February 2006 Archive
-January 2006 - March 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 February comment - asks whether commercial radio's current business model can survive new technologies and competition.
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.
2006-02-28: Entravision has announced a USD 51.1 million deal to buy back 7 million shares of its Class U common stock from Univision that will take the latter's holdings in Entravision below 15%.
The deal was necessary because of an agreement when Univision took over Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation in 2003 it agreed to reduce its Entravision stake to 15% by March 26th his year: The deal, which is expected to close on March 2, follows a recent USDD 90 million purchase by Univision of Entravision's KBRG-FM and KLOK-AM serving the San Francisco/San Jose, California market that was paid for with 12.6 million shares of Entravision stock and took Univision's holdings down to around 19.8% (See RNW Jan 4).
Entravision chairman and CEO Walter Ulloa said his company "took a strategic approach to resolving this issue and believe these transactions represent prudent uses of non-strategic assets and cash that will enhance shareholder value."
2006-02-28: The UK Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) has now posted on its website the study "A licence to kill?" that we reported on briefly yesterday (See RNW Feb 27) and that recommends capping BBC radio spending so as to benefit the commercial sector.
The 16-page report ( a 145KB PDF) also recommends the use of "ring-fencing" the allocation of funds for BBC radio as a part of the overall settlement of the BBC licence fee and also suggests that one option for "Reducing the scope of BBC radio" would be "to sell the BBC's own "commercial" services, namely Radio 1 and 2."
The report notes that Radio 1 was originally created to counter listening to pirate stations [RNW comment: It actually puts it "the original rationale for the entry of BBC into formats such as Radio 1 in 1967 was to counter the loss of listening caused by North Sea pirate stations" thus suggesting that Radio 2 is in a similar category which is not so] and that this rational no longer applies "following the introduction of introduction of licensed commercial radio services in 1973."
"To the extent that these services deliver public value," says the report, "they could continue to do so as part of the commercial sector, which has introduced many of the innovations at the community level that meet the criteria identified in relation to public value."
UK commercial radio notes the report had revenues of GBP 633 million (USD 1.1 million) in 2005 and employed 9,100 people and says that the "total consumer benefits of all radio in 2000 were estimated by the Radiocommunications Agency at GBP 1, 4 billion (USD 2.4 billion, of which some GBP 800 million (USD 1.39 billion) is from commercial radio, if benefits are attributed on a revenue/expenditure basis between commercial radio and the BBC."
"In addition," it continues, "commercial radio is estimated by the Radiocommunications Agency to have generated GBP 303 million (USD 527 million) of producer surplus, giving a total benefit of GBP 1.1 billion (USD 1.9 billion) each year."
It goes on to say that this has been achieved "despite the sector having to fight strongly to overcome the BBC's advantage of being financed by a hypothecated tax and not needing to carry advertisements" and later accuses the BBC of damaging the commercial sector because it takes away part of the audience, putting up costs for commercial radio in terms of talent and content, and also preventing innovation such as moves into subscription services because of the availability of BBC programming on-demand.
It also says that half the small and medium sized commercial stations in the UK were making an operating loss at the time of the Ofcom review in 2004 and comments, "If radio is considered to be a separate market from other media, then local commercial radio mergers may be precluded, and the alternative of local commercial radio exiting altogether becomes a possibility, leaving only the BBC."
RNW comment: Reading this report in full rather than the brief report from the Observer newspaper - and treating the angles taken in their reports by the UK Guardian and Independent (links below) as poor journalism based more on comments by CRCA chief executive David Elstein than a thorough reading of the report together with a realistic appraisal of what is actually likely to happen - if anything hardens the view we initially expressed yesterday and confirms our view that the CRCA is interested in making money without any regard to the overall benefit to the listening public: It also leads us to think that any report from Indepen should be regarded with suspicion as quite likely to be a partisan lobbying job rather than an analysis.
In view of the numbers of companies bidding for licences when they become available, we have to assume that, if the report is accurate, there are a lot of very stupid business people trying to get into radio if the idea is to do so in the hopes of having a profitable business and our response to that is that we see no reason why other services to listeners from the BBC should be curtailed to protect fools from their folly. In this case there is presumably a benefit to the public whilst they remain on air even if they do lose money.
There must also be a lot of rather stupid people in the business if the report is to be taken seriously since very few companies have actually handed back their licences. Yet again a reason to bin the report.
As for the comment that "the alternative of local commercial radio exiting altogether becomes a possibility", this is just nonsense if it means what it says - namely that all that would be left in the commercial sector would be national franchises.
It is also significant to us that the problems radio is facing are not occurring just in the UK but also in the rest of the world because of technological change that may well mean that the current model for advertising-funded commercial radio is no longer viable (See our February comment).
We do, however, have a little sympathy concerning the problems some companies face but regard the threats to them as much more a matter of the effects of technological change rather than of the strength of the BBC and suggest commercial companies should be looking to see how they might use that technology rather than trying to weaken another player.
They may of course not be able to since the technology offers means for others to enter the marketplace and sell audio without major investment - the Gervais Show podcasts may turn out to be a good example of this and spur others to follow but we'd lay fairly heavy odds that the UK independent producers are much more likely to succeed at this than the major UK radio companies.
Perhaps the best option, however, would be to offer the big UK players the opportunity to show what they can do - allow for example, a three-year trial period in which the major player that puts forward the best plan in terms of encouraging new music and innovation rather than playing the same old tired mix of pop gets to take over BBC Radio 1 on the condition that the plan offers more in these terms than the BBC is currently delivering, that a suitable large "performance bond" is lodged, and with a penalty - automatic revocation of every single licence they own if they don't deliver on the plan with the licences going on offer again and Radio One then going back to the BBC together with the fund from the performance bond. Any guesses how many bids there might be when it was a case of putting money behind the CRCA's mouth?
CRCA site - Indepen's report (145 kb PDF):
UK Independent report:
UK Guardian report:
2006-02-28: Plans for media deregulation in Australia that are expected to recommend the dropping of limits on foreign ownership and relaxation of cross-media ownership rules could be made public as early as this week by Minister for Communications, Helen Coonan, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The paper notes that under current regulations a company can only control a newspaper, or a radio station or a TV station in any market, and says Coonan is expected to propose removal of the cross-ownership ban provided there are a minimum of five operators in a metropolitan market and four in a regional market but would continue to bar ownership of more than one radio or TV station in the same market.
Two previous attempts to relax the rules have been rejected in the Australian Senate, now controlled by the ruling Liberal Party: The opposition Labor Party has said it will continue to oppose changes to cross-media ownership.
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2006-02-28: BBC Radio 2 drivetime host Johnnie Walker is to step down from the programme at the end of March after seven years in the role, which he took over from John Dunn.
Walker, who received an MBE (Member of the British Empire) last week for services to broadcasting, added more than two million listeners a week to the show, which is the most-listened to UK drivetime programme.
He will concentrate on high profile rock interviews and a new Sunday programme and will also fill in on the station's breakfast show when Terry Wogan is on leave according to the BBC.
Birmingham-born Walker, who received the Sony Radio Academy Gold Award for a career achievement two years ago (See RNW May 14, 2004), began his radio career on the pirate ship Radio Caroline in 1965 and was one of three hosts on air when the stations were closed down at midnight on August 15, 1967.
Two years later he joined BBC Radio 1, hosting a Saturday afternoon show. He worked in the US from 1976 to 1982, having left Radio 1 after a disagreement over the music he played, before returning to the UK where he first joined GWR on its West Country stations Radio West and Wiltshire Radio, later moving to BBC Radio 1 again.
After that his career included spells on the new BBC London station GLR, BBC Radio Five, and then Radio 1 again, finally leaving it in 1995.
He then worked on various Classic Gold stations and on Radio 2 before being offered his own weekly Saturday Afternoon show by the station in April 1998 and then taking over from Dunn.
In 2003 he shocked many listeners by announcing on air that he had cancer (See RNW Jun 7, 2003) and taking time off for treatment, eventually returning to the show at the start of March, 2004.
In a BBC news release Walker said of his decision to leave his current show, "I've had a wonderful time presenting Drivetime and enjoyed it enormously. After seven years on one show I feel it's time for a change. The new Sunday show will be give me the opportunity to present a programme with a spiritual angle, something I've been talking to Radio 2 about for over a year."
"And after getting such positive feedback for my Eric Clapton special last summer," he added, " I'm keen to do more interviews with the major names in rock, the first of which will be a special on The Eagles."
2006-02-28: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a USD 10,000 penalty on a Massachusetts pirate operator, Jean Harold Marius of Randolph.
Maris had not responded to a notice of apparent liability issued in November last year.
2006-02-28: The deadline for bids for the nine radio stations that are being sold by GCap Media (See RNW Nov 25, 2005) was passed yesterday with reports that in the end all bids were from UK companies.
There had been reports of interest from foreign groups including Australian radio operators Austereo and Macquarie Media, and Emmis International but none of these appear to have made a bid.
Amongst potential UK bidders, UTV, which was reported to have made the final list, withdrew its interest (See RNW Feb 2) leaving the most tipped bidders as Absolute Radio, The Local Radio Company, and UKRD.
Previous GCap Media:
2006-02-27: We start this week's look at print comment on radio with a brief look at what many might consider a rather esoteric subject, an exchange on the topic of the choice of music to be aired on BBC Radio 3's long-running "Building a Library" programme, currently aired as part of the Saturday morning "CD Review" programme broadcast by the station.
It began with an attack by Martin Kettle who wrote in the UK Guardian that the programme had been "hijacked by specialists."
In his article Kettle said the programme was "constructed on clear principles."
"Each Saturday," he wrote, "a critic assesses the currently available recorded versions of a classical music masterpiece and, after playing excerpts from many of them, nominates the winner. It is an impeccably Reithian BBC programme, designed to guide the average listener who is building a basic collection of classical recordings Note the words - the average listener who is building a basic collection of classical recordings. For years, that has been the programme's fine and democratic purpose. But not now. Somewhere along the way someone has captured Building a Library, turning it away from its original - and to me still its proper - purpose and making it into a niche for specialists."
Kettle then detailed the six subjects in the programme aired up to the time he was writing ." the Concerto Funèbre by Karl Amadeus Hartmann, the complete music of Elliott Carter, the Mass in G minor by Vaughan Williams, Mozart's ninth piano concerto, K271, Syrinx by Debussy, and the sixth symphony of Shostakovich."
"None of these, he commented, "has an incontestable claim as part of an essential collection Some of them give two fingers to the average listener To put it mildly, these six are mainly on the margins, not in the mainstream, of classical music. Some are simply bizarre "
He then went through the choices aired so far giving his reasons why the selection was inappropriate.
Kettle's comments prompted a response from Mark Lowther, the producer at Radio 3 currently responsible for planning Building a Library. After commenting "I take my responsibility to our loyal audience very seriously", he disputed Kettle's comment that "programme has not thought fit to examine either the Marriage of Figaro or the Magic Flute" saying they had been featured in September 2000 and January 2004 respectively and added that. Although he was happy to defend the choices criticized by Kettle it was "rather unfair to single out just six programmes."
"Since last September, " wrote Lowther, "there have been features on Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, Mendelssohn's string quartets, Elgar's 2nd Symphony, Verdi's Il Trovatore, Brahms' Clarinet Trio and Bach's Christmas Oratorio. In the next few weeks, listeners will be able to hear Schubert's G Major String Quartet, Bruckner's 7th Symphony, Grieg's Holberg Suite, Verdi's Don Carlos, Vivaldi's Op. 8 concertos, Dvorak's Violin Concerto - and hopefully Rossini's Cenerentola and Brahms' 4th Symphony."
After further comments on specific works and the difficulties of choosing from the "vast repertoire" available, Lowther noted feedback from listeners telling the BBC "quite a bit about our audience" and noted, "When we included the Hartmann Concerto in a programme last year we received some extraordinarily positive feedback. The audience doesn't appear to want "standard repertoire" the whole time."
"By mixing Hartmann with Mozart, Poulenc with Verdi, Carter with Rimsky-Korsakov," he concluded, "I hope that Building a Library is based on Reithian principles, giving the ever-curious Radio 3 audience a balance of what it currently enjoys and what it might come to enjoy in the future.
After the issue of making musical choices, that of the best interviewers, the topic chosen by Roland White in the Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times. He picked up the idea from a weblog that considered the question of who is the best interviewer on radio and after a few rhetorical questions and notes on various interviewers commented, "Time and place are important: they affect an interviewer's style. But there's one factor that is almost always overlooked in these debates. It's what holds the key to the success of an interview, the factor on which listeners will judge that interview to be a success or failure."
White then goes on to comment on various British politicians as interviewees: "No matter how skilled the interviewer, sometimes the subject just won't play. For example, I defy anybody to get a decent interview from Gordon Brown. If he were a cricketer, he'd make Geoff Boycott look reckless. Whatever you bowl at Gordon, he merely sticks out his bat and lets the ball plop harmlessly onto the turf."
Two others don't come out very well either in his view: "Listening to the health secretary, Patricia Hewitt, is also like having Mogadon administered by microphone. Not only does she give the impression that interviews are an impertinence, she sounds as if she's reading from a prepared statement whatever the question. Her cabinet colleague Ruth Kelly always seems terrified, and so gives the impression that she has something to hide. "
And on the plus side, "For me, the master of the radio interview is Ken Clarke. He always seems to be enjoying himself, which is infectious, but, most important, he is never scared by the killer question When every other question has been batted harmlessly away, an interviewer can always rely on the killer question. It's normally something along the lines of: "Well, that's not what your colleagues think, is it?" The poor politician faces an uneasy choice: to admit that they might be wrong or to attack a colleague. Ken Clarke, however, merely waves away the question with a cheery acknowledgment of its purpose and a refusal to play the game."
After articles on what radio is providing, we move to what it isn't and consideration of the future from Doreen Carvajal in the International Herald Tribune. She begins "Seeking new wavelengths for radio" with comment from former Radio Netherlands producer Jonathan Marks who is now a media consultant, or rather his T-shire that reads, "Something's wrong with my radio. It plays the same five songs over and over."
Radio writes Carvajal is "facing severe competition and major technological and structural changes to a business model established in the 1920s and 1930s" and, she adds, "Strangely enough, though, it is the public broadcasters, like the BBC, Radio France Internationale, Deutsche Welle or National Public Radio in the United States, that are flourishing by embracing new technology and strategies, while commercial radio operators are losing out to iPods, MP3 players and digital and satellite alternatives."
She then refers to the loss of audiences at "youth-oriented commercial rock stations" and says the trend of losing listeners to new music sources such as downloads and Internet radio has "convinced media analysts at Deloitte, the consulting firm, that the days of radio as a single broadcast product are ending and that stations will have to adapt to the digital world with alternative forms of distribution to reach an increasingly dispersed audience.
She quotes Ed Shedd, a media partner with Deloitte in London as saying, "Historically, the commercial stations were focused on essentially music stations and a limited number of genres and songs and artists, because that was the way to get the advertising dollar. The converging world really suits talk and chat and discussion, and that really plays into the hand of the public-service broadcasters that are more invested in talk services."
Carvajal notes moves like Clear Channel's "Less if More" from commercial companies but then goes on to note some initiatives by European public broadcasters that are claiming territory the commercial companies have not touched.
Examples cited include Radio France Internationale, which in December last year revamped its web site to include podcasts and streaming audio, as well as offering news also has a bilingual crime serial and web sites aimed at people learning French as a second language, one aimed at students and another at teachers and Radio Netherlands , which started a radio program aimed entirely at truck drivers, who can pick up the two-hour "On the Road" show throughout Europe in a variety of forms, from traditional radio to online streaming.
Finally courtesy of another Radio Waves column, this time that of Ben Fong-Torres in the San Francisco Chronicle, a recommendation for a new radio museum, started as a labour of love by David F. Jackson, a self-styled "Columbia School washout" who took courses at the old Columbia School of Broadcasting but never made it into the radio business.
The site, Bay Area Radio Museum, is still being built up by Jackson from material he's collected over several decades but Fong-Torres comments that it is "already looking and sounding pretty good."
"Visitors," adds Fong-Torres. "can listen to air checks of fabled voices like John K. Chapel, Ken Ackerman, "Jumpin' George" Oxford, Bob Fouts, Tom Donahue, Johnny Holliday, the Real Don Steele, Bob White, Al Hart and Don Sherwood. They can get written info on many, many more. They can hear jingles once played on KABL, KSFO, KYA, KSAN (when it was an R&B station on AM) and KGO ... FM. They can look at Top 40 surveys. There's a small collection of sports play-by-plays. Radio history buffs can read John Schneider's excellent series "Voices Out of the Fog," in which he charts such stations as KDIA, KNBR (all the way back to its origins as KPO) and the 106.9 spot on the FM dial, dating back to KEAR. Jackson himself writes a breezy column of radio news items. And he provides links to sites by and for Red Blanchard, Coyle & Sharpe, Hap Harper, Norman Davis, "Big Rick" Stuart, "Dr." Don Rose, Terry McGovern, Bobby Ocean, Jeff McNeal, free-form KSAN and -- get this -- a fan site for the late 99.7 KYUU!"
All the above this week are, of course, cues for suggested listening. That for the museum is a suggestion to dip into the site (audio is Real streaming audio) and gain a flavour of San Francisco radio over the years and similarly for RFI the suggestion is a visit to the site.
This has pages in various European languages as well as others relating to its language services that include Chinese, Lao and Cambodian: Various programming is offered on demand as streaming (or downloadable) Real and Windows Audio files and also as podcasts (Regrettably not as far as we could see as a plain MP3 download). Radio Netherlands offers streaming audio (Real and WMA) plus various programming on demand as Real (low and high quality stream), WMA, MP3 (48 KBPS News in OGG as well) plus podcast form.
From the latter we'd suggest a dip into the February 20th Research notes, which covers topics such as plastic surgery - one participant suggests that in many cases that psychological treatment might be a better option and research apparently indicates that women who have breast implants are three times more likely than the average to commit suicide - and a study on twins of the effects of using of cannabis in puberty - the research indicated that those who did were more likely to use hard drugs later, which was not the expected result of the research but also showed fewer people using cannabis than in other European countries where it is forbidden rather than legal.
Then BBC Radio 3 and "Building a Library", which last week featured the Schubert String Quartet in G Major D887 and next Saturday will have Bruckner's Symphony No 7: The site, by the way, carried listings off all the programmes from 1995 onwards
As both the recordings just noted are fairly mainstream we follow them with another BBC Radio 3 suggestion - Sunday's "Early Music Show" that examined he part the Hurdy Gurdy has played in European Music.
Also from Sunday's Radio 3 offerings we'd suggest "The Choir", which featured the Huddersfield Choral Society, which dates back to 1836: It was followed in the "Drama on 3" slot by "Lost in Liverpool", a thriller recorded in the Williamson Tunnels in the Edge Hill area of Liverpool (for more information see the Williamson Tunnels site) and then in "The Sunday Feature" slot by "Paul Sacher, the Man Who Made 20th Century Music" a profile of the late Swiss conductor and founder of the Basel Chamber Orchestra - and also thanks to his wife's fortune from Hoffmann-La Roche the world's third richest man at one time in the 1990s according to Forbes.
Sticking with the BBC but changing stations, our next suggestion is tonight's (21:00 GMT) "Radio Ballads" on BBC Radio 2: "The Song of Steel", which looks at the decline of the steel industry in Sheffield and Rotherham, is the first of six in a series that takes its inspiration from the original Radio Ballads from "The Ballad of John Axon" (1957) to the "The Travelling People" (1964) that were broadcast on the BBC Home Service (the predecessor to Radio 4 - for more on them see Ewan MacColl's account).
Then from the same station tomorrow at 20:30 GMT we suggest "Brassed Off: The Miners' Strike... and Beyond" in which Kirsty Young marks the 21st anniversary of the end of the longest and one of the most bitter industrial disputes in British history.
And in entirely different vein from Radio 2 we'd suggest next Saturday's comedy hour from 13:00 GMT, starting with the fourth of the current "Smith Lectures" series - "The Art of the Performer" - followed by "The Powder Room", comedy from the all-female team of Julia Morris, Lucy Porter and Gina Yashere, who survey the audience's love life.
Back to music, or rather musical - the first one to be aired in this slot, and "The Play of the Week" on BBC World Service was "The Big Life", a musical transposing Love's Labour's Lost to 1950s London and a group of Caribbean immigrants - the four principal male characters make a pact to stay away from women for three years whilst they work to better their lives. The women they meet have other ideas and the music includes ska, soul, blues, gospel, calypso and jazz.
We'd also suggest the most recent version of "Pick of the World" from World Service.
Then BBC Radio 4 and from Sunday "David Irving: The London Trial", a documentary that looks into the 2000- 2001 libel trial in which historian David Irving - sentenced last week to jail in Austria for his Holocaust-denials - sued Penguin Books and the author Deborah Lipstadt over her book which said Irving had persistently and deliberately misinterpreted and twisted historical evidence to minimise Hitler's culpability for the Holocaust. He lost at the original trial and three subsequent appeals and bankrupted himself (as well as costing Penguin some GBP 2 million - USD 3.6 million).
Irving was felt by many to be in thrall to the concept of celebrity and the same could be said of William McGonagall, now carrying the label of the world's worst poet and subject of "The Great McGonagall" which was broadcast last week on Radio 4.
And finally two more Radio 4 suggestions - tomorrow at 11:30 GMT "Who Took the Cork off my Lunch?", an examination on the influence of W.C. Fields on British culture and Wednesday at 21:00 GMT, "A Voice Like Honey" in which Jan Ravens, the British actress and impressionist, looks at how new techniques are making it possible for voice surgeons to alter the way we sound.
Bay Area Radio Museum site:
Ewan MacColl on Radio Ballads:
International Herald Tribune - Carvajal:
Radio France International web site:
Radio Netherlands web site:
San Francisco Chronicle -Fong-Torres:
UK Guardian - Kettle:
UK Guardian - Lowther:
UK Sunday Times - White:
2006-02-27: A report produced for Britain's commercial radio companies by London-based economic and management consultancy Indepen has claimed that the BBC is dominating UK radio unfairly and that a the proposed increase to the BBC licence fee would be uncompetitive and could destroy the diversity of commercial radio according to the London Observer.
The paper says the report, "A Licence to Kill?", details innovation in commercial radio, including the speech-based station Oneword, in which Channel 4 TV owns a 51 per cent stake and quotes David Elstein, chairman of the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) and former chief executive of Channel 5 TV as saying," 'Every time commercial radio finds a niche, the BBC moves in and takes over" and claimed that the BBC launched its BBC7 digital channel as a response to Oneword, adding, "'The pot of public money going into the BBC is driving public service content out of commercial radio."
Elstein, says the paper, wants a cap on BBC spending on radio, which it says amounts to GBP11.8 million (USD 20.6 million) per station compared with commercial radio revenue of GBP2.2 million (USD 3.8 million) per station.
The BBC responded by saying it "absolutely refutes the idea that it imitates formats and that commercial radio alone has been at the forefront of innovation."
RNW comment: Yet again it seems to us that the response from Elstein is petty and mean minded. He would, it seems, much prefer to gut a superb service to listeners to arguing for conditions that would enable improvement in commercial radio. We see little evidence in the UK or US that commercial radio would even consider producing much of the drama, documentary and other educational programming that comes from the BBC because it is expensive and does not gain the same ratings as pop.
The stations he represents, like those of the BBC, use public airwaves, out of which many of their proprietors have done very well financially - often when prices were paid for stations on the basis of past cost cutting. Although commercial stations now face problems related to the general economy and new means by which people can listen to pop music if push came to shove, as we have said in the past, we think the British public would be much better served by protection of the BBC service than seriously hurt by the failure of most of the commercial network since newer sources can and do provide an alternative to the latter rather than the former.
