Alfredo Alonso - SVP Programming, Clear Channel Radio, and former CEO/president of Mega Communications(US); André Arthur - former Quebec morning host - electe as Independent Canadian MP; Leonard Asper - President and CEO, CanWest Global Communications; Mitch Bainwol - chairman and chief executive, Recording Industries Association of America (RIAA); Russell Balding - Managing Director, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (Resigned); Art Bell - former US Coast-to-Coast AM host; John Bitove Jr. -- Canadian entrepreneur, chairman and CEO Canadian Satellite Radio; Pierre Bouvard - president, Sales and Marketing, Arbitron; Bubba the Love Sponge -(formerly Todd Clem) - Sirius Stern channel host from Jan 2006 & former Clear Channel host; Adam Carolla - US radio host (Replaced Howard Stern on West Coast CBS stations); John Cassaday - President and CEO, Corus Entertainment, Canada; Chris Chapman - Chairman-designate, Australian Communications and Media Authority - takes up post in February; Michael J. Copps - Democrat US Federal Communications Commissioner; Lord David Currie - chairman British media regulator, Ofcom (re-appointed); Mark Damazer - (3) - Controller BBC Radio 4 and BBC7; Paul Donovan- U.K. Sunday Times radio columnist; Andy Duncan - UK Channel 4 chief executive; David Elstein - chairman, UK Commercial Radio Companies Association(CRCA); Robert Feder - Chicago Sun-Times media columnist; Marc Fisher - (2) - Washington Post reporter; John Hall - CEO RadioScape; Eithne Hand - outgoing head RTÉ, Ireland, Radio 1; Evan Harrison - Executive Vice President of Clear Channel Radio and head of the company's Online Music & Radio unit; Richard Huntingford - chief-executive, Chrysalis Group, UK; Tarsha Nicole Jones - - Emmis Hot 97, New York, "Miss Jones in the Morning" host; Tom Joyner - syndicated US morning host; Mel Karmazin - (2) - CEO Sirius Satellite Radio; Garrison Keillor- U.S. author and broadcaster; Jay Kernis - (2) - senior vice-president of programming for US National Public Radio; Peter Kosann - President and CEO, Westwood One; Ana Leddy- incoming head RTÉ, Ireland, Radio; Mike Gould - President & CEO, Eastlan Resources; Alfred C. Liggins III - president and chief executive, Radio One Inc (US); Lyn Maddock - Acting chair of Australian Communications and Media Authority - to return to post of Deputy Chair when successor takes over; Elisabeth Mahoney - UK Guardian radio critic; Kevin J. Martin - (2) - Chairman US Federal Communications Commission; Barry Mayo - Emmis' senior vice-president and New York market manager- to step down; Gerry McCarthy - UK Sunday Times writer on Irish Radio; Alisa Miller - President and CEO, Public Radio International (US); Adrian Moynes, Managing Director of RTÉ Radio; John Myers - chief executive of Guardian Media Group Radio(UK); Joel Oxley - SVP. Bonneville International; Hugh Panero - president and CEO, XM Satellite Radio; Bob (Sir Robert) Phillis- chief executive, Guardian Media Group, UK- to step down July 2006; Bruce Reese - President and CEO, Bonneville International, US; David K. Rehr - President and CEO of US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB); Gillian Reynolds - UK Telegraph radio columnist; Phil Riley - radio division chief executive, Chrysalis Group, UK; Lan Roberts - former Seattle DJ (deceased); Noah Samara - (3) - founder, chairman and CEO of international satellite radio company World Space Corporation; Heather Shaw - Executive chair, Corus Entertainment, Canada; Nathalie Schwarz - Director of Radio, UK Channel 4 - former Capital Radio strategy and development director; Bob Shennan - Controller, BBC Radio 5 Live and Asian Network; Jeff Smulyan - (2) - Chairman, president, and CEO, Emmis Communications, US; Howard Stern - (7) - US shock jock; Gary Stone - SVP and COO, Univision Radio; Neil Strawser - former CBS reporter and anchor (deceased); Robert Struble - President & Chief Executive Officer of iBiquity Digital Corporation, US; Deborah T. Tate -- Republican FCC commissioner; Mark Thompson - BBC Director General; Ben Fong-Torres - San Francisco Chronicle radio columnist; Walter F. Ulloa - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Entravision; Joan Warner - CEO, industry body Commercial Radio Australia; Charles Wooley -former TV reporter to launch three-hour "Across Australia" morning radio show; Chris Wright - chairman and co-founder Chrysalis Group, UK; Bennett Zier -CEO Red Zebra Broadcasting and former Regional Vice President for Clear Channel Radio-Washington, D. C.; Rod Zimmerman -senior vice president and market manager of CBS Radio's Chicago stations;
Numbers in brackets indicate the number of stories involving an individual mentioned more than once
January 2006 Archive
-December 2005 - February 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 previous relevant story. Regarding external links see note at end of page.
RNW January comment - - Looks at where digital radio is, where we'd like it to go and is very disappointed by HD if the samples on iBiqity's site - much worse than good quality FM on a UK site - are anything to go by.
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.
2006-01-31: The Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) has demanded that CBS Radio apologize and also reprimand host Adam Carolla, who took over Howard Stern's slot on KLSX-FM (Free FM) in Los Angeles and whose show airs in ten West Coast cities, for mocking Asians and says that unless action is taken it will "be forced to ask advertisers to withdraw their support of his show."
The call follows comments made on his show last week in which, says the AAJC, Carolla referred to the Asian Excellence Awards - which honour Asian Americans in media who have made a difference in the United States - as a joke and repeatedly used the sounds "ching-chong" in recreating a segment of the awards, which were actually done in English.
AAJC president and executive director Karen K. Narasaki said in a statement on the organization's web site, "Adam Carolla demeaned the work of Asian American actors, directors, and producers and perpetuated the stereotype of Asian Americans as foreigners."
2006-01-31: Withdrawn bids on Monday outweighed new bids in monetary terms and led to the total for provisionally winning bids in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Auction 62 of 171 FM construction permits falling for the first time over a day - it ended at USD 54,457,500 at the end of Round 57, down from Friday's Round 49 total of USD 56,353,825 million.
The total rose initially to USD 56,663,750 at the end of Round 50 but then the Round 51 withdrawal by Visionary Related Entertainment, LLC of a USD 799,000 bid for a permit in Kihei, Hawaii, started the process of falls with the total at the end of the round down to USD 55,778,950.
After that the total moved marginally up again to end round 52 at USD 55,855,300 before the pattern continued - the low point for the day was at the end of Round 55 when the total was USD 54,211,400 after Kemp Communications, Inc. pulled out of a USD 773,000 bid for a permit in Parowan, Utah.
In terms of the range of bids, the lowest provisionally winning bid listed is now of USD 15,000 - from Horizon Christian Fellowship for a permit for Yakutat, Alaska - on Friday the bid for the licence, then the lowest provisional winning bid was USD 8,900 from Horizon, which has been competing for the licence with Radio Layne LLC.
At the top end there were no changes - the highest bid is still that from A & J Media LLC for a permit for Indian Wells, California, followed by an unchanged bid of USD 5,251,000 from Horton Broadcasting Company, Inc. for a permit for Satellite Beach, Florida. These are followed by the same four bids between USD 2 million and USD 3 million and the same ten bids between USD 1 million and USD 2 million.
Previous FCC Auction 62:
2006-01-31: In the first such deal in UK commercial radio in a decade, the National Union of Journalists has been awarded union recognition at UTV-owned Signal Radio, Stoke-on-Trent.
The award came through the Government's Statutory Recognition procedures and is to be followed by negotiations of the details of how union recognition will work in practice.
Paul McLaughlin, the NUJ's National Broadcasting Organiser, said in a statement, "This is tremendous news. We look forward to a positive working relationship with UTV Radio. This right of recognition paves the way for similar formal arrangements with the players within the industry as we continue to address the issues faced by our members."
Simon Humphreys, the Union Father of the Chapel for Signal Radio, added, "We are absolutely delighted with the outcome. We feel it is a step in the right direction especially for journalists in Independent Radio News rooms across the country. UTV have recently taken over and we are already seeing the benefits of new owners. We are hoping this can strengthen our relationship as our Company moves forward."
2006-01-31: Chris Chapman, currently the Chief Operating Officer of specialist funds management activities at Babcock & Brown Limited, is to become the inaugural chairman of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
Announcing the appointment for a five-year period Australia's Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan said Chapman had "relevant and diverse skills in broadcasting and telecommunications, as well as extensive legal, financial and management expertise " and added, "His significant experience will assist ACMA as it faces many challenges in the next few years from the rapid technological changes taking place in television, radio and other forms of the media."
Coonan also paid tribute the ACMA's current Acting Chairman Lyn Maddock, who will return to her role as Deputy Chairman when Chapman takes up his post.
Chapman himself commented that he was "delighted to be joining an organization that has already established an impressive platform in a very short period of time. I'm also obviously pleased that the Minister saw the depth and variety of my broadcasting, on-line and telecommunication experiences as a key attraction."
His "media related" experience includes a spell as CEO of Excite@Home Australia Pty Limited, chairman of Film Australia Limited and Director of the Australian National Film and Sound Archive and various post at Australia's Seven Network including the position of COO and Acting CEO.
2006-01-31: Radio One Inc and REACH Media, the parent company of the "Tom Joyner Morning Show", has announced that a joint venture, "Syndication One" has launched nationally syndicated news/talk shows which include the Rev. Al Sharpton, author Michael Eric Dyson and Atlanta's Doug & Ryan Stewart's "The '2 Live Stews".
Premiere Radio Networks will be the authorized sales representative firm for each of the radio shows, which form part of the new venture's aim of developing African-American targeted programming.
Radio One president and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III said in a release, This type of programming is long overdue. We are filling a huge gap and are offering radio affiliates an opportunity to broaden their audience appeal and providing advertisers another way to reach the African-American consumer. This new slate of programs exemplifies our continued effort to expand our content and product offerings."
The were launched on Cox Radio's black-oriented, news-talk station WPSB-AM, Birmingham, Alabama, and Radio One's WILD-AM, Boston; WERE-AM, Cleveland; WCHB-AM, Detroit; WROU-AM, Richmond, Virginia, and WOL-AM, Washington, DC.
Previous Premiere Networks:
Previous Radio One Inc:
2006-01-31: The BBC has announced that after ten years in the role Simon Hoggart is to step down as chairman of the Radio 4 News Quiz programme after the next series, which will begin airing a week on Friday (Feb 10).
The show started in 1977 with Barry Norman as chairman after which Barry Took and Hoggart each chaired the series in the 80s.
Hoggart, who became resident chairman in 1996, said in a statement issued by the BBC, "It's been a marvellous ten years - 12 if you count a previous incarnation in the 1980's - but I'm getting a bit clapped out and jaded, and I think that's beginning to show.
"Better to quit while still ahead rather than have kindly broadcasting executives accompanied by soothing nurses drag me out by the heels in a few years' time."
2006-01-31: International satellite radio operator WorldSpace has announced that it has entered into new lock-up deals covering all shares held by chairman and CEO Noah Samara and other members of its senior management and also some shares held by directors and some of its significant shareholders.
The new deal runs to the end of this year and covers in all 34.1 million shares including 4.1 million shares of Class A Common Stock, 17.4 million shares of Class B Common Stock controlled by Samara, and 12.6 million shares of Class A Common Stock issuable upon the exercise of outstanding options.
WorldSpace says that the arrangement effectively extends until the end of the year the lock-ups that were entered into in connection with its Initial public offering and that ran to the end of January this year.
It adds that Samara is expected to exchange his Class B stock for an equal number of shares of Class A stock that will be listed on The NASDAQ National Stock Market but will remain fully subject to the new lock-up.
In addition it says a total of 2.5 million shares that were subject to the IPO lock-ups but which will not be subject to the new lock-ups will become tradable on January 31, 2006; an additional 1.0 million option shares held by employees which would otherwise become tradable on January 31, 2006 are tradable solely, in accordance with Company policies, at periodic windows of which the next is in March 2006; and 3.9 million further shares or option shares which will not be subject to the December 31, 2006 lock-ups, but which are subject to other contractual or securities law restrictions extending past January 31, 2006, will become tradable at various times between August 2006 and January 2007.
2006-01-30: It seems to us more an example of British, primarily English eccentricity, innumeracy and exaggeration in the "papers", and the composition and nature of the BBC Radio 4 audience than a matter of radio as such but there was one dominant radio-related story last week as far as the UK media was concerned: That was the announcement at the start of the week that the station is to drop the UK Theme medley of folk tunes with which it has started its programming for 33 years (See RNW Jan 24).
As we reported (See RNW Jan 25) most of the initial comment on the station message board was against the change albeit not overwhelmingly so: Since then three motions have been introduced into the House of Commons about the matter, two sponsored by MPs from the ruling Labour Party and one by an MP from the opposition Conservative Party and comments opposing the idea have come from various prominent politicians including the Chancellor (Finance Minister) Gordon Brown.
Despite reports in virtually all of the "broadsheets" - in fact now down to just two since other papers have adopted smaller or tabloid formats - and some of the "red tops" (more populist tabloids for want of a better shorthand) and much publicity on radio and TV, the number of petitions on the main web site opposing the change was only 13,300 when we last checked, around 0.14% of the station's weekly audience of some 9.6 million, hence the comments on the innumeracy or exaggeration implicit in the cover under such headlines as "Radio 4 listeners furious over axing of theme tune."
That report, from Tom Leonard in the Daily Telegraph, spoke of a "revolt" by listeners, the BBC being "inundated" with complaints and the setting up of a web site to Save the Theme.
The story was still getting run in the Sunday papers with headlines that in some cases plain contradicted each other for reasons we can only suggest might be to do with the prejudices of editorial policy or to a vacillating controller - time will of course reveal which.
In the Sunday Telegraph the headline on a report by Chris Hastings and Catherine Humble was, "Radio 4 head refuses to restore UK Theme tune" and the report said that despite the petition Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer had told it the station had an obligation to "evolve" and had ruled out a reprieve.
In the Independent on Sunday, however, the headline over a report by David Randall was "Early-bird medley may still rule the airwaves" and it suggested a "faint glimmer of hope" for the Theme in comments from Damazer who, it said, had told it, "At the moment we have not done it. It is therefore a kind of hypothetical in the sense that it has not even happened yet and therefore I won't speculate in any particular direction about it."
Apart from filling newspaper space directly the issue prompted various side-bar items including one of interviews by Genevieve Roberts and Sarah Harris in the Independent whose headline particularly attracted our attention.
Under the heading, "Wanted crimes against broadcasting", the paper ran a double-page feature giving various BBC Radio 4 listeners the opportunity to comment on their "Turn offs" and "Turn ons" from the station.
Amongst those commenting some of the most trenchant comments came from BBC Radio 3 presenter Andy Kershaw who said he welcomed many of the changes including the new "Profile" programme, thought "Feedback" should be on all year, valued and admired "File on 4", "Analysis" and "The Moral Maze" but added that the "consumer dross must die" and presented a hit list including "Money Box" and "Money Box Live", "The Now Show", "Quote Unquote", "Excess Baggage", "the endless consumer twitterings of 'You and Yours', the smug and inconsequential 'Midweek', and 'Woman's Hour', which has two basic assumptions running through it: firstly, all men are bastards; and secondly, all women are mesmerized by their own reproductive organs."
Others quoted included the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown who was fairly politic ("I have always seen the "UK Theme" as one of the symbols of Britishness and the celebration of British culture. It is for the listeners to decide and I know they are making their voices heard."), and BBC "Today" presenter John Humphrys who would defend You and Yours and had no strong feeling about the Theme but added he would "rather suspect lots of the people banging on about it now (certainly some of the politicians) have probably heard it half-a-dozen times in the past 50 years and they're jumping on to bandwagons."
For those interested in more detail of the UK Theme, the Independent also ran a feature by Ciar Byrne on the "Tales behind the UK tunes" that are included in it.
Probably the best comment on the matter came from a Malcolm Slade on the BBC Radio 4 message board: "Sir - Tony Blair chips away relentlessly at our most fundamental liberties and we respond with a bored shrug. Mr. Damazer suggests dropping a few minutes of music from Radio 4's early-morning schedule and all hell breaks loose. Have we got our priorities right?"
After a UK "issue" that gained massive publicity about the nature of a British radio channel, over to Canada for comment on former shock-jock André Arthur who's managed to get elected to the Canadian parliament.
In a commentary in the Toronto Star, Nathalie Petrowski, a columnist with La Presse, shows that some Canadians can be pretty direct in their attacks.
Terming him a "loudmouth and cantankerous cowboy" she notes that Arthur had stood twice before in federal elections - "He did it for fun, knowing he didn't have a chance."
"He expected the same thing this time around," she continues, "and was quite surprised to defeat the Bloc Québécois candidate who kept calling him a clown. He did so without a campaign office, a political program and campaign signs. To be honest, Arthur didn't even campaign, proving in the end that a clown and a bad joke can sometimes go a long way."
And commenting on his style and capabilities, she continues, "He has a great radio voice and speaks an impeccable French spiced with a rich vivid vocabulary. He can be funny (if you're not his victim). He's not obsessed with sex like Howard Stern. But like Stern, he's faced loads of lawsuits, including one from ex-Quebec prime minister Daniel Johnson and his wife Suzanne Marcil, on account of his mean tongue and habit of not letting the facts get in the way of a good story, if not a good insult He has called one female minister of the PQ (Parti Québécois) the lunch of another minister. His nickname for Andrée Boucher, the newly elected, colourful mayor of Quebec City, is Alice Cooper. His favourite adjectives when talking about the political class include stupid, idiot, nitwit, jerk and mental midget. That's when he's in a good mood. When he's not, words like bitch, bastard, pig, scum of the earth and rotten swine pour out of his nasty microphone."
And of him as an MP: "One good thing about the election of the King as an independent MP is that he will no longer have a radio show and very few chances to get up and speak his mind in the House. But he doesn't care. The national media will be waiting outside, ready to lend him a mike."
On now to suggested listening and first BBC Radio 3 and yesterday's "Drama on 3", a dramatization of Vladimir Nabokov's novel "Pale Fire" by Sony Award-winning playwright Robert Forrest.
Also from the weekend we'd suggest "The Invisible Man" on BBC Radio 2, a documentary about Rod Temperton, a name little known to the general public as opposed to his work - he wrote and arranged among other songs, Thriller, Give Me the Night, Boogie Nights, Always and Forever, and Off the Wall.
Then Radio 4 and in the 15:45 slot starting on Monday the BBC resumes transmission's of Christopher Lee's series, "This Sceptred Isle: Empire", picking up from the first series in 1783 with the loss of the American Colonies - and what happened to those Americans who had remained loyal to the Crown. In all there are 60 episodes to come - one tranche from today until March 10 and then the final series from May 8 - taking things up to 1947 and Indian Independence. Fortunately the Listen Again feature means they can be picked up for a week after the transmission, allowing listening to a group in a block.
From Australia, we suggest another series, the time Radio National's eight-part "The Wire" in the "Night Air" slot that looks at the effect of electricity on music and began a week ago (The first and second programmes are now available as MP3s on the site).
And also from Radio National a week ago, the "Ockham's Razor" programme in which Dr Max Kamien, Emeritus Professor of General Practice at the University of Western Australia, talked about the history of the blood thinning drug Warfarin - discovered after it was found that cattle were dying of internal bleeding after taking in mouldy silage made from sweet clover and named after the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) with the ending because the anti-coagulant was found to be the coumarin derivative 4-hydroxycoumarin - and discusses whether dentists should stop a patient's Warfarin therapy prior to dental extractions.
Then back to the UK and BBC Radio 4 for this week's "Great Lives" at 16:00 GMT on Friday: Nominated by DJ Annie Nightingale this week the subject is the late comedian Marty Feldman, who was a scriptwriter until John Cleese convinced him to go in front of the camera.
And finally back to ABC Radio National and last week's Religion Report that, in the light of the current furore about Iran possible developing nuclear weapons, asked whether the Muslim, Christian and Jewish Apocalyptic traditions are all feeding off one another?
The introduction seems to us a reasonable start to the programme:" The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed el Baradei, recently said that he looked forward to a time when having nuclear weapons will be like owning slaves. It's a brilliant analogy, because it reminds us of all those 18th century founding fathers, like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, who were opposed to slavery as long as they didn't have to give up their own slaves. How many nations with nuclear arms as a deterrent are in exactly the same position?"
Toronto Star - Petrowski:
UK Independent - Byrne:
UK Independent - Roberts and Harris:
UK Independent on Sunday - Randall:
UK Daily Telegraph - Tom Leonard:
UK Sunday Telegraph - Hastings and Humble:
2006-01-30: DMG Australia's Adelaide station 5AA has told host Bob Francis he is not to drink alcohol on air following an outburst in October last year that the Adelaide Sunday Mail quotes sources as saying cost it "around AUD 60,000 ( USD )" to settle a defamation lawsuit launched by a magistrate who was the butt of the comments.
The Mail says that Francis may still be charged with contempt of court after the comments in which he described a decision by magistrate Gary Gumpl to hear a bail application for a man charged with possessing child pornography and lists of primary school children as "irresponsible" and went on, "Am I here as a normal bloody human being or do judges live in another world?" he said on air on October 26. Oh, smash the judge's face in."
Francis, says the paper, was apparently unaware that a magistrate is required under Australian law to give due consideration to all bail applications. It adds that a criminal charge of inciting violence against a judicial officer was also being considered, but is unlikely to be proceeded with.
Gumpl, who would not give details of the settlement, had refused bail in the case after first saying he wouldn't consider it until he received a full psychiatric report and commenting, "The allegations are bizarre and very strange, and I think the question of child protection has to be paramount to this case."
He said the incident had caused him considerable "stress and hardship" and he was pleased it had been finalized and added, "For all its faults, our judicial system is one of the best in the world. It should not be devalued just for the sake of ratings."
Francis, who said 5AA general manager Paul Bartlett approached him about drinking on air after the Gumpl incident, commented, "They thought it would be a better idea if I didn't drink while on air. There is no hassle with that, I'm not an alcoholic. Over the years I've occasionally taken a bottle into the studio and had a drink and talked about wine on air. Now I don't talk about wine and I drink water and enjoy it. It's no big deal."
Bartlett told the paper, "It has been settled and, as far as we are concerned, we have put it behind us. Bob Francis is on air, he has a new contract with the station and we hope he will be an outstanding success this year, as he always has been".
Francis was also in hot water in September last year after an exchange in which said to an elderly woman who had phoned his show, " bloody, you're a dick brain. See you later you bloody stupid old lady " and when she responded that he was "so rude" replied, "You're a stupid old You are a stupid old lady. Goodbye!" Shortly after that he was inducted into the Australian Radio Hall of Fame.
Earlier 5AA had been found to have breached Australian codes by broadcasting an edition of the Bob Francis Show which was likely to have incited or perpetuated hatred against or vilified Aboriginal people on the basis of their race and also by failing to respond to the complainant's written complaint about the broadcast (See RNW June 16, 2005).
RNW comment: For once we regard the action taken against a station in a positive light albeit our preferred solution as always would be proper corrections on air rather than damages: In our view it would have been far better had the courts been able to order Francis, under pain of a contempt citation each time he refused, to start every hour of his show every day for a month with an apology, explanation of the law and brief summary of the facts of the case. In his case making him add that he had officially been found to be a "dickbrain" might have been a worthy ending - the audience would presumably be keen to see what emphasis he put on reading this and his comments that would have to follow a factual statement showing up his prior ignorance or wilful rabble-rousing in the comments he made.
Adelaide Sunday Mail report:
2006-01-30: London-headquartered RadioScape has announced that is expecting further major contracts in China where it is leading the adoption of DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) and DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) and has already installed systems at Beijing Jolon Digital Media Broadcasting, Shanghai Oriental Pearl (Group), and Guangdong Yue Guang Digital Multimedia Broadcasting.
The DMB services for both audio and mobile TV will be on air by the second quarter of this year and RadioScape CEO John Hall commented, "We have worked closely with the major Chinese broadcasters over the past 2 years in the development of their plans for Digital Multimedia Broadcasting. Our unique expertise in both broadcast and receiver technology for DAB and DMB has been critical. It is very rewarding now to see these efforts come to fruition as China finally switches on live services across several major cities."
RadioScape's Product Manager for Digital Radio Infrastructure Nick Banks added, "Now these influential broadcasters have selected Terrestrial DMB (T-DMB) over competing technologies such as Satellite DMB (S-DMB), DVB-H and Media FLO, we expect there to be a general adoption of T-DMB technology in China."
Banks said a key ingredient for RadioScape was its ability to provide both broadcast and network monitoring systems and its portable Field Monitoring Receiver, which was used in major trials by broadcasters in the three provinces, allowed them to determine the actual performance of their DMB network and compare with the predicted performance to make their network planning significantly easier.
The decision to adopt T-DMB is a significant boost for the DAB system and WorldDAB's Asia Pacific Officer Murphy Wu commented, "The Asia Pacific region is a major growth area for Mobile TV. We are very excited to see that China has chosen to use DMB, a technology based on the proven DAB standard, for its first commercial services. This is a huge potential market for both broadcast systems and handsets which could dramatically accelerate the global take off of DMB."
Previous WorldDAB Forum:
2006-01-29: Last week was again fairly quiet for the regulators with the main news from the US FM auction 62 but nothing from Australia and only a fairly small number of routine announcements from Canada, Ireland, and the UK.
From Canada, as noted there were some radio related decisions and actions from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in a number of routine radio including (in order of province):
*Administrative renewal until August 31 of licence of community-based campus radio station CKUW-FM, Winnipeg.
*Administrative renewal until August 31 of licence of French-language commercial station CJMS-AM, Saint-Constant.
*Denial of application by CIEU-FM, Carleton, to relocate transmitter CIEU-FM-1, Paspébiac and increase its power from 33.8 watts to 86.5 watts, which would change its status from low power unprotected to a protected service. The licensee indicated that the demolition of its transmitter site in Paspébiac because of safety concerns made this application necessary but the commission noted a 1993 denial of an application to operate a transmitter in Gascons, on the grounds that this would have extended CIEU-FM's coverage eastward into the area served by commercial radio station CHNC-AM, New Carlisle, and that this application would result in the Paspébiac market not being served adequately and could have a significant financial impact on CHNC.
Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories:
*Approval of addition of 10 watts transmitter in Tsiigehtchic, Northern Territories, for CHON-FM, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.
The CRTC also added one item to the agenda for its meeting on March 20 in Quebec, an application to relocate the transmitter, decrease its antenna height and increase the power of CFEL-FM, Montmagny, Quebec.
The commission notes that the change would significantly shift the station's coverage area to include part of Quebec City and the surrounding areas and that as a result it could be considered as serving the Quebec City market, including Lévis and Montmagny.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) announced the award in principle of three more community radio licences plus two TV community licences and also advertised the Limerick broad-format FM licence, currently held by Limerick 's Live 95FM whose contract expires in October next year. (See RNW Jan 27).
The UK was even quieter with Ofcom's only radio related announcements being to extend the licence area of Burgess Hill, Sussex, station Bright FM and publishing its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld two complaints against radio (See RNW Jan 24).
In the US, the net total bid in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auction 62 reached some USD 56 million after Round 49 with provisional winning bids ranging from USD 8,900 to USD 6,657,000 (See RNW Jan 28). It also confirmed a USD 10.500 penalty on a Florida FM and reduced from USD 10,000 to USD 7,000 on financial hardship grounds another penalty on a Niagara Falls, New York, AM (See RNW Jan 25)
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-01-29: BBC Radio Five Live has announced that Brian Alexander, best known as a sports editor on various national newspapers, is a host a new monthly feature in its weekday evening "Sport on Five" programme in the spring.
In it Alexander, who was the original presenter of the station's "Sportsweek", has more recently fronted flagship interviews for the station including one with British Prime Minister Tony Blair before the announcement from Singapore that London was to host the 2012 Olympics and also with FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) president Sepp Blatter and former Football Association Chief Executive Mark Palios after his resignation.
Alexander said of his role, "I spent my newspaper and early broadcasting days covering sport. This is a wonderful opportunity to immerse myself in the big issues of the day."
2006-01-29: In the fourth round of its current five-round FM licence auction, the Indian government received 116 bids for 68 licences for stations in western India, giving it around INR 99 crore (INR 990 million - a crore is 10 million - USD 22.4 million) in one-time entry fees.
The biggest bidders were Adlabs, which is controlled by Anil Ambani, and the Sun group's South Asia FM: In the first three rounds the government received around INR 640 crore (USD 145 million) for 164 licences sold from the 206 on offer.
In all the government is offering 338 FM licences in 91 cities.
Previous Indian Radio:
2006-01-28: Bidding in the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Auction 62 of 171 FM construction permits on Friday moved up 3.7 % on Thursday's total of USD 54,365,100 to end the week at USD 56,353,825 million compared to USD 37,909,600 at the end of last week.
Provisionally winning bids now range upwards from USD 8,900 from Horizon Christian Fellowship for a permit for Yakutat, Arizona - an increase on its Thursday bid of USD 5,000 as it played leapfrog with Radio Layne, LLC - to an unchanged top bid of USD 6,657,000 from A & J Media LLC for a permit for Indian Wells, California., followed by an unchanged bid of USD 5,251,000 from Horton Broadcasting Company, Inc. for a permit for Satellite Beach, Florida.
After that there are now four more bids above two million with an increase since Thursday only in the bid for a permit for Calhan, Colorado - up to USD 2,760,000 from Halfway Creek Broadcasting, Inc. which led on Thursday with a bid of USD 1,714,000.
There are now nine bidders between USD 1 million and USD 2 million with no changes amongst them.
Previous FCC & FCC Auction 62:
2006-01-28: Montreal station CKOI-FM says its drive time host Marc-Antoine Audette fooled French President Jacques Chirac into thinking he was Canadian Prime Minister designate Stephen Harper in the latest of a number of pranks the station has carried out.
According to a news release Chirac called back after the fake Harper had called an aide for a phone conversation and then discussed with Audette-cum-Harper several issues relating to Franco-Canadian relations. It adds that Audette offered the services of one of his colleagues as ambassador to France and that Chirac invited Audette-cum-Harper to visit France, to which Audette replied he intended to attend concerts by Quebecois singer Garou the next time he's in the country.
The interview said the release was to be aired in Montreal at 16:30 local time on Friday (too late for our deadline today).
*Update Jan 29 - When the broadcast was aired, it turned out that Audette revealed his identity at the end of the call and that President Chirac responded by laughing, saying he understood, and adding, "In any case, please know that my friendship for Canada and the new Conservative government is a real and unequivocal friendship."
Audette, who noted that it was the first call he and co-host Sebastien Trudel had made to a head of state - although they have hoaxed others in the past including real-estate mogul Donald Trump and Irish rock star Bono -said that as they thought Harper and Chirac had not spoken to each other they might as well give it a try.
During the conversation Chirac began by offering Harper congratulations on his victory and in response to a comment from Audette (Harper) about French newspaper portraying him in a bad light said, "You can't prevent newspapers from saying any old stuff. That's true in France and it's true in Canada."
2006-01-28: According to the Financial Times GCap Media is said to be close to finalizing the shortlist of bidders for the stations it is putting up for sale as part of a decision to concentrate on five areas (See RNW Nov 25, 2005).
The paper says that Ulster Television, which took over the Wireless Group, and The Local Radio Group, are understood to have made the short list but Absolute Radio and Austereo are waiting to find out if they have made it through to the second round: In December last year the UK Guardian reported that GCap wanted to sell the stations in one deal and said Absolute Radio had confirmed its interest in buying the stations, UTV and The Local Radio Company had said that they would consider any stations on sale, and also tipped another Australian company, Macquarie Bank as a likely bidder (See RNW Dec 2, 2005).
Previous GCap Media:
2006-01-28: Emmis has announced completion of the sale of four more of its TV stations - of KOIN-TV, Portland, Ore.; KHON-TV, Honolulu; KSNW-TV, Wichita, Kansas; and KSNT-TV, Topeka, Kansas - for USD 259 million to Montecito Broadcast Group, LLC.
The sale means that Emmis has now sold 13 stations and still owns and operates three- KGMB-TV, Honolulu; WVUE-TV, New Orleans; WKCF-TV, Orlando, Florida.
In another completion, Salem has announced that it has now closed on the USD 10 million acquisition WTLN- AM- and WHIM- AM, serving the greater Orlando, market, from Alton Rainbow Corporation and TM2, Inc.
The deal was originally announced in October last year (See RNW Oct 22, 2005) and both stations remain in their Christian Teaching and Talk format
Another acquisition in the market, of WORL-AM through a station swap with James Crystal Broadcasting (See RNW Sep 8, 2005) is still to be completed.
2006-01-28: The Southern California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) has called on Clear Channel's KFI-AM to reprimand morning host Bill Handel for mocking the deaths of several hundred Moslems during the Haj pilgrimage earlier this month.
CAIR has posted on its site an MP3 of the comments made on January 12 in which he calls the stampede "an annual event" and gives details of some deaths in recent years and then says, after being told there had been 345 deaths, "What they need is sort of 'Mahmoud Nolan in the Sky' to control all this." (A reference to Mike Nolan who does the traffic report for KFI from his helicopter.)
The following comment, with a heavy accent, goes: "This is Mahmoud Nolan. Hajj in the Sky. There is an accident...Ali lost his sandal on the on-ramp to the Martin Luther King, Jr. freeway..." after which Handel comments, " . . .that's our annual stampede report from the Hajj, which we do every single year right here on KFI, and thank you to Mahmoud in the Sky."
