December 2005 Archive
-November 2005 - January 2006 -
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 December comment - - Our look back at 2005.
RNW November comment - -Concludes that radio should get the core audio right rather than worry too much about adding video.
RNW October comment - Wonders whether convergence is really here and what it means for radio if so.
2005-12-31: Stories today of three talk hosts dropped in Pittsburgh, a right-wing talk host back in work in San Francisco and a "progressive" one fired in Seattle.
In Pittsburgh, Infinity/CBS Radio's KDKA-AM has fired three local hosts in a major overhaul. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Mike Pintek, Paul Alexander and Mike Romigh have gone in the first phase of the overhaul along with news reporter Kyle Anthony: All three hosts are still listed on the station web site.
It adds that starting next week, KDKA-TV investigative reporter Marty Griffin will take over Pintek's 9 a.m. to noon shift and interim hosts will be used in Alexander's 1800-2100 and Romigh's 2100-midnight slots until the station unveils new nighttime and sports shows in the next few weeks.
It adds that Pintek in an e-mail to a listener said he had been "summarily and unceremoniously fired" terming the action "sudden, unexpected, shocking and deeply disappointing after nearly 24 years" at KDKA.
The paper notes that although KDKA remains No. 1 in overall ratings, with talk-rival WPGB-FM in sixth it has lost ground among the 25-to-54-year-old audience and quotes Keith Clark, vice president of programming for CBS Radio Pittsburgh, as saying the station needs to create programming that's compelling enough to keep listeners from switching frequencies.
The new brand of KDKA talk "is going to be something you can't find anywhere else on the radio dial," he said.
In San Francisco Larry Kreuger, who was fired by KNBR-FM in August (See RNW Aug 11) after making comments about the San Francisco Giants that were regarded as racially disparaging has now been hired by ABC Radio's KGO-AM to provide commentary during afternoon sports updates for the radio station.
In Seattle, Entercom has fired KIRO-AM "progressive" talk host Mike Webb after he was charged with making a fraudulent insurance claim after an accident. The insurance company say he claimed to have bought a policy with them a day before the accident but in fact purchased it a day after the accident on June 28 this year.
Webb, who is denying the charges, posted a note on his web site saying, "Thank You For Your Friendship during these past 35 years on the radio, especially the past 10, where we had a chance to really get to know one another and offer an alternative to the disgusting, corporate-driven nonsense masquerading as talk radio."
He then says he had been "fortunate" before going on to say "So Long" but makes no direct mention of the charges.
Entercom has confirmed that Webb has left the station and the KIRO web site makes no mention of him.
RNW comment: Blogs on the matter give sufficient detail to suggest Webb may well have problems when the case continues but we remain disturbed by a dismissal whilst a case is pending although we would not have found suspension unreasonable. Needless to say comments from those of Republic right tendencies betray little charity: For a prime example see the comments from Brian Maloney.
In Texas, Dan Patrick, KSEV-AM drivetime host and manager of the Lieberman Broadcasting station, has also left but in his case he stood down after filing as a candidate in the Republican primary for state Senate.
He had been pitching his candidacy on his show but after his filing Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations would have required him to give equal time to his opponents.
Blatherwatch blog re Webb:
Houston Chronicle report:
Maloney "Radio Equalizer" site:
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report:
San Francisco Chronicle-AP report:
2005-12-31: BBC Radio 4's "The Archers", the longest-running radio drama, will celebrate its 55th anniversary tomorrow.
The programme was started to help the British government spread agricultural news and advice to farmers at a time when Britain was still facing food rationing - this did not end until July 4, 1954 - and the first network broadcast on January 1, 1951 had been preceded with a pilot series broadcast only to the Midlands Region the previous Easter and in which the farm was Wimberton not Brookfield.
The Archers has maintained its audience through moving into stronger dramatic storylines and away from the original brief - the current series attracted large audiences because of a story line involving adultery and a tug-of-love battle between the two Grundy brothers, Will and Ed, and Will's estranged wife who is now living with Ed and her and Will's son in a caravan.
2005-12-31: Following in the wake of BBC Radio 3's Beethoven Experience in June, Bach Christmas that has just ended and Webern Day in September, GCap Media's national classical music station Classic FM is to devote New Year's Day 2006 to Mozart.
In all it will run 16 hours of programming tomorrow to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth starting at 08:00 GMT with "The Mozart Top 40 with Mark Goodier", a programme based on listener's votes on their favourite Mozart and ending with a two-hour "Mozart Evening Concert with John Suchet" that runs to midnight.
It is also tying in the day to a two-CD "Mozart for Babies" set it markets on its site as "put together with one specific area in mind - the enjoyment and development of babies through Mozart's music", a book and CD "The Friendly Guide to Mozart" and "In Search of Mozart", a documentary to be premiered at the Barbican Centre in London on January 4 and the "Mostly Mozart" events being staged at the Centre in June.
Previous GCap Media:
Classic FM web site:
2005-12-30: US National Public Radio (NPR) says its 26th annual New Year's Music Special from New Orleans Tipitina's nightclub this year will be the first live music broadcast from the city since Hurricane Katrina.
The 12-hour jazz and blues special "Toast of the Nation" programme will be produced by NPR and WBGO Jazz 88 and will feature performances from a number of local artists including The Hot 8 Brass Band and funk band Galactic, performing at home for the first time since the hurricane.
It will also include performances Washington, DC (Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band); Boston, Massachusetts (New Orleans piano legend Henry Butler); New York, New York (the Chico O'Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra); Portland, Oregon (jazz orchestra Pink Martini); Sanibel Island, Florida (the Brubeck Brothers Quartet); and Columbia, Missouri (singer René Marie).
Toast of the Nation was launched in 1979 as a showcase for NPR's interconnected satellite system, the first in the nation and WBGO became co-producer in 1984. Last year's programme became the highest-fidelity live radio broadcast in history by transmitting in 5.1 discrete digital surround sound.
NPR says it and WBGO are working with the Tipitina's Foundation, established to help New Orleans artists recover and preserve the city's cultural traditions and quotes Bill Taylor, Director of Tipitina's Foundation, as saying, "We want to send the message that New Orleans is up and running and it's okay to come back. Having a street parade and this great show on New Year's Eve is what Tipitina's is really excited about."
2005-12-30: XM Satellite Radio has announced further technically-advanced services including equipment in an "XM Advanced Services vehicle" to be unveiled at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show and also an agreement with Neural Audio that will allow it to broadcast XM music channels in 5.1 Surround Sound.
The "Concept vehicle", a specially equipped Lexus LX 470 will showcase in-car video with XM's partner On2 Technologies and also a Voice Command system developed with VoiceBox Technologies that allows a driver to use conversational speech to control an XM radio receiver.
It will also feature a demonstration of XM WeatherLink, which delivers advanced warning of weather-related driving conditions in real time.
2005-12-30: Indian Internet and radio were the fastest growing media for advertising in 2005 according to the Hindu Business Line, which says the former with an 0.8% share grew by 78.3% compared to 44.5% growth for radio, which had a 2.4% share.
By comparison it says newspapers increased their share of advertising revenue from 54% to 58%, within which display advertising's share went up from 78% to 80%, but TV advertising fell marginally.
Overall advertising revenues in India were up INR 13,200 crore (13.2 billion or USD 2.9 billion- 1 crore is 10 million )
Previous Indian Radio:
Hindu Business Line report:
2005-12-29: Total US radio revenues in November were flat compared to a year ago according to latest revenue figures from the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) that show local revenues up 1% on a year ago, a rise counterbalanced by a 5% fall in national revenues and 1% fall in non-spot revenues.
The year-to-date figures are also flat for total figures with local revenues showing a 1% rise, national figures a 2% fall, and non-spot revenues a 1% fall.
On RAB's sales index, that sets pre-dot com 1998 to 100, the sales indices for November are local, 127.9; national, 120.4 and total combined local and national, 126.2 whilst corresponding year-to-date figures are 140.1; 140.6; and 140.2.
Previous RAB & RAB figures (October):
2005-12-29: Howard Stern has been responsible for nearly three-fifths of Sirius Satellite Radio's new subscribers in mid December according to latest figures from Bridge Ratings, which interviewed satellite radio subscribers at retail outlets during the final quarter of this year.
It says that in October 22% of subscribers were joining to listen to Stern but this had increased to 58% in the week to December 19.
Previous Bridge Ratings:
2005-12-29: A US District Judge has reduced from USD 10.6 million to USD 814,000 an award made to former WYCD -FM Detroit host Erin Weber in May following her claim that station owners Infinity - now CBS Radio - had fired her because she had an allergy to another host's perfume (See RNW May 25).
The Detroit News reports that U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh, in a 19-page opinion, not only cut back the award but also said he was tempted to throw the entire verdict out but notes that he agreed to award attorneys' fees to Weber - her lawyer Raymond Sterling is asking for USD 630,000 and the judge is to hold a hearing in January to fix the amount.
"The weight of the evidence does not clearly support a finding of a perfume allergy," Steeh wrote in a recent opinion. "There are many reasons to seriously consider setting aside the verdict in this case."
The six-member all-female jury had awarded Weber USD 7 million for punitive damages; USD 2 million for non-economic damages; USD 1.1 million for future economic damages; and USD 514,000 for past economic damages and Steeh commented, "It is unclear whether the jury's prejudice was a result of the peculiar composition of the all-female jury, the defendants' failure to pursue arguments which would have obliterated many of (Weber's) claims or the defendants' failure to focus sufficient attention to the damages issues."
Sterling said he and his client would appeal and seek re-instatement of the full amount, commenting, "We don't feel the reduction is justified. We've already filed papers to explain to the judge why he should uphold the original intent of the jury and we intend to also go to the court."
Weber said she has been unable to get another job in radio since she was fired in 2001 and claims CBS Radio/Infinity Broadcasting "blacklisted her" -- a claim the company, which owns WYCD, rejects.
RNW comment: When we reported the original we said on the surface this case seems tailor-made for Infinity to overturn most of the award on appeal and we rather suspect in the end that's what will happen.
In a totally unconnected Detroit lawsuit, some listeners to public radio station WDET-FM have filed suit over its programming changes that cut back on local music programming in favour of National Public Radio (NPR) news and talk shows (See Columnists Dec 26).
The Chicago Tribune reports that the listeners to the Wayne University-owned station are claiming that they were defrauded by being led to pledge money to the station in its former format while changes were already being planned.
"This is a public radio station, and their decision just completely disregarded the public and the community that is loyal to the station and financially supports it," said Kevin Ernst, the lawyer representing a group of listeners. "People contributed for those local programs, not national programs This is outright fraud. "
Wayne University vice president and general counsel Louis Lessem told the paper he has "no interest in litigating this in the press," adding, "We're sorry the plaintiffs choose to do that. We understand the disappointment of the listenership, but we do not believe it [the lawsuit] has any merit and we will fully litigate it."
WDET's general manager Michael Coleman, says the paper, referred questions to the station's lawyers but he has explained the reasons behind the changes in an Open Letter to listeners posted on the station's web site.
In it he comments, "I've heard from people who were disappointed in the new programming and from people who are very supportive of it. Regardless of how you feel, know that these decisions were painstakingly difficult, made with tremendous consideration and focused on the mission WDET has to serve our entire metropolitan Detroit community. The rationale for the changes were very straightforward - to save and strengthen this important public radio service."
"Other listeners have questioned the timing of the new programming. I'll share with you that following the close of the fiscal year on September 30, in which the station had a deficit of USD 300,000, the fall pledge drive that immediately followed fell more than USD 100,000 short of its goal. Those factors, in addition to the steady erosion of listeners (including listeners to mid-day music programs) demanded action to be taken quickly in order to save this valuable radio service."
"Detroit is my hometown. I believe it deserves a premier public radio service that is sustainable financially and that's what we're planning to provide...If you are disappointed with the new programming, I hope that you will reconsider and give us the opportunity to present to you all the fine music and news programs we now offer."
RNW comment: Much as we understand the frustrations of WDET listeners we also have sympathy with the station's dilemma. In the end, it seems to us, the listeners had not "Put Up" enough - had they done so, the problem would presumably not have arisen - and would be best advised now to shut up.
We cannot see that diverting to litigation funds better devoted to improving the station can make any sense to anyone but the lawyers.
Chicago Tribune report:
Detroit News report:
WDET - Coleman Open letter:
2005-12-29: After the Rolling Stones Madonna! Along with punk rockers Good Charlotte, recording artist Madonna has joined the "Radio: You Hear It Here First" campaign that is being run by the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to promote radio as a source of new music.
The Stones adverts were announced in October (See RNW Oct 26) as part of the campaign, launched in January that has seen adverts from the campaign, which aired by "nearly" all the major US radio companies
Commenting on the latest advert David J. Field, Entercom President and CEO of and Chairman of the NAB Radio Board said in a release, "Madonna is a superstar with an unparalleled following. It would be difficult to find a more effective spokesperson to communicate free, local radio's strengths."
Since the launch of this campaign the NAB has also launched a new campaign promoting advertising-funded - they term it free, over-the-air - radio's strengths under the slogan, "Radio: You Shouldn't Have to Pay for It" (See RNW Dec 1):
2005-12-28: Sirius Satellite Radio has announced that it has passed the three-million subscriber mark and adds that it is expecting a strong end to the year.
In what as far as we can remember is an unprecedented move it adds no further comment.
2005-12-28: The British Defence Secretary Dr John Reid turned DJ this year to record a one-hour long programme that was broadcast from mid-afternoon Tuesday on the British forces radio station BFBS as a thank-you to the 38,000 UK armed forces personnel currently serving overseas.
Songs that he featured were Amarillo by Tony Christie, Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, Wind Beneath Your Wings by Bette Midler, Country Roads by John Denver and Mull of Kintyre, by Paul McCartney.
A spoof video version of Amarillo was recorded by Royal Dragoon Guards at their Al Faw base in Iraq earlier this year and proved so popular that soldier's e-mailing of copies crashed the Ministry's internet system.
Reid talked about his life in politics and told his listeners, "Thank you for the risks you undertake; thank you for the service you give to your country; thank you for the dangers you're prepared to confront. And thank you especially for putting up with what is one of the worst deprivations: that is, being away from your families."
2005-12-28: According to the San Antonio Express -News a complaint about a tongue-in-cheek programme segment on San Antonio's leading Spanish-language radio station, Univision's KROM-FM, is holding up the station's licence renewal by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The segment was started five years ago, when the station was owned by Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation, and involved people calling in to report sightings of immigration agents in the city after which disc jockeys - who use the euphemism limones verdes, or "green limes" to refer to Border Patrol agents, who traditionally don olive-green uniforms and drive green-lined SUVs - alert listeners about the locations.
The paper says the Border Patrol, which has an eight-agent office in San Antonio, has not complained and there was no public outcry over the popular reports but then outsider Joe Ray Blalack read an article in the paper about KROM's agent-spotting segment and wrote the FCC, demanding it deny the license renewal. Blalack also wrote to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (Republican, San Antonio), who in turn asked federal agencies to investigate although a spokeswoman for the San Antonio office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement determined that the station did not engage in criminal wrongdoing.
Blalack, whose complaint has been followed by 38 more, all from people living outside Texas, said he was simply an educated citizen voicing concerns over the station's ill-suited practices, which he said pose a national security risk and said he doesn't expect the station, which has been operating without a licence since August 1, to lose its licence but he does expect a hefty fine.
"It should serve as a stern warning," he told the paper. "People can't engage in any activity against our national interest."
The FCC and the station have refused comment on the matter although the paper reports that a letter he sent to the FC in August
The station's lawyer, Scott Flick, who was not allowed to comment, has argued to the FCC that Blalack didn't follow appropriate complaint-filing procedure and that his charges are baseless and said, "KROM grows concerned that the Blalack letter is delaying the orderly processing of its license renewal application, despite the fact that the letter is completely irrelevant to that application."
San Antonio Express-News report:
2005-12-27: The US Roman Catholic Church is hoping to extend its presence in radio through applications for low-power FM (LPFM) licences in the next Federal Communications Commission (FCC) window for applications according to the Washington Post, which notes that although it is the largest denomination in the US the Catholic Church only has around 120 out of some 2,000 religious stations in the country.
The paper says the Catholic Radio Association, which has several dozen members, is hoping to add as many as 200 more if the FCC as expected opens a second "window of opportunity" for LPFM filings in 2005.
The first window prompted 3,300 applications with more than 1,200 licences granted and some 700 stations on air and the Catholic Radio Association is appealing to the faithful to raise USD150, 000 in the next two months so new stations could apply to the FCC.
Stephen Gajdosik, president of the Charleston, South Carolina-based Catholic radio trade group, thinks people are open to hearing the denomination's message, despite the clergy sex abuse crisis that has battered the church for almost four years, saying, "I think it's fair to say you have not seen the faith proclaimed and taught well in recent decades, and this is simply a means for the Holy Spirit through his church to bring the faith out to people."
Catholic bishops ignored radio and instead focused on how to get into television in the late 1970s and early 1980s according to William Thorn, director of the Institute for Catholic Media at Marquette University and said Doug Sherman, president and founder of Immaculate Heart Radio, which operates Catholic stations in California, Nevada and soon in New Mexico and who is one of the founders of the Catholic Radio Association commented, "We were asleep at the wheel."
Washington Post report:
2005-12-27: The first Australian radio advertisement to win a Lion at the Cannes Advertising Festival this year has been named as the overall and single category winner of round three of Australia's 2006 Siren Awards for creative excellence in radio advertising.
"Killed by a Car", written for the United Nation's World Environment Day, by Luke Chess and Vince Lagana from Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney, won a Bronze Lion at the Cannes Advertising Festival.
Round three judge and a previous award winner Brendon Guthrie from Grey Worldwide, said the writers of the winning advertisement resisted the temptation to say too much and played to the medium's greatest strength - the ability of radio to involve and surprise.
"It's a simple truth, simply told. A couple of the ads in this round had great ideas at their heart, but were either under or over cooked during the writing and/or production stages. And that's one of the reasons why, for us, the World Environment Day ad stood out so strongly," he said.
The 45-second advert, which has been posted along with other winners on the Siren Awards web site features an introduction saying, "You are about to hear a ten year old girl being killed by a car. " then the sound of a of a car starting and being driven off and then stopping again followed by the end line "Last year, air pollution killed more people than car accidents. Be aware. United Nations World Environment Day. Sunday June 5."
Siren Awards web site:
2005-12-27: The Freeplay Foundation, whose activities include the development and distribution of the Lifeline radio - a wind-up or solar powered robust radio that can be operated easily - has been chosen by the Times of London as its charity of choice for this 2005 Christmas and is being featured in stories by the paper over the period.
The latest one centres on the use of radio as an educational tool in Africa where the radios are issued mainly to children, who use them to gain access to information and education.
The radio idea is a development of the wind-up radio produced by British inventor Trevor Baylis and one of the Foundation's backers, Gordon Roddick, co-founder of The Body Shop and of The Big Issue, said he had thought the original radio was a "brilliant idea" when he first came across, adding, "I had been working out in Brazil with a number of indigenous groups. One of their great problems was communication with the outside world."
"Radio is the perfect way of getting quality education to a wide area incredibly cheaply," he says. "As well as being taught to read and write, children are given useful advice about boiling drinking water, hygiene, nutrition, first aid, growing crops and taking care of animals. They are also taught about Aids, how it is transmitted and how to care for those with the disease."
The Freeplay Foundation - a registered charity in Britain, the United States and South Africa was launched in 1998 - and researched and tested the project in South Africa, Kenya and Rwanda.
The first production line radios were produced in February 2003 and so far 100,000 have been committed to humanitarian projects. Donors to the Foundation include Anglo American, the Body Shop and the Vodafone Group Foundation and Roddick put in an initial GBPO 500,000 (USD 870,000) and has since then invested several million more pounds.
Freeplay Foundation site:
UK Times report:
2005-12-27: Cincinnati radio veteran and talk radio pioneer Ted McKay has died aged 77 from complications due to an infection: His radio career began in 1947 at WTIP radio in Charleston, West Virginia after which he worked in TV in Charleston before he moved back to his home town of Cincinnati in 1954, joining the radio news staff at Taft Broadcasting's WKRC.
At the station he worked on Party Line - Cincinnati's first all-talk radio show that was launched in 1955 but one on which, in marked contrast to today, no politics or religion was featured - and on Moonlight Serenade, a late-night music program. He eventually became WKRC program director the mid-'60s and retired in 1979 after which he continued to do production work and had his own studio in his home until the '90s.
After he finished his production work, he donated his equipment to Forest Park High School.
Cincinnati Enquirer report:
2005-12-27: The New York Post, which reported earlier this month that former reality-TV chef Rocco DiSpirito's radio show was set to replace Bob Grant in the afternoon drive slot next month (See RNW Dec 15) says DiSpirito has left the station unexpectedly.
His last show was on Friday and the Post says DiSpirito said he wanted to do a "broad lifestyle and entertainment-style show," rather than just talk about food and recipes, which he had been doing at 11 a.m. since joining WOR and added, "It made sense to just part company."
The paper adds that a station source suggested the departure could have been linked to wisecracks he made about the wearing of fur while discussing a promotion involving a long-time WOR advertiser - New Jersey's Flemington Furs - but DiSpirito, who is a spokesman for the National Humane Society, played down the suggestion.
New York Daily Post report:
2005-12-26: For our last look at print comment on radio this year we start with a celebration of the medium from Gillian Reynolds in the UK Daily Telegraph.
Under the heading, "It was a triumphant year for radio" she begins by writing, "Radio has been sipping all year on a little bottle like the one Alice drank from in Wonderland. Big has therefore become this year's thing. BBC dominance in all formats, analogue and digital and on the web grew even greater. In commercial radio, companies went in for megabucks mergers and gigantic acquisitions."
She then details some of the highlights in the UK as she rated them - and it is noticeable that commercial radio got most mention for consolidation in the sector and just one for programming: "A brilliant one-day co-operation between all the commercial stations in aid of tsunami relief, hosted by Chris Evans, showed what they can do when they try. But such things are exceptional and, as even bigger predators prowl radio's borders, share prices remain a more productive study than programmes."
Reynolds had some brickbats as well as praise for the BBC, in particular a dig at the idea that big names and celebrities make for good radio, commenting of BBC Radio 2 that it "continued its triumphant reign of the airwaves but showed further signs of mistaking big names for honest talent."
"It's fine to bring in Chris Evans to buck up Saturday afternoons,"she writes but then continues, "It's dumb to book Hollywood names (Sean Penn reading Bob Dylan's autobiography, Robert Downey Jr, narrating Chaplin's life story) when their radio skills are zilch."
In the US, the big radio news to end the year has been concerned with Howard Stern - as we have noted in our last two comments - but in Canada, to use the heading of a Toronto Globe and Mail report by Grant Robertson, the issue is "A Sirius test: How to get subscribers on board without Stern."
Robertson focuses on potential competition between Sirius Canada and big brother Sirius, opining that the addition of Stern to the US Sirius line-up on January 9 "could put the Canadian company, which is not picking up the program, in a fight for listeners with its part-owner."
He notes estimates of up to 60,000 grey market listeners in Canada who subscribe to U.S. satellite radio and comments, Converting that audience to Canadian subscriptions is now a key job for Sirius Canada and Canadian Satellite Radio Inc., operator of the XM network."
Sirius Canada has not completely ruled out Stern says the report but it notes, "While satellite radio programs aren't regulated by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, the show could run into problems in Canada, where the CRTC has control over the licences."
In New York, Stern's departure has left a subsidiary hole in the city's formats notes David Hinckley in the New York Daily News, that of the absence of a contemporary rock station as Stern's former home K-Rock is turning to a talk format on weekdays.
Steve Blatter, senior vice president of programming at Sirius, commented of the situation, "It's mind-blowing that the largest radio market in the country no longer will have a station that showcases new rock," and Hinckley adds that Sirius, XM and a lot of terrestrial stations would love to scoop up the dispossessed rock fans, estimated at more than a million who tune in every week.
Among them is WAXQ-FM, the remaining all-rock station in New York, and its program director Bob Buchmann commented, "K-Rock's leaving is not a death knell for rock on the radio in New York. The music's future is not in trouble. People will still get what they want."
Other terrestrial stations who hope to pick up fans from K-Rock are WBAB-FM in Long Island and WDHA-FM in New Jersey with the latter being more upbeat about its prospects with Dan Finn, vice president of Greater Media, which owns WDHA, commenting, "K-Rock switching weekday formats leaves us in a fantastic position. You can't assume listeners will fall into your lap, but they will be sampling elsewhere, and we're moving aggressively to be one of those places. There's always been a great market for rock here, especially in the suburbs."
In contrast WBAB program director John Olsen commented, "It's tough to say if we'll pick up listeners when K-Rock leaves. It probably depends on what they put on when Howard is gone. On Long Island, rock radio is an important part of people's lives. K-Rock, to a lot of people, was Howard. He was such an indelible part of it. We're entirely different. Here you know you'll get music."
The satellite companies however offer much more choice - XM has 13 rock channels, from classic rock to unsigned bands and Sirius has 16- and XM executive vice president of programming Eric Logan commented, "The demise of K-Rock is an enormous opportunity for us. We offer so many more choices."
Further comments to indicate problems for terrestrial music channels against competition from other music sources came in an article by Detroit Metro Times news editor Curt Guyette in a report on changes earlier this month at public radio station WDET-FM which according to its general manager Michael Coleman ended up with a USD 300,000 deficit for the fiscal year to the end of December and then fell USD 100,000 short of the goal set for its fall pledge drive.
Coleman, who took up his post in August, said, "We couldn't afford another year like last year. Our survival was in jeopardy."
Coleman eliminated locally produced weekday music programming and replaced it with national news-talk shows, a change that reflects broader trends in public radio, many of which have been switching to news-talk and Guyette says part of the motivation for the switch has to do with technological change.
He quotes John Sutton, founder of a company that provides consulting advice to public stations, as saying,"Stations are finding that playing CDs is not a very good competitive situation no matter how good the local host is. What's happening is that people are going online and getting their music there. They're using the shuffle mode on their iPod or MP3 player, and they're learning about new artists from the Internet. They're going to announcer-free channels on satellite radio."
"Unfortunately, the age of the well-versed announcer introducing people to new music and sharing insights is coming to an end," he added.
Coleman says the station hasn't killed off music - it's still there in evenings, overnight and on the weekends - and Tom Thomas, co-CEO of Station Resource Group, which provides consulting services to 48 public radio stations commented, "It's an absolutely rational change. It's a move toward programming that seems to be enjoying the widest interest by the public at this juncture. If all goes as trends suggest, it should result in more people tuning in, with those who are tuning in staying longer, and being more generous in their financial support."
And finally, it being Christmas, some comment on Christmas programming on both sides of the Atlantic.
In the Washington Post, Marc Fisher under the headline, "On All-Christmas-Song Stations, Little Is Sacred" looked at the range of songs considered appropriate by such stations: "And what we're listening for in the way of holiday music is happy, sweet numbers that shy away from the religious. An analysis of the most-heard Christmas songs played on 50 all-Christmas stations across the country, compiled by the research firm Media Monitors, shows that the most popular tunes were Nat King Cole's 'The Christmas Song,' Ives's 'Have a Holly Jolly Christmas,' Brenda Lee's 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree,' and Bing Crosby's 'White Christmas.'"
"Not a single carol or traditional religious song appeared in the Christmas Top 10. Instead, the tunes that really get us in the holiday mood (or out to the stores) are classic pop and rock numbers by the Carpenters (Merry Christmas, Darling), Johnny Mathis (It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas) and John Lennon and Yoko Ono (Happy Xmas [War Is Over])."
Fisher also mentions the Christmas CD of "odd" Christmas recordings produced by Lou Brutus, now producing the XM Fungus channel and a former rock deejay at the late WHFS-FM (now Free FM).
He has been collecting Christmas novelty records since he was 10 and now has a large selection of them in a collection of more than 10,000 CDs noting inclusions as some of the raunchiest and most foul-mouthed holiday recordings, such as a 45-second masterpiece from the band Fear (the title cannot be printed in a family publication but consists of an imperative to do to Christmas what Vice President Cheney once told a senator to do to himself).
