents to 25 cents a share).
Westwood said the increase in revenues came from a 7.7% increase in revenues from local/regional commercial advertisements, which includes increased revenues from complementary distribution channels, and the decrease in operating income was primarily attributable to increased programming, production and distribution costs.
For the first six months of the year, Westwood's net revenues are up 2.5% to USD 275.9 million, operating income was down 4.7% to USD 70.6 million, and net income was down 8.8% to USD 38.9 million (from 43 cents to 42 cents per share).
Looking ahead Westwood One says it expects to see second half growth in revenue and operating income in low- to mid-single-digits this year.
Westwood One CEO Shane Coppola told the company's conference call that it had been tough to compete with last year's second quarter, when its revenues were up 8.8% and also noted the effects on its business of this year's cancellation of the National Hockey League season, which cost the company about USD2 million in annual national revenue.
Previous Westwood One:
2005-08-06: UK media regulator Ofcom says it has received three applications each for new commercial FM licences for Swansea in Wales and Northallerton in northeast England.
They include in the case of Swansea an application backed by Macquarie Bank Limited of Australia, the first time the bank has been involved in a UK licence bid although two non-British companies, CanWest of Canada and Emmis of the US, have been involved in unsuccessful UK radio licence bids since the Communications Act made this possible.
Macquarie has already moved into regional radio in Australia with purchases of DMG Australia's 57 regional radio stations that it bought in an AUD 193.5 million (then USD 138 million) deal last year (See RNW Sep 3, 2004) following an earlier AUD 173 million (then USD 122 million) purchase of RG Capital Radio, which owned 35 stations (See RNW Jun 2, 2004).
It operates funds that own a wide range of infrastructure companies and in the UK recently having acquired BBC Broadcast, the corporation's commercial multimedia division, for GBP 166 million (USD 303 million) in June (See RNW Jun 26) and its Communications Infrastructure Group bought NTL's UK TV transmission towers last year for GBP 1.3 billion (USD 2.3 billion).
Its Swansea bid is headed up by Tim Schoonmaker, the former chief executive of Emap Performance who quit the company last year (See RNW Jan 9, 2004) and is likely to be a case of dipping a toe into the water in advance of bids for a larger north east licence next month.
The bids for the licences are:
Diamond FM - the bid from Macquarie-backed Radio UK Holdings Ltd with a classic rock-based format.
SA FM - a bid from Swansea Local Radio Ltd with a mix of music and talk for 35-64 year olds.
Swansea Bay Radio - A bid from Swansea Bay Radio for a gold and easy listening music station targeted at a 35 plus audience.
BTN FM - A Mowbray Radio bid featuring the best music from the past four decades and targeted at a 25-54 demographic.
Hambleton Radio - A Hambleton Radio bid for a full service station.
Northallerton FM - A Garrison Radio Ltd bid with a full service talk and music station targeting 20-60 year olds.
Previous Macquarie Bank:
2005-08-06: After 52 years with KMOX-AM, the St. Louis Cardinals have finally confirmed they are to leave the station, now owned by Infinity, and move their broadcasts to KTRS-AM, owned by Dorsey Media Group, from the end of this season.
The move, which has been widely rumoured as haggling about money continued, will give the team a half interest in KTRS.
Making its announcement on Thursday, KTRS used an Associated Press report on its web site while KMOX posted a much more informative story. This noted that the move takes the team from a "50-thousand-watt station heard in more than 40 states and several Canadian provinces at night to a station with a considerably weaker signal" that cannot be picked up by some St Louis area residents but added that the Cardinals say the problem will be addressed by an agreement with WSMI, a 50-thousand-watt FM station in Litchfield (Illinois) to simulcast the games.
It also notes that the Cardinals also have an agreement with XM Satellite Radio for coast-to-coast coverage and games are also available on the Internet for a fee.
In a statement KMOX said it was "not prepared to enter into an agreement which would have had substantial financial implications on the station and Infinity Broadcasting in the future" and added, "The recent proliferation of available outlets to hear Cardinals baseball games, including online, satellite radio and cellular telephone, has decreased the exclusivity for which we had been paying a premium."
KTRS web site:
2005-08-06: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found that a New South Wales community station breached its licence conditions by broadcasting adverts.
Liverpool-Green Valley Community Radio Cooperative Ltd, the licensee of community radio service 2GLF Liverpool, was the subject of a complaint the Australian Broadcasting Authority, ACMA's predecessor body, about its Saturday-afternoons Hindi program, Radio Lehren, in November and December last year when it was said to have included an on-air 'auction' for a commercial enterprise; and sponsorship announcements in excess of five minutes in the hour.
The station was found to have breached the rules and the ACMA has noted that it has subsequently reminded the presenter of obligations to acts and codes and had already, following receipt of the original complaint, ended its 'auction' style advertisements and also ensured that all sponsorship announcements are appropriately tagged. The presenter has also been advised that the Bollywood competition announcements fall into the category of sponsorship announcements and are not community information.
2005-08-05: Cumulus, Radio One Inc., Univision and Viacom have now reported their second quarter results with Cumulus performing weakly.
Although it says revenues were up in 33 of the 61 markets it serves, the overall increase in net revenues was only of 1.3% to USD 87.4 million - Cumulus reported a 5.2% increase in local advertising but this was offset by an 17.7% fall in national ads - and a 3.6% increase in station operating expenses to USD 54,5 million and increased interest expenses meant station operating income was down 2.3% to USD 32.9 million and net income fell from USD 13.2 million to USD 8.8 million
Same station results were a little better than the overall figure with net revenues up 2.5% to USD 146.8 million, and station operating income up 0.8% to USD 50.6 million. Pro-forma results showed net revenue up 2.1% to USD 158.5 million with station operating income up 1.8% to USD 54.5 million and adjusted EBITDA up 1.8% to USD 46.9 million.
For the first six months of the year, Cumulus revenues were up 5.1 % on a year ago to USD 159.6 million but station operating expenses were up 6.2% to USD105.0 million, station operating income was up 3.2% to USD 54.5 million and net income was down 14.3% to USD 9.6 million (from 16 cents to 14 cents a share).
Pro-forma net revenues for the half-year were up 2.1% on a year earlier to USD 158.5 million, pro-forma station operating expenses were up 2.2% to USD 104.1 million, and pro forma station operating income was up 1.8% to USD 54.5 million
Looking ahead Cumulus says it expects third quarter pro-forma net revenues to be 2% up on a year ago.
Chairman and CEO Lew Dickey, commenting on the national advertising shortfall, told the company's conference call that it needed its national rep form - now Katz Media since Cumulus dropped Interep - to "create business and bring new and more national advertisers to the party so we'll have a better mix of accounts" although he expressed no dissatisfaction with Katz and said that under the new relationship he thought things would get better.
The results from Radio One Inc. were stronger with net broadcast revenue for the second quarter up 18% on a year ago to USD 101.5 million with operating income also up 18% - to USD 46.1 million, station operating income up 15% to USD 55.3 million, net income up 13% to USD 17.5 million (from 17 cents to 19 cents per diluted share) and net income applicable to common stockholders up 60% to USD 19.8 million (from 12 cents to 19 cents per diluted share).
For the first six months of the year, revenues were up 14.5% to USD 178.5 million, operating income was up 15.9% to USD 74.8 million, net income was up 12.5% to USD 29.5 million (from 25 to 28 cents per share), and net income applicable to common shareholders was up 65.5% to USD 26.8 million (from 15 cents to 25 cents per share).
President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III, commented of the results, "Our first full quarter with Reach Media turned out to be another very good one for Radio One. We handily outgrew our markets and posted solid results across the board. Additionally, in June, we began to execute our stock repurchase program, which we expect to continue in the upcoming months. With Reach Media and TV One now firmly in place alongside our radio platform, we think that the Company will start to benefit greatly from the sales, programming and promotional synergies that can be derived from cooperation across these three very powerful brands. I have never felt more optimistic about the future of Radio One than I do today."