CAIR adds that Handel has a record of making Islamophobic remarks and carries a link to an incident in March 2004 that led to an on-air apology by Program Director Robin Bertolucci - not Handel himself (See RNW Mar 18, 2004) - after complaints were filed with Clear Channel and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about a skit in which Handel claimed that Muslims have sex with animals, avoid bathing and are obsessed with killing Jews, referring among other things to "hairy Iraqi women, the "infidel custom of bathing on a regular basis," and "civil unions" between Iraqis and "loving camels and goats." (See RNW Mar 17, 2004).
RNW comment: We can but assume that Handel's ratings mean that Clear Channel think it's good business to air him and that there must be a fairly large number of the thoughtless or bigoted amongst its audience. We wonder what would have happened had Handel claimed that many members of other religions - never mind all of them - had sex with animals or regarded it as against their religion to bathe regularly. He might have got away with such references to Hindus, Sikhs, or Buddhists but we suspect he wouldn't get away with making the comments about Christians or Jews. Perhaps he should try it - professional suicide maybe but at least it would be equality in bigotry and clearly then a matter of free speech!
Previous Clear Channel:
CAIR - 6.1 MB MP3 of audio:
2006-01-28: In what it is claiming to be the first such deal in North America, Corus Entertainment's AM 640 Toronto Radio - CFMJ-AM, the former MOJO station, is to air traffic reports from Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) traffic expert and safety spokesperson Sgt. Cam Woolley who will move from being ground-based to using the station's helicopter.
640 AM already uses the helicopter for its traffic reports and Woolley had been the OPP's public face and voice for traffic reports.
Woolley will do rush-hour reports, interspersed with safety tips every ten-minutes in the morning and afternoon, that will air on 640 plus Corus's FM stations Q107 and Q102.1 and Woolley commented, "Instead of selling goods or services on the radio, we're now going to be selling safety", adding that he would also alert officers on the ground if he spots aggressive drivers such as high speeders and shoulder runners although enforcement is the "primary objective."
Under the deal, for which no charge is being made by Corus, the helicopter may be diverted away from traffic duties for other police operations such as a hostage taking or search and rescue and information from Woolley will be sent to the OPP's communication centre in Aurora where all other radio stations will be able to obtain the same information and alert their listeners.
Toronto Star report:
2006-01-27: Bidding in the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Auction 62 of 171 FM construction permits moved up 5.8 % on Thursday to USD 54 million with a little more change in the high ranks than yesterday and the lowest bid increasing from USD 3,700 to USD 5,000.
At the end of the day (Round 43) the Provisional Winning Bid net total was USD 54,365,100, up from Wednesday's Round 37 total of USD 51,389,325.
Provisionally winning bids ranged upwards from an the USD 5,000 noted - from Horizon Christian Fellowship for a permit for Yakutat, Arizona - an increase on the Wednesday bid of USD 3,700 from Radio Layne, LLC to an unchanged top bid of USD 6,657,000 from A & J Media LLC for a permit for Indian Wells, California.
There then no changes in the further three bids above USD 2 million that we listed on Tuesday (See RNW Jan 25) and only one change after that list in the bidders between USD 1 million and USD 2 million; ; there are now 11 such bids with the addition of a bid of USD 1,714,000 from Halfway Creek Broadcasting, Inc. for a permit for Calhan, Colorado - up from its Wednesday's bid for the permit of USD 967,000.
The other ten bids between USD 1 million and USD 2 million are unchanged from Tuesday.
*This is a corrected version as we originally posted in error a story based on Round 42, the penultimate round on Thursday, when the total was up 4.2% to USD 54,002,875; the lowest bid - still for Yakutat, Arizona - was of USD 4,500 from Radio Layne, LLC and the new bid above USD 1 million listed in Round 42 was of USD 1,558,000 from Shamrock Communications, Inc. for a permit for Calhan, Colorado.
Previous FCC & FCC Auction 62:
2006-01-27: A study by Bridge Ratings of Los Angeles' morning radio indicates that Howard Stern's departure has been a significant blow for CBS Radio's Free FM (KLSX-FM) whose share as their "favourite" station amongst the 25-54 demographic is down from 4.1 in December under Howard Stern to 1.9 under his replacement Adam Carolla.
Among stations that seem to have gained from the change are CBS's Alternative KROQ-FM's Kevin and Bean - up from 5.3 to 5.8 and Adult Hits KCBS-FM - share up from 3.3 to 3.8; Clear Channel's CHR/Pop KIIS -FM where Ryan Seacrest's morning show is up from 3.1 to 3.6; and ABC Radio's \Classic Rock KLOS-FM whose share is up from 4.5 to 4.9. Bridge also notes increases in the 06:00 to 10:00 period for Clear Channel's talk station KFI-AM that features Bill Handell followed by Rush Limbaugh.
The results were compiled by Bridge from its own research with a sample of 3300 listeners.
RNW comment: Bearing in mind that Carolla generally got favourable reviews for his show whilst David Lee Roth in New York and Rover (Shane French) in Chicago generally negative ones, it would seem a reasonable deduction that CBS's woes range wider than the West Coast unless the reviewers are totally out of touch with the listening public.
Previous Bridge Ratings:
2006-01-27: GCap Media's Classic FM has signed former Hear'Say singer Myleene Klass to host its two-hour Sunday morning 07:00 show. She takes over on February 12 from former boy soprano Aled Jones, who is moving to the BBC where he is to present a variety of programmes this year including the Radio 2 weekly "Good Morning Sunday" show that he took over on January 15, the weekly BBC Radio 3 Sunday evening show "The Choir" that he began on January 8 and also editions of BBC Radio 2's "Friday Night is Music Night" and Radio 3's "Performance on 3".
Klass, a classically-trained pianist, signed a five-album deal with Universal Classics and Jazz after Hear'Say broke up but following her change of agents. It was announced in 2004 that she would not be releasing further albums through Universal. In September last year she made her debut on the Saturday morning CD:UK TV show.
In another UK radio weekend move, Colin Murray, who co-hosts the BBC Radio 1 afternoon show with Edith Bowman, is to host the BBC Radio 5 Live Saturday morning Quiz show "Fighting Talk", taking over from Christian O'Connell who began as the new Virgin breakfast host at the start of the week. Murray, a Liverpool FC supporter, will host his first show on February 4.
Previous GCap Media:
Previous SMG (Virgin owner):
2006-01-27: The US-financed Alhurra TV service and Radio Sawa, operated by "The Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc." (MEBN), are reaching 71% of Iraqi's 15 and older each week according to figures the organization has just released: Alhurra, which ranks fifth amongst TV stations that can be viewed in Iraq - the leading stations are Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya, Al-Iraqiya (each with 71 percent weekly reach) and Al-Sharqiya (67 percent weekly reach) - was said to reach 43% of Iraqis each week.
It says that 73% of Alhurra's viewers and 63% of Sawa's listeners considered their news broadcasts to be reliable.
MEBN says the results based on over 2,000 face-to-face interviews.
Previous Radio Sawa:
2006-01-27: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the award in principle of three more community radio licences plus two TV community licences.
The radio licences awarded went to Community Radio Castlebar (CRC FM) for a service covering Castlebar Town and Environs; to Connemara Community Radio for a service covering North West Connemara; and to Dublin South FM for a service covering South Dublin.
The licences are the first awarded in a three phased plan for the re-licensing of community and community of interest services in Ireland.
The BCI has also advertised the Limerick broad-format FM licence, currently held by Limerick 's Live 95FM whose contract expires in October next year.
Expressions of interest will be assessed in terms of the quality, range and type of programmes proposed and, in particular, the extent to which the service will be of relevance to listeners in Limerick City and County and in the context of the diversity of services available in the area.
2006-01-26: Bidding in the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Auction 62 of 171 FM construction permits moved up 5.1% on Wednesday to top USD 50 million but there was again no movement at the top and bottom end.
At the end of the day (Round 37) the Provisional Winning Bid net total was USD 51,389,325, up from Tuesday's round 31 total of USD 49,642,925. Provisionally winning bids ranged upwards from an unchanged USD 3,700 from Radio Layne, LLC for a permit for Yakutat, Arizona to an unchanged bid of USD 6,657,000 from A & J Media LLC for a permit for Indian Wells, California.
After this the second-ranked bid was also unchanged - of USD of 5,251,000 from Horton Broadcasting Company, Inc. for a permit for Satellite Beach, Florida as were all three following bids above USD 2 million and all the
ten further bids above USD 1 million.
Previous FCC & FCC Auction 62:
2006-01-26: UK Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) chairman David Elstein has told its annual meeting that former Wireless Group chairman and chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie would have "inflicted disaster" had he succeeded in his campaign to have the UK diary RAJAR ratings system replaced by an electronic ratings system (from GfK) that he was pushing.
Elstein added that as it is "the damage done to our trading currency by one rogue station group will take much time and effort to repair".
MacKenzie, who's group was subsequently bought by UTV (See RNW May 10, 2005) is no longer involved in radio but when with the Wireless Group he ran a campaign against RAJAR's system that eventually went to court where at the end of 2004 (See RNW Dec 17, 2004) the group lost a claim for damages to the business -the diary system showed much lower ratings for its talkSPORT station than the GFK ratings.
The Wireless Group was ordered to pay RAJAR's costs and MacKenzie threatened further legal action should RAJAR fail to introduce electronic measurement system by thee target date it set of 2007 for the introduction of a new measurement system.
RAJAR subsequently continued tests of various systems and in July last year, following its earlier tests, issued an invitation to tender for a revised specification system (See RNW July 12, 2005).
Elstein commented, "We want to incorporate electronic measuring into our research process, but if we had tried to do so at the time advocated by Kelvin, we would have inflicted disaster on our industry. The new devices currently being tested are far more advanced than those he sought to impose on us. Yet even when we and the BBC have chosen the best of them and persuaded the advertising industry of their robustness and accuracy, we will still be the first radio industry in the world to deploy widespread electronic measurement."
UK Guardian report:
2006-01-26: International satellite radio company WorldSpace has reported adding 40,000 bet subscribers in its final quarter to take its total above 115,000, an increase said by chairman and CEO Noah Samara to demonstrate "that we are delivering on our plan to drive subscriber growth in India."
"The value proposition of our offering is being validated by growing the demand for our service," he added. "We look forward to continue building on our success in 2005 and we are extremely excited about our plans to expand our service throughout India and other focus markets."
In India, where it making its biggest push, the company has announced the appointment of Shishir Lall as managing director of operations to replace Deepak Varma, who will now manage business development activities.
The company has also appointed Stephen Horn, who will be based at WorldSpace's Silver Spring. Maryland, headquarters, as chief marketing officer.
2006-01-26: According to the New York Daily News, CBS Radio's New York replacement for Howard Stern, former rock star David Lee Roth, is annoying staff at Free FM, formerly K-Rock.
It quotes unnamed sources as saying Roth and his manager Matt Sencio, "are totally out of control and out of their league when it comes to producing a radio show," and that Roth is "impossible to work with."
One source says the paper commented, "All the execs know they made the two biggest errors in radio history - letting Stern go to Sirius and hiring this moron Roth. He never preps for a show. He is out the door five minutes after the show, unless he is 'forced' to record a commercial or re-record ones he made errors on."
The paper says the station declined to comment and messages went unreturned.
RNW comment: In the end it'll boil down to ratings, unless Roth is actually looking to quit anyway. If the ratings are terrific, others will have to put with him and if they're louse he won't last. Certainly reviews so far tend towards indicating the latter as the most likely.
New York Daily News report:
2006-01-26: India's Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi has told the BBC Hindi Service that news and current affairs programmes will be barred from private FM stations in the country for at least two or three years after which the issue would be re-examined in light of the stations' conduct in the interim.
"Let us first wait and see what content would be offered by these stations for the next two to three years and then we would think about the next step," he said, adding, "We are presently not allowing news and current affairs programmes on private FM radio stations, as it is better to delay it so that no wrong information goes on air rather than trying to control the damage afterwards, which won't be easy", he told listeners from across the globe."
Contrasting radio with TV, where people in rural communities were more interested in entertainment than news, Dasmunsi commented, " the fact with radio is that the news broadcast on it is considered the last word and has unmatched credibility. Therefore it is our duty to see that the news being broadcast on radio is correct and does not provoke any section of the society. Our challenge is greater than any other country. We cannot compare ourselves with any other country in the world, as first of all we have to keep our country united. Nowhere in the world so many language and dialect channels are there. The US, Britain, France none of them have so many languages and channels "
Dasmunsi noted in defence of the policy recent riots in Gujarat, commenting that it was "only after the AIR (State run All India Radio) said peace was returning to the state, people were really relieved. So, it is an issue of content. It is not possible to liberalize news and current affairs immediately after having allowed private FM stations."
Dasmunsi said that monitoring of private FM stations would be carried out by the stations themselves under a mechanism to be developed and the government would only step in after breaches, adding that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government did not believe in regulation and control of media.
Previous Indian Radio:
2006-01-25: Bidding in the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Auction 62 of 171 FM construction permits moved up 5.7% on Tuesday to just below USD 50 million but there was no movement at the top and bottom end.
At the end of the day (Round 31) the Provisional Winning Bid net total was USD 49,642,925, up from Monday's round 25 total of USD 46,818,975. Provisionally winning bids again ranged upwards from an unchanged USD 3,700 from Radio Layne, LLC for a permit for Yakutat, Arizona.
At the top end there was no change in the five bids above USD 2 million - A & J Media LLC's bid of USD 6,657,000 for a permit for Indian Wells, California; Horton Broadcasting Company, Inc. bids of 5,251,000 from for a permit for Satellite Beach, Florida and of USD 2,739,000 for a permit for Lynn Haven, Florida; ABC Media, Inc.'s bid of USD 2,602,000 for a permit for Columbia City, Florida and Ace Radio Corporation's bid of USD 2,234,000 for a permit for Yarnell, Arizona.
There was little movement in the next ten bids that each topped USD 1 million with only one increased - the bids were United Booking Associates, Inc.'s unchanged bid of 1,970,000 for a permit in Vale, Oregon; JAB Broadcasting, LLC's bid of USD 1,904,000 for a permit for McFarland, California - up from Shamrock Communications, Inc.'s bid of USD 1,075,000; George S Flinn III's unchanged bid of USD 1,690,000 for a permit for Saltillo, Mississippi; Big D Consulting, Inc.'s unchanged (since last Thursday) bid of USD 1,684,000 for a permit for Nanakuli, Hawaii; Tower Investment Trust, Inc.'s unchanged bid (since last Friday) of USD 1,634,000 for a permit for Flagstaff, Arizona; Cumulus Licensing LLC's unchanged bid of USD 1,606,000 for a permit for Brandon, South Dakota; Fine Arts Broadcasting' s unchanged bid (from Tuesday last week) of USD 1,255,000 for a permit in Bristol, Vermont; Randall C Wright's Unchanged bid of USD 1,200,000 for a permit for Eldon, Missouri; Paskvan Media, Inc's unchanged bid of USD 1,075,000 from for a permit for Blackduck, Minnesota and Porter Hogan Company's unchanged (from Friday) bid of USD 1,020,000 for a permit for Hailey, Idaho.
The FCC also rejected a request for the postponement of the auction from Fireside Media, which is asking for relief from withdrawal payments incurred as a result of its withdrawal of high bids during the Commission's previous FM auction (Auction No. 37).
Fireside had claimed that the has "no rational basis" for assessing withdrawal payments upon Fireside in the absence of "wrongdoing or misconduct" by it during Auction No. 37 and claims that holding the auction as scheduled will cause it irreparable harm because it would be denied its right to seek reconsideration of its bid withdrawal payment obligation.
The FCC firmly rejected the request, noting that the start of Auction 2 had been delayed from November 1 to January 12 because of the impact of Hurricane Katrina, that Fireside had not filed an application to participate in Auction 62 and had only made its request on January 10 and that should the permits - Fireside had placed high bids that it withdrew on four permits, three of which were then unsold in Auction 37 - that remained unsold attract bids equal to or higher than Fireside's in Auction 62 no penalties would apply.
In other actions the FCC has been collecting payments via the enforcement bureau with one penalty of USD 10,500 and another of USD 7,000: The first was levied on GB Enterprises Communications Corp., licensee of WHNR-FM, Winter Haven, Florida, for failure to enclose its antenna structures within effective locked fences and failure to maintain a complete public inspection file.
The second penalty was levied on M.J. Phillips Communications, Inc., licensee of WJJL-AM, Niagara Falls, New York, for use of excessive power; its failure to have fully operational Emergency Alert System ("EAS") equipment; its failure to monitor, test and log the tests of its EAS equipment on a regular basis; and its failure to register its antenna structure.
It was reduced from USD 10,000 to USD 7,000 on the basis of financial hardship - Phillips had already been refused a reduction on these grounds once but had subsequently provided federal income tax returns from 2000 to 2003 inclusive to support the claim.
The FCC is also reported to be about to take enforcement action over indecency complaints after no such penalties in 2005 following settlements that had already been made with companies including Clear Channel, Viacom and Emmis: Broadcasting and Cable says it has received confirmation that it has initiated action relating to a number of TV complaints and action on radio complaints is to follow soon.
Previous FCC & FCC Auction 62:
2006-01-25: Former Quebec radio host André Arthur, whose comments in conjunction with those of host Jean-Francois Fillion , led to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) refusing to renew the licence of Genex Communications' Quebec City station CHOI-FM (See RNW Jul 14, 2004), has won a seat in the Canadian Parliament as an Independent.
Arthur, whose contract was not renewed and whose last show was before Christmas, beat Bloc Quebecois incumbent Guy Cote in the Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier riding, north of Quebec City, in the Canadian elections that also saw Heritage Minister Liz Frulla - a former TV host, radio executive and member of the Quebec National Assembly who had ruled that CHOI could not appeal the decision to the country's federal government (See RNW Aug 1, 2004) - lose her seat.
Conservative Bev Oda, a former schoolteacher who was worked with various Canadian TV companies and was a CRTC commissioner from 1987 to 1993, is tipped to succeed her.
When it refused renewal of the licence, CRTC had said the station's morning show had featured "offensive comments, personal attacks and harassment" and that the station had failed to comply with Canadian regulations as well as the station's Code of Ethics, adherence to which is required by one of its conditions of licence.
CHOI was allowed to continue on air while Genex pursued appeals (See RNW Sep 2, 2005) and later sought leave to appeal to Canada's Supreme Court against a decision by the Federal Court of Appeal that upheld the CRTC decision (See RNW Nov 2, 2005).
The station was critical of the Parti Québécois and Quebec's left-of-centre political consensus but it is not expected that the defeat of the Liberals by Canada's Conservatives will affect the legal proceedings.
The station has said that should it lose in the courts it will re-apply for the licence and it could potentially benefit from the change in government.
After his election Arthur, who will be the only Independent MP when Parliament resumes in spring, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) he was ready to be a "common sense" voice in the Parliament, adding, "I think it's quite a challenge, and I think that all things considered, this is quite fun" and saying that during the campaign people told him told him "how fed up they are with rotten politics, and the disrespect they get from the political parties."
He also said he plans to keep his job as a part-time bus driver and may even look for another radio post.
2006-01-25: Arbitron has reported final quarter net income up 16.2% on a year ago at USD 11.2 million (from 31 cents to 36 cents per diluted share) on revenues up 3.3% to USD 75.3 million with full year revenues to December 31, 2005, up 4.5% to USD 310.0 million producing net income up 11.1% to USD 67.31 million (from USD 1.92 to USD 2.14 per diluted share).
President and CEO Stephen Morris commented that despite continuing challenges for the industries it served the company was "able to increase our revenue and our earnings in 2005, all while investing in our Portable People Meter-based growth initiatives" and added, "These initiatives - deploying the PPM as a local market ratings system and developing the Project Apollo market research service - both made significant progress in terms of marketplace acceptance in 2005."
He noted that a number of national and regional advertising agencies - accounting for nearly 70 percent of the national ad dollars spent on radio - had signed PPM contracts and said, "It's a significant start in our effort to gain a critical mass of industry support for deploying the Portable People Meter as a local market radio ratings system. At the same time, we continue to work with Nielsen Media Research as they consider a potential joint venture with the Portable People Meter."
He also noted success in Arbitron's Project Apollo, saying it had reached the goal of installing 5,000 households for the pilot panel in mid-January and adding that six advertisers, who spend more than USD6.2 billion for advertising on measured media, have signed or are in the process of signing agreements for the Project Apollo pilot panel data.
Looking ahead Arbitron is projecting 2006 revenues up between 6% and 8% with earnings per share between USD 1.65 and USD 1.75 compared to USD 2.14 in 2005 - the 2005 figure would have been USD 1.99 but for a USD 4.7 million tax benefit recognized in 2005.
The 2006 figures it says include the anticipated impact of the required expensing of stock options that commenced on January 1, 2006 of approximately USD 8.5 million - some 17 cents per diluted share - and takes into account the expected substantial expenditures in 2006 for the commercialization of the Portable People Meter and for Project Apollo.
In the first quarter it expects revenues to rise between 6% and 8%, earnings per diluted share between 50 cents and 52 cents compared to 63 cents for the first quarter of 2005 including an impact from stock option expenses of some USD 3.5 million (7 cents per diluted share).
The PPM also got a boost this week from an analysis of its trial in Philadelphia by Harmelin Media that concluded that its deployment will dramatically increase the audience reach of advertisers as it showed an increase in actual listenership for every demographic ranging from 13% to 118%.
Harmelin Director of Research Bernie Shimkus said that the analysis "conclusively demonstrated" that radio's reach far exceeded previous perceptions meaning that radio could be used in more types of advertising campaigns.
Pierre Bouvard, president of Arbitron's PPM division who last month was appointed to the post of Arbitron's president, Sales and Marketing (See RNW Dec 23 2005) said the study showed that "better measurement means better radio - for advertisers, for stations and for listeners."
2006-01-25: Following its decision to axe the UK Theme on BBC Radio 4 in April (See RNW Jan 24) most comment - albeit not massively so - on the station's message board has been against the decision and at least two petitions have been launched for a reversal but the numbers so far are insignificant compared to the station's weekly audience of some 9.6 million in the most recent ratings.
The BBC said it had received around a hundred complaints, one of the petitions had attracted more than 200 and another had attracted only a dozen.
BBC Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer defended the decision on the station's breakfast "Today" show as "on balance it's best way of serving the audience at half-past-five in the morning."
Ingrid Frances Spiegl, widow of Fritz Spiegel who composed the theme spoke of the brief for the tune and said she would obviously miss it " It's one of my connections with Fritz" and defended the composition.
Some of the comments on the site were strong saying Damazer should be ashamed of himself and didn't care about the audience, many defended the music, and others expressed dislike of it, one commenting, "It is an appalling piece of music to wake up to. The sooner it is ditched, the better. Bah Humbug!! "
BBC Radio 4 audio of Today show item (Real Player available until Sunday).
BBC Radio 4 message board:
Save the Radio 4 Theme Tune Petition site:
Save the Radio 4 Theme Tune co.uk site:
2006-01-24: Reuters, which last week was tipping Entercom and private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. as the final two bidders for Disney's ABC Radio, has now reported that unnamed sources tell it that Citadel Communications is in exclusive negotiations over a purchase that could be priced at nearly USD 3 billion.
It adds that the two companies will negotiate details of a deal over the next few weeks adding that Disney wants to structure any sale as a "reverse Morris Trust to make it tax efficient, which means that the ABC Radio assets would be split off and then merged into Citadel, giving Disney shareholders ownership of at least half of the new company."
Wall Street marked Citadel shares down 5.04% on Monday to USD 12.25 following news of the deal whilst Disney was down 0.78% to USD 25.52 and Entercom ended down 0.17% at USD 30.9 on a day in which US stocks in general rebounded after a fall on Friday.
In other North American radio business, Toronto-headquartered Corus Entertainment has announced the completion of its tender offer and consent solicitation for its outstanding USD375.0 million aggregate principal amount of 8.75% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2012.
In all by the deadline of midnight last Friday it says a total of USD 373,646,000 - some 99.64% of notes outstanding - had been validly tendered.
2006-01-24: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin upholds two radio standards complaints and also standards complaints against three TV programmes but no Fairness and Privacy complaints although it did consider one TV fairness and privacy complaint and standards complaints against six TV programmes resolved and listed a further seven TV complaints that were not upheld.
This compares with no radio complaints upheld, one TV standards complaint upheld and a TV fairness privacy case partly upheld in the previous bulletin that also listed details of three TV fairness and privacy complaints not upheld.
The radio complaints upheld were against Capital Gold and talkSPORT, the former relating to the use of the word "cunt" during a phone-in discussion on the Alex Belfield programme on the topic of teenage pregnancies.
Belfield was vociferous in his condemnation of an individual and young, single mothers in general and used expressions such as "dirty little tart" and "dirty little slapper" and two callers who considered his views to be obnoxious, were heard referring to him as a "cunt".
Parent GCap Media had apologized for any offence to listeners and fully acknowledged that the presenter's comments had been inappropriate and unacceptable: It assured Ofcom that this matter had been taken very seriously and said the phone-in element was suspended for the rest of the programme that evening and internal measures had since been put in place to address the issues raised by the broadcast.
Ofcom acknowledged the action taken but said the presenter's handling of the discussion was seriously ill-judged and the broadcaster should have taken appropriate steps to prevent callers from using such language live on air
In the talkSPORT case Charlie Wolf referred to a young American woman, who was killed by a military bulldozer while protesting in the Gaza strip, as "scum" leading to complaints.
The broadcaster, now owned by UTV, accepted that the comments were inappropriate but said that he had also expressed sympathy - saying, "I have a lot of compassion that the poor girl died. What I don't have compassion for is that she died of her own stupidity" - and had allowed a caller to challenge his comments and put the view that she was a peaceful demonstrator.
Ofcom said that within the context a presenter was entitled to put the view that actions like the young woman's were misguided but "to use such an extreme term as 'scum' to describe the woman was not justified in a discussion focusing on a peaceful demonstration in a war zone and was seriously ill-judged."
Ofcom also listed with no details a further 109 complaints against 100 items that were rejected or held to be out of remit compared to corresponding totals of 152 complaints against 127 items in the previous bulletin.
These included 11 radio complaints relating to 11 items and 98 TV complaints relating to 89 items compared to 18 radio complaints relating to 18 items and 134 TV complaints relating to 109 items in the previous bulletin.
RNW comment: Although we rather wish the callers to Belfield had chosen a better epithet - it would be nice to nail regulators down into publishing a list of abusive terms that are permissible in appropriate contexts rather than just the ones they consider unacceptable, the offence in the callers' attacks seems to us paltry compared to the offensiveness of the remarks made by both hosts. That, of course, raises the dilemmas of formal censorship of ideas, however arguably offensive, as opposed to words whose main offence seems to be to one of embarrassing people with sexual terms, a much easier target.
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2006-01-24: Bidding in the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Auction 62 of 171 FM construction permits topped USD 46 million on Monday, up 23.5% from the total at the end of Friday's bidding, although the top bid was unchanged.
At the end of the day (Round 25) the Provisional Winning Bid net total was USD 46,818,975, up from Friday's round 18 total of USD 37,909,600. Provisionally winning bids ranged upwards from USD 3,700 from Radio Layne, LLC for a permit for Yakutat, Arizona.
At the top end, A & J Media LLC's bid of USD 6,657,000 for a permit for Indian Wells, California was still unchanged as was the next highest bid of 5,251,000 from Horton Broadcasting Company, Inc. for a permit for Satellite Beach Florida.
Below them the third highest bid was of USD 2,739,000 from Horton Broadcasting Company, Inc. for a permit for Lynn Haven, Florida, up from the same company's USD 2,264,000 bid at the end of Friday followed by two more bids above USD 2 million - of USD 2,602,000 from ABC Media, Inc. for a permit for Columbia City, Florida - up from the Friday closing bid for the permit of USD 1,481,000 from Horton Broadcasting Company, Inc. and of USD 2,234,000 from Ace Radio Corporation for a permit for Yarnell, Arizona.
Another ten bids were above USD 1 million - of USD 1,970,000 from United Booking Associates, Inc. for a permit for Vale, Oregon, up from the same company's bid of USD 1,112,000 on Friday; of USD 1,690,000 from George S Flinn III for a permit for Saltillo, Mississippi - up from his bid of USD 1,154,000 on Friday; of USD 1,684,000 from Big D Consulting, Inc. for a permit in Nanakuli, Hawaii (unchanged from last Thursday); of USD 1,634,000 from Tower Investment Trust, Inc. for a permit for Flagstaff, Arizona (Unchanged from Friday); of USD 1,606,000 from Cumulus Licensing LLC for a permit for Brandon, South Dakota; of USD 1,255,000 from Fine Arts Broadcasting for a permit in Bristol, Vermont (still unchanged from Tuesday last week); of USD 1,200,000 from Randall C Wright for a permit for Eldon, Missouri - up from a Cumulus bid of USD 1,091,000 on Friday; of USD 1,075,000 from Shamrock Communications, Inc. for a permit for McFarland, California; of USD 1,075,000 from Paskvan Media, Inc. for a permit for Blackduck, Minnesota; and of USD 1,020,000 from Porter Hogan Company for a permit for Hailey, Idaho - unchanged from its bid on Friday.
Previous FCC Auction 62:
2006-01-24: The UK Guardian reports that the BBC World Service Trust has had to abandon an anti-AIDS campaign in Tanzania, where more than 2 million people are living with HIV/AIDS and 810,000 children have been orphaned by the epidemic, following a US government demand that it sign a formal pledge denouncing prostitution: The Trust had announced its participation in the campaign in June last year after signing a USD 4 million contract with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for a three-year Aids campaign in Tanzania under which in partnership with Tanzanian broadcasters, the BBC was to produce radio dramas, phone-ins and public service advertisements to help prevent the spread of Aids.
The paper says that six months into the contract the US government terminated the project after tightening up on a requirement that organizations receiving US funds had to sign a pledge "explicitly opposing prostitution" and also to join the US campaign to promote sexual abstinence by stressing the failure rates of condoms. It adds that signing anti-prostitution pledge would have entitled US government officials to vet all the trust's projects worldwide for compliance with Washington's "morality" doctrine.
Caroline Howie, director of health at the trust and a former head of news at BBC World, who conducted talks with USAID, told the paper, "The more we discussed this, despite efforts on both sides, the clearer it became that there was no common ground. We reached the irrevocable position that we could not sign."
The Guardian says USAID officials are under pressure from Republicans in Congress to carry out the letter of the law that established the Bush administration's Aids programme and that although most development organizations funded by the US to carry out Aids work have reluctantly signed the anti-prostitution pledge Brazil's National Aids Commission last year halted a USD 48m US-funded project rather than sign, and the multi-billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros also told his Open Society Institute to refuse to sign and is challenging the pledge in the US courts on the grounds that it is "dangerous and unconstitutional".
The BBC is now to seek other sources of funding for its Tanzanian project.
RNW comment: We rather hope that European governments will step in with funding in this case as the US position on this matter is in our view an obscene combination in varying degrees of religious bigotry, domestic political pandering, arrogance, cultural insensitivity and ignorance, the kind of thing that more than "sort of irritated" us last weekend when First Lady Laura Bush' said in an interview with Sir David Frost on BBC World TV, "It is very important to talk about abstinence, especially in countries where girls feel they have to comply with the wishes of men. It sort of irritates me when I hear people act like abstinence is not a real choice because it is, and it is 100% effective."
Perhaps Mrs. Bush should be given a dose of being traded - an apt description of what often happens to poor African girls - to a man to whom she would be unable to deny sex or being married to a man to whom it is impracticable to deny sex , who is infected, and who refuses to use a condom.
For many women in many countries what she said is simply untrue and deserving of utter contempt as are all those supporting the US policy who refuse to examine the practicalities of efficacious action against AIDS, whether it be in terms of infection through sex or needles and instead prefer to inflict suffering on others to bolster their prejudices.
BBC report on Laura Bush interview:
BBC World Service release on AIDS agreement:
UK Guardian report:
2006-01-24: Three more advertising agencies have backed Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) system for radio planning and buying: Following earlier announcements by the company of support (See RNW Jan 17) the company says Houston agencies FogartyKleinMonroe, Love Advertising, and Mediagraphix Media Services, have signed a commitment to use the PM when it is deployed.
Arbitron notes that it has not yet made decisions regarding when and where the PPM is to be used and that it is evaluation use of the system in conjunction with Nielsen Media Research should the latter exercise an option it has to form a joint company for PPM deployment in radio and TV or to go it alone for use in radio if Nielsen opts out.
2006-01-24: BBC Radio 4 is to drop the "UK Theme" music with which it starts the day and one of the two pieces of music with which is precedes the shipping forecasts - the other is "Sailing By" - under changes to its early morning schedule announced by its controller, Mark Damazer.
In place of the current 05:30 start to Radio 4, which broadcasts BBC World Service programmes overnight, the station will go on air with its own programming at 05:20 with an extended Shipping and In-shore Waters forecast followed at 05:30 with News Briefing - to include headlines, a newspaper review, business and sports news - and a look ahead to the stories likely to develop during the day.
The five-minute UK Theme, composed by the late flautist Fritz Spiegl, has opened Radio 4 broadcasts since 1973: It interweaves folk music from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, starting with "Early One Morning", switching to "Rule Britannia", changing to "Danny Boy" - combined with "Annie Laurie" then "What will we do with the drunken sailor?" - combined with "Greensleeves", "Men of Harlech" - combined with "Scotland the Brave", and finally back to "Early One Morning" and "Rule Britannia".
The music preceding the shipping forecasts has been regarded by many sailors and fishermen as advance notice of the forecasts although with the advent of more sophisticated services is of less importance nowadays and Damazer commented in a BBC news release, "I know there are some people who will regret the passing of the UK Theme but I believe the bulk of the audience will be better served by a pacy news briefing, read by one of Radio 4's fine team of news readers."