UK Observer report:
2006-02-27: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) which last year was involved in an eight-week lockout of staff who were members of the Canadian Media Guild and that ran until October (See RNW Oct 12, 2005) is now facing a new dispute, this time with a different union representing staff in its French-language service Radio Canada.
A Canadian Press report in the Toronto Globe and Mail says the Syndicat des communications de Radio Canada is warning that there could be strike action and questioning whether the broadcaster learned anything from last year's lock-out.
It quotes union President Robert Fontaine, a radio reporter and editor in the Montréal newsroom, as saying, "The employer is asking for more flexibility, (but) we're looking for a little more loyalty toward Radio Canada employees. So we're really in disagreement."
The current contract with the union ends in two months and the union says negotiations are already at a standstill over Radio Canada's demands even before pay issues have been put on the table and that it could ask its members for a mandate to strike.
Radio Canada says it laid out all its demands when contact talks resumed in mid-January and had told the union it wanted a speedy negotiated settlement, adding in terms of job security issues that over the past two years it had filled 90% of its permanent jobs from inside the organization, three quarters of them from part-timers who belonged to the union.
Previous CBC/Radio Canada:
Toronto Globe and Mail/CP report:
2006-02-27: What may be the cheapest radio station in the world is being operated in a village in the northern Indian state of Bihar according to a BBC news story.
It says that the station in Mansoorpur village in Vaishali district is run from a local electronics shop using a transmitter that cost around INR 50 - around USD 1.13 - and was built by Raghav Mahato:
It transmits from an antenna attached to a bamboo pole on a neighbouring three-storey hospital.
Raghav started work in a local repair shop in 1997 and took it over when the owner left the area: He had the idea of launching the radio station in 2003,saying he initially started out of curiosity and since then has increased the transmission strength year by year although at one stage he closed it down after being told the transmissions were illegal.
He was persuaded to resume the service, now with a range of some 20 km (12 miles) and with a friend transmits around 12 hours a day of films songs, public interest messages on HIV and polio, plus local news, including alerts on missing children and the opening of local shops.
The station is based in his electronics repair shop and airs tapes and cassettes from a homemade stereo cassette player and three other locally made battery-powered tape recorders.
Previous Indian radio:
BBC News report:
2006-02-26: Last week was fairly quiet for all the regulators including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) although reports are that the FCC will soon impose penalties relating to a number of indecency complaints (See RNW Feb 24).
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found that two community services breached the rules by broadcasting adverts.
In Brisbane, Family Radio Ltd, licensee of 4FRB-FM, Brisbane, was found not to have broadcast more than five minutes an hour of sponsorship announcements but that an announcement for a funeral service was in breach of rules on advertising. The licensee has subsequently conducted training for on-air presenters with particular mention of the use of tags and ensured that pre-recorded sponsorship announcements carry tags.
In Western Australia Kalamunda Community Radio Incorporated, licensee of KCR-FM, Kalamunda, was similarly found to have breached the rules on broadcasting advertisements by broadcasting an untagged sponsorship announcement. The station has subsequently censured the production manager and mandating that all sponsors messages be checked by a second committee member prior to broadcast.
In both cases the ACMA found the action taken was adequate to address the issues raised and is to take no further action beyond monitoring the stations' performance.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was busier with various notices than with decisions and we noted only one radio decision. That was in Saskatchewan where it approved a frequency change for low-power Christian music FM radio station authorized for Blucher in August last year but not yet in operation. The change is to pre-empt possible loss of the originally authorized frequency should an application that has now been made for CBK-AM, Regina, to add an FM transmitter at Saskatoon be granted.
Among public notices was one with a deadline for interventions or comment by March 27 that included the following radio-related applications
*Application to add a 2,900 watts FM Transmitter at Peace River, a 1,400 watts FM transmitter at High Prairie, an 850 watts transmitter at Fairview, a 1400 watts FM transmitter at Valleyview, and a 2,500 watts FM transmitter at Saddle Hills to carry the programming of CKYL-FM, Peace River.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
Application to increase the power of transmitter CBTB-FM, Baie Vert, from 5,850 watts to 24,200 watts and decrease the antenna height. The transmitter carries programming of CBT-AM, Grand Falls, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation advised that it will combine the CBTB-FM antenna with its future Radio Two transmitter at its existing site south of Wild Cove where it intends to install a new tower in 2007.
The CRTC also published a list of transfers of ownership and changes to the effective control of broadcasting undertakings that it has authorized during the period 1 November 2005 to 31 December 2005. They included:
*Approval of transfer of effective control of Rawlco Edmonton, licensee of CHMC-FM Edmonton, Alberta, from Rawlco Capital Ltd. to Rawlco Inc. Following the transfer, Rawlco Edmonton and Rawlco Radio Ltd. amalgamated to continue the operation of the undertaking under the name of Rawlco Radio Ltd.
Transfer of the effective control of CHOY-FM Limitée, licensee of CHOY-FM, Moncton, New Brunswick, from Radio Diffusion Acadie Inc. to Maritime Broadcasting System Limited (MBS). Through this transaction, CHOY-FM Limitée becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of MBS.
*Corporate reorganization transferring to Evanov Radio Group Inc. 80% voting interest of its subsidiary CKMW Radio Ltd., which had been granted a licence to operate a new English-language adult standards/easy listening FM in Ottawa.
*Transfer of ownership and control of CJRN 710, licensee of CJRN-AM, Niagara Falls and of CKEY-FM, Fort Erie, and its transmitter CKEY-FM-1, St. Catharines, Ontario, from Niagara Broadcasting Corporation, a corporation controlled by David Dancy as its sole director, to Northguard Capital Corp., a corporation wholly owned and controlled by Andrew Ferri. Northguard's intends to amalgamate both entities to continue the operation of the undertakings under the name of CJRN 710 Inc.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has advertised a new regional youth-based service for South West Ireland, is moving ahead with the award of one community licence but has decided not to award a second (All RNW Feb 23). It also announced the allocation of Euros 11 million (USD 13 million) in funding in the first round of its Sound and Visions scheme, nearly all of it going to TV applications and around Euros 540,000 (USD 640,000) to radio ones (See RNW Feb 25).
In the UK, Ofcom partly upheld one radio fairness and privacy complaint in its latest Broadcasting Bulletin (See RNW Feb 21). It also gave the reasons for its award earlier this month of the new Shrewsbury FM licence to Shrewsbury & Oswestry FM Limited (See RNW Feb 10).
It noted that in this case it was likely to place emphasis on the ability to maintain the service and likely to consider speech content more important than musical content in making the award:
In making this award it said it felt the backing of MNA Broadcasting gives Shrewsbury FM a strong degree of financial stability, coupled with experience of operating smaller stations in similar markets nearby and noted that the applicant was committed to an emphasis on local news and information, including local news provision throughout daytime, two extended news bulletins, and a wide range of specific non-news speech items.
In the US, as already noted, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is reported to be near to making decisions on a number of indecency complaints and may also ban the use of the word "shit", although in what circumstances is not clear (As a verb? In the present tense or past/ As a noun? And again in what circumstances?). The FCC also published its latest figures for the number of licensed broadcast stations in the US, showing the greatest increase in low-power FMs (For all See RNW Feb 24).
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-02-26: ABC News Radio has announced that actor and former lawyer and Tennessee Republican Senator Fred Thompson has been appointed to the position of Special Program Host and Senior Analyst beginning with a Memorial Day programme "focussing on America's brave servicemen and women" according to ABC.
In the post Thompson will host ABC News Radio specials and programs; provide commentary and analysis of politics, policy, national security, and current affairs; and will also fill-in for Paul Harvey when the latter is on vacation.
The announcement strengthens suggestions reported earlier this month that Thompson is the leading contender to succeed Harvey (See RNW Feb 11).
In a news release Thompson said, "Throughout my life, radio has always held a certain fascination for me, and I am very eager to lend my efforts to ABC News Radio. I look forward to working with the experienced team at ABC News."
Thompson's political background includes serving as minority counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities ("Watergate Committee") from 1973-1974 and as a
Tennessee Republican Senator from November 1994, when he was elected in a special election to fill the unexpired portion of the term left vacant by the resignation of Al Gore who became US Vice President, until 2003.
He is also a practising attorney and is known for his TV roles acting in "Law and Order" and also for roles in movies including "The Hunt for Red October", "Cape Fear" and "In the Line of Fire".
Previous Disney-ABC (ABC radio is in the process of merging with Citadel).
2006-02-26: The BBC service to the Falklands Islands is to be ended, the latest victim of a shift in emphasis that has led to a number of language services being dropped as money is put into a new Arabic TV service (See RNW Oct 26 , 2005).
The service, which has been on air for 62 years, is a twice-weekly, 15 minute "Calling the Falklands" programme broadcast on Tuesdays and Fridays at 2130 GMT and produced by two part-time World Service staff. The cut has attracted some political criticism as saving very little and possibly signalling to Argentina, which invaded the islands in 1982, a lack of committment to the islands by Britain.
The first Falklands service was broadcast in 1944 as a weekly compilation of record requests and personal messages from friends and relatives to the islanders and the last broadcasts will be made on March 31 this year.
During the Argentine occupation of the islands, which Argentina calls "The Malvinas" and claims is its territory, Calling the Falklands became a daily programme and giving information to the 2,400 islanders about the political and military developments on the islands and also in the wider world including Britain and Argentina.
Following the demise of the service, the islanders are to be served by their own Falkland Islands Radio Service (FIRS), which has five full-time staff, and which will be strengthened under an agreement between the Falkland Islands Government, Falkland Islands Media Trust and BBC World Service.
The FIRS will be supplied with World Service programming for rebroadcast without charge and will also have a two year subscription to BBC Worldwide Radio International's package of 160 hours of annual programming (100 hours of spoken word and 60 hours of concert/pop programmes) to assist the transition to develop more original Falkland-based programming.
Chris Simpkins, Chief Executive of the Falkland Islands Government, said of the changes, "Calling the Falklands has become something of an institution and will always have a special place in the memories of Islanders since it has reported on all significant events in the modern history of the Islands. But the time has come to move on. The Media Trust is to be congratulated on its achievement in securing a new agreement with the BBC which will see a step change in programming and the future development of our community broadcasting station."
For the Falkland Islands Media Trust Richard Sawle commented, "Whilst all of us here in the Falklands will be sad to hear the last broadcast of Calling the Falklands, it is a positive sign that the Falklands is maturing both as a nation and also more specifically in media terms The agreement we have reached with the BBC is an exciting one. We will be taking part in a full programme of training and looking at what modern technology might have to offer us. "
2006-02-26: Long-time CBS News reporter Christopher Glenn, who since 1999 has anchored the CBS Radio's flagship newscast, "The World News Round-Up", the longest-running news program in US broadcasting, has retired aged 67.
Glenn, who spent 35 years with CBS working as producer, writer, reporter and anchor, read his last bulletin on Thursday night, signing off with his regular, "That's the world news round up. I'm Christopher Glenn. CBS News."
Before his more to World News Round-up he was for 11 years anchor of "The World Tonight", the original CBS News evening broadcast that is now called "World News Round-Up Late Edition".
He has also been producing, writing and narrating the daily CBS Radio Network broadcast, "What's in the News" since its inception in 1995 and has anchored and reported coverage of dozens of space shuttle missions, national political conventions and many other major news stories.
He told CBS News he would be hard-pressed to say what was his favourite role but was definite about the highlight of his career, saying, " being there when Challenger blew up in front of my face in 1986...I had to get back on the air real fast to describe that, and had a very difficult time doing that," he recalled. "It was a very, very emotional moment - probably the most emotional of my career. It was tough to keep it under control while I was doing the broadcast."
CBS News report:
2006-02-25: In more US radio results, Westwood One has reported fourth quarter revenues for 2005 down 3.1% on a year earlier to USD 147.0 million and full year revenues down 0.8% on 2004 to USD 557.8 million with operating income for the quarter down 13.3% to USD 44.3 million and for the year down .2% to USD 155.3 million.
The company notes that in the fourth quarter there was a 10.4% decline in its local/regional business compared to a 5.7% increase for national revenues as a result of increased demand for sponsorships and products particularly in the sports category. It says that the decline for the year as a whole reflected a marginal decline in revenue and an increase in costs associated with incremental amortization expenses attributed to warrants issued with regard to our Management Agreement with CBS Radio Inc. (previously Infinity Broadcasting Corporation), increased programming costs, and higher corporate governance related expenses, partially offset by lower distribution costs and non-comparable costs associated with our exclusive broadcast of the 2004 Summer Olympic games.
Overall Westwood reported fourth quarter net income down 18.9% to USD 24 million ( from 31 cents to 27 cents per basic and diluted share) with full year net income down 11.3% to USD 84.7 million ( From 98 cents per basic and 97 cents per diluted share to 93 cents per basic and diluted share).
In other US radio business Arbitron has announced that its directors have approved the payment of a quarterly cash dividend of ten cents per common share with a dividend to be paid on April 3.
Arbitron has also announced that Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc. (SBS) has entered into an agreement to use its Portable People Meter (PPM) when the system is deployed in the New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Miami markets that are served by nine SBS stations.
SBS president, chairman and CEO Raúl Alarcón Jr. commented of the agreement, which follows a number of agreements with advertising agencies, "We are willing to make this commitment to PPM as the new currency for radio in order to provide our advertisers with the most accountable measures possible of our growing audiences. We are counting on the PPM to enhance the credibility of our programming and the value of these audiences in the eyes of our advertisers."
"Should PPM come to Miami as part of Arbitron's 'radio-first' initiative," added Alarcón, "we also intend to encode our TV station to uncover important opportunities for cross-promotion with our radio stations in that market."
Previous Westwood One:
2006-02-25: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the allocation of a total of Euros 11 million (USD 13 million) in funding for programming in the first round of Sound & Vision, the Broadcasting Funding Scheme.
Nearly all of it, Euros 10.5 million ( USD 12.5 million) goes to 37 TV funding applications, 82 of which were received by the BCI, and the remaining Euros 540,000 ( USD 640,000) to 45 radio applications, 84 of which were received.
The radio related awards range up to Euros 34,600 (USD 41,000) to Castlebar Community Radio for an Adult Literacy Education series from the lowest award of Euros 1,815 (USD 2,155) to LMFM for a Documentary. Of the radio awards 15 were below Euros 10,000 ( USD 11,900), 13 between Euros 10,000 and 20,0000 and 17 above USD 20,000 with the vast majority - 38 for documentaries - and the remaining awards for educational, arts, cooking, magazine, and drama programmes.
BCI Chief Executive Michael O'Keeffe said of the awards, "We are delighted to announce such a significant level of support for new programming which will increase the availability of programmes on Irish culture, heritage and experience and adult literacy to audiences in the State. In particular the funding being made available for Irish language programming is to be welcomed. Both the level and quality of applications received in this round underlines the interest in and commitment to the development of innovative programming in Ireland."
2006-02-25: Chicago News-Talk station WLS-AM has agreed a one-year contract extension and extra hour a day with afternoon show host Roe Conn according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Feder reports that the "The Roe Conn Show" will air from 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays starting from Monday and adds that details of the contract extension were not disclosed and notes that in 2004 Conn had signed a five-year contract reported to be worth USD 1.7 million a year.
Conn commented, "I am thrilled to be able to reach all those who are trapped in their cars -- or, worse yet, by their own thoughts -- between 6 and 7 at night," and Feder referred to the deal as a smart and long overdue move.
WLS is owned by ABC, which is currently in the process of merging with Citadel.
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
2006-02-25: University of Maryland, College Park student station WMCU-FM, which has been on the air since 1937, has launched an appeal to its alumni to try and help it to retain its 10-watts Class D signal that is threatened by a power increase by Baltimore public station WYPR-FM from 10,000-watts by 5,500 watts and to redirect its output in a trajectory that might interfere with WMUC's signal.
WMUC general manager Jackie Russell, who helps to oversee a volunteer force of about 175 students at the station, told the Baltimore Sun, "Everyone at the station is up in arms," and added that student representatives had met with faculty advisers to figure out how to save the station "any way we see possible."
WYPR's program manager Andy Bienstock said that he hoped his station's signal expansion would occur "within the next year" and added, "It doesn't mean WMUC has to go off the air but there is a very good chance that it will interfere with their signal. There's also a chance it won't, but we won't really know until we turn it on."
In a letter to the editor of the campus newspaper, The Diamondback, Bienstock said WYPR had informed WMUC of its expansion plans several years ago, "and indicated our willingness to find a mutual solution, such as helping WMUC find another frequency so that they could remain an over-the-air presence, or working students into our news department."
"We tried, but were completely ignored, our phone calls not returned," Bienstock wrote. "And so, since the construction permit has long since been granted, here we stand."
However Stephen Gnadt, a campus administration adviser to the station, told the Sun the university did reply to WYPR's 2003 offer. "We said we're not interested," Gnadt recalled. "We were already aware there were no other frequencies available and, after so many years, the students didn't want to give up the frequency they had." He said he and other campus officials said they believed the matter died then.
Sue Kopen Katcef, an instructor at the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism, which sends students interested in a radio career to work at WMUC told the paper, "This is the old David and Goliath scenario...This is going to come down to a battle between engineers and attorneys. We're still trying to figure out which way we're headed at this point, but we're going to do our best to make sure the station is around for a whole lot longer."
WYPR itself grew from the same roots at WMUC: It was formerly John Hopkins University, Baltimore station WJHU-FM, which in 2002 was sold to a non-profit headed by talk-show host Marc Steiner and became WYPR (See RNW Feb 2, 2002).
Baltimore Sun report:
2006-02-24: CBS, Citadel Entravision and Radio One Inc have reported final quarter and 2005 results: in the case of the first its first results since its split-off from Viacom (the new Viacom issued its results a day earlier - See RNW Feb 23).
CBS Corporation reported final quarter revenues up 2% to $3.8 billion principally reflecting growth in Television, Outdoor and Parks/Publishing. Radio revenues were down 1% to USD 543.5 million and radio operating income, excluding the charges, was down 11% to $205 million, principally because in 2004 CBS had realized a gain from selling one of its stations.
For the full year CBS revenues were flat at USD 14.5 billion and radio revenues were up 1% at USD 2.1 billion, reflecting, the company said, a slight increase in local advertising. Radio operating income, excluding the charges in 2005 and 2004, was down 3% to USD 893 million.
Overall, largely because of one-time charges- CBS had a net loss from continuing operations of USD 5.3 billion in the year, down from USD 9.6 billion and for the quarter of USD 6.1 billion down from USD 10.5 billion with an overall net loss for the year of USD 4.5 billion, down from USD 10.2 billion and for the final quarter of USD 6 billion, down from USD 11 billion.
CBS said that compared to a year earlier and excluding non-cash impairment charges, fourth quarter 2005 operating income increased 3% to USD647 million, reflecting a 9% increase at Television, 18% growth at Outdoor and an increase in Parks/Publishing to USD 23 million from USD 9 million in the fourth quarter of 2004, partially offset by an 11% decrease at Radio. Fourth quarter of 2005 pro forma net earnings from continuing operations, assuming the separation occurred on January 1, 2005 and excluding impairment charges, was USD311 million or 41 cents per diluted share.
Excluding the charges, full year 2005 operating income of USD 2.7 billion was down 6%, with Television and Radio down 9% and 3%, respectively, partially offset by increases at Outdoor and Parks/Publishing. Full year 2005 pro forma net earnings from continuing operations was USD1.3 billion or USD1.59 per diluted share.
Commenting on the results chairman Sumner Redstone said he "couldn't be more pleased with the smooth execution of Viacom's split and the rapid progress we have made at CBS Corporation right out of the gate in 2006," and President and CEO Leslie Moonves added, "I am very pleased that the separation is completed, and we start the new year with clear decks and tremendous focus and energy."
"Since the split," said Moonves, "we announced a 14% increase in our dividend to demonstrate our confidence in our ability to generate strong free cash flow, a measure which showed double-digit growth for us during 2005. We also created a new broadcast television network -- The CW -- to appeal to valuable young demographics, acquired College Sports Television Networks to expand our holdings in the growing world of college sports, and announced our intention to divest Paramount Parks, a well run, terrific business that does not have a strong strategic fit with our content businesses. We have also taken solid steps to extend our enormously valuable, world-class content on new platforms, including a partnership with Google to provide content on its VOD services. I look forward to the results of these initiatives -- and the many that will follow -- as we build upon the new CBS Corporation's position at the forefront of media content creation and distribution. Looking forward, our objective is to deliver solid growth in key measures, particularly in operating income and earnings per share. Our most important goal will be to be the best in every business in which we take part, and to return the benefits of our performance and growth to our stockholders."
CBS says that this year it expects to deliver low single-digit growth in revenues and mid single-digit growth in operating income and earnings per share.
At Citadel, which is to merge with ABC Radio, net revenues for the final quarter were down 1.4% on a year earlier to USD 108.3 million, principally the company said, because of the absence of political advertising in 2005. Operating income for the quarter was up 29.2% to USD 35.0 million, primarily due to a decrease of $11.4 million in depreciation and amortization expense related to a move of representation from Interep to Katz Media.
Net income for the quarter was up 14.5% USD 15.8 million (from 11 cents to 14 cents per basic share and from 10 cents to 13 cents per diluted share)
For the full year revenues were up 2% to a record USD 419.9 million and Citadel said they would have been higher but for the effects of Hurricane Katrina on its New Orleans stations. Full year operating income, including a USD 79 million decrease in depreciation and amortizations expenses - and noting that 2004 included a USD 16.4 million non-cash charge related to the representation move, was more than tripled from USD 41.7 million to USD 143.4 million
Net income for the year, however, was down 6.4% to USD 69.8 million (from 59 cents to 58 cents per basic share and from 55 cents to 54 cents per diluted share).
Chairman and CEO Farid Suleman noted that the company had "reported record results for the year in spite of the absence of political revenues and the loss of revenue from our New Orleans stations."
He also noted that Citadel has continued to use its free cash flow to repurchase shares of its common stock and had approved a regular quarterly dividend to common stockholders of 18 cents per share beginning with the fourth quarter of 2005, saying this "repurchase of its stock and the quarterly dividend underscore the Company's commitment to enhance shareholder value."
Entravision reported fourth quarter revenues up 8% to USD 73.1 million with net income up 31% to USD 3.4 million (from 2cents to 3 cents a share) with full year revenues up 8% - USD 21.9 million, USD 10.3 million of it from Entravision's TV operations and USD 8.3 million from radio and USD 3.3 million from outdoor - to USD 281 million: Overall net loss was up from USD 6.16 million to USD 9.66 million.
Entravision says it expects net revenues in the current quarter to be up by mid single digit percentages and operating expenses to increase by low to mid single digit percentages compared to a year ago.
Chairman and CEO Walter Ulloa said of the results, "All three of our businesses recorded impressive top-line growth in 2005, outperforming their respective industries. During the year, we took steps to further strengthen our operating management, our content and our sales and marketing resources. We are benefiting from a vibrant Hispanic market that continues to expand in terms of population, purchasing power and importance to advertisers. While these trends are fuelling our growth, we have continued to convert our revenues into improving cash flows and margins through an efficient operating structure and commitment to cost discipline. Looking ahead, we are focused on maximizing our assets and allocating our capital to those opportunities that offer the highest potential for generating returns for our shareholders."