Looking ahead, Radio One says that, including the operating results of Reach Media, it expects to report third quarter 2005 net broadcast revenue that will be in the mid to high-teens percent range higher than the 2004 net broadcast revenue of USD 84.4 million with station operating income that in the low double digit to mid-teens percent range higher than the USD 47.2 million a year earlier. Excluding Reach Media, it expects third quarter net broadcast revenue that will be in the mid-single digit percent range higher and station operating income in the mid-single digit percent range higher than a year earlier.
At Univision, overall net revenue was up 3% to USD 508.5 million with operating income before depreciation and amortization also up 3% - to USD 182.9 million - but net income after a non-cash charge of USD 48.3 million was down 56.9% to USD 36.1 million (from 24 cents a share to ten cents a share): Excluding the charge it was up 1% to USD 84.4 million (An unchanged 24 cents a share).
In divisional percentage revenue terms Univision Internet headed the list with a 33% rise for the quarter to USD 5.6 million, followed by radio with a rise of 9.1% to USD 99.3 million then TV revenues rose 1.4% to USD 354.7 million, and bringing up the rear was music with a 3% fall to USD 48.9 million.
Univision commented that its radio division significantly outperformed the industry as a whole noting that Radio Advertising Bureau figures were showing industry figures as flat.
"Second quarter revenue growth," it said, " was broad-based, showing strength in local, national, and network revenues Univision Radio experienced growth in several key markets, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Phoenix in the Spring 2005 book. Univision Radio's outstanding programming and effective cross promotion with Univision's local television stations has resulted in continued success in Los Angeles "
Chairman and CEO A. Jerrold Perenchio commented, "We continue to work diligently to monetize our operational successes and enhance shareholder value. Our Upfront is nearly completed, and we expect an increase over last year in the mid 20% range, which is significantly better than the slight declines in the reported Upfront results of the English language networks. Based on the meaningful Upfront commitments we have received, we expect a strong 2006. With our market leading positions and ability to attract young audiences, Univision media properties are undeniably the best way to reach the U.S. Hispanic consumer group -- a group whose buying power is now approximately USD 715 billion and is expected to more than double in the next decade."
Univision says it expects third quarter consolidated net revenues to increase by low single digit percentages with diluted earnings per share between 21 and.22 cents compared to 21 cents a year earlier.
Viacom reported revenues for the second quarter up 10% to USD 5.9 billion, operating income up 4% to USD 1.4 billion and net earnings from continuing operations up 6% to USD 762 million with diluted earnings per share up 14% to 47 cents.
In segment revenue terms cable networks were up 14% to USD 2 billion, Entertainment was up 24% to USD 880 million, outdoor was up 3% to USD 500 million, radio, lagging behind, was up 1% to USD 566 million whilst TV was down 1% to USD 2.025 billion.
For the six months, revenues increased 8% to USD 11.4 billion, operating income was up 5% to USD 2.6 billion and net earnings from continuing operations of were USD 1.4 billion (84 cents per diluted share); this compares with USD 1.3 billion (77 cents per diluted share) for the first half of 2004 which included a first quarter tax benefit of USD111 million (6 cents per diluted share), from the resolution of the Company's federal income tax audit for the years 1997 through May 4, 2000, and severance charges. Excluding these prior year items, net earnings from continuing operations increased 7% with diluted earnings per share growth of 15% for the first half of 2005.
In divisional revenue terms, cable revenue was up 17% to USD 3.7 billion, Entertainment was up 15% to USD 1.696 billion, Outdoor was up 5% to USD 928 million, radio was up 1% to USD 1.03 billion and TV was down 3% to USD 4.17 billion.
Chairman and CEO Sumner M. Redstone said Viacom passed the mid-year mark "with significant operating momentum in key areas, including our cable and broadcast networks, which continue to register ratings gains and advertising revenue increases, despite softness in local TV advertising markets. Other promising areas include Outdoor and Radio, both of which had revenue and operating income gains in the quarter."
He added, "We continue to make excellent progress in returning value to shareholders through our share repurchase program, under which we have purchased $2.4 billion worth of stock in the first half of 2005, and a total of 4.7 billion to date under our 8 billion purchase program announced last fall."
Looking ahead Viacom says it is on track to deliver mid single-digit growth in revenues and operating income and high single-digit growth in earnings per share based on 2004 revenues of $22.5 billion, operating income of $5.1 billion and diluted earnings per share of $1.54, which exclude the non-cash impairment and severance charges and the tax benefit recorded in 2004.
This 2005 outlook excludes one-time charges associated with the Company's announced spin-off in which it will create on company that will retain the Viacom name and will be comprised of MTV Networks, BET, Paramount Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment and Famous Music and another, CBS Corporation, will combine the CBS and UPN broadcast networks, Viacom Television Stations Group, Infinity Broadcasting, Viacom Outdoor, the CBS, Paramount and King World televisions production and syndication operations, as well as Showtime, Simon & Schuster and Paramount Parks.
In other US radio business WorldSpace has priced its initial public offering of 11,868,400 shares of Class A Common Stock has been priced at USD21.00 per share. The offering includes 368,400 shares being sold by an existing stockholder.
In the UK, Guardian Media Group (GMG) profits for 2005 to were down from GBP 43.6 million (USD 77.4 million) to GBP 22.9 million (USD 40.7 million) because of investment in new printing facilities despite an increase of around a fifth in turnover. Operating profit was up 45% however from GBP 84.5 million (USD 150 million) to GBP 122.4 million (USD 217 million) and the company said GMG Radio returned its first operational profit after deducting digital costs.
GMG commented of its radio operations, "GMG Radio has once again seen remarkable growth in its revenue, moving into operating profit for the first time with a positive contribution of GBP 1.5 million (USD 2.6 million) after a previous year loss of GBP 2.1 million (USD 3.7 million). Operating profit before accounting for digital operations stood at £3.5 million."
"For the second year running," it added, "GMG Radio outperformed the market, with its Real Radio stations all making significant contributions to profitability, with turnover growing by 15% year-on-year."
"Turnover in Scotland increased by 23 per cent, and in NW England Smooth FM saw a surge in listeners with a 63 per cent rise in audiences. In London, Jazz FM - re-branded this June to Smooth FM - registered growth of 9 per cent. The majority of the division's stations have again seen significant audience growth, with Real Radio in Wales and Scotland continuing to occupy the two leading positions on the UK regional stations share graph. The youngest station, Real in Yorkshire is already occupying eighth position. GMG Radio has rearranged its digital interests and as a result, there is now a Smooth or Real Radio service in most major UK markets."
Previous Radio One:
2005-08-05: Latest UK radio ratings released by RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) show the BBC maintaining its dominance; although its listening share dipped a little from 54.2% in the first quarter to 54% in the quarter to the end of June, that of commercial radio also slipped, down from 44.2% to 44.0%.
Its reach was 32.89 million - the second highest since RAJAR measurement started - compared with Commercial Radio's 31.20 million; this is up on the quarter (32.54m) and the year (32.40m).
Within the BBC figures, its digital stations lost listeners and Radio 3 was down -G-Cap commercial classical station Classic FM, however, increased its listening - but BBC Radio 1 was back above 10 million a week and BBC Radio 4 also gained listeners.
In London Capital Radio is back in the first rank but its audience dropped below 2 million and in Scotland both the BBC and commercial radio reported robust performances.
In terms of breakfast slots the big winner was Chris Moyles on BBC Radio 1, whose audience is now 6.26 million and the loser was Jamie Theakston on Chrysalis's Heart FM. He has lost around 200,000 of the audience he inherited from Jono Coleman and his show with a weekly reach of 720,000 is 252,000 down on the figures for the previous quarter, well behind Johnny Vaughan whose Capital Show has slipped from 1.238 million to 1.077 million- and also behind Moyles whose London audience is 830,000.