He said of the new bulletin, "We should be able to build on the information service we now provide at 5.30 and the 'look ahead' is a new ingredient."
After the News Briefing the station will continue to broadcast its current 5.43 "Prayer for the Day" and 5.45am "Farming Today" programmes followed at 06:00 with the breakfast "Today" programme to 09:00 on weekdays; and with its 5.45 Feature repeat, 6.00 News and Weather and 6.10 Open Country on Saturdays before Today picks up at 07:00.
On Sundays Bells on Sunday replaces Prayer for the Day at 05:43 as now to be followed by the current schedule of World Report at 05:45 then News at 06:00 and Something Understood at 06:05 to 07:00 -- the Today show is not broadcast on Sundays.
BBC Asian Network Controller Bob Shennan has also announced a revamp of the service on weekdays under which Sonia Deol takes over the Breakfast programme, Anita Rani takes over the 09:00 to Noon phone-in programme, and Nikki Bedi moves from drive to a 12.30 to 16:00 afternoon show. Further changes are to be announced and the network plans to start the new schedule in the spring.
Sterling Times - Audio of UK Theme:
2006-01-23: After a week in which the major US radio players started pushing their HD secondary channels, we felt we had to concentrate on this as a topic in looking at comment on radio, and to start off with Gary Krakow's column on MSNBC.com in which he published various responses to a column he had written about HD.
Most of the responses seemed to have come from those who had already bought satellite radio and he says that many of them missed his point because they concentrated on content - his column had commented on the technical quality of a particular receiver and also said he thought "the possibility of new, varied programming channels might give satellite radio services a run for their money."
Krakow says he agrees that terrestrial radio cannot compete with satellite offerings when it comes to choice and notes that in some places fans of particular genres have nowhere to go but satellite, and quotes Jeff Gruenhut who wrote, You miss the whole point about satellite radio. It's less about the "sound quality" and much more about the CONTENT."
In similar vein Bevin Hooper wrote, "The lure of satellite radio (I am an XM subscriber) is not the quality of the broadcast. IT'S THE CONTENT! I get scores of music channels that play the exact genre when I feel like listening to it ... WITHOUT COMMERCIALS!!"
Krakow added, "That said, I think HD radio is in the exact same place where satellite radio was five years ago... One of the promises of HD radio is multicasting, which means more channels and hopefully, eventually, more content choices. Also, note that for now, most of the current HD feeds are coming from non-commercial stations, so much of this content is also commercial-free
Whether the giant corporations who ruined and currently run most of our radio stations will get it right going forward is another story. But for now, I'm excited about HD's promise of new and diverse programming over our current AM and FM bands - and all without having to pay a monthly fee."
Others took up the issue of regulation of terrestrial content with Charles P. Mandeville writing, "You have missed the point: Regardless if there is HD radio or not, it will still be loaded with advertising and subject to FCC regulations. I have purchased my Sirius over a year ago and have said goodbye to old fashion radio and FCC interference."
Yet others acknowledge the issue of technical quality but did not consider it of overriding importance with Jeff Breitner commenting, "You're right; the sound from HD radio is incredible. The problem for incumbent broadcasters is that it's the SAME drab radio that's driving people to satellite."
To which the response from Krakow was: "As for those who say they're fine favouring content over sound quality: Shame on you! Content is important but so is the overall quality of the listening experience.
From Marc Fisher in the Washington Post came some mixed signals for radio following time testing a wearable XM receiver, Motorola's iRadio, and HD: One note was appositive in that he suggested people were beginning to tire of downloading what they chose and added, "Now that we've collectively had our fun playing downloading deejay, we realize we're missing out on the serendipity and education radio has always provided.
In this matter he opined that the problem for the newer technologies is that "their biggest hurdle is a nation of confused consumers who want music but don't know which technology to bet on. That's where traditional radio has an advantage. Despite rapidly declining audiences, it is still by far the leading supplier of sound."
Then came the sting in the tail with comments on what terrestrial stations are providing, even if they are adding new signals using secondary channels: Fisher commented. "But the programming available so far is dull and canned. With digital audiences still way too small to justify spending money on deejays, many stations fill their side channels with uninterrupted music. Even after the radios become more common, most stations intend to run their second channels as jukeboxes, with little or no personalities, local news or other community connections."
He noted some exceptions but concluded, "For all the innovation, however, radio has not yet found a way back to the 1960s and '70s, when it provided popular fare for a mass audience on AM and more esoteric programming for minority interests on FM. Until radio finds a way to create a new form of that model, it will continue to lose out to consumers' desire to explore the infinite sounds of the digital world.
In his Radio Waves column in the San Francisco Chronicle Ben Fong-Torres started with an accurate summary of the definition of HD including "FM stations are said to have CD-quality sound, while AM broadcasts should upgrade to FM quality. Stations can offer up to five additional channels for any number of purposes, including data services, displaying song and artist information, for example, as scrolling text on a tuner, and multicasting niche channels of music and other programming."
He also raised doubts as to how far audio quality would sell on its own, quoting, "Veteran programmer Bill Figenshu of FigMedia1" who writes, "In all the research I have seen, no one has ever complained about the quality of a full-power FM signal. Are people signing up for satellite radio or buying iPods because of quality? Very few. It's the content, baby!"
Even harsher was blogger, Dave Barry, who works in radio in Sonoma County and wrote, "It sounds like putting lipstick on a pig. Let's see -- making people shell out a lot of money for a receiver that will improve sound quality to that which they already have on their iPods and satellite stations. Lousy content has been mentioned. ... For me, there is the added problem of commercials ... which interrupt the flow of the programming. I understand why, but the problem is still there. Oink."
In the Tacoma News-Tribune in Washington State we noted that a generally straightforward report on HD by Ernest A. Jasmin that dropped the quality qualifications made by others about HD, writing, "One simulcast will be a CD-quality, digital version of analogue programming."
RNW Note - , a comment on the quality of HD that we note iBiquity itself is careful to avoid, saying on its home page "Crystal clear digital quality" - a description that contains four marketing words but nothing that enables objective comparison with other options - and on its page about the technology using the terms "compact-disc-like quality" that again has a get out.
Which is a cue for an article by Charles Arthur in the UK Guardian picking up on some of the recent complaints in the UK about the quality of DAB broadcasts. Headed "Radio The question Is digital radio really any better than analogue", it begins, "For anyone who has splashed out on a strictly retro, bleeding-edge digital radio, the experience of plugging it into a hi-fi and realizing that the sound is actually worse than that top-of-the-line FM receiver you just sold on eBay will have a horrible familiarity. Exactly like the times when you swapped vinyl for CD, or CD for MP3, though maybe not VHS for DVD. It's much more convenient, but in subtle ways, actually worse."
He then continues, "For the nasty but until now rather well-hidden truth is that digital radio has a lower sound quality than the best FM signal. You know why? Because it's too popular. So many people want to listen to so many stations that broadcasters can't deliver the signal."
Arthur then comments on human hearing and analogue radio - "FM radio can (fairly) faithfully reproduce signals up to 15kHz, which is nearly as high as the ear can perceive" and says DAB "gives CD-quality sound if you reach a bit-rate of 192,000 bits a second (192kb/s) for a stereo music signal, and 96kb/s for speech [RNW comment- true in practical terms for most people and when listening in a car on the move for all but not quite so in the best listening conditions for those with very good hearing.]
He then ends on a positive note tempered with a warning about what happens when the signal isn't quite up to it for DAB - "Digital does, though, have one clear benefit: resilience. While analogue FM goes mad whenever an aeroplane passes nearby, DAB only buckles when the signal chokes off completely; the speaker apparently submerging into a pool of bubbling mud" - to which we'd add, having recently had occasion to use in an area with a considerably weaker signal a DAB receiver that works well in London, that you only need a little less signal and it goes completely: In the location we spoke of, putting the receiver near one window gave a good signal on most stations and bubbling on a few, near another window it was bubbling on a lot more and no signal on quite a few that had been fine in the previous location, and on a table in the room could be reduced to the bubble or cut off quite easily by standing in the way of the signal.
So on now to suggested listening - to which we attach a note that the MP3s provided by CNN are 128 kbps, those from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation are 64 kbps, and those from the BBC and On the Media come at 56kbps whilst streaming audio as everyone who has listened to it will know comes at variable rated depending on how many people are listening.
We'd add that for speech listening in normal circumstances with extraneous noises off we don't think any practical fall-off in quality is noticeable at 48kbps.
So going up the scale in technical quality we begin with last Wednesday's BBC World Service documentary "Heritage: The Hejaz Railway" - , around 20 minutes following the tracks of the railway that was build to connect Damascus to Mecca and carry pilgrims along the old pilgrim caravan route on the Haj pilgrimage - and coincidentally strengthen Ottoman rule.
Then "On the Media", whose topics last week included media lawyer Kevin Goldberg speaking, in the context of the scheduled trial of Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk on charges of insulting his country with guest host Rick Karr, about what are known as insult laws and an analysis by Karr and Massie Ritsch of the Center for Responsive Politics of the accuracy of reporting of the activities of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, at the centre of a US political corruption scandal.
Remaining on the topic of US politics we suggest again from two weeks ago the "Background Briefing" programme on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that featured J.K. Galbraith's biographer Richard Parker. The transcript is now on the site and it's worth reading (as well as listening to the programme) for the New Deal era tale of Galbraith's involvement in crop support for cotton farmers - to be introduced following the success of crop support for wheat farmers.
The issue was who would receive government support - a small group of wealthy, white plantation owners and the other much larger one of sharecroppers and tenant farmers: Galbraith recalled a colleague being summoned from the Agricultural Adjustment Administration to Capitol Hill to meet (Southern Democrat) 'Cotton Ed' Smith, Senior Senator from the State of South Carolina, Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and himself a plantation owner of some significance.
'Cotton Ed' Smith said, 'You take care of the payments, we'll take care of the niggers'.
Senior Senators, predominantly from the South (Democrats at the time), made it clear they would bottle up President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's legislation unless he co-operated with them, the plantation owners got the money, and the "niggers" may have been taken care of but didn't exactly prosper.
To which the appropriate response if probably, "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose" - "The more things change, the more they remain the same" - - and we didn't even think of New Orleans for a full fraction of a second!
It also notes that former US President Richard Nixon had in earlier days been employed by Galbraith during the Second World War - it's not clear what his view of Nixon was at the time but in the 1970s he told a New York Times reporter in response to a question about whether climate could be blamed for a world food shortage, "Young man, never blame the deity for anything as long as Richard Nixon is in the White House."
Also from the ABC we'd suggest last Friday's "Sports Factor", a repeat of a September programme that featured British sports commentator Stuart Hall. The programme notes that commentary isn't always an assault on the English language and includes various passages from Hall, who "weaves Shakespearean quotes and the poetry of Shelley and Browning into his one minute football reports."
We wonder whether Hall's first comment - "I love the Australian way of life, 'iconoclastic kicks against the pricks', to quote Shakespeare" - might nowadays run into trouble in the land of free speech, appreciated his attacks on clichés and jargon "Over the moon. Sick as a parrot. Lad's done well. All that sort of stuff. I've no time for it, I think you've got to express yourself in a different way" - and his comments after watching a fifth nil-nil Everton v Spurs game in which he said, "My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings, gaze on my work, ye mighty, and despair. Nothing besides remains. Round the decay of this colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away" only to be rung the next day by the Melbourne Times and asked, "Is Ozymandias really an Aussie?"
And then for the top level in terms of kbps, we note that CNN has been adding to its podcast/MP3 offerings. When we last checked site had 15 programmes on topics ranging from topics such as Extreme Weather to John Lennon available as MP3s - over to you whether the technical quality does or doesn't make any difference.
After that back to the BBC and streaming audio offerings if it is a matter of Internet listening, starting with BBC Radio 2's "Steel Magnolia: Dolly Parton at 60" that aired last Tuesday and will be available on the site until tomorrow. From this week we suggest
The same station is marking the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth this week with among other programmes "What Mozart Did for Us" tomorrow at 20:30 GMT, a programme in which Charles Hazlewood explores the themes that dominated Mozart's life and career through the experiences of today's stars" including comments from Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters; composers George Fenton and Jocelyn Pook; and jazz saxophonist Tommy Smith.
On Friday it also marks the composer turning its "Friday Night is Music Night" slot at 10:30 GMT into "Friday Night Is Mozart Night."
For those interested in the composer's music rather than comments on it, we'd suggest the BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concerts (13:00 GMT from today until Friday this week - these are broadcast at 192 kbps for those in the UK with a DAB receiver but the coding is the lower quality MP2 not MP3) that this week are devoted to Mozart's mature string quartets.
For those with interest in slightly earlier music the concerts are preceded in the "Composer(s) of the Week" slot with a look at the work of William Boyce and Thomas Arne.
Finally comedy to end with "Jon Ronson on...Irrational Thoughts" on BBC Radio 4 at 23:00 GMT tomorrow evening; "Ed Reardon's Week" at 11:30 GMT and "Clare in the Community" at 18:30 on the same station, both on Wednesday; the "Now Show" at 18:30 GMT on Friday and from BBC Radio 2 on Saturday the last of the six-part "The Comedy Album Show." In this edition Charlie Higson features "The Secret Policeman's Ball" - last week's edition that featured Steve Martin's "A Wild and Crazy Guy" is on the site until then.
CNN Podcasting site:
MSNBC - Krakow:
San Francisco Chronicle - Fong-Torres:
Tacoma News Tribune - Jasmin:
UK Guardian - Arthur:
Washington Post - Fisher:
2006-01-23: The latest bidding in India's second round of FM licence auctions has seen a total of 58 bids for 66 frequencies with the highest bid of INR 5.13 crore (INR 51.3 million - a crore is 10 million -USD 1.16 million ) for a Patna licence that went to Entertainment Network India (ENIL), the Radio Mirchi operator, which won seven licences earlier this month in bidding for class A and A+ city licences (See RNW Jan 7 and RNW Jan 18). ENIL also won licences in Jalandhar and Varanasi in North India.
A further 132 frequencies in 40 B, C and D category cities in West and South India are scheduled for auction on January 27 - coincidentally the day that ENIL's initial public offering closes - and February 03.
Previous ENIL/Radio Mirchi:
Previous Indian Radio:
2006-01-23: BBC online listening in December last year showed overall listening down significantly on November, probably because many people turned to TV viewing and other activities over Christmas rather than listening to radio or, if listening to radio, were doing it off air while at home or traveling for the holiday period: The notable exception was BBC Radio 3 whose total, aided by its Bach Christmas, was up taking it to within a whisker of Radio Five Live.
Overall listening was down 19.0% on November to 13,534,439 hours but it was up 71.8% on a year earlier: Within the totals, live listening was down 24.6% on November but up 101.3% on a year earlier to 7,829,801 hours and on-demand listening was down 9.7% on November to 5,704,638 hours - it was up 43.0 on a year earlier.
There was no change in rankings at the top although Radio 3 as noted nearly reached Radio 5 Live's listening.
In terms of network listening in December 2005, the rankings were - Total listening hours - live plus on-demand and percentage change compared to November then to December 2004:
Radio 1 - 3,512,012 -27.26% + 71.0%
Radio 2 - 2,604,779 -25.15% 91.6% .
Radio 4 - 2,587,294 -9.87% 83.8%
BBC 7 - 1,267,734 -11.45% +60.9%
Radio 5 Live - 892,373 -20.98% +39.0.4%
Radio 3 - 887,763 +15.67% + 100.1%
6 Music - 523,044 -24.80% +22.0%
1Xtra - 497,842 -15.99% -1.0%
Asian Network - 200,635 -6.68% + 24.3%
5 Live Sports Xtra - 24,652 -40.33% -13.3%
The top five on-demand programmes in December 2005 were:
1- The BBC Radio 4 soap The Archers with 658,548 listens, down 3.7% on November.
2 - Chris Moyles on BBC Radio 1 with 339,568 listens, down 26.0 % on November.
3 - I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue on BBC Radio 4 with 307,268 listens, up 87.7% on November. Up from fourth.
4 - The Essential Selection on BBC Radio 1 with 179,652 listens, down 6.9 % on November when it was fifth.
5 - The Afternoon Play on BBC Radio 4 with 167,273 listens, down 2.0% from November, when it was sixth.
* The Essential Mix on BBC Radio 1 fell from third to sixth with 163,867 listens, down 24.8% on November.
Previous BBC Online figures:
2006-01-23: Online advertising expenditure in Australia is likely to overtake that of radio and magazines by the end of next year according to a report from consultant Frost & Sullivan that says online is at least a decade from catching up with newspapers and five years further away from attracting the same revenues as commercial TV.
The report shows spending on internet advertising in Australia growing by nearly 50% to AUD 605 million ( USD 455 million ) in 2005 - already topping the year's total of AUD 591 million (USD 442 million) total for commercial radio revenues in Australia's metropolitan cities but not the approximately AUD 850 million ( USD 637 million) overall industry total - with further growth of around 25% a year forecast until 2009 by its author Foad Fadaghi.
The Sydney Morning Herald says Fadaghi considered the growth in internet advertising to be sustainable and commented, "What we're seeing here is a generational change with the internet. Ultimately, what we will treat as normal TV in 15 years time will be delivered over the internet."
Fadaghi noted that online now had mature managers and said, "People are past the trial stage of internet commerce now and some consumer categories are already dominated by on-line. More domestic air tickets are sold online than offline."
In the UK, online advertising has already exceeded that of radio - it reached GBP 653 million (then USD 1.2 billion) in 2004, a 3.9% share compared to 3.8% for radio and in the first half of 2005 the UK Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) says online increased its share to 5.8% - a total of GBP 490.8 million (USD 874 million).
Forecasts have also suggested that US online advertising will top that of radio within three years (See RNW Aug 12, 2005).
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2006-01-22: Last week was fairly quiet for all the regulators with no radio announcements from Australia or Ireland and a low level of activity elsewhere although in the US the current FM permit auction has now attracted bids approaching USD 40 million ( See RNW Jan 21).
In Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in a number of routine radio decisions and actions including (in order of province):
*Approval of frequency change from 101.9 MHz to 101.7 MHz for CKER-FM, Edmonton, to alleviate interference caused to the signals of other radio stations in parts of Edmonton.
*Approval of application by Newcap for a new 1,900 watts country format FM in Lac La Biche, which is a single-station market under Canadian definitions.
*Approval of extension until 30 January 2007 of deadline to commence operation of a new community station approved in Bécancour and Nicolet in 2004.
The CRTC also posted notice of a public hearing on March 20th to consider various matters including the following radio applications:
*Technically mutually exclusive applications from a Corus subsidiary for a new 3,400 watts specialty talk-based French-language FM using 92.5 MHz and from Communications Lévis 2001 for a 2,550 watts popular, rock and danse format French-language commercial FM and from a corporation controlled by Jean-Pierre Coallier for a 2,100 watts classical music French-language commercial FM, the latter two proposing to use 92.7 MHz.
*Technically mutually exclusive applications by Standard Radio Inc for 3,400 watts rock music English-language commercial FM and from Yves Sauvé, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for an 800 watts country music French-language commercial FM, each on 105.7 MHz.
*Technically mutually exclusive applications proposing the use of 106.9 MHz from Radio Couleur Jazz inc. for a 3,690 watts American, Canadian and European jazz and blues, Brazilian and Cuban selections, and other world beat music French-language commercial FM; from Genex Communications for a 1,410 watts Top 40 format English-language commercial FM; and from Radio Charlesbourg/Haute St-Charles to amend the licence of French-language Type B community station CIMI-FM to increase its power from 20 watts to 4,120 watts, relocate the transmitter and change from 103.7 MHz to 106.9 MHz. The commission noted in relation to this last application that it has received a number of complaints regarding the verbal content of certain programmes.
*Applications for the renewal of the licences of CKNU-FM, Donnacona, and its transmitter CKNU-FM-1, Sainte-Croix-de-Lotbinière, together with request to remove condition of licence that bars soliciting advertising from outside the Portneuf area and for transmitter relocation and power decrease from 3,100 watts to 1,585 watts for CKNU-FM, a change that would make the station one serving the Québec market, including Donnacona.
*Application from Communications Médialex inc. for a 50,000 watts day-time and night-time country format French-language AM in Lévis.
*Application for renewal of licence of CHNC-AM. New Carlisle and its transmitter CHGM-AM, Gaspé.
* Application for renewal of licence of CFXM-FM, Granby.
The Commission notes that both licensees above were found to have breached regulations concerning the broadcast of French-language vocal music and that it is also to inquire into possible failure to comply with logger tape regulations.
*Application to renew the licence of CJMS-AM, Saint-Constant. The CRTC notes receipt of complaints about verbal content of a programme broadcast by the licensee, that is says it has subsequently removed, and also that the licensee may have failed to comply with regulations concerning broadcast of French-language vocal music and provision of logger tapes.
*Application to relocate the transmitter and increase from 10 watts to 5,716 watts the power of CFMV-FM, Chandler, a change that would change the status from that of a low power unprotected service to a regular Class B service.
*Application for licence for 50 watts English-language low power specialty FM in Bedford that proposes to broadcast 40 hours of church services and events emanating from the Bedford Baptist Church as well as religious programming from a Christian perspective, including non-classical religious music.
*Application by Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Ltd. (the general partner), Jim Pattison Industries Ltd. and Columbia Kootenay Broadcasting Ltd. (the limited partners), partners in a limited partnership (the applicant) to acquire, from the current partners, the assets of all the radio and television programming undertakings and their respective transmitters located in Alberta and British Columbia, as well as the television network in Prince George, British Columbia, and the radiocommunication distribution undertaking in Chase, British Columbia. The application does not affect the ultimate control of the licences.
* Application by the same group to acquire the assets of the radio programming undertakings CHWF-FM and CKWV-FM, Nanaimo, CIBH-FM and CHPQ-FM, Parksville, CKLR-FM, Courtenay and CJAV-FM, Port Alberni from Island Radio Ltd., a corporation controlled by West Coast Broadcasting Ltd. and 88988 Investments Ltd. The CRTC notes that the value of the transaction is estimated at CAD 12.5 million (USD 10.9 million) and the Pattison Group has proposed CAD 750,000 (USD 650,000) in tangible benefits.
In the UK Ofcom had a quiet week with no radio decisions although it did announce the re-appointment for a further two years of its chairman, Lord David Currie (See RNW Jan 21), also published further details regarding its Digital Dividend Review that is examining the benefits from switching analogue TV, and also published its reasons for award of the Warwick FM licence to CN Group's 2-DAY FM (See RNW Jan 17).
In the US as already noted bids in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) FM auction 62 are now nearing a total of USD 40 million. In addition at a meeting on Friday, FCC departments presented their annual reports to commissioners (posted on the FCC web site as presentations, which when not particularly informative diagrams are removed contain very little information). The enforcement bureau, after a busy preceding year, issued no indecency penalties during 2005 but is not clear if this is because action before then had led to broadcasters curbing their activities or if there are complaints currently working their way through the system.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-01-22: According to Reuters, which in December last year reported that Cumulus and Emmis were out of the bidding for Disney's ABC Radio operations leaving Citadel Broadcasting Corporation and private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) in the running (See RNW Dec 9, 2005) is now reporting that a deal could possibly be done within a week with the final bidders named as Entercom and KKR.
It quoted unnamed sources as saying the final deal would be between USD 2.6 billion - a figure bid by Cumulus and rejected as too low last year by Disney - and USD 2.9 billion with KKR's bid said to currently be higher than that from Entercom.
The report says it is still possible that Disney will choose to abort the sale and notes that the Disney wants to structure the deal to avoid taxes by splitting off the business and merging it into a new company that would be half-owned by Disney shareholders and adds that Disney has caused some confusion by keeping exact details to itself. .
It also notes that any deal would free up cash for Disney to buy Pixar Animation Studios, a deal that could well lead to further turmoil at Disney since it is expected that this would not only make Steve Jobs the largest shareholder in the company but also give him a seat on the board.
2006-01-22: Sirius Satellite Radio and Howard Stern have taken legal action against two web sites that had been streaming Stern's show and have also complained to the Federal Communications Commission about pirate radio stations in Brooklyn and North Jersey that had been simulcasting the show.
One site hearhoward100.com now redirects to e-bay where the domain has been put up for sale - it was listed with only one bid, an opening USD 250 when we checked - and the other, hearhoward.org, carries an apology for any inconvenience causes and adds, "We were just trying to help people. However we were in the wrong. We enjoyed it while it lasted. Thank you every one for your support."
It then posts a PDF of the cease and desist order sent to it by Sirius that says the show is owned by Stern's One Twelve Inc., that no authority has been given "to use, copy, transmit, disseminate or otherwise exploit any material from the Show" and continues, "These blatant and wilful infringements have resulted in significant damages both to| Sirius, One Twelve, Inc. and Mr. stern [RNW note - that makes three to us not two- an innumerate lawyer?] You should know your copyright and other infringements could result in court imposed damages on you"
Sirius then goes onto say that unless the audio streams and "other infringing material" are removed immediately and assurances given by January 20 that they will not be resumed it will have no alternative but to take action.
e-Bay advert for HearHoward100.com domain:
2006-01-22: US National Public Radio's latest "name" acquisitions, both from ABC TV - Ted Koppel and Michel Martin (See RNW Jan 13), are taking significant pay cuts in the move according to the Wall Street Journal.
It quotes Koppel, who will be working primarily for the Discovery Channel, as saying jokingly, "I'm not in any danger of becoming excessively rich at the expense of NPR" and adds that NPR SVP Programming Jay Kernis told it he had said at the start of negotiations that NPR rates were much lower then he usually got, saying, "You have to find somebody else who will pay you a lot of money, so we can pay you a little money" to which Koppel had said the move was "not about the money."
Koppel, expanding on his motivation, commented, "[NPR's leaders] still believe it is the responsibility of the journalist to focus the attention of the listener on issues that are important All too many media outlets right now think the correct way to lead is to take a poll, or study the demographics, and see what it is that the people who are most attractive to the advertisers would hope to see on television."
Martin, who said she was "going to save a lot of money on haircuts", commented, "When I started at ABC News, it was a large division of a communications company, only radio and television stations. Now, it's a small division of an entertainment company, and that creates different pressures."
Wall Street Journal report:
2006-01-21: Mega Communications is selling its three stations in Washington DC - Spanish oldies simulcast WBPS-FM and WBZS-FM and regional Mexican WKDL-AM - for USD 33 million to Red Zebra Broadcasting, the company set up earlier this month by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder (See RNW Jan 12).
The deal settles the rumoured exit of the Redskins from their current deal with CBS Radio's WJFK-FM, which had balked at paying the amount the team wanted for a renewal (See RNW Dec 26, 2005).
In another sporting deal in the US capital, the Washington Nationals baseball team has announced a three-year deal with Bonneville International that, following the company's revamp of its DC frequencies (See RNW Jan 5), will see games broadcast on WTWP-AM and FM, the former WTOP frequencies that are to become Washington Post Radio from the end of March.
The Washington Post says the deal "represents a significant upgrade for the Nationals", who were formerly on two weaker Bonneville signals, those for WFED-AM and Z104-FM.
It says the stations will carry all 162 regular season games and a minimum of 10 preseason games each year and quotes Nationals President Tony Tavares as saying, "We get broader distribution. Honestly, if you listen to our fan base, in some ways they were more concerned that they didn't get radio than TV last year."
Bonneville SVP Joel Oxley said they were excited by the deal, for which no figures have been released, adding, "The Nationals had a great first season and they're established now."
In another baseball development the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels - currently involved in a dispute with city of Anaheim that says the team, which is now "the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim", is violating the terms of their stadium deal in their marketing because it does not feature the city name prominently enough - are close to buying 50,000-watt 830 AM (KMXE-AM), which currently airs Spanish-language programming as an outlet for its broadcasts.
The paper says fans have complained about the night time signal of 710 AM that currently carries the Angel's English games and a deal would allow the team to air Spanish cover of games on 830 initially and when the 710 contract expires in two years have the option of moving English broadcasts to the stronger signal.
Previous Mega Communications:
Los Angeles Times report:
Washington Post report:
2006-01-21: Bidding in the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Auction 62 of 171 FM construction permits was approaching 40 million on Friday, up 22% on Thursday's total, although the top bid was unchanged.
At the end of the day (Round 18) the Provisional Winning Bid net total was USD 37,909,600, up from Thursday's round Ten total of USD 30,897,710.
Provisionally winning bids ranged upwards from USD 2,500 from Radio Layne, LLC for a permit for Yakutat, Arizona.
At the top end, A & J Media LLC's bid of USD 6,657,000 for a permit for Indian Wells, California was unchanged as was the next highest bid of 5,251,000 from Horton Broadcasting Company, Inc. for a permit for Satellite Beach, Florida.
Below them the third highest bid was of USD 2,264,000 from Horton Broadcasting Company, Inc. for a permit for Lynn Haven, Florida, up from the same company's USD 1,701,000 bid at the end of Thursday.
Another seven bids were above USD 1 million - of USD 1,684,000 from Big D Consulting, Inc. for a permit in Nanakuli, Hawaii (unchanged from Thursday); of USD 1,634,000 from Tower Investment Trust, Inc. for a permit for Flagstaff, Arizona; of USD 1,481,000 from Horton Broadcasting Company, Inc. for a permit for Columbia City, Florida - up from the Thursday closing bid for the permit of USD 1,012,000 from ABC Media, Inc.; of USD 1,255,000 from Fine Arts Broadcasting for a permit in Bristol, Vermont (still unchanged from Tuesday); of USD 1,154,000 from George S Flinn III for a permit for Saltillo, Mississippi; of USD 1,091,000 from Cumulus Licensing LLC for a permit for Eldon, Missouri; and of USD 1,020,000 from Porter Hogan Company for a permit for Hailey, Idaho.
Previous FCC & FCC Auction 62:
2006-01-21: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced the reappointment of Lord David Currie as its chairman for an additional two years to start at the end of his current term in the post.
The post requires commitment to up to four days a week and Currie, whose appointment as inaugural chairman of the regulator was announced in July 2002 (See RNW Jul 26, 2002), was paid GBP 178,000 ( USD 315,000) for his work in 2004-05.
Announcing the appointment Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Tessa Jowell said in a statement, "David Currie has been instrumental in the successful establishment of Ofcom as the UK's regulator for the communications industries and I congratulate him on that achievement. The complexity of forming and developing such an organization, taking on the different roles of all the five predecessor organizations, should not be under-estimated."
"The challenges facing Ofcom in carrying out its role over the next few years are of course considerable, " she added, "and I am very pleased that as a result of his reappointment, David will be able to continue leading Ofcom's Board in tackling those challenges effectively."
2006-01-21: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has announced that its managing director Russell Balding has resigned a year before the end of his current five-year contract to become Chief Executive Officer of Sydney Airport Corporation.
In a statement the broadcaster's board said it appreciated "the outstanding contribution Mr. Balding has made to the Corporation since 1996, in particular as Managing Director from late 2001" adding, "Under his executive leadership, the ABC has consolidated its role as the national broadcaster, making great progress in a rapidly evolving digital environment."
Balding, who originally joined the corporation as CFO in 1996, said, "This has been a difficult decision for me as I have found my time with the ABC to be without doubt the most challenging, but most rewarding, of my professional career" adding, "I believe the ABC I am leaving is in good shape, is in good spirits, and is well positioned for continuing success. In the face of strong competition for the attention of Australians the ABC remains a highly relevant part of our national infrastructure, and a critical player in Australia's media and cultural sector The ABC is a great Australian institution which deserves to be properly nurtured."
Balding's departure comes ahead of likely easing of Australian media ownership regulations by the government under Prime Minister Howard and is likely to cause concern that the Corporation could be without strong leadership at a time of significant change.
Previous ABC, Australia:
2006-01-20: Hard on the heels of the announcement by the HD Radio Alliance that secondary channels were to be launched in 28 markets (See RNW Jan 19) announcements concerning their plans have been made by Bonneville, CBS Radio, Disney, Clear Channel, Emmis and Greater Media.
Clear Channel says that over the next five days 25 of its stations in five markets will start broadcasting secondary HD channels to be joined by a further 82 in 20 more markets within the next two weeks.
It has posted lists of stations and launch dates for the channels, which it says will be streamed and promoted by on-air giveaways of HD Radios, starting with New York and San Francisco -five stations were launched in each city on Thursday; Dallas-Ft. Worth - five to launch today; Chicago and Los Angeles - five stations to be launched in each city on Monday next week; Philadelphia and Washington DC -five stations to be launched in each city on Tuesday next week; and Detroit where five stations are to be launched on Wednesday next week.
Launches then follow in Houston-Galveston, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Seattle-Tacoma, Baltimore, Portland, Oregon, and Cincinnati by the end of this month and another 12 by the end of March to take the total to stations in 28 markets.
CBS Radio says on its site it has 60 stations using HD Radio technology with more being launched every week.
Among other launches, Bonneville says it will start secondary channel transmissions on its San Francisco stations on Monday; Emmis announced that it is to launch of secondary channels in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Indianapolis and Greater Media Inc. has announced details of its multicast channels in Boston, where it has five stations, and Philadelphia, where I has three: It is already airing three HD multicasts in Detroit.
In California ABC's KLOS-FM has announced that it is to launch the first Fusion Hispanic/Anglo Rock format in the world on its HD2 digital radio channel in July.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Greater Media:
2006-01-20: UK Channel 4 TV is planning to launch several new digital radio speech and music stations according to the UK Guardian that in a report from the Oxford Media Convention says the channel's plans are to lead a consortium that would bid for the second national commercial digital radio multiplex to be licensed in the UK by Ofcom.
Channel 4 chief executive Andy Duncan said he was talking to several potential partners about multiplex bid, both inside and outside the radio industry and commented that the plans "could provide a real boost for the commercial radio market, which is a bit down in the doldrums at the moment."