At Radio One net broadcast revenue for the final quarter was up 15% to USD 91.2 million with net income applicable to common shareholders down 30% to USD 9.5 million (10 cents per diluted share) with full year revenues up from USD 320 million to USD 370 million and full year net income down from USD 61.6 million to USD 50.5 million.
CEO and President Alfred C. Liggins, III, said the quarter's quarter operating results were "roughly in-line with the guidance we gave, which I feel good about, especially given the weakness experienced by the radio industry, which was down over 2% in the markets in which we operate. Going forward, we are hopeful that the radio industry will rebound in 2006, but at this point it is too early to tell. Given the uncertainty in the radio industry, we are very focused on diversifying our company into related businesses that will complement our core radio platform."
Liggins added, "Given the uncertainty in the radio industry, we are very focused on diversifying our company into related businesses that will complement our core radio platform. To that end, TV One is performing exceptionally well and Reach Media has been a tremendous addition."
He also noted the launch by Radio One and Reach Media launched the nation's only African-American news/talk network (See RNW Jan 31) and said, "Later this year, you will hear more from us about our efforts to build a significant Internet business, as well as to create and acquire various types of urban content that can be monetized in a variety of ways. We believe that we have one of the most comprehensive and powerful portfolios of media and entertainment assets targeting the African-American market and we intend to use this market position to become the gateway for a vast offering of media and entertainment products and services for African-Americans throughout the United States."
Previous Radio One:
2006-02-24: The BBC has announced that Kevin Marsh, who has been editor of its flagship Today breakfast show on BBC Radio 4 since November 2002, has been appointed as Editor-in chief of the BBC College of Journalism.
He was one of the BBC executives involved in the BBC's row with the Blair government over allegations by correspondent Andrew Gilligan on the programme that the government "sexed up" reports of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
Marsh was one of three figures still in their posts after the row and subsequent report by the Hutton enquiry that condemned the corporation and led to the resignations of its then chairman Gavyn Davies, Director-General Greg Dyke and Gilligan. In addition Richard Sambrook, who was director of BBC news at the time, was moved to the post of director of BBC global news in July 2004.
In a news release announcing Marsh's appointment the BBC said he would play a key role in the direction of the college, which was established following recommendations by the Neil report into the lessons to be learnt from the Iraq dispute and would also establish and edit the college's website and commission material to "fulfil its aspiration to be a world-class online presence on journalism issues."
He reports to Vin Ray, Director of the College, who said, "Kevin is a hugely respected journalist inside and outside the BBC. His enormous experience will now be put to the use of BBC journalism as a whole. His appointment is a clear symbol of the college's ambition and seriousness of intent."
Marsh commented, "I am enormously excited by the opportunity to create a world class college forum where all the tough issues of journalism are debated. After 17 years as a front line programme editor I am really looking forward now to using that experience to help maintain BBC journalism as a gold standard of international journalism."
2006-02-24: The US gained 184 licensed broadcast stations in the final quarter of last year according to latest figures from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which showed the total at the end of 2005 as 27,354, up from 27,079 at the end of September 2005
Within the figures, the number of licensed radio stations was13, 660, up 61 from the previous total of 13,599 with AM station numbers down one to 4757, commercial FMs up 16 to 6231, and FM educational up 136 to 2672 while the number of FM translators and boosters was up by 75 to 3995 and the licensed low power total was up 177 from 498 to 675.
The FCC is also, according to a Reuters report, which cites an unnamed source, close to decisions on decisions in about 40 cases involving complaints against broadcasters for violating federal decency limits. The agency also says that the agency is considering a proposal to rule that the word "shit" is profane and violates decency limits in certain contexts. It has already decided that "fuck" is barred in almost all cases.
Previous FCC station numbers:
2006-02-24: An analysis of Australian ratings figures by industry body Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) shows radio to reach more people than TV across most of the day, particularly at breakfast time.
The organization compared 2005 figures from Nielsen Media radio surveys and OzTAM TV surveys and notes that at its 0800-0900 peak commercial radio AQH (average quarter hour) listening is up to some 2.3 million Australians aged ten or above - 21% of the population - compared to around 544,000 - 4% of the population - for breakfast TV. On average throughout 2005 radio's AQH at breakfast was 2.7 million, up 1.6% from the 2004 figure of 2.04 million.
Radio then retains the lead until early evening when TV viewing overtakes listening.
Commenting on the figures CRA CEO Joan Warner said, "Breakfast radio is very powerful at reaching Australians throughout the nation and last year the timeslot attracted its largest breakfast audiences in more than five years Waking up to radio is an ingrained part of most people's breakfast routine and a habit people are sticking with despite increasing demands for their attention."
She described radio's success in reaching more Australians than TV for most of the day as "a powerful performance in what is a very crowded media market."
RNW comment: Although Australian radio seems to be holding up well against other traditional media - and successfully promoting its advertising value through its continuing radio advertising effectiveness campaign (See RNW Feb 2), online advertising as in other countries is pulling up fast.
Last year, according to the Australian Audit Bureau of Verification Services online advertising increased by 60% to AUD 620 million (USD 458 million) , a figure just above that for Australian metropolitan radio stations of AUD 591 million (USD 442 million) in 2005 (See RNW Jan 20).
With the online advertising growth rate expected to continue at around ten times that of traditional media, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), which represents representing Australia's six biggest online publishers, is expecting to reach a total of around 10% of total Australian advertising revenues this year. That figure if reached would take it above radio's 8%.
2006-02-24: Latest BBC online and download cum podcast figures show that the latter category has grown dramatically as the BBC has expanded its offerings and move people have become aware of them.
The figures show that in January this year there were more than 1.9 million downloads, 1.7 million of them for the top ten downloads. In addition drama on BBC Radio 4 attracted more than a million on demand requests.
Live and on-demand online listening also rose during the month rather than being shifted to downloads: In all total listening was up to 17.15 million hours in January, 26.7% higher than in December and up 85% on a year ago: Within the figures on-demand listening was up 16% on December and 58% on a year earlier to 6.61 million hours and live listening was up 34.6% on December and 107% on a year earlier to 10.54 million hours.
In terms of network listening in January this year, the rankings were - Total listening hours - live plus on-demand and percentage change compared to December 2005 then to January 2005:
Radio 1 - 4,836,399 + 37.7%; + 104.5%
Radio 2 - 3,453,018 + 32.6%; +113.3%
Radio 4 - 3,038,493 +17.4%; +79.1%
BBC 7 - 1,532,267 + 20.9%; +64.8%
Radio 5 Live - 1,234,532 -38.3%% +50.7%.
Radio 3 - 830,117 -6.5%; + 71.7%
6 Music - 692,853 + 32.5%; 35.3%
1Xtra - 568,409 +14.2%; +8.6%
Asian Network 216,578 -8.0%; + 20.9%
5 Live Sports Xtra - 56,274 +128.3%; -1.7%.
The top five podcasts in January were the:
Today 8.10 Interview (Radio 4) 403,446
Best of Moyles (Radio 1) 351,437
From Our Own Correspondent (Radio 4) 199,815
In Our Time (Radio 4) 184,006
Documentary Archive (World Service) 168,976
Top five on-demand programmes for January were:
The Archers (Radio 4) 676,905
Chris Moyles (Radio 1) 459,519
The Afternoon Play (Radio 4) 268,140
Jo Whiley (Radio 1) 214,584
Essential Mix (Radio 1)212,324
Previous BBC Online figures:
2006-02-23: Entercom provided the bright spot in radio results yesterday with record results for 2005 but like other companies that have reported there was a sting in the tail - its fourth quarter revenues were down as they were for Cox Radio
In Entercom's case the shortfall was partly due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina on its New Orleans operations - revenues were down 6% on a year earlier to USD 103.7 million with same station net revenues down 5% to USD 102.1 million, same station operating income decreased 10% to USD 42.6 million and net income down 18.6% to USD 15.77 million (from 40 cents to 35 cents per share) despite cost trimming that lowered station operating expenses by 5% to USD 61.0 million and same station operating expenses by 2% to USD 59.5 million
In comparing the final quarter's results with those for 2004, Entercom noted the benefits in the earlier year of some 4 million in political advertising and eleven additional Boston Red Sox post-season games and in 2005 the effects of Katrina on its New Orleans stations which normally represent around 6% of its income.
For the full year, Entercom revenues were up 2% to USD 432.5 million but station operating expenses were up only 1% to USD 248.2 million - same station revenues were up 2% to USD 429.6 million and same station operating expenses increased 2% to USD 245.6 million. As a result operating income increased 5% to USD 153.0 million and net income increased 4% to USD 78.4 million (up 13% per share to USD 1.70 as Entercom bought back some six million shares during the year).
Entercom also announced a regular quarterly cash dividend of 38 cents per share for its Class A and Class B common shares
President and CEO David J. Field said of the results, "2005 was a year of significant achievement for Entercom. Notwithstanding challenging industry conditions and the impact of Hurricane Katrina, tough political comps and a large number of new format launches, Entercom continued to post strong relative operating performance."
"We outpaced our markets for the seventh straight year, in this case by over 200 basis points," he added, continuing, "We continued our substantial share buyback program, purchasing close to six million shares of our stock, helping to drive a significant increase in earnings per share. We also continued to invest in our future growth by launching multiple new brands and compelling new product offerings and are excited by the early results. We enhanced our business development and Internet capabilities and accelerated the rollout of our HD Radio platform and the associated new HD-2 channels. And most notably, under duress, our team in New Orleans exhibited the highest standards of public service, journalism, and courage, providing a vital lifeline to the citizens of Greater New Orleans during the wrath of Katrina and its aftermath."
Looking ahead, Entercom says it expects first quarter net revenues this year to be between USD 90 and USD 91 million and station operating expenses of approximately USD 59.5 million compared to 2005 figures for same station 2005 net revenues of USD 95.3 million and station operating expenses of USD 59.1 million and also notes that during the quarter it expects to records USD 1.5 million of legal expenses in connection with a transaction that did not go through.
Cox Radio full year revenues were virtually flat - up 0.1% to USD 438.2 million whilst final quarter net revenues were down 2.1% to USD 108.9 million: Station operating income for the final quarter was down 1.9% to USD 44.7 million but up 3.7% for the year to USD 183.9 million with overall net income down 70.1% to USD 5.46 million for the quarter ( from 18 cents to five cents per diluted share) and down 9.8% for the year to USD 61.23 million (from 67 cents to 61 cents a share).
The full year figures include a one-time charge of USD 3.1 million (3 cents per diluted share) related to an estimated loss on loan guarantee and a non-cash one-time charge of USD 14.4 million pre-tax (USD 13.4 million after-tax or 13 cents per diluted share) related to a write-down of goodwill in the Birmingham market that was also the main factor in hitting the fourth quarter figures.
Cox president and CEO Robert F. Neil said he was "extremely proud" of the 2005 performance, adding, "Our revenue growth of 3%, excluding the impact from our decision not to renew the Atlanta Braves, dramatically outpaced our markets as well as the industry which were both flat for the year. We out-performed in the fourth quarter as well. With tough political comparatives, our revenues were down 2%, but that compared favourably to the industry which was down 3%. With prudent expense control, we were able to generate free cash flow growth of 4% for the year, and our station operating income margin improved from 40.5% to 42.0%. Our broad based performance speaks to Cox Radio's consistent ability to monetize solid ratings results and validates our long-term focus and operating strategy."
Also reporting was Viacom whose the results were its first as a separate public company following its split from CBS Corporation, the former Viacom Inc.
In the split the CBS radio and TV businesses were amongst those that went to CBS whilst Viacom's main holdings are in cable networks and entertainment.
Overall Viacom, reporting results on a "carve out" basis said its full year revenues were up 18% to USD 9.61 billion, full year pro-forma operating income (calculated as if the split had taken place on January 1, 2004) was up 12% to USD 2.50 billion with pro forma diluted earnings per share from continuing operations up from USD 1.50 in 2004 to UUSD 1.63.
2006-02-23: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has advertised a new regional youth-based service for South West Ireland covering the Counties of Kerry, Limerick, Clare, North Tipperary and South-West Laois.
Applications have to be submitted by April 19 for the new licence, which is to provide a mix of speech and music programming for a 15-34 demographic with a ten-year licence to be awarded to the successful applicant.
The Commission has also announced decisions regarding further radio and TV licence awards including the award of two TV licences and a decision to call Claremorris Community Radio Limited to a private oral hearing for the franchise area of Claremorris town and environs.
It also decided not to approve the application received from Sligo Leader Partnership Company Radio limited for the franchise area of Sligo Town and Environs saying its view was that the application did not comply with the requirements for the provision of a community radio service under the BCI's Community Radio Policy.
2006-02-23: A study by Bridge Ratings of US radio in the decade since the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 shows according to the company that in many ways the Act "failed to serve the public and did not deliver on its promise of more competition, more diversity, lower prices, more jobs and a booming economy."
"Instead," it says, "the public got more media concentration, less diversity, and higher prices."
For the study, Bridge interviewed groups comprised of listeners, members of Congress, radio group management and advertising agencies, asking them to "score" their responses on a five-point scale in 1 represented a situation "worse" now than ten years ago and five one where radio has "greatly improved."
In most areas listeners gave a lower score than the other groups although when it came to "community closeness" members of Congress rated the situation as worse = they scored a two compared to a three for listeners and advertising agencies and four for radio management.
On advertising listeners scored a two, radio management a three, members of Congress a 4 and advertisers a five.
However when it came to "listenability" listeners agreed with radio management in scoring four compared to three each for members of Congress and advertising agencies with a similar result for listening compared to a year ago when listeners and management each gave a four compared to a two for members of Congress and a three for advertising agencies.
Regarding three other questions where listeners were not asked for response radio management gave the Act a four when it came to impact on operating costs and a three for impact on profits and revenues and in relation to advertising effect they scored a four compared to a two from the advertising agencies.
The report says three quarters of the groups felt that radio was not better off now than before the Act with radio executives the exception in perceiving it to be better: It notes that over the decade the legislation was "supposed to save consumers USD 550 billion, including USD 333 billion in lower long-distance rates, USD 32 billion in lower local phone rates, and USD78 billion in lower cable bills. But cable rates have surged by about 50 percent, and local phone rates went up more than 20 percent."
"Industries supporting the new legislation," continues the report, "predicted it would add 1.5 million jobs and boost the economy by USD 2 trillion. By 2003, however, telecommunications' companies' market value had fallen by about USD 2 trillion, and they had shed half a million jobs."
The report also notes that "study after study has documented that profit-driven media conglomerates are investing less in news, programming and information, and that local news in particular is failing to provide viewers with the information they need to participate in their democracy" and in looking at reasons for this notes that "In some cases, industries agreed to the terms of the Act and then went to court to block them" and adds, "By leaving regulatory discretion to the Federal Communications Commission, the Act gave the FCC the power to issue rules that often sabotaged the intent of Congress. Control of the House passed from Democrats to Republicans, more sympathetic to corporate arguments for deregulation."
It also says that "while corporate special interests all had a seat at the table when this bill was being negotiated, the public did not. Nor were average citizens even aware of this legislation's great impact on how they got their entertainment and information, and whether it would foster or discourage diversity of viewpoints, radio programming options and a marketplace of ideas, crucial to democratic discourse" and notes that since 1997 eight of the country's largest and most powerful media and telecommunications companies, their corporate parents, and three of their trade groups, have spent more than USD400 million on political contributions and lobbying in Washington, according to a Common Cause analysis of federal records", with more than USD 358 million spent on lobbying since 1998, when lobbying expenditures were first required to be disclosed", expenditure that it says gives corporations "a huge advantage over average citizens."
In another study, Bridge has concluded that the growth in cell phone use is cutting into radio listening in automobiles in the US since people usually pay attention to the phone rather than the radio [RNW comment - and in too many cases to the phone rather than what is happening on the road] with many of them turning the radio down (79%) or off (19%) when on the phone.
Bridge also found that as the number of cell phone subscribers has increased in the US so has the time spent on each call.
RNW comment: So, surprise, surprise, people and groups tend to perceive the way things move in terms of their own interests and prejudices and money talks, thus meaning that the wealthy have more freedom of speech and clout than the public, often in our view through what should be seen as misappropriation of that public's money.
Because of the - in our view, seriously flawed - 1976 Supreme Court decision that threw out spending limits for federal elections passed by congress two years earlier it seems to us that the US could well be on the road to the same kind of self-perpetuating oligarchy that so corrupted the Soviet Union and eventually exposed the disparities between the promises of that country's constitution and the reality.
The way forward? Maybe a constitutional amendment that would allow limits on election spending allied with much more detailed disclosure requirements concerning lobbying expenditure - much of which seems to go to staff rather than senators or congressmen - with mandatory criminal convictions, jail -even if just a day - and heavy fines for breaches plus a truly democratic approach to lobbying expenditure by requiring shareholders to opt-in to allow money that go into their dividends to be used to lobby and prohibition of "indirect" shareholders such as pension funds being able to opt-in without say an 80% vote in favour.
Such action might not undo some of the problems from the past but it would certainly curb excesses - and pork barrel wasteful spending- by imposing fiscal responsibility at a much earlier stage in the process.
Previous Bridge Ratings:
2006-02-23: BBC World Service AM broadcasts have resumed in Moscow following a short hiatus that took the broadcasts off-air following the expiration in December last year of the technical licence of the Oktod operating company, that provided it with transmission facilities, (See RNW Dec 24, 2005).
BBC Russian had continued FM broadcasts in Moscow on its partner station, Radio Arsenal 87.5 FM and also on AM in St Petersburg and Ekaterinburg.
Commenting on the Moscow medium wave resumption, the Head of BBC Russian, Sara Beck, said: "I am delighted by this news, as will be our medium wave audience in Moscow. They've got into the habit of listening to BBC Russian on medium wave, and they have been letting us know just how much they were missing us.
2006-02-23: The Ricky Gervais Show podcasts (Gervais is the creator and star of British television's "The Office.") whose first series of 12 was offered for free by the UK Guardian (the last couple were still on the web site when we last checked) are in future to become available only on a paid-for basis through audio book specialist Audible.
Audible's service will cost USD 1.95 per episode or USD 6.95 per series starting with a "Season two" to be launched on February 28 with a preview currently available on Audible's web site and including a "season three" deal to be launched in the fall (autumn).
The first -free - series averaged more than 260,000 weekly downloads in only its first month and was recently awarded the Guinness World Record for creating the world's most-downloaded podcast, having reached 2.9 million cumulative downloads in just over two months.
Brian Fielding, EVP, Content Acquisition of Audible Inc. said in a news release, "This is an incredible moment for Audible and the global digital entertainment industry. The Ricky Gervais Show is a perfect example of how podcasting and emerging digital audio technology is creating a new and global channel, business and audience for talent such as Ricky and his team Entertainment is clearly reaching beyond the television and movie screens into people's iPods, blogs, PDA's, smartphones and RSS feeds. We are very proud to be at the forefront of this trend and to be helping evolve the global, viral phenomenon that is The Ricky Gervais Show.
Audible web site:
2006-02-22: Clear Channel stock held steady yesterday - closing up 0.36% at USD 28.20 - following fourth quarter results that showed revenues down 1% over a year earlier to USD 1.76 billion with income and diluted earnings per share, before discontinued operations and cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle down 20% to USD 183.0 million ( From 40 cents a share to 34 cents): The company's net income for the quarter was USD 461.6 million (86 cents a share) during the final quarter which compares to a net loss of USD 4.669 billion (USD 8.15 per diluted share) a year earlier because of the cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle with the adoption of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Staff Announcement D-108.
For the full year, Clear Channel had flat revenues of USD 6.61 billion - down from USD 6.3 billion in 2004, with income before discontinued operations and cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle down 20.3% on 2004 to USD 635. 1 million (From USD 1.33 to USD 1.16 per diluted share): Net income was USD 935.7 million or USD1.71 per diluted share compared to a 2004 net loss of USD4,038.2 million or USD6.75 per diluted share in 2004 after taking into account the effects of the accounting change.
In divisional terms, radio revenue in the fourth quarter were down 6% to USD 909.4 million whilst outdoor revenue was up 7% to USD 734.7 million and other income was down 9% to USD 143.8 million.: For the full year radio revenues were down 6% to USD 3.54 billion, outdoor was up 9% to USD 2.67 billion and other revenues were down 3% to USD 532 million.
The final quarter saw Clear Channel complete the initial public offering of 10% of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. and the split-off of its former live entertainment division and sports representation business, now trading as Live Nation. In relation to the latter the company recognized a capital loss, a portion of which will result in refunds of tax previously paid on capital gains, a total tax benefit of USD 314 million ( 57 cents per diluted share) that is recorded as part of Clear Channel's discontinued operations.
Commenting on the results CEO Mark Mays said Clear Channel "made strategic, operating and financial progress in 2005 by investing in our businesses, leading change and tightening the focus of our company."
"We have simultaneously improved our ability to deliver long-term growth and created value for shareholders," he added. "In addition to our realignment, we returned more than USD1.4 billion in capital to our shareholders through share repurchases and dividends during 2005. As we enter 2006, we have the pieces in place to deliver strong growth for years to come."
In reference to the core radio business he said, "We are also pleased with the recent progress in our radio division and have renewed confidence in our long-term growth outlook. Listenership and ratings all continue to trend up. As we look into the first quarter of 2006, we see the first real financial benefits to our approach. We have attracted incredible talent to radio over the past year, launched new and exciting formats, embraced and benefited from new technologies and delivery methods, and fundamentally improved the listening experience. With trends in the outdoor business and our local television stations also positive, we have never been more excited about the future."
At the Clear Channel conference call Mays said first quarter pacings this year showed that the company's "Less if More" policy of cutting advertising clutter was "starting to pay off" adding that Clear Channel Radio's pacings were up almost 3% for the quarter and 5% for January.
President and CFO Randall Mays said the company's "strategic realignment created value for investors and improved the growth potential and financial flexibility of Clear Channel Communications, Clear Channel Outdoor and Live Nation."
"Last year," he continued, "was one of investment and change -- and we continue to generate significant amounts of free cash flow. Moving forward, we remain focused on returning capital to shareholders through a combination of dividends and share repurchases."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
Previous Randall Mays:
2006-02-22: Latest Australian radio ratings just released by Nielsen Media Research show DMG Australia's new Vega FM stations in Sydney and Melbourne still failing to make much impact in their second ratings: In Sydney it took a 1.7% share overall, down from a 1.8% debut - and only 3.0% (up from 2.9%) of its target 40-54 baby boomer age group: In Melbourne it took only 1.1% overall- down from 1.2%, and an unchanged 2.2% of its target demographic.
In the Sydney breakfast slot, Angela Catterns lost listeners, dropping from 2.4% share in December to 1.6 % and in Melbourne the breakfast team of Shaun Micallef, Beverley O'Connor and Denise Scott only has an 0.8% share.
DMG has hired market researchers Third Wave Media to find out why the ratings are so poor and DMG Australia chief executive Paul Thompson said the detailed month-long study was looking at every aspect of Vega, including whether the problem was one of people not knowing of the station or elsewhere, asking amongst other things what audiences think of the on-air staff and whether its mix of AM-style talk radio with FM music was found attractive..
At the top again in Sydney was Macquarie Radio's 2GB with a 12.4 share and in Melbourne 3AW held onto the top spot with 12.9. 2GB's talk rival Southern Cross Broadcasting's 2UE was up to f from seventh with 8.2 (8.0) but DMG's other Sydney outlet, Nova was down to sixth from fifth with 8.1 (8.6)
In the Sydney breakfast slot Alan Jones remained King with a 17.5 share, up from 17.3 for 2GB, which was followed by Austereo's 2-DAY in second place with 10.9 (8.4) then Nova with 9.0 (9.9) and 2UE with 8.7 (7.2)
City by city, the top three stations were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: SAFM 14.5 (14.1) - up from third. Mix 14.3 (17.2) - down from first; 5AA 14.1 (16.1) - down from second.