Amongst commercial national networks, Classic FM increased audience but SMG's Virgin and UTV's TalkSport figures were down.
Within the figures, compared to the previous quarter (and year):
*BBC Radio 1 gained 285,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 10.242 million and a listening share of 9.2%, up from 8.4% (8.3% a year ago, when it had 517,000 fewer listeners.).
*BBC Radio 2 lost 60,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 13.271 million and a listening share of 16.0%, down from 16.5% (16.2% a year ago, when it had 161,000 more listeners)
*BBC Radio 3 lost 75,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 1.913 million and an unchanged listening share of 1.1%, down from 1.2% (1.1% a year ago, when it had 108,000 more listeners).
*BBC Radio 4 gained 330,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.592 million and a listening share of 11.4%, up from 11.2% (11.0% a year ago).
*BBC Radio 5 Live, excluding Sports Extra, lost 457,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.677 million, and a listening share of 4.4%, down from 4.6% (4.5% a year ago).
(Including Sports Extra it lost 430,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 5.748 million and a listening share of 4.4%, down from 4.6% (4.5% a year ago).
*BBC World Service lost 4,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.144 million and an unchanged listening share of 0.50% (0.6% a year ago).
*BBC Asian Network lost 3,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 443000 and a listening share down from 0.3% to 0.2% (0.3% a year ago).
On the commercial side for national networks:
*G-Cap's Classic FM gained 333,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6.310 million and a listening share up from 4.1% to 4.3% (4.5% a year ago).
*UTV's talkSPORT lost 271,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.211 million and a listening share down from 1.9% to 1.8% (1.8% a year ago).
*SMG-owned Virgin (total including all AM and FM) lost 10,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.410 million and an unchanged listening share of 1.5% (1.6% a year ago).
Digital national commercial networks:
*Core lost 8,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 89,000, too small for share to be rated- a year ago it had 132,000, still to small for share to be rated.
*Emap's Kerrang! lost 123,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 995,000 and a listening share down from 0.5% to 0.4%. A year ago it was digital only with an 0.2% share but now the network also includes an analogue station
*Oneword gained 19,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 140,000, too small for share to be listed. A year ago it's audience was 87,000
*Planet Rock gained 96,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 382,000, with an unchanged share of 0.2% (0.1% a year ago)
*Q gained 33,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 361,000 and an unchanged share of 0.1% (0.1% a year ago).
*Smash Hits lost 71,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 640,000 and an unchanged listening share of 0.2% (0.2% a year ago).
*The Hits lost 49,000 to end up with a weekly audience of 784,000 and an unchanged listening share of 0.3% (0.3% a year ago).
*The Storm lost 19,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 66,000, to small for share to be rate, as was the case a year ago.
*Sunrise gained 20,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 467,000 and share unchanged at 0.3% (0.6% a year ago)
Commenting on the results Jenny Abramsky, Director of BBC Radio & Music said they were "good figures for BBC Radio in the face of ever-increasing competition from Commercial Radio as well as other media " and added, "I am glad to see Radio 1 performing strongly in attracting young listeners."
The Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) in its reaction noted that commercial radio took a 77% share of listening among 4-14 year olds and 60% among 15-24s, the latter having increased in numbers and hours listened to Commercial Radio services since last quarter; It also noted that local Commercial Radio takes a 76% share of all local listening in the UK, having added 5.4 million hours from the last quarter.
Previous G-Cap (Classic FM owners):
Previous RAJAR ratings:
Previous SMG (Owns Virgin):
Previous UTV ( Now owns TalkSPORT):
RAJAR web site (links to quarterly reports):
2005-08-05: The US National Association of Broadcasters has now formally petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to refuse to allow XM satellite radio to acquire the spectrum licences of WCS Wireless, Inc., which it agreed to purchase in all-share deal last month (See RNW Jul 15).
NAB President and CEO Eddie Fritts had already written to lawmakers opposing the deal (See RNW Jul 16) and the NAB is now objecting to the licence transfer, which it says should be denied or held back until further information is provided by XM of what use it is proposing to make of the spectrum.
NAB says the FCC should not allow streamlined approval of the application, that the acquisition raises policy issues "Inappropriate for Expedited Consideration and Likely Exceed the Bureau's Delegated Authority." and that any approval should involve conditions to ensure that the transfer is in the public interest.
It also says the proceeding presents a need to take additional "Action to Safeguard the Public's Interest in Terrestrial Radio" and that conditions are required to ensure that XM does not breach FCC policies aimed to safeguard terrestrial radio.
"In its order authorizing Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service ("SDARS"), the Commission," writes NAB, "authorized XM's primary service as a national service. And, in doing so, it promised "to monitor and evaluate the potential and actual impact of satellite DARS, particularly in small radio markets, so that [the Commission] will be able to take any necessary action to safeguard the important service that terrestrial radio provides."
"There is a serious risk," it adds, "that, after the transfer of control is consummated, XM would seek to use these licenses in a way that could jeopardize the public benefits of local terrestrial radio."
2005-08-05: The finalists have been announced for this year's 2005 Australian Commercial Radio Awards, which are to be announced at a gala ceremony in Sydney on October 15. In all there are 29 categories in the awards, which are organised by Commercial Radio Australia.
Amongst those in the list are five of the country's best-known talkers, who are competing for the Best Current Affairs Commentator award - Alan Jones (2GB), Ray Hadley (2GB), Paul Murray (Nova 96.9 Sydney), Neil Mitchell (3AW) and Steve Price (2UE).
Jones, who last year won Best Current Affairs Presenter for the second year in a row and has won Best Talk Presenter for the last three years - for which he tiedlast year with Neil Mitchell - is also in the list for the Best Metropolitan Talk Presenter award along with Hadley (2GB); Mitchell, Price and Nicole Haack (FiveAA, Adelaide);
In for the Music Presenter award are Bianca Dye (Nova 96.9, DMG) Simon Carey (WS FM 101.7, Australian Radio Network) The Lab Rat (2DAY FM, Austereo) and Anthony Maroon (Triple M, Austereo) whilst there are seven finalists for the Best On-Air Team - Sammy Power and Jason Bouman (MIX 106.5, Sydney), Merrick and Rosso (Nova 96.9 in Sydney), Jackie O and Kyle Sandilands (2DAYFM), The Cage (Triple M, Sydney), Hughsey, Kate and Dave (Nova 100, Melbourne), Brendan Jones and Amanda Keller (WS FM Sydney) and Botica's Bunch (Mix 94.5,Perth).
Merrick and Rosso, who have won this award for the past two years, are finalists in five categories: Best On-Air Team, Best Networked Program, Best Station Produced Comedy Segment, Best Station Promotion and Best Community Service Project.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2005-08-05: A pressure group of Quebec authors, musicians, and artists has called on the country's federal government to reverse the Canadian Ratio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decision to grant audio subscription service licences to Sirius Canada and Canadian Satellite Radio, the partners respectively of Sirius and XM satellite radio.
In a statement the group said the decision "undermines the very foundations of Canada's cultural sovereignty" and added that the conditions of the approval "blatantly contradict many principles and objectives of the Canadian broadcasting policy."
It expressed concern that Canada would have no jurisdiction over the satellites, only a tenth of the programming from the planned satellite stations would come from Canada, and only a fortieth would be French language with no obligation to provide a French music channel.
ASDIQ (Association Québécoise de l'industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo) president Yves-François Blanchet told the Toronto Globe and Mail that the CRTC had "always imposed conditions on all broadcasters" and added that the CRTC had "demonstrated its competence in enforcing the Broadcasting Act many times in the past " but this time had " allowed the proper interpretation of the Broadcasting Act to be overshadowed by the dubious arguments presented by the two licence applicants."