"People like to hear the good favourites like John Lennon's 'Happy Christmas,' but they are also a little tired of hearing a lot of bad Christmas music,' says Brutus. 'They need to hear the nasty stuff.' We're talking 'Father Christmas' by the Kinks; a bracingly bizarre piece of proto-rap by the actor/comedian Art Carney, doing a jazz-inspired recitation of ' 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' accompanied only by a drum; a dance remix of Crosby's 'Happy Holidays'; and the always strange Leon Redbone vamping through 'Baby It's Cold Outside.'"
And from Chris Campling in the UK Times, comment about Christmas programming in the UK and the variety on offer " When you say Christmas on the radio, what are you talking about? Midnight Mass (Radio 4, Christmas Eve), or the Christmas Morning Service (Radio 4)? Or perhaps Santa's chief elf, Terry Wogan, giving it some festive twinkle during prezzie opening time (Christmas Wogan, Christmas Day, Radio 2). Or, for those who like their carols hardcore, A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols (Radio 4, Christmas Eve). Oh, yes, and the Queen. But everyone watches her on television to see how the past year has taken it out of her."
He continues, "Chuck in a bit of background carolling and that's enough Christmas, isn't it? Well, no - this year there are at least 41 programmes on major terrestrial radio with a Yuletide label, if not technically a Yuletide theme." (For the aricle and full list follow the link below)
So on to suggested listening and for those who want it the online BBC schedules provide a fairly good selection of masses and carol services but for a Christmas programme with a difference we'd suggest the most recent BBC Archive Hour- Lomax at Christmas in which British folk musician Martin Carthy introduces a 1957 programme made by folk song collector Alan Lomax featuring a variety of Christmas and traditional music and artists including Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger and Seamus Ennis. Or even, from BBC Radio 2, Christmas Rockin' with Suzi Q.
And before leaving Christmas as a theme, Adventures in Poetry on BBC Radio 4 on Christmas Day featured The Oxen, by Thomas Hardy, a nostalgic poem describing the traditional nativity scene.
To music and tomorrow at 20:00 GMT BBC Radio 2 has The Black Dyke Band: 150 Glorious Years telling the story of the band founded in 1855 by John Foster and now world-renowned.
Next art and still with BBC Radio 4 on Thursday at 11:30 GMT "The Fighting Temeraire - the Battle and the Breeze" tells the story of Turner's painting and the ship it portrays and for drama BBC Radio 3's latest Drama on 3, "Mr Fielding's Scandal Shop" - the story of how Henry Fielding, best known as the author of Tom Jones and other less than "respectable" novels as perceived at the time, changed his ways became a magistrate and turned to outlawing plays. One for Federal Communications Commissioners to listen to maybe?
For the review of the year maybe a dip into the last edition of World in Your Ear and finally to end with a laugh we would suggest either The Now Show or Ed Reardon's Week- all from BBC Radio 4 - and maybe even from the same station the Christmas cracker jokes in the latest edition of Word of Mouth (Santa's helpers? Subordinate Clauses etc).
Detroit Metro Times - Guyette:
New York Daily News - Hinckley:
Toronto Globe and Mail -Robertson:
UK Telegraph - Reynolds:
UK Times - Campling:
Washington Post - Fisher:
2005-12-26: In yet another sign of the decreasing value placed on some sporting rights, the Washington Post reports that CBS Radio's WJMK-FM, which currently has a five-year USD 50 million deal with the Redskins, may not renew the deal unless the team drops its price significantly.
WJFK may suffer a double-whammy since it was Howard Stern's station in the American capital.
When the deal was signed by Infinity (now CBS radio) it was a record for an NFL (National Football League) team but the paper says the station lost money on the deal and it has indicated it will not match it now.
It adds that the Redskins may have trouble finding another taker since none of the other large players who could afford to make such a deal - Clear Channel, Radio One, Bonneville Broadcasting and ABC/Disney - has a history of paying large sums for sporting rights and the Redskins are competing for fans and ad dollars with a new competitor: the Washington Nationals.
The post says the team says that "a number of parties" have indicated interest in bidding for the rights but a spokesman added, "While the season's underway, we're not making any decisions. But we think the Redskins are a property with great interest to broadcasters."
Clear Channel has indicated interest - its regional vice president Bennett Zier told the paper, "We have a great relationship with the Skins. We love doing business with them. We are always interested in working with them" - but balked at the cost of a deal last time round.
The paper says sources have told it another option being considered by the team is the purchase of a station to carry its games but it adds that it is unclear whether there is a local station for sale with a signal strong enough to reach most of the Washington area.
A sign that CBS Radio/Infinity was not necessarily prepared to pay any sum demanded for sports fights came earlier this year when its KMOX -AM in St. Louis lost the rights to Cardinals' games (See RNW Aug 6): In that case the Cardinals games moved to move their broadcasts to, Dorsey Media Group's KTRS-AM, from the end of this season in a deal that gave the team a half interest in the station and it would appear from subsequent events effectively changed the control of the station which is dropping almost all of its in-air staff and changing its style (See RNW Dec 20):
Previous Clear Channel:
Washington Post report:
2005-12-25: Last week was a matter mainly of routines for the regulators although in the US, the Senate has now approved the nomination of Deborah T. Tate and re-nomination of Michael J, Copps as Federal Communications Commissioners (See RNW Dec 23): Elsewhere the main radio decision came from the UK where Ofcom is to release additional spectrum for digital radio (See RNW Dec 22).
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Agency (ACMA) had a quiet week regarding radio decisions although it also released the Financial Trends in Commercial Radio 1978-79 to 2003-04 report that showed Australian radio revenues rising but profits falling over the period (See RNW Dec 24 ).
The one radio decision from the ACMA came in New South Wales in response to a request from Mudgee Broadcasting Company Pty Ltd, licensee of 2GEE, Mudgee, to move its Kandos translator to the Mt Bocoble site and extend its area to cover the recently formed Mid Western Regional Council boundary.
The ACMA is instead proposing to extend the 2GEE licence area to the south to cover the areas of Pyramul and Illford and along the Castlereagh highway, a change it says would ensure there is no signal overspill into the Bathurst and Lithgow commercial radio licence areas and would reduce the overlap with the Remote Commercial Radio North Eastern licence area. Neither Pyramul nor Illford currently receive a licensed commercial radio service.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), was as usual involved in a number of routine decisions including (In order of province):
Alberta- various applications for licences including:
Applications in the Calgary market:
*Application by Touch Canada Broadcasting Inc. for a 50,000 watts daytime and 20,000 watts nighttime English-language Gospel music AM in Calgary.
*Application by CHUM Limited for a 45,000 watts Hot AC English-language commercial FM in Alberta.
*Application by Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Ltd. (the general partner) and Jim Pattison Industries Ltd. (the limited partner), for a 100,000 watts soft vocal music English-language commercial FM in Calgary.
* Application by Rawlco Radio Ltd. for a 19,000 watts folk and folk-oriented commercial specialty English-language FM in Calgary.
* Newcap Inc. for a 3,600 watts Hot AC English-language commercial FM in Airdrie.
*Mutually exclusive applications proposing to use 92.9Mhz from
*1182743 Alberta Ltd., equally owned by Mr. Paul Larsen and Norscot Holdings Ltd. for a 100,000 watts Adult standards/modern nostalgia music commercial FM in Calgary.
*Evanov Radio Group Inc. for a 100,000 watts Adult Contemporary/Easy listening English-language FM in Calgary.
*Calgary Independent Radio Broadcasters Inc. for a 100,000 watts English-language soft rock commercial FM in Calgary.
*Yadwinder S. Sivia, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated as a cooperative, for a 50,000 watts commercial specialty ethnic FM in Calgary.
*Harvard Broadcasting Inc. for a 45,000 watts Alternative Rock English-language commercial FM.
*Newcap Inc. for 48,000 watts Adult Album Alternative English-language commercial FM in Calgary.
*Mutually exclusive applications proposing the use of 106.1 MHz and respectively from:
*Tiessen Media Inc. for a 3,600 watts Eclectic Adult Contemporary English language commercial FM in Airdrie with a transmitter in 15 watts Cochrane
* Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. for a 1,200 watts adult contemporary English-language commercial FM in Airdrie.
Mutually exclusive applications proposing the use of the frequency 100.3 MHz from:
*Touch Canada Broadcasting Inc. for a 50,000 watts daytime and 20,000 watts nighttime English-language commercial religious AM offering a Gospel music service in Calgary.
*Application by CHUM Limited for a 45,000 watts Hot AC English-language commercial FM in Calgary.
*Applications in the Lethbridge market are:
*Application by Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. to acquire the assets of English-language specialty CJTS-FM from Spirit Broadcasting Ltd. and amend the licence by relocating the transmitter, increasing the antenna height, changing the frequency from 97.1 MHz to 98.1 MHz and increasing the power from 50 watts to 20,000 watts
*Application by Touch Canada Broadcasting Inc. for a 20,000 watts Christian music commercial specialty FM in Lethbridge.
Mutually exclusive applications from:
Vista Broadcast Group Inc. for a 42,900 watts Classic Hits English-language commercial FM in Lethbridge.
Newcap Inc. for a 100,000 watts Contemporary Hit English-language commercial FM in Lethbridge.
1182743 Alberta Ltd. for a 100,000 watts adult standards/modern nostalgia English-language commercial FM in Lethbridge.
Other Alberta applications to be considered are:
*Application by Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. for a 7,400 watts contemporary rock English-language commercial FM at High River/Okotoks.
*Application from Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. for a 100,000 watts rock and rock oriented English-language commercial FM in Weyburn.
*Application by Stillwater Broadcasting Ltd. for a 210 watts mixed music English-language commercial FM in Swan River.
*Approval of application Newcap Inc. (originally filed by Sask-Alta Broadcasters Limited1) for an extension until 18 December, 2006, of the time limit to commence the operation of the transmitter CKSA-FM-1 Bonnyville authorized in CKSA Lloydminster - Conversion to FM band, in 2002.
*Approval of transmitter relocation and power increase from 64,000 watts to 100,000 watts for CFBR-FM Edmonton.
*Approval of transmitter relocation and increase in antenna height for CFHA-FM Saint John.
*Approval of transmitter relocation by CFRQ-FM, Dartmouth.
*Approval of use of frequency 92.9 MHz by Bel-Roc Communications Inc.'s new English-language FM radio station in Haldimand County combined with transmitter relocation and power decrease from 13,300 watts to 3,300 watts: A mutually exclusive application from CHCD-FM Simcoe, to operate a 1,352 watts transmitter in Haldimand County at 93.1 MHz was denied.
*Approval of use of frequency 104.7 MHz by the low-power tourist information service in Ottawa approved in June.
*Approval of application by CIBM-FM Mont-Bleu ltée for an extension until 5 December 2006 of the time limit to commence the operation of the transmitter CIBM-FM-4 Saint-Juste-du-Lac authorized in 2002.
*Approval of acquisition by Radio Nord Communications inc. of the assets of CKNU-FM, Donnacona, and its transmitter CKNU-FM-1 Sainte-Croix-de-Lotbinière, Quebec.
The CRTC has also issued a public notice for which the deadline for submission of comments is January 25 including the one radio application- by CHJX-FM London for frequency change and power increase from 10 to 500 watts that would change the service status from a low power unprotected service to a regular Class A1 service.
In Ireland there were no radio decisions but the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland has announced the receipt of 157 applications for funding in the first round of its Sound & Vision Broadcasting Funding Scheme, more than half from radio (See RNW Dec 22).
The BCI also released a statement of outcomes from the first phase of its consultation of its Code of Programme Standards that will apply to all radio and television broadcasters in terms of concepts of taste, decency, harm and offence.
It has accepted the five objectives proposed in its consultation document including the promotion of responsible broadcasting where offence and harm is reduced, the provision of guidelines for broadcasters, the acknowledgement of the diversity of tastes and interests which exist within viewing and listening audiences and the facilitation of broadcasting that caters for this diversity.
The Commission will now proceed to Phase Two where a public consultation on the principles and rules will begin.
In the UK, Ofcom's main announcement concerned the release of further spectrum for digital radio as already noted but it also released its latest Broadcast Bulletin (See RNW Dec 20) that highlighted its record fine in November (See RNW Nov 25) and announced its reasoning behind the recent awards of the new Ipswich licence and of seven new community licences announced earlier this month (See Licence News Dec 18).
In the case of the Ipswich licence, for which it had received seven applications it noted that it had said it would be likely to place particular emphasis on the ability of each applicant to maintain its proposed service.
The award went to Tindle Radio's Town FM and Ofcom said its Radio Licensing Committee "felt that Town FM was an ambitious but very well-funded proposition from a company (Tindle Radio) that knows the region well and has, in general, a good track-record in attracting audiences to its stations elsewhere in East Anglia which have similar competition to that which the new Ipswich service will face."
It also said members "felt that Town's decision to focus on an older 35+ audience "with a particular emphasis on 46-64 year olds" would help to address a clear market gap, given that local commercial radio's share of listening in the Ipswich area is particularly weak (in comparison to the national average) among adults aged over 45."
In the community licence cases, Ofcom highlighted criteria such as broadcasting experience, proposals for training, evidence of demand for the services proposed and funding arrangements well as elements of "social gain" in the stations' proposed programming and activities.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has published details of the 212 bidders it has approved for the 171 FM licences to be up for grabs in its Auction 62 next month: It also listed 117 non-qualified bidders.
The list includes bids by Cumulus, Entravision, RadioActive LLC - the company of former Clear Channel executive Randy Michaels, and Charles River Broadcasting, which announced earlier this month that it had entered into exclusive negotiations with Greater Media about the sale of its classical station WCRB-FM (See RNW Dec 16).
It has also been involved in a number of sanctions including a proposed USD 20,000 fine on Spanish Broadcasting System for breaches of Equality of Employment Opportunity regulations (See RNW Dec 21) and the confirmation of a USD 7,000 penalty on the former licensee of a Washington State AM (See RNW Dec 24).
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
*RNW Dec 27 correction- The FCC has subsequently announced that two of those it had listed as non qualified bidders for Auction 62 had in fact sent payments on time. This increases the number of qualified bidders to 214 and decreases that of those not qualified to 115.
2005-12-25: The fight between unlicensed community station radio free brattleboro in Vermont and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over community radio in Brattleboro appears to be in its final stages because a new licensed community is likely to be on air by spring according to the Brattleboro Reformer.
radio free brattleboro was closed down in June this year in an FCC raid (See RNW Jun 24) following previous court battles between it and the FCC and a previous closedown by the Commission in June: It had been broadcasting since 1998 without a licence and it and the Commission had sued each other in a lawsuit launched in March 2004.
The Reformer says Larry Bloch, one of the station's founders, said lawyers are negotiating for a settlement agreement and added that continuing with the lawsuit would be pointless since the station had previously agreed to step aside once another station was launched.
The replacement is Brattleboro Community Radio, to be run by Vermont Earth Works, a non-profit organization that applied for a low power FM licence four years ago and received authorization in March.
It is now renovating space for a studio, ordering equipment and recruiting volunteers with the aim of a launch by March 21 on 107.7 FM.
One of its founders Ken Brace said that when the window for filing opened in 2001 their feeling in applying was "what if one day there is no community radio in Brattleboro?"
He added that the station's fundraising goal for 2006 was USD 10,770 and the station was using the frequency theme is asking for tax-deductible donations of USD 107.70 from residents and businesses that will be known as the station's founding supporters.
Brattleboro Reformer report:
2005-12-24: Commercial radio revenues in Australia in the five years from 1999-2000 to 2003-04 grew 15.6% to AUD 853 million (USD 623 million) according to the "Financial Trends in Commercial Radio" report just released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
Within the figures FM did much better than AM with a 21.9% increase over the period compared to 3% for AM.
The revenue increases however were not match in terms of profitability: Profit before interest and tax (PBIT) fell by 17.6 per cent to AUD 149 million (USD 109 million) although in 2003-04 it was up 18.4% on a year earlier, driven by metropolitan services whose PBIT was up 63% to AUD 115 million (USD 84 million) whereas PBIT for regional services was down 38.3% to AUD 34 million (USD 25 million) despite revenues increasing by 7.3% to AUD 265 million (USD 194 million).
For 2003-04 split between AM and FM for the year was in marked contrast to that over the longer period with AM PBIT up 19.9% and that for FM up 18.2%.
2005-12-24: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a penalty of USD 7,000 on Butterfield Broadcasting Corporation, former licensee of KULE-AM, Ephrata, Washington, for failing to effectively enclose its AM broadcast tower.
Butterfield had appealed against the penalty on the basis that details in the Notice of Apparent Liability issued in December last year were "not entirely accurate; that the fence surrounding the KULE-AM tower was effective; that the size of the gap in the fence is overstated in the NAL; and that, given Butterfield's recent compliance history with KULE-AM, a USD 7,000 forfeiture is not warranted."
Butterfield has specifically argued that it personnel accessed the site via an unbroken gate in the perimeter fence and thus it should have no liability for maintenance of the perimeter fence but the FCC pointed out that the penalty was applied because both the perimeter fence and the fence at the base of the tower were not effective, Regarding arguments that the tower fence was effective it said its agent easily slid under the fence.
It also dismissed an appeal on the basis of recent complaints because in October last year it had levied a USDS 2,000 penalty for failure to maintain a copy of the station's authorization in its public inspection file (See RNW Oct 5, 2004) and confirmed the full penalty.
2005-12-24: A prank call from Radio Cope, a Spanish radio station owned by the Spanish Episcopal Conference, the Roman Catholic Church's ruling body has led to a diplomatic row between the Vatican, Spain and Bolivia.
The call by Federico Jiménez Losantos, a presenter on the right-wing Radio Cope station, who was masquerading as Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero led Bolivian President Evo Morales to tell his supporters that he had received a call from Zapatero expressing satisfaction at electoral victory by a fellow Socialist.
After this the station aired a tape of the call in which "Zapatero" congratulates Morales on his victory and inviting him to Madrid.
Morales, who is taken in by the call, reminds the Spanish leader of his apparent pledge to double Madrid's economic aid to Bolivia.
The Prime Minister called the President and condemned the call as "unacceptable" and the Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos summoned the Papal Nuncio in Spain yesterday to explain the "joke" while the Bolivian Embassy lodged a formal complaint, saying the call it had "exceeded the limits of humour" and "offended" the Bolivian people.
Zapatero's spokesman, said, "This is an unacceptable so-called joke that involves impersonating the Prime Minister and attempting to ridicule the president-elect of a friendly Latin American country" but the station initially refused to apologise, terming the call "just another joke".
It later backed down and apologised.
UK Times report:
2005-12-24: Radio broadcasts by the BBC and German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle have gone off the air in Moscow because of two different disputes involving licences.
In the case of the BBC a dispute involving the Oktod operating company, which provides it with transmission facilities, took BBC services in English and Russian off the air.
Russian news agencies reported that Oktod did not have a licence from Rosokhrankultura, the Russian federal agency that regulates programming, and the Oktod's head Grigory Kliger told Ekho Moskvy radio the licence for the frequency had run out and the documents needed to renew it had not been ready in time.
A Rosokhrankultura spokesman told the Interfax news agency the BBC "only had a technical licence from the Communications Ministry, but it did not have a licence from (our agency)."
The BBC Russian service Moscow bureau editor Konstantin Eggert added, "We officially have a right to broadcast. We were not the ones who lost the right to broadcast, it was the service provider."
Deutsche Welle went off the air because it lost its frequencies after negotiations for months about a new licence and DW Radio editor in chief Miodrag Soric said he was "very concerned" but hoped "the interruption in transmissions will not last for more than a few days."
The German Foreign Office said in Berlin that it was in intensive talks with the Russian authorities and sought "a solution so that Deutsche Welle can go back on air as soon as possible".
Both broadcasters aired programming in Russian as well as in English by the BBC and German by DW.
2005-12-24: Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS), which earlier this month was hit with a proposed penalty of USD 20,000 for violating equal opportunity of employment (EEO) regulations at four of its Californian stations but was allowed to renew their licences (See RNW Dec 21) has aid it is on track to complete the sale of two of them by the end of January next year.
KZAB-FM and KZBA-FM - currently operating as KDAY-FM and KDAI-FM - are being sold under a staged deal in which Styles has just paid a further USD 20 million that with an earlier payment makes USD 55 million towards the total USAD 120 million purchase price.
2005-12-23: Clear Channel has now completed the spin-off of its wholly owned subsidiary CCE Spinco Inc., to which it had transferred the business of its Entertainment Group, as an independent, publicly traded company and trading has started in the stocks of the two companies.
The initial market reaction was positive for Clear Channel, which ended the day up 2.55% at USD 31.72 but negative for Spinco, which ended the day down 2.2% at 10.60 Clear Channel common stock holders received one share in Spinco for every eight shares of Clear Channel that they held on December 14 and trading in the current post-spin-off Clear Channel began yesterday under the CCU symbol and of the new company under the symbol LYV.
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-12-23: The US Senate has confirmed the nomination of Republican Tennessee regulator Deborah T. Tate and of Democrat Michael J. Copps for another term as Federal Communications Commissioners.
Tate, who succeeds Kathleen Abernathy, will fill the remaining part of a five-year term running to the end of June 2007 whilst Copps takes on a new five-year term to the end of June 2010 on the Commission, which is still one member short of its five-member quota.
Congratulations on their confirmation has come from a number of organizations including the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) whose President and CEO David K. Rehr said in a statement, "It is with great pleasure that I congratulate Commissioner Copps on his continued tenure and Deborah Tate on her confirmation as Commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission. These are challenging times for the communications industry and both Commissioner Copps and Ms. Tate have proven themselves to be exceptional leaders and committed public servants."
2005-12-23: Amongst broadcasters evaluating bids for a new UK national digital licence that Ofcom has said it is to award (See RNW Dec 22) are a number of non-radio organizations as well as Emap, Chrysalis, and UTV according to the London Times.
The paper reports that BT (British Telecom), radio investor and consultancy group Absolute Radio, and Macquarie are thought to be considering bids.
Amongst radio groups it says UTV has confirmed it is considering making an offer and adds that Channel 4 TV has held informal talks with Emap about a joint offer but has not yet made any final decision whether to team up with Emap and is to speak to other radio groups.
BT said it is considering bidding for the new digital radio spectrum as it wants extra digital capacity for new services such as its Livetime joint venture pilot project with Vodafone, which broadcasts live television and radio on mobile phones and a spokesman told the paper, "BT Livetime is evaluating a number of options which could enable it to expand its range of mobile broadcast services in the future. These options include bidding for future digital spectrum.
UK Times report:
2005-12-23: Arbitron has announced a re-organization of its Portable People Meter (PPM) activities under which President, U.S. Media Service Owen Charlebois has been appointed president, Operations, Technology, Research and Development and is to head a unit to deploy Arbitron's Portable People Meter-based audience measurement services as well as operate Arbitron's existing radio audience measurement services.
In addition, the president of Arbitron's PPM division, Pierre Bouvard, has been appointed president, Sales and Marketing with responsibility for all of Arbitron's sales and marketing efforts, both for the Portable People Meter and for Arbitron's core services.
Linda Dupree, senior vice president, Portable People Meter New Product Development, will continue to oversee the development of market research services based on the Portable People Meter technology.
Steve Morris, president and chief executive officer, Arbitron Inc. commented of the changes: "In 2006, we will be taking our Portable People Meter system from a stand-alone development effort to an integral component of our core media services", adding, "To bring PPM to the U.S. media marketplace as quickly as possible, we must make changes to our organization while delivering the best of new and traditional services to our customers. The solutions require closely integrating operations, technology and research and development into a tightly knit team capable of accelerating our speed to market with next generation versions of our traditional tools."
2005-12-23: BBC online listening in November showed overall listening online up 2% on October and up 62% on a year ago at 16,703,104 hours: The month-on-month rise was fuelled by live listening, which was up 2.7% to 10,387,256 hours (up 68.5% year-on-year) whilst on-demand listening rose only 0.85% to 6,315,848 hours (Up 52.5% year on year).
There was little change in ranking although BBC 7 overtook Radio 5 Live in November and in the rankings for on-demand programmes the Empire series dropped from fifth to 23rd.
In terms of network listening in November this year, the rankings were - Total listening hours - live plus on-demand and percentage change compared to October then to November 2004:
Radio 1 - 4,828,263 + 3.9%; + 63.4%
Radio 2 - 3,480,101 + 4.2%; +67.3%.
Radio 4 - 2,870,490 +0.6%; +69.2%.
BBC 7 - 1,431,687 + 0.6%; +72.5% (Up from fifth)
Radio 5 Live - 1,129,274 -3.3%% +37.4% (Down from fourth).
Radio 3 - 767,514 + 0.3%; + 44.1%
6 Music - 695,528 + 1.2%; 30.6%
1Xtra - 592,623 +2.7%; +9.4%
Asian Network - 214,998 +1.3%; + 24.3%
5 Live Sports Xtra - 41,315 -35.8%; + 40.6%.
The top five on-demand programmes in November were:
1- The BBC Radio 4 soap The Archers with 683,939 listens, down 3.2% on October.
2 - Chris Moyles on BBC Radio 1 with 458,707 listens, up 8.2 % on October.
3 - Essential Mix on BBC Radio 1 with 217,427 listens, up 0.2% on October.
4 - I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue on BBC Radio 4 with 199,597 listens, up 36.4% on October.
5 - The Essential Selection on BBC Radio 1 with 192,888 listens in November, down 4.9 % on October when it was fourth.
*Empire, which was fifth when it began its run in October a new series on BBC Radio 4 with 189,236 listens, was down to 23rd with 80,266 listens in November.
Previous BBC Online figures:
2005-12-23: Clear Channel in Washington DC has dropped long-time local host Jerry Phillips in a shutdown of its public affairs department as it takes what regional vice president Bennett Zier called a "new direction.
Zier, whose company's eight stations in the US capital currently have no news staff, told the Washington Post it would add "personality-based news for our morning shows," including some public affairs content and said of Phillips departure, "Jerry is moving on."
Phillips, who was morning host on WHUR-FM in the 1970s and '80s, was described by the Post as a "beloved, if sometimes corny, daily reflection of the black Washington of green-and-white awnings and people who regarded anyone whose family had been here less than a century as out-of-towners" who has been the "voice of the community" on D.C. radio for 35 years.
The paper says the shutdown has closed what some local charities termed their main link to the public and it quoted said Diane Charles, director of Stop Child Abuse Now in Alexandria and host of "Raising Children Today," a program Phillips produced on DC101 (WWDC) as saying, "For small nonprofits like us, this is how we got our message out.".
Phillips commented, "Radio's changing. Local concerns get left out. I studied to be a priest, so I guess this has been my priesthood, trying to help" and added that his last show, a Christmas special he was producing to raise money for the Capital Area Food Bank, will not air.
Previous Clear Channel:
Washington Post report:
2005-12-22: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced that it is to make new spectrum available to ensure that all parts of the UK can receive digital radio broadcasts.
In all, as outlined in a consultation it published in October (See RNW Oct 20), Ofcom is planning to release four blocks of spectrum, three of which are to be used for local multiplexes and a further block for a new national multiplex.
Regarding the latter, over which GCap Media has said it may take legal action, Ofcom says it does not agree with GCap's submission that the terms under which the original Digital One Multiplex was awarded prohibited the issuing of another national commercial digital multiplex until 2011.
It said in October that any new national multiplex must "appeal to tastes and interests " that are "distinct" from those of Digital One but this has not appeased GCap which said the decision was "disappointing" and added that it would consider its position carefully before deciding what to do next although its "only option may still be a judicial review."
Ofcom also notes concern from some independent and smaller stations concerning migration to digital of all stations and says that various possible developments such as use of the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) platform require further work over the next year but that it would not be in the best interests of citizens and consumers to move to solve some problems by allocating the fourth block of spectrum for further local multiplexes rather than a national one.
There were also some submissions that the current coding system being uses was out of date and that Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), could deliver benefits in terms of capacity but Ofcom said it considers that any change in technical standards now would raise significant issues in relation to consumer and citizen protection, and the further development of the market for digital radio.
[RNW comment: We agree and as we have commented before feel that the best way forward is to stick with an adequate system that can be used universally rather than slow development and create multiple standards throughout the world for small benefits, and those mainly to broadcasters rather than listeners].
Ofcom DAB policy statement -52 page, 229 kb PDF
2005-12-22: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) says it has received 157 applications for funding in the first round of its Sound & Vision, the Broadcasting Funding Scheme that offers grants for new television and radio programmes on themes of Irish culture, heritage and experience and is funded by 5% of the television licence fee.