*Nova was fourth with 13.1 (11.6).
*Brisbane - Triple M with 16.5 (13.0) - up from second; Nova with 13.1 (14.8) - down from first; 97.3 FM with 10.6 (10.7)- same rank.
*Melbourne - 3AW with 12.9 (13.7)- same rank; ABC 774 with 12.4 (11.7) - up from third; Gold with 10.9 (12.2) - down from second.;
*Austereo's Triple M fell back from fourth to sixth with 9.1 (10.8), behind sister station Fox FM, which was up from fifth to fourth with 10.0 (9.9) and fifth-placed Nova retaining rank and increasing from 8.3 to 9.6.
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM 16.4 (17.8) - same rank; ABC 720 with 11.6 (12.6) - same rank; 96FM with 11.5 (12.3) - same rank.
*Nova remained fourth with 11.3 (11.6).
*Sydney: 2GB 12.4 (12.7) - same rank; 2-DAY with 9.9 (9.0) up from fourth ; WSFM 9.3 (9.5) - down from second;
* ABC 702 fell from third to eighth with 6.9 (9.3); 2UE was up to fifth from seventh with 8.2 (8.0); and Nova was down to sixth from fifth with 8.1 (8.6).
*Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), the Australian commercial radio industry body has just announced that it has exercised its option to extend its current ratings contract, which is based on diaries, with Nielsen Media Research until December 2008.
CRA CEO Joan Warner said the decision was taken "in light of the fact that the diary system remains the only proven currency for radio audience measurement world wide, and, in particular that the Australian diary methodology is world's best practice for measuring radio audiences."
"By making the decision to extend the contract," she added, "we have put the Australian industry in an excellent position to be able to observe developments in electronic measurement devices, and, to review the results of overseas tests of those devices planned for the next couple of years," she said. "Significant concerns expressed by the radio industry here and internationally about deficiencies of what are, essentially, only 2nd generation devices have not yet been addressed by device manufacturers to the satisfaction of broadcasters."
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross:
2006-02-22: BBC Radio 1 breakfast host Chris Moyles has apologized for swearing on-air at one of his listeners and offered, presumably not seriously, to let her wash his mouth out with soap and water.
His outburst came on his show on Monday when "Donna" from Newcastle upon Tyne, phoned in from her car to take part in the regular Beep Beep Busters quiz.
Her children made a noise from the back of the car and Moyles told her to "shut your face" when she asked if she could visit his house and then invented a story about Donna having three "fucking brats" by different fathers: Realizing what he had said he apologized immediately and said she could "definitely come round and wash my mouth out with soap and water."
"Donna, my sincere apologies again. I love you dearly and you can come round for tea any time," he said. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Now let's go home!"
Donna laughed off the incident and later Moyles told another quiz contestant who raised the issue that he made the remarks to raise cash to help a sick child.
"I didn't want to mention this on air," he said but there's a sick girl we're raising cash for. We have a swear jar. I only said it to help her out - we're taking her to Florida or somewhere!"
2006-02-22: According to Arbitron studies of how consumers use cell phones indicate serious potential flaws in the idea of using a call phone as the basis for radio metering, a system put forward by The Media Audit and Ipsos in its "Smart Cell Phone" proposal announced last year following Clear Channel's call for proposals for a new radio ratings system (See RNW Jun 14, 2005).
The Smart Phone system, which is amongst the three options being considered by UK radio ratings organization Rajar (Radio Joint Audience Research) - the others are Arbitron's PPM and Eurisko'a Media Monitor, (See RNW Jul 12, 2005), uses software to allow the phone to match audio it receives with broadcasts being made, either by audio matching or through the use of codes built into the broadcast signal, and also to track retail shopping patterns via a GPS system.
Richard Silman, Global CEO of Ipsos Media, says that "cell phones are such an integral part of most peoples' lives" that they believe they will "get a high degree of cooperation and compliance with survey participants via their cell phone", particularly amongst younger demographics.
Arbitron disputes this and says its research shows that the use of such a dual-purpose device will introduce a significant bias into survey results.
It claims many people do not carry their phone with them all the time and do not have it switched on all the time they are carrying the phone.
"Among consumers in radio's 'money demographic' of 25-54, "off times" increase alarmingly with each 10-year age group, it says.
Arbitron chief research officer Bob Patchen commented, "It's not like we never thought of marrying a Portable People Meter with a cell phone. The concept does have some appeal, especially for reducing costs. But as we look at this today, it is fraught with problems."
"The bias potential," says Patchen, "is huge because different demographics use their cell phones so differently. Also, the phones are not always on; the meters would not capture listening while the phone is in use; the meters might not work while recharging (like when you're listening to radio in bed) -- the list of problems goes on and on. The bottom line is that this idea has a long way to go before it can be proven a proven a satisfactory method for capturing radio listening."
Figures posted on its web site by Arbitron say that the "all the time" percentages for cell-phones are highest amongst the 18-24 demographic at 61% but then fall off and are only 24% for the 60 plus demographic: It also notes that many people have a habit of switching off a cell phone to put it on charge on arrival at home.
The demographic bias is further emphasized by the greater ownership of phones amongst younger demographics 0 68% of those 18-24 and 81% for those 25-29 but only 44% of those sixty plus.
In contrast it says, its figures from trials in Philadelphia or Houston is that there is a consistent high compliance amongst people with Portable People Meters.
RNW comment: In this case Arbitron's arguments, although self-serving, do seem to reflect reality, particularly when it comes to people keeping a cell phone switched on and with them when at home or indeed keeping a phone switched on in various other environments. In that regard a passive single-purpose always-on device like the PPM would in our view be likely to have an advantage over any multi-purpose device that can easily be turned off.
2006-02-22: The HD Radio Alliance is this week launching the first phase of a USD 200 million campaign to promote HD digital radio in what the organization says in a new release is "a powerful demonstration [by broadcasters] that they are making good on their commitment to this groundbreaking new technology."
In all the campaign will feature some 16 adverts- in both 30- and 15-second versions -that the Alliance says "introduce "Jake and Josh", Jake's new girlfriend, and "Big Announcer" in interrelated segments that highlight HD digital radio's crystal-clear, CD- quality sound and dramatically increased local entertainment choices."
It includes spots developed by radio advertising specialists Dick Orkin and the Radio Ranch, which have been posted on the organization's web site: As well as promoting the qualities of HD they also include adverts highlighting highlight Boston Acoustics' Receptor Radio whose price was cut to USD 299 at the start of this month
Commenting on the campaign, HD Digital Radio Alliance president and CEO Peter Ferrara said, "We're moving much faster than originally expected. The support from radio companies has been unwavering, and since we've launched in the first 28 markets, response from receiver manufacturers, retailers and automakers has been extremely encouraging."
"The creative on these spots is fun, entertaining and informative," he added. "With the industry and listener momentum we're seeing, we're able to showcase what radio does best - engage and inform."
RNW comment: Rather than fun, entertaining and informative, we'd tend to describe the spots as lame, late and lacking. The best thing about them in our view was that the MP3s were offered as 256 kbps MP3s and maybe our response indicates cultural differences between the UK and US as well as a little more knowledge than the average about audio quality and digital formats, both for radio transmission in general. We have already commented that we are not impressed with the demonstrations on the HD site (RNW January comment 2006-01Comment.htm) and they haven't been changed.
If the industry is serious and is really spending USD 200 million - as opposed to putting a price on radio airtime being used to promote radio -we'd suggest a revamp of the site with much better audio samples and an immediate commitment of funds to provide receivers at USD 100 or less in major markets where there are additional HD multiplex services. (A similar move two years ago promoting a limited number DAB radios in the UK at GBP 100 - then around USD 180 - was a significant factor in gaining publicity for and increasing take-up of DAB by the public).
Considered in the light of quarterly profits of not far off USD 200 million for Clear Channel alone, the commitment isn't that great if HD is really thought by the industry to be vital to its future.
Previous HD Digital Alliance:
2006-02-22: BBC Radio has announced a four-year deal that gives it exclusive rights to all of India's international cricket games including England's series that starts next month, and nine other series involving India and international touring sides including Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa.
The deal covers all BBC radio networks and cover is to be broadcast on BBC Radio Five Live, BBC Radio 4 and the Asian Network.
Roger Mosey, Director, BBC Sport, said, "We believe it's vital for cricket that there should be live free-to-air broadcasting, so we're delighted that the BBC's radio services, including the BBC Asian Network, will be offering live coverage from India.
"This will be supported by our strong online news service and by reporting across our TV and radio channels."
The BBC also has rights to the Ashes series in Australia later this year as well as full commentary rights on the Cricket World Cup from the West Indies in 2007.
2006-02-21: UK radio industry body the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) has announced that it is to merge together with the UK Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) into a new single industry body to represent UK commercial radio interests.
The new body, yet to be named, will be based at Radio Centre in Shaftesbury Avenue, London, and financed by the commercial radio industry with a brief to drive revenue and audience enhancing projects, support advertisers, market the medium to them via the maintenance of the valued RAB advertiser and agency service and represent the interests of the sector to external organizations including UK media regulator Ofcom.
As well as the work carried out by the CRCA and RAB the new body will also take in the activities of the RACC (Radio Advertising Clearance Council), JICRIT (the Joint Industry Commercial Radio IT Futures Group that the CRCA jointly owns with the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), and the HIT40UK radio top 40 chart show.
CRCA Chief Executive Paul Brown said of the decision in a news release, "There are considerable challenges for Commercial Radio and recent consolidation has changed the shape of the industry. The aim of creating a single Commercial Radio industry body is to pull our industry back into growth and to strengthen the position of all of its members with external organizations."
RAB Chief Executive Douglas McArthur added, "Radio is firmly at the centre of media convergence. A new cohesive and forward-looking industry body should deliver a more valuable joined-up service to the advertising business in this digital future. This move is positive for advertisers in that it moves the RAB team closer to core decision-makers in Commercial Radio policy and programming."
Previous UK Radio Advertising Bureau:
2006-02-21: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has launched an investigation into the financing by Macquarie Regional Radioworks (MRRW) of the purchase of five licences by Elmie Investments Pty Ltd that could potentially have breached Australian media ownership rules.
Macquarie owns 85 licences including two - the maximum currently permitted for a single owner in an area - in each of the licence areas where Elmie made its purchases from AMI Radio - of 4EL Cairns, 4AA Mackay and 3EL Maryborough, all in Queensland; 3ML Mildura, Victoria; and 6EL Bunbury Western Australia, in September last year with the aid of an AUD 9 million (USD 6.7 million) loan from MMG.
In its prospectus for MMG, Macquarie Bank gave outline details of the financing for which it said MMG was forecast to receive AUD 1.1 million (USD 815,000) in interest.
Elmie is owned by former Australian Government Productivity Commission Associate Commissioner Stuart Simson who in 1999 was one of the authors of the commission's Draft Report on Broadcasting that made proposals for the development of Australian broadcasting in the digital age
He has not given details of the financing but has said he made a significant contribution to the purchase and that his stations compete vigorously with those of Macquarie.
The ACMA notes that MRRW is already in a position to control two commercial radio licences in the Cairns (4HOT and 4RGC), Mackay (4MKY and 4RGM) Bendigo/Maryborough licence areas (3CV and 3BBO), Bunbury (6BET and 6BUN), and Mildura (3MDA and 3RMR) areas and says it will "look at the control issues arising from the agreement."
Acting ACMA chairwoman Lyn Maddock said it would be " guided in its investigation by the objects of the Broadcasting Services Act which encourage diversity in control of the more influential broadcasting services."
The investigation will consider whether Macquarie Bank or any of its associates or subsidiaries has been in a position to exercise control over the Elmie stations and also whether any of them failed to notify the ACMA of their involvement in the purchases.
Macquarie Regional Radioworks parent Macquarie Media Group (MMG), says it does not consider it breached regulations but will co-operate fully in the inquiry and has already provided significant information.
RNW comment: We rather suspect that in this case Macquarie has been very careful not to interfere in operations of the stations concerned but was setting the groundwork for a possible takeover of the stations later should Australian media regulations be eased as is widely expected.
Previous Macquarie Bank/Macquarie Regional Radio:
2006-02-21: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin partly upholds one radio fairness and privacy complaint and considered three others resolved and regarding TV upheld four standards complaints including complaints - 55 were made - relating to "strong " language used, particularly by Snoop Dog, during last July's Live 8 broadcast. This compared to three radio standards complaints and no TV complaints upheld in its previous bulletin when it also considered three TV and one radio standards cases resolved.
The radio complaint upheld in part related to a "wind-up" on the Bam Bam Breakfast Show on Kiss 100 FM in London in July last year in which presenter 'Streetboy' contacted the Hendon Traditional Chinese Medicine Centre five times and his conversations with directors Dr Xming Liu and Mr Roy Reitz were secretly recorded and broadcast without the knowledge or consent of the parties.
They complained of unfair treatment of them and the Clinic and infringement of their privacy and Ofcom upheld in part complaints by the two of unfair treatment and unwarranted infringement of privacy.
In its ruling it said broadcasters should normally only seek or gain information by deception when there was a reasonable belief that disclosure serves the public interest and in the case of entertainment should normally gain consent of those involved before broadcast: In this case the conversations were secretly recorded and broadcast without consent and it held that, although Kiss said it did not name them or the clinic the use of their voices were likely to be identifiable to a significant group of people: their clients/patients and business associates.
It added that in this case the broadcast was first brought to the attention of the complainants by a patient, indicating that the item did make them identifiable. It also expressed concern about the manner in which the programme maker obtained the material and potentially antagonistic methods used and concluded that "the use of deception in obtaining the material, the broadcast of the material without consent, and the manner of the programme maker's dealings (which had the potential to cause significant annoyance) were not justified as there was no public interest to be served."
Ofcom rejected complaints that the broadcast, which it said was clearly intended to be light-hearted and humorous" had damaged the Clinic's reputation, of unfairness caused to the clinic by disruption, and of unfairness caused by editing.
The three radio cases considered resolved involved comments made on KIX-FM's breakfast show in December last year in relation to the civil ceremony taking place that day between Elton John and David Furnish that included references to being "taken up the aisle" and playing on the word "fairies"; the use of the word "Fuck" on Xfm Scotland in the broadcast of the song "It was a good day" by Ice Cube on the station's afternoon MP3 Downloads Show in January this year; and a Loose Ends programme on BBC Radio 4 in which contributor Jimmy Carr made a joke about gypsies;
In relation to these KIX had apologized for any offence caused and reviewed its procedures; Xfm owner GCAP had said the broadcast was a mistake in which the track had been mislabelled as a "clean-edit" and it had now reminded presenters to double-check the procedures for loading tracks and added that in this case the presenter had been unaware of the error as he was working on a separate feature at broadcast time; and the BBC had apologized for the broadcast and discussed the matter with the production team and presenter.
Ofcom also listed with details four TV standards cases considered resolved and five TV standards cases held not to be in breach - including the use of the term "poor white trash" in the Coronation Street soap: The programme had featured a character raising strong opposition to the term in response to the use of the remark. It also listed three TV fairness and privacy complaints not upheld.
In addition Ofcom also listed with no details a further 143 complaints against 119 items that were rejected or held to be out of remit compared to corresponding totals of 54 complaints against 66 items in the previous bulletin.
These included 14 radio complaints relating to 13 items and 129 TV complaints relating to 106items compared to 5 radio complaints relating to 4 items and 61 TV complaints relating to 50 items in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2006-02-20: There were a lot of "P's" in media cover of radio last week from the paranormal and payola (See story below) through to pirates and public radio, the first of which we noted in a report in Wires in which Randy Dotinga put an ear to "Coast to Coast AM."
Under the heading, "Coast to Coast AM Is No Wack Job", Doting anted that the syndicated late-night show, now hosted by George Noory, has an estimated 4.5 million listeners each night, topping the rankings in its time slot in many cities.
"Show host George Noory," writes Dotinga, "listens with the same respectful tone he uses whether callers have Ph.D.s in microbiology or advanced degrees in wacko."
Dotinga notes that the show's ratings, which dipped when Noory replaced long-time - and still weekend - host Art Bell, are now recovering and quotes Noory as saying, "I've brought in new topics, seeking more answers and the truth. Will we have a cashless society? Will they try to put chips in us one day? That's made us even more successful."
Noory adds of the show's style, "It's a non-confrontational show. At that hour of the night and into the morning, people don't want some show host screaming and yelling. They want to be informed and entertained."
Dotinga comments that it might be easy to assume that "mainstream scientists would steer clear of the show's guest list of astrologers and psychics" but in fact they make regular appearances, if only at time to add a note of caution and scepticism.
"We need to go on that show," said Tess Gerritsen, a physician and best-selling novelist who has discussed death and forensic science on Coast to Coast. "It's the way I feel (about) evolutionists and biologists, that they need to go and argue about creationism. You need to go out and say there's another point of view, this is what science believes."
Frequent guest Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, agrees and commented, "We want to chase out bad ideas with good ideas and just explain what science is. Why don't most scientists accept psychic powers as real or UFOs are real? Why do we have high standards of evidence before you accept something?"
Author and palaeontologist Peter D. Ward said he views the show as "entertainment with some good science in it" but commented of some of the storied on it that they are "so outrageous that you have to really be a nincompoop to take the far-out stuff seriously."
Then the pirates and the UK Guardian in a report by its media correspondent Owen Gibson took a look at illegal broadcasters in the London area and the attempts by regulator Ofcom to crack down on them: Ofcom it says is launching a "renewed clampdown on pirate radio amid warnings that London's airwaves are now saturated with illegal stations that interfere with emergency services and commercial rivals" and plans to press for much heavier penalties, arguing that "that the popular image of music enthusiasts operating on the edge of the law hides links with drugs, guns and organized crime."
Ofcom targeted 177 stations in the past year, securing 58 convictions but its enforcement unit told the paper that stations are often back on air hours after being raided and having their equipment confiscated and it notes that the "more established stations", who can set up for less than GBP 3,000 (USD ) can take up to GBP 5,000 ( USD ) a week in advertising revenue as well as also charging would-be-DJs up to GBP 30 (USD ) an hour for the privilege of getting on air. It says some also have links with local nightclubs or run the clubs that are being promoted.
Ofcom says that apart from problems of interfering with emergency services, air traffic control, the Ministry of Defence and commercial stations, there is often a direct link between pirate radio and organized crime and that raids on studios have uncovered firearms and other weapons, while police report an increase in violent confrontations between rival broadcasters battling for possession of vacant slots on the FM dial. They also report an upsurge in the amount of transmission equipment stolen to order from local BBC and commercial stations.
"People's behaviour has changed. In the past they would allow us to get on with our jobs. People are now more volatile, more protective of the equipment and more likely to make verbal and violent threats," said Paul Mercer, Ofcom's head of operations in London and the south-east.
DJs and artists, says the report, argue that pirate stations, typically offering a steady diet of grime, rave, hip hop, R'n'B or reggae music, provide a breeding ground for new talent and an outlet for music that otherwise receives little exposure.
It quotes DJ G Money, who for almost 10 years ran the south London pirate Bassline and is now a news presenter for the BBC's digital urban music station 1Xtra, as saying, "There is always going to be a kid in his bedroom in east London who has made a CD and gives it to his mate to play that night. There is less of a gap between the street and mainstream than there was, but there's still a gap," but also accepting that there was now more confrontation and less cooperation than formerly.
"A lot of the structure has gone. We had our own rules that everyone adhered to," he said.
Still with public radio in the US, Bill Virgin in his Radio Beat column in the Seattle Post-Intelligence looks at how public stations, which have frequently led when it came to new technology, are facing up to the questions that latest technology including Internet streaming, podcasting and HD digital radio raise in various ways including that of relationships with listeners, content providers and their financial models.
A conference - Public Broadcasting New Media Summit - is to be held this week in Seattle for public broadcasting executives to consider how public broadcasters can best benefit from the changes with the theme, "The Future Is On Demand: Where Will You Be?"
Mark Fuerst, executive director of the Integrated Media Association, a Rhinebeck, New York., group that describes its mission as trying to "harness the power of the Internet and other new media for the benefit of public broadcasters" commented that whatever the answers were the old days of broadcasting are now gone for good.
. "It was easy to run a radio station or a TV station for a long time," he says noting that managers tried to figure out what listeners or viewers wanted, chose a format in an empty space of the market and tried to hold on to it but now everyone "feels a great deal of anxiety."
In particular he notes that changes mean that content from providers such as National Public Radio, a mainstay for many public stations, will increasingly become available through other channels such as satellite, web sites, and podcasts but that shifting the balance to local programming involved new costs for that programming.
Back to the UK next for comment on market gaps in the Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times written last week by stand-in Roland White. Entitled "Gender Politics", it began with reflections on the discovery that 40% of the listeners to BBC Radio 4's "Woman's Hour" were men "Not just absent-minded men who have forgotten to turn off after Book of the Week, either, but rugged men, who nonetheless want to know more about fertility and the work-life balance."
"This revelation," comments White, "led me to wonder what other radio programmes attract many more women than men. And do you know? There don't appear to be any. It leaves an exciting gap in the market, just waiting for somebody to work out what feminine radio might be when it's at home Not that it would be at home, of course, but smashing its way through the career ceiling. Just wanted to make that clear."
White then ruminates on the gender demographics for various British radio stations - nearly 75% of Radio Five Live and 80% of TalkSPORT listeners are male and finds virtually none where there are more women listening most of the time - "Women also enjoy Radio 1 at the weekend: they account for 56% of listeners to Sara Cox's afternoon show, and 55% of Vernon Kay's morning show. But might this be because all the menfolk have turned over to Radio Five Live and TalkSPORT?
And finally, also from the Sunday Times, some thoughts from Allan Brown - sparked by UTV's launch of Talk107 - on suggestions for the "east-coast-of-Scotland view that wants to make itself heard on radio" that station director, Colin Paterson says is the raison d'être for the station: needless to say the tongue is in-cheek.
- Good Morning Edinburgh: Lively mix of news, traffic reports and medieval torture broadcast live from the catacombs beneath the City Chambers, hosted by Fr Aldo Pieraccini, a Franciscan monk beheaded in the 16th century.
- The Wheelie-Bin Show: The former lord provost Eric Milligan hosts this light-hearted, but often disgustingly abusive, round-up of what's new in the world of wheelie-bins. Could wheelie-bins be smaller, do they come in Burberry check, can the council be prosecuted in the European Court of Human Rights?
- SconeWatch: Half-hourly update of baking developments in the teashops of Edinburgh, hosted by Gail Porter. "You could call it currant affairs!" she laughs.
-Waistcoat Hour: Aimed at the banking community, this consumer advice show charts all that's new in the world of waistcoats, cravats, handkerchiefs and pocket watches. Host John Leslie says: "It's for the civilized gentlemen of Edinburgh, men like me who relish the finer things in life."
On then to listening suggestions and first a programme we only caught up in a repeat on BBC Radio 4 but that added to our knowledge of caviar amongst other things: It was the "Food Programme", which airs on Sundays with a Monday repeat but is one of the programmes where the corporation keeps past programme audio on the web site. The most recent issue - repeated today at 16:00 GMT is about wild boar but what caught our attention in the "Luxury Foods" programme that aired the previous week was the segment about caviar. Because of the threat to the wild sturgeon in the Caspian imports are banned by some countries but the fish is now farmed and according to the programme the farmed variety is as good as the wild - it also still costs thousands of dollars per kilo/pound.