He also said that he didn't believe any real decisions would be made in Canada saying he though all decisions would be made in the US. "Canadian Satellite Radio and Sirius will make a show of making those decisions, but I just don't believe it," he commented.
Backing him up, Alain Lauzon, general manager of the Society for the Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada (SODRAC), another of the group members, said as the satellites being used are controlled by foreign entities, "the decisions made by CSR and Sirius will be dependent upon the business decisions made by their American partners, not to mention American regulations. In effect, Canada will have relinquished all power."
In more developments concerning Sirius and XM, the former has increased from USD 400 million to USD 500 million the principal amount of its 9-5/8% Senior Notes due 2013 to a limited group of initial purchasers. Funds raised will be used mainly to redeem all of its outstanding 15% Senior Secured Discount Notes due 2007 and 141/2% Senior Secured Notes due 2009 (See RNW Aug 3).
XM meanwhile has been adding again to its programming with the announcement of an agreement with New York Times Radio, the newly established New York Times Company unit that includes classical music radio station WQXR-FM, to include New York Times Radio-produced information and music content on a number of its channels.
The WQXR music series "Reflections from the Keyboard" will be aired by XM on one of its classical music channels and the companies will jointly present a series of quarterly classical music specials. In addition, the companies will develop New York Times Radio hourly newscasts for select XM talk channels.
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2005-08-05: Clear Channel's hip-hop KATZ- FM, The Bear, St Louis, has now fired DJs Kaos and Sulli Asz, hosts of its Kaos in the Morning show: they had been suspended last month after a broadcast in which they talked about how to injure police officers and then take away their radios so they could not summon help (See RNW Jul 29).
Members of the Fraternal Order of Police had been calling for a boycott of the station unless the pair were dismissed.
A brief statement on the station web site from general manager Lee Clear said, "The on-air personalities of the Kaos Morning Show are no longer with the station. KATZ-FM does not advocate violence of any kind. We at KATZ-FM have the utmost respect for the men and women in law enforcement who risk their lives everyday to serve our community."
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-08-04: Citadel shone in the latest set of US radio results that included figures from Cox, Entravision and Saga - and also showed Real Networks beginning to build up its subscription income.
Citadel reported second quarter revenues up 2.4% on a year ago to a record USD 109.9 million, station operating income up 7.6% to a record USD 51 million (up 7% excluding acquisitions and dispositions), operating income more than tripled from USD 12.3 million to USD 41.5 million, primarily due to higher revenues and a decrease in depreciation and amortization expense, and net income more than 70-fold from USD 300,000 to USD 21.5 million - from nil to 18 cents a share).
Year-to-Date net revenues are up 4% to a record $201.9 million compared with USD194.2 million with net income USD 33.4 Million (27 cents a share) compared to a net loss of USD 29.3 million (USD 23 cents a share) a year ago.
Citadel noted that the rise in second quarter revenues was primarily due to higher revenues at the Company's stations, including stations in Oklahoma City, OK, Albuquerque, New Mexico and Modesto, California, offset by lower revenues in Lansing, Michigan and Portland, Maine; it also benefited from the acquisition of stations in Springfield, Massachusetts and Memphis, Tennessee, offset station sales in Providence, Rhode Island and Lafayette, Louisiana.
Commenting on the results chairman and CEO Farid Suleman said the record results for the year so far came "in spite of a difficult environment for the radio industry" and then noted that Citadel had used almost all its free cash flow to "repurchase approximately 14.8 million shares of its common stock for approximately $200.2 million."
"The Company believes," he said, "the repurchase of its stock continues to represent an excellent use of its free cash flow to enhance shareholder value."
For the second half of this year Citadel says it expects growth "consistent" with the second quarter
Cox reported revenues inching up 0.3% for the quarter to USD 117.3 million, station operating income up 3.1% to USD 50.8 million, operating income up 1.2% to USD 41.2 million and net income up 1.7% to USD 20.6 million (an unchanged 20 cents a share).
For the first six months Cox revenues operating income is up 5.2% to USD 71.7 million to USD 34.4 million are up 2.8% to USD 215.8 million, station operating income is up 5.6% to USD 88 million, and net income is up 9.6% (from 31 cents to 34 cents a share).
President and CEO Robert F. Neil said the results were "strong from an operational standpoint" and added, "Excluding the impact of the discontinuation of the Atlanta Braves broadcasting agreement, our net revenues increased 5% for the quarter, outpacing the revenue growth of our markets, as well as the industry as a whole. In addition, we continued to invest in the research and promotion of our brands, which will position us for growth as we look towards the back half of the year."
Looking ahead he said he was "optimistic about the momentum we're seeing going into the third quarter" and added, " While July was a bit soft, August and September are both pacing up in the mid-single digits, excluding the impact of the discontinuation of the Atlanta Braves broadcasting agreement in 2004. Based on the current environment, we expect to deliver third quarter net revenues slightly down from prior year, which excluding the impact of the Atlanta Braves in 2004, equates to same station revenue growth in the low to mid single-digits."
Entravision reported net revenues for the quarter up 9% to USD 75 million and reduced its net loss by 17% to USD 4.2 million (with the net income per share applicable to common stockholders up from 2 cents to three cents): In divisional terms Entravision's outdoor increased revenues in the quarter by 12% to USD 9.1 million, radio revenues were up 11% to USD 27.2 million and TV revenues were up 8% to USD 38.8 million.
For the first six months its revenues are up 9% to USD 132.3 million with net loss up 95% to USD 257, 000 (net income per share applicable to common stockholders was down from 7 cents to nil).
Entravision notes that excluding the net revenue contributed during the first half of 2004 by the radio stations in Chicago and Fresno that we sold in the first half of 2004, net revenue would have increased by an additional USD 600,000 in the first half of the year.
Chairman and CEO Walter Ulloa commented, "Our results for the second quarter once again outperformed the industry, as all three of our business segments exceeded our guidance and recorded solid top and bottom line growth. Operating fundamentals across our asset base remain strong as more advertisers see the value of Spanish-language media, and, as we continue to generate ratings increases, we are effectively converting these gains into additional advertising revenues."
"Our diversified asset base and strategic focus on the fastest growing and highest density U.S. Hispanic markets," he added, " provides us with a unique growth engine. We will continue to evaluate our footprint as we seek to enter new markets, strengthen existing clusters and improve operating leverage. We are executing on our business plan and remain in a strong position to capitalize on the robust growth of the Hispanic marketplace."
Saga revenues for the quarter were up 6.9% on a year ago to USD 37.6 million, but net income was down 36.7% to USD 3.1 million (from 23 cents to 15 cents a share) for various reasons including the disposition of a tower made obsolete by its DTV conversion project and increased healthcare and interest expenses. Same station revenues were up 2.4% to USD 36 million but operating income was down 8% to USD 8.4 million.
For the first six months of the year revenues were up 7.9% to USD 69.4 million but net income was down 42.3% to USD 5.2 million (from 35 cents to 25 cents per share).
Saga noted to increased format competition in the Milwaukee, Columbus, Norfolk and Portland markets that had so far only affected the Norfolk and Portland markets where net revenues were down around 15% but it says it does not think the effect will be long term as stations are beginning to regain their audience share; excluding the Norfolk and Portland figures, it says, net revenue was up around 11%.
There was also news from Real Networks of record revenues for the quarter - up 26% on a year ago to USD 82.7 million, with net income of USD 4.7 million compared to a loss of USD 4.6 million a year earlier. Real also reported an increase in paid subscribers to more than 2 million.
Chairman and CEO Rob Glaser commented, "With increased profitability, record revenue and a base of more than 2 million paid subscribers, we continue to make solid progress. We're especially pleased with our launch of Rhapsody 25, a compelling and legitimate free music alternative to illegal P2P sites, and our industry-leading base of 1.15 million premium music subscription customers."