"As well as offering a new outlet for original material, there will be spin-off opportunities from our factual and entertainment output and we bring to the table a reputation for high programme standards and an unrivalled record of innovation," he said.
"It seems to me - as I'm confident it will to the commercial radio companies - that with the BBC currently taking 56% of all radio listening, the commercial sector could do with a shot of new energy and the BBC could do with some public service competition. We are not in the business of replicating familiar commercial formats - though we will want some of our radio services to make money."
The paper reports that former Capital Radio strategy and development director Nathalie Schwarz is to head Channel 4's push into digital radio as its Director of Radio; she will also be in charge of Channel 4's majority shareholding in digital radio station Oneword.
UK Guardian report:
2006-01-20: Australian metropolitan commercial radio revenues were up 6.2% on 2004 last year to AUD 591 million (USD 442 million) according to figures from PricewaterhouseCoopers just released by industry body Commercial Radio Australia (CRA).
The largest percentage increase was in Perth - up 10.3% year-on-year to AUD 60.7 million (USD 45.4 million) followed by Melbourne with an 8.2% increase to AUD 162.6 million (USD 121.5 million) then Adelaide with 6.9% to AUD 53.3 million (USD 39.8 million), Brisbane with a 6.4% increase to AUD 86.6 million (USD 64.7 million), and Sydney with a 3.5% increase to AUD 227.8 million (USD 170.2 million).
Other figures released by CRA show the baby boomer generation to be as it puts it "staying up late, getting up early and spending more time listening to commercial radio between midnight and dawn."
Australians between 40 to 54 spend three hours and 15 minutes on average listening to commercial radio between midnight and 5.30am each week, according to the annual Midnight to Dawn survey conducted by Nielsen Media Research whilst those 55 plus spent an average of five hours and 19 minutes per week.
CRA chief executive Joan Warner noted that compared to a year earlier 2005 had seen a 5% increase to 447,000 in the number of people aged 40 to 54 who were listening to commercial radio between midnight and dawn each week whilst for those 55 and above - a total of 516,000 amounting to 30% of the total audience of 1.7 million people - the increase was 8% amounting to 17 minutes per week more.
"For many people, particularly older men and women in single households, radio is one of the few sources of entertainment and companionship available around the clock where you can listen and interact with real people in real time," she said. "Many in this age group are more active than their parents' generation. Of all people listening to radio between midnight and dawn, 23 per cent said they had visited a casino in the past two months, 18 per cent had visited a hotel or pub in the past month, 16 per cent had attended a major sporting event and 15 per cent had eaten at a restaurant at least four times in the past month."
Among younger audiences, those aged 25-39 comprised 25 % of the total listening audience (430,000), those aged 18-24 comprised 13 % of listeners and teenagers (aged 10-17) comprised just five % of listeners, but those listening listened for an average of four hours per week (up 37 minutes from 2004 and up by 1 hour and 2 minutes compared with 2001).
"Commercial radio has also been successful in retaining strong audiences through 2005, particularly in the highly competitive breakfast shift, where listener numbers reached their highest levels in more than five years, " added Warner.
Commenting on revenues Warner notes that overall they were up 8.7% in the first half of the year and 4.1% in the second half to AUD 315.7 million (USD 235.4 million) - they rose by only 3.3% year-on-year in December to AUD 52 million (USD 38.8 million) - reflecting a slowing in the advertising market, but added that commercial radio was expected to remain competitive in 2006 against other main media.
The Australian radio industry has been promoting the medium through a brand campaign that is to resume at the end of this month with a new series of advertisements to promote the effectiveness of radio advertising.
2006-01-20: Bidding in the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Auction 62 of 171 FM construction permits went above 30 million on Thursday, up nearly 40% on Wednesday's total, with the top bid now above USD 6.6 million.
At the end of the day (Round 14) the Provisional Winning Bid net total was USD 30,897,710, up from Tuesday's round Ten total of USD 22,429,675.
Provisionally winning bids ranged upwards from USD 3,700 from La Ke Manda Broadcasting for a permit for Rocksprings Texas -also the lowest at the end of Wednesday when Tower Investment Trust, Inc. had bid USD 2,300.
At the top end, A & J Media LLC bid USD 6,657,000 for a permit for Indian Wells, California with the next highest bid of 5,251,000 from Horton Broadcasting Company, Inc. for a permit for Satellite Beach Florida.
Another four bids were above USD 1 million - of USD 1,684,000 from Big D Consulting, Inc. for a permit in Nanakuli, Hawaii; of USD 1,255,000 from Fine Arts Broadcasting for a permit in Bristol, Vermont (still unchanged from Tuesday); of USD 1,701,000 from Horton Broadcasting Company, Inc. for a permit for Lynn Haven, Florida; and of USD 1,012,000 from ABC Media, Inc. for a permit in Columbia City, Florida.
Previous FCC & FCC Auction 62:
2006-01-20: A survey released this week by Canadian opinion research company Decima Research says that more than three quarters of Canadians are aware of satellite with the men, the more prosperous, and younger age groups more aware than the average.
77% of those surveyed said they were aware of satellite radio with higher ratings for men (87% of the men surveyed), higher income families (87% of those with an annual income of CAD 100,000 (USD) or more, and younger people 86% of those 25-34 - and if they are telling the truth subscriptions in Canada could top three million within the next year with Sirius Canada taking a handy lead over rival XM Canada. Awareness was highest in Alberta (85%), British Columbia and Ontario (each 81%).
3% of Canadians - some 1 million people as the country has a population of 32.5 million - said they or someone in their household subscribes either to a Canadian service (subscribers at the most in the tens of thousands based on figures out so far) or a "grey" US version and 6% said they were likely to subscribe in the next year at current prices of CAD 13 a month with a further 14% saying they might or might not subscribe within the next year.
Decima adds that so far Sirius appears to hold an early advantage with 27% of those saying they are leaning towards subscribing within 12 months saying they favour Sirius to only 12% favouring XM.
Decima's Vice-President of Broadcast & Media Research Mario Mota said in a release, "The potential for Canada's satellite radio providers to establish a loyal customer base is no longer a question of if, but when. A significant number of Canadians appear ready to embrace satellite radio."
Previous Sirius Canada:
Previous XM Canada:
Decima web site:
2006-01-19: The US HD Digital Radio Alliance has named 28 markets, including the top 12 US markets, in which secondary HD digital radio channels are to be launched starting over the next few days to bring the total of new HD channels to 264 in addition to the simulcast of existing analogue signals on the primary HD channels.
The channels will carry a wide variety of formats and initially all will be commercial free. Formats to be introduced include Bonneville's opera "Viva La Voce", Classical Alternative, Traditional Jazz & Blues, Coffee House, Female Talk, Future Country, Extreme Hip Hop and in-depth news as well as a wide variety of rock formats including Deep Cuts Classic Rock, Live Rock, New Alternative, Fusion Hispanic-Anglo Rock, Chick Rock, Indie & New Rock.
Listed in terms of rank the markets where the new channels are to be launched are New York (1); Los Angeles (2); Chicago (3); San Francisco (4); Dallas-Fort Worth (5); Philadelphia (6); Houston (7); Washington, DC (8); Boston (9); Detroit (10); Atlanta (11); Miami (12); Seattle (14); Baltimore (20); Portland, Oregon (24); Cincinnati (27); San Jose, California (33); Indianapolis (41); Memphis (48); Hartford (50); Birmingham, Alabama (57); Dayton, Ohio (58); McAllen, Texas (60); Tulsa, Oklahoma (64); Albuquerque, New Mexico (70); El Paso, Texas (76); Springfield, Massachusetts (80); and Wichita, Kansas (94).
Previous HD Digital Radio Alliance:
2006-01-19: Bidding in the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Auction 62 of 171 FM construction permits went above 20 million on Wednesday, up more than 25% on Tuesday's total, with two bids above USD 4 million.
At the end of the day (Round Ten) the Provisional Winning Bid net total was USD 22,429,675, up from Tuesday's round seven total of USD 15,383,675: Provisionally winning bids ranged between USD 2,300 from Tower Investment Trust, Inc. for a permit for Rocksprings Texas, to USD 4,774,000 from Horton Broadcasting Company, Inc. for a permit for Satellite Beach Florida
The other bid now above USD 4 million was of 4,134,000 from Ace Radio Corporation for a permit in Indian Wells, California.
Another three bids were above USD 1 million - of USD 1,265,000 from SkyWest Media LLC for a permit in Nanakuli, Hawaii; of USD 1,255,000 from Fine Arts Broadcasting for a permit in Bristol, Vermont (unchanged from Tuesday); and of USD 1,161,000 from Horton Broadcasting Company, Inc. for a permit for Lynn Haven, Florida.
Previous FCC & FCC Auction 62:
2006-01-19: Robert Feder reports in the Chicago Sun-Times that John Martin has been forced out as vice president and general manager of CBS7's WBBM-FM after two years in the post.
Feder, who adds that Martin was apparently made a scapegoat for a fall in ratings, says the station will now be overseen by Rod Zimmerman, senior vice president and market chief of CBS Radio Chicago and general manager of all-news WBBM-AM.
Martin, he reports, plans to head Helping Hand Partner, a north suburban-based company which will provide families with personal assistants "when life becomes overwhelming due to health, career or other obligations."
In another surprise departure, Barry Mayo is to step down after three-years stint running Emmis' three-station cluster in New York - he took over from Judy Ellis who left in 2003 after announcing a move to become COO of Citadel Communications (See RNW Dec 18, 2002) although he will stay remain in his post until a replacement until a replacement is found and then stay on as a consultant.
Radio and Records said Mayo had nothing but praise for Emmis but said the demands of the job had robbed him from time for other pursuits and he wanted to spend time on photography, another of his passions.
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder::
2006-01-19: The BBC has formally complained to the Tajik government about the suspension of its FM services in the country since Tuesday last week (Jan 10) following the ratification of a law requiring international broadcasters on FM to register with the Tajik Ministry of Justice and acquire a media licence.
The Corporation, currently the only international broadcaster that had been available on FM in Tajikistan, says it has a legal contract and licence to broadcast and had started the new process for registration but that the law was brought in with an unrealistic 20-day deadline for a process that would normally take up to six months to complete.
It says it has made representations to Tajikistan authorities over the past week but without formal response and is requesting that services are resumed immediately while the registration process is completed.
BBC World Service Director Nigel Chapman said in a news release, "The BBC has a legal contract and a licence to broadcast on FM and we would like that to be honoured. The BBC is happy to comply with the new law but the process takes considerably more time than has been allowed by the Tajik authorities. There is no reason why listeners in Tajikistan should be deprived of our services on FM while these bureaucratic hurdles are overcome.
"The BBC has made a huge impact amongst listeners in Tajikistan," he added, "especially among key opinion formers, including senior Government officials and cabinet ministers. We have had many listeners across the country calling in to complain about the suspension, along with many messages of support."
The BBC has been broadcasting in Tajikistan since 1996 on medium wave and two years ago launched 24-hour FM relays, in Dushanbe and Khojand, with programmes in Tajik (Persian), as well as broadcasts in Russian and English.
2006-01-18: India's largest commercial radio company Entertainment Network India Ltd (ENIL), has priced its initial public offering, in which it is planning to offer 12 million nominal INR 10 shares with a green shoe option of an additional 1.2 million shares, at INR 142-162 per share, thus potentially raising up to INR 194 crore (INR 1.94 billion - 1 crore is 10 million - or USD 43.8 million) or INR 214 crore (USD 48.4 million) if the green shoe option is exercised.
The share issue will constitute just under 26% of the company's issued capital, increasing to 27.75% if the green shore option is exercised. The issue opens on January 23 and will close on January 27.
The company, which operates the Radio Mirchi stations, says it will use around INR 145 crore (USD 32.8 million) from the IPO proceeds as one time entry fee (OTEF) and migration fee payments under India's Phase II FM policy and has earmarked around a further INR 10 crore (USD 2.26 million) for its event management and out of home business.
Of the funds earmarked for OTEF use ENIL has already committed INR 702 million (USD 15.9 million) - half of which has already been paid out - in bids it has won for seven licences - in Bangalore , Hyderabad , Jaipur , Kanpur, Lucknow, Nagpur and Surat - in the first part of the Phase 2 FM auction
ENIL is a subsidiary of the Times of India Group through its flagship company Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL) whose managing director Vineet Jain described the IPO, the company's first, as an "important milestone."
ENIL CEO and Managing Director A. P. Parigi told the Mumbai (former Bombay) Mirror the company had plans for further bids in the phase 2 FM auction in which a total of 338 FM licences in 91 cities are being auctioned and added that it also had plans for possibly international expansion.
"We are eyeing the overseas market," he said. "So we are exploring opportunities to become FM radio broadcasters or content providers in global markets, either directly or through strategic partnerships, arrangements, joint ventures or acquisitions."
Previous ENIL/Radio Mirchi:
Previous Indian Radio:
Mumbai Mirror report:
2006-01-18: Internet search engine giant Google has branched out into the radio business through the acquisition of privately-owned dMarc, a deal that will initially cost it USD 102 million in cash but could go up to USD 1.24 billion over the next three years if performance targets for product integration, net revenues and advertising inventory levels are met.
dMarc, which describers itself as the "market-leading digital solutions provider for the [US] radio broadcast industry, providing studio automation, data services, and advertising sales solutions" offers digital studio systems through its Scott Studios subsidiary and also runs an automated network through which radio stations sell and schedule advertisements.
dMarc was founded by brothers Chad and , Ryan Steelberg , who had already launched, developed and sold two online-advertising companies - AdForce and 2CAN Media - that were sold to CMGI in 1999 for USD 500 million and USD 50 million respectively. CMGI closed down AdForce two years later after sales had declined and it had failed to find a buyer.
The Financial Times quoted Chad Steelberg, who is dMarc's CEO, as saying that since it launched its automated network last year more than 500 stations in the US had signed up and added that it could eventually reach "thousands" of radio stations around the world that use the company's studio automation systems to manage their inventory of advertising space.
Google said it planned to plug its Adwords internet advertising network into the dMarc radio advertising network, raising, said the paper, the prospect that existing Google advertisers will one day be able to bid in an online auction for access to individual radio slots, much as they bid for the keywords in internet searches today.
Tim Armstrong, Google's head of advertising sales, told the paper radio stations linking with Adwords could gain access to a much wider group of advertisers, and added, "Both sides get higher scale from this."
Financial Times report:
2006-01-18: Bidding in the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Auction 62 of 171 FM construction permits went above 15 million on Tuesday with two bids above USD 2 million -there was no bidding on Monday because of Martin Luther King Day.
At the end of the day (Round seven) the Provisional Winning Bid net total was USD 15,383,675, up from Friday's round four total of USD 12,674,700: Provisionally winning bids ranged between USD 1,700 from Robert R Rule for a permit for Rocksprings, Texas, to USD 2,566,000 from Indian Wells Broadcasting LLC for a permit in Indian Wells, California.
Another bid was above USD 2 million, that of USD 2,717,000 from Horton Broadcasting Company, Inc. for a permit for Satellite Beach, Florida and another was above a million - of USD 1,255,000 from Fine Arts Broadcasting for a permit in Bristol, Vermont.
Previous FCC Auction 62:
2006-01-18: RadioScape has been awarded a contract to supply the first DAB broadcasting system for Slovenia, where it is due to go live in February this year, initially simulcasting Slovenia's four main radio stations.
Bojan Ramsak, Senior Engineer at RTV Slovenija, commented. "The future of radio is clearly digital and DAB provides a robust, well proven means of delivering a wide variety of content and additional services. The system will initially be installed 1740 meters above sea level at the main transmitter site of Krvavec, overlooking the capital city of Ljubljana. From here, it will serve a region of 1600 square kilometres and a potential audience of 512,000 potential listeners. We will then look to expand the system both in terms of services and coverage."
Kevin Parslow, RadioScape's Sales and Marketing VP, added, "Slovenia is a strategically important win for RadioScape as it validates our leadership in offering the latest developments in DAB audio and data services. As the rollout of DMB and DMB gains momentum in Europe, we expect neighbouring countries to follow Slovenia's example and take advantage of the flexibility and leading-edge functionality that RadioScape's DAB and DMB systems can deliver."
RadioScape says a key reason why RadioScape's DAB broadcasting solution was selected was its pioneering use of IP infrastructure to distribute both audio and data content from studio to multiplexer thus enabling use of an existing IP network that RTV Slovenija already has in place for transporting analogue signals and resulting in a significant cost saving both in the initial phase and in any subsequent expansion of the network.
2006-01-18: In further moves under its Spanish-language programming initiative announced in September 2004, Clear Channel has announced the launch of Mexican Variety Music La Preciosa Network that it says in a release "Delivers Coveted Demographic in Key Markets Spanning Entire U.S." - a country that has shrunk somewhat according to the stations the release then lists.
These are California stations KPRC-FM, Monterey-Salinas; KSJO-FM, San Francisco-San Jose; XOCL-FM, San Diego; KSMY-FM, Santa Maria; KKDJ-FM, Bakersfield; KSPE-FM. Santa Barbara; KDIF-FM, Riverside; KFSO-FM, Fresno; and KMRQ-FM, Modesto plus KIZS-FM, Tulsa, Oklahoma; KEGL-FM, Dallas, Texas, KWSL-AM, Sioux City, Iowa; KNFX-AM, Rochester, New York; and KWID-FM, Las Vegas, Nevada.
The company also says radio and television personality Victor Manuel Lujan has joined its line-up and Alfredo Alonso, Senior Vice President of Programming for Clear Channel Radio, commented, "In the short time that we've had La Preciosa stations on the air, we've received overwhelmingly positive responses from our listeners. We feel confident that the addition of top talent like Victor Manuel will only accelerate our success."
Previous Clear Channel:
2006-01-18: The BBC says it has narrowed potential sites for a Media Zone in Manchester that will house departments relocating from London to two from an initial shortlist of four.
They are Quays Point at Salford Quays and Central Spine in Manchester, sites that were also favoured in a parallel independent process by the North West Development Agency (NWDA).
A recommendation on the preferred site is to be put to the BBC's Executive and Board of Governors by the summer and Mark Thomas, Director of the BBC North Project, said of the two sites, which were thought to offer the greatest potential, "The BBC will continue to work with both Manchester City Council and Salford City Council in order to help them develop their remaining proposals so that they maximize the impact for audiences; for the creative industries in the north of England; and for the further regeneration of Salford and Manchester."
The departments to move from London are radio stations Five Live and Five Live Sports Extra plus Children's BBC, including the TV channels CBBC and CBeebies, Children's Radio and Children's Learning; BBC Sport; and BBC New Media and R&D.
2006-01-18: In the latest of his question and answer sessions posted on the company's web site, Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan highlights HD digital radio, investment in Chicago, strong performance from the company's publishing division and its sale of its TV operations and the idea of investing in baseball, the last linked to reports of a possible investment in the Washington Nationals by Smulyan.
On HD Smulyan, noting that Emmis is a founding partner of the HD Digital Radio Alliance, says that the development of HD side channels has not been "difficult at all."
He adds, "We Beta tested format selections for side channels with both Alliance and non-Alliance members a few months back and were delighted at how many unserved niches and format offerings programming directors came up with. The selection process for both the beta test and actual markets has gone incredibly smoothly, mainly because broadcast companies and their programmers have treated these side channels as an opportunity to provide listeners with the kind of diverse programming that many think is limited to pay radio. New, free format choices. That has a lot of potential to fuel interest in HD receivers."
On the other topics he says the ratings for WLUP-FM gave Emmis a "certain vindication" in its decision to invest in Chicago, that after its TV sales Emmis is "building a strong balance sheet that will give us the ability to make strategic investments in the future" and that regarding non-broadcasting enterprises like baseball that Emmis' people are the best he's "ever seen at team building, seeing trends and marketing" and adds , "I think the challenge for us is to leverage our organizational skills, our strategic skills and our operational skills into areas that are going to grow We're focused on doing things that make sense for this company long-term, and we think our strengths can transfer into other businesses."
2006-01-17: Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. (CSR) has announced losses of CAD 14.61 million ( USD 12.61 million) in its first quarter to the end of November last year during which it had revenues of CAD 46,000 (USD 39,700) for the nine days from November 22.
CSR, which has no prior-year figures, completed a CAD 55 million (USD 47.5 million) Initial Public Offering last year and started trading its shares on December 12: It had predicted 75,000 subscribers by August this year and a million by August 2010.
Commenting on the figures, John I. Bitove, the CEO of Canadian Satellite Radio and XM Canada, said, "We are very happy with the launch and roll out of the XM Canada service and are pleased that our subscription sales are running ahead of management expectations."
"CSR's IPO, he added, "marked a milestone in our development and helped put us on a solid financial footing. Funds from the IPO have driven the build out of our repeater network and furthered construction of our broadcast studios in Montreal and Toronto."
CSR shares ended Monday down 0.15% at CAD 12.55.
Previous Canadian Satellite Radio:
2006-01-17: According to the UK Telegraph music lovers are calling for improvements to the audio quality on British digital radio broadcasts, alleging that when listened to on quality hi-fi systems the audio quality sounds tinny and muffled and is much worse than that of FM transmissions.
The root of the problem is that broadcasters have opted to cram more signals into their digital multiplex rather than go for higher audio quality - a matter we commented on last month when reporting on Australian digital radio plans (See RNW Dec 12, 2002).
The report quotes Steven Green, a music journalist who campaigns about digital radio quality as saying the quality is not an issue on a small portable receiver and adding, "But if you have very good FM reception on a hi-fi system, digital radio is worse."
He said BBC Radio 1 and 2 listeners suffered most as music lacked definition and had a compressed dynamic range, commenting, "It's pretty nasty. I don't listen to digital radio."
Although digital was initially promoted on the basis of enhanced quality - as is currently the situation with iBiquity's HD in the US - Mandy Green, of the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau, said the industry no longer promoted digital on sound quality and added that only a small fraction of listeners were unhappy.
A BBC spokesman said: "The BBC has a responsibility to serve all its diverse audiences and we believe we have found a balance between launching new services and broadcasting in good sound quality, " adding, "We believe we are providing good sound quality on all our digital radio networks and recent research bears this out. The majority of people are very satisfied with the sound quality with around 95 per cent of digital radio listeners rating it 'excellent', 'good' or 'satisfied'."
When the BBC first began digital radio transmissions using the Eureka DAB system it broadcast all signals using a 192 KBPS rate but it reduced this on all services except BBC Radio 3 - which is the main station for classical music broadcast by the BBC - and even for Radio 3 it is reduced to 160 kbps to allow spectrum for the part-time station BBC Five Live Sports Extra and while this is on air the BBC Radio 4 signal is also reduced - from 128 kbps stereo to 80 kbps mono.
As Steven Green's site, which provides points out (See his report on why three of the four leading French operators have voted to support the use of DMB or DVB-H + DRM ; another went for iBiquity's HD system) DAB uses the older MP2 audio codec and this requires 160kbps to provide the same audio quality that the HE AAC audio codec, used in DMB, DVB-H and DRM, provides at 48KBPS. HD also uses a high efficiency codec.
RNW comment: From initial support of DAB we have as time passed - and even with hearing no longer as good as it was - started to note deficiencies, especially with Radio 3 when sports has messed up its quality.
Although we think the UK policy in terms of encouraging the move to digital - offering automatic renewal of local commercial analogue licences when a digital service was provided on the local multiples -was sound, the fact that the broadcasters and regulator have combined to go for quantity not quality allied with developments in DRM and other systems, particularly relating to audio encoding, have led us towards a change of mind as we indicated last month.
Unfortunately we, like others have already spent money on digital receivers and UKDRDB may be correct that not many people are objecting and the quality is not an issue for kitchen portables.
The real question, and one we will consider in our comment later this month, will be whether with the spread of broadband and satellite platforms, which could deliver better- than -CD audio quality - genuinely so not the PR as-good-as-CD puff put out in the UK at one time and by the US radio industry (which is why we still buy CDs for particular recordings and have made the point in the past that the music industry could benefit CD sales by promoting quality) - the time has possibly come to even consider forgetting broadcast radio as such for some music and using other platforms.
In other words treat digital radio like many digital photographs as fine for the basics -you certainly can't tall the difference on most portables or when in a car on the move - but just not up to scratch when it really comes to top notch quality.
It certainly confirms us in our view that to switch off analogue in favour of the current DAB system in the UK should not be considered at the moment nor indeed anywhere else for any existing systems.
UK Telegraph report:
Steven Green web site (Includes links to MP3 format audio samples of various UK digital broadcasts):
2006-01-17: Arbitron has announced further support for the use of its Portable People Meter (PPM) system for radio audience measurements, this time from Carat Americas, which has signed a commitment to use radio audience estimates based on the system when it is deployed.
The agreement came as part of the agency's renewal of a multi-year Arbitron data and software services contract and covers the US-based radio planning and buying activities of Carat: it follows similar commitments announced last week by WPP Group plc, the world's second-largest media and communication services company, and Interpublic Group.
2006-01-17: Information Radio Network (IRN), a traditionally conservative network, has announced that talks with progressive talk network Air America to form a joint venture to syndicate what it calls its "progressive" talk show hosted by African-American Andre Eggelletion, which has been airing on WSRF-AM, Miami, have collapsed.
In a news release it says that based on Air America's affiliates when it made an approach in August last year it was able to gain commitments of USD 400,000 a year in advertising for the programme but was only offered an overnight slot and a business offer that would have given Air America more than over two-thirds of the programme revenue.
IRN Radio CEO Larry Bates said they were "extremely disappointed that after four months of patient negotiations, Air America would present us with an offer that fails to recognize both IRN's investment and Andre's talent," and added that it would now continue to air Eggelletion's program in select U.S. markets, including Memphis, Tennessee, with a national rollout planned beginning later this month.
Previous Air America:
Information Radio Network (Archived Shows link has Eggelletion show audio):
2006-01-17: UK media regulator Ofcom has said that the ability to maintain the proposed service was the main criterion for its award of the new Warwick licence to CN Group's 2-DAY FM that was announced earlier this month (See RNW Jan 6).
It said it felt "the backing of a shareholder (CN Group) with extensive and current experience of operating smaller radio stations enhanced the likely ability of 2Day FM to maintain its proposed service" and added "The group's business plan was considered to demonstrate a good understanding of the local market and of the issues that the new station may face, and the ability to save costs through resource-sharing with nearby stations in common ownership was felt to further enhance the strength of 2Day FM's financial proposition."
Ofcom also said it considered that "2Day FM's commitment to a very high level of local news and other locally-relevant speech content would improve and enhance such provision (in terms of radio) in the Warwick area, while the station's music output is likely to offer some distinctiveness in relation to the two main existing non-BBC local services in the area by sounding less contemporary than that of Mercia FM but more contemporary than that of Classic Gold 1359" and also noted its submission of "evidence of support for its application from numerous local businesses and organizations, many of which evidently have a good relationship with CN Group's existing radio stations in the area."
Previous CN Group:
2006-01-16: We start this week's look at print comment on radio with words (of wisdom?) from Paul Donovan in the UK Sunday Times in what we consider a strong enough column to carry its first three paragraphs.
"Radio 4, who's it for? Anyone with ears, a heart and a brain. But those who tune in are, on the whole, old. Sorry, older. The average age of the Radio 4 listener is 55. The BBC's other networks are also pretty mature: 57 for Radio 3, 50 for Radio 2, 48 for BBC7, 47 for Five Live, 41 for Five Live Sports Extra and 28 for Radio 1, which, youthful as that sounds, is still above the target audience of 15- to 24-year-olds.
For people in their teens and twenties (except, I have noticed, the most ambitious and politically aware), Radio 4 means only two things. It's what their parents listen to, and it has comedy. The 6.30pm weekday slot, housing Just a Minute, The Now Show and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, has Radio 4's youngest age profile - although even here, 70% of the audience is aged 45 or more.
Younger people want to hear music, music, not speech, speech, which helps explain why Heart's average age is 32, Capital's is 31 and Galaxy's and 1Xtra's is 26 - and that of LBC is 46. It is all rather sad. Radio 4 is a continent largely unexplored by those under 30, and it is their loss."
Donovan goes on to use the above as a peg to comment that Radio 4 can "can do more to encourage the young to view it in a different way - less formal, less reliant on accepted wisdom, less rational, more quirky, more aware of contemporary mores" and promotes its broadcast today at 20:30 GMT of "Confessions of a Crap Artist" about science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, known for films such as Blade Runner, Total Recall and Minority Report.
Donovan comments of this programme, "It is not just that the title, Confessions of a Crap Artist (the name of one of Dick's short stories), is decidedly un-Radio 4: the whole programme is decidedly un-Radio 4. If it were a conventional documentary, it would be a profile, with a beginning, middle and end, mixing archive clips with interviews. This is more of a journey through a troubled but fertile mind, with Twilight Zone and 1960s music, echoes and unfamiliar voices. Its focus is a mystical experience Dick had in Orange County in 1974, after which he felt God was talking to him, though it does not conclude that a man who has had a powerful vision is thereby mad. The journey covers his drug use (he apparently spoke Latin under the influence of LSD, although he had never been taught it), his talk of beams of pink light, his wrist-slitting, his oddness." There is more for which follow the link below to Donovan's column.
The column does to us raise some important general issues relating to demographics - BBC Radio 2 after all may have an average listener age of 50 but it is by far the most listened to station in the UK - in the most recent ratings it had a weekly reach of 10.3 million, more than a third of the 30.7 million total listening to all British commercial radio combined and not that short of the 13 million for British national commercial networks combined - whilst Radio 4 had a weekly reach of 9.6 million, totals that suggest to us a brighter future for Saga, which targets the over-50s than for many of the pop channels targeting teenagers.
BBC Radio 3, the corporation channel that carries a mix of classical, jazz and world music plus talk and drama, has the oldest audience and also the smallest of its national analogue networks with just under 2.1 million listeners a week but there is also the issue of quality and its daily "Night Waves" arts discussion programme last Wednesday brought a gushing response from UK Guardian critic Elisabeth Mahoney.
She wrote in the paper the following day, "At their best, radio interviews are like pure conversation. Hard graft, extensive research and clever ideas may lie behind the success of the encounter, but the finest examples come across as superbly relaxed chat. And so it was on last night's Night Waves (Radio 3), as Philip Dodd interviewed director Sam Mendes in a programme-length special. As arts interviews go, this was a luxurious affair: lengthy and unashamedly highbrow in places, searching and challenging, intellectual but never stuffy" and after comments on what she learned about Mendes, concluded, "What distinguished this interview, however, wasn't its gracious, likable subject. It was Dodd, posing questions that sounded as if they had percolated for hours in his mind, and nailing key tendencies in Mendes's work. "Thank you very much," Mendes said at the end, "that was very enjoyable." It was, too."
We saw nothing of the nature of the UK comments in a week of American newspapers and magazines but perhaps the best in terms of writing style was a demolition in the New York Times of one of Howard Stern's successors on terrestrial radio. The headline over Virginia Heffernan's comment - "David Lee Roth's new morning radio show has made one thing clear: Howard Stern is one ingenious pervert" - indicated the tenor of the comments.
"It's not that Diamond Dave has been knocking Howard, whom he replaced on some several stations on Jan. 3 as Mr. Stern moved to satellite radio," she continued. "In fact, Mr. Roth has been smarmy and collegial about the King of Difficult to Acquire New Media. But Mr. Roth makes the point about Mr. Stern's pervy ways by contrast with his own, since Mr. Roth's own efforts to come across as a dirty devil - boasting of girls girls girls and chugging Jack Daniel's - seem pitiful compared to even the slightest heavy-breathing utterance of Mr. Stern's."
Stern she described as, "born for radio: his on-air character is an unwashed basement figure, best kept out of sight - a haggard masturbator and morbid misanthrope who must hang out with deformed and desperate men because he can hardly perform with women. The fact that the pinup girls who come on his show now seem to want to have sex with him is, in his telling, evidence only of the women's ambition and depravity."
And of Roth: "By contrast, Mr. Roth is a jaunty frontman - really, Mr. Stern's opposite. In his heyday singing with Van Halen, he was a red-blooded dude who bounced around, yelped the high notes and handily pulled the bikini chicks. There was nothing depressing about Diamond Dave's sexuality: it was happy, voracious, superficial. He postured with the best of the hard-rock studs, strutting around with his moussey hair and Spandex pants. Had Mr. Roth's big-dog persona met Mr. Stern's gamma-male one, they would not have partied together."
Her conclusion when it comes to their broadcasts, however, was, "But on radio, the tables are turned. A doctor's son who worked recently as an emergency medical technician, Mr. Roth is far too square for the morning slot. His stories about his drunken antics of the late 1970's - or, worse, about the 50's in crazy Greenwich Village, where his uncle Murray owned the Café Wha? - ring obsolete. And he won't reveal much about his life now, refusing to answer even routine questions from fans about his love life. As a result, his sanctimony on subjects from drugs to plastic surgery to celebrity misdeeds, is unearned. If he won't say anything about himself but bland boasts about his glory days, why should he get to tell us what to do? Finally, Mr. Roth's tenor, which is can be poignant and otherworldly on Van Halen songs like "Jamie's Crying," is surprisingly grating and banal when he's speaking. Listeners to regular radio will miss Mr. Stern's low, unerring, New York-inflected voice - and the depth of weirdness it unfailingly conveys."
We would note however, that Stern just wouldn't get away with much of his material on UK radio (nor on Canadian and that of many other countries either) and would have added that he's pretty safe in the US except for a Houston Chronicle comment by Eyder Peralta that suggested that, much as the Federal Communications Commission is considered unlikely to be able to move against him over "indecency" for his broadcasts on Sirius Satellite Radio, that doesn't necessarily make him completely safe.