Then music and BBC Radio 2 tomorrow for "Brenda Fassie - Madonna of the Townships" (20:30 GMT), the story of the late Brenda Lee, boss lady of "Brenda and the Big Dudes", told by Neneh Cherry: It's followed by the fifth of the six-part tribute to Marvin Gaye - "Stubborn Kind of Fella...Remembering Marvin Gaye."
Then tomorrow (21:00 GMT) the station has "Get Up for James Brown", the first in a four-part series presented by Mark Lamarr and on Saturday (20:30 GMT) it has the final part of the three-part "Story of New Wave."
On to Australia and a look at some of the issues raised by the furore about the Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed from a religious perspective in "Spirit of Things" from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Yesterday's programme "Is There a Funny Side to God?" looked at religious satire including comment from guests Robert Darden, editor of The Door, the world's longest-running religious satire magazine, and Azhar Usman, a Muslim stand-up comedian from Chicago.
The comment we most appreciated came from a Rabbi who described Judaism as not a religion but a way of life and said people were entitled to "laugh at life" - and in so doing did not necessarily lose respect for the things they were laughing at. He divided jokes into those that we funny, clever, offensive and crude but of course some of those speaking seemed to have rather stricter limits when it came to consider what is offensive ( and indeed seem to have be unaware as indicated by comments on the Danish cartoons that the prohibitions in Islam differ between the Shia - less restrictive in terms of depiction of living beings - and Sunni versions).
The rabbi might have been a useful voice in our next suggestion, BBC Radio 4's "The Business of Race" in which Munira Mirza investigated whether diversity training, now big business, might well do more harm than good by being divisive.
We also noted in reference to the religious that in last week's "On the Media" from WNYC, the report on Palestinian media and the reversal by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of his decision to relinquish direct control of state media that the new Hamas government may censor radio stations' musical choice and attempt to bar Western music. A reminder, if one is needed, that many zealots want submission to their view rather than being concerned about earning respect for it.
Finally two suggestions from the BBC World Service - "Play of the Week" which last week featured Sigourney Weaver in "No Background Music" by Norma Noel, based on interviews with former nurses that she used to create a drama on the role of combat nurses in the Vietnam War and "From Dictatorship to Democracy", the first in a three-part series on how people power in the Philippines brought down President Marcos.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Virgin:
UK Guardian - Gibson:
UK Sunday Times - Brown:
UK Sunday Times - White:
Wired - Dotinga:
2006-02-20: According to the Tennessean, the dominant topic at this year's Country Radio Seminar (CRS) in Nashville was payola and many present associated the issue with the decision by Clear Channel and Cumulus to drop annual meetings usually held in Nashville before the seminar.
The seminar coincided with the airing of ABC TV's Primetime - "Payola: The Dirty Little Secret of the Music Business" -la that gave details of the kind of money it took to turn a tune into a hit - Jake Slichter, of the Minneapolis band "Semisonic" said it cost around USD 700,000 to USD 800,000 to make its song "Closing Time" No 1.
It also featured former Entercom WKSE-FM, Buffalo, New York, Program Director Dave Universal, who was fired last year in the wake of the investigation (He is now working for Canadian Niagara Broadcasting Corporation's CKEY-FM in Buffalo) - denying that he had been involved in wrongdoing and saying that almost all the money he received - which didn't influence his choice of what to air - went to the radio station or Entercom's bottom line.
The Tennessean quoted Jeff Walker, who handled media for the CRS, as saying, "With the (Attorney General Eliot) Spitzer thing, they probably didn't want to put radio and records together until the whole issue was settled."
The paper says some 2,000 people attended the event but the number would probably have been around 1000 higher had the corporate events not been dropped.
There was also much talk of measures needed and changed made because of the investigation with former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chief enforcement officer David Solomon, now a partner at the Washington law firm Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP, telling a panel, "You have to have a compliance plan to lay out if your company does become a subject of investigation. The fact that you've thought through how to comply shows that you're working in good faith - but it doesn't insulate you."
Capitol Records chief Mike Dungan told an earlier panel discussion that fear of a payola lawsuit had caused attorneys within his parent company, EMI, to all but block his ability to market artists to radio.
"I think we're tighter now, looking over our shoulders all the time," Dungan said. "I think our corporate attorneys have really overreacted to this."
The FCC has said it is conducting a payola investigation but has given no details so far and Nashville attorney Malcolm Mimms, who moderated the panel that Solomon was on, said throughout the event, several people likened the issue to that of indecency in the wake of Janet Jackson's 2004 "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super Bowl, and added, concerning the FCC, "At this point, they almost have to do something."
He also noted that neither the EMI nor Universal record labels had settled with Spitzer and commented, "Literally, one of the other shoes is about to drop."
Amongst other topics at the CRS were HD radio and the threats to radio from technological developments including portable players and Internet audio.
Emmis radio president Rick Cummings put part of the problem down to the industry's past policies, saying, "We've been so focused on the 25-54 age demographic, that I have two kids and they don't have radios in their room. That's because for the last 25 years we've said, we don't want them."
He was backed up by Clear Channel Southwest division Susan Karis, who agreed that younger listeners had been alienated but added, "I think the good news is that this is an area that's getting renewed focus in the industry."
Attitudes to HD radio were mixed with Citadel COO Judy Ellis commenting, "I'm probably not as excited about HD radio as others have been. I fear that HD is more for Wall Street than for consumers" and CBS Radio chairman and CEO Joel Hollander expressing concern about the pace at which receivers were being installed. He said he and others had held discussions with electronics makers and automobile companies in Detroit about moving forward on HD receivers but could not see any significant progress happening for at least three to seven years.
ABC Primetime report:
2006-02-20: US radio companies reporting earnings this week - including Clear Channel, Cox and Citadel - are likely to disappoint some investors according to Reuters, which notes that the industry's 2005 advertising revenues were flat at around USD 21.5 billion according to the Radio Advertising Bureau ( See RNW Feb 3).
It quotes CIBC World Markets analyst Jason Helfstein, who wrote in a recent research note: "Overall, we believe most companies will deliver fourth-quarter results ... below consensus estimates. Moreover, we expect few companies to provide full-year guidance, given the current weak outlook for radio overall."
In addition says Reuters analysts are tracking Clear Channel's "Less Is More" policy, which cut commercial ad time by an average of 20 percent across all stations to boost ad rates and stem listener complaints about ad clutter and that contributed to a year-on-year revenue fall of 7.1% in the first quarter of last year (See RNW Apr 30, 2005).
Clear Channel reports tomorrow and is expected to post net income of around 35 cents a share on revenues of around USD 2.25 billion. It made ratings gains during 2005 that should aid it to regain market share during this year.
In other US radio business, Entercom has announced signing of an agreement to purchase WBEC-FM, Springfield, Massachusetts , from Great Northern Radio, LLC for USD5.75 million: It plans to use the signal to simulcast its WEEI-AM 850, Sports Radio Boston, together with some additional syndicated programming and play by play.
Entercom already simulcasts WEEI in Providence, Rhode Island, and Worcester, Massachusetts, and its Vice President of AM Programming, Boston, Jason Wolfe, said the move was "another great step in our plans to expand WEEI's terrific brand."
2006-02-20: Australian companies Austereo and Southern Cross Broadcasting have each reported profits declines in the six months to the end of 2005, the former also suffering a revenue decline as now competitors bit into its takings.
Southern Cross Broadcasting in guidance on its half-year results published last week before their formal release next month says that for the six months to the end of last year revenues were up around 5% on a year earlier fuelled by radio growth of that amount offset by a small decline of under 1% for its TV operations. Southern Cross say the results are in the context of an advertising market in which regional television revenues were up 1.3%, that for Adelaide was down 3.4% and the metropolitan Australian radio market grew 4.1%
Earnings before taxes and interest however were down 4-5% from a year earlier when they were AUD 54.4 million (USD 40.2 million) and the news of this led to Southern Cross shares falling by around 8% of their value before recovering a little to end Friday around 5% off at AUD 11.65: Their six month high was around AUD 15
Southern Cross also announced its intention to convert to ordinary shares at the end of March all the Convertible Preference Shares (CPS) remaining from the 7,159,706 issued in April 2004 as consideration for the takeover of Southern Star.
Also showing a reduction in earnings is Austereo whose net profit in its first half year was down 1.3% to AUD 26.9 million (USD 19.9 million) with revenues down 3.6% to AUD 124.0 million (USD 91.6 million) as DMG's launch of new Nova stations in Brisbane and Adelaide and Vega stations in Sydney and Melbourne took a toll although its Triple-M stations showed revenues up 13%
Austereo says that conditions will be more stable with no more new licences to be awarded and chairman Peter Harvie noted slow advertising growth in January but forecast a 2% increase in metropolitan market radio advertising over six months, commenting that the market was "subdued" but expressing belief in the fundamentals.
Previous Southern Cross:
2006-02-19: The main regulatory news last week came from the US where pressure is being put on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over its payola investigation and media ownership plans and the UK where Ofcom issued new community licences, refused to allow clustering of local AM stations, and issued details of its charging policies for extension of the terms of existing national commercial licences.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) published only one radio-related matter - a ruling that Blacktown City Community Radio 2SWR-FM Association Ltd, licensee of Queensland community station 2SWR, Blacktown, breached its licence conditions during a Talaash programme broadcast in November last year by broadcasting advertisements.
It had a launched an investigation after a complaint against the edition of the two-hour Hindi programme that included several announcements for a concert featuring a well-known Indian actor and performer.
The complainant said the concert was a completely commercial and moneymaking show, and was extensively promoted to which 2SWR responded that the presenter did not intend to breach rules and had taken care to ensure that an interview with the actor was not a promotion, notably by ensuring that there was no mention of ticket prices or where tickets could be bought.
The Authority ruled that there had been a breach but considered action taken, including discussion of the findings with the presenter, were adequate to address the issues raised although it will continue to monitor the licensee's performance.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was a little busier: Its radio related decisions included (In order of province):
*Approval of power increase from 250 watts to 3,000 watts and decrease in antenna height for Type B community campus station CFOU-FM, Trois-Rivières.
The application had been opposed by another community station, CKRL-FM, Québec, that operates on the same frequency and was concerned about potential interference and campus stations CISM-FM, Montréal, and CFUT-FM, Shawinigan, which contended that CFOU had not made a case for the change or evidence that Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières' (UQTR) students living in Trois-Rivières had difficulties receiving CFOU-FM's signal. CISM was also concerned about possible interference.
CFOU responded that its proposals met required technical specifications and would fulfil a need and the commission agreed.
*Administrative renewal until August 31 of licence for CIHO-FM Saint-Hilarion and its transmitters CIHO-FM-1, La Malbaie, CIHO-FM-2, Baie-Saint-Paul, CIHO-FM-3, Petite-Rivière-Saint-François and CIHO-FM-4, Saint-Siméon
*Refusal of application by community station CKBN-FM, Bécancour and Nicolet, whose licence application was granted in January 2004, to change frequency, relocate transmitter, increase antenna height, and reduce power from 34,000 watts to 2,600 watts.
CKBN-FM said that when it filed its original application the frequency now requested was not available and said there was a risk that its currently approved signal could interfere with that of CBFX-FM-2, Sherbrooke. It also said it cannot build a tower of a safe size for its transmitter on the site proposed in the original application
The application was opposed by Michel Mathieu, Radio Nord-Joli inc., licensee of CFNJ-FM, Saint-Gabriel-de-Brandon, and the Coop de solidarité radio communautaire de la MRC de Maskinongé and also by CFUT-FM, Shawinigan, which expressed concern about potential interference.
The Commission said it had not been persuaded of the need to move the transmitter and added that the applicant had not convinced it that it had conducted an in-depth study of sties available within the approved contours.
It noted that the reasons given in the application seemed to "indicate a major lack of planning by the applicant in preparing its initial application", that the station was not yet in operation although the site originally approved had been certified, and said that the changes would permit it to serve Trois-Rivières ad well as Shawinigan
In addition the CRTC issued two public notices. One concerned a previous notice of a public hearing to be held on March 20 that included an application for renewal of the licence of French-language commercial station CKOD-FM, Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec, which last year was allowed a short-term administrative renewal until the end of August this year (See Licence News, Feb 13, 2005). The commission notes that in its initial notice it had remarked on non-compliance with licence conditions relating to the provision of logger tapes and annual reports, and the contributions to Canadian talent development. It now adds that appears to the Commission that the licensee may have failed again to comply with the requirements relating to various matters including the submission of annual reports, the provision of logger tapes and contributions to Canadian talent development and says it intends to inquire into this matter at the hearing.
The Commission says it expects the licensee to show cause at this hearing why a new mandatory order requiring the licensee to comply with the requirement of the Regulations concerning the provision of logger tapes and annual reports and to its condition of licence regarding the contributions to Canadian talent development should not be issued and to demonstrate why the Commission should not suspend, revoke or refuse to renew the licence.
The CRTC also issued a public notice concerning various applications received for which the deadline for interventions is March 23: The radio related applications included:
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to add an FM transmitter at St. Vincent's to broadcast the programming service of CBC Radio One originating from CBN-AM, St. John's.
*Application by CIHS-FM, Wetaskiwin, to increase the antenna height and the power from 1,700 watts to an effective radiated power of 5,120 watts.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has received one application each for the national and quasi-national radio licences it advertised in December last year (See RNW Feb 15). The BCI has also released details of Irish radio ratings for 2005 that showed 85% of the adult population listened to radio daily over the year, the same as a in 2004 (See RNW Feb 18).
In the UK, Ofcom as already noted has had a fairly busy and wide-ranging week as far as radio-related decisions were concerned. Activities included the award of a further 21 community licences including some mono FM ones (See RNW Feb 17) and publishing details of its proposed charging system for the extension of UK national commercial radio licences and also refused UBC Media's request to "cluster" 13 of its 18 Classic Gold stations, a move it said "would have the potential to move the network further towards that of a quasi-national network (Both RNW Feb 15).
In other spectrum-related announcements Ofcom has now published its Amateur radio licensing Policy Statement following a consultation launched in May last year (See RNW May 29, 2005): This introduces lifetime amateur radio licences that will remain valid as long as details are unchanged and the provision of a web-based, self-service licensing service as an alternative to the postal service currently offered by the Radio Licensing Centre (RLC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Mail Group plc, which processes amateur radio licences. Ofcom says that from October, the scheduled implementation date, it will issue amateur licences itself.
It has also announced that it will start its first spectrum auction next month, offering spectrum in the paired spectrum bands 1781.7-1785 MHz and 1876.7-1880 MHz. These will allow the creation of low-power mobile phone networks with up to a dozen such licences on offer with a reserve price of GBP 50,000 ( USD 87,000) and amongst companies that have indicated possible interest as well as current mobile operators is one smaller company Coffee Telecom, whose founder and chief executive Martin Wren-Hilton invented and patented the mobile top-up card and licensed it to the main UK operators..
It hopes to offer a service, described on its web site as a "low cost prepaid service for all mobile users" at thousands of "coffee zones" in public areas such as airports, bus and train stations and student campuses. Under its proposals users would either retain their existing SIM card and select the Coffee service when in range or use a Coffee SIM that would automatically switch from a usual mobile operator.
In the US, as noted, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continues to come under various pressures in relation to its payola investigation and media ownership plans as it did a week earlier (See RNW Licence News Feb 12) .
In the former case it is being pushed by the Future of Music Coalition (FMC) to finish the payola investigation before it considers ownership with the FMC claiming consolidation has been a factor in payola (See RNW Feb 16).
Putting pressure on the other side of the consolidation issue has been Michigan Republican Fred Upton, a House Commerce Committee member and communications subcommittee chairman, who is asking the Commission to increase the maximum number of stations one company can own in a market. He wants to up the current limit of eight in markets with 60 or more stations to 10 and further increase it to 12 where there are 75 or more stations.
The FCC has also issued its latest quarterly complaints summary that shows radio and broadcasting complaints significantly up in the final quarter of 2005 (See RNW Feb 17) and also reduced the fine on a Missouri non-commercial for public inspection file breaches (Also Feb 17).
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-02-19: The introduction of digital radio is not a matter of if but of when according to Dominique Baudis, President of the French regulatory authority, Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA): Speaking at the opening of the Le Radio event in Paris last week he said that all the 50 responses the CSA had received on the matter in response to a consultation last year had been positive on the need for digital radio.
Baudis said the route to digital to be followed was still open, commenting, "From the public consultation, the CSA has identified four possible routes to digital including on-carrier digitization of FM and AM [Such as the US HD system]; dedicated digital radio networks in new bands such as Band III and, possibly, L Band; hybrid digital terrestrial/satellite radio; and digital radio on any other platforms, such as the DTT network" and adding that these were not necessarily exclusive but could "be seen as complementary."
France is currently involved in a reorganization of FM that is designed to reallocate existing licences and possibly free up some spectrum for new services but this would only allow a maximum of around a tenth to be freed up, meaning that digital is the only route for any significant expansion of radio service in the country.
Although they have supported digital, the four largest French broadcasters objected to introducing the current DAB system as on air in the UK since it uses the MP2 codec, which requires more spectrum for the same audio quality as the MPEG-4 AAC and HE AAC audio codecs they have suggested should be used for any DAB broadcasts.
The CSA has already awarded short term trial licences for digital broadcasting and trials are under way of various services including a DAB/DMB multiplex run by VDL with two video (TF1 and LCI) and two audio services (Europe 1 and Europe 2), which has been on air since October last year, two other DAB multiplexes in Paris and in addition a special VDL run multiplex broadcasting four DAB audio services and one DMB service was put on air during the Le Radio event.
2006-02-19: Two Texas FMs have put a ban on airing Willie Nelson's new gay cowboy song, "Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly (Fond of Each Other)", which made its US radio debut last week on Howard Stern's show on Sirius Satellite Radio according to MyWestTexas.
The report says both of Midland-Odessa's contemporary country radio stations say they won't play the song because of listener concerns and an anticipated negative reaction.
Mike Lawrence, who co-hosts the Morning Kicks program at KICKS 99 issued a statement on behalf of the station saying, "We know our audience doesn't want to hear this on the airwaves because it highlights a lifestyle they don't approve of. It might turn out to be a good bar song, but the majority of those songs never make it to commercial radio stations anyway. Willie plans to release the song on an upcoming album regardless of how the public reacts to it."
At Cumulus's Lone Star 92-KNFM, which asked its listeners whether it should air the song, the responses were around half-and-half but those against felt more strongly according to Cumulus market manager Kent Copper who said, "It was very interesting. In about 45 minutes, we received 73 calls and that's a lot for something like this. It was about half and half. The people that were against playing it were REALLY against it. Based on that, we did not air the song."
2006-02-18: Shares on both US satellite radio companies continued to fall on Friday, following the Thursday falls that came after XM released its results (See RNW Feb 17) , with XM ending the day down 10.05% at USD 21.57 whilst Sirius, whose results were announced on Friday, dropped 6.90% to end the week at USD 5.26
Like XM, Sirius reported record revenue and subscriber figures but losses were also up -from USD 261.9 million (21 cents a share) in the third quarter of 2004 to USD 311.4 million (23 cents a share) in the final quarter of 2005 and from USD 712.2 million (57 cents a share) for 2004 to USD 863.0 million (65 cents a share) for 2005.
Sirius revenues for the fourth quarter of 2005 were up to USD 80 million from USD 25.2 million a year earlier, driven it says by a net increase of 2,173,302 subscribers over the year and almost 1.3 million over the quarter - subscriber revenues for the quarter were up from USD 22.7 million in 2004 to USD 67.8 million, and for the year revenue was up from USD 66.8 million to USD 243.2 million within which subscription revenues went up from USD 62.8 million to USD 223.6 million.
Sirius put the increased loss for the quarter down to expenses increases in almost every area -subscriber acquisition costs (SAC) were up USD 80.2 million (124% ) whilst subscriber revenues only went up by USD 45.1 million (199%) ; Programming and content expenses went up USD9.2 million to USD35.0 million; Customer service and billing expenses went up USD11.4 million to USD20.0 million; Sales and marketing expenses went up by USD12.2 million to USD63.0 million; and there were also increases in general and administrative expenses and engineering, design and development expenses. In addition Sirius recorded a loss of USD 6.2 million as its share of the losses of Sirius Canada.
Commenting on the results CEO Mel Karmazin said, "2005 was our best year ever and a major milestone for Sirius, setting new records in subscribers, market share and revenue. We continue to be the fastest growing U.S. provider in this exciting new entertainment category, with strong growth driven by tremendous demand for our products and our programming, including the NFL, Martha Stewart and Howard Stern. In 2006, we believe this positive momentum will be further reflected in our automotive OEM channel, where we expect to more than double our subscriber base."
At the company's conference call, Karmazin stressed the Stern effect - , saying that having the Howard Stern Show was long-term benefit not just a matter of the first few quarters and that Stern would "add subscribers every single day." He also suggested that Stern would be a factor when it came to gift-giving for such events as Father's Day and graduations and also because Stern fans would generate sales by their recommendations. Of the Stern fans, he said they could become "salespeople" for Sirius and noted, of Stern [He was Stern's "boss" in his days at Infinity and Viacom-CBS], "Over the 20 years he was with his prior employer, he created value for them every single year, and we fully expect that to continue."
Karmazin also said that Sirius was planning to stream Stern's show over the Internet - without any additional charges to subscribers - but had concerns about the quality and security of the signal and would not make any move to offer the service until these technical concerns were allayed.
Looking ahead, Sirius expects to further close the gap on XM: It says it expects six million customers by the end of next year and, like XM, expects to have a positive operational cash flow by the same time. On revenues it is forecasting an increase to around USD 600 million in total this year and USD 1 billion in 2007 but warns that it expects average monthly subscriber churn, which was 1.5% in 2005, to rise to 1.8% this year.
Karmazin also said he expected advertising revenues to approach a tenth the amount of subscriber revenues - probably in 2007: In 2005 it has some USD 6 million in advertising revenues but has already has that much on its books for this year.
Sirius also announced a new agreement, commencing on March 14, to carry Fox News: Its previous agreement expired at the end of 2005
Previous Sirius Canada:
2006-02-18: Irish radio ratings for 2005 just released from the JNLR/TNSmrbi show that 85% of the Republic's adults listened to radio daily during the year, the same as a year earlier.
The weekly reach for national stations during the year was down a little overall with RTÉ Radio 1 retaining an unchanged 41% reach, RTÉ 2FM down 1% to 38%, Today FM down 1% to 30% and RTÉ Lyric FM retaining an unchanged 9% whilst south-east regional station Beat 102-103FM retained an unchanged 32%.
In Dublin the top five stations were RTÉ Radio 1, which lost 1% to 43%; FM104, which retained 36%; RTÉ 2FM, which retained 31%; 98FM, which retained 30% and Q102, which retained 25%: Today FM was in sixth place with reach down 1 to 21%.
Cork's top five stations were Cork 96FM/County Sound 103 FM, which gained 1 to achieve a 70% reach; RTÉ Radio 1, which lost 1 to 34%; Cork's Red FM which lost 1 to 29%; RTÉ 2FM, which lost 3 to 24%; and Today FM, which was down 4 to 21%.
Amongst local station highlights, Highland Radio took its weekly reach up 2 to 86%; Limerick's Live 95FM was up 1 to 85%; Galway Bay FM was up 3 to 83%; and Ocean FM was up 2 to 77%; and WLR FM and Radio Kerry, which were each up 2, had 76%.