A little more than half came from radio with 82 applications that came from a mix of local and community broadcasters plus a small number r from public broadcasters and independent producers.
The BCI says the genres of programming were also wide ranging and varied covering such as children's programmes, animation, features, documentaries, drama series and entertainment and it has set up a total of 13 panels to assess the applications.
BCI Chief Executive Michael O' Keeffe said, 'We are delighted with the huge response to the first round of the Sound and Vision scheme. Apart from the number of applications received, there is a good mix across both the radio and television sectors and within the themes and the different genres of the proposed programmes'.
2005-12-22: In its annual report for 2004-5 just released Canadian Broadcast Watchdog, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has reported a record number of complaints and decisions in the year - of around 2,000 complaints it recorded decisions in 125 cases where the complainant had not been satisfied with the broadcaster's response.
Of the complaints around three-quarters concerned TV and a quarter radio in 2004-5 with Ontario with 39% leading in regional number terms followed by Quebec (33%), British Columbia (15%), the Prairies (12%) and the Atlantic provinces (2%).
In terms of subject news and public affairs complaints were the largest category for TV, accounting for a quarter of the total, whilst for radio various phone-in and similar "informal discourse" programming was the largest category with 69% of the total.
CBSC National chair Ronald I. Cohen commented, "It's been an extremely active year, one that indicates that Canadians who have concerns about anything they have seen or heard on television or radio know that private broadcasters provide them with an avenue for resolution of those concerns."
The CBSC also highlights the wide variety of communities served and notes that it explains the most frequently applied Code provisions in 40 languages - Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, Cree, Croatian, Czech, Dari, Dutch, English, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Macedonian, Mohawk, Ojibwa, Pashtu, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sinhala, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu and Vietnamese.
CBSC Annual report - 38 Page 367 KB PDF:
2005-12-22: GCap Media has retained breakfast host Johnny Vaughan and drivetime presenter Richard Bacon in the lineup at its flagship Capital Radio when it is re-launched next month although Bacon's show will be extended to three hours but run an hour later at 17:00 to 20:00.
The move makes way for a new afternoon show hosted by Chris Brooks that takes the place of Neil Bentley's current afternoon show: Bentley is moved to a weekend show.
The main casualty is Jeremy Kyle's Capital Confessions that has been axed: The last show is tonight and Kyle said he intends to concentrate on his daytime TV show, commenting ,"I want to spend more time with my family. With the television show I work 20 hours a day, something has to give. My bosses at Capital have been terrific and I want to stay in touch with this great radio station."
Kyle will remain at Capital with a new Sunday evening show and in late evenings the station will air a new show from Paul Gillies running from 20:00 to 23:00
BBC "Holiday" programme host Craig Doyle, who this week is standing in for Vaughan in the breakfast slot, is to join Capital with a Saturday Morning 09:00 to noon show that will compete with BBC Radio 2's Jonathan Ross Show
Under the plans Capital will also change its music policy to concentrate on R&B; melodic singer-songwriters; feel-good black music and pop/funk and is also to introduce a new no more than two adverts in a row policy.
Capital Radio site:
2005-12-21: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a penalty of USD 20,000 on four Spanish Broadcasting System's California stations for breaches of Equal Opportunity of Employment (EEO) rules.
The Commission came across the breaches when considering applications for the renewals of the licences of KDAY-FM, Redondo Beach; KDAI -FM, Ontario - both of which are being sold to Styles Media; and KXOL-FM and KLAX-FM, Los Angeles.
In its notice the FCC notes that its consideration of the renewal applications including attached EEO public file reports showed that the stations had did not recruit for every full-time vacancy as required and failed to self-assess adequately its EEO program in violation.
In all, it said, the stations filled 54 full-time positions but failed to recruit for 21 and of 29 remaining positions failed to recruit adequately for 27 positions.
"The licensees," it says, "failed to recruit for 39% of their openings and failed to recruit adequately for another 50% of their openings, resulting in a record of nonexistent or inadequate recruitment for 87% of their openings over a 24-month period, which was never corrected during the license term."
It rules however that the breaches did not constitute "serious violations" of the Commission's rules of such gravity that they warrant designation for evidentiary hearing and opted to renew the licences.
*RNW note: The FCC originally published incorrect figures. These are the corrected ones.
2005-12-21: Irish state broadcaster RTÉ (Radio Telefís Éireann) is to launch Eureka DAB trials from the start of 2006 in an area covering Greater Dublin and the North East that it selected for its high population and building density.
The initial trials, which mark the 80th anniversary of Irish radio - station 2RN was launched on behalf of Radio Éireann on January 1, 1926 - will run for around three months after which, if they are successful, RTÉ Radio will look to apply for a full broadcast licence in this area later in 2006.
RTÉ says that for now it is committed to FM. which it notes is "cheap, mobile, easy to use and universally available" and regards DAB as the "best fit" for the next generation of radio...
Commenting on the digital plans RTÉ Radio Managing Director Adrian Moynes said, "There is an opportunity for the radio industry as a whole to bring the benefits of digital radio to listeners. Radio has a unique place in the lives of the nation and must adapt to retain that engagement as other platforms and services develop."
The Irish move forward with DAB caps a year in which the standard has considerable success: It is estimated that by the end of this year some four million people will be listening to DAB receivers, some three quarters of them in the UK where the market is now worth some GBP 120 million ( USD 210 million). Other countries moving forward with Dab include Norway, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Korea and China - where DAB trials began in Beijing this year and DMB Multi Media trials are running in Guangdong province - although the system had a setback in Sweden earlier this month when the government denied a call from broadcasters for an expansion of DAB.
Minister of culture and education Leif Pagrotsky announced that he will not take any decision to close down the analogue FM network in Sweden and rejected a call from the national public broadcaster Sveriges Radio to start nationwide digital radio DAB broadcasting.
Pagrotsky says that it will not be worth the money as it will be too expensive to replace 25-30 million analogue FM receivers in Sweden: Sveriges Radio (SR) had already spent around Euros 40 million (USD 47.5 million) on DAB mostly for broadcasts on a temporary basis in four cities - it launched a service in September 1995 - and a transmission network for the whole country has been established but it is now on ice.
The government says that it is not ruling out DAB but does not think moves should be made now and is hoping that people will turn to the Internet and digital TV platforms for new audio services, a position already adopted by the Finnish government, which decided against DAB a year ago.
The decision leaves open the issues of future development of digital radio services using the existing FM band and iBiquity's HD or the DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) systems.
Mikael Nilson, Director of Communication at Swedish Radio SR said the entire radio industry "regrets this government's decision not to expand DAB digital radio in Sweden."
"We are in favour of digital broadcasting on a variety of platforms including the Internet, Podcasting (MP3), radio and digital TV," he said, "but DAB is terrestrial, free to air, and has the advantage that consumers don't have to pay to receive the content as they do on the Internet. We believe that DAB is the best technology for digital radio broadcasting in Sweden."
Christer Jungeryd of Sweden's Radio Advertising Bureau insisted commercial radio needs national broadcasting licences, saying, "We cannot get them on FM, so we have to wait for DAB.
We don't see any alternative to DAB."
2005-12-21: Westwood One has reached agreement with CBS Radio (the re-named Infinity) to become the exclusive national advertising representative of two new morning drive programs hosted by David Lee Roth and Adam Carolla that will take replace the Howard Stern Show on a number of stations: It will also exclusively distribute the two programs to all non-CBS Radio stations nationwide.
Westwood One is also to have the same deal for the new national Jay Severin Show that makes its debut on January 3 with takes including his former home, WTKK-FM in Boston- plus CBS Radio stations KRLD-AM, Dallas; WPHT-AM, Philadelphia, WJFK-AM, Washington D.C. and KMOX-AM, St Louis.
Although Stern has escaped from terrestrial radio to the editorially unregulated satellite airwaves, terrestrial groups who objected to his broadcasts on indecency grounds are still trying to curb his activities.
Some, like the Parents Television Council are taking the view that Stern's show should be an "extra", a policy they have also been pushing for fable TV with the promotion of a la carte menus rather than bundled services but are not asking for him to be censored.
Others, like Morality in Media president Robert Peters, are continuing to argue that the show is still broadcast on the public airwaves and so should be subject to broadcast indecency laws.
Previous Westwood One:
2005-12-21: GCap Media, Britain's largest commercial radio group, has agreed to licence archive programming by the late broadcaster Kenny Everett to the BBC for broadcast on the BBC's digital speech station, BBC7.
The deal is the first programming supplier agreement between the two broadcasters and the licence will cover 25 five- minute episodes of Captain Kremen - Everett's highly acclaimed space hero - and four 30 minute editions of "Kenny's Radio Days", which were based on edited highlights from his time at London's Capital Radio in the 70s and 80s.
The programmes have been edited and produced by 'Kenny fan' and GCap producer Howard Shannon and are scheduled to be aired weekly for 4 weeks from 28th December 2005.
BBC7 controller Mary Kalemkerian commissioned the deal from GCap's external content division, Creation and John Hirst, who heads Creation, said, "I'm delighted that we are supplying BBC7 with rich archive programming from a radio hero. This is treasured material from the Capital Radio archive. It allows another airing for those who remember Kenny and a first chance to listen for younger listeners. He entertained listeners in a style like no-one else on the radio and inspired so many of today's broadcasters".
2005-12-21: James Martz, the state prosecutor who is leading the investigation into Rush Limbaugh's drug use has been appointed a Palm Beach County judge - in which role he will oversee traffic, small claims and misdemeanour criminal cases - in an announcement by Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
A spokesman for Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer told the Sun-Sentinel that Martz is likely to take up his new office in January but will remain an active prosecutor until then. He added that no decision has been made on who would then take over the Limbaugh investigation.
2005-12-20: ABC's Daytime and Prime Access networks maintain their first and second ranks respectively in .Arbitron's RADAR 87 (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) Radio Network Audience Report) just released covering the period from September 23, 2004 - September 21, 2005 but in third spot is Jones MediaAmerica TWC Radio Network, which is up from fifth in the RADAR 86 ratings, displacing ABC Morning News Radio Network, which dropped to sixth.
In the top three, ABC Daytime Direction Network lost 739,000 on the RADAR 86 numbers to end up with a weekly audience of 7.44 million and its AQH was down from 3.3 to 3.0; ABC's Prime Access network in second rank lost 900,000 to end up with 5.835 million and an AQH of 2.4, down from 2.7 and in third spot Jones MediaAmerica TWC Radio Network lost 278,000 listeners to end up with 5.292 million and an AQH of 2.2, down from 2.3.
Westwood CBS News Primetime Network, which had dropped from second to fourth place in RADAR 86 lost 362,000 listeners and dropped another rank to fifth with a weekly 5.208 million and AQH down from 2.3 to 2.1
RADAR now rates 52 networks with American Urban's STRZ Entertainment and Westwood One's FM Morning being added since RADAR 86: In addition Premiere Radio Networks has announced the addition of four new RADAR-rated networks: Morning Drive FM, Spectrum, Select, and Urban Two that will debut in RADAR 88, which will be released in late March, 2006.
Morning Drive FM will target Persons 18-49 and offer advertisers exposure on morning shows featuring personalities such as Bob & Tom, Steve Harvey and Big D & Bubba; Spectrum and Select will be two daypart specific networks that will target Persons 18-49 and will provide a concentration of audience in the top 50 DMA market grouping and will feature commercial units on approximately 750 Clear Channel radio stations; and Urban Two, will target African-American Persons 18-49 on 74 Clear Channel Urban-formatted radio stations.
Previous Disney/ABC, America:
Previous Jones MediaAmerica:
Previous RADAR ratings (RADAR 86):
Previous Premiere Networks:
Previous Westwood One:
2005-12-20: Emap is to re-launch its KISS-FM station next year to try and recover from a "dramatic decline" in listeners and market share - down from 4.8% to 3.5% in the latest ratings - over the past three years according to the UK Guardian.
Noting that the station has lost 340,000 of its audience from a peak 1.7 million a week in 2002, the paper says that since then dance market has gone out of vogue, rock has undergone a resurgence and the station, a former pirate launched in 1985 and bought by Emap in 1992 has lost the kudos from that heritage.
The fight-back says the paper is to be directed by former Channel 4 TV marketing boss, Bill Griffin who joined the company earlier this year to with responsibility for Kiss in London and the national digital radio Kiss network. The paper says he will work with Andrew Jeffries, the former programme director of Emap's Kerrang! rock radio station in the West Midlands and the duo are to present their proposals to Emap Radio's managing director Dee Ford and the radio board next month with the re-launch scheduled around April.
The paper says some radio industry sources think Kiss's woes are partly the result of Emap's concentration on it Magic FM easy-listening station, which in the latest ratings was second in terms of listening share and third in reach (See RNW Oct 28).
UK Guardian report:
2005-12-20: The St Louis Post-Dispatch reports that almost all the entire on-air staff of KTRS-AM are to be dumped in January by the station, which in August took over St Louis Cardinals cover from the Cardinal's long-time radio home, Infinity's KMOX-AM in a deal that gave the team half-ownership in the Dorsey Media -owned station (See RNW Aug 6).
The paper says KTRS said it will bring in some new personalities, who are considered in the
industry to be "shock jocks" - known for sexual references and blue humour who will relocate to St. Louis from stations around the country but added that Tim Dorsey, president and founder of the station, tried to play down the newcomers style.
"St. Louis can be assured the new KTRS will be of a standard befitting the flagship station of the St. Louis Cardinals," he said in a news statement, adding, "Personnel decisions made today are the result of our new direction. In no way do these personnel decisions reflect the quality of the work of the people... [But] By virtue of our acquiring the rights to the Cardinals, we have been afforded the opportunity to attract new and unique talent from around the country."
The paper reports that the firings follow the change in the station's ownership overseen by Bobby Lawrence, who is now chairman of the board at KTRS and a business associate of Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt and notes that Lawrence was formerly president and chief operating officer of Jacor Communications Inc. and was subsequently executive vice president of Clear Channel Radio, where he worked with Clear Channel's then radio division CEO Randy Michaels, known for bringing the shock-jock style to some of Clear Channel's stations.
In a second report in the paper Dan Caesar quotes KTRS manager Craig Unger as saying, "The Cardinals gave us a chance to attract new talent and unique talent from around the country." adding that there was much interest in jobs at the station from "people who are No. 1 in their time slot, people who are No. 1 with people (age) 25-54, that's our audience. It opened up doors. We have one opportunity to seize this, to do it right, to do it well. We had to jump on board and do it now."
Unger said the new personalities will be "lively, (making it) a lot faster-paced radio, energetic. People are going to have opinions and be fun to listen to. They're knowledgeable, but great broadcasters."
The paper adds that a source close to the situation said, "Dorsey has no say in the matter. Bobby Lawrence hired (program director) Al Brady Law, and he's running the show. He's got the keys to the place."
Caesar says that in essence, station management is saying that the fired personalities at the market's 14th-rated station are too boring and comments that to keep John Hadley whose style is more to shoot from the hip and rant over the more professional-sounding and lower-key Karraker tells a lot about the direction of the station. So does the background of the man who will replace Karraker, Tim "Monty" Montemayor who says on his Web site that his biggest influence in broadcasting is smack-talking national radio and TV personality Jim Rome.
St Louis Post-Dispatch - news report:
St Louis Post-Dispatch - Caesar:
2005-12-20: The much-vaunted JACK format is in trouble in the country where it was born according to the Toronto Star, which says that Rogers Communications - which launched Jack in on its CKLG-FM in Vancouver in 2002 - may flip the station's format following poor fall ratings.
Entertainment columnist Greg Quill says that if there is a flip insiders say the most likely format would be country but nobody is saying if the format will be dropped "although the fall book on the '80s and '90s hits station was dismal enough to fuel rumours of a format change."
Quill notes that Jack's current frequency 92.5 FM was formerly used in the 1990s by Calgary-owned new country outfit CISS-FM but fared badly but says that Canadian country/roots music, thanks largely to Canadian content regulations and canny programmers at Corus-owned country music TV network CMT, is hot again among young metropolitans and adds that a change would give the city two country format signals - the other is Oshawa's independent "new country" operation, Durham Radio's KX96.
Quill adds that the CMT format rather than the Nashville-dominated new country format would be most likely to success in Toronto according to Billboard Magazine's Canadian editor Larry LeBlanc who said, "It will have to have an edge. Every time country music hits the middle of the road, it fails."
Toronto Star report:
2005-12-20: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin highlights the record fine of GBP125, 000 (USD 215,000) that it imposed on Emap's Manchester station Piccadilly Radio last month (See RNW Nov 25) and also logged as a breach of regulations failure by Ramadan Radio in Sheffield to provide a recording requested following two complaints or to reply to any of Ofcom's enquiries: This compares to no radio complaints upheld and three considered resolved in its previous bulletin,
In the case of Ramadan Radio, which held a restricted service licence running from 4 October 2005 to 4 November 2005 and Ofcom says it is "extremely concerned that the licensee failed to acknowledge receipt of our letters which made clear how serious this matter is."
It notes that one letter was confirmed delivered, another remained uncollected from the Post Office despite notification and one was returned marked "addressee unknown" and adds that, " The failure to supply recordings or to respond to correspondence from Ofcom is a serious and significant breach of a licence and will be held on record and taken into account should the licensee make any future licence applications."
In addition to these two cases Ofcom also imposed sanctions in one TV case, held that there had been a breach of regulations in two other TV standards cases and considered a number of other TV standards cases resolved: In the last category all but two cases involved the Big Brother programme, which led to large numbers of complaints. These included 32 complaints about one contestant picking scabs and putting them in the food of another contestant, 23 regarding sexual intercourse that might have taken place between a male and female contestant, 53 about advances allegedly the made by one male contestant to another, 259 about a female contestant said to have put a wine bottle into her vagina, 3 relating to swearing, 517 regarding to the finale that Ofcom said appeared to be part of a campaign concerning treatment on one contestant, and 40 complaints of racially offensive behaviour.
In addition a TV details were given of one TV standards complaint not upheld, partly upheld a TV fairness and privacy complaint and gave details of two other such TV cases where complaints were not upheld.
This compares with two TV standards cases upheld, a TV fairness and privacy case partly upheld, and two TV standards and on TV fairness case not upheld in the previous bulletin.
Ofcom also listed with no details a further 143 complaints against 120 items that were rejected or held to be out of remit compared to corresponding totals of 111 complaints against 103 items in the previous bulletin.
These included 14 radio complaints relating to 14 items compared to 10 radio complaints relating to 10 items in the previous bulletin - and 129 TV complaints relating to 106 items compared to 101 TV complaints relating to 93 items in the previous bulletin:
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2005-12-19: This week again it has to be Howard Stern when it comes to print comment on radio: The host finally ended his K-Rock days on Friday and the comment spawned would to someone from outside suggest that most Americans listen to him rather than around 8 million a week - around 2.5% of a US population of some 300 million - albeit his influence or notoriety as evinced by the cover is somewhat greater then the percentage suggests.
On satellite the audience will be much smaller - as Bruce Spitzer put it in Boston's Metro West Daily News: "Never mind that satellite has yet to garner a relative thimble full of monthly-contract-required listeners to its promise of uninhibited and uncensored radio with no commercials (and a selection of categorized music)."
Spitzer is sceptical about how far the Sirius gamble of some USD 500 million over five years on Stern's success in pulling in the audience will succeed - or rather more than sceptical: "He [Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin] and Sirius shareholders are making a bet that Stern will pull in satellite radio subscribers by the millions and cover Howard's salary and then some The only problem is, it just won't work. Many media analysts including this author predict that not enough of Stern's listeners will care to pony up $12.95 a month for a Sirius subscription. (Sorry Howard.)"
Spitzer then opines that the commercial-free promise of satellite radio will go the way of ... well, cable: "But all is not lost. The mighty Mel has an ace in the hole: history is on his side. I am old enough (unfortunately) to remember the promise of cable television. When cable TV began to proliferate in the '70s, we were told that it was worth the fee because it would provide a better picture and -- here's the rub -- it would be commercial free. Well, we all know what happened And Karmazin knows as well. Eventually, he'll put advertising into the satellite radio stew. He knows what kind of audience Stern pulls in: young men. Young men as a demographic are the most desirable advertising target because of their profligate spending habits. Moreover, this audience is increasingly fragmented and virtually unreachable by traditional media. Recent reports indicate, other than listening to Stern, they are not watching and tuning into traditional media. They're off playing their iPods, surfing the Internet, and playing video games -- so called personal media."
So there we are - it's be back to selling things they don't need to people with more money than sense - Spitzer comments: "Advertising has gotten out of hand, but it's the way of the land With the unending focus on demographics, the age bias, and the content-skew, we are witnessing a sea change in the entertainment (and news) business. Consider that the video game industry (target: young men) now pulls in more revenue than all of the movie industry's billions of dollars."
Except that maybe it isn't since the latest Bridge ratings survey we reported (See RNW Dec 18) suggested that 18% of his listeners were saying they would subscribe and that would produce around USD 225 million a year gross but the numbers drop significantly as advertising is increased - and there are some women among his regular listeners.
Among them was - will be? - an atypical Meghan Daum who wrote in the Los Angeles Times: "I may not seem like the typical shock-radio fan - my mornings are spent flipping the dial between Stern and NPR - but I count myself among Howard's most loyal listeners."
She continues, "I'll never forget the first time I heard him. It was 1985 and I was 15 years old, riding in the car with my mother to an oboe lesson in New Jersey. A dial flipper even then, I recall scrolling past Madonna and Dexy's Midnight Runners and pausing at a voice so intense it was as if the speaker was in the car with us...It's a good thing he wasn't. Howard isn't the ideal driving companion for 15-year-old oboists and their sensitive mothers. But this brief (and thanks to my mom, it was very brief) exposure introduced me to an entirely new kind of radio voice. For the first time in my life, I was hearing someone speak on the air like a human being. Even if he wasn't the kind of human being some people wanted to spend a lot of time around, Howard Stern did something that earnest public radio hosts, blowhard morning crews and smoky-voiced classic rock announcers hadn't at that time managed to pull off. He simply sat in front of the microphone and talked. I was hooked."
And of his importance: "My appreciation for his program - and I know this is going to sound like a version of "I read Playboy for the articles" - goes beyond his scatology and his demeaning comments and even his occasional bursts of political and social insight. As hyperbolic as the "King of All Media" label is meant to be, I would argue that Stern has had a greater influence on a particular corner of radio media than he even realizes."
She ends on a complimentary note: "Though he'd surely be shocked to hear it, Stern unwittingly laid the groundwork for a generation of public radio voices who've made a study of appearing to fly by the seat of their pants Because many of us are willing to pledge money to public radio to hear these raspy folks, I suspect Stern won't have any problem drumming up business on satellite. His listeners may not get coffee mugs for their donations, but they will get strippers. Seems like a fair trade."
And for the last word on Stern, the man himself as quoted in Ben Fong-Torres' Radio Waves column in the San Francisco Chronicle:
On clashes already developing at Sirius: "We decided we wanted to weigh the bowel movement of this guy on our show, a very heavy-set guy named High Pitch Eric. I was really curious to see how much his bowel movement would weigh over a 24-hour period, and Sirius didn't want me to do it in their studios. I said, 'Why?' They said it's a health code violation. The Howard 100 News Department checked with the board of health and found there was no health code violation. They caught them in a lie. So we're already at war with each other. The war never ends."
On the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the bane of his terrestrial days: "I checkmated those bastards," he said. "I just was interviewed by '60 Minutes.' ... Ed Bradley said, 'Oh, man, you wished cancer on (former FCC chair) Al Sikes. That's terrible. Do you feel bad about that?' What I answered -- well, the real answer is that I don't feel bad about it because I think every one of us has wished death on someone. He said, 'Not me.' When those planes flew into the World Trade Center, I think every one of us wanted Osama bin Laden dead. All of us have found a reason to wish somebody dead. I'm just the guy who's willing to say it. That's the problem with media today, which is why I'm successful, because I'm willing to show it all -- warts and all."
"I've worked so hard to get to where I am. And to have some meaningless, faceless bureaucrat take that all away and rip it apart -- it's horrible to me. ... And I just feel the FCC and these guys ... this is like, 'F -- you.' "
And what the move means to him: "For once, I can be the performer I am," he said. "I don't have to water down what I do. By the way, it's not about saying the F word. If it is, then the show isn't any good. It's about being funny."
And the limits?
" let me establish the line. Don't let the government establish that line. There's always a line, but the No. 1 line? You've got to be always entertaining. And if it's boring, get rid of it. And what's boring is whining about the FCC every day. I'd rather just entertain."
And after one US host to a couple more, one of whom attracts even more listeners than Stern: It could be because he's syndicated on more stations or it could be the nature of the US but in terms of ego he would certainly appear to match Stern, albeit not, we'd posit in honesty.
So step forward Rush Limbaugh, subject of a Palm Beach Post editorial on his take on the latest ruling in Florida concerning his medical records. The paper, no friend of the host, says, "Perhaps it was inevitable. Either way, it's funny. Rush Limbaugh has compared the reporting on his legal case to the reporting on Iraq.
"By that, of course, the Palm Beach talkmeister means that news organizations are portraying his latest partial loss, at best, in court as a loss when they should be calling it a victory. Anti-Limbaugh bias is as bad as anti-Operation Iraqi Freedom bias. Mr. Limbaugh so unburdened himself during Wednesday's show. That was two days after Palm Beach County Circuit Judge David Crow ruled that prosecutors could ask Mr. Limbaugh's doctors only questions relevant to the investigation into doctor-shopping for illegal amounts of prescription painkillers.
"But prosecutors never have wanted information about anything else. And while Mr. Limbaugh complained last week that the case has gone on for two years, that's because he fought to keep prosecutors from looking at the relevant medical records. On that point, he has lost in every court."
Limbaugh on December 14th had given his view of the proceedings as, "It is not nearly as complicated as the reporting has made this out to be. You have to understand, as I have learned, my case is a story just like Iraq is a story and just like anything else is a story, and for the media -- particularly the local media here in south Florida -- there is an action line, and that action line is: Anything bad for me moves the story forward. Anything that happens favourable to me is not considered news because it doesn't move the story forward or it doesn't move the action line.
The action line is that I'm wrong; they're right, and anything that they twist and turn to fit that template, they will do. Now, on Monday, Judge Crow ruled in a way sort of split the baby. The subject that was being argued in court was that prosecutors went in, and they wanted the judge essentially to let them talk to my doctors."
We wonder whether Limbaugh will ever again accuse others of refusing to allow investigatory action because they must have something to hide: if he does do e-mail us for the record with the full details, although on his past record he certainly would have the gall to do so whilst holding a totally different line when it comes to his records and indeed to the Patriot Act, which allows government agencies to retain and share of records including library, business, medical, school and tax records, seized during investigations, even if there is nothing in them to suggest that the individual concerned was involved in any nefarious activities never mind illegal ones.
And finally from Australia a clash in print between former Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) chairman Professor David Flint and 2UE host Mike Carlton.
Flint writing in The Australian about clashes in Cronulla Beach between Australian youths and those of Middle Eastern appearance commented on the entirely predictable "Blame the messenger" response from Lebanese Muslim Association president who argued that the riots had "been motivated by people on talkback radio".
Flint then went on to comment on the development of talkback radio, making his position on the political spectrum clear, whether he meant to or not, with the sentence, "Meanwhile, the move of much of the mainstream media to left-wing campaign journalism meant that many Australians moved to talkback radio, where opinions, often robust, are largely unfiltered and where the Left's agenda could be openly challenged."
Flint argues that the riots came about as a response to lax immigration policy, soft policing and the growth of gangs and writes, "Cronulla was a response whose violence must be deprecated, and was deprecated, on talkback; it was never planned, called for or condoned. But it was a response that followed the failure of NSW governments for many years to perform their most basic function: the proper provision of law and order."
RNW Note: The comments would have stood up better had not 2GB's top rated breakfast host Alan Jones, according to the Melbourne Age been calling for demonstrations for days before the riots - he warned against illegal action but repeatedly read out a call to "Come to Cronulla this weekend to take revenge. This Sunday every Aussie in the Shire get down to North Cronulla to support the Leb and wog bashing day "and another 2GB host, Brian Wilshire been forced to apologise and then taken off air after commenting of Lebanese Australians, "Many of them have parents who are first cousins whose parents were first cousins The result of this is inbreeding - the result of which is uneducationable (sic) people and very low IQ."