Real also announced that its Board of Directors has authorized the repurchase of up to USD 75 million of the Company's outstanding common stock
Previous Real Networks:
2005-08-04: Howard Stern has now signed a TV deal with privately-owned In Demand Network, which is to start airing a video version of his radio show on one of its video-on-demand channels later this year.
The three-year deal for the subscription show is likely to start whilst the host is still with Infinity and then move with him to Sirius where he is to start in January.
Stern previously had a cable deal for more than a decade with E! Entertainment Television, which is owned jointly by Comcast and Walt Disney Co.
2005-08-04: Radio New Zealand staff staged a third walk out to support their pay claim on Wednesday morning, disrupting news reports on its National Radio service although the Nine to Noon programme remained on air; the walk out asl affected its Concert FM station.
The staff belong to the Public Service Association (PSA) and the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) and the New Zealand Herald reports that an EPMU spokeswoman said some of the striking workers had been issued with suspension notices for the duration of the action, ensuring they will not be paid.
Previous Radio New Zealand:
New Zealand Herald report:
2005-08-03: Sirius Satellite Radio has reported record second quarter revenues of USD 52.2 million, up 295% on a year earlier, but losses were also up - by 29.9%% to USD 177.5 million (13 cents per share compared to 11 cents per share a year earlier).
It says it had 1,814,626 subscribers at the end of June, a net increase of 365,931 subscribers, which was a 184% increase over the year-ago figure.
Of the additions, 244,985 came via retail channels, 137% up on the year ago figure, whilst additions from its automotive OEM channels were up 375% on a year ago and 13% on the first quarter at 121,664.
Sirius has now increased its end of year guidance again and says it expects to have three million subscribers at the end of this year: Its last figure had been 2.7 million and this is the third time this year it has increased its guidance.
The Sirius figure compares with guidance of six million from rival XM, which reported its results last month and had 4.42 million subscribers at the end of the quarter (See RNW Jul 29).
Sirius, which reported an average monthly churn of 1.4% during the quarter, is also spending considerably more than XM to attract subscribers - it gave a figure of USD 160, down 32% on its cost a year earlier but 63% higher than XM's cost of USD 98
Commenting on the results, CEO Mel Karmazin said, "Our great second quarter results clearly indicate that momentum for Sirius is accelerating."
He added, "We beat Wall Street consensus expectations on all important metrics through a continuing focus on sound business execution, while maintaining low churn and very high levels of customer satisfaction. Plus, our automotive channel showed very strong results and consumers responded favourably to our second quarter retail promotion. Going into the second half of the year, we believe that creative new programming, additional automotive factory programs and the introduction of exciting new products will continue to drive our strong growth for the future."
Commenting on the pending arrival of Howard Stern, Karmazin said that although Sirius would welcome the chance to bring Stern aboard earlier than January next year it was not involved in negotiating any early release with Infinity to whom he is under contract until the end of this year.
Whenever Stern came aboard, he said, there would be a big marketing push that would ensure there would "be nobody in the United States who will not know that Howard Stern will be on Sirius."
Stern has repeatedly said on air that he expects to be taken off air before his contract ends and a report from the Chicago Sun-Times suggests that a likely date is September 22 (see below)
Sirius has also announced that it is to offer USD 400 million of Senior Notes due 2013 and intends to use the net proceeds to redeem all of its outstanding 15% Senior Secured Discount Notes due 2007 and 141/2% Senior Secured Notes due 2009 with the balance to be used for general corporate purposes.
It describes the move as "opportunistic" use of current favourable debt markets.
In other US results Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has reported second quarter revenues up 11% on a year ago to USD 44.6 million but income from continuing operations was down from US D4.1 million a year ago to USD 2.7 million, mainly, it says, because of a loss on early extinguishment of debt.
Same-station net revenue was up 11%, to USD 42.6 million and same station operating income from continuing operations before depreciation and amortization was up 9% to USD 15.5 million.
Commenting on the results chairman and CEO Raúl Alarcón, Jar. said, "Our second quarter results represent our fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth, underscoring the ideal positioning of our top-eight market assets, our strategic programming and sales initiatives and the growing importance of Hispanic America in today's advertising market."
"Our core markets of New York, Los Angeles and Miami," he said, "generated revenue increases that were significantly ahead of their in-market averages. Our newest station, KRZZ-FM in San Francisco, continues to outpace expectations, benefiting from valuable cross- promotional initiatives with Viacom and the popularity of our syndicated talent. We are also pleased with initial ratings results from KXOL-FM in Los Angeles, following our re-branding of the station to the wildly popular Reggaeton music genre during the quarter."
2005-08-03: According to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times, Erich "Mancow " Muller could be on his way from Emmis to join Infinity as a partial replacement for Howard Stern on September 22.
Feder says negotiations are under way at the highest level at the two companies over the possible move and if successful would open the way for Jonathon Brandmeier to join Emmis' classic rock WLUP-FM in the morning slot where he enjoyed his greatest success in the 1980s and early '90s. Feder says sources said Brandmeier would agree to the deal only if Muller were working elsewhere and notes that the two clashed bitterly when they hosted competing morning shows for the former Evergreen Media Corp. from studios at the John Hancock Center: On Monday Emmis combined the operations of the Loop with Q-101 in studios at the Merchandise Mart.
Brandmeier is currently off air but was most recently hosting mornings at Infinity's KCBS-FM in Los Angeles until it was switched to the Jack-FM format.
Feder says no agreements have been reached and money is still at issue but the moves are targeted for September 22 to coincide with the start of Arbitron's fall ratings period.
Sources emphasized that no agreements have been reached with either personality, and money remains a big question. Both moves are targeted for Sept. 22, which marks the start of Arbitron's fall ratings period and Feder's report goes along with previous reports that Infinity is not trying to get any one personality to take over from Stern.
Muller, he says would be aired in at least six other markets that currently take Stern but deals are also reported to be under negotiation with rocker David Lee Roth and "Loveline" host Adam Corolla to replace Stern in other major markets.
Previous Erich "Mancow" Muller:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
2005-08-03: Indian Information and Broadcasting Minister S. Jaipal Reddy has told the upper house of the Indian parliament that 76 new All India Radio (AIR) stations are proposed in various cities in the country's Tenth Five Year Plan, subject to approval and availability of resources.
These, he said, would mean that 99.49 of the country's population would then be able to receive AIR services compared to 99.13% at present.
H e also said that a total of 336 FM channels in 90 cities would be made available for bids in the second phase of private FMs in India.
Previous Indian Radio:
2005-08-03: The BBC has announced the launch of a podcast of its Persian entertainment programme Rooze Haftom, its first in a language other than English.
Available via the World Service Persian site the podcast offers a 15-mins highlight show that in its launch week will feature Iranian underground music and Iranian death metal.
BBC World Service is also offering podcasts of the weekly BBC World Service English language technology programme Go Digital, and all documentaries as part of its current podcasting trial.
BBC Persian site:
BBC World Service documentary site:
2005-08-02: Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has announced a further delay in its USD 120 million sale, announced in August last year (See RNW Aug 18, 2004) of KZAB-FM and KZBA-FM (currently operating as KDAY-FM, Los Angeles and simulcast KDAI-FM, Riverside), to Styles Media.
The closing date for the transaction has now been extended from the end of this month up until the end of January next year.
Under the new extension, Styles will pay an additional USD 15 million to SBS - it has already paid USD 14 million in March this year and USD 6 million in February - and has also agreed to make an additional payment of USD 20 million no later than two days after renewal of the stations' licences, which is expected in November.
Styles will continue to pay SBS a USD 200,000 a month Time Brokerage fee during the extension period and in addition has agreed that SBS may retain the USD 55 million if closing does not happen within the agreed extension period.
In other US radio business Arbitron has announced the selection of Sean R. Creamer as executive vice president, Finance and Planning, and Chief Financial Officer to take over from current CFO Bill Walsh who recently announced his intention to retire by the end of the year.