"Some say," the FCC already has the power to regulate satellite radio. They believe that they can attain the power with a court ruling that extends their jurisdiction," says the report.
That comment was amplified by conservative Miami lawyer Jack Thompson who has been responsible for the complaints that led Clear Channel to drop both Stern and Bubba the Love Sponge: "I don't think that it would be constitutional to regulate decency on satellite radio," says Thompson. "But if Howard does the show that he's been saying that he's going to do, I think Howard is going to run into obscenity charges."
The report then goes into background on the introduction into the FCC's lexicon of the "indecency" ruling in the 1970s following a complaint against George Carlin's Filthy Words and quotes Glen Robinson, a law professor at the University of Virginia, who was an FCC commissioner at the time, as saying other commissioners wanted to rule the broadcast obscene but he opposed, saying constitutionally, the recording did not pass the three-prong test for obscenity: whether an average person would, by local community standards, find a work to appeal to prurient interests; whether it expresses patently offensive prurient interests; and whether it's void of artistic value.
Thompson apparently thinks an obscenity prosecution could potentially be brought, saying he'll lobby a district attorney in a more conservative state like Alabama or Texas to go after Stern on obscenity charges and adding, "He's going to go up against prosecutors in Alabama who have nothing to lose prosecuting Howard Stern."
The paper then quotes Seth Finkelstein, a programmer serving as an expert witness on a federal case involving the definition of "community standards" in the digital age, as saying, "I wouldn't go so far as to say it's utterly impossible (to prosecute Stern for obscenity). But if such a thing happened, it would be purely for the harassment and PR value of the case."
"But," adds Peralta, " the times are changing. Last September, the Washington Post reported that one of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' 'top priorities' was an anti-obscenity initiative, which included an FBI squad looking for obscene adult pornography."
So maybe, just maybe, the US First Amendment may not be as protective of Stern as we'd assumed. Surely however it will protect speech that may well get curbed in the UK under laws passed and progressing through the British Parliament under its current government.
This takes us to two articles in the Telegraph in the UK, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday.
On Saturday, columnist Simon Heffer took up the issue of an interview carried by BBC Radio 4 in which Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the head of the Muslim Council of Britain said that, "in his view, homosexuality was 'harmful' because of the moral consequences of the practice, and that it spread disease."
As a result of complaints about the comments, made we would note following a prior investigation of a "Christian couple " who had earlier objected to their local council's stance on "gay issues" critical of homosexuality, the police have investigated the comments under the Public Order Act 1986 as "behaviour likely to cause alarm, harassment or distress."
The comment referred to came in the context of a question on civil partnerships - subsequently also attacked by Catholic leaders including the Pope and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Edinburgh - in which Sacranie commented, "Our view is very clear on that. I'm carried by the teaching of my faith. It is something which is not acceptable in Islam the same way it is not acceptable under Christianity or Judaism or other divine religions. Our religion, our faith is very, very clear. This is harmful. It does not augur well in building the very foundations of society - stability, family relationships. And it is something we would certainly not, in any form, encourage the community to be involved in."
Heffer comments of the investigation, "The whole thing is so dementedly stupid that, frankly, I can't begin to understand it We can begin to see, however, that it is an affront to our historic liberties as Britons. It is not as if by saying what he did - and I must emphasize, these were remarks in keeping not just with his own faith but various others - Sir Iqbal has incited someone to commit a crime. It is not like that minority of evil nutters who get up, from time to time, and speak of the urgency of murdering Jews or Christians. He was merely expressing opinions that some of us, even if we do not agree with them, would hold to be perfectly reasonable."
RNW comment: We have no expectations that prosecutions will be brought in any of the cases so far but the very fact that the police can use this Act in this way should surely lead to concern about what might happen under the "Incitement to Religious Hatred Bill" currently wending its way through the legislative process with strong backing from PM Tony Blair.
Our view is that bigotry and religious beliefs that would restrict the activities of all - whether or not they harm others or are believes - are best dealt with by open debate and forcing those involved to defend their views. If they can't do so and end up ridiculed then there should be no sympathy for them.
The second comment came on Sunday from BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson in relation to the "Clause 8 of the Terrorism Bill, which is at the moment making its way through Parliament."
This he says will make it an "an offence to attend a place, in the UK or elsewhere, knowing or merely believing it to be used for training in terrorism. And you commit the offence simply by being there; you don't have to receive the training yourself."
"Baroness Scotland, shepherding the Bill through the House of Lords shortly before Christmas, tried to be reassuring, writes Simpson. "Concerns have been expressed about the effect of Clause 8 on legitimate investigative journalism," she said. "The Government's position on this is clear. Nothing in the clause or the Bill as a whole will hinder in any way the work of legitimate investigative journalists."
He then adds, "But a minute or so later she went out of her way to make it clear that Clause 8 would in fact make the work of legitimate investigative journalists almost impossible.
"[A] journalist who suspects that terrorist training is taking place," she said, "can take steps to establish whether there is any foundation for their suspicions. However, at the point when their suspicions are confirmed, the correct course is to leave and, if they are good citizens, to alert the appropriate authorities to what is going on."
And he then comments, "I have a lot of admiration for Baroness Scotland, but she clearly doesn't understand the first thing about the kind of journalism that she and her fellow ministers have now chosen to put in danger."
Simpson then gives a possible example and comments, "Everyone who saw Peter Taylor's meticulous series on al-Qaeda recently on BBC television will remember how valuable it was in explaining the thinking behind the violent threat to our society and values. It was an important piece of work, thoroughly in the public interest,",
He notes that Taylor's executive producer says the clause is making the investigation of their next series on al-Qaeda extremely difficult, and concludes, "It will be much harder to defend society better against terrorism if we prevent journalists from finding out the precise nature of the threat against us. Does the Government really mean to do this amount of damage to the meticulous, independent journalistic investigation of terrorism? Surely not."
RNW comment: To which our reaction is that this government probably doesn't but has an authoritarian streak that prevents it thinking clearly about unintended consequences - or indeed as the pattern of events in Iraq has shown thinking that clearly about likely consequences and planning accordingly.
Our view until recently would have been that such actions were least impossible in the US, to the great credit of that society. Now we're not so sure but we are distressed that not enough attention has been paid to the potential effects of clamping down on journalistic investigations on either side of the Atlantic by politicians who seem unable to grasp wider implications. In both cases a democracy ought to have better procedures for allowing attempt to "throw the bums out" and we rather suspect that history in the longer term would show impeachment and life sentences in jail for the leaders of both the UK and US would probably do much less damage than allowing such attacks on freedoms of speech to progress much further.
Where there is incitement to violent attacks (for which existing laws provide remedies) or evidence of collusion in terrorist attacks then laws already exist permitting action to be taken.
We would suggest however that, for example, to spill the beans on the intelligence behind the Pentagon's latest attack on Pakistan - killing innocent villagers but as far as current information goes nobody connected with Al Qaeda and certainly causing much more ill-will against the US amongst people who could potentially be recruited to Al Qaeda - could arguably be to the long-term benefit of the US fight against that organization yet have little doubt that any news organization that did so, however careful to excise details that would harm future accurate intelligence gathering, would be strongly condemned by those who have harmed their country (however much their motives have been to protect it) and the current leaders of the UK and US.
So after that comment, where do we go to for listening. First of course BBC Radio 4 and , "Confessions of a Crap Artist" (20:30 GMT tonight) and then to BBC Radio 3 for last Wednesday's edition of "Night Waves".
After that, we'd suggest two reports in last week's "On the Media" from WNYC - Anti-Viral Plug in which Jonathan Zittrain talks of a possible computer virus designed to wreak the maximum possible havoc and suggests that unless we act now, a "9/11 moment" for the Internet could result in a Patriot Act-like backlash that would stifle all sorts of e-innovation - and "Bad Science" in which Rebecca Goldin, director of research for George Mason University's Statistical Assessment Service, recounts some of the year's most egregious examples of misuse of information - US teenagers it would appear are not all drug taking sex crazy creatures whatever the portrayal.
Then across the Pacific, we'd suggest tomorrow's edition of ABC Radio National's Law Report, which considers the victims of crime and the deal they get from the justice system and today's Health Report the second of two reports on Hormone Replacement Therapy (Last week's first programme is still on the site).
Back to the BBC and from Radio 2 we'd suggest at 20:30 GMT tomorrow "Steel Magnolia: Dolly Parton at 60" followed by the third "Rhythm of the Reich" programme looking at Goebbels's brainchild - the Charlie and His Orchestra jazz band.
Finally in view of the comments from Paul Donovan that we began with, suggestions from BBC Radio 4 starting from last Saturday's "From our Own Correspondent" (available as an MP3 or stream)
Then from Sunday there was "Sleeping with the Enemy" ( a worthy repeat - three of the series are on the site), "The History of Blacksmithing - Weapons for War" that dealt with some of the details of how iron and steel was forged to make effective weapons (including mention of a seven-body Samurai sword - they apparently used to test swords by slicing through corpses), "Poetry Please" that dealt with Samuel Taylor Coleridge's epic The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, "In Business" that looks at the rise of Brazil, Russia, India and China and possible effects on current leading powers, and the final of three "Movies with a Message" - the Sunday Supplement within the Westminster hour (One of three programmes, all of which are on the site-the latest dealt with Ken Loach's controversial 1990 film about Northern Ireland "Hidden Agenda" that caused outrage among politicians with its view of policies in Northern Ireland and is certainly revealing of some agendas).
From today each weekday the afternoon slots feature the 15:30 GMT Afternoon Readings "Puppets Through America" by Walter Wilkinson, a British Punch and Judy man who travelled across the US with his wife, their Peep Show and puppets in the 1930s and the 15:45 GMT "Rare Steeds" in which Dylan Winter explores the blend of genes, breeding, influences of domestication and use across the centuries that has resulted in the nine recognized native pony breeds to be found on the British Isles today.
Also from today as also mentioned at 20:30 GMT is "Confessions of a Crap Artist."
From Tuesday we'd suggest at 09:00 GMT "Taking a Stand" in which Fergal Keane talks to Susan Sheridan whose her newborn son Cal was left brain damaged and then her husband's fatal cancer went undetected through hospital error but who, after taking legal action twice, argues that fear of legal action is a major obstacle to mistakes being admitted and that a more frank and open dialogue would make hospitals safer for everybody (Shades, if we dare say it, of other comments we have already made about the dangers of inhibiting free speech and reporting). It's followed by the second "Who Killed Christianity?" programme in which this week Dr David Starkey argues that the Emperor Constantine was among Christian figures who distorted, even betrayed, the Christian faith as envisaged by Jesus.
For Wednesday, we'd suggest a break for comedy at 11:30 GMT with "Ed Reardon's Week"; the Afternoon Play at 14:15 GMT - "The Ballad of Shane O'Neill " by Jimmy McAleavey, promoted as an irreverent historical fantasy about doomed Irish warlord Shane ONeill; another comedy break and "Clare in the Community" at 18:30 GMT and finally at 20:00GMT "The Great Debates" - this week Dr Martin Luther King v Malcolm X.
On Thursday we add a science suggestion and "Material World" that this week looks at zeolites, nature's molecular sieves, that among other things help refine 99 per cent of the world's petrol, and, they make up around a third of the volume in the average packet of washing powder.
On Friday we suggest a move back to comedy and the "Now Show" at 18:30 GMT.
From Saturday we'd suggest the third of a five-part "Hidden Treasures" series. In this programme looks at 18th century grotto built by a Quaker poet that's housed in a suburban street at Ware.
And finally from next Sunday we'd suggest the 00:30 GMT "Late Story" -- "The Pedestrian " By Ray Bradbury plus at 19:15 GMT Go4It , the weekly children's magazine.
Houston Chronicle -Peralta:
New York Times - Heffernan:
UK Guardian - Mahoney:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Telegraph - Heffer:
UK Telegraph - Simpson:
UK Times - Sacranie comments transcript:
2006-01-16: Radio New Zealand has posted an official announcement that Linda Clark, presenter of "Nine to Noon", the country's leading current affairs radio programme , since July 2002 is to leave the show with her last broadcast on March 3 this year.
The announcement says she will be considering "new options and new directions" and a statement from Clark says, "Nine to Noon has been a fantastic show to host as it provides such a wonderfully intimate connection with the listeners. I greatly value and appreciate my time with the programme but it's time to do something else with my life ."
Radio New Zealand Acting Chief Executive, Ken Law, paying tribute to the host, said , " Linda has had a very successful time with Nine to Noon. The programme has grown in terms of content and impact over the past four years and continues to be one of the most listened to radio programmes in the country. Linda has devoted an extraordinary amount of time and energy to maintaining its iconic status in New Zealand media. She leaves with our sincere gratitude for the great work she has done and our very best wishes for her future endeavours. "
Speculating on possible successors the Dominion Post has put forward the names of Sean Plunket, who currently hosts the stations 06:00 to 09:00 "Morning Report" with Geoff Robinson; BBC presenter Anita McNaught, who will be standing in for Clark for a week from January 23 - although the paper suggests lower New Zealand pay rates could be a factor that could put her off; and broadcaster Maggie Barry, who presented Nine to Noon for two years, but told paper she was enjoying freelancing, which included filling in on Morning Report.
She described Clark's ability to host the show for four years while being the mother of twin boys as " nothing short of miraculous" and added, "It's the biggest ask in radio without a doubt. It does take over your life."
Previous Radio New Zealand:
Dominion Post report:
2006-01-15: The main regulatory news last week was from Canada where the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has started a major review - delayed from 2003 - of the country's radio industry, the first since 1998: Elsewhere it has been a matter of little radio business in Australia and the UK while in the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now started its FM licence auction 62 (See below).
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ruled that Liverpool-Green Valley Community Radio Cooperative Ltd, licensee of 2GLF Liverpool, New South Wales, breached the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 by broadcasting more than the permissible five minutes of sponsorship announcements per hour during one of its programs.
The ACMA investigated following complaints about messages broadcast during the station's Hindi Radio Lehren program broadcast on 13 and 20 August 2005.
The assessment is based on a copy of the 4.00 pm to 5.00 pm broadcast of Radio Lehren on 20 August 2005 since the licensee submitted that it was unable to provide a copy of the broadcast of 13 August 2005 due to a computer error.
After listening to the recording ACMA rejected a complaint that auction-style advertisements had been aired by 2GLF but found that sponsorship announcements had run over the maximum five minutes allowed by 14 seconds. The licensee has subsequently provided the show's presenter with training and he has changed his style considerably to try to comply with the regulations and says it will monitor the presenter and programme to ensure that there are no further breaches and the Authority said actions taken are adequate to address the compliance issues raised.
RNW note- The results of the investigation including transcripts of the sponsor notices are on the ACMA web site and we would note that Australian regulatory meaning of the word advertisement does seem much narrower than the common understanding of the term since a number of the messages gave details such as addresses and phone numbers together in case relating the auction-style advert complaint with the discount price at which goods were being offered.
In Canada as noted the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has started its review of its Commercial Radio Policy: It has issued notice of a public meeting to be held on May 15 and is inviting written comments on the various matters to be considered with a deadline for submission of March 15. The main emphasis is on issues relating to Canadian culture such as music from Canadian artists, the country's ethnic diversity, and local news and information.
The commission was in the process of starting the review in 2003 when it received an application for a satellite radio licence and opted to postpone the review until it had considered the issue of subscription licences which it did in June last year with the issue of three such licences, two satellite (from Sirius and XM partners in Canada, which are now in operation) and a terrestrial licence to the CHUM-Astral consortium.
The satellite licensees have to meet lower Canadian content rules than terrestrial broadcasters and the latter are expected to request an easing of the requirements for them.
The 1998 policy had three major objectives - a strong radio industry, ensuring pride of place of Canadian artists, and ensuring continuation of French language services - in relation to which rules were introduced that included allowing one owner to control more stations in a market and moves to allow new entrants, introducing additional requirements in relation to the broadcast of Canadian music, and requiring, in ownership transfers, a minimum public benefit representing 6% of the value of the transaction.
The CRTC comments that the "seven years since the 1998 Policy came into effect have seen the advent of new digital technologies and methods of distribution that are having a profound effect on the way in which people, particularly young people, obtain and listen to music. This is presenting the radio industry with new opportunities, but also new challenges: in addition to the satellite radio services now available, file-sharing, podcasting, downloading, and audio streaming, all facilitated through the increasing ubiquity of the Internet, offer new and often more flexible alternatives to the traditional practices of purchasing recorded music and listening to radio broadcasting" and adds that "all broadcasters must reflect and meet the needs of an increasingly diverse multicultural, multilingual and multiracial society, particularly in larger metropolitan centres, if they are to remain relevant and viable."
The current review's objectives are similar to those of 1998 and the commission specifically notes in addition to newer versions of them creating conditions for a commercial radio sector that " reflects the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society and the special place of Aboriginal peoples within society" and is "capable of making the transition to digital transmission, and of exploiting new and emerging distribution platforms."
It asks for responses on such matters as the impact of newer technologies on commercial radio and the music industry, how commercial radio can attract younger audiences in light of competing sources of popular music, and how changes in demographics will affect the audience and revenue base of commercial radio over the next 5 to 10 years.
In addition to the review, the CRTC has been involved in a number of routine decisions including (in order of province):
Renewal of licence of tourist information service CJRN-AM, Niagara Falls, until 31 August 2012.
Renewal of licence of CFLZ-FM, Niagara Falls, until 31 August 2012.
The CRTC also issued a public notice relating to various applications, with a deadline for comments or interventions of February 16. Radio-related matters were:
Application by CHUM Limited to renew the licence of CHBE-FM, Victoria, that includes a proposal to delete a current licence condition requiring a CAD 22,000 a year contribution to Canadian Talent Development with one that requires it to contribute CAD 5,000 annually.
Application by The Winnipeg Campus/Community Radio Society Inc. to renew the licence of community-based campus service CKUW-FM, Winnipeg.
There were no radio announcements from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom announced the award of a new community FM, bringing the total number of community radio licences now awarded to 63, and also published its first Broadcast Bulletin of the year (See RNW Jan 11).
The community licence awarded went to Forest FM, which aims to provide a community radio service for Verwood and the surrounding hamlets and villages in rural East Dorset, on the edge of the New Forest. It gave among its reasons for the award the fact that the group has an experienced and stable management which has organized numerous temporary radio (RSL) broadcasts in the area, had provided much evidence of enthusiastic support for its past work and this licence application and the group is clearly an active and valued part of the local community. "The programming proposals and social gain objectives," is said, "are well considered, likely to be achievable and based on experience and the perceived needs of the target community."
"Forest FM," it said, "has put forward a comprehensive application which outlines a service that would be a useful addition for the residents of the area."
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has, as noted, begun FM licence Auction 62: It also levied two USD 10,000 penalties on pirate operators, one on Philadelphia pirate operator Louis Gentile (See RNW Jan 11) and the other on Jose A. Mollinedo of Victorville, California.
The commission originally issued a Notice Of Apparent Violation (NAL) for USD 10,000 to Mollinedo on January 31, 2005, after agents had traced unauthorized transmissions to his home following complaints, left Notice of Unauthorized Operation in March, speaking to him later- at which time he admitted operating the station - and subsequently in September 2004 again tracing signals to his home.
Mollinedo in response to the NAL said he received bad advice from an associate regarding the need for a license to operate and that since he received the NAL, he no longer operates the radio equipment and has destroyed it.
The Commission noted that there had been no further transmissions since it sent the NAL but confirmed the full penalty on the basis that Mollinedo had resumed transmissions after receiving earlier oral and written warnings.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-01-15: BBC World Service Thai language broadcasts, which employed eight full-time staff, have now ended after 64 years on air - the last of ten language services whose axing was announced in October last year as part of a restructuring that is to see an Arabic-language TV channel launched (See RNW Oct 26 , 2005).
The services culled were Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Kazakh, Polish, Slovak, Slovene and Thai and most had been on air for periods from some 66 years -- with launches in September 1939 just after Britain declared war on Nazi Germany - although the Croatian and Slovene services were not launched until September 1991 when they were created out of the Yugoslav service that had been broadcasting since 1939 (The Serbian service is still on air as are services in Albanian, Macedonian, and Romanian).
The BBC said at the time it announced the closures hat the decision had been taken because the countries involved were EU members or are actively in discussions about membership or that the services had little local impact.
This was denied in Thailand by former BBC employee Rungmanee Maeksophon, now a senior journalist at Phujadkarn newspaper.
Speaking at a symposium held at Thammasat University's faculty of journalism on the BBC Thai service's contribution to Thai society over the past 64 years she said the BBC had "relied on figures from a survey commissioned by the Voice of America (VOA), which would naturally show that more Thais tuned in to the VOA than to the BBC and was therefore misleading" and asked for a "new survey."
Rungmanee was supported by Veerawan Voravuth, deputy managing director of the Mass Communication Organization of Thailand (MCOT), which relays the BBC broadcast on several of its FM and AM radio networks and who said, "I can confirm that there are many BBC listeners and our FM 100.5 [station] attracts huge advertising - in the region of THB10 million (USD 252,000) a month .
"The VOA could have been jealous of the BBC. We were asked if the BBC had given us some money," she said.
Sorachak Kasemsuwan, another former BBC journalist and now vice-minister of the Prime Minister's Office, said it was crucial to convince the British House of Commons and House of Lords that keeping the Thai service on air was essentially good for the British government and people.
"There is no better goodwill ambassador for Britain in Thailand than its BBC radio service," he said.
Nuannoi Dhammasathien, a BBC Thai-service producer, said the service was currently trying to report on the violence in the South as accurately as possible and in an impartial way and would be sorely missed if the service is discontinued.
A petition to save the service was launched by the Family Network at www.ilovebbcthai.com
RNW comment: At the time of the announcement we expressed our concern that the BBC might well be making a blunder in overestimating the potential of the planned TV service and as the closures took place comments made in the countries concerned suggested it could also be underestimating the value of the service in the countries that were losing it.
Despite the BBC comments we cannot really see this move as being unrelated to political pressures and we suspect it will be another Blair blunder (does anyone seriously think that if PM Tony Blair had wanted to continue the services the means wouldn't have been found?).
The Nation, Thailand, report:
2006-01-15: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) FM Licence Auction 62, which began on Thursday, had reached Round four by the end of Friday with the total for Provisionally Winning Bids (PWBs) topping USD 12 million and three bids above USD 1 million.
There were 353 new bids in the round, 160 total PWBs and a gross total for of USD 12,674,700 after 119 new PWBs in the round: For previous rounds the totals were 496 bids in Round One with 156 PWBs totalling a gross of USD6,694,300; 287 new bids in Round two with 123 new PWBs taking the PWB total to 157 and a gross of USD7,968,100; 120 new bids in Round three taking the PWB total to 159 and a gross of USD10,259,600;
In the first round PWBs ranged between USD 1,500 in bids from L.Topaz Enterprises, Inc. for a permit in Yakutat, Alaska and White Park Broadcasting, Inc. for a permit for Baggs, Wyoming, to a high of USD 360,000 from Indian Wells Broadcasting LLC for a permit in for a permit Indian Wells, California, and James B Benns for one in Satellite Beach, Florida.
In the second round PWBs ranged between USD 1,700 from Lorenz E Proetti for a permit in Baggs, Wyoming to a high of USD 515,000 from Horton Broadcasting Company, Inc. for a permit in Satellite Beach, Florida.
In the third round, which saw the first bid to top USD 1 million, PWBs ranged between USD 1,700 from Radio Layne, LLC for a permit for Yakutat, Alaska, to a high of 1,021,000 from Indian Wells Broadcasting LLC for a permit for Indian Wells, California.
By the end of the fourth round there were three bids topping USD 1 million - PWBs ranged between USD 1,900 from Radio Layne, LLC for a permit for Yakutat, Alaska, to USD 1,297,000 from Horton Broadcasting Company, Inc. for a permit in Satellite Beach, Florida. The two other bids above a million were of USD 1,255,000 from Fine Arts Broadcasting for a permit in Bristol, Vermont, and of USD 1,235,000 from James D McDaniel for a permit for Indian Wells, California.
2006-01-15: XM Satellite Radio has declared a dividend on its 8.25% Series B Convertible Redeemable Preferred Stock. It is payable at the beginning of February in shares of the Company's Class A Common Stock at a rate of USD 1.0313 per share of Series B Preferred Stock owned, with fractional shares to be paid in cash.
The shares to be issued are valued at 95% of the average daily price of the Class A Common Stock for the 10 consecutive trading days ending on January 12, 2006.
2006-01-15: UK Guardian Media Group chief executive Sir Robert Phillis, who is 60, has announced that he is to retire on health grounds and will step down in July, although he will remain with the company as a non-executive director.
Phillis, who is also chair of independent production group All3Media, president of the Royal Television Society , and on the boards of ITV and the Lawn Tennis Association, joined GMG in 1997 from the BBC, where he was deputy director-general for five years after holding other senior roles with the Corporation. Prior to that he had various roles in British commercial broadcasting including being chief executive of ITN.
In a statement Phillis said, "As my colleagues are already aware, I was diagnosed with an early stage bone marrow cancer last summer. Since that time I am pleased to report that my treatment has progressed well."
Phillis, who is to undergo a bone-marrow transplant later in the year, added, "By relinquishing my full-time role as chief executive of the group, I will be able to concentrate on my non-executive responsibilities and create the time and opportunity to pursue other interests."
2006-01-14: ABC's KLOS-FM in Los Angeles has followed GCap Media's Birmingham station BRMB, which this month announced a repeat of the competition it first staged seven years ago (See RNW Jan 6) into the "2 Strangers And A Wedding" world although KLOS President & GM John H. Davison has labelled it more portentously as "this initiative into reality radio".
In the case of KLOS, its morning team of Mark and Brian (Mark Thompson and Brian Phelps) will audition applicants over the next seven weeks - starting with prospective brides - the final applicant for bride will be made at KLOS studios on January 25 and of groom at its studios on February 8
A panel from the station will then whittle the applicants down to "five bachelorettes and five bachelors" - through a series of tasks after which the judging panel and the Bride will be involved in choosing a Groom out of the finalists that have been selected by the judging panel, although the bride will " not meet, know the identity of or see any Groom in person until the day of the Commitment Ceremony" on March 3 to be followed by a honeymoon trip starting the next day.
This contrasts with the latest Birmingham contest, which has so far attracted around 250 applications compared to a total of some 200 in the original contest, and in which, although a panel will narrow the applicants down to eight the winning couple will be chosen by listeners' votes sent in through text messages: In the original contest, which BRMB is now claiming as Britain's first "reality media" event, judges decided on the winner.
KLOS is offering a package totalling some USD 32,000 in all -for the bride an "engagement & one matching wedding band" with MSRP of USD 9,000 plus a trip for one to Kauai, Hawaii including five nights hotel accommodation based on single occupancy with MSRP of USD 3,000 and for the groom of a matched wedding band with MSRP of USD 500, a one-year car lease MSRP 8,400 and the same trip and hotel package. In addition on production of a bona fide marriage certificate a check in their legally married name will be given to the couple.
KLOS has limited applications geographically - entrants have to "have the ability to listen to the Mark & Brian radio program using a standard FM radio" and says they must also be 21 or over with current valid driver's license or current valid passport.
Previous GCap Media:
BRMB web site:
KLOS web site (Be warned: This currently opens on a page with the competition promoted to the sounds of the Wedding March).
2006-01-14: CHUM Ltd has reported first quarter revenues up 16.3% on a year ago to CAD 186.7 million (USD 161.2million) with profits up 13.2% to CAD 24.3 million (USD 21.0 million- from CAD 0.78 to CAD 0.86 per share)): Like Corus, which reported a day earlier (See RNW Jan 13), the growth was led by TV advertising revenues.
In divisional terms TV revenues were up 20.3% to CAD 146.4 million (USD 126.4 million USD ) and radio revenues were up 3.5% to CAD 37.4 million (USD 32.3 million) and "other" revenues were up 7.9% TO cad 3.0 million (USD 2.6 million).
CHUM termed the overall results "satisfactory" and commented on radio," The radio segment recorded solid results in the first quarter. As previously disclosed in the Annual MD&A, management believes the Company's radio stations are facing a challenging environment in fiscal 2006, with lower growth in radio industry advertising and increased competition in certain markets. The impact of these factors has been reflected in the growth in revenue and EBITDA in the quarter compared with the very strong growth rates achieved during the corresponding period last year."
CHUM has also declared a regular quarterly dividend of CAD 0.01 per share on its Non-voting Class B shares.
2006-01-14: US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO David K. Rehr has written to Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol to propose collaboration to "to find a workable solution to content protection issues associated with terrestrial digital radio broadcasting", saying that the transition is well under way and that a balanced industry resolution could aid H digital radio's rollout by removing uncertainty.
He goes on to say that NAB thinks the risk of piracy through digital radio is much less than the RIAA has in the past asserted and that it "questions the degree to which HD Radio threatens copyright or will facilitate unauthorized, digital distribution of sound recordings."
"Those desiring to obtain and listen to pure, uninterrupted performances of sound recording in lieu of radio already have an abundant number of means to do so," he says. "Peer-to-peer file sharing and the hours of uninterrupted music that can be stored on CDs and discs are but a few such means. iPod uploads and digital music on the Internet would seem to present much larger and more immediate threats to copyright holders."
Rehr takes up RIAA suggestion of encryption at source, which NAB strongly opposes and that he says would render receivers already sold and also potentially carry the same risk for transmission equipment, and adds that NAB believes "there are possibilities for technical solutions that would offer effective content protection without slowing digital radio's advancement."
RNW comment: We're not quite sure what this last comment means in practical terms but it does seem to us that the NAB has a strong case here in terms of the real threat, as opposed to that perceived by the RIAA, of people ripping songs from HD radio rather than getting them through technically easier routes (albeit equipment could be manufactured to combine MP3 players with HD radios just as it can with FM and cell phones).
We think that the recording companies have been both greedy and short-sighted over digital in that they did not recognize opportunity so much as bemoaned the loss of every last cent, often of revenues that wouldn't have come their way anyway: Certainly not everyone who downloaded a song would have done so had they had to pay for it, thus leading to some very misleading figures being bandied about concerning losses (the liars figuring rather than the figures lying comes to mind again).
At the same time the NAB latter is interesting - is it just part of NAB's PR case rather than being meant to go further and if so is this because they think the RIAA has successfully lobbied (bribed?) more American politicians since Congress enacted the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act of 1995 and subsequent Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998?
What we'd like to see is a balance where the politicians think first and foremost of the interest of consumers with that of manufacturers and copyright holders being seen against this yardstick - having complete freedom to copy things and no patents would certainly stifle technological development to the long-term detriment of all but we think a situation where the big-money goes to politicians from the industries concerned has already taken the balance too far away from consumer interests.
2006-01-14: BBC unions have warned that further industrial action is inevitable if the corporation continues to press for compulsory redundancies, which the unions say are not necessary and that BBC Director General Mark Thompson has said he will not rule out although he would achieve as much as possible through voluntary means. .
In a joint statement the BBC plus the unions, Amicus, BECTU and the NUJ, said both sides "acknowledged the considerable progress made in divisional talks since last June's ACAS agreement. (The unions then withdrew the threat of further strikes although they warned of possible further industrial action and re-iterated their opposition to compulsory redundancies - See RNW Jun 10, 2005)"
The unions have offered "on a wholly exceptional basis" to waive two months of the five month redeployment period which staff who are being made compulsorily redundant are entitled to under the statement agreed by the unions and the BBC in 1998 although they note this would not change July 1 this year as the earliest date under the ACAS agreement at which the compulsory redundancies in the present change programme could be effected but would mean that it would not be necessary to send any compulsory redundancy notices out until April 1, thus allowing more time for attempts to reduce the need for these.
The statement added that the unions emphasized that compulsory redundancies were unacceptable to them and added, "They also told Mark Thompson that they believed there were further steps the BBC could take to achieve its targets through voluntary rather than compulsory means but said they were concerned that time was running out and that, unless progress could be made, further industrial action was inevitable."
For the BBC Thompson said the corporation "had to meet its value for money and headcount targets and that the change programme had to continue within the context of the existing divisional talks and the timetable laid down in the ACAS agreement" but committed himself to ensuring that the unions' suggestions were fed into the divisional talks and said the BBC's divisional directors "would be asked to redouble their efforts to minimize the number of compulsory redundancies" and that the corporation "would look again at whether it was feasible to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies through better inter-divisional co-ordination."
2006-01-14: Eastlan has announced that it has added Benton Harbor, Michigan, to the areas it rates, its first addition for this year although its President and CEO Mike Gould says the company "will have 6 or 7 new markets under contract by the end of January."
He describes Benton Harbor as "an ideal Eastlan market" and adds, "While the buzz surrounding electronic measurement in larger markets has the industry's attention, small market broadcasters are also hungry for strategies to provide accountability to their advertisers, Eastlan's combination of cost effective audience measurement, actionable data and industry credibility seems to be filling that niche."
2006-01-13: BIA Financial Network (BIAfn) says US radio station transactions announced in 2005 totalled USD 2.8 billion, only slightly above the totals for the previous two years and that but for the sale of Susquehanna Media's stations - a deal valued at around USD 1.2 billion (See RNW Nov 1, 2005)- the total would have been the lowest for five years. In November it had revised its estimates for the year upwards from a projected USD 2.0 billion range to a projected USD 3.2 billion because of the Susquehanna deal, rather more than actually eventuated and it says that it now sees no indication that there will be growth over the coming years, although it adds that the downturn did not affect stations in areas that are not rated by Arbitron.
Noting that the total in transactions for the past five years was only two-thirds of the figure for 2000, prior to which there had been considerable consolidation following passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Mark Fratrik, VP of BIA Financial Network, comments that the trend "indicates that potential buyers are looking for strategic acquisitions in smaller markets since there are few, if any, radio stations available in the larger markets where most of the strong stations are already part of local clusters."