Responding, Carlton who works for rival 2UE, wrote in Crikey that "David Flint's "Defence of the shock jocks" in The Australian this morning is more of the bilge we have come to expect from him. He is, remember, the author of those gushing "Dear Alan" letters penned to The Parrot during his disastrous time as chairman of the now defunct Australian Broadcasting Authority."
He then took up the political element of Flint's argument, noting regarding Flint's statement that "While they [the lefty elitists] can filter their letter columns, they just cannot control talkback,", that this was "Tosh".
"Talkback callers," writes Carlton, "are invariably asked what they want to say before they go on air. This is to discard the lunatics, the drunks, the defamatory and the sub-judice. But it also allows the presenter to select which opinions to put to air. Some of us try to choose a representative cross section. Alan Jones, when he was at 2UE, was notorious for airing only those callers who agreed with him, or who wanted to brown nose him, or - better still - do both. I doubt that he has changed at 2GB."
"In the event of a caller pulling a swifty and daring to disagree with the oracle, it is simple to fade the volume and talk over the top, end the call or, if things get desperate, chop it with the seven second delay system. It is an editorial process as easily manipulated as the letters pages or the opinion columns. The startling thing is that a former chair of the ABA does not have a clue that this is so."
To which Flint responded in Crikey: "Mike Carlton's email is a textbook example of that logical fallacy, argumentum ad hominem. I shall recommend it for use in the classroom. While a presenter can attempt to filter talkback, at least you get through. Compare that to the letters columns. And if a presenter tries to censor views, the audience soon wakes up to that, and can change the dial."
Now listening and first to note that BBC Radio 3 has started its Bach Christmas ten days in which it will play all the composer's works. Everything so far is available on listen again and the whole ten days programme is on the web site.
Next BBC Radio 4 and World Service on the first anniversary of the tsunami tragedy: Radio 4 has built up an archive of stories, comments and sounds from listeners on the event and on Sunday the first fruit was aired in Tsunami Audio Memorial at 20:00 GMT.
Tonight the station follows with "Overturning the Tide" in the "It's my story" slot, telling the story of Christian engineer Karibeeran Paramesvaran whose 40th birthday was marked by tragedy when he, his son and two daughters were playing frisbee on the beach near their home in Nagapattinam, on the southern tip of India, when they were overwhelmed by the wave.
He survived but none of this children did and one year one Lucy Ash tells the story of his journey from despair to finding hope.
BBC World Service will air Tsunami Reflections starting on December 26 and running through to
December 30 at 08:45 GMT in the "Off the Shelf" slot and last week's Radio 4 Afternoon Reading selection "After the Wave" is still for the moment on the web site -it starts to be replaced from today with a new afternoon reading - "Write Christmas" from 15:30 GMT
Then BBC Radio 2 and two music documentaries - Break On Through: The Story of the Doors that aired on Saturday and on Friday the first of a four part Harry Belafonte Story.
Then from Australia, the Media Report on ABC Radio National that last week reviewed Australian media in 2005 and on Thursday will look forward to the changes technology is bringing to traditional media.
Also with the news from a different angle, last weekend saw the last of The News Quiz for this year from BBC Radio 4.
Crikey.com - Carlton and Flint:
The Australian - Flint:
Los Angeles Times - Daum:
Melbourne Age on Jones comments:
Metro West Daily News - Spitzer:
Palm Beach Post - editorial re Limbaugh:
San Francisco Chronicle - Fong-Torres:
2005-12-18: Last week was fairly quiet all round for the regulators with no major decisions in any region and the main announcement the award of a new FM in the UK.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced only two radio related decisions; to withdraw availability of MF AM channel 1170 kHz for an open narrowcasting service in Perth, as the frequency is potentially suitable for future digital radio services in the south west of Western Australia and also a proposal to make a new community radio service available for Perth.
Lyn Maddock, Acting ACMA Chair said the organisation would be interested to "to hear from narrowcasting aspirants about any other AM options that may be available in Perth," adding, "These could include lower-power channels of less potential utility for digital radio services in regional areas."
Canada was also quiet with only one radio decision announced by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC); the approval of an extension until September 1 next year of the deadline for Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. to commence operations of a Native FM radio station in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, that was authorized in 2003 and of a Native FM radio station in Edmonton, Alberta, that was authorized in 2004.
There were no radio decisions from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom announced that the new Ipswich commercial FM has gone to a local bid from Tindle Radio (See RNW Dec 13) and also the award of seven new community licences.
They went to:
Brighton (Central and East Brighton) - RadioReverb, a service focusing on the needs of the deprived Marine and Moulsecoomb wards.
Colchester - Garrison FM, a service for soldiers, their families and Defence Ministry civilian employees...
Plymouth - Spirit of Plymouth FM, a service for the city's Christian community.
Hull (West Hull) - West Hull Community Radio, a service for all of the community in West Hull.
London (South Bank & Bankside) - Resonance FM, a service targeted at inner London's community of practising artists and those outside the mainstream media.
London (Hackney) - Sound Radio, an AM service offering schedule of multi-cultural multi-lingual programming with a backbone of English language community output targeted at the diverse range of communities that comprise Hackney and East London.
London (Southall) - Desi Radio, an AM service for the Panjabi community in West London, including the different faith communities and nationalities, and people of all ages.
Ofcom notes that it received 46 applications for a community licence in the Greater London area and that is has awarded three licences, decided not to award licences to a further 32 applicants and is still considering the remaining 11 applications, all of which are for FM services for which there is a very limited availability of frequencies.
In addition, Ofcom is seeking comment on requests by UKRD Group Ltd., the majority shareholder of Star Radio (Stroud) to co-locate the station with the adjacent Star Radio service in Cheltenham and to simulcast the majority of programme output (excluding news) across both stations.
The deadline for comment is January 26 next year and PDFs - 18 Page 166KB and 8 page 100KB - of the details have been posted on the Ofcom web site.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reduced from USD 34,000 to USD 15,500 - on grounds of inability to pay - a penalty on Maria L. Salazar, licensee of KTCM-FM, Kingman, Kansas, for offences including failure to maintain antenna structure lighting, and to comply with Emergency Alert System, main studio and public information requirements of its rules (See RNW Dec 14).
The Commission has also allowed an extension until December 22 of the time for Millikin University to file a consolidated response to three pleadings from RB Schools relating to renewal of the licence of WJMU-FM, Decatur, Illinois, and RB's application for a Construction Permit for a new time sharing non-commercial FM at Decatur.
It has also decided in favour of Radio Training Network, Inc. the award of a new non-commercial educational FM at Frostproof, Florida, rather than the mutually exclusive application from Revival Christian Ministries for an FM at Lakemont, Florida.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-12-18: Sirius Satellite Radio gets some disheartening news from Bridge Ratings, which in an update of its study on how likely Howard Stern listeners are to move with him to Sirius next year indicates that as the time came nearer to his move, the numbers who said they would subscribe has fallen back.
In comparison to its November study that showed 25% of the Stern listeners polled said they would subscribe and 14% were undecided, later figures from a survey running up to December 14 show the figures for those who will or have subscribed to Sirius is down to 18% whilst those who will stay with Stern's former station has risen from 3% to 5% and those who say they will try other stations has risen from 30 to 33%.
The numbers saying they have no interest in radio without Stern has dipped from 28% to 22% and the undecided figure is down from 14% to 8%, indicating decisions not to spend on a subscription.
When asked about reasons for not seeing a need to subscribe to Sirius to get Stern, 22% said they were considering other radio options, 12% that the show isn't as good as it used to be [RNW note- This would seem a no-brainer in the sense that Stern is complaining he can't do what he used to and also spent a lot of time promoting Sirius] and 63% said it was because they didn't listen to the Stern show more than twice a week.
The survey also showed a potential problem for plans to increase advertising revenues with continuing resistance to heavy advertising loads; the figures of those who say they intend to subscribe to Sirius dropping from the benchmark 100% for no adverts to 93% if there will be four commercials an hour and to 73% with eight commercials and plunging to 40% when confronted with the prospect of 16 commercials.
Stern's departure has also been followed with a speedy announcement of changes at his former flagship station, Infinity-CBS Radio's WXRK-FM (K-Rock), which is to change its call sign to WFNY-FM - FREE-FM - from the start of the New Year and also become predominantly talk.
Its weekday line-up will include David Lee Roth from 06:00 to 10:00 then J.V. and Elvis to 14:00, Penn Jillette to 15:00, Leslie Gold to 19:00 and Booker in evenings until 23:00 Monday to Thursday and 22:00 on Fridays.
Previous Bridge Ratings:
2005-12-17: Despite rain thousands of Howard Stern fans from over the US gathered outside the host's flagship station, WXRK-FM (K-Rock) in New York on Friday to mark the host's departure from terrestrial airwaves some 14 months after he started counting down the days, minutes and seconds to departure on his web site, which now has a countdown to his start on the Sirius satellite service next year -- "The revolution begins in no more FCC, no more boss, no more interference... We're going to the promised land!"
Stern began his show with a "Good morning, and welcome to the last show on terrestrial radio," and after it ended spent some 20 minutes along with show members addressing the crowd outside the studio and thanking everyone in sight - and some out of sight - he included soldiers serving round the world.
He also entered please for Infinity (to become CBS Radio) to let him have his tapes back, attacked Clear Channel for dropping him, the Federal Communications Commission for censoring him and the religious right and took a bus ride, courtesy of Yahoo!, which streamed the procession on the Internet, the few blocks to a party at the Had Rock Café accompanied by a police escort.
A feared transport strike that police had said might force them to cancel Stern's parade failed to materialise - negotiations were still going on when we last checked.
2005-12-17: Clear Channel has released the names of seven finalists winnowed from 34 submissions in response to its "Request for Proposals" it sent out in June (See RNW Jun 14) to create a state-of-the-art radio ratings system
The seven companies left in the running are Arbitron, Integrated Media Measurement, MediaAudit/Ipsos, Mediamark Research, Paladin Adsolutions, RadioStat and Simmons: Clear Channel will release no further information about the bids, which it will review over the next 45 days. Clear Channel says it is targeting March 3rd for selection of a final measurement method, with a live test period planned to begin in the spring and implementation is expected in 2006.
Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan said in a release about the developments, "As an industry, we are one step closer to more accurately and credibly measuring radio's true performance and value to advertisers. Our goal is to move quickly to evaluate and determine next steps in identifying a measurement system that best serves everyone's needs."
He added, "As we began this process it was clear that accurate, reliable, and immediate audience measurement is an industry issue and the industry is responding to this opportunity. The initial members of the evaluation team represent some of the best minds in radio and advertising - they will help ensure the options are thoroughly evaluated with the interests of advertisers, agencies, and operators considered."
Clear Channel Radio Senior Vice President of Research Jess Hanson said all the final proposals share common characteristics - the capability for multi-media managements and "potential to provide information that is more accurate and timely than the current diary system, as well as the ability to gather radio listening data in a more 'real life' setting than a recall based methodology can."
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-12-16: Howard Stern's plans for a rally on West 56th Street in Manhattan today to make his last day on terrestrial radio for Infinity before he moves to Sirius Satellite Radio are still in potential jeopardy as we write: Police are saying the event will be cancelled if a strike by New York's transit workers goes ahead and as we publish the city's Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA)is still in talks with the Transport Workers Union - an announcement on whether the strike is to go ahead was due at midnight ET (0500GMT) but had not been made when we last checked (at around 0400:ET when the mTA said talks continue).. The MTA is warning that it will take 24 hours from the start of any strike action to put contingency commuter railroad services into operation and is warning of long waits and crowding.
Stern had planned a parade through Manhattan to start at the end of his show at 09:00 ET
Yahoo! Has announced plans to webcast the activities of the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" in and around New York City once he has left the radio station: It said beginning at 9am Stern is to be escorted on a Yahoo!-branded double-decker bus after his show and brought to an exclusive special event at the Hard Rock Café - where Sheryl Crow will be holding a concert at noon - all of which are scheduled to be webcast LIVE from Yahoo!.
Lloyd Braun, head of the Yahoo! Media Group said of the plans, "Howard's fans will be able to celebrate his final day as if they were personally attending all the day's events," said. "We've integrated many of our best tools and services throughout Yahoo! so that fans can connect with their community to watch, listen and engage in this experience."
Tom Chiusano, the general manager at Infinity's WXRK-FM (K-Rock), from where Stern's Show is broadcast, told the New York Post, "If there's a strike, they [city officials] are anticipating more vehicular traffic, and they won't be able to close the street down. It's impossible to know what's going to happen until the last minute. We're working really hard, we've got a lot of staff, we're spending a lot of time, we're spending a lot energy, and we're going to spend a fairly significant amount of money for this event, and I hope there is no strike."
After Stern's Show today, "Best of " Stern programming is to be aired over the next fortnight.
MTA web site (for strike information):
New York Post report:
2005-12-16: Australian commercial radio is ending 2005 on a high note, attracting its largest breakfast time audiences in more than five years according to an analysis of ratings information by industry body Commercial Radio Australia (CRA).
The ratings information for the eight 2005 surveys from Nielsen Media Research showed commercial breakfast radio attracted average audiences of 2.07 million people per quarter hour throughout 2005, compared with 2.04 million in 2004, an increase of 1.6 per cent.
On average, about 6.7 million people tuned into metropolitan commercial radio during breakfast in 2005, up from 6.6 million in 2004 and during the most recent survey period, commercial radio attracted 6.8 million listeners - 319,000 more than the same period in 2004, an eight per cent increase on the final survey of 2000.
"Waking up to radio is an ingrained part of most people's breakfast routine and a habit people are sticking with despite increasing demands for their attention," said Joan Warner, chief executive officer of Commercial Radio Australia.
Overall commercial radio reached 78 per cent of Australians aged 10 plus in an average week and the cumulative audience for Australian commercial metropolitan radio grew to more than 8.6 million in 2005 from 8.5 million in 2004 and on average, people aged 10 years and over spent 18 hours and 42 minutes each week listening to commercial radio; regionally listening was highest in Melbourne where listening to commercial radio per week was 19 hours 6 minutes followed by Sydney with 18 hours 49 minutes.
In demographic terms, the biggest increase in breakfast listening was among those aged 18-24, with average audience numbers in this group up by 5.3 percent in 2005 compared with 2004 whereas listening among people aged 55 and over grew by only 2.4 per cent.
Warner commented on the overall picture, "This is a very strong result for radio at a time when many forms of traditional media are seeing their audiences fragmented by the Internet and subscription services. Radio has been less affected because it allows Generations X and Y to listen while multi-tasking, and it remains the major source of news and new music for people of all ages The increase in listeners has also reflected intense competition in the industry and high quality broadcasters and programming."
2005-12-16: Toronto-headquartered CHUM wants to be allowed to offer foreign programming on the terrestrial pay-radio service for which it was given a licence along with satellite operators Sirius Canada and XM Canada.
CEO Jay Switzer said after its annual meeting that CHUM was altering its initial plans, which had called for promotion of Canadian content, in order to compete.
We still have a very pro-Canadian, Canada-first platform, but we're looking for some flexibility in terms of how we might move some of [our] Canadian content around," he told the Toronto Globe and Mail, adding that his "company's new strategy looks to "pair up some completely Canadian channels with some imported channels, which we hadn't originally asked for."
Previous Sirius Canada:
Previous XM Canada:
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2005-12-16: Media Services Group has announced that Greater Media, Inc. and Charles River Broadcasting Company have announced that they have agreed to enter into exclusive negotiations for Greater Media's acquisition of Charles River's classical WCRB-FM and that discussions are to be kept confidential during the exclusive period.
Rumours in advance of the announcement had suggested a price tag of around USD 100 million and that there were four serious contenders - Clear Channel, Greater Media, Infinity and Entercom, with Entercom coming at the low end of the bids -because, it was said, of its stronger interest in ABC Radio - and Infinity - which is being re-branded as CBS Radio - also likely to be out of the running because of other things on its plate.
Charles River's Chairman of the Board Mary Marshall had said when it first out the station up for sale that it would make broadcasting a classical service on at least one of WCRB's future digital channels a ''condition of the sale out of respect for Ted [Theodore Jones, who started WCRB's classical format]"(See RNW Oct 29).
However there was no word on plans for the station in the statement released in which Peter Smyth, President and CEO of Boston-based Greater Media commented only indirectly on the matter, saying, "This acquisition would give Greater Media's Boston cluster a significant signal upgrade, which will be critical as we expand our investment in HD and multicasting. We are grateful for this opportunity."
For Charles River, Marshall commented, "CRB is delighted at the prospect of entering into an agreement with Greater Media, a Boston-based company. We are confident that their respect for listeners, strong Boston ties and excellent management team would ensure a smooth and successful transition."
Media Services Group has also announced that Main Line Broadcasting LLC has completed its purchase of four FM Stations - WJZV, WARV, WCUL and WBBT - serving Richmond, Virginia, from MainQuad Communications, Inc. and Richmond Broadcasting, Inc. for USD 25 million.
Main Line Broadcasting closed on its first acquisition of five radio stations in the Hagerstown, MD/Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, market on August 1 and its head, radio veteran Dan Savadove said of the latest deal, The acquisition of the Richmond stations serves as a keystone acquisition in the establishment of Main Line Broadcasting and we look forward to serving the listeners and advertisers in the Richmond market. Main Line is poised to continue to grow and we anticipate adding additional markets this year."
Previous Greater Media:
2005-12-16: International satellite radio organisation WorldSpace, which earlier this month said it had passed the 1000,000 subscriber mark (See RNW Dec 8) is claiming to have almost 45,000 customers in Chennai according to Televisionpoint, which adds that the popularity of the station is thought to have dented CD sales in the area.
It quotes Devender Patel of WorldSpace's sales and marketing department as saying, " our sales have exceeded expectations. One of the reasons why it has caught up so much is because it does away with the hassle of changing CDs. We offer non-stop music. The CD market may have dipped following the onset or our radio station but not considerably as people still do buy CDs and CD players."
2005-12-15: CBS Corporation, one of the two companies being spun out of Viacom- the other is a new Viacom Inc, has unveiled plans to re-brand its Infinity Broadcasting Division as CBS Radio.
The announcement was made jointly by Leslie Moonves, Chief Executive Officer and President of the new CBS Corporation, and Joel Hollander, Chairman and CEO of Infinity/CBS Radio.
Moonves said in a news release, "This is a proud moment for all of us who love the CBS name, and who know the storied history of CBS Radio. It is one of the most revered brands in broadcasting, with a history that predates the television era. CBS Radio was there at the infancy of radio, playing a formative role in shaping and building this dynamic industry, and we're incredibly proud to bring it back."
Hollander added, "In reclaiming the CBS Radio name, our division will embrace that strong legacy of quality and leadership while at the same time look towards the future, leveraging our great brands, talent and market-leading positions as we forge new ground in distribution, content and technology. It's only natural that we'd want to use the CBS Radio name to re-brand our radio stations, which will continue to innovate and redefine our industry much as they have throughout the last 75 years."
The division will include 179 stations, most of which are in America's Top 50 markets.
2005-12-15: Uzbekistan has forced Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to close its Tashkent bureau by refusing to continue accreditation of correspondents or renew the agreement that permitted operation of the bureau, thus silencing the remaining independent foreign news source in the country.
Local human rights groups say the Uzbek government has persecuting all independent journalists since foreign media carried news of the Andijan massacre May 13, in which troops shot and killed at least 500 protesters.
Foreign journalists were expelled from the area shortly afterwards and earlier this month twenty-five men were sentenced to up to 22 years in jail in connection with the uprising in Andijan. During the trial the prosecutors blamed foreign correspondents for "assisting terrorists in an antigovernment plot."
Other media organizations including the BBC and London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting recently withdrew their correspondents from the country for security reasons.
In a statement, RFE/RL's acting president Jeff Trimble, called the Uzbek government's decision "yet another attack by the [President Islam] Karimov government on the basic human rights of the Uzbek people."
He added, "While hindered, RFE/RL will not be deterred in its efforts to report accurately and objectively about events in Uzbekistan to the people of that country and throughout Central Asia and the rest of our broadcast region."
RFE/RL says in its report on the closure that RFE/RL correspondents and their families in Uzbekistan have received threatening phone calls, been interrogated by security officers, had recording equipment confiscated, or been physically assaulted. It also notes that in August, Nosir Zokir, an RFE/RL correspondent in Namangan, was jailed for six months on charges of insulting police officers and says rights activists, including Human Rights Watch, said the charges were fabricated and politically motivated.
It also quotes Johannes Dell of the BBC World Service as saying that "BBC staff in Uzbekistan were subjected to harassment and intimidation, which basically made it extremely difficult for our reporter team to report what's happening in the country, as you would expect them to do it."
The Uzbek Foreign Ministry said its decision to suspend accreditation to RFE/RL's Tashkent bureau and the journalists working there was based on the fact that RFE/RL had recruited "so-called non-staff correspondents ('stringers') who engaged in journalistic activity without accreditation" by the Foreign Ministry, in violation of Uzbek media laws.
2005-12-15: BBC Radio 4 is to drop the "Home Truths" programme that was launched by the late John Peel in 1998, growing out of John Peel's previous award-winning series, Offspring.
The programme has had a number of hosts since Peel's death from a heart attack while on holiday in Peru in October 2004 (See RNW Oct 27, 2004) and is currently being fronted by David Stafford. Its run will end in spring next year.
Explaining the decision in a statement Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer said, "John Peel's death last year was a terrible shock. We did not want to make a decision in haste so, with the support and hard work of the highly skilled production team and the pool of great presenters, the programme has continued. However, John's unique personality was bound up with Home Truths and now it's time to look for a different programme."
Commenting on a replacement he said, "The new show will continue to feature the sometimes extraordinary experiences of its listeners - one of the hallmarks of Home Truths."
2005-12-15: Radio veterans on both coasts of the US and in Chicago are stepping down or being replaced in a number of moves just reported.
In New York, John Mainelli reports in the New York Daily Post that Bob Grant is leaving WOR-AM next month by what is said to be a "mutual agreement."
In his report Mainelli says the station had planned to announce his departure after his vacation and is to replace Grant with chef Rocco DiSpirito who currently does "Food Talk" in the late morning in a move that "appears to be more about money than ratings."
Mainelli adds that Grant has WOR's highest share of daytime audience, and DiSpirito nearly the lowest, but food shows - like the other specialty shows WOR carries - fetch premium rates from sponsors who target specialized, if smaller, audiences.
Grant, now 76, told the Post, "It's been a great almost-10 years, and I've really enjoyed it" adding, "I've been doing the 'Bob Grant Show' since 1963, and since 1970 in New York. Who knows? Maybe I'll write a book. Maybe I'll move to Florida. Maybe somebody will make me an offer I can't refuse."
Grant, who is still listed on the WOR web site as "The Inventor of Opinionated Talk Radio" began his career at WAOK-AM in Oak Park, Illinois, after graduating from the University of Illinois and later worked at WBBM in Chicago before making a move to Los Angeles and joining KNX-AM in 1960 and then at KABC_AM where he took over the Joe Pyne Show (Pyne, who died in 1970, was another right-wing host who made his name with his in-your-face approach - his trade mark comment to guests who irritated him was "Go gargle with razor blades!" and our favourite reported exchange was when he said to musician Frank Zappa, "So I guess your long hair makes you a woman" to which Zappa responded "So I guess your wooden leg makes you a table!").
Grant moved to WMCA-AM in New York in 1970 and then had a stint on WOR before moving to WWDB-AM in Philadelphia after which he returned to New York and WABC-AM, from which he was fired in 1996 for remarks perceived to be racially prejudiced (For details see 1995 Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting article, which is either misreporting or makes a convincing case -link below).
WOR hired him ten days later and he has been with the station since then.
On the West Coast the story is of the retirement of KTVA-AM journalist Bob Adams, described in the Los Angeles Times as Ventura County's "voice of calm" for 36 years. Adams, who is retiring will be replaced with another local radio broadcaster, Tom Spence, on January 3.
He began his career in the county in1969 at a Ventura country radio station, moved to KVEN-AM in 1973, and for the past 21 years has been co-host of the "Dave and Bob" morning drive-time show with partner Dave Ciniero.
Adams said he would be splitting his time between his native Fresno and a second home in Idaho's Teton Valley although he and his wife plan to make frequent visits to Ventura County.
In Chicago, Robert Feder reports that news veteran Tom Petersen is retiring at the end of the year after 23 years at the station.
He, is to be replaced on WGN-AM's morning show with Andrea Darlas, who has been a full-time staffer at the station since 1998.
Also retiring is Larry Smith who has spent 23 years as a jazz host at public radio WBEZ-FM.
Also in Chicago, Feder reports that Infinity-owned WCKG-FM is dropping the midday talk show hosted by Pete McMurray and Maura Myles on December 23 after only nine months and is moving evening team Stan Lawrence and Terry Armour into the midday slot from January 3.
WCKG is also to give a weekend tryout to Bill Lloyd, former afternoon host at Infinity's country WUSN-FM working with stand-up comic Brian Noonan from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturdays.
In the UK, Erika North is out from Chrysalis-owned Heart FM, London, after more than a decade on the station. Her place on the station's drive time show is being taken by Emma B (Emma Battersby née Boughton), who joined Heart in August to host a weekend show. She will work with current co-host Greg Burns. Heart's late night presenter Nigel Williams is also leaving to be replaced by Simon Beale. Both Battersby and Beale move into their new slots on January 3.
Previous Emma B:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting 1995 feature on Grant:
Los Angeles Times report:
New York Post -Mainelli on Grant:
WOR web site:
2005-12-15: The US Senate Commerce Committee is expected to vote to approve the nominations of Republican Deborah Tate and the re-election of Democrat Michael Copps as Federal Communications Commissioners today, after which the nominations would go to the full Senate.
Reuters reports that the nominations have the support of Committee chairman Ted Stevens, an Alaska Republican, who said during a confirmation hearing, "We are going to try and move these nominations out of the committee as rapidly as possible " he said during a confirmation hearing for the two nominees. "I hope to see if we can get you confirmed before we go home for Christmas."
The Senators asked the two nominees on broadcast indecency measures and also the universal service fund, which subsidizes telephone service for the poor and in rural areas, as well helps hook up schools and libraries to the Internet.
Both supported the fund and said they shared concerns over broadcast indecency with Copps, who has pushed for harsher penalties, saying Congress needed to keep the pressure on the industry.
2005-12-14: Florida Circuit Judge David Crow has ruled that unless conservative talk host Rush Limbaugh has been charged with an offence prosecutors can't ask his doctors about "the medical condition of the patient and any information disclosed to the healthcare practitioner by the patient in the course of the care and treatment of the patient", a ruling claimed as a victory by the host's attorney Roy Black.
In a news release Black says, "We are pleased with the court's ruling upholding the patient's statutory right of doctor-patient confidentiality. We've said from the start that there was no doctor shopping but Mr. Limbaugh should not have to give up his right to doctor-patient confidentiality to prove his innocence."
He concludes, "The medical records that the State has seized and reviewed now for nearly six months show that Mr. Limbaugh received legitimate medical treatment for legitimate medical reasons. Mr. Limbaugh has not been charged with a crime and he should not be charged."
The decision, however, does not completely rule out questions and Judge Crow made it clear that there are limits to the privilege of confidentiality in a doctor-patient relationship and that it is not the same as that for a client and his attorney.
The Sun-Sentinel reports that the judge wrote that if prosecutors charge Limbaugh with illegally obtaining overlapping prescriptions from different doctors, his physicians could be subpoenaed and fully questioned at a deposition, hearing or trial
RNW comment: More interesting to us than the actual ruling in this case was the editing of stories in various US publications with conservative web sites accepting the Black line at face value -NewsMax simply reproduced it - and burying or ignoring the fact that under certain conditions the doctors could be questioned whereas newspapers carried a fuller version albeit with different headlines - the Palm Beach Post, no Limbaugh fan club, headlined its story "Limbaugh's health history available within set limits" and devoting attention to the conditions under which questioning could potentially go ahead but still carrying Black's statement. We can only hope that someone is keeping an ear on Limbaugh and trawling his archive to see what his views were in the past and watching for what they are in future on similar issues of confidentiality when it comes to an offender who has views to the left of the host.