On weekdays, the reach for national stations during the year was up 1 to 57% and for national stations RTÉ Radio 1 was down 1 to 25%; RTÉ 2FM retained 21%; Today FM was down 1% to 15% and RTÉ Lyric FM retained an unchanged 3%; South-east regional station Beat 102-103FM was down 1 to 18%.
In Dublin the top five stations were RTÉ Radio 1, with an unchanged 29%; FM104, which retained 21%; 98FM, which retained 17%; RTÉ 2FM, which retained 15% and Q102, which was down 1 to 13%: Today FM was in seventh place with reach down 1 to 101%.
In Cork, Cork 96FM/County Sound 103 FM gained 1 to achieve a 49% reach; RTÉ Radio 1 lost 1 to 19%; Cork's Red FM gained 1 to 16%; RTÉ 2FM lost 3 to 13%; and Today FM was down 2 to 9%.
Most successful local stations were Highland Radio - up 3 to 71%; Ocean FM - 2 to 62%; Limerick's Live 95FM - up 1 to 61%; Shannonside/Northern Sound - an unchanged 57% and Mid West Radio - down 1 to 54%
Previous Irish Ratings:
2006-02-18: Research by Arbitron into people who have no landline but only use cell-phones shows that such people tend to be in younger age groups and have different listening habits to those households with landlines.
It says cell-phone-only people tend to be in the 18-35 age group, live in homes with fewer people, listen to radio more and that the radio to which they listen tends to be formats such as Alternative, AOR, CHR and Country that appeal to this age group.
Arbitron notes that there are no definitive estimates for the cell phone- only population of the US but a recent National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) estimates them at around 7% of the population and says its studies assumed that a tenth of the population were only reachable by cell phone.
It is planning to include cell-phone-only households in its radio surveys starting in 2008 and its president, Operations, Technology, Research and Development Owen Charlebois commented, "Including people who can only be reached by cell phone in our sample is going to become more important and we intend to be proactive about it. It's a very big undertaking and we are committed to doing it right."
2006-02-18: CanWest Global Communications has further expanded its New Zealand radio interests with an agreement for its 70% owned New Zealand media operation, CanWest MediaWorks (NZ) Limited to purchase Q92FM.
The station serves Queenstown, the Wakatipu Basin and Central Otaga and the transaction is expected to close around the beginning of next month subject to regulatory approval.
Tom Strike, President of CanWest MediaWorks International, said "This further demonstrates the Company's continued commitment to pursue accretive acquisitions while extending our brands into strategic markets. Q92FM will be combined into the existing radio operations of CanWest MediaWorks."
CanWest's New Zealand operations include Radioworks whose operations include 16 More FM stations and national talk radio network Radio Live: As well as new Zealand it has been expanding operations elsewhere internationally including Turkey (See RNW Sep 23, 2005) and the UK, where it was the first overseas company to win a bid for a commercial licence, the Solent licence (See RNW Sep 6, 2005).
2006-02-17: Shares in both US satellite radio companies fell yesterday after XM announced a wider loss and an XM director resigned expressing concerns over the company's "operational direction": On a more positive note XM said that it expected to have nine million subscribers, driven by automobile installations, and reach operations break-even point by the end of this year.
In the final quarter of 2005 XM revenues were up 113% on a year earlier to USD 177 million but subscriber acquisition cost (SAC) was up to USD 89 compared to USD 64 a year earlier, cost per gross addition (CPGA) was USD141 from USD104 and net loss went up from (USD188.2 to USD268.3.
The EBITDA loss for the quarter went up to USD 199.4 million -, including USD25.3 million in de-leveraging charges - from USD139.7 million -including USD41.6 million in de-leveraging charges - a year earlier.
For the full year revenue was up 128% to USD 558.3 million, SAC was up from USD 62 to USD64, CPGA was up from USD 100 to USD109, and net loss was up from (USD642.4 million to USD666.7) million: EBITDA losses were up from USD388.4 million - including USD76.6 million of de-leveraging charges - to (USD434.3, including USD27.6 million in de-leveraging charges.
XM had 5,932,957 subscribers at the end of 2005, 84% up on a year earlier and commenting on the results, President and CEO Hugh Panero said, "2005 was a significant growth year for XM in which we added more than 2.7 million net subscribers. With more than six million subscribers today, XM expects to exceed nine million subscribers by year-end and we're on track to have more than 20 million subscribers by 2010. We project subscription revenue will reach USD860 million in 2006 and expect to achieve positive cash flow from operations by the end of this year."
Regarding the resignation, of Pierce J. Roberts, XM said in a statement that although his resignation letter does not explicitly state the nature of the disagreement, XM believes the disagreement primarily involves the strategic balance of growth versus cash flow.
Roberts, it said, favoured more stringent cost control in the Company, specifically involving lower marketing, programming and promotional expenditures and, although he believed expenses could be lowered without jeopardizing subscriber and revenue growth and/or market share, he was prepared to risk growth or market share impacts if they resulted, with the belief that positive cash generation would occur sooner, and the Company's stock would be valued more highly as a smaller, but more profitable enterprise.
In his letter Roberts warned of possible trouble ahead, saying, "Given current course and speed there is, in my view, a significant chance of a crisis on the horizon. Even absent a crisis, I believe that XM will inevitably serve its shareholders poorly without major changes now."
"I have been troubled about the current direction of the company," he added, "and do not believe that it is in the best interest of the company's shareholders. I have made my analyses and observations known in an increasingly vociferous manner to the board and a number of senior managers of the company. I am not having any useful effect, and I care too much and believe in my own views too much to just 'go along.'"
Chairman Gary Parsons responding told the company's conference call that the matter was one of a "balancing act" with other board members in support of stronger programming, content and marketing efforts.
The other Directors, XM said, took the view that the Company's high growth rate, market leadership and large base of subscribers are strategically important assets to ensure the Company's long term value and can be sustained while also reaching positive operating cash flow later this year.
It added that these differing views of strategic direction and balance between growth and profitability have been voiced openly for a number of years, but Roberts states that he can no longer be effective given the ongoing disagreement about these.
Parsons in thanking Roberts for his services added, "XM's Board of Directors and management believe that the balanced growth strategy that we have set for the company is the right one to ensure XM's long-term value."
XM shares at one point were down nearly 9% at USD 22.94 , their lowest for a year, but then recovered somewhat and at market closing on Thursday, were down 5.3 % at USD 23.98 whilst those of rival Sirius, which is due to report today, were down 2.92% to USD 5.65
2006-02-17: Latest figures from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) show the number of radio and broadcasting complaints significantly up in the final quarter of 2005 compared to the previous quarter with indecency and obscenity complaints forming most of the increase.
In all broadcasting complaints were up from 26,368 in the 3rd quarter to 44,287 in the 4th quarter and of these indecency/obscenity complaints went up from 26,185 to 44,109.
The increases marked the second month of significant rises following a dramatic fall in the first half of 2005, particularly in the second quarter when they plunged from down from 157,650 in the first quarter to 6,429 (See RNW Sep 29, 2005).
Other complaints were generally down - wireless complaints dropped from 6,873 in the 3rd quarter to 4,956 in the 4th quarter and Cable and Satellite Services complaints fell from 243 in the 3rd quarter to 225 in the 4th quarter.
Previous FCC complaints figures:
2006-02-17: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced the award of 21 further community licences, bringing the total now awarded to 84, and in London has allowed for the shortage of suitable FM frequencies by offering two of them as mono audio rather than stereo; it is also recommending that the other London bids being awarded frequencies should broadcast in mono to help maximize their coverage.
The London licences being offered in mono are for Stonebridge - Life FM - and Bexleyheath - TGR Sound; Ofcom notes that mono broadcasting should help reduce interference that otherwise would have made them unviable.
The other licences in and around London area offered are:
Phoenix FM (Brentwood, Essex):
Link FM (Harold Hill, Essex):
Unsound Radio (Forest Gate, London E7):
Voice of Africa Radio (Stratford, London E15):
Radio Amah (Manor Park, London E12):
Asian Star (Slough):
Hayes FM (Hayes, Middlesex):
Irish FM (Hammersmith, London W6):
Licences offered elsewhere are:
Radio Teasdale - Barnard Castle, County Durham:
BCFM - Bristol Community FM:
CSR Kent Union- Canterbury :
KOOL AM- Harlow, Essex ;
Sheffield Live & Burngreave Community Radio -Sheffield :
Wetherby Community Radio Live - Wetherby:
Garrison FM & Leith FM -Edinburgh:
Black Diamond FM- Dulcet and parts of East and Central Midlothian:
In addition Ofcom considered six further applications but has decided not to award a licence to
Bristol - Base FM, Beautiful Bristol FM and Focus FM:
Deurne Valley, South Yorkshire - Pit FM:
Leith and north and east Edinburgh - Faith Radio:
Sheffield - Rabat FM:
2006-02-17: Seattle-headquartered Fisher Communications has announced final quarter 2005 revenues down 23% on a year earlier to USD 34.6 million and net income less than half a year before - down from USD 4.5 million to USD 1.9 million, net of a USD 4.3 million cash charge related to changing its national TV sales agency.
For the full year revenues were down 6.9% to USD 144.5 million with a net loss of USD 5.1 million compared to a 2004 net loss of USD 12.0 million.
Fisher put the revenue fall down mainly to lower political advertising but it notes that Fisher Plaza generated higher revenue in the 2005 periods as a result of increased occupancy and services fees.
In divisional terms radio revenues were flat for the year and up 5% for the quarter whilst TV revenues were down.
President and CEO Colleen Brown said of the quarter's results, "From the softer ad market and the organizational changes in 2005, Fisher is poised in 2006 to capitalize on an attractive business structure going forward as well as other opportunities such as the recent Seattle Super Bowl carried on our Seattle and Portland ABC affiliates."
2006-02-17: Two engineers with international reputations for their work on AM broadcast antenna systems and an expert in the development of new TV technologies have been awarded the 2006 Radio and Television Engineering Achievement Awards given annually by the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).
TV award winner is S. Merrill Weiss, who conducted the experiments that led to the first digital TV standard, and the radio award winners are Benjamin Dawson and Ronald Rackley.
Dawson, who is managing partner of Seattle-based Hatfield & Dawson Consulting Engineers, has been a telecommunications consulting engineer for the last 30 years and has designed, implemented and refurbished medium wave antenna systems with as many as 10 towers at power levels as high as 2 megawatts.
Rackley is partner in the engineering firm of du Treil, Lundin & Rackley, Sarasota, Florida, who worked as a radio station chief engineer and was a consultant to other nearby stations during college and was a consultant to USA Digital Radio during their early years of digital radio development. More recently he has been working on the evaluation and improvement of AM antenna systems for HD Radio.
2006-02-17: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reduced from USD 4,000 to USD 3,200 the penalty on a Missouri non-commercial FM for failure to make available for inspection all required items in the station's public inspection file during regular business hours.
Lebanon Educational Broadcasting Foundation, licensee of KTTK-FM, Lebanon, had sought cancellation on the basis that a contour map and manual that were not shown to an FCC agent during an inspection were in the file but he station employee who was present throughout the inspection was unfamiliar with its contents. It had admitted that the issues/programs lists for the last two quarters of 2001 and all four quarters of 2002 were missing from the station's public inspection file, explaining that the employee tasked with the responsibility of maintaining that file had failed to do so.
Initially the FCC had rejected the appeal but Lebanon then asked for re-consideration and a reduction "as a non-commercial educational radio station and previously unblemished enforcement record "to not more than USD 1,200: The FCC rejected other arguments put forward but on the basis of the record reduced the penalty to USD 3,200.
2006-02-16: Clear Channel has named its current Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice-President Randall T. Mays to the post of President, a post currently held by his brother Mark, who has been President and CEO of the company since Chairman L. Lowry Mays stepped down due to health reasons in October 2004 and who remains CEO.
In a company statement announcing the appointment, Lowry Mays, who remains chairman, said, "Randall has demonstrated outstanding operational and financial acumen in both his leadership of strategic initiatives as well as the company's realignment. His commitment to quality, combined with his focus on creating shareholder value, can now be more broadly applied across the company."
The statement did not elaborate further on reasons for the appointment.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
Previous Mark Mays:
Previous Randall Mays:
2006-02-16: The Future of Music Coalition (FMC) has joined those calling for the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to press forward with its payola investigation and in a letter to the Commission ties payola to consolidation within the industry.
Its call comes as a filing by Warner Music Group to the US Securities and Exchange Commission reveals that it received a second subpoena concerning payola on February 3. Warner says in the filing that it intends to "co-operate fully."
FMC in its letter requests as the FCC approaches its next review of broadcast ownership rules that it "complete a comprehensive investigation of radio consolidation and payola before moving ahead with any rulemakings that would allow for a) further radio deregulation, or b) the granting additional resources to commercial radio broadcasters during the transition to HD radio."
It adds that it would be "be irresponsible for the Commission to further loosen local ownership regulations, as the NAB has recently requested before understanding the relationship between consolidation and payola" and says that it would also "send the wrong signal to the public and to the commercial radio industry if the Commission were to let the HD radio transition proceed without first identifying which of these commercial broadcasters is guilty of engaging in payola."
If alleged payola-like abuses are found to be true it says those responsible should be held accountable, and also says the commercial radio industry should not be allowed the benefits of HD multicasting without the FCC "first establishing specific, measurable public interest guidelines", that the "Commission should not consider any rule changes that would pave the way for further consolidation in parallel markets, including lifting the ban on broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership" and that it should "take steps to protect and expand non-commercial radio, including low power FM.
Commenting on its calls, FMC executive director, Jenny Toomey, said, "Stations that engage in this practice are putting their licenses at risk. What is unclear for musicians and citizens, however, is whether the laws will be enforced. We hope that the FCC will take the evidence gathered in numerous proceedings and by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to fully investigate these practices and hold bad actors accountable."
2006-02-16: UK media regulator Ofcom has released latest of its "Radio-Preparing for the Future" documentation that follows earlier documentation on its views of the way UK commercial radio should be most effectively regulated in the future.
The latest paperwork - a 26-page report, deals in particular with regulation of format changes and localness as it moves emphasis away from regulating input matters such as how programmes should be made, automation and news hubs to regulation of the overall sound of a station and follows consultation on its plans.
Responses it says were overwhelmingly supportive of the format change regime proposed in the consultation, although a number of specific points were raised and the phase 2 report also confirmed the re-worded Localness Guidelines as the primary tool with which Ofcom will determine licensees' performance with regard to local Format demands.
Amongst the matters that were raised were the definition of "substantial change" of format and public consultations on format change with the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) saying the use of consultations should be strictly regulated and that further consideration be given to the word "substantial" - Ofcom took the view that consultations allowed it to "take a flavour of opinion in a way that might not otherwise be possible" and added that although it was mindful of the cost, in financial and time terms, that consultations could generate it would still want to call on the process when it felt this was necessary.
Regarding the term "substantial" it said the simplest, but not sole test would be if the Character of Service as defined in the Format required a change in wording and added that further tightening of the definition could be unhelpful.
"Ofcom," it said, "believes there should be practical flexibility for both itself and any licensee wishing to make changes so that these individual characteristics can be fully explored. This would be made more difficult if the definition of "substantial" were to be made more rigid."
Among the submissions GCap Media expressed concern that the 'sound of the station' could not be taken into account by Ofcom when the proposed new Format was not yet on air and so could
not be assessed to which Ofcom responded that it understood the point being made but that it was not necessary to hear a station to understand what any proposed Format change would have on the sound of the station, giving as an example a request to change the proportions of different types of music being played. It also said that with regard to new stations its views made it unlikely that Format changes would be granted within two years and substantial changes within five.
Ofcom is to get in touch with all licensees with regard to changes, including lifting the restriction on daytime automation on stations, allowing news hub arrangements and the location of studios within licensed areas as opposed to Measured Coverage Areas (MCAs), although it has reserved the right to re-visit the automation limits question and the news hub arrangements if they result in a quality drop. It is also to discuss with individual stations a new self-reporting system to be introduced, obliging licensees to keep a Public File of information setting out a station's output performance when judged against its Format and character of service.
RNW comment: Reading between the lines it seems to us that many of the "trade" submissions were self-serving without much relationship to public interest in terms of the licensing of publicly-owned spectrum and that in a polite manner the regulator has given many of them the brush-off as it did one submission that stations that any requests for Format changes regarded as substantial should not be allowed - and the licence handed back.
Overall the regulator seems to have taken a fairly thoughtful and balanced view of its brief, not rolling over to industry submissions but at the same time indicating that it will behave in a reasonable manner.
Previous GCap Media:
2006-02-16: Viacom and CBS could be hit by a feud between their chairman 82-years-old Sumner M. Redstone and his 55-years-old son Brent according to the Los Angeles Times, which reports that the latter has filed a lawsuit to dissolve his father's USD 8 billion company and allow him to cash out his own one-sixth stake.
Brent, it says, accuses his father and 51-years-old sister Shari, who is president of National Amusements Inc. - the Massachusetts-headquartered company that operates a leading chain of movie theatres, functions as an investment vehicle for his father and owns 71% of the voting shares of CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc. Shari is also vice chairwoman of CBS and Viacom.
National Amusements in a statement termed the allegations "meritless" and "completely unfounded" and adds, "It is unfortunate that Brent Redstone is abusing the court system in an attempt to extract a financial settlement in a family dispute."
The Times notes that none of the Redstones would comment but says people close to Sumner Redstone said he was saddened and embarrassed by the public airing of family affairs.
Brent, it says, is on National Amusements' board of directors but has few remaining ties to the family business in which he once played an active role: He was on the board of Viacom Inc. from 1991 to 2003 but his lawsuit alleges that he was forced off the board because he failed to be a rubber stamp for his father.
The paper says relations between Sumner Redstone and his son were said to have long been strained, sources but became distant after Redstone's first wife, Phyllis, filed for divorce in 1999, ending their 52-year marriage. Brent sided with his mother, and Shari supported their father, who has since remarried and the suit alleges that during the divorce proceedings, Sumner Redstone tried to force his two children to turn over their voting shares in National Amusements to him in order to solidify his control of the company but Brent had refused.
The suit also alleges that Sumner Redstone put his own interests before National Amusements' in several stock purchases involving Viacom shares as well as those of Midway Games Inc., a video game company he controls and also alleges that he failed to hold National Amusements board meetings, tried to force his son to approve minutes of meetings that never took place regarding bank loan applications for millions of dollars and failed to inform his son in a timely fashion of major transactions affecting National Amusements assets, including the company's "bailout" of a personal debt of USD 425 million owed by Redstone.
Previous Sumner Redstone:
Los Angeles Times report:
2006-02-16: Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) could potentially opt not to apply for state funding totalling USD 190,000 according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which notes that under a 2005 law an application would require the broadcaster to reveal salaries exceeding USD 100,000 a year.
The paper says the assumption is that MPR, which says it has more than a year to claim these funds and a second instalment of the same amount will apply and says the broadcaster says it can't yet claim the funds because they are earmarked for an outstate transmitter project and other improvements that aren't completed.
It quotes Michael O'Keefe, chairman of the MPR board committee on government relations, as saying, "The assumption is we are going to apply for it. We need the resources" but adds that he and other MPR officials said they are bothered by the salary disclosure requirement.
"The question is, do we live with that or do we go to get that changed in the legislation the next time around?" O'Keefe asked.
MPR executive vice president Thomas Kigin said MPR would ask legislators to change the law and added that it was possible it might forgo the state money and Marty Seifert, Republican representative for Marshall, who pushed for the law commented that the lack of an application could reflect the broadcaster's opposition to making the disclosures, saying, "They don't want the taxpayers to know this or they would have unveiled this information like the accountability language requires."
He said in response to an MPR suggestion that giving a listing of those paid more than 100,000 would invade individual's privacy by saying the requirement was not for individual names but just the total number of people paid above the benchmark.
MPR says it is the only organization required to make the disclosures - the 2005 law pushed by Seifert provided even more money to the Association of Minnesota Public Educational Radio Stations and to Twin Cities Public Television but did not require them to make similar salary disclosures.
Seifert said he focused on MPR because he was bothered by the more than USD 500,000 paid to its president and CEO, William Kling, for work at MPR and another media organization and the other broadcast organizations had assured him that few or none of their employees earned more than USD100, 000.
The paper notes that MPR, like other nonprofits, must disclose many compensation details in federal tax return forms that are available to the public and that the 2004 return listed the names and salaries of 13 MPR officers or trustees, 12 of whom earned more than USD 100,000 including Kling who was paid USD 326,700 in salary, pension and benefits, and incentive compensation at MPR. It adds that Kling is also paid roughly an additional USD 218,000 from American Public Media Group, the parent company of MPR.
It also notes that the five highest-paid employees earned from USD 117,845 to USD 174,040, plus benefits and deferred compensation.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune report:
2006-02-15: Arbitron has published its latest "Radio Today" report, showing it says that despite more listening options than ever the medium reaches 93% of Americans each week.
"No other entertainment or information medium," says Radio Today - 2006, "comes close to radio's impressive, multi-venued reach. Radio has strong penetration in the home, at work and in the car-it works well on weekdays and on weekends-and it is strong in all dayparts, even during the overnight hours."
Radio's reach, says the report, has "held steady throughout the years" although it notes, "An onslaught of competing entertainment, be it MP3 players, morning television news shows, online radio and other emerging media, has contributed to a 45-minute (per week) decline in time spent listening to radio over the past two years, yet the average radio consumer spends more than 19 hours listening to the radio every week."
The medium's reach it adds is consistent amongst all age groups and both sexes, although the away-from-home listening of those over 65 is markedly lower than that of younger adults - away from home listening is up to three-quarters of all listening and listening by working-age consumers typically peaks in morning drive, at middays for those 65 and over and on weekday afternoons and at weekends for teenagers.
The 82-page report also gives details of listening to America's 15 most popular radio formats, with Country retaining the lead for number of stations and news/talk retaining popularity although its attraction peaks amongst those over 65, who account for more than a third of the audience.
Arbitron has also announced further support from advertising agencies for its Portable People Meter (PPM) system. The latest to commit to it is MPG, the media buying and planning unit of global marketing communications company Havas, whose commitment follows on earlier declarations of support made this month by Starcom MediaVest Group and Philadelphia agencies Mayo Seitz Media and The Star Group.
Arbitron Radio Today - 2006 (1.8 MB , 82-page PDF):
2006-02-15: Citing concerns at setting a precedent that would allow radio companies to reduce their localness UK Media regulator Ofcom has refused UBC Media's request to "cluster" 13 of its 18 Classic Gold stations, a move it said "would have the potential to move the network further towards that of a quasi-national network, which would not be Ofcom's intention."
In making its ruling, which follows a consultation announced in December (See RNW Dec 3, 2005) Ofcom noted that it received six responses to its consultation on the matter, all but one of which were against the proposals, and said, "Given the emphasis on localness through the duties placed upon Ofcom by Parliament, agreement to the removal of local programming on this scale would represent a substantial change to the character of each affected service."
It added that the rationale for the clustering was "not compelling", said it took the view that "creating regional groups out of services that have clear local obligations was inconsistent with its approach to preserving and upholding localness in local radio" and said acceptance would set a "significant precedent" for format changes that could make it difficult "Ofcom to refuse similar requests that could ultimately result in the end of distinct local programming across AM stations."
UBC had also requested that it be allowed leeway concerning the times it had to air the four hours a day of locally made programming that was called for from the stations and agreed to this change, thus allowing the airtime to be at any weekday daytime - from 06:00 to 19:00 - rather than at weekday peak time, meaning breakfast or drivetime shows.