It says that it expects Creamer, previously senior vice president and chief financial officer of Laureate Education, Inc., to take over his new role in September.
The satellite radio companies have also again been announcing further developments, in the case of Sirius announcements regarding automobile partners with Ford and Lincoln Mercury to begin offering Sirius as a factory-installed option on various vehicles starting this month at USD 195 including a six months subscription. In addition Toyota/Lexus is to offer Sirius as an option on two more models.
XM has been active on the programming side and has announced agreement with the US Tennis Association to become "Official Satellite Radio of the US Open" through 2007. It will broadcast live the 2005 US Open men's and women's singles finals and the four semi-finals from Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The new three-year partnership also includes weekly reports from the US Open Series, the North American summer season of 10 ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour tournaments linked to the US Open.
It has also formally announced that Washington D.C. talk radio personalities Ron and Fez (Ron Bennington and Fez Whatley) are to join XM as has been rumoured for some months.
The duo, formerly with Infinity's WNEW in New York - as were Opie and Anthony - and until last week on WJFK-FM in D.C., will host their show on XM's High Voltage channel from August 12 and before that on August 9 will be guests on the Opie and Anthony Show on XM.
XM EVP of Programming Eric Logan commented of the move, "Ron and Fez are two of the funniest guys on the radio and XM's High Voltage is a perfect place for them to do what they do best."
2005-08-02: The Live 8 event in early July provided a massive boost to the BBC's online services according to the corporation which has just released details of its online listening for June.
It added that the Live 8 website generated an unprecedented 14.6 million page impressions over the course of three days in early July - the largest ever volume of traffic to a BBC Radio & Music website over a three-day period - and further notes that the - Live 8 WAP site for mobile phones generated 112,000 page impressions over the same three days.
In June the BBC's Glastonbury Interactive coverage was also well-received, generating 13.4 million page impressions to the BBC in the fortnight of the festival, three times as many as a year ago. BBC Radio Five also did well, boosted by Wimbledon tennis in particular.
In all online listening hours totalled 12,885,406 hours, down 0.42% on May, when listening was boosted by Radio 1's Big Weekend, the Eurovision Song Contest which boosted Radio 2, and the final Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series that boosted Radio 4, but up 39.7% on June last year.
On-demand listening totalled 4,698,158 hours, down 0.9% on May but up 47.7% on a year earlier and live listening totalled 8,187,248, down 0.15% on May but up 35.6% on a year earlier.
In terms of network listening in June this year, the rankings were (Total listening hours-live plus on-demand and percentage change compared to May then to June 2004 in brackets):
Radio 1 - (3,648,040 -0.39%; +51.1%)
Radio 2 - (2,402,112 -5.15%; +60.6%).
Radio 4 - (2,156,270 -2.93%; + 60.7%).
BBC 7 - (1,037,204 -6.06%; +66.9%).
Radio 5 Live- (779,682 -7.11%; -47.2%).
Radio 3 - (680,591 + 11.46%; +71.8%)
6 Music - (594,356 -1.46%; +41.3%).
1Xtra - (525,917 -4.19%; +18.3%).
Asian Network (188,267 -4.21%; +25.9%).
5 Live Sports Xtra - (295,869 +351%; -2.7%).
The top five on-demand programmes in June were:
1- The BBC Radio 4 soap The Archers with 399,475 listens in June, down 2.22% on May.
2 - Chris Moyles on BBC Radio 1 with 354,457 listens, down 2.54% on May.
3 - I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue on BBC Radio 1 with 251818 listens in June, up 86.81% on May (when it was only on air for part of the month).
4 - Essential Mix on BBC Radio 1 with 201,379listens. Down 11.06 % on May.
5 - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on Radio 4 with 198,822 listens. Down 29.45% on May as it was ending its run.
*The Essential Selection on BBC Radio 1, which was fifth in May, dropped to sixth with 165,133, down 2.47%.
Previous BBC Online figures:
2005-08-02: In a rare success story for classical music in the US, Rotterdam New York-based public broadcaster WMHT Educational Telecommunications has purchased commercial classical music competitor WBKK-FM, Amsterdam, New York, from GEM Associates Ltd. for USD 1.5 million.
According to the Albany Business News, WMHT will simulcast its programming on the new frequency from Thursday but it that the station is exploring plans to launch a new and distinct classical music service in the fall.
The paper says that only two years ago WMHT laid off most of its staff and switched to syndicated programming for all except its morning drive show because it said the classical music audience was too small to support live programming.
It then changed its approach and went from an operating deficit of around UD 500,000 a year to a break-even point, increasing its listeners from around 65,000 to a record 100,000.
WMHT senior vice president and assistant general manager Scott Sauer said they'd seen a "dramatic turnaround" adding that they had "focused our programming on what listeners really wanted to hear We increased the music and we decreased the talk. We also decreased the amount of on-air fund raising, and as a result, actually increased donations."
He also said there could have been increased support because listeners had realised they could have ended up without a classical music service.
During the same period WBKK weakened and in spring this year filed for bankruptcy, listing debts of USD 211,000 and assets of USD 90,000. The filing provided an opportunity for WMHT to expand its reach in Montgomery, Schoharie, Fulton and Otsego counties - it was already simulcasting its programming on WRHV-FM in Poughkeepsie - but Sauer said the additional simulcast was only planned on a temporary basis.
"The idea is to provide the listeners with two classical music services," Sauer said. "We want to give different audiences different opportunities."
Albany Business Review report:
2005-08-02: Radio New Zealand staff who walked out for two hours last Friday (See RNW Jul 30) took industrial action again on Monday morning, taking its Morning Report programme off air: As last time, the station put BBC programming to air in its place.
Members of the Public Service Association (PSA) and Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) are seeking a 5% pay increase and an extra week's holiday and have rejected an offer of 3%.
The station is also involved in a dispute with its former head of news, Lynne Snowdon who was fired in April this year (See RNW April 17) following two years off duty on full pay sick leave that she says was because of stress after she was accused of financial mismanagement.
In her latest action Snowdon has applied to an employment court for an order to re-instate her.
Stuff.co New Zealand quoted her lawyer Rob Moodie as saying her difficulties stemmed from erroneous accounts in 2002 that indicated her budget was overspent but when it became clear there had been no financial mismanagement, former chief executive Sharon Crosbie persisted in saying Snowdon had mismanaged her budget.
He said his client was a victim of bullying and deceit when Ms Crosbie continued to write letters demanding explanations when she knew substantial overspending no longer existed.
Moodie said that, although the relationship between Snowdon and Crosbie was irreparable, now that Radio New Zealand had a new chief executive there was no reason that his client could not be reinstated pending a full hearing of her case due in November.
RNZ lawyer Michael Quigg said re-instatement would seriously interfere with the station's business since the broadcaster had no confidence in Snowdon, she would be facing immediate disciplinary action, and would also we working with colleagues she had criticized and who she would be relying on in a defamation suit against it. He said her allegations had led RNZ's present chief executive Peter Cavanagh to conclude relations could not be restored to a functional level.
The court reserved judgement.
Previous Radio New Zealand:
2005-08-02: UK loudspeaker and hi-fi manufacturer Acoustic Energy in partnership with Internet radio technology expert Reciva has announced a portable wi-fi Internet radio receiver to take advantage of the boom in broadband combined with wireless networks.
It can handle Real and Windows media and MP3s and can be either used to listen to Internet radio stations selected through Reciva's internet radio Gateway, which lists stations by country and so far has around 2,500 to choose from, or to MP3, WMA or Real Audio files stored on a computer.
It is also fitted with a 3.5mm stereo jack for headphones or connection to a hi-fi system.