He adds that by "developing a cluster of radio stations in an unrated market, groups can work with Arbitron to establish it as a rated market", commenting that in 1996, there were 261 Arbitron markets, and now there are 296 and that establishing a rated market provides the opportunity to increase revenues at a faster pace than otherwise.
BIA's figures show station transactions totalled USD 3.8 billion in 2001, rising to USD 5.4 billion in 2002, then falling to USD 2.4 billion and USD 1.9 billion in 2003 and 2004 respectively and it notes that in the period up to 2005 the annual number has ranged between 1000 (the high point in 2001) and 759 (the low in 2002 -when the total was boosted by Univision's purchase of Hispanic Broadcasting): It has been predicting for several years that sales will move towards unrated markets and says that whereas in 2000, there were 2-½ times more stations sold in rated markets than stations in unrated market by 2005, there were only a third more sold in rated markets.
Fratrik commented of the overall trend, "The steep drop in the value of the stations that were sold is troublesome and there does not appear to be any specific reason to believe it will change in the next few years."
"The Susquehanna sale artificially boosted the total value for the year. Taking this into consideration, for 2006 and beyond, concern continues on the ability of the radio industry to generate strong revenue growth consistently from year-to-year. Confronted with new competition such as satellite radio and iPods in the audio marketplace, radio is being challenged from all sides to demonstrate a healthy and strong future. As such, there is great apprehension on acquiring stations and investing in this industry."
2006-01-13: CBS Radio's withdrawal from heavy spending on expensive sporting rights has led the Dallas Cowboys and KLUV-FM to a parting of the ways according to a Dallas Morning News report, which quotes a CBS Radio executive as saying they were not pursuing a new contract because none of the proposals from the Cowboys made economic sense for CBS.
The executive, who the paper says requested anonymity pending an official announcement, told the paper KLUV had suffered significant losses in a contract that paid the team USD 8 million in 2005 and that they wanted to increase for 2006.
The paper says the team and CBS discussed various deals including revenue sharing and a straight time buy from the station that would have allowed the Cowboys to sell their own advertising.
One possible alternative, Cumulus ( formerly Susquehanna) all-sports station KTCK -AM (the Ticket) also found the asking price too steep according to the paper which quoted general manager Dan Bennett as saying they had a brief conversation with the Cowboys in November and added, "It wasn't palatable with our business model,"
The paper says a Cowboys spokesman said they had no comment but speculated that they might move to a temporary radio home while the organization tries to buy its own radio station.
RNW comment: The "buy a station "approach was the one followed by the St Louis Cardinals last year when CBS's KMOX-AM decided not to renew its baseball contract with them (See RNW Aug 6, 2005) and is also thought to be a likely move for the Redskins, whose deal with CBS's is also now not expected to be renewed and whose their owner moved to start his own broadcasting business (See RNW Jan 12)
As our view of many sporting teams is that they are greedy businesses exploiting fans emotive loyalties - and far too many of their players are overpaid and arrogant louts with talents only in a limited area - our feeling is that in the long run the CBS decision to walk away from overpaying will be good for radio. As well as stemming losses, it is also likely to mean some other owners get an unexpectedly high price for their stations, albeit some of those stations are probably serving their wider communities better than a successor sports station is likely to.
If the move pays off for the teams, good luck to them. If on the other hand they end up losing heavily we're not going to have any sympathy nor will we be concerned about knock-on effects providing local authorities rather than subsidizing them with taxpayers money tell them to get lost if they try for handouts, either in the form of financing for stadiums or in other ways.
We're all for support for sporting activities for people in general but think that not even a dime should be shelled out to professional clubs that make the wrong bets out of greed.
RNW note: As of our most recent check CBS Radio's home page is still listing the Dallas Cowboys amongst its sports franchises. We also note that fall ratings show that in Chicago, where its news format WBBM-AM carries the Chicago Bears, sports boosted ratings taking the station up a rank to second rank overall with a share up from 4.7 in the summer to 5.0.
News station WGN-AM fell back from a top ranked 6.1 to third placed 4.9, behind WBBM and Clear Channel's urban contemporary WGCI-FM, which moved up from a second-place 5.3 to the top spot with 5.9.
Dallas Morning News report:
2006-01-13: Toronto-headquartered Corus Entertainment has announced first financial quarter revenues to the end of November up 8% to CAD 195.3 million (USD 168.2 million) led by a 14% increase in specialty TV advertising revenues and a 10% increase in radio advertising revenues.
Overall Corus had net income up 7.9 % at CAD 31.4 million (USD 27.05 million - up from CAD 0.68 basic and diluted earnings per share to CAD 0.73 basic and CAD 0.72 diluted earnings per share).
Television division revenues were up 10.5% to CAD 108.8 million (USD 93.7 million) and TV profit was up 16% to CAD 52.0 million (USD 44.8 million), radio division revenues were up 10% to CAD 72.4 million ( USD 62.4 million ) with profits up 4% to CAD 21.9 million ( USD 18.9 million) - same station revenues were up 9% and profits by around 12%, and content division revenues were down 20.5% to CAD 15.7 million ( USD 13.5 million) although profit was up from CAD 100,000 (USD 86,000 ) a year ago to CAD 500,000 ( USD 431,000).
Commenting on the figures, President and CEO John Cassaday said, "Fiscal 2006 is off to a great start with particularly strong growth in our Television division. Radio results continued to build on the momentum from last year with same station* revenue up 9%."
Corus increased its dividend on is class A and class B shares from nine cents and ten cents respectively to 39 cents and 40 cents, an increase executive chairwoman Heather Shaw said was made possible by the company's "continuing strong business" and represented "an effective use of our cash and demonstrates the strength of our free cash flow."
Corus shares ended the day unchanged at CAD 33.
Winnipeg headquartered CanWest Global Communications Corp. reported revenues for its quarter down 1% to CAD 860 million ( USD 741 million) with net earnings down a seventh from CAD 35 million ( USD 30.2 million) to CAD 30 million (USD 25.8 million - down from CAD 0.20 to CAD 0.17 per share).
Revenues fell for all operations except TV in Ireland and New Zealand and outdoor in Australia - New Zealand radio revenues were down by just 0.8% to CAD 23.6 million (USD 20.3 million).
CanWest said that excluding non-recurring charges and gains net earnings would have been down around 14.6% to CAD 82 million (USD 70.6 million - from CAD 0.54 to CAD 0.46 a share).
President and CEO Leonard Asper, who said the company remained cautious about prospects for the rest of the year, commented, "The benefits of the Company's five year program of improving its balance sheet and financial flexibility were evident in the quarter as financing costs declined by CAD 21 million (USD 18 million ) over the same period last year."
"In spite of difficult market conditions for the income trust sector, "he added, "the successful IPO of our newspaper and online divisions transformed the Company. The IPO enabled the Company to repay CAD400 million (USD 344.5 million) of debt, reduce CanWest corporate debt by CAD 1.4 billion (USD 1.21 billion) and provides the Company with a vehicle for further acquisitions, which we intend to pursue on an accretive basis."
Previous Leonard Asper:
Previous Heather Shaw:
2006-01-13: US National Public Radio (NPR) has announced that former ABC TV Nightline host Ted Koppel and ABC News correspondent and former print journalist Michel Martin are to join it: Koppel, who will move to NPR in June will provide analysis, commentary and perspective on NPR News national programming around once a week and Martin, who will continue as a contributor to ABC programmes, will start on Monday next week.
NPR SVP for Programming Jay Kernis commented of the Koppel move, "Ted told the Wall Street Journal that 'The e-mail that I was leaving went out at 10:59 (and) the first offer to go elsewhere came at 11:01.' It took us those two minutes to get his e-mail address."
"Ted and NPR are a natural fit, with curiosity about the world and commitment to getting to the heart of the story," added Kernis. "He has not only covered every significant news event in the last four decades, but has shined a light on stories, issues and people who would otherwise be invisible."
Koppel responded, "I have been an unabashed fan of NPR for many years and have stolen untold excellent ideas from its programming. It's time to give something back."
As well as his radio work, Koppel is to host and produce long form programming and town hall events examining major global topics and events for the Discovery Channel and NPR will have the right to make an the audio simulcast of the television town hall events available to NPR member stations for broadcast.
Martin will initially serve as a contributor to and substitute host on NPR programmes whilst working on the development of a new afternoon public affairs and cultural program focusing on stories of importance to African Americans that is being produced in partnership with the African American Public Radio Consortium (AAPRC) and is scheduled to launch late this year. The show will be a daily companion show to NPR's News & Notes with Ed Gordon, also co-produced by NPR and the AAPRC and Kernis commented, "We are delighted that Michel will be bringing her unique point of view to NPR and a brand-new program. Michel has won honours and fans as a journalist who interprets news and issues in a way that provides context and perspective. With this new show, serving as a complement to the distinctive program News & Notes, its host Ed Gordon and host/correspondent Farai Chideya, NPR expands its commitment to providing a place in radio for diverse voices."
Martin responded, "I've always loved working with start-up programming and am thrilled to have that opportunity using the global resources and diverse talents of NPR News. My goal is to lift up new voices and build on the standard of excellence people know and expect from NPR."
2006-01-12: Clear Channel Washington & Baltimore VP Bennett Zier is leaving to become CEO of Red Zebra Broadcasting, a new company being launched by Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and there are rumours that the new company could take over broadcasts of the team's games which CBS Radio is expected to drop unless their price is significantly reduced (See RNW Dec 26, 2005).
Red Zebra is to acquire and run radio, television and Internet operations regionally and nationally but nothing has been announced of how it will relate to Redskins.com TV that Snyder launched in August last year with executives including Larry Michael, former executive producer of Westwood One/CBS Sports, and Mark Shapiro, ESPN's former head of programming,
Zier said of his move that he couldn't "pass up" the opportunity, which had developed only during the past few weeks: He refused to comment on rumours that Snyder was interested in acquiring three Washington-area radio stations from Mega Communications - WBZS-FM and WBPS-FM, which simulcast the "Mega Clasica" Spanish Classic Hits format, and Spanish-language News/Talk/Sports/Regional Mexican WKDL-AM - but told the Washington Business Journal to look for an announcement next week.
Clear Channel said it would start searching for a replacement for Zier immediately with its mid-South region SVP Alene Grevey saying they had "been truly fortunate to have someone of Bennett's calibre for the past 10 years."
Zier has nearly 30 years experience including a spell as Vice President of Sales CBS Radio from 1988 - 1990 after which he joined Chancellor Media which was to become part of AMFM and ultimately Clear Channel following takeovers.
Previous CBS Radio: .
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mega Communications:
Washington Business Journal report:
Washington Redskins site (Drop down menu to RedskinsTV):
2006-01-12: London Heart FM owner Chrysalis hasn't waited long after the re-launch of GCap Media's Capital Radio (See RNW Jan 10) to start the fight to keep its top ranking in London: It's launching a GBP 1.5 million ( USD 2.7 million) advertising campaign to promote its breakfast show hosted by Jamie Theakston on TV and in cinemas in the London area.
Two 30-second TV spots created by Clemmow Hornby Inge will run for eight weeks on the three terrestrial analogue commercial channels in London plus four digital stations: These will show Theakston cheering up a mother on a school run and a female jogger in a park with the tag line, "Heart breakfast with Jamie Theakston. Are you up for it?"
Another rival Emap has strengthened the team at is dance music station Kiss 100, which it is to re-launch in the spring, by hiring Nick Button, formerly brand marketing director for Chrysalis's dance network Galaxy, to the newly created post of marketing director.
In the role he will oversee marketing, creative and brand strategy planning and activity for the Kiss network, focusing initially on the London station.
Kiss has lost around a third of its audience from its peak in the third quarter of 2002 when it had 1.7 million listeners and a 4.8% listening share but in the third quarter of last year this was down to 1.36 million with listening share down to 3.5%.
2006-01-12: Although there is no word whether they will in fact sell any of their holdings, Howard Stern and his agent Don Buchwald are now owners of 34.375,000 shares in Sirius Satellite Radio, options that became due early because subscriber targets had been reached by the company (See RNW Jan 6).
Sirius filed the holdings with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday - Stern's company One Twelve Inc. receives 31,250, 000 shares worth around USD 191 million at closing on Wednesday - a little less than when the initial announcement was made - and Buchman's company Chipombe LLC a tenth as many.
Sirius has also announced that all Rolls-Royces sold in the US will now have Sirius as a standard feature, including a lifetime subscription but sales of the BMW-owned brand are only in the hundreds a year.
2006-01-11: Smart marketing by CBS Radio or signs of sponsorship-type deals of the future? CBS Radio's five JACK-FM stations in Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis Los Angeles, and New York will go commercial-free on Sunday to play music and voiceovers promoting Fox TV and the return to it of the 24-Hours programme.
The idea according to Kaye Bentley, Fox's SVP national media/affil marketing/on-air, quoted in Variety, came from CBS. She said, "The guys from Infinity (now CBS Radio) came to us and said, 'We've got Jack stations and you've got Jack Bauer (the lead character in the hit series), doesn't it make sense to do something together?'"
The result was a 24-hour deal with the stations for which Bentley said she is paying a "substantial" amount but still got a good deal, adding, "It's a small component (of our campaign), but we always try to do a fun element," says Bentley. "This and 'American Idol' are our big deals, and you'll be able to tell that."
Previous CBS/CBS Radio:
Variety report (subscription site):
2006-01-11: GMG Radio has reported revenues in the final quarter of 2005 up 22%, its third fiscal quarter, according to the UK Guardian, which is owned by the same parent. It notes that the rise follows a 13% increase in the previous quarter and quotes GMG Radio chief executive John Myers as saying, "While the market is tougher, our unique brands are demonstrating double-digit growth with ever-increasing audience figures alongside them."
Myer's whose group runs three Real Radio stations in Scotland, Wales and Yorkshire as well as Smooth FM in London and the north-west, said the figures were strong because of a "unique blend of local, regional and national revenue streams" and added, The final quarter has also started well and I am confident that the growth will continue over the coming months."
Previous GMG Radio:
UK Guardian report:
2006-01-11: Astral Radio has now entered the online market for music in Canada with radiolibre.ca, a music streaming service in English and French that it is says will give an "incomparable freedom of choice in music listening and access to a mega play list" with around 400,000 songs - including more than 100,000 Quebec songs - comprising such genres as techno, rock, jazz, blues, hip-hop, classic, country and punk - on offer this month.
The service will feature a combination of (rather limited) free and subscription sections that offers higher quality audio plus the opportunity to download and edit as many music profiles they want as well as listen to archived programs and exclusive podcasts.
The site is currently offering a 30-day free trial but does not list charges upfront: It uses technology developed in Quebec as part of the CIRANO (Centre universitaire de recherche en analyse des organizations) project - the result of research by professors at McGill University and l'Université de Montréal, in collaboration with Double V3, a leading developer of applications for the music and media industries.
This allows users to create their own profiles or listen to existing music profiles that are to their taste and also to share their music with other users.
Commenting on the service that launched last week, Denis Rozon, the vice-president general manager of radiolibre.ca, commented, "We wanted to create an entirely new concept that features interactivity, allowing users to share their passion and musical knowledge with fans of the same genre of music and with the collaborators and guest-artists whose musical selections will be geared to the discovery of new talent."
The site says it is "committed to providing a showcase for home-grown groups who need to get exposure to be better known but are unable to do so because of the more rigid structure of commercial radio", adding that it also "hopes that it becomes a meeting place for people that live outside the major centres so that they'll be able to discuss their music selections with a wide audience.
Astral is partnered with CHUM in the terrestrial bid that won a licence for subscription radio in Canada but their terrestrially-based system has not yet launched and the companies had said in advance that it would not be viable if both satellite bidders gained licences, as they did. It is currently seeking changes to its licence conditions that would allow it to air foreign programming on the channel (See RNW Dec 16, 2005).
Meanwhile Standard Radio, which is a partner in Sirius Canada along with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), has launched a beta re-vamp of its IcebergRadio.com music web site: It produces the Iceberg Radio rock channel on Sirius Canada.
Previous Sirius Canada:
IceBergRadio.com site (for Canadian residents):
2006-01-11: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin J. Martin has named Dr. Kent Nilsson as Acting Inspector General and Jon Stover as Acting Deputy Inspector General.
Nilsson takes over from Horace Walker Feaster III who retired on January 3: He most recently served as Special Counsel and Deputy Chief of the FCC's Network Technology Division in the Office of Engineering and Technology
Stover most recently served as Special Advisor to the Director of the FCC's Office of Legislative Affairs after having served as Senior Counsel in the Wireline Competition Bureau and in the Office of General Counsel.
The FCC has also fined Philadelphia pirate operator Louis Gentile USD 10,000 for operation of an unauthorized station in 2004.
It had sent him a warning letter that year after receiving a complaint and tracing the signal's origin and the FCC says in June 2004 in an interview with two FCC agents he admitted operating the station in May that year.
A Notice of Apparent Violation for USD 10,000 was subsequently issued in November 2004 to which Gentile responded denying that he admitted or had ever made unauthorized broadcasts and said nothing had ever been found at his house.
The FFC said that agents had in fact observed a radio transmitting antenna on the roof and a coaxial cable going from the antenna on the roof into the basement of his house and that he had provided no explanation of his admission in June and subsequent recantation. If confirmed the full penalty.
2006-01-11: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin upholds no radio complaints although its lists three radio complaints and one TV complaint considered resolved by the broadcaster's actions: It upheld one TV standards complaint and upheld in part a TV fairness and privacy one and also listed with details three TV fairness and privacy complaints not upheld.
This compares with two radio complaints upheld -including the record fine imposed on Emap's Manchester station Piccadilly Radio in November last year (See RNW Nov 25, 2005)- in the previous bulletin that also listed sanctions in one TV case, upheld two TV standards complaints and listed another not upheld; considered other TV standards cases resolved, all but two of which involved the Big Brother programme; partly upheld a TV fairness and privacy complaint and gave details of two other TV cases fairness and privacy complaints that were not upheld.
The radio cases considered resolved were:
*One of the use of the word "bastard" on Preston, Lancashire, station Rock FM when a presenter read out a listener's text verbatim in the late morning. The station apologized and said the presenter had been spoken to and recognized that use of the word was inappropriate at that time of the day.
*A complaint against a BBC Essex competition in which the presenter's style was to introduce a competition by listing the prize he'd like to be able to offer but could not because of lack of funds and then follow with a disclaimer. On this occasion he had forgotten the usual disclaimer until he was on air with the listener, whom he had called back, and thought the prize was a shopping trip to New York.
The listener complained of being "humiliated" when she won the prize, was called back and put on air, and said she thought the presenter ,who had asked if she had ever been to New York, was "just being silly" when he said he could not afford to send her there.
The prize was actually a CD, a car sticker and a card with pictures of BBC Essex DJs and following the incident the presenter had written a personal apology to the complainant and the editor had spoken to her, with reassurance that what had happened was the result of an unfortunate error, not deliberate deception.
*A complaint against Newcastle upon Tyne station Metro Radio and a sponsorship credit in which the sponsor claimed "No one saves you more money", a message that a competitor suggested could not be substantiated. The station said that the station management had noticed the content of the credit and were already in the process of amending it when Ofcom alerted them to the complaint.
Ofcom also listed with no details a further 152 complaints against 127 items that were rejected or held to be out of remit compared to corresponding totals of 143 complaints against 120 items in the previous bulletin.
These included 18 radio complaints relating to 18 items and 134 TV complaints relating to 109 items compared to 14 radio complaints relating to 14 items and 129 TV complaints relating to 106 items in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2006-01-10: Howard Stern, despite his advance statement on not using the "F" word, made a triple-F debut on Sirius Satellite Radio on Monday - an "F" at the start of the show with a farted version of Richard Strauss's "Also Sprach Zarathustra" ("Thus spake Zarathustra", the opening music of 2001: A Space Odyssey) followed by a foul-up of some 15 to 20 minutes of technical glitches and then the use of the F-word when he finally revealed, after announcing - to see the "reaction around the room" -that he had wed her, his non-revelation of his non-marriage to girlfriend Beth Ostrosky.
Of the latter, after leading listeners on, he finally said, "I am not married. It's a nice feeling that we get along great. We're very happy and I don't want to fuck it up."
Promised revelations from others of the Stern cast were also hardly shocking - "I cheated on my wife and she caught me", "I have spent well over $10,000 on Internet porn and so on (The list is available through a link from the January 9 News section of Stern's site in advance of next week's linking of the names with the revelations).
The show also saw the debut as announcer of George "Mr. Sulu" Takei, who introduced Stern as "the most testosterone-filled man on the planet!" and included as a guest Bubba the Love Sponge, who has legally changed his name from Todd Clem and whom Stern has hired to host the afternoon drive show on one of the two Sirius channels that Stern is running.
Stern and crew took the opportunity to question 68-years-old Takei, who recently announced that he is a homosexual, about his sexual past and preferences and also aired an uncensored voicemail set to pop music from "The Insider" host Pat O'Brien ( The "hookers and coke" one, which is still on the Internet).
He also tried to contact his New York replacement David Lee Roth but without success, reacting by criticizing Roth for refusing to take negative calls on the air.
In more conventional mode Stern said he found congratulations on the new show "aggravating. It's not like we've never done a show before", and in a news conference gave his list of what he found offensive - nothing to do with sex except in the context of churches covering up for sex molester priests, the US religious right acting "like the Taliban" and various things to do with the war in Iraq - and the important business question - Stern believes people will pay for radio because unlike the iPod it can provide content.
The show had no commercials although from today onwards it will six commercial units an hour according to the host.
Print comment on the launch was generally made up of fairly straightforward reports, that from the Associated Press getting wide use, but not everyone agreed. From Paul Bourgeois in his blog in the Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram came a string of comments the tenor which was set by a comment before the airing," So, why are we giving live bloggage to the satellite radio premiere of a juvenile smut bucket with girly-man hair? It could be because there are millions of underdeveloped drooling dolts out there across the fruited plain who can't get enough of this lout's crappola."
Previous Bubba the Love Sponge:
DFW Star-Telegram - Bourgeois blog:
San Francisco Chronicle/AP - Stern debut:
Screenhead.com - O'Brien voicemails -( 5 mins, 2.29 Mb Windows audio):
Stern web site:
2006-01-10: Two UK stations were closed down on Monday in advance of a re-launch news week and in London, GCap Media re-launched its flagship, changing the name of the somewhat sickly Capital FM to Capital Radio - although the web site URL is still there as Capital FM: It is promoting the new station as having, "Less ads, more music and brand new shows."
It has introduced a new logo and music policy that will see a move to a wider playlist of melodic music and less "manufactured" pop - promoted on the site as "More of the music you love with a bigger, better range of songs" - as well as the addition of a 24-hour London newsroom and a policy of fewer adverts.
It has retained name hosts including Johnny Vaughan on the breakfast show and Richard Bacon at drivetime, although the latter's slot has been moved back an hour to start at 5 P.M.
The afternoon and main evening slots have been re-vamped with Chris Brooks getting a four-hour show preceding Bacon's "The Go Home Show " and Paul Gillies following in the 20:00 to 23:00 slot before the station wraps the evening with London's Love Songs to 01:00.
Former afternoon host Neil Bentley and Jeremy Kyle, whose "Jeremy Kyle's Capital Confessions" has been axed, remain with the station, the former with a lunchtime weekend show and the latter with a weekly Sunday evening show from 21:00 to midnight and the station has also added a Saturday morning show from Craig Doyle.
The changes were made following a loss of ratings that saw the station in third place for the first time- behind Chrysalis's Heart and Emap's Magic - and an exercise in which the station e-mailed some 100,000 current and lapsed listeners from its VIP Club and followed this with research to find out what they wanted from the station.
In the West Midlands, CN Group closed down two of stations - The Bear 102 in Stratford-upon-Avon and Kix 96.2 in Coventry - at 09:00GMT on Monday and is to re-launch them next Monday at 08:00 GMT as Touch FM. The stations announced the close and then went to continuous music plus announcements and news.
Last year CN tried but failed to get permission from UK media regulator Ofcom to change the music policy on KIX from mainly chart and urban music to golden oldies music (See RNW Aug 8, 2005).
Previous CN Group:
Previous GCap Media:
Capital Radio web site:
2006-01-10: Emmis has reported third quarter revenues up 11% to USD 100.5 million inside which reported (and pro-forma) publishing net revenues were up 18% to USD 24.5 million, reported radio net revenues were up 10% to USD 76.017 million and pro-forma radio net revenues, including WLUP-FM and the Emmis radio networks in Slovakia and Bulgaria - international radio net revenues totalled USD 5.9 million, were up 4% to USD 76.418 million: The reported revenue figures exclude the results of Emmis' television stations and WRDA-FM, St. Louis, which are being sold and have been classified as discontinued operations.
Overall Emmis's net income from continuing operations was down from USD 6.31 million to USD 2.53 million with diluted income per common share down from seven cents to one cent; its net income from discontinued operations was up more than ten-fold from USD 13.5 million to USD 197.5 million; and its Net income available to common shareholders rose from USD 17.6 million to USD 197.8 million (from 31cents to USD 5.31 per share).
Commenting on the results, Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said, "Emmis saw a lot of positive activity this quarter, and the results are still emerging. By the end of the month, we expect to have sold 13 of our 16 television stations, and, as promised, we have continued to build a solid capital structure. And we accomplished all this while remaining focused on operations, beating our radio markets and delivering another strong quarter. Looking ahead, we expect even more success in Chicago due to current investments in talent and promotions."
Looking ahead Emmis is forecasting radio net revenues for its quarter to the end of February to be up approximately 1 to 2% and its station operating expenses, excluding non-cash compensation, to be up approximately 5 to 7%. It says the expense growth is higher than normal due to investments in the Company's Chicago turnaround properties and adds that it profitability of its publishing operations to decline by roughly 50% due to the timing of certain publications and higher paper costs.
At the company's conference call as well as comments about the current business, Smulyan hinted that the company could widen its activities, saying he couldn't yet say what they were but some "exciting things" will be happening: Smulyan did note that he expected the issue of a deal for a new baseball stadium for Washington DC to be settled soon allowing movement on a new owner - A group involving Smulyan is considered a front-runner to purchase The Nationals from Major League Baseball.
He also said that the US radio industry had to deliver regarding digital radio to improve its image on Wall Street, saying things were being done but the industry wouldn't get the credit until numbers came in to back it up.
2006-01-10: Clear Channel has announced that from today it is launching a beta version Music Videos on Demand service on 16 of its radio web sites in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, and
The sites will showcase music videos from groups including EMI Music, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group and Clear Channel says local stations will "customize video-on-demand feature to create a fully interactive listener experience."
It says the feature allows listeners to "participate in key features such as 'Video Challenge,' where they can vote for their favourite artist video" and that stations will determine their own Featured Artist," "Top 10 Video List" or "DJ's Favourite Pick" so as to tailor the video experience to visitors' tastes and preferences.
There will also be a "Buy CD" link and "Share Video" viral component that will allow listeners to share links to the video with others.
Evan Harrison, Executive Vice President of Clear Channel Radio and head of the company's Online Music & Radio unit commented, "As our audience grows, we must grow with them. We see Videos on Demand as a powerful complement to our on-air programming and the next natural step in serving our audience's growing appetite for on-demand content."
Before Clear Channel made the announcement, the Los Angeles Times had reported the plans, saying that the company will not charge users to watch the clips, although it will pay for them - it gives a figure of 0.75 cents to a cent each time a video is played, relying on selling advertisements that play before the videos to turn a profit.
It noted that the move sets Clear Channel in competition with existing players such as AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo! [RNW note: The new video service announced last week at the Consumer Electronic Show by Google is also to include music videos with a deal agreed with SONY-BMG] but that it is betting on its terrestrial market to distinguish its offerings.
"The company," it says, "advertises Internet-only exclusives, such as in-studio videos of rapper Kanye West or sneak peeks of Bon Jovi's new album, over its many radio stations," adding, "Such on-air advertisements would be expensive for AOL, Yahoo and others to replicate because they don't own radio stations."
It also says that Clear Channel hopes that "the company's city-specific websites will attract advertisers uninterested in AOL's and Yahoo's nationally focused online broadcasts."
Scepticism was voiced by some however with Kurt Hanson, publisher of Radio and Internet Newsletter commenting, "If I love Celtic music, I don't care it comes from a local source. The most popular online radio stations have little, if any, on-air chatter." and
David W. Miller, a media analyst at the Sanders Morris Harris Group said, "It's silly to think they can compete with AOL or Yahoo! How many people work in places where they want to listen to music but can't use a radio? And why does a radio company want to invite people online, where there are thousands of competitors, instead of just the dozens on a radio dial?"
Previous Clear Channel:
Los Angeles Times report:
2006-01-10: In mildly encouraging news for the US radio industry, In-Stat says in a report "Digital Radio: Turning Up the Volume on Satellite and Terrestrial Radio Adoption " that it expects the worldwide combined market of both digital satellite and terrestrial radio will grow from approximately 5 million unit shipments in 2004 to 22 million unit shipments in 2009.
It says growth will be driven by new content, data services, partnerships between auto manufacturers and digital radio providers and a fall in receiver prices.
The sting in the tail is that in the US In-Stat says satellite radio will drive digital growth: In-Stat analyst Stephanie Guza comments, In the U.S., satellite radio is driving the digital radio market. In other markets, most notably in the U.K., terrestrial digital audio broadcasting is driving it."
"The launch of Digital Multimedia Broadcast (DMB) services in Japan and Korea, along with increased promotional activity in Singapore, Australia and Taiwan over the next year," she adds, "will drive digital radio shipments in Asia."
In -Stat web site (Full report is USD 3,495):
2006-01-09: With Howard Stern's debut due on Sirius Satellite Radio today, there's no surprise about the top radio story for the US print media both as relates to Stern himself and the business implications of the move, the area we will concentrate on since by tomorrow we'll know what "revelations" he and his sidekicks have disclosed on the show.
Writing in MSNBC, John W. Schoen describes him as "a hard act to follow" but then after noting the promotional blitz for Stern and commenting on the "new chapter in the history of radio " being written by the satellite radio companies Sirius and rival XM continues, " it's not clear how this chapter will end. Each company has lost more than USD 2 billion over the past four years, and neither is expected to turn a profit for at least several more years. Losses widened at both companies in the third quarter, with XM shedding USD 134 million and Sirius more than USD 180 million as they spent heavily to add programming, promote the services and subsidize the cost of the receivers sold to new customers."
He then comments on new competitors "coming down the pike, as wireless broadband Internet service begins to take hold" and the convergence of cell phones, MP3 players and Web-based radio.
Schoen notes the degree to which the reduction in receiver prices has spurred take-up, quoting Craig Moffett, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein as saying, "Discounting of radios is one of the obvious levels they've got to stimulate subscription demand, because over the long term that's where they make their money."
Schoen also notes the deals with automakers and the "big draw" of programming in which both XM and Sirius have invested heavily.
And then there are existing "terrestrial radio" stations on which Schoen comments, "Though the radio industry's growth has been hampered by the rising chatter of saturation advertising (one of satellite radio's key selling points), new digital technology is allowing radio station owners to split their signals and vastly expand the number of channels they can offer. Some radio programmers have cut back on the number of ads they're serving up, hoping that increased ratings will make up for lost revenue from carrying fewer ads."
[RNW comment: One might have thought that when it came to HD it would have already percolated through to US terrestrial companies that receiver prices are crucial to success and that it would be a smart move to take action that would cut prices of HD digital receivers].
And that new technology? Schoen considers it the biggest threat and says "Carmakers are already looking at the potential for wireless Internet as a means to serve up music from anywhere in the world, provide service information from the dealer, find the nearest Thai restaurant, or even download software updates to your car's onboard computer."
In the Los Angeles Daily News Fred Shuster links Stern on Sirius with Bob Dylan on XM, commenting that "the disparate duo are becoming the Lewis and Clark of satellite radio, with the hopes of two competing companies pinned to their respective lapels."
"Big names," he comments, "are big draws for satellite radio providers XM and Sirius, which have concluded that niche music and news programming won't attract the numbers of listeners required to make pay-radio viable."
There are signs comments Shuster that the strategy is working and he quotes XM's executive vice president of programming Eric Logan as saying of its hire: "The timing had to be just right to bring a name like Bob Dylan on the network. You have to have a critical mass of awareness, so when we do put Bob Dylan on, there's genuine growth."
Fred Jacobs, president of Jacobs Media backed the idea of star names, saying, "XM and Sirius discovered you can't build a growing franchise on various kinds of music, no matter how good it is, uninterrupted by commercials. They realize they needed celebrity star power. And I think that's how they view the future -- in terms of big events like Dylan and Stern. Because anybody today can do a better job of programming music for themselves than any radio station can. It's just become incredibly easy to quickly find and hear any type of music you might possibly want, in whatever order you happen to feel at the moment. So, if you can give people something they can't get everywhere -- like programs headed by Dylan, Stern, Snoop Dogg, Tony Hawk, Eminem, Lance Armstrong -- you might be on to something."
ESPN Radio and ABC Music Radio vice president T.J. Lambert also said the programming was crucial, commenting, "You can have every delivery system in the world, but if you don't have compelling content, none of it matters because you won't have listeners " and Shuster notes that once aboard subscribers have "become fans of niche music genres, like bluegrass, soundtracks and jazz, that they previously thought they didn't care about."
And on terrestrial radio response, Shuster notes the "Radio -- you shouldn't have to pay for it" campaign currently being aired [RNW comment: A campaign that is in our view only for the rather simple-minded since the question is a matter of how you pay not whether you pay.] and quotes Jacobs as saying Stern's move could be a "windfall for terrestrial outlets Stern leaving land radio is comparable to Michael Jordan when he hung it up at the NBA and everyone predicted a big shake-up -- and they were right. Radio has to go back to what got them to the dance in the first place -- local programming that holds up a mirror to the community, and music programs hosted by DJs with personality."