In allowing the change it said that the character of the service would not be substantially altered because the amount of local programming broadcast would not change and noted that it would not "signal the relegation of local output to obscure hours or subvert Ofcom's commitment to localness."
Ofcom has also released more details of how it will set financial terms for potential extensions to the UK national commercial radio licences held by GCap Media's Classic FM, whose licence expires on September 30 next year, SMG's Virgin Radio, whose licence expires on April 29, 2008, and UTV's talkSPORT whose licence expires on December 31, 2008.
It had published a consultation document on the issue in November last year (See Licence News Nov 20, 2005).
Ofcom notes that its objective is to determine a fair and reasonable value for the licences that ensures a "proper return" to the tax payer and also involves it in various uncertainties such as the radio advertising market, change in the industry and the hypothetical value of the licence in a single round sealed bid process.
If the licence holders apply for an extension - which runs for four years - Ofcom has to determine a fixed annual cash amount that it considers would be bid were the licence being offered afresh and may also set a revised Percentage of Qualifying Revenue (PQR) for each year of the extended licence period.
It also has to consider the two parts of the licence, the national analogue service and also the national digital one, and has opted to make a division of costs associated with each broadly related to the listening on the platform and to attribute to the national analogue licence all profits made from this service. To calculate the value of the licence to a bidder Ofcom says it considers this the net value of the rights and obligations associated with the licence; it adds to determine the amount of a second-highest bid in an auction it intends to estimate the net present value of the licence to the incumbent and then adjust the amount down to reflect costs of entry for a new applicant.
Ofcom also noted that its predecessor The Radio Authority aimed to recover approximately 75% of the surplus value of each licence via the PQR payments and the remaining 25% via the annual fixed cash sum payments when it set the terms of the renewal but that the incumbents favour a high PQR and low Cash Bid to reflect the uncertainties facing analogue INR services.
Ofcom Network Licence extension document (37 page, 128 KB PDF):
2006-02-15: Univision has promoted Gary Stone, who since 2001 has been SVP and COO of Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation and then after Univision took it over of Univision Radio, to the role of President and COO of Univision Radio.
Announcing the appointment, Univision Communications Inc. President and Chief Operating Officer Ray Rodriguez said in a news release, "Gary has done a terrific job at Univision Radio and we are sure that he'll even do a better job as President and COO. He brings unparalleled experience and a clear vision of the tremendous opportunities ahead. We are exited about his new role."
Stone, who also serves on the Board of Directors of the Radio Advertising Bureau and on the Advisory Board of Arbitron, said, "It's very gratifying to succeed Mac Tichenor, Jr. as president of Univision Radio and I am very pleased that this occurs on my five year anniversary as COO. Univision Radio has done extremely well, particularly in recent years, and is poised to do even better."
2006-02-15: The BBC is more than doubling the number of podcasts it is to offer, adding 29 more regular radio programmes and highlights packages to the 18 it currently offers with plans to add more, taking the total to 50.
The new offerings will become available later this month and will include an hourly news summary from the BBC World Service, the BBC Radio 4 programmes Start the Week, Broadcasting House, Today in Parliament and highlight packages from Woman's Hour - the top item each day, and Front Row - a key interview each week - and also audio - to be offered fortnightly - of the audio of the best of Jeremy Paxman's interviews for the BBC 2 TV "Newsnight" programme.
BBC Radio 1 and its sister digital station 1Xtra, which currently offers just a "Best of Moyles "(Chris Moyles, the BBC Radio 1 breakfast host) podcast, will add six more podcasts between them but BBC Radio 2, which currently offers "Best Bits" from Chris Evans' shows, is not adding any, but BBC Radio 3 is joining the trial with offers of Discovering Music and a weekly speech highlights package and BBC Radio 5, which launched the Corporation's podcasts will add soccer debate packages and a daily Simon Mayo podcast.
There will also be a first Welsh podcast from BBC Radio Cymru and a weekly podcast from BBC Radio Wales' All Things Considered as well as some one-off ad hoc offerings.
Simon Nelson, Controller of BBC Radio & Music Interactive, said in a statement, "The feedback we get from the trial is helping to inform our strategy for 'audio on demand' giving listeners the control they are becoming increasingly used to in the digital world. Downloading and podcasting are potentially fantastic ways for us to make our on demand programmes as accessible as live radio always has been."
2006-02-15: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) says it has received one application for each of its two national and quasi-national radio licences advertised in December last year ( See RNW Dec 10, 2005)
Applying for the National broad format is 100-102 Today FM whilst for the Quasi-national news/speech licences the application came from Newstalk 106.
Previous Newstalk 106:
2006-02-14: The 3GSM World Congress 2006 being held in Barcelona is seeing a concentration of attention on digital media for mobile devices with both DMB (Digital multimedia broadcasting) and DVB-H - the adaptation of the DVB-T digital terrestrial television system to the specific requirements of handheld, battery-powered receivers - both on the agenda.
In the case of DMB, the system, based on Eureka DAB transmission technology, has already been commercially launched in Korea and is to be launched in China and Germany this year and trials of mobile TV using the technology are already being conducted in 18 centres around the world including European trials in France, Holland, Norway, Italy, and Spain. The system also includes a DAB-IP Mobile TV option, successfully trialled by BT Movio in the UK with a service due to be launched in the summer and pilots due in China and Taiwan this year.
Its proponents say no other mobile TV technologies are as "commercially advanced, viable, robust, reliable or flexible as DAB's solutions" and says in many countries, not only is spectrum already available, but network infrastructure is often in place.
DMB broadcasts are being demonstrated in Barcelona in a collaborative effort that includes WorldDAB, the Government of Catalonia and will provide two DMB video channels that can be accessed on mobile devices from Samsung, LG Electronics and Perstel. In addition BT Movio is to unveil the world's first DAB-IP enabled Smartphone at 3GSM.
On the chip front, Frontier Silicon has launched and demonstrated its latest T-DMB chip, Kino 2, which it says delivers significant improvements in size, power consumption - cut in half - and cost compared to its Kino 1 chip which is already I mass production in the Samsung B2300 which is the top selling T-DMB mobile phone in Korea, and later this year it will be used in products for mobile TV launches in Germany, China, India and Norway.
Kino 2 also provided full support for DAB digital radio and DAB-IP enabling manufacturers to offer TV and radio services not just in mobile phones but in any devise with a speaker and display.
Regarding DVB-H technology, which is currently being trialled in the US, France, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, Australia and South Africa with commercial launches expected this year in Italy and the US, Sony Ericsson and Nokia announced at 3GSM that they are to co-operate to achieve interoperability in DVB-H enabled devices. They say that to secure interoperability in multi-vendor mobile TV service pilots, the Open Air Interface implementation guidelines, publicly available on the web from Nokia, will be used.
For those interested in digital audio, RadioScape has launched its RS200VE module that provides DAB and FM reception plus CD transport control, user interface and display drivers in a single integrated unit that it says allows significant cost savings in building overall systems. The module is pin and software compatible with its highly successful predecessor, the RS200, allowing existing receiver designs to utilise the new features enabled by the new module.
RadioScape's VP of Business Development Dave Hawkins commented, "Our unique approach of providing functionality through software running on a DSP enables us to provide features on the module that would otherwise have required dedicated silicon to achieve. This not only reduces the overall system cost but also reduces the complexity, time-to-design and time-to-market. Manufacturers can also easily differentiate products by using software add-ons such as MP3 or alarm clock functions. All manufacturers have to do is to provide the peripherals such as display, buttons, antenna, power supply, amplifier and speakers as the module provides all the control functions."
Previous Frontier Silicon:
2006-02-14: The US HD Digital Radio Alliance has announced the launch of a new web site that it says "promises to be the go-to resource for consumers for all things HD digital radio."
The site offers headings on HD of "What is it?"; "How does it sound?"; "How does it work? "; "Stations ON THE AIR"; "HD Format List"; and " Available Products" and also links to audio demonstrations of HD.
It describes the system as offering, "CD-quality sound of your favourite programs on your local radio stations, all free of charge" and also in the link to audio demonstrations as "CD-quality sound, crystal-clear reception" and in a news release Peter Ferrara, C.E.O. of the HD Digital Radio Alliance, says, "HD digital radio is the hottest thing to happen to consumer entertainment since FM, and HDRadio.com has everything you need to create your digital radio lifestyle. We think consumers are going to love having this information-rich, one-stop resource. This is all about quality and freedom for listeners. Quality of sound and freedom of choice. And on HD2 channels for the next 18 months to two years, freedom from commercials."
RNW comment: We'd have rather more regard for HD were the demonstrations better chosen to put some real audio quality demands on the system rather than be PR puffs for short rather undemanding selections chosen to make HD sound better than the analogue comparisons given.
The audio on the site is the same as that we listened to when checking audio samples for our January comment. We then described them as "160 KBPS MP3 promos rather than real samples" and noted in terms of the quality "In addition if it's a real demonstration of the quality of some US analogue transmissions (listen to the FM Jazz samples - there is no classical music sample from FM, only from AM - then compare to Green's FM samples of BBC Radio 3) it scores to a considerable degree because US analogue radio is so poor."
For those interested follow the links in that comment but we accept that maybe it's not a fair demonstration of HD because iBiquity chose a 160KBPS bit rate MP3 offering. However there is nothing to stop them offering 320KBPS or a lossless FLAC file of some really demanding music with high and low notes and loud and very quiet passages.
On the basis of what they do offer however the quality of BBC Radio 3 FM is ahead of HD and HD is not CD quality. Alright it's better than the analogue they offer but that's more a demonstration of poor quality that the US radio industry presumably offers rather than a real benchmark for comparison albeit
HD as demonstrated doesn't have the hisses and crackles of the analogue samples on the site.
We do find it difficult, however not to conclude that the HD Radio Alliance doesn't really know what quality is, is afraid to really demonstrate its system or is so contemptuous of Americans' hearing and taste that they think they don't have to really demonstrate quality.
Previous HD Digital Radio Alliance:
HD Radio web site:
2006-02-14: UTV's Talk 107 is launched today covering the Edinburgh, Fife and the Lothians area, the first commercial speech-based to go on air in the UK outside London.
The licence was won by the Wireless Group, subsequently bought by UTV, and the station will feature a mix of new hosts and established broadcasters including former BBC presenter, Alex Bell and Scottish comedian, Susan Morrison, who will front the breakfast show. Their show is followed by the 'Independent Republic of Mike Graham', a mid-morning show with the Scottish Daily Mirror's former editor and the afternoon show will be hosted by Graham Stewart, formerly with Beat 106 and Clyde 1, while broadcaster Heather Dee and former Scotsman diarist Simon Pia will co-host the drive-time show.
Sports shows will focus on east of Scotland soccer clubs - including Hibs, Hearts, Livingston, Falkirk, and Dunfermline and will include a daily football phone-in from 7pm, hosted by radio and TV comedy scriptwriter, Gordon Dallas while Scottish Television news and current affairs presenter Stephen Jardine, will host a Saturday morning show.
Station director Peter Gillespie noted that speech-based radio is the UK's most popular radio format with a 30% share of all listening and commented, "Talk 107 is unique to Edinburgh, Fife and Lothians. We will have a unique appeal to listeners with a local focus, entertaining presenters, phone-ins and lively debates. We've got a great line up of presenters who know our audience. They know the patch. They understand local issues. And they've got strong opinions and aren't afraid to voice them The test transmissions were a great success and we're now looking forward to getting started."
Talk 107's projected target for its first year is an 11% weekly reach, or 109,000 adult listeners: The launch has been supported by a GBP 250,000 (USD 435,000) marketing and PR campaign with TV advertising, outdoor advertising, media relations and an exclusive 'taxi TV' news provider.
2006-02-14: Beasley Broadcast Group has reported final quarter revenues to the end of December down 8.4% on a year earlier to USD 30.6 million with net income less than half that of a year earlier - down from USD 3.9 million ( 16 cents per diluted share) to USD 1.5 million ( Six cents per diluted share).
For the full year, Beasley reported revenues up 1.7% to USD 124.3 million but net income was down from USD 12.0 million (40 cents per share) in 2004 to USD 10.7 million (44 cents per diluted share).
Beasley notes that the final quarter figures for 2004 included around USD 1.6 million related to the rights it then held to broadcast Miami Dolphins football games and also USD 1.1 million of political advertising that was absent in 2005 and also that the 2005 figures were down because of the effects of a format change in Las Vegas and a reduction in trade sales. The full year figures included the fourth quarter charges noted whilst those for 2004 included a USD 2.4 million loss on extinguishment of long-term debt.
Operating income for the quarter was USD 4.8 million in 2005 compared to USD 8.6 million in 2004, in part because of a USD 2 million impairment charge in 2004 related to its Augusta market cluster as a result of its annual impairment text of its FCC licences. Figures for the later quarter also included USD 300, 0000 of stock-based compensation expense. For the full year operating income was down from USD 29.9 million to USD 25.1 million
Chairman and CEO George G. Beasley said the results reflected "anticipated declines in our Augusta, Fayetteville, Las Vegas and Miami station clusters, primarily due to the launch of a new country station in Las Vegas and the absence of revenue from broadcasting the Miami Dolphins football games on our Miami sports talk station. Net revenue in the 2005 fourth quarter also reflects a significant reduction in political advertising revenue that benefited the comparable 2004 results and a decrease in trade sales revenue.
On a more positive note he added, "Beasley's Philadelphia and Ft. Myers clusters continued to generate year-over-year double digit revenue increases in the fourth quarter of 2005. During the fourth quarter and early in 2006, we made programming and management changes in the important Las Vegas and Miami markets and, based on the continued gains being achieved in Philadelphia where similar changes have been implemented, we are optimistic that both of these markets will deliver greater contributions to our operating results in future periods. .. We continue to move forward aggressively on the conversion of our stations to enable HD Radio broadcasts and, as of today, we have upgraded over 40% of our stations with this impressive new technology."
Looking ahead Beasley says it anticipates revenues for the first quarter of this year to be down 7% on 2005 first quarter figures.
Previous George Beasley:
2006-02-14: The summer "Party in the Park" Concerts that Capital Radio had been running in conjunction with The Prince's [of Wales]Trust charity since 1998 in Hyde Park in London, apart from last year when it was dropped in favour of the Live 8 concerts, have been dropped by the station, now owned by GCap Media.
The concerts have raised millions for the Prince's Trust charity but have been less popular in recent years with consequent problems in attracting big names.
According to the London Evening Standard, the Trust contacted the Royal Parks Authority late last year to cancel the event for good.
A Royal Parks spokeswoman said: "They decided not to go ahead with it in October. They indicated that they have changed their events approach and probably wouldn't be doing it next year either."
Capital agreed to cancel the event because surveys had found it was no longer popular with listeners and its spokeswoman said: "We think it is time to move the event on. I wouldn't like to say we would never do it again but we're looking at new events instead."
This year is the 30th anniversary of the Trust and its chief executive Martina Milburn said the charity would hold a Tower of London concert this year to mark its 30th anniversary in May.
Previous GCap Media:
London Evening Standard report:
2006-02-13: A contrast between two approaches to a current controversial issue seemed to us an appropriate way to start this week's look at print comment on radio: It came courtesy of Gerry McCarthy in his Radio Waves column on Irish radio in the UK Sunday Times.
The issue was the row over the Danish cartoons about Islam and McCarthy commented that "Impassioned debate may make for red-hot radio, but it often culminates in mindless cacophony" and said as far as more delicate issues are concerned " there is much to be said for a calmer, more informative approach, as exemplified by Pat Kenny."
McCarthy then looks at issues raised in reports on the row in Ireland and the cultural divide shown up and contrasts Kenny's approach - "he is capable of probing an issue deeply by asking intelligent, well-informed questions" - with that of Vincent Browne's on Tonight on the station, saying ht latter "generated much fury and little understanding" and had "had too many panellists, some of whom barely got a word in edgeways."
"The irony," comments McCarthy, "is that Kenny, with just one 15-minute slot in a magazine programme, was able to cover so much ground. Browne, even with a truncated show, has much more latitude. Yet the result is that complex issues are reduced to just so much hot air."
In his English Radio Waves column in the paper Paul Donovan takes up an issue that should have some resonance on both sides of the Atlantic, noting that despite education - maybe schooling is the more appropriate word in this case -featuring prominently in news reports BBC Radio 4 does not give schools "nearly enough attention."
"There is hardly an issue more vital," writes Donovan, "but it is not part of Radio 4's regular output - which, as many listeners have noticed, covers the arts, books, consumer affairs, farming, business, finance and religion, week in, week out, but does not do that for education."
He does note the return of the Learning Curve to the station in a regular Tuesday (16:30 GMT) slot but notes that this is concerned with "'the wide world of learning', not just our children's often dire levels of numeracy, literacy and knowledge of British history, selection by ability or aptitude, inclusion, exam-board proliferation, classroom violence and so on."
"It is," writes Donovan, "about 'learners' rather than 'pupils'. Too often, it takes its lead from those who think the problem in our schools is one of resources, not those who think it is about standards and expectations."
Out of curiosity after reading Donovan's search we Googled the terms " US + school radio" with interesting results - some 117,000,000 results being listed of which the only one in the first 50 that was related to the idea of using radio in school education was the BBC School Radio site: The rest were a rag bag of school radio stations, news items including the terms school and, album promotions, and so on. We can only assume that using the term mathematically the BBC approaches a nearly infinity lead over US radio in this area despite any shortcomings.
In the US, apart from reports about business, payola and media ownership that we have carried over the week, one of the continuing issues for radio is the introduction of digital and in the San Antonio Business Journal W. Scott Bailey noted that the industry's efforts to promote digital could yet be detailed "threatened by federal lawmakers if enough of them become sympathetic [RNW comment - Could this have any relationship to lobbying or even what would be called bribery in many countries?] to recording industry executives' growing concerns about resulting piracy and revenue-loss issues."
Leading the call for restrictions such as a "broadcast flag" in HD radio transmissions is the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) whose Chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol says his organization is excited about "the new opportunities digital radio will provide" but adds a warning about potential piracy, saying, "What we are talking about here is not "casual recording" by listeners," but a technology that will allow those listeners to "build entire collections of content without the need to ever purchase any of it."
Radio executives play down the idea of the medium as a source for music piracy and Susquehanna (now Cumulus-owned) radio executive Dan Halyburton, who is chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters' newly formed Audio Broadcast Flag Task Force, warns of problems with ideas such as broadcast flags and the possibility that requirements could be legislated that would make current receivers obsolete.
Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President and CEO Gary Shapiro whose members also oppose the RIAA's moves says they would severely limit HD radio and that the RIAA is putting pressure on lawmakers to repeal consumer rights established in the Audio Home Recording Act..
"It invites restrictions against private, in-home consumer recording and would authorize the (Federal Communications Commission) to unilaterally mandate anti-copying technology that every digital device must use, essentially giving the commission design authority over consumer electronics products," said Shapiro.
Bainwol says that the threat is not the same as taping from the radio but that new devices could "effectively turn HD radio into a music library."
Finally before listening suggestions, a few thoughts from Randy Dotinga in his North County Times column about the naming of radio stations, in this case the various derivative names that have followed the introduction of the Jack format.
"There are at least 30 Jacks on radio dials around the United States," writes Dotinga, "along with stations named Alice, Mike, Doug and Dave, among many others Not everyone liked the name Jack, so radio stations were soon calling themselves a bunch of (mostly) male names, including Steve, Charlie, Earl and Ed. There's an Abe FM in Springfield, Ill., and a Ben FM in Philadelphia, in honour of a lanky Civil War president and a rotund Colonial-era luminary, respectively."
"The fad," he continues, "has even spread to country music with stations named Hank and Bob When will it stop? Will there be a liberal talk station named Hillary FM? A Benedict FM for the Catholic crowd? And what about the Big O ---- an Oprah FM?
Further suggestions to Dotinga direct please - his e-mail is at the end of his column (See link below).
Listening now and first a year after playwright Arthur Miller's death a reminder that the BBC Radio 4 web site now has offers the production of "Death of a Salesman" and "Playing the Salesman" programmes that we recommended last week and also from Sunday (In the Factual part of the Listen Again site) "Arthur's Seat", reflections from the playwright on his love of wood and connections between carpentry and writing.
After that more on the Middle East starting with On the Media from WNYC that last week carried reports on the coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and pressures put by both sides to get their spin and language used and also looks at media politics in the area in the context of the Danish cartoons that we have already mentioned including comment from law professor David E. Bernstein about threats to freedom of speech from legislation restricting "Hate speech" and "incitement." [RNW comment - the division seems fairly clear to us in that English laws concerning incitement to violence or behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace - such as taking a poster of the cartoons into a mosque - are reasonable matters for the law as is shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre as per Oliver Wendell Holmes' comment - but thereafter we take the view that any benefits of legal restrictions in the short term are outweighed by the dangers of corralling thought in the longer term.
For that reason we are strongly opposed to attempts by the British government to ban incitement to religious hatred - and would also scrap the remaining blasphemy laws - although we would have enforced existing incitement laws much more strongly in the past when right-wingers were inciting violence against immigrants or Moslems calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie.
It seems to us, and on the Media at least touched on a point that isn't gaining much cover, that many media organizations have refrained from publishing the cartoons not just as a matter of taste but also because of fear of attacks. Current responses by many including the American and British leaders could in our view lead many Moslems to consider that threats of violence, for all the condemnation of terrorism, work in practice.]
And still on the topic of freedom of speech The Media Report on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National last week included a report on Ed Murrow's 1954 attack on Senator Joe McCarthy, comments from which still it seems us should resonate today "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result "
Also from the ABC we'd suggest last week's Religion Report for another angle on the row over the Danish Cartoons and Sunday's Night Air, which in the eighth programme in "The Wire" series looked at "The Digital Democracy of Sound" [offered as a reasonable quality 128KBPS MP3], the ways in which digital developments have changed the ways in which people consider music, allowing not just easy piracy of songs but also home manipulations that could not have been accomplished at all in the past.
Then BBC Radio 2 for another music documentary, this time from Saturday when Matthew Wright began a three-week history of the music that followed punk, labelled "new wave" by Seymour Stein, the head of the record label Sire.
Also from Saturday we'd suggest BBC Radio 3's Jazz File, which started an examination of the career and techniques of jazz pianist Early Hines- the second part is next Saturday at 18:00 GMT: it was followed with a live transmission from the New York Metropolitan Opera of Verdi's La Traviata.
Also from Radio 3 some premieres this week including a World Premiere tomorrow at 19:30 GMT in Performance on Three of Michael Daugherty's Ghost Ranch, a title taken from the name of the ranch in New Mexico belonging to artist Georgia O'Keeffe and on Thursday in the same slot the premieres of four works by the contemporary Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov: For opera fans, the slot on Wednesday at the earlier time of 1855 GMT features a new production of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro.
Then BBC Radio 4 and the Archive Hour, which on Saturday was Voices from the Past in which Irish novelist Colm Toibin investigates a race against time to save Ireland's age-old storytelling tradition that led to the creation of the Irish National Folklore Collection at University College, Dublin.
And from Radio 4 tonight two programmes with different aspects of US life and history: First is Hotel Anthrax, a look at the experiments conducted at Fort Detrick, home to the country's biological weapons research project; it's followed by Crossing Continents in which Julian Pettifer looks at some environmental champions in the US including evangelical Christians, big corporations who have developed energy conservation measures and BioWillie, the alternative vehicle fuel championed by Willie Nelson.
And finally on Wednesday at 13:30 GMT (repeated Saturday at 15:30 GMT) Radio 4's Music Feature is "Playing Rosa's Tune: Music of the Civil Rights Struggle", the third and final part of Stephen Evans' series on the role music played in the US civil right struggle: Last week's programme is on the site until then.