Much to our surprise, Radio Ink, which we'd normally think of as pro-Limbaugh, ran its story under the headline "Judge OKs Subpoenas Of Limbaugh Docs" and its fuller story cites Fox News while Radio and Records online, which we have often found less supportive, used the headline "Doctor/Patient Confidentiality Upheld In Limbaugh Probe." Limbaugh has posted the Black statement on his site.
Limbaugh Web site:
2005-12-14: The UK Guardian is crowing about the success of its Ricky Gervais Show podcast that has topped the podcast charts in the UK and US with more than 180,000 downloads of last week's show, the first of 12 thirty-minute shows (See RNW Nov 29).
The show reunited Gervais and his comedy partner Stephen Merchant with their former Xfm producer Karl Pilkington and Gervais told the paper, "When I heard that we were the number one podcast, my first thought was that it wasn't a fair fight as The Office is shown in over 80 countries around the world."
He continued, Steve's first thought was 'why aren't we charging for it?' and Karl's first thought was, 'Is a chimp allowed to win the lottery?'"
The success of the show is likely to spawn further investment in podcasts by the paper and Emily Bell, the editor in chief of Guardian Unlimited commented, "This has established an important precedent that Guardian Unlimited can host the best original content from the world's most popular performers, in whatever format, and we will be building on this in 2006."
The second-ranked podcast in the UK, which was toppled from first rank by Gervais, is the Chris Moyles Show on BBC Radio 1 followed by Tiki Bar TV then Stuff magazine's podcast and the New Scientist magazine's podcast.
RNW note: The Gervais shows can be downloaded as MP3s and both the shows put out so far are available on the Guardian web site.
UK Guardian report:
2005-12-14: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reduced from USD 34,000 to USD 15,500 a penalty on Maria L. Salazar, licensee of KTCM-FM, Kingman, Kansas, for offences including failure to maintain antenna structure lighting, and to comply with Emergency Alert System, main studio and public information requirements of its rules.
It had reduced the base level penalties for the offences from USD 39,000 to USD 34.000 in March last year (See RNW Mar 17, 2004) on the basis of inability to pay but additional financial information provided led it to make the further reduction on the same basis. It said, as the reduced forfeiture was well below the base amounts, it did not need to address additional argument that minor differences in some of the base forfeiture amounts render those amounts arbitrary and capricious.
2005-12-14: Around 50 Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalists staged a one-day strike on Tuesday in protests over demands that journalists on the current affairs programs AM, PM and The World Today should operate the radio panels as well as presenting the show. The three shows were taken off the air.
Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance federal secretary Chris Warren told The Australian that management planned to make several panel operators redundant and added that the strike was "over the proposed restructure within the ABC, which journalists believe will fundamentally undermine the quality of these programs."
"Presenters on air will also be required to panel operate at the same time as presenting their programs, which is just impractical in these fast-changing current affairs programs," he said.
ABC radio executive manager news and current affairs Lou Lander said the strike took management by surprise but "All other radio programs will be normal."
Previous ABC, Australia:
The Australian report:
2005-12-14: In more satellite radio developments, Sirius has launched a Christian Talk channel in conjunction with FamilyNet and has also announced that it has extended its current deal with the National Basketball Association (NBA), XM has signed Bob Dylan up to host a one-hour weekly show, and international satellite operator WorldSpace has beefed up its jingles.
The NBA deal will make Sirius the Official Satellite Radio Partner of the NBA and the broadcaster will air more than a thousand live games per season and launch a full-time NBA Radio channel.
Sirius schedules will be posted on the NBA web site, which will carry reciprocal inks to the Sirius site.
The Dylan Show, the singer's debut as a radio host, will launch in March next year on XM's deep album rock channel Deep Tracks: It will feature a selection of music chosen by the host plus regular commentary and guest interviews.
WorldSpace meanwhile has unveiled what it terms its "new logophone, an audio signature of the company's broadcast identity phrase, "WorldSpace Satellite Radio," that will become a recognizable symbol for the company's 27 branded channels."
It has posted on its web site audio samples of variations on the theme that will used for six of its channels - Adult hits Radio Voyager Network; Jazz channel RIFF - "The Spirit of Cool": Modern rock Bob - "The New Alternative"; Pop music channel U-Pop; Retro Hindi Music channel Farishti; and WorldZone.
WorldSpace "logophone" page:
2005-12-14: A bank has bought the "name" rights to the newsroom of Clear Channel's WIBA-AM and FM in Madison, Wisconsin, in a move that is arousing concerns that advertisers could influence news coverage according to an Associated Press report.
According to Jeff Tyler, vice president of Clear Channel Radio, Madison, this is not the first such deal by Clear Channel: He says that Pyramax Bank did a similar deal with the company in Milwaukee last year, buying the naming rights for WISN-AM's newsroom.
In Madison, the newsroom is to be called the "Amcore Bank News Center" from the start of the New Year and Tyler said listeners would hear introductions such as "Now from the Amcore Bank News Center, here's WIBA's Jennifer Miller" adding that the deal was necessary because producing news was expensive but insisting that news content would not be affected
Amcore Bank spokeswoman Katherine Taylor said the bank would not get preferential treatment, commenting, "We don't go into it with that type of expectation and the media do not have that type of bias either."
Regarding the Pyramax deal, the bank's senior vice president of marketing, Monica Baker, said it has sponsored the newscasts of six Clear Channel radio stations in Milwaukee since February 2004 but was not allowed to advertise any products during its on-air mention.
"We're not able to put a tag line in the actual sponsorship because they want to protect the integrity of the news," Baker said.
Concern about the practice was expressed by Kelly McBride, an ethics specialist at the Poynter Institute, a journalism training centre, who commented, "The idea is that a newsroom is an advocate for the public. It's Madison's news, not Amcore's news. If you have corporate branding, that is going to taint the whole product."
However University of Wisconsin-Madison journalism professor James Baughman was not worried and noted that broadcasters often sold naming rights in the 1950s, adding, "Clear Channel is trying to maximize its profits. Advertisers are trying to find new ways of getting their brand out there," he said. "We're going to be seeing more of this."
Previous Clear Channel:
San Francisco Chronicle/AP report:
2005-12-14: MXR, the UK's leading digital radio consortium, has launched its largest-ever DAB digital radio promotion in the run-up to Christmas this year.
It is running competitions on the 39 analogue stations it owns plus some digital channels with around 240 DAB receivers from Pure, Intempo, Sony, Goodmans, Freeplay and Morphy Richards as prizes to be given away on-air and online.
Most of the stations websites are taking part in a single promotion with a Christmas-themed, treasure hunt that links through to MXR's e-commerce site www.buydigitalradio.com while stations have developed their own competitions highlighting the benefits of DAB and the featured radio manufacturer and model that is to be given away.
MXR Managing Director Diane Wray said DAB digital radios make extremely popular prizes.
2005-12-13: Shares in Toronto-based Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., which operates the XM Canada satellite radio service and completed its CA 55 million (USD 47.8 million) initial public offering at CAD 16 a share fell nearly 10% on its first day of trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
They ended the day at CAD14.50, having fallen as low as CAD 14.25.
Although the fall indicates some doubts about CSR's prospects a report by the Yankee Group says that satellite radio is likely to prosper in Canada and forecasts a million subscribers in three years time and 3.5 million in nine years.
The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that analysts consider this sufficient to support a healthy industry in the country and quotes Jeff Leiper, an Ottawa-based analyst for Yankee Group as saying, "When you give Canadians greater choice in entertainment content, history has shown they'll adopt it."
The forecast was based on the growth of other consumer technologies in Canada, existing estimates on the "grey" market, and the experience of satellite radio in the United States and Leiper said adoption rates for satellite radio should be faster in Canada than when services first appeared in the United States since "Canadians have less choice on the dial."
Iain Grant, managing director of SeaBoard Group, a Montreal telecom consulting firm was less confident about the success and said the forecast may be overly rosy, commenting, "There are still some hurdles. We are not used to paying monthly subscription fees for radio."
Despite that, however, he said satellite radio should be a business success in Canada because the two leading companies are using technology that is already in place for the U.S. market thus meaning minimal additional costs.
Previous CSR/XM Canada:
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2005-12-13: Viacom has announced a USD 3 billion stock purchase programme for the "New" Viacom that is to be spun out of the existing Viacom when it separates into Viacom Inc and CBS Corporation.
The new Viacom will own the companies cable and entertainment companies and the purchase of its class A and B common stock is to commence following the separation and will be financed by the company using working capital, future cash flows and committed borrowing capacity. In addition the company says NAIRI, Inc., a closely held corporation controlled by Viacom chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone, is expected to enter into an agreement with new Viacom to participate in the program on a pro-rata basis on substantially the same terms on which it currently participates in Viacom's stock purchase program.
2005-12-13: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now formally approved the USD 1.925 million sale - minus any pre-closing loans made by the buyer for the operation of the stations - of three Pennsylvania stations to Bold Gold Media Group. Station owner Douglas V. Lane had been found guilty of molesting a 15-year-old boy and possessing child pornography and the sale involved a deal between Lane, the Lackawanna County district attorney and the Commission.
Lane was found guilty of the offences in October and sentenced to between 14 years and three months to 30 years in a state prison. He owned LB Radio Corporation, licensee of WYCK-AM, Plains, and 80% of Lane Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of WWRR-FM, Scranton, and Lancom, Inc., licensee of WICK-AM, Scranton.
In allowing the sale, the FCC noted that no payment will be made to any selling shareholder and the sale proceeds will be used to pay taxes, creditors, fund a USD 100,000 Post-Closing Escrow for potential Seller liabilities relating to the stations, and also to pay a non-refundable USD 300,000 payment to the Lackawanna County General Fund ("LCGF") on closing.
Any amount left is to be put into a Post-Closing Trust and if Lane's conviction is finally upheld all funds remaining in the trust will go to the LGGF.
In a separate agreement between Lane the Lackawanna County District Attorney the USD 300,000 is to be paid out to victims of Lane and to Lackawanna County non-profit agencies which assist abused children and any further funds that may become available for distribution from the Post-Closing Trust will be spent as directed by the District Attorney.
2005-12-13: Clear Channel and the Nashville-based Cromwell Group have settled their dispute over the use of the "Buzz" label with an agreement that Clear Channel will licence the right to use the name in a number of markets including Houston where it owns KTBZ_FM, which uses the Buzz name.
Cromwell, which had previously licensed the use of the name to companies including Cumulus, Regent and Entercom, filed a suit claiming copyright of the name in June last year.
In October last year the case started to move to the U.S. District Court after Clear Channel registered the domain name www.1021thebuzz.net, which it was using in connection with KTBZ (See RNW Aug 3, 2004).
Cromwell holds the federal service mark registration for ''Buzz'' having registered it in 2000.
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-12-13: Tindle Radio Ltd. has won the bidding for the new Ipswich commercial FM against seven other applications including one backed by Macquarie Bank of Australia: UK media regulator Ofcom awarded the licence to its "Town FM" bid from subsidiary Provincial Radio Ltd., which is for a format of melodic hits plus local news and information targeted at a 35 plus demographic.
Tindle Radio, which was founded in 1998 with the purchase of Island FM by newspaper owner Sir Ray Tindle, now owns eight stations and has a majority interest in two more. It is now separate from Tindle newspapers.
It already has a background in radio in the Anglia region where it owns The Dream in Tendring, North Norfolk Radio, and The Beach in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.
Previous Tindle Radio:
2005-12-12: As Howard Stern is due to leave terrestrial radio on Friday, this week's look at print comment on radio could not leave him out but first a completely different event that has been attraction comment in the UK: This is the BBC Radio 3 "Bach Christmas" event that also starts on Friday - at 07:00 GMT -and ends at 1700GMT on December 25th.
Considered just as a "stunt" it would certainly have proved its worth in terms of publicity for the station in view of the coverage it has garnered.
Amongst the more notable comments were Paul Donovan's "Radio Waves" column in the Sunday Times, that of his Times colleague Chris Campling in his "Radiohead" column on Saturday, and Guardian arts correspondent Charlotte Higgins, also on Saturday.
Higgins focuses her comment on one aspect of the ten-day event, writing under the headline "Live Bach in the living room" that the network is taking the concept of a request programme "a step further - by organising musicians to give personal concerts in listeners' own homes."
Listeners were invited to nominate friends or family members for the performances that will come from musicians from a number of orchestra's including the five run by the BBC, the Northern Sinfonia and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
They include Richard Jenkinson, principal cellist of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, who will perform two solo cello suites and who said, "Playing in someone's home is very intimate, and it will seem more real."
Higgins writes that niece nominated her 88-year-old aunt, stuck in a London hospital and a father nominated his wife and baby, telling the station, "It would be a lovely way to introduce a new human being to music," he told Radio 3.
She and the others don't mention another promotion of the event - a competition that can be entered from BBC web site and that offers a first prize of the Brilliant Classics 'Bach Edition' 160-CD complete collection of Bach's music, plus a BBC Radio 3 digital radio, together with five runner-up prizes of a BBC Radio 3 digital radio but they certainly promote the event, albeit with a little scepticism.
Campling notes the predecessor Beethoven Week in which all of Beethoven's works were aired - and downloads offered - and a million taken up - of all nine Symphonies and then gives details of some of the planned programming before commenting, "Is it all too much? No doubt Radio 3 will be fielding the whinges, as before, about the station mounting something huge and self-indulgent and monomaniacal - and, indeed, monotonous. But this is a born dipper-in-and-outer, so go to www.bbc.co.uk/radio3 and compile your own schedule."
And from Donovan, who describes the event as "third and biggest such venture" from the station - the second was the complete works of Webern on one day in September, similar doubts: "For some, however, A Bach Christmas will be a surfeit, not a service, and Roger Wright, Radio 3's controller, will doubtless be revisiting his quote about how some listeners grumbled that although they liked cheese, they did not want to eat it every day of the week. Others will see it as a bid to prove Radio 3, at least, has not dumbed down, or will dismiss it as a baroque-around-the-clock marketing novelty."
Not his view, however, since he continues, "I suspect that far more will give silent thanks to the BBC for having the imagination to mount something like this. For it is not just a huge succession of pieces being thrown at us, but, once again, an intelligent mixture of music and speech that makes full use of Radio 3's expertise and publicly funded resources. It is designed to draw one in. There are historic recordings and new interpretations; it offers some of the world's most accomplished musicians, the occasional quirk (12 Brixton prisoners will be heard on Thursday week singing Ein' feste Burg, which means A Mighty Fortress), a trip to Leipzig and speech ranging from light snippets about Bach's fondness for beer and tobacco to insights into his spirituality."
"Few will be unmoved by Terry Waite's account of how he recalled the Christmas Oratorio in solitary confinement, "and for a moment I was lifted out of my isolation and taken to another realm", or by the Archbishop of Canterbury's words on December 22: "Iris Murdoch said that Bach's music arrogantly demands your contemplation, which is true. It does things to you. Even very brief pieces change you. It's difficult to listen to Bach without that sense of being invited to change your life." Cheese-lovers and cheese-haters alike will find much to sustain them in this visionary project."
And from the sublime Bach to well let's start with Rich Huff's description in the New York Daily News: "Whittle it down, and the essence of Howard Stern comes to this: a guy playing the piano with his ... manhood. One of Stern's guests pulled that stunt during a Christmas radio show in 1987, and the bit - which was only heard, not seen - resulted in Stern's first FCC fine."
"'To me, that goes to the basis of what I do, which is outrageous, fun, sort of anything-goes humour,' Stern told the Daily News last week. 'It's not the idea that the guy played the piano with his penis. It was sitting there and talking to a guy who would come up to the radio studio and play the piano with his penis. That's what's so great about the show. We could spend an hour with that a------.'"
Stern said of his plans for when he airs on Sirius on Jan 9, "You get the old Howard back I feel reborn, rejuvenated."
The host said he left terrestrial radio because escalating FCC fines forced everyone in broadcasting to pull out of edgy content and he no longer felt he could be creative: "What happened was the total erosion of what it is that I do," Stern said. "I used to wake up so excited. I'd plan out my show the night before, and I'd have four or five killer f----- bits, but then I'd turn it off."
And to start with says Stern: "What I'm going to do is go back and find everything I've been fined for and to make sure to do it in the first week. It will be phenomenal. You'll see it will be so lame, you'll see, you'll go, 'Who cares, who the f--- cares. It's so ridiculous with everything going on in the world."
In the Los Angeles Times, Martin Miller reports on a similar basis but adds a little more of Stern's planned programming: "Stern did mention a couple of shows he plans to put on the air: "'Crack 'Ho View'- "You've heard of 'The View'?" said Stern. "Well, we're going to take every topic from 'The View,' but let crack 'hos go at it."
And then there's "'Meet the Shrink' - A reality-based show featuring a regular Stern contributor, Jeff the Drunk, in sessions with a therapist discussing, among other things, his alcoholism. 'It's one of my dream shows,' said Stern."
And assessing likely success for Stern, Jerry Del Colliano, a onetime DJ and program director, now a professor of music industry and recording arts at USC's Thornton School of Music, commented, "Everyone thinks Howard Stern's major partner is Robin Quivers, but it's really the FCC. My prediction is that he will find a cause, something to rally the listeners, and without it I don't think his new show is going to work."
Miller notes that some, like the Parents Television Council, fear that an unfettered Stern will sink into an unending stream of coarse language, bodily noises and hard-core sex but says those who have followed Stern's career feel that is unlikely and quotes the host himself as saying he could say expletives every other word, but "I never did that on regular radio. It's ludicrous of people to think that's what I want to go do. What sold my show was honesty. It wouldn't have lasted 20 years otherwise."
There are pressures, of course, to try and legislate tighter curbs on cable and satellite TV and Miller says some feel Stern could add satellite radio to that list, quoting Tom Taylor, editor of the trade publication Inside Radio as saying, "Stern is going to be a flashing red light to Congress," said. "It's clear they are aware of his movement to satellite and it's also clear that there are many people who want to spread the net of regulation much wider."
And what of those who are to succeed him on terrestrial radio. The Stern view was that they would have problems: Speaking of Adam Carolla who takes over on West Coast stations that previously aired Stern he said, "I know Adam personally and he doesn't have a clue - and I mean this in the nicest way - about how he is going to have to regulate his language. Adam would come on my show and go, 'I was masturbating last night,' and [my producer] would be hitting the button and Adam would say, 'Did I say something wrong?' "
"I can't imagine how FM and AM radio are going to find the talent to reinvent themselves," he added. "They're not. I know who's there."
For a rather more comprehensive article we'd suggest the New York Magazine's "Profile: Howard Stern in Space" by Steve Fishman. Fishman's style is presumably designed to reflect the subject: In one section he writes, "Howard's boss no longer permits fart noises on the air. But on satellite, anything goes. Yes, Howard thinks, I want to host the Craptacular Howard's so excited about 'The Howard 100 News' he's got to tell Beth [Girlfriend Beth Ostrosky]. He rushes out of the shower, almost forgetting the towel. Six foot five and hung like an acorn! Where's the goddamned towel? 'Honey?!'"
Among others Fishman quotes Stern sidekick Robin Quivers, who says of Howard's crew "We're all damaged "; producer Gary Dell'Abate, who comments, "He doesn't want you to act mad; he wants you to be mad." ; agent, Don Buchwald, who comments, "Howard couldn't really function with the current FCC." ; former wife Alison who once told Stern on air he sounded like "a dirty old man."; and Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin, who as Infinity CEO hired Stern , doesn't find much of Stern's show to his taste but whose professional judgment is, "Howard is going to be bigger than he has ever been. And that's going to help our company significantly."
When Stern worked for Infinity, notes Fishman, his contract forbade him from mentioning Karmazin on air but the current contact has no such restriction, leading Stern to comment, "It ain't in this contract. He's fair game."
And before moving on to suggested listening, a couple of articles regarding podcasting: In the UK Independent, Rhodri Marsden, notes the absence of music in most podcasts - "the licences normally granted to broadcasters simply don't cover this new format. As a result, the majority of podcasts are dominated by uncensored, rambling speech - the audio equivalent of the average blog - and any music that is featured must be "podsafe" - i.e. doesn't fall under a standard record-label agreement."
That may change adds the report because, " in a significant development, the Association of Independent Music (AIM) has just announced a six-month trial licence that will enable everyone, from bedroom mumblers to multinational corporations, to pay a fee to podcast music owned by AIM-affiliated independent record labels. The repertoire on offer will be limited; artists affected by the initiative range from Basement Jaxx to Bloc Party, but there's no guarantee that the labels will put their entire catalogues on offer."
A more positive view comes from Australia where Paul McIntyre in the Sydney Morning Herald, comments, "If you still think podcasting is a quirky or hip pastime for geeks and trendsetters, have a chat to a few radio networks. The early players - those stations which started podcast trials less than 10 months ago - are ecstatic with the audience take-up this year."
He continues, "ABC Radio, by far the country's leading podcaster with 300,000 downloads a week, is so enthused with the figures it has embraced the unthinkable - exploring ways of charging listeners" and notes that it "already done so in a small way with a AUD 5.95 podcast fee (USD 4.48) for each of this year's six Boyer Lectures by the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen."
However it doesn't look as if this will become a widespread practice and ABC Radio's podcasting supremo, Gordon Taylor told the paper of charging fees, "It's been looked at just as broadcasters and podcasters around the world have looked at it. At this stage it's not happening. The Boyers is a special case. We've always valued-added with the Boyers."
And that article about the ABC's podcasts is of course a good cure, since there's no way to get Stern audio, to start suggested listening with some ABC programmes.
And first the ABC Radio National All in the Mind programme that over the past three weeks has been running a series of programmes "The Emotional Brain": First up was Sexual Desire, followed by Anger and then yesterday with Jealousy: As they're available as MP3's downloading is fairly quick but then you need 90 minutes to listen. Next week? Joy!
Then there's the Bach from Friday onwards on BBC Radio 3 - if you have ten days! Alternatively the site now has the schedule for the whole period to plan listening. Also from Radio 3 on Sunday Sarah Dunant presented the second of two programmes The Agony and The Ecstasy, a cultural exploration into the twin extremities of human emotion - pain and pleasure.
Drama next and we'd suggest the Afternoon Play from last Friday on BBC Radio 4 if only for the mental image of a feisty woman hoisting the judge and Queen Elizabeth 1on their own petard: It's The Elizabethan Beauty Law. by Lizzie Hopley,a comedy inspired by one of the many laws passed by Elizabeth I about what her subjects might or might not wear - in this case a ban on cosmetics, powders and other artificial beauty aids such as wigs - and guess what judges did in those days!
Still with Radio 4 and also with drama, the Woman's Hour drama currently running is David Copperfield - it began last week but for a few hours until today's episode airs the first episode is still available from the web site.
Then there's music and documentary in the Music Feature that last week "Blowing the Music Away", was the third and last of the series looking at the musical life of New Orleans and tomorrow at 13:30 GMT will be the first in a series "Tales from the Stave" that tracks down the stories behind the scores of well-known pieces of music.. It begins with the manuscript of Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture.
And with Christmas in mind, the Book of the Week (0945 GMT daily) is "Santa - A Life" by Jeremy Seal that looks at the life of Byzantine bishop, Saint Nicholas and then there's the Afternoon Reading(15:30 GMT Weekdays), which in "After the Wave"harks back to last year with a selection of pieces by five writers living in the countries affected by last year's tsunami.
Los Angeles Times - Miller:
New York Daily News - Huff:
New York Magazine - Fishman:
Sydney Morning Herald - McIntyre:
UK Guardian - Higgins:
UK Independent - Marsden:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Times - Campling:
2005-12-12: Large-scale adoption of digital radio in Australia is at least a year to 18 months away according to Graeme Redman, the Australian representative of UK-based digital radio vendor Pure Digital.
Redman told ARN Net that, although there was a commitment from the Australian government to digital radio, " we are still waiting on the ratification of the compression standard, so it will be 12 to 18 months before we start to see broad adoption."
Redman warned that it was possible that early buyers could end up with redundant systems, commenting, "The early adopters of digital radio technology need to be happy enough to buy a unit which might not work in 12 or 18 months time. The technology is already widely available and very popular in the UK. There aren't any concerns really apart from the uncertainty about the compression standard."
Geoff Forgie, publishing and market manager for Len Wallis Audio, said there has been little interest in digital radio receivers so far, commenting, "At the moment there are a lot of commercial stations broadcasting digital signals, but until we get stations like the ABC's 702 and NewsRadio there won't be a big response from our customer base Interest will build up throughout 2006, and there are lots of benefits to consumers once the broadcasts begin, but at the moment we're not seeing many sales."
Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner, however, was more upbeat, saying, value-added content, and features such as pause and rewind, would drive consumer interest and uptake but noting, "It is too early for a mass consumer retail push as a new audio coding technology is in development and may mean different receivers could be needed to pick up digital radio broadcasts. Once this has been finalised, possibly in the next 12 months, we will be working closely with receiver manufacturers as well as planning for a massive consumer and retailer education campaign."
RNW comment: Yet again it would seem that a universal standard for digital radio could be messed around by local decisions to gain a little from technological advance at the expense of universality of a system. This has already become a concern in Germany where the Berlin and Brandenburg Media Authority (MABB) last year called for DAB Digital Audio Broadcasts to be scrapped in the on the basis that the technology is "outdated" and then stopped issuing new DAB licences (See RNW Jul 14).
We think there is some justifiable criticism of UK DAB transmissions because extra channels have been crammed into existing multiplexes with a related reduction in Bit rates - the BBC before 2002 used 192 kbps for Radios 1 through 4 and 96 kbps for Radio Five but then reduced this to 128 kbps for all but Radio 3, which was kept at 192 kbps (with reductions in some areas to 160 kbps when BBC Five Live Sports Extra is being transmitted and with Radio 4 down to 80kbps in the same circumstances). This meets the Ofcom requirement of 128 kbps minimum for music services but compares badly with other countries, which all have a higher average bit rate for music stations ranging from 130 for Switzerland - just above the UK - to 256 kbps in Estonia: Australia has been using 192Kbps on most stations with a few on 128kbps.
Our view is that the public is much better served by a universal standard, thus allowing economies of scale in manufacture and portability of equipment across boundaries than by differing standards, which are likely to increase equipment prices, will reduce the ability to travel with a receiver, and also could allow oppressive governments to use a distinct local system and thus control what is broadcast much more easily than in the current situation where AM, FM and short-wave are universal and can only be blocked by considerable expenditure on jamming signals, something that it detectable.
Ideally as we've said before, we'd like a single universal standard - which in our view should have been applied to satellite radio in the US as a condition of service (and where our view is that the audience, and eventually the industry, would benefit were all receivers required to be capable of receiving both Sirius and XM, leading to straight competition based on service content): We'd alsod welcome movement to towards such a universal standard but it won't happen because the US has gone for HD, with benefits to existing radio companies.
Still , given a magic wand, we'd scrap HD before it takes off and stop promotion of the current UK DAB system in favour of proper worldwide consultation and a move to a universal combination of enhanced DAB - possible using more advanced codecs - or other system and DRM.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2005-12-12: Indian campaign group cr-India is urging the government to clarify its stance on community radio, which is limited to "established educational institutions" under guidelines published in 2003 but that the group thinks should be expanded to allow participation by other community sectors.
A draft policy on community radio in India, which was referred by the Cabinet to a Group of Ministers in October for further discussion, is awaiting Cabinet approval and cr-India in a statement calls for a three-tier system of broadcasting in India, with clearly demarcated public, private and community sectors, as in many other democracies.
Reporting on the campaign, Indiantelevison.com notes that cr-India' campaign is being supported by More than 50,000 people from around the country, including academics, activists, civil society organizations, and rural communities. It says the group is seeking an appointment with the Prime Minister to submit a petition requesting an immediate solution.
Cr-India says the Government is hesitating to open up the airwaves for grassroots communities on the basis of unfounded concerns about the security and sovereignty of the nation and adds that rural communities in Karnataka Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Jharkhand India have been running highly successful community radio projects, by either narrowcasting or using limited space available on All India Radio.
Previous Indian Radio:
2005-12-11: Last week was mainly one of routine activity for the regulators with additionally notable in the US the last day at the Federal Communications Commission for Republican Kathleen Abernathy who stepped down on Friday after four-and-a-half years in the post saying the focus should be on work still left to be done, in particular the media ownership review that is still in progress after the courts in June 2004 (See RNW Jun 20, 2004) ruled our much of previous changes passed by the commission's then Republican majority under former chairman Michael K. Powell the previous June (See RNW Jun 3, 2003).