RNW comment: At around GBP 199 (USD 350) this is not a cheap device but it is moving towards the multi-purpose devices that we expect to come onto the market. In this case we would have thought it sensible to also offer a model that can receive analogue and digital radio -streaming is still not yet quite as reliable as broadcast signals. We would think that it won't be all that long before someone will be offering devices that combine Internet, analogue and various digital radio capabilities (probably Eureka DAB- as used in most of the world - and DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) and have file storage capabilities - maybe even designed it so it can dock with a cell phone or MP3 player to allow transfer of audio without even needing a computer.
Acoustic Energy web site:
2005-08-01: The main topic for conversation about radio over the past week in the US at least had to be the issue of payola, in the headlines thanks to a USD 10 million settlement wrested from Sony BMG by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and we devote this week's look at print comment on radio to payola-related articles.
Apart from the odd dissident voice playing down the importance of the issue there seemed to be general condemnation and also an attribution by some of many of the woes of US radio to business practices including payola.
In his column, "Less Payola, More Ella" in the Washington Post Eugene Robinson certainly took that view, writing, "Thanks to New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, now we know one reason why most of the music that gets played on the radio is such unchallenging pap."
"How did 'I'm Real' by the thin-voiced Jennifer Lopez and 'Hold On' by angst-ridden rockers Good Charlotte get played by a station in Buffalo?" asked Robinson rhetorically, answering himself with "Sony's Epic Records division paid for the program director's personal trips to New York City and Fort Lauderdale."
Robinson then summed up some of the details that had come out of the investigation and suggested that consolidation - leading to similar playlists coast-to-coast, and the decline of musical education in America also might have something to do with making music on radio "uninteresting."
Showing his age, maybe, but also justifying his comments, he then wrote, "But if you want to realize just how low our standards have fallen, listen to the pop music of the 1940s or '50s. Listen to Ella Fitzgerald -- her incomparable voice, her musicianship, her subtlety and nuance, her perfect phrasing. Listen to the way she can flat-out swing. Yes, I know there was only one Ella. And I'm not suggesting that in 2005 we should be grooving to 50-year-old tunes. We need modern music for modern times. I'm just saying we should demand that the musicians we shower with fame and fortune be talented, and that they work to perfect their craft."
Taking a somewhat contrary view Daniel Gross writing in Slate asked "What's wrong with Payola?" and, after commenting, "Clearly, people working in regulated industries-especially radio, where broadcasters operate under federal licenses-should get nailed when they break the rules. And in radio, pay for product placement without full disclosure is clearly against the rules" went on to add, "But is it wrong?"
Gross suggested that "In the half-century since the original payola scandals, the music industry, the broader commercial culture, and consumer expectations have evolved to the point where the payola laws seem outmoded and backward-looking" and backed up his argument by noting the widespread nature of various forms of pay for display in today's world from product placement in TV and movies to payments for stores to display goods prominently or in connection with Internet searches.
Although Gross accepts that there are different degrees to which such practices are condoned he suggests that in radio the payola laws are achieving little. "Fifty years ago," writes Gross, "the prospect of a big record company like Sony and a big radio station owner conspiring to fix what got played could have threatened an important component of the economy and actually stifled musical creativity."
"But," he adds, "not today. With declining record sales, the rise of Internet and satellite radio, and the advent of iTunes, iPods, and podcasting, radio stations and record companies have become an object of pity more than fear."
"Entertainment payola," concludes Gross, "is harmless because this is a consumer market that functions reasonably well. Books and movies backed by huge, ubiquitous promotional budgets won't gain market share and displace competitors if they suck we don't need laws to stop labels from paying to put bands on the radio. If no one likes the music, it won't last, and the stations themselves will suffer. As Mel Karmazin, the former head of Infinity Broadcasting and CBS used to note, every radio comes equipped with an on/off switch."
In the New York Times, Jacob Slichter, author and drummer with Semisonic provided some insight into the scale of record company spending noting that during a tour by the band in 1996 just before the release of its debut single "Down in Flames" he had kept tabs on costs knowing that the record company would deduct "promotional expenses" from the band's pay for future sales. He estimated that they had spent around USD 20,000 - meaning they would have to sell "tens of thousands of records just to pay for this transcontinental jaunt" but when he called the band's manager the figure was USD 500,000.
After other comments on detail, Slichter concludes of payola, "By the end of our three-album run with MCA, Semisonic had sold close to two million records, but we were a long way from recouping the costs of radio promotion. Thus musicians, even some who have benefited from payola, will applaud Mr. Spitzer, even as they wonder what chance he has of bringing about vast structural reform. Knowing what it takes to get their songs on the radio and watching their share of record sales swallowed up along the way, most recording artists would love to see the current system brought down, even if they can't imagine what would replace it."
Looking at the issue in a historical perspective, Cliff Doerksen in the New York Times noted, "The music industry's use of bribes to buy exposure for songs actually long predates broadcasting" and added that to "reach as many ears as possible, music publishers in the late 19th century would ply itinerant vaudeville performers with gifts to carry their most promising melodies across the country by rail."
"If audiences liked what they heard, the publishers would profit from the sale of copyrighted sheet music," writes Doerksen. "Star singers stood to make as much from pay-for-play as they did from their theatrical salaries "
The practices were modified but continued he said when movies came along and publishers wanted their music played in the cinemas and yet again when sound came along and deals were struck with Hollywood.
Then when radio came along they reacted much as the recording companies have to the Internet - as a threat rather than opportunity because they saw play as overexposing songs before they could be fully exploited. In fact says Doerksen the ultimate effect was that "Radio shrank the life cycle of a hit first to months and eventually to weeks, meaning that more songs could be turned into moneymakers."
He details some of the developments and also notes that complaints of payola came in a particular social context: " politicians, the press, the clergy, P.T.A.'s and other moralists seized on pay-for-play arrangements to explain the unfathomable success of such a degraded musical idiom as rock 'n' roll: the poor innocents had been bamboozled by corrupt DJ's into thinking that Elvis could sing. In a ludicrous series of Congressional show hearings, rock D.J.'s who spun records by black artists got pilloried, while those who favoured the white-faced pop à la Pat Boone walked away unharmed."
"The moral panic over rock 'n' roll, " comments Doerksen, "brought about incoherent legal changes that would only worsen payola's worst effects. Radio companies handcuffed their D.J.'s by forbidding them to broadcast songs not on approved playlists, but that only shifted the song-picking power higher up the corporate ladder and further out of sight, thus raising the price and favouring large record labels over small ones of the kind that led the rock revolution. Nonsensically, the rewritten rules also permitted music companies to lobby broadcasters generally while forbidding them to make specific efforts on behalf of individual songs."
And overall? " like it not, every popular song you've ever loved has reached you via some chain of pay-for-play machinations. The technological landscape has changed over time, as have the laws supposedly governing music promotion, but payola has been as constant and pervasive a force as gravity for more than a century now."
And his conclusion? " A rational set of regulations would probably acknowledge this reality and aim at levelling the playing field so that small players can compete against big ones, just as they used to do in the early heyday of rock 'n' roll, when tiny labels like Sun briefly had the likes of RCA on the ropes."
RNW comment: Although some of the articles we have subsequently read have fleshed out detail, we have seen nothing to change our views as addressed in our July comment: Essentially the problem remains to us that of dishonesty and side effects and the best way in our view to combat this is to insist - with severe sanctions where there are breaches - on provision of clear information to listeners so they cane make their decisions accordingly.
On however to a more positive note and suggested listening from what we've heard over the past week, what is scheduled - and of course, it has to be available, thus ruling out a very large amount of worthy material whose organisations do not provide programming on demand.
First an old favourite - in more than sense - with the latest edition of Background Briefing from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It was devoted to a portrait of economist J.K. Galbraith, now 97, by his biographer Richard Parker. A worthy bite of biography and history combined.