"There's only so many hours in the day, and there are just a finite number of hours for people to entertain themselves," added Jacobs. "If commercial broadcasters grasped that inherent truth and if they could just become more risk-taking, all of this talk of a threat from satellite radio might be a moot point."
Enough however of Stern and satellite and a dip into the Washington Post for a report "FM Stations Try to Talk Their Way Out Of Trouble" by Marc Fisher that suggests more FM stations - as happened in Washington last week when Bonneville killed rock station Z-104 and moved talk WTOP onto its FM frequency.
"Commercial broadcast radio," says Fisher, "is fighting the emergence of iPods and Web radio not with more musical choices but with less music altogether."
Bonneville he adds, by "bolstering its offerings of news and talk while diminishing classical music and eliminating its rock station" acknowledged "two eternal truths of popular culture."
" One, every time a new technology comes along, threatening to rock the old media right out of this world, the old media tend to take on new roles rather than die. And two, if you can't fight 'em, join 'em."
Fisher notes that the same has already happened on public radio in the city and he also comments, "The only music formats that are growing on free commercial radio are those that appeal to black and Latino audiences."
"Rock itself," he adds, " is not dying; it's thriving over on satellite radio, the pay service where both XM and Sirius devote more channels to various forms of rock than to any other type of music."
And the potential terrestrial future? "By this time next year, the price of digital radios may drop to a level that makes the units popular, giving every station on the dial the chance to put two or three streams of programming on one frequency. That could open up whole new vistas of sound."
Which of course is a reasonable cue into listening suggestions but before we move on a couple of items about radio in the UK. First on the issue of talk radio is Melanie Reid who in the Glasgow Herald was more than a little sceptical about its expansion in Scotland as her heading made clear: "Talk radio? Don't they know the emperor has no clothes?"
After starting with a fantasy show involving names like JK Rowling, Annie Lennox and others who she imagines as providing good talk radio she goes on: "Trouble is, it won't happen. Oh, speech-based radio will expand all right: whatever we do, a virus of chatter looks certain to colonize the bands. In two months, talk107 FM, Scotland's newest radio station, the first talk station outside London, starts broadcasting to a potential audience of one million in east central Scotland."
"What constitutes quality talk?," she asks. "Whose voices should we listen to? And how can talk107FM, without music, and without resorting to brain rot, fill 24 hours a day with news and views about Edinburgh, Fife and the Lothians? Likewise, what would fill the schedules of a Scottish talk channel, when brave old Radio Scotland can sometimes seem painfully thin on subject matter?"
And answering her own questions, Reid writes, "The answer to these questions, of course, is variations on the theme of pap and waffle. For, in all the discussion over talk radio, there is an absolute avoidance of the fundamental truth: that the emperor has no clothes."
"Now I do not mean to be excessively unkind, but phone-in debates, the meat of talk radio, are all too often conducted among the kind of people you'd feel uneasy standing next to in a supermarket: the cranky, the single-issue campaigner, the pub bore, the maladjusted, the lonely van driver, the wildly intolerant and the attention seeking."
And her conclusion, one that might well be shared on more than one continent: "Funny that the opportunities for the sour, the extreme and the minority have never been greater, and the voice of the moderate majority never fainter."
And then BBC Radio 4 and comment on where controller Mark Damazer might be swinging the axe from Jayne Dowle in the UK Independent.
Before going on to a list of suggestions she notes the attack on the whole channel made by Radio 3 broadcaster Andy Kershaw when he was asked to comment on the axing of the "Home Truths" programme.
Kershaw told Radio 4 Today programme host John Humprys,"A number of programmes are long past their sell-by date" and hit out at Woman's Hour, Money Box, PM, Sandi Toksvig's travel show, Excess Baggage, consumer programme Shop Talk and Veg Talk.
Dowle then goes through some of the old favourites on the station including "In Our Time", "The Afternoon Play", "Midweek", "PM", "Woman's Hour", "Veg Talk" and "Woman's Hour" with comments none of which are particularly complimentary except maybe for those on "In our Time".
Now listening suggestions - and none of the above as it happens as last week and this week together offer a selection of programming we much preferred.
For those tempted to give any credence to the line put forward by the current US administration that revelations of phone taps would or could have come as a surprise to anyone but a complete dolt we'd suggest BBC World Service and "Mobile Phones", a two-part series that began on Wednesday (For listen again go to BBC World Service from our link, open the Radio Player and then select the programme). As well as information on how useful these devices are, particularly in less-developed countries where there is no landline infrastructure, it included comments from a former CIA operative Bob Bear, now a journalist, on the security of any phone call or e-mail and the abilities of authorities to track them that should confirm what any halfway-intelligent terrorist already knew - to use a mobile phone is a little like putting the information on a postcard and hanging out a sign on where you are.
Bear commented, "If you're a journalist stay off the phone. If you ever have anything you don't want someone to know, don't discuss it on the phone." The second part this Wednesday is on the psychological effects of the mobile phone.
Also from World Service last Monday in its "Documentary" slot was "Dirty Money", the first of a three-part series by Michael Buchanan investigating money laundering starting with Russia and the US (This programme is available as an MP3/Podcast as well as a stream but only for seven days, which means last week's MP3 will be updated today).
Then BBC Radio 2 and "The Poet, The Rocker the Phil Lynott story" on the Thin Lizzy frontman who died 20 years ago last week (Jan 4, 1986), notable to us as much for comments by his mother Philomena on her cruel treatment as an unmarried mother of a "nigger" child - the derogatory term used to her at the time - by both other mothers and the nuns in the "workhouse" to which she had been despatched in England - as for the history of Lynott himself.
On to the US and for a slightly different perspective on the news of the moment, last week's "On the Media " from WNYC included a look at coverage of Israeli PM Sharon's stroke, and his relationship with the media.
RNW comment: Like most American reports it skated almost entirely over his early history when he led the notorious Unit 101 whose activities included the slaughter of Arab men, women and children in the El-Bureij refugee camp, the village of Qibiya - Israeli historian Benny Morris has unearthed the order Sharon gave his troops there of "maximal killing and damage to property." and his role in allowing the Phalangist massacres in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps, for which the Kahan commission found him "indirectly responsible" - it also in our view weaselled out of accepting full responsibility for Israeli complicity in allowing the atrocities to continue.
For those interested in his likely successor, last Saturday's first "Profile" programme on BBC Radio 4 was on Ehud Olmert, the acting Prime Minister of Israel and former Mayor or Jerusalem - a more balanced report that gives views from Palestinians and also to Israelis critical of him as well as of his friends.
And still with documentary the BBC Radio 4 "Documentary" series returns tomorrow (20:00 GMT) with "Recruiting the Reich" in which Mike Thomson uncovers evidence of Britain's secret deals with senior Nazis at the end of the Second World War.
On to matters of the mind and ideas, starting with a suggestion from BBC Radio 4 - The Great Debates series that last week featured the dispute between Hamilton and Jefferson about the US Constitution: This week's edition on Wednesday at 20:00 GMT looks at the clash between Martin Luther and Desiderius Erasmus on the nature of free will.
Next religion and at 09:30 GMT tomorrow on BBC Radio 4, the start of a series "Who Killed Christianity?" in which Dr David Starkey argues that five major Christian figures distorted, even betrayed, the Christian faith as envisaged by Jesus and defenders of those singled out respond. It begins with St Paul.
Also on Radio 4 in the 15:45 GMT slot this week is a five-part "The Sleepless Society" series in which Charles Ledbetter examines the functions of sleep and also the cost of not getting enough of it.
Then to Australia and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "All in the Mind" that last week examined various delusions that can be caused by brain injuries or people with schizophrenia, Huntington's and Parkinson's disease and dementia: A marked contrast to the previous programme (Still on the site) that looked at children's imaginations and indeed to next Saturday's programme which will look at the psychology of reproductive cloning using as a guide as to what might happen the influences of genetics and upbringing through experiments and information on identical twins and stepchildren as well as the progeny of famous parents,
Also from ABC Radio National we'd suggest last week's Law Report that looked at Death Row, USA - a thought provoking programme in terms of execution of the innocent and what led people to kill, including an interview with a woman from Adelaide who now works as a death row private investigator in California.
And finally from the ABC , next week's Background Briefing will feature a portrait of economist and author J.K. Galbraith, now 97, by his biographer Richard Parker.
And as the very final offering, back to BBC Radio 2 and Rhythm of the Reich, a three-part examination of Charlie and His Orchestra, dreamed up by Joseph Goebbels as part of the Nazi propaganda machine. Last week's first programme will be on the site until Tuesday evening when the second part airs at 21:30 GMT.
Glasgow Herald - Reid :
Los Angeles Daily News - Shuster:
MSNBC - Schoen:
UK Independent - Dowle:
UK Observer - Sawyer:
Washington Post - Fisher:
2006-01-08: Last week was still fairly quiet for the regulators with most only getting back up to speed after the holidays and the main regulatory story came from India where the government has started the second round of private FM licence auctions (See RNW Jan 7): Elsewhere there was low level activity although in the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) saw the swearing-in of Michael J. Copps for his second term and Deborah T. Tate for her first as commissioners (See RNW Jan 4).
In Australia, the Australia Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) issued no radio decisions although it did issue a report prepared by its predecessor, The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA), concerning AM radio in the country (See RNW Jan 5).
From Canada there were only three radio related decisions from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). They were in order of province.
*Approval of antenna height increase and transmitter relocation for CIRK-FM, Edmonton.
*Approval of the acquisition by Radio Nord Communications inc. of the assets of CKNU-FM Donnacona and its transmitter CKNU-FM-1 Sainte-Croix-de-Lotbinière, from a corporation operated and controlled by Patrice Demers. In approving the deal, the CRTC noted that the station has been unprofitable for years.
*Approval of power decrease from 4,300 watts to 3,800 watts and antenna height increase for CJRG-FM, Gaspé.
There were no radio decisions from Ireland and only one from the UK where Ofcom awarded the new Warwick FM licence to CN Group against competition from two other applicants (See RNW Jan 6).
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also had a fairly quiet time with the main news the swearing in of Commissioners Copps and Tate as already noted. The FCC also approved the launch of WorldSpace Corporation's Afri-Star 2 satellite that it is to be - located with the company's AfriStar-1 that is already in service (See RNW Jan 5).
In Texas, the Corporation dismissed a proposal from Robert Fabians for the allotment of Channel 280A to Grapeland, Texas, as a first local service, and also denied a counter proposal from Elgin FM, licensee of KKLB-FM, Channel 223A, Elgin, Texas, to permit relocation of its transmitter site and eliminate a short-spacing with Station KBEY-FM, Channel 223A, Burnet.
It also dismissed a petition filed by Charles Crawford proposing the allotment of Channel 261C3 at Quitaque as potentially the community's second local FM transmission service. No supporting comments were filed and the FCC noted that a showing of continuing interest is required before a channel will be allotted and it accordingly dismissed the petition.
In Kentucky, it terminated proceedings concerning a Channel 294A allotment at Augusta as the community's first local aural transmission service: The petitioner had argued for reconsideration on the basis of a typographical error in the reference coordinated provided and then amended them to correct ones: The FCC noted that the corrected coordinates are not consistent with the Commission's spacing requirements and ruled that the petition does not warrant reconsideration because it is impossible to resolve the discrepancy in the reference coordinates on the basis of the filings.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-01-08: In an interview with former Australia Channel 9 TV "60 Minutes " reporter Charles Wooley who at the end of this month launches Macquarie Regional Radioworks' three-hour "Across Australia" morning show (See RNW Oct 12, 2005), the Sunday Tasmanian quotes him as saying that 2UE Sydney host John Laws, whose slot he is filling on 19 stations, has misunderstood the current market.
The paper says Laws intends to fight back by signing up other regional stations and had commented in an interview of the competition, "Charles is a nice fellow, but how they think they can do it from Hobart is a bit beyond me."
To that Wooley responded that Laws had completely missed the point and continued, "Hobart is typical of regional Australia as it has all the problems but all the advantages of a great lifestyle as well. "Lawsie's show has to bang on about Sydney issues if it's to survive, but they don't mean much to people living in Burnie, Bundaberg or Broome."
"I will have to work out the commonality between these places," he added, "But when it comes to problems, I think we already know what they are. Regional Australia has the lowest wages, the highest unemployment, the lowest retention rates at high schools and the longest waiting lists at hospitals."
Scottish-born Wooley said wants Across Australia to have a magazine-type format and sound like a busy regional coffee shop, where people come in and out and where there's always an expert around -- or at least someone who thinks they are.
As well as talkback and discussion of regional, national and international issues he is to have a daily discussion panel made up exclusively of women, drawn from around the regions.
"I don't believe the female demographic has been very well looked after," Wooley says. "The panel hasn't been finalized yet, but the sort of women I'm looking for are a cattle farmer from Western Queensland, a country politician from Victoria and a public relations consultant from country NSW."
Although it will be based in Hobart, the Tasmanian capital, for a week a month the show will be broadcast from another regional centre in Australia.
Previous Macquarie Bank/Macquarie Regional Radio:
Sunday Tasmanian report:
2006-01-08: CBS Radio's WSCR-AM (The Score) has given Ozzie Guillen Jr., the 21-year-old son of the world champion White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, his own weekly show according to Robert Feder of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Feder says the show on the otherwise English-language station will be almost all in Spanish and will be co-hosted by long-time sportscaster Hector Molina: "El Beisbol Latino de Hoy Al Estile de Chicago" ("I") will air live at 10 p.m. on Sundays from January 15.
Feder says the show was conceived by Mitch Rosen, the Score's program director, who has been close to the Guillen family since his days at Paragon Marketing Group when he served as the senior Guile's agent.
"Ozzie Jr. is a charismatic guy who loves to talk baseball and has great contacts within the Latino baseball community," Rosen told the paper. "With the growing Hispanic population in Chicagoland, we feel a show like this will give the community an outlet to talk Chicago baseball, and about the world champion White Sox."
Previous CBS Radio:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2006-01-07: According to Bridge Ratings' latest survey, Howard Stern accounted for 22% of Sirius Satellite Radio's new subscribers in October, 58% of them in the week before Christmas and 62% in the final three shopping says of the holiday season: it calculates that in all the host, who has been handsomely rewarded for the performance with share options (See RNW Jan 6), was directly responsible for 715,000 new subscribers.
Bridge also lists among other reasons for signing up programming variety (29%, 14% and 10% respectively), no commercials (36%. 24% and 25%) and other (13%, 4% and 3%).
Of the subscriptions 9% were gifts in October, 18% in the week prior to Christmas and 5% in the final three days.
Stern himself has meanwhile continued his promotion of his move with an interview on Larry King Live on CNN in which he ducked any revelations as to whether or not he has married girlfriend Beth Ostrosky, indicating that he'd give the answer when his show debuts on Monday.
King started by asking about Stern's eldest daughter Emily and a nude appearance on stage in the Broadway Jewish play "Kaballah" that she quit - Stern said he had no problems with nudity, called her a "great kid" and "you know, 22, in charge of her own career. And it is certainly gratifying to me to see her doing well."
He added of her leaving the production, "From what she tells me, she quit because the guy who runs the production promised her not to use her pictures promoting her and single her out as Howard Stern's daughter, Emily Stern. And she felt very, very betrayed and lied to."
Stern also spoke of his beginnings -" I did a straight show for two years. And I was awful" and comments made by his successor on terrestrial radio in New York - "David Lee Roth, I listened to his first show. And he said, hey, man, this ain't heavy lifting. This radio stuff is easy. And I was thinking about that. And I thought, no, radio isn't easy. It's easy -- yes, sure, anyone can go on the air and talk. But to open yourself up and actually break down all the walls and think about all your insecurities, and put those on the air, I think it isn't easy lifting. There's a lot of emotional lifting you have to do.
He was vague about money paid," I have heard that I'm either going to have $200 million, $500 million. Today, I heard $600 million. And I still don't have any pay check from them", said he had broken FCC rules five times in two run-throughs of his show but had not used the F-word although he did use one of George Carlin's notorious seven words banned by the FCC of the time.
He also said that for the first show they were doing "doing a revelation show. Each one of us. Each of the major cast members have agreed to reveal something about themselves that we've never revealed on the air and that has to be -- has to meet a certain standard."
Previous Bridge Ratings:
CNN - Larry King interview transcripts:
2006-01-07: BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, is among the winners of FM in the second round of Indian private FM licence auctions: Its joint venture with Mumbai-based publisher Mid Day Multimedia has won licences in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai (Madras), Delhi, Kolkata (Calcutta), Mumbai (Bombay) and Pune.
A total of 85 companies qualified for bidding in the auction that began on Friday with keen interest from a number of large players involved including foreign operators, who are expected to invest up to around INR 500 crore (USD 110 million -- a crore is 10 million) in the sector in the next 18 months. .
BBC Worldwide, invested just under INR 32 crore (USD 7 million) in taking a stake - limited under Indian law to a maximum 20% -in Radio Mid-Day West, the radio subsidiary of Mid Day Multimedia, which already operates Go 92.5 FM in Mumbai.
Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Radio is also involved through a Memorandum of Understanding with HT Media, publisher of the Hindustan Times and is expected to consider moving into India through investment in HT Media's radio venture.
Another foreign investor is Malaysian broadcaster Astro, which in a consortium with NDTV and Hyderabad-based infotech company Value Labs has bought Radio Today, operator of the Red FM stations in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.
The Times of India Group's Radio Mirchi, owned through Entertainment Network (India) Limited (ENIL) and currently the largest in India with annual revenues of some INR 75 crore (USD 17 million), has earmarked around INR 120 crore (USD 27 million) for its total One-Time-Entry Fee Payment (OTEFP) for its phase 2 expansion and is to raise funds through an initial public offering rather than link with overseas investors.
In the current auction round licences - up to seven in some places - are being put on offer in the country's 13 largest cities and in all India is to put on offer 338 FM licences in 91 cities. The auction attracted initial interest from around 100 companies, which were winnowed down to the accepted 85 bidders. The maximum number of licences to be awarded in any city will be 10 and no operator will be allowed more than one licence per city or more than 15 per cent of all FM radio channels licensed in the country.
Commenting on its success, Monisha Shah, BBC Worldwide's director of emerging territories EMEIA (Europe, Middle East, India, Africa), commented, "Given the significant size and audience reach of these licenses, our radio venture has now created the substantial national presence we are aiming for," and added, "We are refining our strategy for the next round."
In the 2000 first round of private FM licence auctions when winners had to pay a fixed annual licence fee, leading to financial problems for many winners - of the 108 frequencies bid for only 21 are currently operating - and last year private FM licensees in India lost some INR 200 crore (USD 45 million) having paid licence fees of INR 350 crore (USD 78 million).
The situation has now changed following a decision by the government, after lobbying by the industry, to instead take a share of revenues, a move that could halve the fees paid. Much of the investment is seen as a statement of faith in the long-term development of the Indian FM radio sector whose revenues have been growing at 30% to 40% annually although from a fairly low base of total advertising revenues currently amounting to only around INR 300 crore (USD 68 million) a year.
Private operators have also been pushing to be allowed to carry news and current programming, which they estimate would further boost business, but so far without success.
Previous ENIL/Radio Mirchi:
Previous Indian Radio:
HT Media web site:
Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting web site:
Midday Multimedia web site:
2006-01-07: Former US Coast-to-Coast AM host Art Bell's wife Ramona has died aged 47 following an asthma attack that according to a posting on the programme's site - it is now hosted by George Noor following Bell's latest retirement (he retired more than once and has still done some part-time work since the last in 2003 -See RNW Sep 18, 2003) - apparently took place during her sleep.
The notice says the couple had not been apart for a day since they married and were taking a brief vacation in Laughlin, Nevada, when the attack occurred.
Ramona was of part Filipino heritage, a fact Art Bell pointed out forcibly when a hoax e-mail alleging that he had made racist anti-Phillipines comments on air was circulated online in the 1990s: In 2001 he sued the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which had published the e-mail as fact, getting an apology and retraction from the paper.
Previous Art Bell:
Coast-to-Coast AM web site:
2006-01-07: Liverpool, England, talk show host Pete Price abandoned his show on Emap's Magic 1548 when a regular caller's line went dead and went to the man's house only to find that a neighbour, alerted by his show had broken into the man's home to find him slumped in a chair having died from a heart attack.
The caller named only as "Terry" was aged 60 and Price commented, "Terry was a regular caller to the show and I knew something was wrong when the line went silent, I just had a gut instinct."
When the phone went dead, a producer called the police, who said they did not consider it a priority matter so Price first appealed to listeners for help, an appeal that led the neighbour to break in, and meanwhile having got the address in the Old Swan area of the city from callers, who said lights were still on in the hours, asked on air for a taxi and went to the house.
When he arrived at the house an ambulance was already there and Price, who had left music playing on his show, went back on air and told his listeners, "It is with great sorrow and great, great sadness that I have to tell you that Terry has died. I am flabbergasted. I knew something was wrong."
"A neighbour who was listening gave us Terry's address and when I got there her son had forced the front door. He [Terry] was just slumped in the chair with phone by his side. It seems he had a heart attack and passed away," Price added.
"We had been having a good old discussion about all sorts of things and he has phoned in before. I have also met him when he has come to coffee mornings that I organize so he was one of my regular listeners. It all feels unreal. The only comfort is that he died doing something that he loved, phoning in to the radio. We all heard his last words. It is very, very sad."
Price has left his show before: In 2004 he abandoned it and went to meet a teenage boy who called in and threatened to kill himself. On that occasion he persuaded the boy not to harm himself.
2006-01-07: US Public Radio International (PRI) has announced that it is to add BBC Mundo, the BBC World Service Spanish-language channel, to its line-up.
It says that among stations expected to carry the new service, using HD supplemental channels, are KPCC-FM, Los Angeles and KVCR-FM, San Bernardino, in California, and KNAU-FM, Flagstaff, Arizona.
PRI currently has more than 730 affiliates to whom it offers a range of programming for HD channels including BBC World Service in English and a classical music station "Classical 24", produced by American Public Media.
PRI is also leading a consortium to will test and refine Program Associated Data (PAD) operating practices for public radio, using HD. The project, which is being funded in part by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) , will establish guidelines for presenting the various types of public radio program data that appear on consumers' HD Radio receiver.
2006-01-06: Sirius Satellite Radio says it ended 2005 with 3.3 million subscribers and expects to reach six million by the end of this year, a total already exceeded by rival XM which says it expects to hit nine million by year end (See RNW Jan 5).
The 190% increase during 2005 - to 3,316,560, an addition of 2,173,302 subscribers during the year - was spearheaded by a record final quarter in which Sirius became the market leader for new subscriptions, adding 1,142,640, and 138% up on a year earlier.
Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin commented, "Satellite radio is very hot and is continuing on pace to be one of the fastest growing products in consumer electronics history. The industry has over 9 million subscribers today and added nearly 5 million new subscribers in 2005. "
He added, "Sirius continues to be the fastest growing provider in the category. We are experiencing a strong start to the New Year and we expect to end 2006 with over 6 million subscribers."
The performance has also provided a bonus for Howard Stern and his agent Don Buchwald as the star's five-year USD 500 million deal also contained an option for 34,375,000 million shares of Sirius stock, currently valued at around USD 220 million. They were scheduled to be granted in December 2010 but because Sirius has now exceeded an agreed subscriber target will now be issued on January 9.
2006-01-06: Seven years after it ran into criticism from church groups over its "Two Strangers and a Wedding" competition in which it paired up two strangers to marry, GCap Media's Birmingham station BRMB is repeating the contest: Last time it attracted some 200 contestants but the winning couple Greg Cordell and Carla Germaine - who had only just met each other when they married in the finale of the competition - split up after only three months.
The couple had been offered a free honeymoon in the Bahamas and a luxury flat and car and had also underwent counselling and various tests for their "blind Date": In this year's contest, which is being advertised on the station's web site, auditions will be held on January 14 and 15 to find four brides and four grooms who are prepared to be married, live on the radio, without having met before.
The station says that after this "Once our panel have selected our brides and grooms, we'll be whittling them down live on air over the course of two weeks through a series of tasks. We'll be opening up the voting and you'll decide exactly who the final two are."
The wedding is scheduled for February at a secret venue in Birmingham to be hosted by Elliott Webb and Caroline Martin.
Previous GCap Media:
BRMB web site:
2006-01-06: According to Kagan Research, extra HD channels will produce around 4% of US radio revenues - some USD 805 million - in 2008 through the development of four different kinds of service.
Researcher Michael Buckley says in a Kagan newsletter that these will be a similar model to current analogue stations; advertising-supported station "now" channels offering local information such as weather, traffic, sport and news; datacasting including leases to third parties; and subscription models.
Buckley says the main side channels would produce most income - around USD 610 million, the local" now" channels would produce around USD 150 million and datacasting only around 40 million. Subscription services, he says, would only produce nominal income.
2006-01-06: Following a report last month that SoundExchange would begin auditing a number of webcasters, the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress has announced the names of 11 webcasters to be audited.
The broadcasters involved are Bonneville International Corporation, Clear Channel Communications, Inc., Cox Radio Interactive and Susquehanna Radio Corp. (which has now been taken over by Cumulus Media Partners): The others are Beethoven Radio, America Online, Inc., Live365, Inc., Microsoft Corporation, MTV Networks, RealNetworks, Inc., and Yahoo!, Inc.
Copyright Office announcement:
2006-01-06: UK media regulator Ofcom has awarded the new Warwick FM licence to CN Group's 2Day FM Ltd bid offering a "locally-focused music and information station".
CN was competing against two other applications - from Silver 107.3 FM, the bid headed by headed by former EMAP Performance chief executive Tim Schoonmaker and backed by Macquarie Bank, and Warwick Local Radio, which was backed by Laser Broadcasting (See Licence News Oct 9, 2005).
In August last year Ofcom refused to allow CN Group to change the format of nearby station KIX 96 in Coventry from mainly chart and urban music to golden oldies music (See RNW Aug 8, 2005).
Ofcom is to publish its reasons for the award shortly: We expect that like the recent awards of the Ipswich licence to Tindle Radio - against seven other applications including one backed by Macquarie ( See RNW Dec 13, 2005) and of the Northallerton commercial FM licence to Mowbray Radio Limited (BTN FM) against two other applicants (See Licence News Nov 20, 2005), of the new licence for Barrow in Furness to Abbey FM whose backers included CN (See Licence News Oct 16, 2005) and of the Banbury licence to CN in May last year (See RNW May 11, 2005) -local factors will weigh heavily.
Previous CN Group:
2006-01-05: XM Satellite Radio says that it has not topped six million subscribers and expects to reach nine million by the end of this year, thanks to new products introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), its content and growth in the factory-installed new car market.
Noting that it has extended its lead over competitor Sirius in 2005 by adding 2.7 million net new subscribers, it says it had a record holiday selling season with more radios sold as Christmas gifts than ever before with more than 85 percent of nearly 900,000 net new subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2005 coming from retail sales.
It ended 2005 with 5,933,000 subscribers, not including radios purchased as Christmas gifts that were not activated before December 31.
President and CEO Hugh Panero said its record number of new subscribers in 2005 represented "84 percent growth over prior year ending subscribers" and added, "We have more than six million subscribers today, and we expect to reach more than nine million subscribers by the end of 2006."
Amongst new products announced by XM at the CES are the portable Pioneer Inno XM2go and the Samsung Helix XM2go satellite radios that will not only receive XM but also play MP3 and WMA files, and stored XM content and will allow the bookmarking of songs heard on XM and can then be connected to a personal computer to purchase the songs from the XM + Napster online service.
"For the first time ever, you can listen to XM live and play your MP3s on a single, handheld device," Panero said. "This is a major milestone for both satellite radio and MP3, and it promises to fundamentally change the way people enjoy their music."
Rival Sirius by comparison has so far not announced any major developments - its last subscription update was an announcement last month that it had passed the three million mark and expected a strong end to 2005 (See RNW Dec 28, 2005).
2006-01-05: Bonneville International has re-jigged its frequencies and formats in Washington DC in changes that include killing off Adult Top 40 WWZZ-FM (Z104) and firing its staff of 35, moving classical WGMS-FM moved from its current frequency of 103.5 to be simulcast on two frequencies, 103.9 (Z104's old frequency) and 104.1, and using the 103.5 frequency for flagship news station WTOP, which will also broadcast on 820-AM: It was formerly simulcast on two FM and two AM frequencies.
In addition Bonneville plans to use former WTOP frequencies 1500 AM, 107.7 FM, and 104.3 FM for a new talk station, Washington Post Radio, to be launched at the end of March in partnership with the Washington Post: Until the launch WTOP will be simulcast on 103.5 FM and 1500 AM and 107.7 FM.
Bonneville has also launched two new commercial-free HD digital stations, one of which will air what the company says will be "traditional classical music like that played on WGMS, but will feature more in-depth classical music choices" whilst the other will be a broadcast of the company's web-based opera and choral music station, Viva La Voce. It says it is to expand their content over the next few months.
Bonneville's Federal News Radio on 1050 AM is the only station it has in the market that has not been included in the changes.
Commenting on the changes in a news release, Bonneville International president and CEO Bruce Reese said, "These exciting changes will help us meet the growing needs of the Washington community for news, information, music and emergency service. We are strengthening the reach and clarity of WTOP, working with The Washington Post to broadcast a new diverse radio format, and building on the proud legacy of classical music in Washington."
2006-01-05: A report published the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) but prepared by predecessor The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) on the country's AM radio stations says that although there has been a continuing move of listeners to FM and increased competition from additional FM services, talk formats continue to perform relatively well and digital radio could solve some of AM's problems.
The 55-page report looked at three key issues - technical and site issues, the impact of these on the business model for AM and how digital developments could affect the future of AM.
Regarding technical issues it notes problems of audio quality and the higher cost of AM transmissions and the benefits of AM for wide coverage in regional and rural areas.
It then goes on to note the drift to FM and the fact that the predominant talk formats on AM appeal primarily to older listeners but adds that not only has Am maintained its audience share with older listeners but good performance in overall share in metropolitan markers with ABC services in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne show increasing support for AM among most demographics.
AM services, it says, are 42.5% of commercial licences in Australia but they only took 28% of total advertising in 2002-03 when they accounted for only 15% of profits: Metropolitan AM stations took the lions share - 19% of the total - of advertising on the AM band leaving regional services with only 9% and making them least likely to be profitable.
It also noted that economies of scale within licence areas have also been realized, with around half of the commercial radio licences in regional areas owned by a monopoly in that market, and more than 95 per cent are owned by a monopoly or duopoly in that market: If racing radio services are excluded, 72 per cent of the AM licences in regional areas were owned in monopoly markets and of these, 98 per cent were held as a pair with one FM licence.
Regarding the potential effect of a move to digital it says that a move to DAB would allow AM operators to achieve greater audio clarity, ranging from FM to near-CD sound quality but DAB appears poorly suited to achieving equivalent coverage to wide-area regional AM radio.
DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) by comparison it says offers higher sound quality than AM but only to around 'FM quality' and is less flexible than DAB in terms of ancillary data services but it can achieve equivalent coverage to wide-area regional radio.
It adds that DAB may be more suitable for urban areas and DRM for wider areas but the feasibility of using DRM and DAB will depend on the availability of affordable dual-system receivers and notes that dual-system models are beginning to come on the market in Europe.
The ACMA says that at this stage it does not see a need for AM specific changes to the regulatory settings governing control of commercial radio licences, particularly in metropolitan areas where AM services perform well in competitive markets and does not have any view on the merits of changing the control rules in relation to commercial radio broadcasting services generally.
In relation to the conversion of regional AM services to FM, ACMA notes concern among some metropolitan broadcasters that this would create a precedent for conversion to FM in metropolitan areas as well ands says analysis of the differences between regional and metropolitan AM radio services does not support a nationwide conversion policy.
Commenting on the report, Lyn Maddock, Acting ACMA Chair, said, "Digital radio offers the potential to solve some of the problems experienced by AM services in the analogue environment, including offering higher sound quality," and added "Any conversion of regional analogue AM to FM ahead of digitalization needs to be considered within the framework for the introduction of digital radio recently announced by the Minister."
ACMA report (1.08 MB PDF):
2006-01-05: UK Chrysalis Group's annual report just issued shows that all but one of the top executives at the company including chairman Chris Wright, and chief executive Richard Huntingford failed to meet targets in the 2005 financial year and were awarded no bonuses for the second year running although the two were paid more thanks to pay rises.
In November Chrysalis reported pre-tax profits for the year to the end of August down 72% to GBP 2.7 million (USD 4.69 million) on revenues down marginally from GBP 136.7 million (USD 237.4 million) to GBP 133.6 million (USD 232.05 million) as radio revenues fell 8.6% and the books division (now sold) lost money whilst music division revenues rose 4.1% (See RNW Nov 15, 2005).
The only executive to get a bonus was the chief executive of the music and books distribution business Lasgo Chrysalis, Peter Lassman who received one of GBP 98,000 (USD 172,000) bonus but still ended up with slightly less overall than a year ago with total remuneration of GBP 369,000 (USD 649,000) compared to GBP 386,000 (USD 679,000) a year earlier.
Radio division chief executive Phil Riley also took home less - GBP 281,000 (USD 494,000) down from GBP 342,000 (USD 601,000).
Huntingford was the highest paid executive in the group with a total of GBP 407,000 (USD 715,000)_ - up from GBP 395,000 (USD 695,000) and Wright received a total of GBP 325,000 (USD 571,000) - up from GBP 316,000 (USD 555.000).