The agency currently has two Democrats Commissioners - Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps - plus Republican chairman Kevin J. Martin, with hearings regarding the nomination of Republican Deborah Tate and re-nomination of Copps slated for Tuesday by the Senate Commerce Committee.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) had a quiet week with just one radio announcement - a ruling that Multicultural Community Radio Association Ltd, licensee of the community radio station 2OOO Sydney, breached the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 by broadcasting advertisements during its broadcast of the Darpan program.
The ACMA noted that in response to a preliminary breach finding, station management has formally given notice of ACMA's decision to the broadcaster of the program and has issued a final breach notice advising the broadcaster that it will terminate the program for any repeat breach of the Act; It said that this together with other actions including discussions of community radio breach reports as part of the station's training program addressed the compliance issues raised in the investigation.
There was rather more radio-related activity in Canada where the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a steady flow of work. In order of province it included:
*Approval of transmitter relocation and decrease in antenna height for CISN-FM Edmonton.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Renewal until 31 August 2010 of licence of oldies CJYQ-AM, St. John's. There had been a complaint that Newcap, which took over the station with six other Newfoundland stations in 2000 had not met some of the conditions it agreed to but the Commission said an analysis showed - apart from apart breaches of conditions regarding to the amount of Newfoundland-based programming from late 2001 to spring this year that had now been remedied - showed this to be false. It had already allowed an administrative renewal until December this year.
* Administrative renewal until 31 August 2006 of the broadcasting licence for the English-language radio network for the purpose of broadcasting the baseball games of the Toronto Blue Jays originating from CJCL-AM, Toronto.
*Approval of power increase from 11,390 watts to 21,400 watts for CIWV-FM Hamilton/Burlington.
*Revocation at licensee's request of licence for the French-language radio network authorized to broadcast the regular and play-off hockey games of the Rimouski Océanic.
The CRTC also published its regular list of transfers of ownership and changes to the effective control of broadcasting undertakings that it has authorized, this time covering the period 1 September 2005 to 31 October 2005. Radio transfers included:
*Transfer of the effective control of MediaWorks and its subsidiaries, licensees of various broadcasting undertakings across Canada, from the late Israel Asper to Mrs. Ruth Miriam Asper, and subsequently fromher to her children, through their control of the board of directors of CanWest Global Communications Corp., pursuant to a nomination agreement between them and CanWest Communications Corporation, a corporation controlled by Mrs. Ruth Miriam Asper.
*Transfer of the ownership and control of Cariboo, licensee of eleven radio stations in British Columbia, to 1126144 Alberta Ltd., a corporation controlled by its board of directors.
*Transfer of the ownership and control of CFCP, licensee of four stations transmitters in British Columbia, to 1126144 Alberta Ltd., a corporation controlled by its board of directors.
*Transfer of the ownership and control of Boundary-licensee of one station and Valley, licensee of two stations, to 1126144 Alberta Ltd., a corporation controlled by its board of directors.
* Transfer of the effective control of Northwest- licensee of CFQK-FM - and its wholly owned subsidiary 1333598 - licensee of CIPR-FM and CITB-FM, from Ari Lahdekorpi to H.F. Dougall Company, Limited.
*Approval of power increase from 2 watts to 10 watts of Destruction Bay transmitter of CHON-FM, Whitehorse.
The Commission has also asked for comments regarding a request for an extension for the deadline for Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. to commence operation of Native Type B station at Vancouver and its transmitters at Abbotsford, Calgary, Ottawa and Montréal that were approved in 2001. The latest request is for an extension until September next year for what Aboriginal says are "primarily technical and logistical reasons."
The application represents the fifth request for an extension for the undertaking at Vancouver, and the second request for its transmitter at Abbotsford, the fifth request for an extension for the undertaking at Calgary, the sixth request for an extension for the undertaking at Ottawa and the second request for an extension for the undertaking at Montréal.
Aboriginal is also requesting, an extension- the sixth such request -to submit an application for another frequency, this time until 1 September 2006, of the time to submit an application for the use of a frequency other than 90.9 MHz to operate its new station in Vancouver.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has received applications for five new community radio stations (See RNW Dec 8) and announced the winners of its 2005 New Adventures In Broadcasting Awards and advertised a national broad format FM licence and a quasi-national news/speech FM (Both RNW Dec 9).
It also published its Ownership and Control Policy Document (a 15 page, 113 KB PDF).
In the UK, Ofcom has advertised new licences for Kingston-upon-Hull and Newry (See RNW Dec 9) and gave basic details of the 13 applications made for the new North East England regional licence and five made for the Plymouth licence, both advertised in September (See RNW Dec 10).
In addition it published its latest Broadcast Bulletin, upholding no complaints against radio (See RNW Dec 6) and, following a request from the radio industry, extended until January 6 the deadline for responses a consultation document on methodology for the review of the financial terms for the extensions to the independent national radio licences that it published last month (See Licence News Nov 20).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was involved in no major decisions but it published its latest report on the numbers of licensed broadcast stations in the US (See RNW Dec 9).
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-12-11: According to the London Times, which like Sky Radio is owned by News Corporation, leading Netherlands newspaper owner Telegraaf Media Groep (TMG) is front-runner in the Euros 240 million USD 283 million) auction of Sky Radio, News Corporation's European radio operation.
Last month loss-making Sky Radio in Denmark, which launched in November 2003 - (See RNW Nov 18, 2003) stopped broadcasting rather than pay the next instalment of its licence fee, saying that it was only reaching 60% of the national audience not the 78% that it was promised when it won the licence: It is demanding compensation of DKK 200 and 300 million (USD 31 to 47 million - See RNW Nov 11).
The paper says it understands TMG has "made the highest offer in the final round of a bidding process that includes Radio 538, the Dutch radio business of John De Mol, creator of Endemol, and two financial sponsors."
News Corporation, which holds 93% of Sky Radio with the remainder held by directors of Sky Radio and Dutch broadcaster Veronica, was one of the two largest shareholders in the UK Wireless Group - the other was Liberty Media - which was sold to UTV in a GBP 98 million (USD 185 million) deal recommended by The Wireless Group's board in May (See RNW May 10).
Previous Sky Radio:
UK Times report:
2005-12-11: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has announced its revamped programming for Radio National starting on January 23.
It includes among new programmes - a 40-minute weekday "Book Show" to be presented by Ramona Koval that will look at all forms of publishing; a new Saturday morning new design and lifestyle programme "By Design" with Alan Saunde; a new Saturday early evening music feature programme, "Into The Music" that will be air presented by Robyn Johnston; and a new Sunday lunchtime programme "Rear Vision" that will explore historical background to current events.
Amongst regular programmes the weekday Deep End program has a new brief to cover the arts in even greater depth and will be supplemented by a new "Sunday Deep End" and "The Daily Planet" returns on weekdays and is supplemented by a new "Weekend Planet".
Previous ABC Australia:
ABC Radio National Home Page:
2005-12-10: Entercom has admitted that Hurricane Katrina is going to affect its business - some 6% of its revenues came from the New Orleans market - and has reduced its current quarter guidance. It is now predicting revenues of USD 103-104 million, USD 4 million down on its previous guidance.
Entercom says the figures will also be affected by the costs associated with its launch of "The Wolf", a new contemporary country radio station in Seattle, and a slowdown in national advertising.
It also notes that 2004 figures were boosted to the tune of around USD 4 million by political advertising.
In New Orleans it says "Business conditions remain choppy in New Orleans" and it adds, "In addition, one of the Company's FM stations remains disabled by the hurricane which caused significant damage to its transmitter site. This site is expected to be repaired during the first quarter of 2006."
Commenting on the update, Entercom President and CEO David J. Field said in a statement, "Unfortunately, the quarter has been impacted by a perfect storm of negative events."
"Our core same-station local revenues," he said, "have continued to grow at a low single digit rate during the quarter," but, he added, "This has not been sufficient to offset the combined impact of Hurricane Katrina, 2004 political revenues, an 80% reduction in Red Sox playoff games, a difficult national sales environment and a major late-November format change in Seattle."
"Looking ahead," said Field, "these issues do not in any respect diminish our outlook for 2006. We are enthusiastic about our prospects for next year when political revenues will swing to a positive factor, the New Orleans business climate should improve, and our 2005 format launches and our new business development efforts should accelerate growth."
2005-12-10: UK media regulator Ofcom says it received 13 applications for the new North East England FM commercial radio licence, rather fewer than had been anticipated by many observers, and five for the new Plymouth licence.
The North East licence attracted applications from the following:
3 Rivers Radio - A rolling music and speech service, with live local news, information, editorial and interviews combined with a broad range of music types particularly designed to appeal to 40-60 year olds living in the region. This is a local consortium in which The Local Radio Company has a quarter holding..
All Talk FM North East - UTV's offering of a 24-hour regional and local news led information and sports station.
The Arrow (North East) Limited - Chrysalis's Arrow rock format with classic tracks from the legends of rock mixed with newer quality rock music, plus live music from the region and beyond, and essential regional news and information.
Children's Radio UK (North East) Limited - 97.5 Fun FM offering of educational and informative music and speech for pre and primary school children, parents with young children and other carers in the North East.
Diamond FM North East- Macquarie-backed rock offering with Classic Rock during the day and Modern/Alternative Rock in the evenings.
North East One - Emmis's bid with a Pop Rock Oldie music, speech and information format for the 35 to 54 demographic.
North East Radio Limited - GCap Media's offering of its Xfm alternative rock format for 15 to 34 year olds.
Northlife 97.5 FM - A full service, North East-focused lifestyle speech, music and information station targeting 45-64 year olds.
Original FM Limited- CanWest's bid with an offing of album-led mix of music from a wide range of credible artists, designed to have particular appeal to adults aged 40-59, with 24 hour local news.
RockTalk North East - Guardian Media Group bid offering a daytime speech based radio station aimed at 35-64 year olds combined with classic rock during off-peak hours and weekends and bank holidays.
Saga Radio (North East) Limited - Saga's offering of melodic, popular music from the past six decades and today, with news, information and lifestyle oriented speech, primarily targeting listeners in the North East region aged 50 and over.
Smooth North East- Guardian Media Group bid with its smooth FM easy listening format.
Touch FM -Celador's bid with an Adult Variety' music and quality news service targeted at those aged 45 and above
The Plymouth licence attracted applications from the following:
Armada FM - offering a service of classic 'gold' and adult-based contemporary music with local news and information.
Drake FM Ltd - offering mix of the best adult rock music of the past 40 years plus local news and information.
Plymouth Live - offering local news plus a wide range of music by era and genre targeted at 15-24 year-olds that is says will also through intelligent use of online and podcast technologies, will provide a broad service to the 35+s
Radio Plymouth Ltd - offering a broad mix of music from the past 50 years plus news and information
Radio UK Holdings Ltd - Macquarie offering of its Diamond FM format of Classic rock music during the day and Alternative Rock music during the evenings.
2005-12-10: A Bridge Ratings study just released shows Sirius Satellite Radio to have attracted significantly greater Internet interest pro-rata than rival XM: It says analysis of traffic for the two sites shows XM's traffic up 88% in the last six months and Sirius up 76% but that Sirius had more than 18 times the reach of its rival with 660 for every million users compared to 35 for XM.
Noting that the traffic may not translate into subscriptions, Bridge says the data reflects consumer interest in the medium and that it feels the "intense industry marketing of Sirius and more specifically of Howard Stern's addition to the Sirius channel line-up in January has impacted Sirius' traffic reach and rankings."
The information it says indicates that "Sirius has stirred much more interest in their product as evidenced by website visits, ranking and page views over the last three to six months" and it notes that over the past three months Sirius has averaged six page views per used compared to 1.2 for XM.
"The point of marketing any product is to get consumers (visitors) in the door - to create "foot traffic" - and to raise awareness and interest," it concludes. "According to these statistics, of the two companies at this point, Sirius has benefited more."
Previous Bridge Ratings:
2005-12-10: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the winners of its 2005 New Adventures In Broadcasting Awards for which it received a total of 56 programme ideas looking for funding from the budget of Euros 120,000 (USD 142,000). It made awards only in Strands One and Two of the award, not in Strand 3.
The awards went to:
Strand 1 - KCLR 96FM for Storyhouses, a two part documentary looked at the re-emergence of the storyhouse tradition in which people gather to swap stories and sing songs - in counties Carlow, Wexford and Wicklow.
In addition Spin 1038FM was awarded a special commendation for The D word, a documentary examining the issue of dyslexia in the context of life today.
For Strand 2, a joint first prize was awarded, shared between:
Radio Kerry - Keys to the Kingdom: Back to Back - a series of ten programmes that explored the culture and heritage of Kerry.
WLR FM- Waterford Faces and Faith - a series of programmes which examined religious diversity and practices in Waterford.
The BCI has also advertised a National broad format FM licence and a Quasi-national news/speech FM licence, for which applications have to be submitted by March 6.
2005-12-09: Both Cumulus and Emmis are said to have dropped out of the bidding for Disney's ABC Radio according to a Reuters report in which it says Cumulus Chairman and Chief Executive Lew Dickey Jr. has told Reuters that his company has been dropped from the auction because its offer of USD 2.6 billion was too low.
It quotes Dickey as saying, "We were told we were hundreds of millions of dollars off and we are out of the process. It doesn't look good for us on that one."
Reuters says sources told it Disney is looking for an offer of USD 2.8 billion upwards and Dickey had said he still thinks Disney will find a buyer for the assets because the sale process has now moved so far towards completion - the sources said Emmis had dropped out of the bidding but Citadel Broadcasting Corporation and private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. are still in the running.
Dickey said Cumulus, which in October in conjunction with Blackstone Group, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital agreed to purchase Susquehanna Broadcasting from Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff Co. for USD 1.20 billion, went "full-bore" after ABC Radio following announcement of the Susquehanna deal. "We viewed ourselves as the highest-synergy buyer," he added.
The markets reacted positively to Dickey's comments and Cumulus shares ended up 3.4% on Wednesday and added a further 4.42% on Thursday to end the day at USD 12.99.
2005-12-09: Westwood One has announced that President and CEO Shane Coppola has stepped down from his post and is also resigning as a director of the company although he will continue to serve as a consultant for the company until June 2007.
Infinity chairman and CEO Joel Hollander, who was Coppola's predecessor in the roles (See RNW May 16, 2003) is to serve as interim President and CEO until a permanent successor is appointed.
In a statement Coppola said, "Although I am saddened to leave my colleagues at Westwood One, I feel the time is right for me to pursue other professional opportunities. I look forward to assisting Joel and the Board, with whom I continue to have an excellent working relationship, in helping Westwood One expand and build on its solid reputation as a pre-eminent content provider."
Westwood One also lowered its guidance, saying that an acceleration in advertising sales anticipated during the current quarter had not materialised. It now says it expects fourth quarter income down by a low single digit percentage compared to a year ago with a corresponding mid to high single digit percentage decrease in operating income before depreciation and amortization. .
For the full year the company is predicting a flat to low single digit percentage decline in revenues compared to 2004.
Previous Westwood One:
2005-12-09: UK media regulator Ofcom has advertised new commercial FM licences for Kingston-upon-Hull in England and Newry in Northern Ireland, each with a deadline for applications of March 8 next year. The Kingston licence would cover an area with around 400,000 adults and that for Newry an area with around 66,000 adults.
Ofcom is also expected to receive up to a score of applications for its north-east regional FM licence that was advertised in September (See RNW Sep 10) and for which applications, along with those for a new Plymouth commercial FM, closed on Thursday.
The regional licence would cover the main Tyne & Wear and Teesside conurbations with an adult population of around two million and that Plymouth around a tenth of that number.
All the major UK groups, apart from Emap, which is ruled out by a cap on the holdings a company can have in an area, are expected to be in the bidding for the regional licences including GCap Media, which in June took the new Manchester licence with a bid for its Xfm format (See RNW Jun 10).
Other UK bidders include Chrysalis, which won the bidding for a north-east regional licence in 1998 with its dance-format Galaxy, and is bidding with its "The Arrow" rock format; Celador, which is proposing an easy-listening format targeted at a 45-plus audience; Guardian Media Group , with two proposals - one for a daytime speech and evening rock station and the other for its "Smooth FM" easy listening format; UTV with "All Talk FM", a speech format for the over-40s; Saga, which already has licences in Glasgow, the East Midlands and the West Midlands for stations targeted at a 50-plus audience; and a local consortium in which The Local Radio Company has a quarter interest;
Macquarie Media is backing a rock format bid from Diamond FM, led by former Emap Performance chief executive Tim Schoonmaker, and other foreign-backed bids are expected from CanWest, which in September became the first overseas company to win a UK licence bid when it was awarded the Solent licence (See RNW Sep 6), plus Emmis.
2005-12-09: The US gained 184 licensed broadcast stations in the third quarter of this year according to latest figures from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which showed the total at the end of September as 27,079, up from 26,895 at the end of June
Within the figures, the number of licensed radio stations was 13,599, up 42 from the previous total of 13,557 with AM station numbers down one to 4758, commercial FMs up two to 6215, and FM educational up 41 to 2626 while the number of FM translators and boosters was up by 14 to 3920.
The FCC has lists an unchanged a total of 498 licensed low power FM stations.
Previous FCC station numbers:
2005-12-09: SMG has told city analysts that its broadcasting business is performing well, saying Scottish TV and Grampian TV are expected to outperform the ITV Network for the year as a whole, both in revenue and audience terms and that "Virgin Radio has consistently outperformed a difficult radio market and continues to show strong year on year revenue growth."
It warns that the regional TV advertising market has slowed in the second half of the year but is more bullish about Virgin, saying, "Further improvements in audiences have been achieved as well as a strong initial performance from its family of digital stations."
Regarding its Out of Home division it says Outdoor has seen further growth and that its Pearl and Dean cinema advertising business will see some growth, although it has been affected by higher cinema rental guarantees. Overall it says it expects to perform broadly in line with the consensus of analysts' forecasts for the year.
2005-12-09: The Stars and Stripes reports that American Forces Radio has now started airing "progressive" talk shows from Al Franken and Ed Schultz, almost two months after Schultz had complained that plans to air his show might have been shelved because of critical comments he had made about Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Allison Barber's briefing of soldiers in Iraq before they talked to talk President Bush during a nationally televised event: Subsequently a group of Democrat senators had raised concerns about lack of political balance on AFR (See RNW Oct 21).
AFR said in a statement that the decision to air the first hour of Shultz's show, the first hour of Franken, and the "conservative" Sean Hannity show on weekdays over its Voice Channel was designed to "provide a balance of popular political viewpoints" and quoted American Forces Radio and Television Services (AFRTS) director Mel Russell as saying all three shows have substantial U.S. audiences, and that officials try to reflect that popularity in their programming decisions.
The Voice Channel is available to those who live on a military base with cable or satellite service but it is not as widely available on over-the-air channels and Russell said regional affiliates, who offer just a sampling of the AFR programs through over-the-air broadcasts, will decide on their own whether to add the new shows.
So far AFN, Europe, has not made any decision over whether to add the shows on its Power Network - it also runs the Z-FM music-based network - which is mainly on AM and can be heard near to U.S. military installations in Germany, Italy and Belgium.
The current Power schedule includes live transmissions of National Public Radio's Morning Edition and Talk of the Nation plus NPR's All Things Considered as well as more conservative fare from Paul Harvey, Rush Limbaugh - who is also aired live - and Dr. Laura Schlessinger.
Stars and Stripes report:
2005-12-09: BBC Radio 4 "World at One" presenter Nick Clarke has been diagnosed with cancer and will lose a leg from surgery according to a statement from the Corporation.
In it BBC Director of News Helen Boaden wishes him and his family "very best wishes for a swift and successful recovery" and says the "prognosis is good and Nick plans to be back on The World at One in the summer."
In the meantime Shaun Ley is to host the programme.
2005-12-08: In a number of US deal completions, Infinity Broadcasting has announced completion of its previously-announced purchase of KIFR-FM, formerly KEAR-FM, in San Francisco from Family Stations, taking the total number of stations Infinity now owns in the market to six - the others are KCBS-AM, KFRC-FM, KITS-FM, KLLC- FM and KYCY-AM. KIFR airs Infinity's FREE-FM format.
Also in California Infinity and Next Media have announced completion of NextMedia's acquisition of Infinity's two San Jose stations, KEZR-FM and KBAY-FM.
Commenting on the deals, Infinity chairman and CEO Joel Hollander said, "We are thrilled to complete this strategically attractive acquisition elevating Infinity's standing in the Bay area. While we have recently realized great value through the divestiture of other stations, this move builds upon our presence in one of the nation's top markets -- a market where we see excellent potential for maximizing advertising revenue."
In Nebraska, Salem Communications has announced completion of its acquisition of Omaha station KHLP-AM from Journal Communications and has re-launched the stations as News Talk 1420 KOTK. Salem also owns contemporary Christian music KGBI-FM and Christian Talk KCRO-AM in Omaha.
2005-12-08: Montreal-headquartered Astral Media, which last month reported a record fiscal 2005 profit of CAD 107.6 million (USD 91.2 million), up 43.8% on a year earlier, has increased its annual dividend by half from 20 cents to 30 cents a share and also announced renewal of it bid to repurchase up to 5% of its stock- some 2.5 million shares.
Making the announcement at the company's annual and special shareholders meeting, President and CEO Ian Greenberg said, "As a result of our sustained growth, not only have we paid dividends on a regular basis, but we are also able to increase them The combination of another dividend increase and the renewal of our share buy-back program is the appropriate balance between rewarding our shareholders and remaining ready to seize opportunities for future growth."
In his presentation Greenberg noted nine years of consistent growth and said the company was positioned for continued growth in its fiscal 2006.He highlighted Astral Media's long standing support for Canadian culture, noting that during the year the Company's television channels, radio stations and Astral Media The Harold Greenberg Fund/Le Fonds Harold Greenberg invested CAD 116 million (USD 100 million) in the development, production and acquisition of original Canadian programming and in the emergence of Canadian talent.
He also the company's readiness to reap the benefits of technological change, noting the Company's ongoing investments in high-definition broadcasting, subscription video on demand and internet radio.
"Technology stimulates us and helps us give our audiences a broader choice and greater quality. It is an opportunity that we capitalize on, for our audiences and for ourselves," said Greenberg.
Astral has built up a war chest of around CAD 100 million ( USD 86 million) for potential acquisitions should the opportunity arise and is considered the most likely bidder for CHUM, should the Waters- family-owned company be put up for sale, something that the sons of founder Alan Waters, who died this month (See RNW Dec 5), have said they have no interest in doing.
2005-12-08: UTV has said in a trading update that revenues from its UTV Radio operations, which now include the former Wireless Group, should be up by 5% in the six months to the end of this year but TV revenues for the period will be down around 3.5%.
Regarding radio, now headed by Radio Chief Execuitve Scott Taunton, it says, "Cost synergies have been instituted to achieve the estimated savings of GBP 1.5 million (USD 2.6 million) net in the first full calendar year of ownership" and notes that First Radio Sales Ltd, its joint venture sales house with the Local Radio Company, is now selling the national airtime for its local radio stations to take its client base up to 117 local stations across the U.K. .
Advertising revenue in its Irish radio stations, it says, "continues to enjoy good growth and should be up by approximately 16% in the second half" and it says it also considers revenue growth of at least 50% as achievable in its new media division in the half-year.
During the year it expects figures to include write-off costs of around GBP 600,000 (USD 1 million), two-thirds of it related to spending on its new Belfast station before its launch in mid-November.
Group Chief Executive John McCann said TV was "very pleased with the performance of UTV Radio, especially talkSPORT where revenues are well ahead of last year. With the football World Cup in 2006, we anticipate continued growth at UTV Radio and we look forward to the launch of Talk 107 in Edinburgh on 14 February."
2005-12-08: International satellite company WorldSpace says it has now topped 100,000 subscribers- "reinforcing the company's execution against its business plan through the sequential roll out of services in key Indian and other global markets."
WorldSpace has been concentrating its efforts on the Indian market where it has now rolled out the service in nine cities - Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Pune, Ahmedabad and Chandigarh.
Chairman and CEO Noah Samara said reaching 100,000 subscribers is "an important milestone for WorldSpace and it reflects the effective implementation of our strategic plan, which is to leverage attractive market opportunities for our subscription services
He added, "We are very pleased with our progress and we intend to continue aggressive sales and marketing efforts that will enable us to grow our subscriber base."
2005-12-08: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that criticism in what it termed "coarse language" of hosts at a rival station aired by Quebec station CJMF-FM during the Le trio de l'enfer show in December last year breached industry codes as did the use of the F-word.
It alsot ruled that critical comments relating to Canadian radio ratings methodology and the crimes committed by CJMF host Robert Gillet, who was convicted of paying a 17-years-old girl for sex (See RNW Mar 27, 2004) , were not in breach.
The comments were made about then CHOI-FM hosts André Arthur and Jeff Fillion, who, the CBSC Quebec panel noted, had themselves earlier been ruled to have breached regulations in their offensive on-air language about competitors (See RNW Nov 21, 2003).
In talking about Arthur and Fillion on the show, commentator Alain Laforest blamed them for destroying Gillet's attempts to make a comeback on radio and called them "two assholes".
Host Louis Lacroix said of the duo that they were all about "radio spectacle" not justice but were raising a clamour in the name of truth.
"In the name of the truth, of rectitude, in the name of righteousness, they raise a great din," he said. "Fuck off! It's all about the money for cripes sake. And it has always been the case. Now they've gotten Robert's hide."
2005-12-08: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has received seven applications for community radio and TV licences, five of them for radio.
They are for stations covering Sligo Town and environs - from Sligo Community Radio; Claremorris Town and Environs - from Claremorris Community Radio; Castlebar Town and Environs - from Community Radio Castlebar Ltd. (CRC FM); North West Connemara - from Connemara Community Radio; and South Dublin - from Dublin South Community Broadcasting Co-operative Society Limited.
2005-12-07: GCap Media chief executive Ralph Bernard has told a seminar organised by the UK Media Guardian in association with MediaTel that he "didn't really care" about the price of the company's shares, which have fallen steeply since GCap last month announced interim results and its plans to turn around the company (See RNW Nov 25).
Bernard said that the City had taken a short term view of GCap's strategic review rather than considering the longer-term development of the company.
"What the City did was react to something they didn't understand, it's what the City always does," he said, adding, "When you explain what the situation really is in some detail and take the trouble to deal with people who understand that you can't make judgments on a snap decision, when you explain it to people whose job it is to invest money and to people who really matter - that is, the shareholders - surprisingly, the reaction is completely different."
"I don't really care too much about what goes on with the share price," he added. "The share price only matters when you are selling shares or buying them. What matters to me is the development of the company I work for and the radio industry."
Bernard, who was behind his former company, GWR's, commitment to the Digital One national multiplex also called for a switch-off of analogue radio in the UK, saying, "I think it should be around the 2015 level, I don't think you can do it earlier than that" although he also commented that digital had done so well the switch could happen automatically.
Bernard said investors had expressed confidence in the company's digital strategy, which includes its majority stake in the national digital multiplex, Digital One and added, "So far, all of our investors ho were investors prior to the strategic announcement have remained investors and some have been buying more shares. Plainly, they do buy the digital story and they are here for the long term."
The Guardian reports that others at the conference were less convinced about a switch to digital with UBC Media chief executive Simon Cole saying the market should be allowed to take care of the process.
RNW comment: Much as we appreciate digital, we'd argue firmly against an enforced switch off, which will benefit the radio companies, particularly those with strong digital holdings, rather than listeners. We are strongly in favour of retaining analogue as long as much of the world still uses it since radio is a terrific medium for those who travel and would also note that digital receivers are still much more expensive than the low-end "Trannies" that can safely be taken onto a beach, for example, without too much concern about damage. In addition we see no reason why all households should be forced to dump perfectly serviceable receivers- many households have four or five.
UK Guardian report:
2005-12-07: Latest Australian radio ratings just released by Nielsen Media Research show DMG Australia's new Vega FM stations in Sydney and Melbourne failing to make much impact in their ratings debut: In Sydney it took a 1.8% share overall - and only 2.9% of its target 40-54 baby boomer age group, a little over a fifth of that for APN News and Media's WSFM, and in Melbourne it took only 1.2% overall, 2.2% of its target demographic.