So, in a totally different milieu, is Jaws: Birth of the Blockbuster on BBC Radio 2 tomorrow (19:30 GMT), a documentary on the movie that 30 years ago was so successful that it led Hollywood to follow up with a whole series of expensive blockbuster on the back of what had been a low-budget movie that in the end made millions.
And for yet another bite of history we'd suggest BBC Radio 4 and Behind the Book: Last week's programme, the third of four looking at how various books of poetry came into existence looked at the epic poem Beowulf.
Sticking with Radio 4 we'd suggest two investigations cum documentaries - the latest edition of File on 4 that looked at the issue of corruption within the European Commission - and elicited some solid stonewalling from officialdom - and Face the Facts that looked at the tale of the anti-arthritis drug Vioxx - and elicited some fairly skilled - but unconvincing to us - spin from Merck, which had to withdraw it from the market amid concerns about side effects.
The there's language and on Wednesday at 08:00 GMT (repeated at 20:30 GMT) Radio 4 starts Word 4 Word, the first of six investigations of dialect and the way Britons talk locally, from contemporary slang to centuries-old sayings. The series is based on interviews carried out by the BBC 'Voices' project over the past nine months of more than 1000 people.
Still with language and this time back to spin but crossing the Atlantic, we'd suggest the most recent programme from WNYC's "On the Media" series (Available as an MP3 or podcast): It's first report in last week's show "War By Any Other Name" looked at amongst other things how the phrase "war on terrorism" allowed snappy marketing even though now it looks as if the US administration if to rename it the "struggle against violent extremism." Due scepticism is expressed about the spin put by the administration on the "baloney", as CIA counter terrorism veteran Michael Scheuer describes it, put out about the "war" and the characterisation of Osama bin Laden. Good to hear an American being brutally honest about US past failings and current practice of "analysis by assertion rather than frank discussion."
Again sticking in a sense to language but changing context we'd suggest BBC Radio 3 from yesterday when the Drama on 3 slot featured a production of Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis and the Sunday Feature that followed: "In Search of Hans Christian Andersen" looked at the life of the author of tales that still rank highly.
Earlier in the evening the Promenade Concert on Radio 3 was also tied in to folk tales - it began with Baba-Yaga; The Enchanted Lake; and Kikimora from Lyadov and ended with The Fairy's Kiss by Stravinsky (It's Prom 23 on the BBC Radio 3 Proms Player (Follow the site links to Programmes then P and will be repeated today from 13:00 to 15:00 GMT).
And in similar but slightly different vein, BBC Radio 2 has been featuring the 2005 Cambridge Folk Festival - the site lists shows from its opening night on Thursday plus Friday and Saturday shows with a two-hour highlights special due to be aired on Wednesday (18:00-20:00 GMT).
New York Times - Doerksen:
New York Times -Slichter:
Washington Post - Robinson:
WNYC - On the Media web site:
2005-08-02: As in its previous bulletin, UK media regulator Ofcom upheld no radio complaints in its latest broadcast bulletin nor did it uphold any TV complaints.
It listed one TV case resolved - compared to three upheld and three resolved in the previous bulletin.
In addition to cases where details were given a further seven radio complaints relating to seven items and 111 TV complaints relating to 85 items were rejected or held to be out of remit with no further details given: This compares to a further nine radio complaints relating to nine items and 82 TV complaints relating to 71 items listed in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2005-08-01: Washington WMAL-AM host Michael Graham is remaining defiant over his suspension by the Disney-ABC station over his comments saying that Islam is a "terrorist" organization and on his web site is blaming his suspension on the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and noting that it was only after CAIR launched its campaign in "the mainstream media and the story appeared in the Washington Post-Democrat that my job was threatened."
Graham says that "based on specifics that I have been able to gather from various sources" around 10,000 e-mails of support have been sent to the station.
"It's PHENOMENAL," he writes. "And more importantly, it blew away the few hundred pro-CAIR emails and phone calls the station received."
Graham says that as a "show host, author and columnist, I've repeatedly criticized the current state of Islam and called for its reform" and continues, "As for the 'controversial' statement that 'Sadly, as it is constituted today, Islam IS a terrorist organization, but the good news is that the major of Muslims--who don't support terror--can change that and take back their religion,'" he first aired the statement a week before he was suspended.
Graham also launches into an attack on CAIR itself, including posting a Frontpage Magazine report that alleges it was founded by Islamic terrorists.
CAIR for its part says on its web site says that it initiated its campaign "after receiving complaints from Muslim listeners who heard Graham state:
1. 'Islam is a terrorist organization.'
2. 'Islam is at war with America.'
3. 'The problem is not extremism. The problem is Islam.'
4. 'We are at war with a terrorist organization named Islam.'"
It also notes a previous run-in with the host when it "challenged on-air remarks by Graham that seemed to make an implicit call for violence against Muslims. He said: 'I don't wanna say we should kill 'em all [Muslims], but unless there's reform [within Islam], there aren't a lot of other solutions that work in the ground struggle for survival.' (Graham later claimed he was only referring to so-called "Islamists," but the context of the quote indicated otherwise.)."
RNW comment: We don't put much importance on the relative numbers of e-mails sent since it seems to us that without significant research into the background to any campaign and their value this is impossible to determine.
However it would seem obvious that it would be much easier to attract e-mails of support from the anti-Islamic in America - and some of the comments posted on this matter certainly have that particular smell - than organise a campaign for a realistic and rational assessment of the influence of any religion and how far acts and views expressed by practitioners are a function of custom and tradition rather than the religion itself.
It also doesn't help the debate that so far nobody has posted audio of the show (If anyone has it we'll be happy to post an MP3) to enable the remarks to be judged properly. Also unhelpful is the fact that they were made by a host who has a history of ignorant and tactless remarks - he was fired in 1999 when working in Charlotte and shortly after the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado told listeners that the killing of athletes at the school was "one minor benefit of this otherwise horrible story.
Graham is of course trying to claim the matter as a right to free speech but that is something in commercial radio that is always tempered by commercial reality: Graham might even defend the right of a Taliban leader to speak but we doubt he'd push it as far as insisting on a right to be awarded air time.
As for Disney, in the end we expect them to make a commercial not an ethical decision: in other words if CAIR can mount a strong enough lobby, Graham will be fired but if not he'll stay. We'd put money on the latter but woe betide him if he ever takes on some other religions that are considered rather more sacrosanct in the US even if he puts in more qualifying comments.
CAIR web site on Graham:
Michael Graham web site:
2005-08-01: Piquant, the current Air America owner, has committed itself to repaying USD 480,000 in loans its predecessor Progress Media received in loans from the Bronx's Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Clubs.
Reporting on the matter the New York Post quotes a statement from Piquant saying, "We are very disturbed that Air America's good name could be associated with a reduction in services to young people, which is why we agreed months ago to fully compensate Gloria Wise" but adds that only two days earlier the network had insisted that the loan was made before it took over Air America.
The Post says the network then said in a statement, "Piquant had no involvement whatsoever with funds from the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club Piquant neither received nor expended any of the sums that are the subject of the city's investigation of the club."
It continues, with a clear implication that the network had probably not agreed repayment months ago, to say, "But an editorial in yesterday's Washington Times and a chat with their public-relations firm apparently persuaded Air America's current owners to pony up the USD 480,000 - even while saying they were under 'no obligation' to do so."
RNW comment: when we originally picked up on this story last month (See RNW Jul 28) it was not clear if any repayments had been made and Air America/Piquant had certainly not come out with any statement we could find about agreeing to repay the money although we noted the legal position and checked the Air America site for any comment from them.
If they had indeed agreed repayments they were pretty lax in making the point, which could of course be a matter of competence and attitude rather than dishonesty. This reticence seems to be a fairly general practice, however, at US radio stations when it comes to matters they don't want to promote. We think it's an ill-thought out and ultimately counter-productive attitude in all cases.
Previous Air America/Piquant:
Air America statement:
New York Post report:
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