Outgoing finance director, Nigel Butterfield, who also failed to get a bonus, took home GBP 310,000 (USD 545,000) up from GBP 300,000 (USD 527,000): In 2003 Butterfield, Huntingford, and Wright made bonuses of GBP 313, 000 (currently USD 550,000) between them and in 2002 their bonuses had totalled GBP 787,000 (currently USD 1.383 million).
2006-01-05: BBC radio veteran Ana Leddy, whose latest BBC role was as managing editor of Radio Foyle in Derry, has been appointed to head Irish state broadcaster 's RTÉ Radio 1 in succession to Eithne Hand whose contract expires this month: In November RTÉ announced that Hand would not be seeking renewal of her three year contract and would take a one year sabbatical and return to the station in 2007.
Leddy, who had been working for the BBC for 18 years was born in England but educated in Ireland: While she was at Radio Foyle the station picked up Sony Station of the Year Awards for stations with a potential audience of under 300,000 in 2004 and 2005,
Adrian Moynes, managing director of RTÉ Radio, said of the appointment, "As RTÉ Radio starts a new era of service for Irish listeners, this is an exciting and challenging moment for Ana to move into a key role."
RTÉ Radio 1 has been facing increased competition from commercial stations in the Republic of Ireland and the most recent ratings showed its top broadcasters including Pat Kenny and Joe Duffy to be losing audience share.
2006-01-05: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has authorized international satellite radio company WorldSpace to launch its AfriStar-2 satellite that will allow it to extend its services into Western Europe.
The satellite, already constructed and is currently in storage in Toulouse, France, is to be put into geo-synchronous orbit at 21 degrees East Longitude, co- located with the company's AfriStar-1 that is already in service.
As well as allowing expansion of its services, WorldSpace says AfriStar- 2 is also intended a replacement with respect to certain areas currently covered by AfriStar-1 when that satellite reaches the end of its operational life and the FCC comments that "By consolidating traffic and turning off channels on AfriStar-1, AfriSpace claims that it will be able to manage better the waning power resources of AfriStar-1 and extend the useful life of the space station for perhaps 12-18 months, into 2009."
In its authorization the FCC waived the requirement that WorldSpace pay a USD3 million bond, because the orbital location and frequencies requested for AfriStar-2 are being used currently by AfriStar-1, adding that "Waiver of the bond requirement is premised on AfriSpace launching the AfriStar-2 satellite prior to the removal of the AfriStar-1 satellite from service."
Commenting on the authorization, WorldSpace chairman and CEO Noah Samara described it as "great news for us" and added, "It removes any uncertainty about having a license to operate AfriStar-2 and allows us to implement our European launch plan. This will give us expanded capacity to provide a focused satellite radio service to European markets in line with the company's execution plans."
2006-01-05: iBiquity Digital has announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that there are now 624 HD stations on air in the US, a tripling of the total during 2005. It adds that multicasting has emerged as the first HD Radio "killer application," with program directors bringing richer, niche content to the airwaves by leveraging the HD Radio ability to offer several digital program channels from stations' current spectrum. There are now new multicast channels on offer from more than 70 stations.
iBiquity president and CEO Bob Struble commented of the figures, "At the beginning of 2005, our goal in the broadcast space was to finish the year with 600 stations on the air, and, as a result of broadcasters converting stations at a rate of more than one per day, we surpassed that goal."
"On the hardware side," he added, "we worked successfully with our partners to diversify the product categories for HD Radio receivers, including the first automotive OEM platform. At the same time, prices of HD Radio products fell by 50% or more from the previous year's levels. By nearly every measure, 2005 was a tremendously successful year."
Looking ahead he continued, "We anticipate an even more aggressive rollout in 2006: the number of HD Radio stations on the air will more than double; hundreds of new multicast channels covering all major markets will launch; receiver prices are coming down; and products in more categories will enter the market. We also expect great expansion in HD Radio product visibility at retail and factory-installed radios to be available in more and more vehicles."
2006-01-04: Democrat Michael J Copps and Republican Deborah T Tate have now been sworn in by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin as Federal Communications Commissions, Copps for a second term and Tate for her first.
In a statement Copps said the past four and a half years had been "been tremendously transformative for the world of telecommunications and the media."
He continued, "The future holds even greater challenge. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on the Commission, with the Congress, and with all other stakeholders to help bring the most advanced, accessible and cost-effective communications system in the world to all American consumers."
Tate in her statement said she would "work to be a voice for families and consumers" and continued, "I will endeavour to bring a spirit of consensus and bi-partisanship to the FCC; a willingness to build on what Chairman Martin and my fellow commissioners have begun. I pledge my steadfast commitment to work closely with Congress, the talented staff of the FCC, and all interested stakeholders to tackle the complicated issues facing the United States in this new digital age."
2006-01-04: Former CBS reporter and anchor Neil Strawser, best known for anchoring CBS Radio's cover of the President John F Kennedy assassination in November 1963, has died aged 78.
Earlier Strawser who was also a regular on CBS TV in the late 1950s and early 1960s was the only TV network "pool" reporter allowed into Guantanamo Bay Naval Base during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis and he reported the departure of freighters carrying nuclear missiles back to the then Soviet Union.
Among his other activities he was moderator of CBS Radio coverage of NASA missions from the Gemini programme that began in December 1961 (the Gemini name was not given to it until January 1962) to develop a two-man spacecraft through to the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon landing.
Strawser become a press officer for the House Budget Committee in 1987 and remained in the post until he retired in 1994.
2006-01-04: Westwood One has appointed Peter Kosann as president and CEO to succeed Joel Hollander, CBS Radio chairman and CEO who has also been Westwood One's chairman and interim CEO since former President and CEO Shane Coppola stepped down last month (See RNW Dec 9, 2005).
Kosann, who has been Westwood One Co-COO since April 2005 and President of Sales since May 2003, has also been elected to the company's board of directors.
In other US radio business Univision has completed its previously announced USD 90 million acquisition of KBRG-FM and KLOK-AM serving the San Francisco/San Jose, California market from Entravision.
Univision paid for the acquisition with around 12.6 million shares of Entravision stock it held: It agreed with the US Department of Justice when it acquired Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation in 2003 to reduce its share in Entravision to 15% by the end of March this year and following this transaction is down to around 19.8%.
Univision Radio SVP and COO Gary Stone said of the deal, "With the completion of this strategic transaction, Univision has taken a significant step towards its necessary regulatory compliance while supplementing our existing offerings in the San Francisco/San Jose markets and incorporating KBRG and KLOK into our successful cross-promotion efforts. Both stations will play important roles in the growth of our radio business -- KBRG will allow us to provide the growing Hispanic population in the market with a new format choice and KLOK will increase the distribution of our successful AM network, RadioCadena."
For Entravision, chairman and CEO Walter Ulloa commented, "With the sale of our San Francisco/San Jose radio stations, we have repurchased a substantial portion of Univision's equity interest in our company. We believe this was a highly efficient transaction that is beneficial for our shareholders."
In Canada, Corus Entertainment has received approval from the Toronto Stock Exchange of its intention to "make a Normal Course Issuer Bid for its Class B Non-Voting Participating Shares" that will allow it to go ahead with plans to publish up to 3 million Class B Non-Voting Participating Shares, around 7.5% of the "public float" of these Shares.
Corus says it thinks the shares have been trading below their real value and that they are an attractive investment to the country.
Previous Westwood One:
2006-01-04: US Public Radio International (PRI) has named Alisa Miller, vice president of the PRI Content Group as its new president and CEO to succeed Stephen Salver, who announced last summer that he was to become president and CEO of the Salzburg Seminar, based in Middlebury, Vermont, and in Salzburg, Austria (See RNW Jun 9, 2005).
In her previous role Miller, who joined PRI in 2001 as SVP PRI Channels, helped create American Public Radio LLC, a partnership of PRI, Chicago Public Radio, WGBH Radio Boston, and New York Public Radio that manages the operation of three content streams for satellite broadcast: She has also served on several public radio boards and has represented PRI on key industry panels.
She said of her appointment, "I am committed to PRI's mission and to building public service through multiple channels, especially our affiliate stations. Throughout its history, PRI has served as a leading curator of and investor in original public radio programming from diverse sources. Through Public Interactive's powerful Web tools, we've helped stations embrace rapid technological change, develop their brands online, and fully engage their constituents. These efforts exemplify PRI's unique station-centric approach and our efficient, creative use of resources."
PRI Board Chairman Douglas Carlston said in a statement, "We wanted to identify the person who would lead PRI in serving the next generation of public radio listeners while building on the current strengths of PRI and the industry as a whole. Alisa combines an entrepreneurial approach, technological savvy, and partnership skills with a strong commitment to public broadcasting. After a number of months spent reviewing some exceptional candidates, it was clear that she was the person to take PRI to new levels of leadership and innovation."
2006-01-04: Writing on the debut next week of Howard Stern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Toronto Star entertainment correspondent Greg Quill says that his absence from Sirius Canada, the Canadian Sirius outlet, could be costing its partners - the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Standard Radio hold 80% with Sirius the remaining partner - as many as 80,000 Canadian subscribers who have signed up to the company via the "Grey Market" - using American addresses so they can get the service in Canada.
Quill says that Sirius Canada's owners feared "the wrath of the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) as much Stern's astronomical carriage fee" and decided not to carry Stern as they presumed "he'll breach codes established by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, by which all radio operators in this country abide."
"The irony," he continues, "that by denying Canadians access to Stern, Sirius Canada is driving domestic subscribers into the American "grey market," an illegal realm that Canadian satellite applicants promised the CRTC would be shut down upon approval of their licences."
Standard Radio President and CEO Gary Slaight told the Star they'd decided not to carry Stern but then left the door open for a change of mind by commenting in relation an Internet-based lobby group that has bombarded Sirius Canada with a petition to carry Stern allegedly signed by more than 10,000 of his Canadian fans, "Our programming will continue to evolve as we receive feedback If we don't carry Stern, we're handing his Canadian audience over (to the American company's subscriber base). We're aware of that and we'll be dealing with it as things progress."
"As of now, we have not changed our decision not to carry Howard Stern, "he emphasized and then added, "Then again, we have until Jan. 9."
Previous Sirius Canada:
Previous Standard Radio:
Toronto Star report:
2006-01-04: Motorola has announced that its i-Radio service, which will cost around USD 7 a month depending on which cell phone service the listener uses and could take subscribers away from the satellite radio companies that charge nearly twice as much, is to debut with 435 commercial-free channels.
It is to demonstrate the service at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas but has not so far announced any agreements with service providers - Sprint Nextel has already launched music download and streaming services in the US and Cingular Wireless and Verizon Wireless have them planned for a launch this year - although it says it hopes to sell the service in conjunction with service providers that could then sell a download a song that had been found through the i-Radio service.
Motorola says that unlike other radio services, its technology frees it from bandwidth limitations meaning that it can offer a nearly unlimited selection of channels, and add new ones without removing older ones.
It says it will offer more than 40 styles of Rock, from Grunge to Heavy Metal to Hair Bands to Classic Rock, 12 Jazz stations, from the fusion sounds of Miles Davis to the smooth stylings of Lee Ritenour and David Sanborn, individual artist channels, such as 12 stations featuring the music of Nashville's top Country stars, genre channels for every decade since the 1900's and specialty channels spotlighting specific themes.
The service, says Motorola will allow independent artists, radio personalities and talk show hosts to create their own iRadio channels and provide recording labels with a have a new, low-cost forum for introducing music or reviving long forgotten songs from their back catalogues.
2006-01-03: Emmis Hot-97 ( WQHT-FM, New York) host Miss Jones (Tarsha Nicole Jones) who was in hot water in early 2005 for her part in the "Tsunami Song" parody that led to her suspension and the firing of producer Rick Delgado (See RNW Feb 3, 2005) has ended the year in similar vein with comments made about striking New York transit workers.
The issue has led Brooklyn Council member Yvette Clarke to issue a statement calling on Emmis to drop the Miss Jones in the Morning show, adding that she intends to introduce a resolution calling for this and "and the economic boycott of Hot 97 and its advertisers."
Clarke says that as a "Jamaican-American woman born, raised and living in Brooklyn" she was personally offended by the comments and as "As a fan of hip hop, who has used her position to celebrate the positive influences of the genre, I know that Hot 97's culture of hatred and misogyny are a destructive influence on our youth."
She continues, "It is clear that Emmis Communications and their subsidiary, Hot 97, have decided that racial insensitivity and hatred are good business. Perhaps it is time for our community to make it absolutely clear that their business is no longer wanted. Perhaps it is time for the City Council to explore economic sanctions against a business that is slowly destroying the fabric of communities in the City of New York."
Clarke's action follows growth of feeling over the issue after New York-based author and critic Playthell Benjamin broadcast on Pacifica's WBAI-FM and published in part in the New York Daily News a commentary in which he said Miss Jones' "discussion of the transit strike was unquestionably the worst I've ever heard. She was foul mouthed, racist, embarrassingly ignorant, contemptuous of working people, a vulgar careerist who will do anything for ratings, and a straight up fool who brags about not reading the news papers on the air. This is the same twisted ignoramus who was recently suspended for ridiculing the Tsunami victims!"
" The comments she made about TWU President Roger Toussaint slandered Caribbean people in this city and disgraced black Americans. After denouncing transport workers as uneducated and overpaid losers who made the wrong choices in high school, which resulted in their driving a bus, she viciously attacked Toussaint. She called him 'a dumb coconut who probably don't even have a green card. Then she demanded that he be deported!"
Benjamin later commented, "Many thoughtful African Americans, this writer included are outraged at the kind of ignorant racist propaganda levelled at the Caribbean community by Miss Jones, and we are prepared to support them in any effort to challenge the license of Hot 97, which is a menace to the youths of this city in more ways than I can list here. As for Miss Jones, I'd like to offer a bit of advice: The next time you want to talk about 'ignorant bitches', check out the girl in the mirror first."
RNW comment: There is obviously no chance that any campaign will cost the station its licence and comparatively little that it will cost Miss Jones her job unless there is a very significant boycott of the station but that said most of the comments we noted on this matter were fairly hostile to her with only a few supportive.
Some of those took up the issue of free speech -why is it that American regulations prohibit comments about sex and the use of certain words and that comments about religion - which people can change - arouse such controversy but much misogynist, racist and otherwise bigoted comment seems to be popular in some quarters? - and we take their point. Freedom of speech however does not mean advertisers necessarily want to be linked to such comments nor that others have no right to make their protests and we think that, as with other such incidents in the US, the outcome will be determined by just how much pressure is put on the advertisers.
The tsunami song cost Emmis millions and it is that cost which seemed to spur action, not lost ratings or any morality. Shame on the listeners not to switch stations after such comments but it does seem that if New Yorkers want hip-hop they don't have much choice since host Star (Troi Torain) at Clear Channel rival Power-FM (WWPR-FM), formerly of Hot-97, seems in much the same mould as Miss Jones (with the addition of misogynistic to abusive and racist).
Previous Miss Jones:
Hiphopmusic.com - Clarke statement and comments on issue:
New York Daily News - Benjamin commentary:
Odeo.com - link to Benjamin audio (8 mins 1.93 Mb MP3):
2006-01-03: Long-time 2GB Sydney employee Joyce Mavis Moorhouse, who worked at the station for 50 years, starting as an office junior and ending as a producer, has died aged 90.
She joined 2GB, which had then been on air for only four years and where both her parents were working - her mother was an announcer and musical advisor for 22 years and her father was in charge of 2GB advertising for 20 years - in 1930 after leaving school aged 15.
Two years later she became the station's first telephonist - it had just one phone at the time - and later was in charge of the switchboard but in 1966, after a change in legislation allowed the broadcast of phone calls, she got the opportunity to turn her experience and contacts - people she had spoken to in the course of her work and research for various programmes - to produce the first talkback shows on the station.
Initially the station was not able to broadcast callers live so their voices would be taped and taken to the studio, complete with the question.
In 1968 on the retirement of her first husband -English artist John Moorhouse, whom she had married in 1941 and to whom she remained married until his death 40 years later - she subsequently remarried and after he second husband's death was partner to an Irish artist -she opted to also retire after 38 years with the station.
A large farewell was given to her but the next day she was asked to help in an emergency and ended up working at the station for another 12 years until she eventually did retire in 1980.
Sydney Morning Herald obituary:
2006-01-03: Scottish National Party (SNP) deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon MSP has called for UK media regulator Ofcom to allow a new national talk station in the country.
A Press Association report in The Scotsman quotes her as saying, "Scotland has a strong track record in providing top quality broadcasting. We should be proud of our abilities in this area and look for more opportunities to capitalize on this expertise. What I am asking Ofcom to do is to investigate the option of opening up a new national radio licence for Scotland for a talk radio station."
Sturgeon says that rather than relying on "stations like Talk Radio and BBC Radio Five Live" attention should be paid to developing the medium in Scotland and adds, "Better competition in Scotland would mean that the London-based media would have to improve their Scottish news coverage or they would simply lose listeners. This can only be good to both broadcasters and listeners alike providing a new license for a talk radio station in Scotland could be the first step in revitalizing Scotland's broadcast industry."
2006-01-02: We start our first look at print comment on radio for 2006 with a suggestion from Gillian Reynolds in the UK Telegraph for a move to productive cooperation amongst UK commercial stations: "The most revolutionary thing that could happen to radio in 2006," she writes, "would be for the perpetually grumbling, warring and share-price-fixated owners of the commercial stations to get their acts together and produce, once a week, a networked show. This show would be talk, not music, a conversation about the news."
She fleshes out the idea - a host who is recognizable, prestigious enough for a prime minister or president to talk, and an airtime of Sunday mornings to generate stories for and publicity from Monday newspapers.
Such a show she writes "would be the banner for commercial radio as a national advertising medium. It would bring weight and significance. It would take away the necessity for constant whining about the BBC's inbuilt advantage" and also "take away the necessity for constant whining about the BBC's inbuilt advantage."
While not decrying those advantages she notes that Britain's commercial stations have a loyal, comparatively young audience of 30 million plus. Reynolds notes that commercial radio had co-operated on Radio Aid for tsunami victims but says that was mainly music "because that's what commercial radio mostly does."
In earlier days she writes, commercial radio "could show the BBC a clean pair of heels in talk too, in politics, in sport, in comedy, even in documentaries. Yet now it's rich, with high share prices and pots of gold to pay DJs, it's stopped even trying to compete" and suggests, "The time has come to invest in the last thing the BBC would expect, a networked talk show. "
Next, from the New York Times, Lynette Clemetson writes on radio that was once popular in the US but fell onto hard times but has now been resurrected on satellite radio.
In an article headed "Kids' radio theater gets a techno boost" she reports on the XM Kids satellite channel and also on how other new technologies such as podcasting could come to its aid.
"There are dozens of radio theater companies operating around the country," she writes but then later notes, "But the majority of groups play to small local or regional audiences. And most cannot find radio stations to present their productions."
"Radio theater is alive and well; it's just that it has lost its primary performance stage: radio," said Henry Howard, a member of Atlanta Radio Theatre Company's board and audiotheater.com designer. "The standing joke among us is that when you ask a radio program director for the best time to schedule your radio drama, the answer is always 1945."
Clemetson says that to preserve their craft such groups record their plays for sale to niche audiences and cites Howard as saying in the coming year the company plans to begin podcasting "as other savvy groups have already begun to do. "
On XM's schedule are productions from The Night Kitchen Radio Theater, to whose productions XM has exclusive satellite rights, and which is to stage one children's radio play a month in the coming year, all to live audiences in Washington, DC, at the Kennedy Center's newly opened Family Theater.
The first production, an original adaptation of "The Emperor's New Clothes" was broadcast live but Kenny Curtis, program director for XM Kids, says the channel would experiment with the best time to schedule future performances, which will most likely not be broadcast live.
"There's still a lot of exploration to do," he said. "This is not MTV-style, three-minute-segment type of programming. But unless I get a lot of really negative feedback, I plan to stick with it. It's appropriate and compelling content for kids, and I think it's something we should be doing."
The attitude of this being something the station should be doing would presumably rouse the ire of conservative political commentator and columnist, Debbie Schlussel judging by her comments on "XM Radio: The Left Side of the Satellite Dish" in FrontPage Magazine.
She comments that, "Where terrestrial radio is sometimes disciplined by the FCC, satellite radio is governed by something far more malignant: The Orthodox Liberal-Left."
"At least, that was my experience with XM--the number one satellite radio service and rival to Stern's Sirius," she writes.
"I was aggressively sought by XM to do a show. But XM's left-wing programming officials' idea of what my views should be were far more restrictive than a governmental body properly trying to enforce decency in extreme cases. At XM, they were obsessed with Cindy Sheehan and Jane Fonda, vegetable-infused bus tour fantasies, rigidly pro-choice, and opposed to Justice Roberts' nomination."
Needless to say Schlussel, whose late evenings show on Infinity's Detroit talk WKRK-FM was dropped in favour of the syndicated Bill O'Reilly program in August 2003 - "The station could save money by not paying me (or Bill O'Reilly)" - did not get her show on XM: She put that down to the attitude of Amy Reyer, the program director for the women's channel
Reyer says Schlussel "told me she was looking for a conservative and had auditioned another one, who was too "mousy" (her word). But it soon became clear that she wasn't looking for a conservative at all--mousy or otherwise. She was looking for an Alan Colmes-style buffoon to be a foil, the conservative bÍte-noire."
"I recorded my pilot the day after Peter Jennings died, and my comments about his liberal and pro-Palestinian bias offended her. So did my comments about women with tattoos, fat women, and pretty much everything else."
Her view is that XM was putting money into its "new women's programming channel--the only original programming they were investing money in" because women are the majority of new car buyers--where XM and Sirius get their main exposure through temporary free satellite offerings as part of the package when buying a new car."
Schlussel comments, "But I don't do 'women's programming.' I make fun of it. To me, the idea that different plumbing means I need any special programming--a la the Damsel-in-Distress Network (a/k/a 'Lifetime') or Oprah's atrocious failure called the 'Oxygen Network'--is absurd. But that's not the way the left sees it "
RNW comment: Having never hear Schlussel we can only go from her online comments and description of her Detroit audience as "mostly men--and the select group of smart women who don't need tampon and Chico's ads, a Jaclyn Smith he-cheated-on-me movie of the week, and a steady diet of Oprah-style feminism to pique their interest." On that basis, we could easily see that XM might well feel that she wouldn't attract the audience they were after - just as formats that have an audience for an older demographic get dumped because advertisers prefer a younger - particularly young male - audience for some products.
Still in the US, comment continues on Howard Stern's move to Sirius but what caught our eyes in regard to Stern was an article centred on language: It used the move as a peg to comment on the language involved - his move to "terrestrial radio".
The phrase noted Ruth Walker in the Christian Science Monitor is an "example of a retronym" "'a word or phrase created because an existing term that was once used alone needs to be distinguished from a term referring to a new development'," as the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language says. It's an awkward definition, but I can't easily do much better."
As she writes, "But hey, what's a growing language to do? We have new concepts and need new words for them, which we often adapt from words already in use. And that's how we end up with pairs like terrestrial and satellite radio.
Moving across the Atlantic, Terry Waite in the Times plugs the Freeplay Foundation, which gives solar or wind-up radios to the poor, particularly children, who cannot afford a receiver or batteries to power one, but also in "The world is just a twiddle away" pays telling tribute to the medium's power to inform and educate.
Commenting on his time as a hostage in the Lebanon he writes, "...when I found myself languishing in solitary confinement, I discovered what it is like to be totally isolated. For almost four years I had no communication from the world outside my cell, until I established contact with my fellow hostages in the cell next door by tapping in code on the wall. They had a radio and each night they would communicate to me news drawn from the BBC World Service. Eventually my captors gave me a small battery set for the final few months of my incarceration and it truly was a lifeline."
He then tells the story of a visit to Uganda and the gift of a radio to a colleague and the pleasure it gave but also the benefits of such a gift in a continent where batteries would be too expensive for millions and where there is no mains power.
He writes of a project in the Freeplay Foundation undertook in Tanzania, "where an estimated four million children cannot get to school and 300,000 are engaged in the worst forms of child labour."
"Lessons by radio in the few hours when they are not working," he writes, "enable these children to become numerate, and literate in Swahili and English. Their horizons expand and hope flourishes. As many of the learners are orphans, programmes include helpful segments on Aids prevention, nutrition, hygiene, first aid and practical survival skills that will help children improve the quality of their lives. It could not be more simple or cheap. I have experienced the full power of radio and the emotional and imaginative bond it creates with its audience. It draws children back again and again to learn more and more. It inspires and motivates them to change and to believe in another kind of future.
Finally before listening recommendations a few columns on radio that for various reasons we felt worthy of a visit.
In the North County Times Randy Dotinga has a go at host Tom Leykis and if even a quarter of it were true there's a lot various Americans - presumably nearly all male - have to be ashamed of.
Then a couple of UK reports chosen as much for acerbic introductions as anything else.
In the Independent Terry Kirby sets the tone of a report on guest editors last week for the BBC Radio 4 Today programme with the introduction, "The BBC has been accused of airing "sycophantic drivel" after a leading banker's debut as guest editor of the Today show provoked several complaints from listeners."
And from Ireland comment in his UK Sunday Times Radio Waves column by Gerry McCarthy that suggests to us he might well be a very miserable writer indeed if living in the US. His introduction to his column was: "Christmas radio is not necessarily an insult to the intelligence; vacuous good cheer may dominate but there is still room for meatier programmes."
Then listening suggestions starting with two media reviews of the year, one the latest "On the Media" from WNYC, New York, and the other the latest "Media Report" from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National.
For documentary we suggest the most recent edition of BBC Radio 4's Analysis programme that looked at why Americans see so much in religious terms and how this affects the country's attitudes and also "The Science Blacklist " tomorrow at 20:00 GMT in which BBC Washington Correspondent Justin Webb investigates the growing number of US science scandals - from editing climate change research to repressing the sale of contraceptives.
Also from the station we'd suggest in the Afternoon Play slot today - "Abel's Law" - a dramatization of an ethical issue - the refusal in 1874 of an Oxfordshire shopkeeper to refuse a compulsory smallpox vaccination of his youngest son after two of his sons had died following vaccinations, made compulsory after a series of smallpox epidemics.
For classical music, we'd suggest BBC Radio 3's Composer of the Week (Noon weekdays) that this week is on Aaron Copland and for those with verbal inclinations BBC Radio 4 at 11:30 GMT tomorrow when in "The Joy of Gibberish" Stephen Fry investigates why humans enjoy gibbering.
And finally from BBC Radio 2 last Saturday the comedy hour of Jammin' and Lee Mack: Next week the same slot - 13:00 to 14:00 GMT has The Comedy Album Show and The Green Guide to Relationships.
Christian Science Monitor - Walker:
FrontPage - Schlussel:
New York Times - Clemetson:
North County Times - Dotinga:
UK Independent - Kirby:
UK Telegraph - Reynolds:
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy:
UK Times -Waite:
2006-01-02: Former 60s Seattle DJ Lan Roberts has died aged 69 at his Texas home following a career that spanned time in his home state of Texas then New Orleans at WTXI-AM before he moved to KJR-AM, Seattle, in 1962 - he was there until 1968 after which he moved to KOL-AM until 1970 and then returned to KJR before moving to Hawaii in 1974 and in 1985 to ICRT-AM, Taiwan's only English-language station.
He returned to the US after that and worked for CBS Radio in San Francisco before moving back to his home state of Texas - he grew up as Lanny Lipford in Bonham - where he did consulting work.
On his web site he noted that he was lucky - he found that he had lung cancer during his first year back in Texas, lost half his lung in an operation and was "given only a 15 % chance to survive for a year It's now more than six and a half years later and my last check up still showed I was clear of any of the bad guys."
Roberts used the web site for posing commentaries including strong opposition to tobacco smoking.
In an obituary in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Pat O'Day, who was program director for KJR-AM when it ruled the Seattle airwaves in the 1960s said of him, "Lan Roberts was the greatest morning disc jockey in Seattle. He had a childlike imagination that was a thing of beauty. He wanted radio to go beyond the mundane. He wanted to make people laugh every hour."
O'Day said people would stop him on the street and ask what had happened to Roberts 30 years after he had been on the air in Seattle, commenting, "That's a sign of greatness."
Roberts told one tale of his Seattle days, a city he termed "a natural place to be creative."
This was the tale of his Lil' Green Thing: In 1964, as a joke, I mentioned on the air that if listeners would send me a letter then I would send them a 'Lil' Green Thing With a Picture of a Duck on It.' After two days I had received over 10,000 requests so I figured I had to do something quick.
"I bought an entire block of green cloth, cut it up in small pieces and stamped it with a picture of a duck. Just so there would be no confusion, I also stamped 'Lil' Green Thing' on it."
Lan Roberts web site:
Seattle Post-Intelligencer report:
2006-01-02: Some BBC Radio 4 listeners are keeping up their reputation for being a conservative lot who don't like changes to their station with protests about the scheduled axing of the "Home Truths" programme that was launched and presented until his death by the late John Peel.
When the announcement was made last month Radio 4 Controller Mark Damazer said," John's unique personality was bound up with Home Truths and now it's time to look for a different programme" (See RNW Dec 15, 2005).
Fans have protested on the programme's web site, one writing of the programme, "It must, surely, be one of the most successful, listener-led programmes anywhere on Radio. If you persist in this insane, idiotic, blinkered plan, you are going to lose our personal following along (I guess) with that of many, many other faithful 'Home Truths' fanatics."
Another in more emollient tones wrote (Spelling errors have been corrected)," Much as I miss John Peel, I think the show is still just great, such a refreshing change of style from some of Radio 4's slightly "drier" shows. This show really made me feel proud of our slightly eccentric, very diverse nation. Please reconsider this decision. It will be a real loss to R4's schedules, and I feel narrow down the audience it attracts."
And another supporter commented, "Why are they going to end such a popular show? What's the logic? Home Truths is a celebration of all the small, wonderful pieces of Britain that go towards making it special. It is not brash, melodramatic, preachy, patronizing or political. It is unique, and we love it."
Not everyone objected to the decision - one wrote strongly supporting the decision and saying, " it has always been a dreadful programme that is totally out of place on Radio 4. It is symptomatic of the dumbing down that has been all too evident on Radio 4 in recent years" but the preponderance were for the show prompting a response from Damazer.
In it he said, " I realize how many of you feel passionately about the programme. I have been a Home Truths listener since day one and I have loved the insights and fun it has given me" and then continues, "This has not therefore been an easy decision to make, as I am a fan. I am incredibly grateful to all of you who have contributed to the programme both before and since John's death and to the production team and presenters who have helped to sustain the programme. However John's unique personality was at the heart of Home Truths and now it's time to look for a different programme."
"What I can say is that whatever replaces it, I want to keep the relationship we have with listeners on Saturday morning. It has been the hallmark of Home Truths and it will be for whatever follows."
BBC Home Truths message board:
2006-01-02: Viacom has now completed its split into a "New" Viacom, that takes in the former company's cable and movie holdings, and CBS Corporation, that includes its broadcasting business -Infinity is now CBS Radio - and outdoor operations.
Stocks in the two companies will trade under the symbols VIA (for Class A stock and VIA B for class B stock) and CBS (for Class B common stock and CBS-A for its Class A stock).
RNW note: in line with the split, we will now refer to CBS Radio rather than Viacom-CBS-Infinity in our archives for the broadcast business.
2006-01-01: Note - We are not running our regular Licence News today as most of the regulators have not published decisions in the Christmas to New Year period. The FCC has been working but only issued routine decisions.
2006-01-01: In its latest attempt to drum up publicity for itself and the company, Sirius Satellite Radio has announced that CEO Mel Karmazin is to ring the opening bell on the NASDAQ market on January 9th to mark the debut of "The Howard Stern Show" on the satellite channel.
Stern has yet to announce the programming he has created for his two Sirius channels but surveys have credited him with a late 2005 subscriber boost that took Sirius past the three million subscribers mark.
2006-01-01: "A Prairie Home Companion" host Garrison Keillor has rowed back on his earlier decision to take the show away from its St. Paul, Minnesota, home in the Fitzgerald Theater, its regular home for the past 12 years, that he announced in November (See RNW Nov 11, 2005).
He now says he expects around a dozen shows in the 2006-07 season to originate from the theatre with the show on the road for the rest of the period.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer/AP report:
2006-01-01: Prasar Bharati - The Broadcasting Corporation of India that oversees public broadcasters Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR) - is to be financially restructured.
The agency has accumulated losses of some INR 60 billion ( USD 1.33 billion) and the government has directed the Information & Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry to make a detailed financial evaluation so that it can embark upon a capital-restructuring plan according to Asia Pacific Broadcasting.
It says Cabinet Secretary BK Chaturvedi has asked the ministry to detail all assets and liabilities of Prasar Bharati to get a basis on which to restructure the organization.
"Once the figures are in hand, we can work out whether Prasar Bharati would need a subsidy or a part-subsidy, or if the government should transfer all assets to the Prasar Bharati Board and pick up equity in the corporation, or whether it should be a combination of subsidy and equity," Chaturvedi said.
Prasar Bharati's current structure is a mixed one in which it functions as an autonomous body supported by government grants but the staff's service status is still unclear: Most are government servants under deemed deputation but they do not have most government service benefits. It has a staff shortage and no recruitment has been made for years.
Prasar Bharati's CEO KS Sarma commented, "My hands are tied in the matter. I keep being told that I am making losses and so I cannot recruit; but without the right people in place, the chances of doing a turnaround are remote. It is the classic cart-before-the-horse situation."
In 2004-5 Prasar Bharati's annual budget was INR 18 billion (USD 400 million) around two thirds of which came from the Indian government with the rest being generated by the broadcasters.
The government funding was allocated between DD and AIR in a ratio of around 2:1.
Previous Prasar Bharati:
Previous Indian Radio:
Asia Pacific Broadcasting report:
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