The stations have only been airing their full schedule for around half of the ratings period and DMG says the results are in line with its expectations: it has said that it will take time to build an audience amongst its target demographic since they are more reluctant than younger audiences to change their listening habits.
In all DMG paid AUD 158 million ( USD 118 million) for the licences, AUD 106 million (then USD 78 million) for the Sydney licence (See RNW Apr 2, 2004) and a further AUD 52 million (then USD 37 million) for that in Melbourne (See RNW Aug 13, 2004).
With the Vega stations not making a great impact, the rest of the market remained in much the same pattern as before with Macquarie Radio's 2GB holding on to its lead in Sydney.
2GB's talk rival, Southern Cross Broadcasting's 2UE fell from fourth to seventh as Alan Jones in the top breakfast slot powered ahead, taking his share for 2GB up from 16.5 to 17.3 while 2UE dropped back with share down from 8.2 to 7.2 - overall it fell from fourth to seventh with 8.0 -down from 8.9.
Amongst other breakfast leaders DMG's Nova moved up a rank to second with 9.9, up from 8.6 switching ranks with ABC 702, which was down from 10.1 to 9.7.
Vega was near the bottom at breakfast - in Sydney, Angela Catterns, who at ABC 702 a year ago was snapping on Jones' heels with 12.2 against his 14.0, only managed a 2.4% share whilst in Melbourne its team of Shaun Micallef, Beverley O'Connor and Denise Scott could manage only 0.7%.
Summing up the year for Austereo, still the country's leading FM network, chief executive Michael Anderson spoke of "solid results" from its Today and Triple M networks, saying, "It's been a highly competitive year, including the launch of two new stations. But I'm pleased that in the midst of that we've been able to deliver a good, consistent product and performance from Triple M nationally, including Mix 94.5 in Perth."
"2DAY FM in Sydney has had a spectacular turnaround, while we've had solid results from Fox FM in Melbourne," he added. "We've put in enormous work to revitalise B105 in Brisbane, SAFM in Adelaide and 92.9 in Perth, and that work continues. We've consolidated a very strong position for both our brands, well differentiated in each market. We've now got a clarity of brand experience that our listeners have probably never had before."
City by city, the top three stations were (previous % share in brackets):
Adelaide: Mix 17.2 (16.9) - same rank; 5AA 16.1(15.9) - same rank; SAFM 14.1 (12.7) -same rank.
*ABC 891,which had dropped behind DMG's Nova, rebounded to move back into fourth rank with 12.0 (11.7) while Nova dropped back to fifth with 11.6 (12.3).
Brisbane - Nova with 14.8 (11.8) - up from second; Triple M with 13.0 (15.0) - down from first; 97.3 FM with 10.7 (10.0)- up from fourth.
*4BC with 10.0 (10.0) was down from third to fifth behind B105, with 10.5 (9.2) -up from fifth to fourth.
*Melbourne - 3AW with 13.7 (14.8)- same rank; Gold with 12.2 (11.5) - same rank; ABC 774 with 11.7 (11.4) - same rank;
*Austereo's Triple M moved from fifth to fourth with 10.8 (10.1), overtaking sister station Fox FM, which was down one rank to fifth with 9.9 (10.5) with fifth-placed Nova retaining rank but falling from 9.5 to 8.3.
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM 17.8 (17.8) - same rank; ABC 720 with 12.6 (13.5) - same rank; 96FM with 12.3 (12.5) - same rank.
*Nova remained fourth with 11.6 (11.6).
*Sydney: 2GB 12.7 (12.5) - same rank; WSFM 9.5 (9.1) - up from third; ABC 702 with 9.3 (8.2) - up from sixth equal.
*2-DAY with 9.0 (9.1) dropped a rank to fourth followed by Triple M, up from fifth with 8.6 (8.7) and Nova - up to fifth from eighth with 8.6 (7.7), ahead of 2UE, which fell from fourth to seventh with 8.0 (8.9)
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Southern Cross:
2005-12-07: Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings (CSR) has announced the filing of an initial public offering of 3,437,500 subordinate voting shares - 6/8% of the company - at CAD16 (USD 13.8 ) per share, a price that values the company at CAD 800 million ( USD 691 million).
It has also granted the underwriters, who are led by RBC Capital Markets and Genuity Capital Markets, an option to purchase up to an additional 343,750 subordinate voting shares at the same price to cover over allotments and for market stabilization purposes: The basic offering is totals CAD 55 million (USD 47.5 million) but if the underwriters take up the full allocation, the IPO will raise CAD 60.5 million ( USD 52.2 million ), leaving net proceeds of around CAD 57 million ( USD 49.1 million) after underwriting fees.
CSR says proceeds will go primarily to complete its initial infrastructure rollout and to fund operating expenses of its service.
The offer is scheduled to close on December 12 and CSR Chairman and CEO John I. Bitove said in a news release, "We are excited by the enthusiastic support that Canadian and international investors have shown for our company. We believe we offer the best product, programming and price point for satellite radio in Canada, providing us with a strong base from which to grow our business."
After the offering Bitove's private CSR Investments will retain some 55% of the company with XM Holdings, the second largest shareholder, holding 22% and General Motors of Canada having 7%.
Both CSR, which operates as XM Canada, and rival Sirius Canada have now launched their services and Digital Home Canada says that "grey market" subscribers - Canadians who have bought receivers in the US where they can get it at around half the Canadian price - have found that they can activate their receivers for the Canadian service. Digital Home says XM Canada is discouraging the practice but allowing activation and that, although Sirius Canada has not made any official announcement, readers have told it they have activated U.S. receivers for the Canadian service.
Previous XM Canada/CSR:
Previous Sirius Canada:
2005-12-07: US radio executives have formed an "HD Digital Radio Alliance" to promote the rollout of iBiquity's HD digital radio in the US to, as they say in a news release "Create a Unified Direction for Rollout of HD Digital Radio Broadcasts, Secure Automotive Design Wins and Lower Receiver Price Points."
Members of the alliance include Bonneville, Citadel, Clear Channel, Cumulus, Emmis, Entercom, Greater Media and Infinity.
Peter Ferrara, previously a senior vice president of Clear Channel Communications, chief operating officer of both U.S. Radio and Granum Communications, executive vice president of the National Radio Broadcasters Association, and a board member of the National Association of Broadcasters has been named CEO of the Alliance.
Member companies are to devote more than USD200 million in commercial inventory on their own stations in 2006 to promote HD digital radio and the new HD2 multicast channels and in a statement Ferrara commented, "The industry today has stepped up in a major and unprecedented way. These companies should be congratulated on coming together to create a joint action plan, and committing airtime and money to move HD digital radio forward. I'm honoured to be asked to help lead this important initiative."
2005-12-07: International satellite radio company WorldSpace has added "PLAY", India's first all-sports satellite channel to its line-up. Content will come from various organizations including the BBC World Service, TWI, and Indian operator Radio Mid-Day.
Sports covered will include cricket - the top-rated sport in India, Formula One racing, tennis, rugby, football, hockey and golf and programming will include news, live call-in shows with Indian sports experts and sports information such as top-of-the hour reports, celebrity appearances and "sports desk" programs.
Billy Sabatini, vice president of global content, WorldSpace commented in a statement, "PLAY will be a first for the country. By incorporating the best available content from local and global providers, we are creating a truly new and compelling sports experience for our Indian subscribers. We are thrilled to be working with the BBC, TWI and Radio Mid-Day to make our sports vision a reality in our primary market."
For the BBC, Neil Curry, Senior Commissioning Editor, BBC World Service, said it was delighted to be selected by WorldSpace and added, "BBC World Service is proud of its reputation as the leading international multimedia broadcaster benefiting from the world's most comprehensive newsgathering networks, with hundreds of specialist correspondents and journalists right across the world."
Shariq Patel of Radio Mid-Day added, "We are pleased that WorldSpace recognized the importance of teaming with an Indian media company to realize its goals for PLAY. Radio Mid-Day is the ideal organization to deliver the local perspective on cricket and other sports like football, tennis and F1 racing to WorldSpace's growing subscriber base. Working together, WorldSpace and Radio Mid-Day can deliver what the sports news subscribers in India want, when they want it."
WorldSpace has also announced the launch of its subscription service in Chandigarh, the capital of India's Punjab state, the ninth of ten Indian metro launches planned for this year.
Its chairman and CEO Noah Samara said of the launch, "Making the WorldSpace experience accessible across India is a primary business objective. We are excited that, with the Chandigarh launch, the WorldSpace experience is now available in nearly every corner of India and is delivering an unmatched variety of local, national and global content to subscribers across the country."
2005-12-06: According to Bridge Ratings, 12-24 years-old Americans say they would choose an MP3 player over traditional radio by a margin of more than five-to-one.
2000 Americans from the East Coast, South, West and Mid-West were interviewed as part of a University of Southern California Media Lab analysis entitled "How to Make Music Radio Appealing to the Next Generation."
It found that 85% said they would choose their MP3 over traditional radio - 70% of the total sample listened to music on an MP3 digital music player every week - for listening to music with the preference more pronounced in 18-24 year-olds than those 12-17 age group: The study also found that given a choice to listening to music via the Internet or from traditional radio stations, 54% opted for the former and only 30% for the radio with a more pronounced preference for the Internet from the 18-24 year-olds.
The report also noted a difference in preferred format: Overall those surveys ranked Rhythmic Contemporary Hits Radio in their listening but whereas this format ranked first for the 12-17-year-olds (21% tuned to this format on radio at least once a week) - for the 18-24-years-old group the format only attracted 14% and was ranked second.
The survey also delivered a blow to the National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) "Radio: You hear it here first" campaign concerning new music (See RNW Oct 26): 72% of the total sample said they listened to new music from the Internet compared to only 31% saying they heard new music on the radio.
When it came to the reasons for switching stations, three reasons tied as the main factor - too many commercials, too much talk and dislike for the song playing at the time and when it came to choosing to listen to radio, primary reasons given were to hear their favourite music and new music.
Previous Bridge Ratings:
2005-12-06: Entercom's WWL-AM has invited syndicated host Rush Limbaugh to visit the New Orleans so that he'll know what he is talking about when he makes comments about the city.
WWL put Limbaugh back into his regular 11:00 to 14:00 slot last week only for him to deliver what the New Orleans Times-Picayune referred to as an "opening-day gut-punch to New Orleans. "
Introducing a New Orleans caller, Ray, Limbaugh said things were "getting back to normal in the city", a comment immediately taken up by the caller who said, "Things are not returning to normal. I wish you would come down here to see for yourself."
He further upset the host by commenting of President Bush's televised speech to the nation from Jackson Square as "All lies None of the things that he promised are happening."
Limbaugh countered by saying he had friends in New Orleans and said, "I'm not hearing this from them I know it's bad but . . . I'm under the impression that the main problem that the local officials have is that they don't have enough Democrats coming back who fled or who were evacuated and they're worried about the next elections."
Limbaugh said of complaints about lack of anywhere to live, "The whole city? There's nowhere to live? The French Quarter?" to which the caller responded by questioning the availability of reasonably priced accommodation that a labourer could afford.
The paper says the misinformation continued Thursday, when Limbaugh read from a story in the Arkansas Leader newspaper that reported -- incorrectly -- that a Times-Picayune reporter had been "discredited and fired" for a story exaggerating the death count in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in the days after Katrina and said the point of Limbaugh reading the story was "To discredit the liberal media who would concoct such a horror story to discredit the swell job George Bush's FEMA did -- and is still doing -- to save the city."
It suggests that the comments raised the question, "After aggregating an enormous cache of goodwill among local listeners for the past three months, has WWL blown it by reinstalling a distant and obviously misinformed syndicated star?"
WWL operations manager and program director Diane Newman, who bumped local talk hosts to return Limbaugh to the New Orleans airwaves, listened to the Wednesday segment twice and told the paper she had concluded that "there was a disconnect He did sound uninformed. But he's not here."
"I will do my damnedest to get Rush Limbaugh to broadcast from here, to drive through Lakeview, through Gentilly, drive through Mid-City, drive through New Orleans East, drive through St. Bernard, drive through the 9th Ward," she said. "I believe that Rush -- as I believe about anybody on a big stage, like Rush, like Oprah, like Al Franken, like Bill O'Reilly, like Bill Maher -- I think they all owe it to their audience in New Orleans and the Gulf South and really to America to come and see it and feel it."
She added however that some of Limbaugh's points weren't too far off the mark, saying locals had "questioned ourselves and our ability to manage the (recovery) situation. (Limbaugh's) reality is a national reality. Some of the things that Rush said are things that local hosts have said on WWL."
RNW comment: Although New Orleans locals may well be correct about Limbaugh's lack of knowledge, we can't quite work out why it should come as any surprise that Limbaugh - or indeed any talk host - is likely to be more concerned about sticking to the line that has brought listeners in the past than getting details of information correct.
The old saw, "Never let a fact get in the way of a good story" doesn't just apply to British other tabloid newspapers! On the other hand as Rupert Murdoch's Sun found when it said Liverpool soccer fans had caused the 1989 Hillsborough football disaster in which 96 fans died, it can be a long-term cost when a city feels it has been slandered: There was a boycott of the paper and it still hasn't fully recovered in Liverpool.
If the residents of New Orleans feel strongly enough they don't need to listen to Limbaugh but we'd suggest there's a long history of obnoxious Limbaugh comments that deserve far strong criticism and can't see anyone listening to him - or other politically partisan hosts - to get fair and balanced information.
New Orleans Times-Picayune report:
2005-12-06: Three of the BBC's main analogue stations, Radios 2, 3, and 4, all went off air for around 2 minutes just before 5p.m. The corporation said it was as a result of "major technical problems" and later added that the break in transmission was caused by a staff evacuation at BBC Broadcasting House in London, which led to the networks being taken off the air.
On BBC Radio 4, which went off the air just as the Four Corners programme ended, an announcer apologised and music was aired. Normal programming resumed around 5:15 p.m. when PM news programme host Eddie Mair thanked listeners for e-mails sent in and joked, "Someone tripped over a plug somewhere."
2005-12-06: Shares of the two successor companies to Viacom - to split by the end of this year into Viacom Inc., which will be based on the company's cable networks, and CBS Corporation, which will include its radio and broadcast TV operations - began trading on a preliminary or "when-issued" basis on Monday.
At the close shares in the new Viacom Inc. (VIA.B.WI) were USD 42.80 and those of CBS (CBS.WI) were USD 26.70 whilst those of the current Viacom ended down 0.14% at USD 34.45.
2005-12-06: UK media regulator Ofcom upheld no complaints against radio in its latest Broadcast Bulletin although it considered three complaints resolved: Concerning TV it upheld two standards cases and partly upheld a fairness and privacy case and also listed details of two standards complaint and one fairness complaint that it did not uphold.
This compares with no radio complaints upheld and four considered resolved in its previous bulletin in which it upheld three TV standards complaints, upheld in part two TV fairness and privacy complaints, and listed two other TV standards and to other TV fairness and privacy complaints that were not upheld.
The radio cases considered resolved involved Alan Brazil of talkSPORT, Jo Whiley of BBC Radio 1 and a lottery programme on Emap-owned Metro FM.
In Brazil's case three listeners complained about remarks made by Brazil, one to a co-host's observation that Scotland had a higher murder rate than America when he said, "we don't put up with all those foreigners that turn up, unexpected, unwelcome - we sort them out."
Later he said in reference while discussing a recent Rangers v Celtic soccer game, "What was that
song tell all the huns", a comment the complainants thought had sectarian overtones.
talkSPORT accepted that the first comment was ill-judged and said he had been told such comments were unacceptable and regarding the second said it had been delivered by Brazil, known to be a Celtic supporter, in playful mood as part of the regular football banter but said he had been asked not to use the word again.
In the Whiley case a song played included the line "she's pretty fucking far from nice" because said the BBC, an unedited track rather than the edited version had been played. Whiley had apologised at the first available opportunity and the BBC said those involved in production of the programme had been reminded that they needed to check material carefully in future.
The third complaint regarded the regular National Postcode Lottery broadcast that included both promotions and live coverage of this society lottery operated by Novamedia.
Metro Radio's owner Emap had contacted Ofcom about potential problems before the broadcasts but accepted admitted that the output in question had breached the Broadcasting Code. It said the station's current Programme Controller had removed the feature from programming and subsequently included the lottery output as advertisements only, "clearly separated from programming, voiced by someone other than the on-air presenter, with all content scripted and cleared by the RACC."
In addition to these complaints Ofcom listed with no details a further 111 complaints against 103 items that were rejected or held to be out of remit compared to corresponding totals of 145 complaints against 123 items in the previous bulletin.
These included 10 radio complaints relating to 10 items compared to 19 radio complaints relating to 17 items in the previous bulletin - and 101 TV complaints relating to 93 items compared to 126 TV complaints relating to 106 items in the previous bulletin:
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2005-12-05: This week we start our look at print comment on radio with Howard Stern - due to leave Viacom's Infinity and move to Sirius Satellite Radio in the New Year - and an appearance scheduled after we publish on this week's CBS's 60 Minutes - also a Viacom company - in which Ed Bradley profiles Stern and to quote CBS "discovers a softer side of his persona."
Bradley in a promotional interview on the CBS Early Show on Friday told co-anchor Harry Smith, "I've never been really a Howard Stern fan and I expected the worst. I expected a guy who was just about high school era locker room humour . And I found a guy who was very smart, who knows absolutely what he's doing, who knows how to push the envelope and get what he wants. And he's just extraordinarily good at what he does. And he has a soft side that I didn't expect."
Bradley told Smith that Stern in response to his question said he would be "more sexually explicit" on Sirius with more of his sense of humour but had set a line he wouldn't cross.
Bradley also brought up Stern's notorious 1992 on air prayer that the prostate cancer affecting then Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Alfred Sikes would spread (It didn't. He recovered), comment made at a time when his show had become a prime target for fines.
Stern, now 51, said he might not make the comment now but did not apologise for the remarks, commenting, "When I get angry and really fired up and feel like my back is up against the wall, I will say vicious things. Rather than hide that, I would rather put that out on the radio and let someone see the full range of [my] emotions If you're going to be strong on the radio, you've got to let it all hang out - even the ugly stuff - and you can't apologize for it."
In Los Angeles City Beat, Mick Farren under the headline "Howard's End: Expecting talk-radio powerhouse Stern to jump-start satellite could be a leap of blind faith" expresses some scepticism as to whether Stern can deliver the audience needed to pay off Sirius's spending on him.
He starts with a reference to an earlier appearance by Stern on another CBS Show, "The Late Show with David Letterman", writing: "In the process of promoting his move to Sirius Satellite Radio, Howard Stern clued in David Letterman about how to succeed on the audio airwaves: "Be a big, fat, pompous ass, and have the answer to everything." Whether 'big, fat, pompous ass' referred to himself or arch-rival Rush Limbaugh is not clear. Certainly Stern isn't fat. He's more tall and angular, Joey Ramone-looking with shades and even more nose, but, for two and half decades, his lewd and idiosyncratic answers to everything have made him a power in the land. Stern and Limbaugh formerly book ended American talk radio like symbolic and opposing colossi of red and blue. Rush huffed and puffed and waved the bellicose flag, while Howard hosted Lesbian Dating Game."
Of the host Farren comments, "On what now has to be called terrestrial radio, Howard's end leaves a gaping abyss in the morning drive. Like him or not, Stern is a master of his trade. Just five minutes of the almost-unlistened-to Al Franken on Air America is more than enough to demonstrate The Howard Stern Show was/is an ingenious high-density production. Howard changed a whole quadrant of radio, and no immediate heir apparent claims his audience millions."
But of whether he can deliver? "Stern's belief is that, freed from FCC restrictions, he can revolutionize pay radio, and do for Sirius what The Sopranos did for HBO.Unfortunately, Sirius isn't HBO, and satellite radio isn't cable TV. If, a couple of months ago, a pollster had asked me, as a Stern fan, if I'd follow him into outer space, I would have replied, "Sure, why not? Twelve bucks a month subscription? No problem." That was before, however, I discovered I'd also need to spend a minimum of $150 to $200 on dedicated hardware that does nothing for me except receive Sirius"
He concludes, "Stern is moving to a medium that's a mess. Logic might have dictated that satellite radio be delivered by the existing cable and dish networks for an add-on fee, but Sirius, and wholly incompatible rival XM, decided instead to engage in a war of systems attrition that may rival VHS going head-to-head with Beta. Consumers are once again being asked to make an either-or choice, when one of the options will ultimately become obsolete. We're also expected to clutter our homes with even more electronic junk, and with no guarantee that customer service won't turn out to be laughable. From this perspective, following Stern when he starts up on Sirius in January seems more and more like a leap of blind faith, and this is hardly the era for major faith in corporate strategies. "
Similar doubts about satellite are expressed in the Detroit Free Press where John Smyntek under the headline "Fighting to be heard. Technology and regulations have radio battling for its place on the airwaves" gives what he terms, "the low down on the people and wizardry shaping the future of how you'll tune in."
On satellite the comment is: "Big bang, questionable business " with "Thumbs up: Cable-like variety; two companies marketing like mad"; "Thumbs down: Talent costs may strangle profits and other technology could trump it" and various comments including one from former Clear Channel Radio CEO Randy Michaels' whose view was "by the time a profit is made, satellite radio will be eclipsed by something more profound."
Terrestrial HD doesn't come out much better with "Thumbs up: Plays to current broadcasters' strengths"; "Thumbs down: Requires pricey new receivers" and comments including one from Radio consultant and Detroit radio veteran Bill Figenshu who told Friday Morning Quarterback this month: "HD is going to be very, very risky. Unless broadcasters get it together right now, they have a very good chance of becoming AM stereo."
After Stern a digression away from radio a moment to a Los Angeles Times report by Jube Shiver on the FCC indecency rules relating to cable in which he noted, "Trying to preserve their electronic pulpits, the nation's religious broadcasters find themselves in the unusual position of fighting an effort by anti-indecency groups to thwart channels offering racy programming."
The Christians it would seem are afraid that a switch to allowing people to get what they want will lead to a fall in their audience and anti-indecency principles come second to preserving their patch. Stern it would appear - like John Lennon in his comments about the Beatles being more popular than Christ (See suggested listening below) has more commitment to honesty. Now what was that thought that sprang to mind about temple and moneychangers?
Next a profile by Ciar Byrne of British radio host Eddie Mair from the UK Independent that we couldn't resist as much a anything because of Mair's comments on colleagues, notably Fiona Glover, his successor as host of BBC Radio 4's Sunday morning show "Broadcasting House."
Mair, now presenter of the station's weekday PM programme, told Byrne about his departure from Broadcasting House that he tried to put out the idea that he was fired, adding, "'It's not true as such, but I tried to put that out. I mentioned on air that I'd been fired. I hoped there would be a petition to save me, but there were one or two e-mails. That's it.' So why did he leave? 'I'd done it for five years and that was enough. It was more to do with, 'Wouldn't it be nice not to work weekends.'"
Of his successor, Mair commented, "I don't listen to her. She's awful. I wanted them to appoint someone quite poor, again with the idea of getting that petition to get me back. People seem to like her [Glover]. Which is surprising, because as a person, she is quite nasty."
The article hints that his comments might not be totally serious, noting that Glover once described Mair as "supremely funny" to which his retort was, "Fi is often heavily medicated. I'm not saying she doesn't make any sense at times, but you've got to make allowances."
And of a comment by former BBC Radio 4 Controller James Boyle - with whom and current Today programme editor Kevin Marsh he created Broadcasting House - to the effect that Mair was a "great broadcaster never too intelligently pompous, but never too flippant."
"James, I'm sure he won't mind me saying this, he drinks."
And a brief note of sympathy before suggested listening for New York news station WINS-AM: In the New York Post John Mainelli reports that it was taken off air for nearly an hour by the equipment installed to prevent such problems.
Mainelli says a computer that governs a massive uninterruptible-power-supply (UPS) battery locked up and cut the newsroom and news studios from power. It then compounded the problem by stopping the back-up generator from kicking in to supply the areas.
Now listening: And Thursday marks the 25th anniversary of former Beatle John Lennon's murder outside his apartment block in New York, an anniversary that the BBC is marking with a number of programmes. So far we've heard BBC Radio 4's Archive Hour, which on Saturday carried a portrait built round the audio of Jann Wenner's 1970 New York interview with Lennon for Rolling Stone magazine - including a few swear words - shortly after the Beatles broke up, and later that evening BBC Radio 2's "Bigger than Jesus", the story of the interview by Maureen Cleeve of the London Evening Standard with him that months later led to an outcry and burning of his records during the Beatles American tour. They're very different in style but both quite illuminating and the musical variety on display adequately backs up his dismissal of the Rolling Stones in terms of musical originality.
On the anniversary itself, BBC Radio 4 is carrying a number of short "Lennon Remembered" sequences between other programming (We trust it will all be posted as audio on the BBC Radio 4 web site) and the afternoon play (14:15 GMT) is "Unimaginable", a look at the murder through the perspective of Lennon's friend journalist Ray Connolly who was scheduled to fly out to interview Lennon for the Sunday Times on the day of the murder but instead found himself called by the Daily Mail to be informed of the murder.
BBC Radio 2 devotes most of the evening to Lennon, commencing at 19:00 GMT with Lennon, a one-hour programme in which Mark Radcliffe sketches a portrait of Lennon and examines his musical legacy. This is followed by "Lennon Live", a three-hour live music tribute to John Lennon, from Abbey Road studio in London and the Sirius studio in Manhattan.
Changing tone our next suggestion is BBC Radio 4's "Peter and the Wolf" from Saturday in which Rainer Hersch examined not so much the music as narrators of the Prokofiev work and then from BBC Radio 3 on Sunday in the Drama on 3 slot, "The Sicilian Expedition" by John Fletcher. This was based on the Athenian's attack on Sicily and subsequent defeat and the subsequent development in Athens of the Socratic idea of universal love.
It was followed in the Sunday Feature slot with the first part of a two-programme "The Agony and The Ecstasy" that explores the extremities of human emotion- pain and pleasure- and asks why, at different times humans have placed more emphasis on one or the other.
Crossing back over the Atlantic, we'd suggest last week's On the Media from WNYC with items including reports on the allegations that President Bush suggested the bombing of Arab TV channel Al-Jazeera's headquarters in Qatar (a state that is a US ally); the planting of news stories in the Iraqi media by the Pentagon; and the first ten years of The Weekly Standard magazine.
Then crossing another ocean to Australia we'd suggest the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "All in the Mind." The latest two programmes were on "The Emotional Brain", firstly Sexual Desire (November 26) then Anger (December 3).
Also from the ABC is the latest edition of Background Briefing that on Sunday looked at the crackdown on informal money traders - the system called "Hawala" that is used to transfer money from one country to another.
New Australian laws will require reporting of every transaction and the programme examines the potential benefits - since drug dealers and "terrorists" can abuse the system but also performs a vital function in getting money to relatives back home. In the recent Pakistani earthquake it appears to have been a remarkably efficient system - and one that put Western financial institutions to shame - for people overseas to get help to relatives in fairly remote areas back home and a blunt crackdown could prove counterproductive.
Finally tomorrow and BBC Radio 2 that features the second part of "Smile: The Genius of Charlie Chaplin" followed by the second part of "The Sinatra Trail". Last week's programmes are on the site until then: This week'sprogramme includes previously unheard recordings of Chaplin at the piano, composing music for The Circus and Limelight and various interviews about Chaplin with actors, authors, film historians and academics, a marked contrast to the Sinatra programme that is built around interviews with more ordinary folk - Sinatra fans plus restaurateurs, bar tenders, casino proprietors and pizza makers who served him.
CBS on Stern 60 Minutes interview:
Detroit Free Press - Smyntek:
Independent - Byrne:
Los Angeles City Beat - Farren:
Los Angeles Times - Shiver:
New York Post - Mainelli:
2005-12-05: CHUM founder Allan Waters, who stepped down as the company's chairman and president in December 2002 - although he remained on CHUM's board until October this year - has died in hospital aged 84. His sons Jim Waters had succeeded him as Chairman and another son Ron Waters became Vice Chairman
Allan Waters bought 1050 CHUM in Toronto in 1954 and reformatted it three years later as Canada's first all-hits music format, subsequently not only developing a commercial radio empire but also a specialty TV empire that began in 1984 with the launch of MuchMusic, Canada's first 24-hour music specialty station. CHUM now employs around 3,000 and owns 33 radio stations and 12 TV stations and 21 speciality channels.
CHUM, which became a publicly traded company in 1967, also pioneered digital radio in Canada with the launch of the first commercial DAB stations in 1999 and in 2004 joined forces with Astral to form CHUM Subscription Radio Canada (CSRC), whose terrestrial bid gained a terrestrial radio subscription licence although it has said the granting of to satellite subscription licences could render its plans uneconomic and has so far announced no date for a service launch whilst XM and Sirius have both now launched their Canadian services.
CHUM has been the subject of takeover rumours but his sons have said they have no intention of selling: Last month Jim Waters told the Toronto Star," I and Ronny [his brother] and my father are certainly not interested in selling. My father spent his life building the company, and it was his wish that the family continue operating the company, and that's what is happening" (See RNW Nov 11).
CHUM has announced that a private funeral service will be held for the family and a public memorial service is to be held in Toronto on Wednesday.
Previous Allan Waters:
Previous Jim Waters:
2005-12-05: The BBC Concert Orchestra is teaming up with some of the biggest names in UK black music for a live event to be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, home of its classical music output, and its digital 1Xtra urban music channel.
The Urban Classic event will see grime producer DaVinChe, jazz musician Jason Yarde and conductor Charles Hazlewood, who will lead the 36 piece BBC Concert Orchestra, along with young talent from the UK's grime scene, to create a 70 minute musical suite of grime, hip hop and classical music.
The performance on February 16 at the Hackney Empire in London will feature London MCs Bruza, Tor, Pase, Purple and beatboxer Faith SFX, alongside the orchestra with DJ sets from 1Xtra's Semtex and Cameo.
Those involved will meet for an initial workshop on December 10 and then continue with workshops and rehearsals to refine the performance with DaVinChe and Jason Yarde, both classically trained, composing and arranging the music for the orchestra to perform.
Radio 3 Controller Roger Wright said of the production, "It will be a first for our listeners and push the UK's emerging grime scene ever forward. I'm delighted that BBC Radio 3 is working in this unique partnership with 1Xtra BBC using the BBC Concert Orchestra and breaking down the boundaries between musics."
"Urban Classic promises to be an exciting evening of new work, to be broadcast on Mixing It, a celebrated bastion of experimental music radio," he added noting that the works had been "specially commissioned by Radio 3 as part of our ongoing role as the world's largest commissioner of new music."
Highlights from the event - produced by Serious, Bigga Fish and the BBC - will be given a national airing with broadcasts on 1Xtra's 1Xtra Live on Saturday 18 February from midnight to 2.00am, and Radio 3's Mixing It around the same time and Bigga Fish General Manager Genevieve Dowokpor commented, "It is a great feeling for Bigga Fish to turn an initial idea into Urban Classic with the help of our friends at the BBC and Serious. We at Bigga Fish are dedicated to aiding and providing opportunities for young people to achieve their goals. The talented young artists will collaborate with high-calibre musicians, taking their skills to new heights on a nationwide platform via the BBC. I look forward to seeing and hearing the result."
2005-12-04: The main regulatory news last week came from the US where Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J Martin told the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that he shares concerns about "coarse programming" on radio and TV although he prefers self-regulation to government-imposed rules (See RNW Nov 30) although elsewhere it was more a matter of routine.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has again proposed further community licences: In Queensland it has started the process to allocate three new community licences for the Esk, Mackay and Weipa areas and has advertised for applications by a deadline of January 13.Submissions concerning applications received can be made by members of the public until February 3, 2006.
In Tasmania, the ACMA has decided to make capacity available for a new community radio service at Oatlands, around 60km north of Hobart: It received no public responses to its proposal made in August to make capacity available but notes that Mid FM, an aspirant community radio group, has been providing a general format service on a temporary community broadcasting licence at Oatlands since May 2003.Applications fore the permanent licence are to be sought in the New Year.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in a number of administrative renewals of licences that will expire before it can decide on the substantive applications. They are (in order of province):
*Administrative renewals until March 31 next year of the following licences regarding which it notes that it will not be able to rule before current licences appeal.
*CFLG-FM and CJSS-FM, Cornwall.
*CHYK-FM Timmins and its transmitters CHYK-2 Kapuskasing, CHYX-FM Kapuskasing, and CHYK-FM-3 Hearst.
*Administrative renewal until Aug 31 next year of the licences of CIBM-FM Rivière-du-Loup and its transmitters CIBM-FM-1 Rivière-du-Loup, CIBM-FM-2 Trois-Pistoles, CIBM-FM-3 Sully and CIBM-FM-4 Saint-Juste-du-Lac.
The CRTC has also extended until June 30 next year the deadline by which a New, Instructional campus FM radio station in Burnaby, British Columbia, which was approved in December 2003, must be operational.
There were no radio announcements from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom has started a consultation on changes to AM licences in general and an application from UBC Media to regionalize its Classic Gold network (See RNW Dec 3) updated its planned timetable for the advertisement of new analogue local commercial licences,
This is now as follows:
December 2005 - Hull - larger licence & Newry - smaller licence.
January 2006 - Andover - smaller licence.
February 2006 - Exeter - smaller licence & Oxford/South Oxfordshire - smaller licence
April 2006 - Liverpool - larger licence.
May 2006 - Perth - smaller licence.
June 2006 - Preston/Leyland/Chorley - smaller licence.
July 2006 - Manchester - larger licence & Aberdeen - smaller licence.
In the US, FCC chairman Kevin J, Martin as noted has told a senate sub-committee that changes need to be made regarding indecent broadcasts although he prefers self-regulation: The FCC has also been involved in more enforcement action including a USD 21,000 fine on an amateur radio operator who hampered emergency calls (See below).
It also issued reduced from a proposed USD 3,000 to USD 500 a penalty on Faith Christian Music Broadcast Ministries, Inc., licensee of WYRV-FM, Cedar Bluff, Virginia, for failure to maintain station WYRV's public inspection file. Faith had argued that the amount was excessive and had asked for cancellation or reduction on the basis of a past history of compliance and of inability to pay. After examining documentation put forward, the FCC reduced the amount on the basis of inability to pay.
The FCC has also ruled on more mutually exclusive non-commercial educational station applications. They were:
*Approval of application by Bible Broadcasting Network, Inc. for a station to serve Denison, Texas, rather than a rival application from American Family Association that would serve Sherman.
*Approval of application from Morton Cochran County Educational Foundation for a station in Morton rather than a rival application from American Family Association for a station in Levelland.
*Approval of application by Bishop Community Radio for a station to serve Morganfield rather than a rival application from Heartland Ministries, Inc. for a station in Sturgis.
In Rhode Island, the FCC approved an application from Educational Radio, which applied for the Public of the New Millennium, for a new non-commercial educational FM in East Greenwich, and a time sharing agreement between Coventry Rhode Island Public Schools and Millennium under which schools will operate WCVY-FM between 14:00 and 22:00 weekdays during the official school year and Millennium will operate its proposed station between 22:00. and 14:00 weekdays during the school year and also operate its station 24 hours per day on weekends during the school year, as well during the summer months and other vacation periods when Schools' activities are not taking place.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-12-04: Reporting on its Media and Advertising Summit held in New York last week, Reuters says the US "radio industry could find itself at the kids' table in the media banquet hall, as new technology threatens the business" according to comments made by advertisers at the summit.
Noting that portable music devices have given people the ability to listen to what they want when they want, David Verklin, chief executive of media buying agency Carat Americas commented, "Radio is at the centre of a perfect storm of technological threats. It has to reinvent itself."
As well as music players he noted the competition from satellite radio, most of whose channels are commercial free and commented of overdoing advertising clutter, "To some listeners, radio is a little bit of content in a sea of ads."
Clear Channel has already cut advertising on its stations and, although revenues have now been down for three quarters,Clear Channel Radio President and CEO John Hogan commented, "We think the early returns are extraordinarily promising. We knew there would be a financial cost to this."
Reuters notes that while Clear Channel's shares have fallen 1.4% in the last year, it has outperformed the S&P Media Index, which has fallen 11% and that it is also taking steps to move into online, where Internet firms such as Google and Yahoo have increasingly been building up local advertising revenues..
The report also notes that although terrestrial radio executives play down the threat from satellite because of its subscription charges - Hogan asked, "Why would you pay for something you get for free?" and Viacom co-COO Leslie Moonves said, "There is a genuine question whether people are going to want to pay USD 12 a month for (Howard Stern) - there had been similar responses from TV executives in the 1970s, when cable TV was a fledgling business but cable and satellite TV services now serve about 81% of U.S. homes.
There was also criticism of the quality of radio advertising with David Droga, outgoing chief creative officer of Publicis Groupe's Publicis Worldwide commenting, "Radio is seen as the poorest cousin of all the creative canvases" but adding, " to me, radio is a fantastic canvas. It's theatre of the mind."
A digital media conference in Los Angeles heard iBiquity CEO Robert Struble call in advance of a meeting of radio company CEOs - scheduled for December 6 and that analysts believe involves a mass rollout of HD radio - for moves to sell HD radio receivers.
"iBiquity and the industry realize we now have to sell some radios. I've never seen a higher level of coordination and discussion among the market's leaders," Struble told Reuters at the conference, adding that said eight automakers have ordered next-generation high definition radio products for 30 different models over the next few years.
So far digital radio receivers are available as an option on the BMW 6 and 7-Series luxury automobile, for about USD 500 each but Struble said eventually lower pricing, intense promotion, and more innovating programming should help fuel adoption of HD radio.
Commenting on multicasting - the ability to deed additional digital programmes - Struble noted that stations could charge subscription fees but Reuters notes that a senior Clear Channel executive said recently that that company was committed to bolstering its advertising-supported radio business.
Struble also commented on the programming benefits of multicasts, saying, "It's really giving programmers a shot to try something really innovative and new. It's a blank, low-risk canvas." Struble said.
RNW comment: As regards digital receiver sales, it seems to us that there are three prongs to this - timing, availability of the goods and a reason to buy them.
On timing, the industry has already left it too late and should certainly have had receivers available and being heavily promoted at least two months ago.
On content, US radio has lagged to say the least - one of the reasons Britain's digital sales have done so well was an early decision to encourage delivery of new content on digital frequencies whilst giving companies an incentive through automatic analogue renewal if they were providing content on a relevant digital multiplex; and equipment prices - where we see DAB/DRM likely to perform better than HD because they are open and likely to be global standards meaning more economies of scale whereas HD - a proprietary and inferior standard in our view, but one that fitted in better with the short term preservation of their patches by existing media players - is likely to be limited to the US and Central and South America.
Our view is that the fewer countries that accept HD the better since most outside the US will not go for it and we prefer global standards. We therefore prefer the DAB/DRM combination. As with the inferior NTSC TV analogue standard the US has the right to choose but whereas NTSC was the first workable colour standard and other countries were therefore able to improve on it, HD was in our view largely a commercial decision by the big players rather than a market led one.
On reasons to buy the winning combination in our view is content, content and content plus reasonable equipment prices. On both, the US would have done better had it not gone its own way but learned from elsewhere.
Previous Clear Channel:
Reuters report on Los Angeles digital media conference:
Reuters report on New York Media and Advertising Summit:
2005-12-04: Emmis has named David Newcomer, currently Vice President of Finance and Controller of its Radio Division, as interim Chief Financial Officer to take over from Walter Z. Berger, its CFO since 1999, when he leaves the company in January.
Newcomer, who joined Emmis in 1988, has been in his current post for the past seven years.
In other US radio business Salem has confirmed the fourth quarter guidance for same station net broadcasting revenues to grow in the low single digits and overall net broadcasting revenue to be between USD 51.5 million and USD 52.0 million reflecting mid single digit growth (See RNW Nov 4).
2005-12-04: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined a California amateur USD 21,000 for interfering with the radio communications of a Coast Guard Auxiliary Officer while the Auxiliary Officer attempted to use the amateur frequencies to contact a sailing vessel in distress.
Before the 2004 regulations breach that led to the penalty, Jack Gerritsen, of Bell, California, had been told on November 14, 2001 that the amateur licence he had been granted seven days earlier, had been set aside and at the end of January 2002 he had been told that his amateur's licence application had been dismissed: He had also been warned in July 2004 that he should vacate all amateur frequencies but on October 29, 2004, there was a complaint that broadcasts by Gerritsen had prevented the Auxiliary Officer from contacting the SV Elke, which had been damaged in a storm that had rendered its VHF marine radio inoperable and left only amateur radio as a means to reach it.
Gerritsen had responded to requests that he vacate the frequency by accusing the Auxiliary Officer of declaring a sham emergency in an attempt to "jam" his messages and had continued transmitting for approximately 40 minutes, repeatedly playing a taped recording and ultimately ending his transmission by stating, "If you jam me, I'll jam you.".
Subsequently agents traced the transmission on the frequency involved to Gerritsen's residence.
In January, 2005, the FCC's Los Angeles Office issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for USD 21,000 to Gerritsen, who responded by saying that the activities alleged - if true [As it happened they had been monitored and recorded] - would be illegal and argued that his licence had been in effect, that there was no emergency, that he did not transmit for 40 minutes not jam or interfere with emergency communication and also that he did not have sufficient income to pay the penalty.
The FCC found that Gerritsen had provided no evidence to refute the recording or to show inability to pay and confirmed the full penalty.
2005-12-03: Clear Channel has announced that it expects to complete the spin-off of its Entertainment Division on December 21: Before then it will transfer the business to wholly owned subsidiary CCE Spinco, Inc.
Unlike the public offering of part of its Outdoor Division, where Clear Channel has retained control, Clear Channel will retain no shares in Spinco, which will be come an independent publicly-traded company. Clear Channel shareholders will get one share of Spinco common stock for every eight Clear Channel Communications shares they are listed as holding on December 14 with cash being paid for the balance where there are fractional shareholdings with the cash being the only part of the transaction to attract tax charges.
In other US business Radio and Records says it has been told by sources that Entercom is likely to emerge as the winner of the bidding for ABC Radio: The sale will not include Radio Disney or ESPN Radio.
It adds that an announcement could come as early as today - it had not by the time we published but we will update in the morning if there is an overnight announcement:
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-12-03: UK media regulator Ofcom has launched a consultation regarding plans by UBC Media to "regionalize" 13 of its 18 Classic Gold AM stations by creating clusters of two or three stations based on geographical location with the five remaining stations - Plymouth, Exeter, Gloucester, Wrexham and Bournemouth - continuing to service the licence areas currently set out in the individual station's format.
UBC also wants all of its stations to be able to broadcast their four-hour local show at any time during "weekday daytime" as opposed to the current "peak time" requirement, which is generally taken to be breakfast or drivetime.
Ofcom says it will also seek views from the consultation, for which comments have to be in by January 12, on how Ofcom should approach requests for change on AM stations generally.
In its submission to Ofcom, UBC says it envisions five regions for the stations involve:
a) West: Bristol and Swindon. Ofcom has allowed us to operate a trial of our plans in this region since September.
b) Midlands: Wolverhampton, Coventry & Nottingham, plus Leicester DAB
c) Mid-East: Northampton, Peterborough & Bedford, plus Cambridge DAB
d) Anglia: Ipswich and Norwich
e) London & Home Counties: Reading, Essex, Luton & Crawley, plus London DAB
In requesting comment, Ofcom notes that it has to be satisfied before granting permission for the changes that they would not substantially alter the character of the service and would not narrow the range of programmes available; that they would maintain or promote fair competition; and also that there is evidence of demand or support for the changes from people living in the relevant licence areas.
In making its case for the changes, UBC, which acquired the licences in September 2000 from GWR, notes increased problems with the technical quality of AM as digital broadcasts have become more popular and strong competition from BBC Radio 2 as well as from additional stations licensed since the acquisition.
"All these factors have combined," it says, "to reduce significantly the market share of some of
Classic Gold's stations, particularly those in the more competitive markets, and without greater investment in marketing we see these trends continuing - threatening eventually to take us to a point where, burdened by heavy regulatory constraints and with no funds available for regeneration, the licences would no longer be commercially viable We therefore seek these changes to enable a greater investment in marketing and programming, reversing the decline in market share in those parts of the country where we are relatively weak, and maximising our chances in competing for audience with the BBC."
UBC has already conducted a survey of its audience in the areas where change is planned that show that to most of the audience, although local news, travel news and weather information is important to the audience, the physical locations of the stations is not significant. The three main factors in choosing the stations were liking the music played (29% of respondents); liking the DJs and presenters (18%) and liking the breakfast show 13% with "having local news" fourth=placed (9%).
RNW comment: The obvious long-term answer, and one that could significantly benefit AM stations, is of course digital and already chips are being produced to allow radios to receive DAB and DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) signals. In addition since countries like China, already a major force in receiver manufacture, are likely to develop both standards - DAB for urban areas and DRM for wider country areas - we would anticipate receiver prices to drop dramatically in the future.
In the meantime, however, UBC's submission seems to us to make a strong case for the changes so as to preserve the network.
2005-12-03: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation again dominated the broadcast sector in this year's Walkley Awards, Australia's most prestigious journalistic awards, which are in their 50th year this year.
Tim Palmer took the Walkley Gold Award for his reports on the Asian tsunami on ABC TV and the bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta on which he broadcast a live radio report within 25 minutes of the explosion.
In radio, the ABC took all the awards yet again. The Radio News Reporting award went to Palmer for his reports on the "Jakarta Embassy Bomb"; that for Radio Current Affairs Reporting went to Leigh Sales of the AM programme for "Guantanamo Prosecutors"; and the Radio Feature, Documentary or Broadcast Special award went to Paul Barclay for his "Background Briefing" report "Bundaberg's Dr Death".
Another award that went to ABC Radio was the Broadcast Interviewing award to Monica Attard for her "Sunday Profile" interviews "On the Brink" in which she looked at three high-profile lives in turmoil - of former insurance company director Rodney Alder, conducted during his trial; of Douglas Wood, the Australian held hostage in Iraq; and of New South Wales magistrate Pat O'Shane, who had a very public break-up with her husband and disclosed that she had suffered from bipolar disorder since adolescence.
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Walkley Awards:
Walkley Awards web site:
2005-12-02: Sirius Canada's satellite service of 100 channels is now live with a service that includes five English and five French Canadian channels.
To mark its launch it is waiving its normal one-off activation fee of up to CAD 20 (USD 17) for the first 50,000 subscribers: The service itself costs CAD 14.99 (USD 12.85) for the initial receiver and then CAD 7.99 (USD 6.85) for each additional receiver up to a maximum of four.
Sirius Canada has also announced that it is to host live concerts in Montreal and Toronto to celebrate the launch of the service.
The Toronto concert on December 6 will be broadcast live from the Mod Club on channels CBC Radio 3 and Iceberg and will feature new Canadian recording artist Feist, singer songwriter Kathleen Edwards, The Trews, and Juno award winner Ron Sexsmith.
The Montreal concert the next day will be broadcast live from the Spectrum on channels Bande à part, Energie2 and Rock Velours and feature Quebec rock band Les Pistolets Roses, Anik Jean and electronic sensation aKido.
Mark Redmond, President and CEO of Sirius Canada said in a statement, "The Sirius Live simulcast concerts are the first major on-air initiative in Canadian satellite radio. This is just the beginning; the launch of Sirius Canada represents the dawn of 'high-quality' content, coverage and choice in Canadian satellite radio. We are proud to be able to showcase such great Canadian talent throughout North America."
Previous Sirius Canada:
2005-12-02: Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan has told the Reuters Advertising and Media Summit in New York that his company has no plans for station disposals unlike Viacom's Infinity radio, which has indicated for some six months that some of its small market stations are likely to be put up for sale (See RNW June 18).
"We invested a lot of time, energy and money to go out and de-aggregate what we think is the premier radio platform in the country," said Hogan. "We do not have plans to divest."
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-12-02: The world's first commercial mobile TV, radio and multimedia services have been launched in Korea, allowing people to access live TV and multimedia services on a range of hand-held devices from manufacturers such as Perstel, LG and Samsung Electronics, which this week unveiled nine terrestrial DMB handsets.
Initially launched in the South Korean capital Seoul the service is to expand over the country as new national licences are awarded in 2006-7.
Amongst those involved are Korean broadcasters KBS, MBC, SBS and YTN, plus smaller U1 Media, which launched their T-DMB service. Korea DMB is involved in trials, with a service to start in February along with mobile radio and data services. TU Media, 30% owned by Korea's largest mobile operator SK Telecom, launched satellite DMB services seven months ago and says it now has more than 300,000 subscribers.
KBS predicts that some five million people will be watching TV on mobile devices in Korea by the end of next year and British research company Juniper predicts worldwide subscriptions to such services to reach 65 million by 2010.
There are doubts however about the financial model for the service and mobile operators and an LG Telecom official told the Korea Herald, "We have nothing to profit from the terrestrial DMB service. We're not even hoping for extra profits but to be allowed to maintain current profit levels. The launch of mobile television service is likely to cut into revenue from our calls and wireless internet services.
Other DMB services are due to launch in Europe where in Germany this week the Mi Friends project (announced earlier this year as the European DMB Project) received official status as a European project with a budget of around 18 million euros (USD 21 million) over the next two years. One aim of this trial - which has grown to include 75 international partners across four demonstration sites - is to broadcast comprehensive coverage of FIFA World Cup 2006 via mobile entertainment devices using DAB's DMB standard.
In the UK the existing DAB digital radio infrastructure is to be used for a comparative UK mobile multimedia trial starting in April next year (See RNW Nov 19).
Korean Herald report:
2005-12-02: At least four media groups are expressing interest in the nine stations that GCap Media has put up for sale (See RNW Nov 25) according to the UK Guardian, which names them as Absolute Radio - which has confirmed interest, UTV and The Local Radio Company (TLRC)- which have both already said they will consider any stations on sale, and Macquarie Bank.
GCap wants to sell the stations in one deal rather than parcel them out and the paper quotes Absolute Radio operations and programme director, Clive Dickens, as saying they believe the stations provide a good opportunity to gain a sizeable stake in UK local radio and adding, "We will be at the forefront of involvement in the GCap station sale," said Mr Dickens. "The audience for GCap stations total more than The Local Radio Company's audience put together. Whoever gets those stations will immediately jump ahead of TLRC."
Neither UTV nor TLRC made any specific comments relating to interest in the GCap stations but both reiterated their general interest in making suitable purchases whilst Macquarie refused comment.
Rumours continue in the UK that various groups, primarily DMGT plus Macquarie and equity groups Cinven and 3i are considering a full bid for GCap (See RNW Nov 28).
UK Guardian report:
2005-12-02: The Australian commercial radio industry is expected to delay for two years tendering for its AUD 4 million (USD 2,95 million) a year annual ratings contract so as to allow further development of electronic measurement systems according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The paper says the decision is expected to be made at the December board meeting of industry body Commercial Radio Australia amid concerns over differences shown by Arbitron portable people meter (PPM) tests in Dallas between listening habits as evaluated by the tradition diary system and electronic metering that shows dramatic declines in time spent listening - 10.4 hours a week shown by the PPM compared to 15.1 hours shown by diary users - and in the length of time people listened - an average of around 34 minutes indicated compared to 1.1 hours indicated by diary users.
On the other side of the equation the PPM showed people listening to around 4 stations on average compared to an average 2.2 indicated in diaries.
Commercial Radio Australia chief executive, Joan Warner told the paper of the US test findings, "They can keep doing all the tests they like but until we see some valid explanation which addresses the major concerns we have, we're not moving to electronic measurement. We're not convinced people are carrying these devices every time they listen to radio. We have never ever seen over a period of time the compliance issues being met. These are non-trials."
DMG chief executive Paul Thompson said his major concern was the ability of electronic devices to capture early morning listening because it relied on individuals to switch on and carry a device as soon as they got up.
"There's a very serious weakness in it and it makes it very difficult to seriously contemplate because of the inability to measure breakfast listening," he said.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2005-12-01: Political advertising that boosted US radio revenues a year ago proved too much to match this year according to latest revenue figures from the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) that show October total combined spot and non-spot revenues down 7% on a year ago: RAB says the fall can be traced to specific markets in battleground states and notes that national revenues for the month were 19% down whereas local ones only fell 2%. Non-spot revenues were down 8%.
Year-to-date figures show total combined spot and non-spot sales figures flat compared to a year earlier with local sales up 1%, national sales down 1% and non-spot revenues also down 1%.
On RAB's sales index, that sets pre-dot com 1998 to 100, the sales indices for October are local, 115.7; national, 109.8 and total combined local and national, 115.0 whilst corresponding year-to-date figures are 139.4; 140.3; and 139.4.
Previous RAB& RAB figures (September):
2005-12-01: According to the Financial Times, Disney has narrowed the potential bidders for its ABC Radio division down to a shortlist of three, paving a way for the sale of the unit - valued at between USD 2 billion and USD 3 billion - by the end of the year.
The paper says those now in the field are Entercom, Cumulus and the private equity group Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, although it is unclear if this last is teamed up with a broadcaster for its bid.
The paper says the USD 1.2 billion price that Susquehanna got for the sale of its stations to Cumulus (See RNW Nov 1) encouraged Disney to proceed.
Financial Times report:
2005-12-01: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has launched a new campaign promoting advertising-funded - they term it free, over-the-air - radio's strengths under the slogan, "Radio: You Shouldn't Have to Pay for It."
The campaign follows a previous campaign promoting terrestrial radio's music content under the line "Radio: You Hear It Here First" (See RNW Oct 26).
Commenting on the new campaign, NAB Radio Board Chairman and Entercom President and CEO David Field said, "The new spots remind listeners of the 24-7 news coverage, compelling personalities, weather and traffic bulletins, local regional and national talk, local sports, and other programming, all of which is available for free on local radio. This next phase of the campaign will build on our momentum from the artist spots and further convey radio's unique value proposition to consumers."
The spots are downloadable from the NAB web site.
RNW comment: The fact that advertising-funded radio isn't paid for directly doesn't mean it hasn't got a cost, just that the cost is buried. A bit like honesty in almost all NAB actions we'd say.
NAB radio ads site:
2005-12-01: The Local Radio Company has bucked the UK radio industry trend with a 21% revenue increase of the year to the end of September up to GBP 19.8 million (USD 34.2 million) with like-for-like revenues up 2%, results its chairman Graham Parrott, termed "a commendable performance when compared to that of our quoted competitors".
Its sales house, First Radio Sales, which is jointly-owned with UTV reported revenues up 11%: It represents 117 stations and accounts for some 13% of local commercial airtime in the UK.
Chief executive Richard Wheatly said the new financial year had started encouragingly but warned of an uncertain advertising outlook.
The company has placed winning bids for new stations in Barrow, Blackburn, Durham, Northallerton and Swindon over the past year. Blackburn launched on October 15 and the Durham station is to launch next Monday with the other stations to launch next year and Wheatly said of the company's future they would continue with our plan to create a major force in the UK local radio market through organic growth, new licence wins, acquisition where appropriate, and the development of our enterprise business."
Also in the UK, the Guardian Media Group (GMG) is to sell advertising for Saga Radio's stations in the east and west Midlands and Glasgow according to the UK Guardian, which is owned by the same parent.
The paper says the deal adds 10.9 million hours to GMG Radio Sales' portfolio to give it a total of 36.7 million hours a week, an 8% share.
Saga Radio will continue to manage its own sales activity in London, the Midlands and Scotland.
Previous Local Radio Company:
UK Guardian report:
2005-12-01: In another example of what Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times terms a "sleazy contest", Clear Channel's Kiss FM (WKSC-FM), whose audience is nearly a third teenagers, has launched a unveiled its "Breast Christmas Ever" contest -- with the same USD 5,000 prize for breast implants that it offered four years ago in a controversial it "Boobies Like Britney" contest.
Feder notes that at the time of the original competition, "To her credit, the boss of Clear Channel in Chicago (who happened to be a woman) went on the air to apologize for the contest and promise that it wouldn't happen again."
Feder ends by noting that contestants have to be 18 or older and writes, "That would put them slightly above the maturity level of the folks who decided to inflict this sleazy contest on us again."
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
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