North County Times - Dotinga:
San Antonio Business Journal - Scott Bailey:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy:
2006-02-13: Irish state broadcaster RTÉ and Joe Duffy, host of its Liveline Show on Radio 1together with pop impresario Louis Walsh, are facing legal action from Clonmel model and talent agency Celtic Talent after running stories that the agency's owner says were was biased against both the company and her personally.
The comments were made after a Dublin man and his mother, who had attended an audition with the agency phoned the radio show to complain that they had been asked Euros 6,400 (USD 7.600) for its services: He said that had he known about the charge he wouldn't have spent Euros 150 ( USD 180) on going to the audition since he could not afford the fee.
Following his call, other listeners phoned the show with similar complaints dating back more than five years and reports were carried about the matter most of last week.
The UK Sunday Times says agency owner Dolores Corcoran, who took over Celtic Talent in late 2004, intends to sue the show and Walsh for damages and claims the complaints related to a period before she managed the company, but that this point was not stressed on the show. She also accuses Liveline of screening callers and only airing those who had negative comments to make about the agency.
"On Monday they called us about 10 minutes before it was due to be aired and told us it was going to be on," said Corcoran. "I had meetings all day and didn't get an opportunity to ring until Tuesday, and that day I really felt was most certainly an absolute horrendous slaughter of Celtic Talent, what we do, and also of myself. "Damaging things were said and most certainly it will damage the business. I most certainly feel that I wasn't treated fairly. My competitors were on all week."
RTÉ, reports the paper, confirmed receipt of legal papers concerning the allegations and said it could not comment on claims that are the subject of legal action.
UK Sunday Times report:
2006-02-13: West Texas gains a third radio station and its first public radio outlet today when Marfa Public Radio is to be launched at 16:00 Central Time by former CBS News anchor Dan Rather: The existing stations that serve the area are country music and Christian music stations based in nearby Apine.
The 100,000 watt station, in association with Houston public station KUT-FM, will transmit National Public Radio (NPR), Public Radio International (PRI) and BBC programming plus programmes with local hosts from a transmitter on Brown Mountain and says it has a potential audience of some 50,000 in an area of some 10,000 square miles (2.6 million hectares), around 25 times that of Marfa itself.
The licence was originally bought by Austin couple Katy Hackerman - now the station's president - and her husband Robert Walker for USD 189,000 in bidding that also included Alpine-based editor and publisher Kay Taylor Burnett, who persuaded them to make it a public radio station and who is also on the station's board.
Its construction was aided by a USD 435,000 federal grant and it will need around USD 100,000 a year to keep going. Its first big fundraiser after its launch will be a fundraiser concert by Willie Nelson - "Willie Be My Valentine" - on Valentine's Day.
Marfa Public Radio web site:
2006-02-12: Payola and politics formed the background for the regulators in North America over the past week with the issue of payola moving up the agenda in the US as we have already reported and in Canada, Genex now trying to use the change of government in its battle to save the licence of its CHOI-FM, Quebec (See below).
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has had a fairly steady week; Radio-related announcements included proposals to make additional capacity available in New South Wales that would allow community services 2AAA-FM and 2TVR -FM to extend their services - to the townships of Gundagai and Coolamon for 2AAA, which is also asking for translators in Wagga Wagga South and Junee to rectify signal deficiencies of the service within its licence area, and to the towns of Gundagai and Talbingo for 2TVR. Comment on the proposals has to be submitted by February 25.
In Victoria, following complaints about a broadcast in October last year that the complainant said included three to four interview crosses promoting businesses and their products and specials for the day, the ACMA has found that Swan Hill and District Community FM Inc, the licensee of community radio service 3SFM Swan Hill, breached the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 by broadcasting advertisements but had not breached rules allowing only five minutes of sponsorship announcements per hour.
As a result the licensee is to restrict outside broadcasts - which will have to be approved by its management committee - by the station will be restricted to community events, and all announcers involved in outside broadcasts will receive additional training that will specifically reinforce the licensee's obligations with a briefing to be held prior to every outside broadcast. The ACMA says it will continue to monitor the station's performance but considers the actions adequately address the compliance issues raised by its investigation
The ACMA has also announced that it has completed its executive team with appointment of three new General Managers - Dianne Carlos, who will head up its Corporate Services Division; Nerida O'Loughlin, who will lead its Industry Outputs Division; and James Shaw, who will be in charge of the Strategy, Analysis & Coordination Division.
In Canada, as well as the continuing fight against its decision not to renew the licence of CHOI-FM as already noted, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been involved in both satellite and terrestrial radio decisions: In the case of the former it approved applications by Canadian Satellite Radio Inc. and Sirius Canada to amend their licences to increase requirements with respect to Canadian and French-language programming: The prime change is to increase from three to four the minimum number of Canadian French-language channels offered and also to increase Canadian contents or contributions to Canadian Talent Development if subscriber projections were exceeded by a quarter at any time during the first three years of operation. The commission rejected calls from some quarters to require a greater increase in French-language programming.
Terrestrial radio decisions, in order of province, included:
Approval of power increase from 1,560 watts to 5,100 watts and increase in antenna height for CBRD-FM, Red Deer.
*Approval of 110 watts FM transmitter to distribute the signal of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's national English-language network service, Radio Two to Burns Lake, Decker Lake and Tintagel.
*Approval of frequency change from 99.7 MHz to 91.5 MHz for CKXR-FM Salmon Arm, that licensee Standard Radio Inc. says will resolve the interference problem of its signal in the areas south of Salmon Arm near Kelowna, such as Enderby, with that of its CHSU-FM, Kelowna, which operates at 99.9 MHz.
*Approval of use of subsidiary communications multiplex operations (SCMO) by CHKG-FM, Vancouver, to broadcast a predominantly Korean-language radio service.
*Approval of extension - the sixth such request - until 30 June 2006 of deadline to commence operation of low-power Type B native FM station approved in April 2000 for the Opaskwayak Cree Nation near The Pas.
*Approval of application by Radio de la Baie ltée (Radio de la Baie) to be allowed to broadcast a maximum of one hour and 30 minutes of English-language programming in each week on commercial French-language CKLE-FM, Bathurst/Caraquet. The application was opposed by Astral Media, licensee of CKBC-FM, but the commission said that approval would allow CKLE-FM to better compete with CKBC-FM and benefit Bathurst's English-speaking residents by providing them with an additional source of information and that it considered the potential for a negative financial impact on CKBC-FM will be minimized because CKLE-FM is not authorized to broadcast English-language commercial messages.
There were no radio announcements from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom announced the award of the new FM local commercial radio licence for Shrewsbury, advertised new commercial FMs for Andover and Exeter, and announced receipt of three applications for a Rotherham commercial FM licence (See RNW Feb 10).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as already noted is pursuing payola investigations (See RNW Feb 11), something that Wisconsin Democrat Senator Russ Feingold says should also be the subject of a Senate hearing, and has also been asked by the National Association of Broadcasters to push for removal of cross-ownership restrictions (See RNW Feb 10).
It has also submitted a request for a budget of USD 302,542,000 for its 2007 financial year, some USD 1.5 million less than it asked for in the 2006 financial year (See RNW Feb 7).
The FCC has also rejected a petition from Ridgefield Broadcasting Corp. seeking reconsideration of its refusal of a bid in AM Auction 84 for a licence for a new AM at Uncasville, Connecticut: The application proposed a frequency that the commission says would have overlapped with that of WACM-AM, West Springfield, Massachusetts. Ridgefield subsequently changed its application but the FCC says the amended proposals would still not meet regulations as the night time interference-free coverage contour does not cover at least 80 percent of Uncasville
In the US Virgin Islands it has acceded to a request from Family Broadcasting, Inc., now in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, to withdraw its application for a review of a commission refusal, under the Commission's Distress Sale Policy, to assign WSTX-FM and WSTX-AM to Caledonia Communication Corporation. Family indicated that it plans to file new applications seeking Commission consent to assign the licences to Caledonia under the Commission's Second Thursday policy.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-02-12: Quebec station CHOI-FM, whose licence renewal was refused by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in July 2004 (See RNW July 14, 2004) because failed to comply with repeated demands to end abusive comments by former morning radio host Jean-François (Jeff) Fillion and part-time co-host André Arthur is now pinning its hopes for survival on a change of government in Canada.
Patrice Demers, president of Genex Communications Inc., which owns CHOI, told the Toronto Globe and Mail he is to meet with Heritage Canada Minister Bev Oda and the minister responsible for the Quebec City region, Josée Verner, to ask them to keep their commitment to reverse the decision.
"They both said during the election campaign that they thought the decision to close the station was too severe. It's now a political issue and they have to decide what they can do now," Demers told the paper.
CHOI is still fighting the CRTC decision in the courts and, having lost at the Federal Court of Appeal (See RNW Sept 2, 2005) has applied to the Supreme Court against the decision : Its lawyer argued that the decision to close it was a political one, saying, "This is a right-wing, populist pro-American station. It is anti-Quebec, anti-sovereigntist, anti-union, anti-government and has repeatedly attacked the local political establishment. Its politics angers the political elite as well as a majority of the population."
The paper says that if the Supreme Court refuses to hear the case, CHOI-FM will have to close immediately unless the judges accept its request to allow 60 days for an orderly shut-down but Arthur, now an independent MP (See RNW Jan 2) said the government could intervene although that would weaken the regulator.
"The CRTC doesn't want to lose face and certainly does not want to lose its censorship powers. If the government forces the CRTC to review its decision, this would mean the end of the CRTC as we know it," he told the paper.
RNW comment: As we commented in November last year when CHOI was seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court (See RNW Nov 2, 2005) the essence of this case is whether the Canadian parliament does or does not have the right to restrict what is broadcast on the country's airwaves and to delegate this right on to the CRTC.
Our view then was that, whether or not the response was appropriate, the CRTC was fulfilling the remit given to it and that CHOI had deliberately continued to flour the regulations. On that basis we concluded then and conclude now that CHOI should lose its licence: Our view is that it was dishonourable of opposition politicians to commit themselves to reverse the decision unless they were effectively prepared to scrap any CRTC oversight of content and also to commit themselves not to whinge about any retroactive legislation brought in by a future government that is not to their liking. As for Demers, it seems to us that as a business decision he is prepared to use any argument to hold onto a valuable licence - a decision we consider quite reasonable but one made for personal gain rather than as a matter of deep principle.
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2006-02-12: The Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut, which sold its previous building in October last year, says it has now completed the purchase of a new home, some 20,000 square feet in size.
The building is currently being improved by museum volunteers and should be open come fall 2006. Improvements scheduled include improvements to the sprinkler system and access for the handicapped and installation of climate control systems.
Museum director John Ellsworth says on the museum web site that they hope to re-open around Labor Day and adds, "We are anxious to finally open our doors after being closed for so long. Once we do, we will be a regional tourist destination and another bright spot for the town of Windsor, offering visitors a chance to learn about the history and technology behind all of our modern communications systems like radio, television, and telephone. Our collection is truly one-of-a-kind and it's high time that we finally get to dust it off and show it to the world."
Museum web site:
2006-02-11: Following up on its earlier payola report in which it interviewed New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer who has switched the focus of his enquiries to nine leading radio companies (See RNW Feb 9), ABC News now says the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now investigating hundreds of radio stations.
ABC interviewed Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein who told it, "The FCC staff is working with voluminous evidence right now. It's a complicated and wide-ranging investigation This is potentially the most widespread and flagrant violation of FCC rules in the history of American broadcasting. We've never seen evidence of such a systematic betrayal of the responsibility of broadcasters."
The FCC launched its own enquiry into the payola issue in August last year following Spitzer's announcement of a USD 10 million settlement with Sony-BMG (See RNW Aug 9, 2005) and in November Adelstein called for a speedy conclusion to the FCC investigation (See RNW Nov 23, 2005) and now "We need to devote significant resources [to investigating this aspect] and I'm not sure we are doing that yet."
If stations are found in violation of FCC regulations on payola there could be criminal prosecutions and in addition the Commission can impose penalties that could include revocation of a station's licence as Adelstein noted, telling ABC, "While it's highly unusual for the FCC to pull licenses on first violation, depending on the severity that is one option that is available to us. These are criminal matters as well. If we do find evidence of criminal violations its incumbent on us to refer this to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecutions."
2006-02-11: Macquarie Radio Network has added video to the podcasts it is offering from its Sydney stations 2GB and 2CH starting with a Macquarie National News Video Podcast Service.
Macquarie already offered a rang of audio podcasts made up from highlights from its broadcasts and currently lists ten audio podcasts on the 2GB web site including daily comment from breakfast host Alan Jones, daily highlights and feature interviews and a variety of other services updated daily weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
2GB web site (Links to podcasts page):
2006-02-11: According to the New York Daily Post actor and former lawyer and Tennessee Republican Senator Fred Thompson is the leading contender to succeed ABC Radio commentator Paul Harvey.
Harvey, who is 87, in November 2000 agreed a 10-year USD 100 million contract under which he continues his news commentaries and "The Rest of the Story" features for ABC (See RNW Nov 4, 2000).
John Mainelli in his report says Harvey, who has a weekly audience of some 17 million, appeared frail when he accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November last year (See RNW Nov 8, 2005) and adds that Thompson met with ABC Radio execs late last year, and several insiders say he's at the top of a short list to take over from Harvey.
The Post says a spokeswoman for Thompson referred calls to ABC Radio, whose spokesman they had spoken to Thompson and talked to talent all the time about many different roles but said, "There's no replacing Paul Harvey."
A spokeswoman for Thompson referred calls to ABC Radio, whose spokesman said, "We have spoken to Sen. Thompson, but we talk to talent all the time about many different roles. There's no replacing Paul Harvey."
Mainelli said others shared that view and in regard to advertisers' demand for spots on Harvey's shows quoted an unnamed ABC insider as saying, "What makes Harvey special is he can get Farmer John with two worn-out Ray Conniff LPs to buy a Bose music system."
Previous Disney-ABC - ABC stations are in the process of being sold to Citadel - RNW Feb 7):
New York Daily Post report:
2006-02-10: US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO David K. Rehr has called for a loosening of US media regulations, particularly those on cross-ownership of broadcasters and newspapers.
In a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin, Rehr says current broadcast-only restrictions "impair local broadcasters' ability to compete in a digital, multi-channel marketplace."
He continues, "In particular, NAB supports your recognition of the need to reform the prohibition on owning a newspaper and even a single broadcast outlet in the same market. NAB also stresses the urgent need for reform of the local television ownership rule to allow duopolies, especially in medium and small markets where local broadcasters are facing severe financial pressures."
Rehr says the prohibition on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership is anachronistic and has been unchanged since it was adopted in the 1970's, noting that in 2004 the Third Circuit Court of Appeals "while overturning the Commission's specific new cross-ownership limits -- did uphold the Commission's decision not to retain the complete prohibition on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership."
"In doing so," adds Rehr, "the Court agreed that newspaper/broadcast combinations can promote localism and that newer media, including cable and the Internet, do contribute to diversity in local markets."
"The cross ownership prohibition," he says, " has inhibited the development of new innovative media services, especially digital and on-line services that have features of both the electronic and print media The ban also precluded struggling newspaper and broadcast entities, including those in medium and small markets, from joining together to improve, or at least maintain, existing local news operations."
RNW comment: Although there are some sound points made by Rehr - such as changes in people's habits that new technology has brought and the illogicality of allowing cable operators to have unrestricted interests in newspapers when a broadcaster is prohibited from any such interest, the logic of his arguments when contrasted with the price being paid for broadcasters and bid for new licences also suggests that there are some very stupid investors in the US or he is over-egging his case to a considerable degree.
Without significant statistical analysis it is not possible to evaluate the case properly but there are legitimate concerns over the dominance of a comparatively few players in providing news and information: The question is the best way forward and it may yet be that this will include recognizing that many Americans, like people in all societies, prefer to wallow in ignorance and go for views reinforcing their prejudices rather than be stimulated into thought. In which case, like the proverbial horse, even if taken to the water, they can't be forced to drink.
2006-02-10: XM Satellite Radio has announced a three-year USD 55 million deal to launch an "Oprah & Friends" channel on XM starting in September.
The show, it says, will feature a broad range of original programming from Harpo Radio, Inc. - various Harpo companies are used by Oprah Winfrey to produce her TV programme, print interest, and movies - to include regular segments hosted by popular personalities from "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "O", The Oprah Magazine and an exclusive original weekly reality radio show with Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King. The channel will be broadcast from a new XM studio at Harpo Studios in Chicago.
Commenting in a news release on the deal, XM President and CEO Hugh Panero said, "Oprah Winfrey is a prolific force in our culture whose unprecedented achievements in television, film, publishing and philanthropy will bring an amazing radio experience to the XM nation of subscribers. We are proud to welcome Oprah and her talented team to the XM family."
Winfrey added, "Together with my friends, we look forward to creating programming that will entertain, inform and inspire our listening audience on XM."
In other satellite radio news both XM and rival Sirius are to be made available on various Subaru 2007 models: Sirius will be standard on 2007 Subaru Outback Sport Special Edition models and in addition the company will pre-wire most of its Forester and Impreza line-up with Sirius Satellite Radio whilst XM will be standard on the 2007 Subaru B9 Tribeca Special Edition and the company will pre-wire all B9 Tribeca and most Legacy and Outback models with XM Satellite Radio.
Fred Adcock, executive vice president, Subaru of America, Inc., announcing the move, said, "We are very excited to offer both XM and Sirius satellite radio as available options on Subaru products. Both services offer an excellent variety of programming and as a courtesy to Subaru buyers, they will offer three months of free service with installation. Satellite radio continues to grow in popularity and is one of the most requested options from our customers. In using both suppliers, we are attempting to deliver the best possible service to Subaru buyers."
The news helped to boost XM shares by 4.75% to USD 25.78 at market closing on Thursday although they fell back 0.50% in after-hours trading: Sirius in contrast fell 3.01% to USD 5.80 at the close but then recovered by 1.21% in after-hours trading.
2006-02-10: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced the award of one commercial FM licence, has advertised two more and given details of three applications made for another.
The licence awarded was that for Shrewsbury, which attracted four applicants when it was advertised last year (See RNW Nov 9, 2005): It went to Shrewsbury FM against competition from three other applicants.
Shrewsbury FM is owned by MNA Broadcasting Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Midlands News Association Limited and Ofcom says in its announcement that the station will provide a truly local, classic hits radio station with news, information and features of particular relevance to Shrewsbury and Oswestry.
Being advertised are new licences for Andover, which would cover an area with an adult population of around 40,000, and Exeter, which would cover an area with an adult population of around 140,000.
In each case the deadline for applications, for which there is a non-refundable fee of GBP 5,000 (USD 9,000) is May 10.
Ofcom has also announced receipt of three applications for a new Rotherham commercial licence. They are:
*Radio Rotherham, which is offering a "distinctive service of unrepetitive 'gold' and adult-based contemporary music, alongside comprehensive locally-focused news, traffic, weather, what's-on and community-orientated speech programming" targeted at a 25 - 64 year old demographic.
*Renaissance FM, which is offering "local news, information and issues relevant to life today in the Rotherham area and featuring the best music from the past four decades and today", again targeted at the 25-54 demographic.
*Rother FM, which is offering a service of "high quality news and information service that puts Rotherham first, and a popular and distinctive blend of music" targeted at all demographics.
2006-02-10: The Southern California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) says Clear Channel's KFI-AM and host Bill Handel have apologized for remarks made last month by the host mocking the deaths of Muslims on the pilgrimage to Mecca (See RNW Jan 15).
It also says the station has reprimanded Handel in writing for his "insensitive remarks" and has posted on its web site Handel's limited apology in which he says that he accepts that had 1,000 Jews been killed yesterday in the Holocaust he would not have made fun of the deaths and in light of that he comments of his original remarks, "The wound was very fresh for a lot of Muslims and the comments were out of line. And for that, I am sorry."
CAIR says that in a letter to it Clear Channel Communications Regional Vice President Greg Ashlock offered a "sincere apology" for the comments, adding, "KFI AM 640 does not condone making light of the deaths of people engaged in religious observances...On this particular program, we crossed the line in reporting the Hajj incident in an insensitive manner. We have discussed the content and timing of this 'bit' extensively with Mr. Bill Handel and his crew and are confident that everyone now understands the gravity of the situation. Mr. Handel expresses his sincere apology for the insensitive remarks."
CAIR-LA had called for the apology following Handel's remarks on January 12 but initially the station, while posting posted a note of regret said it does not censor its hosts and Handel himself had posted a conditional apology that was more of a challenge to CAIR than an apology (See RNW Feb 1): When we last checked the station site did not appear to have made any post concerning either the apology or reprimand for Handel.
Previous Clear Channel:
CAIR - 2 MB MP3 of Handel apology:
2006-02-10: Following late-night talks with BBC management, its unions have postponed strike action planned on February 15 and 23 to put an increased pay offer for a new assistant producer role to their members in BBC radio.
The BBC is planning to combine three roles into the new role, a move the unions have said will lead to a reduction in quality and around 500 workers were due to strike in action that would have taken live non-news programmes on the BBC's main analogue channels off the air during the action.
Members of BECTU and the National Union of Journalists had voted by 60% and 65% respectively to take action last month: They will receive new ballots on the revised offer - to increase the starting salary for the new post from GBP 22,041 to GBP 24,649 (From around USD 38,400 to USD 42,900) - and are expected to decide by the end of the month whether to withdraw their strike threat.
2006-02-10: US advertising sales and marketing company Interep has announced that it has decided to file for deregistration "as part of its overall program of cost reduction and focus on growing the company's business" saying that the advantages of on the OTC Bulletin Board are outweighed by the significant accounting, legal and administrative costs associated with the Security and Exchange Commission's reporting requirements.
Following deregistration Interep says its stock will be available for trading on the Pink Sheet system -- a daily, electronic quotation service for over-the-counter securities and chairman and CEO Ralph Guild said the "action will in no way change the way that Interep conducts business, or our ability to serve the needs of our clients."
"In fact, we strongly believe," he added, "this action will improve the long-term financial strength of Interep, benefiting our clients, our employees and our company."
2006-02-10: UK Chrysalis Group, which owns Heart, Galaxy, and LBC, has reported a 2% fall in radio revenues in the first five months of its financial year but despite the decline chairman Chris Wright told the company's Annual General Meeting that trading at the company's radio and music divisions had been in line with expectations and said he remained "confident" of a successful full year.
Chrysalis radio revenues were down 8.6% year-on-year in 2005 (See RNW Nov 15, 2005) but it said at the time that September and October figures were 4% up on a year earlier, indicating a fairly steep fall-back in the last three months although the company described it as "modest" and "comfortably" outperforming the rest of the market.
The company is concentrating on its radio and music divisions and has just announced that it is selling its interest in a North London-based studio business (See RNW Feb 9).
2006-02-09: Following the publication of a New York Times story saying that it was considering a plan to put itself up for sale, Univision has issued a statement confirming the story.
In it the company says its "Board of Directors has decided to begin a process to explore strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value, including but not limited to the raising of capital through the sale of securities or assets of the Company, a recapitalization, strategic acquisitions, and the combination, sale or merger of the Company with another entity" and adds that it has retained UBS Investment Bank to act as its exclusive financial advisor in this process.
Univision cautions that the exercise may not result in a sale and adds that it "does not intend to disclose developments with respect to the exploration of strategic alternatives unless and until its Board of Directors has approved a specific transaction. "
The New York Times report said "An auction for Univision, which is worth nearly USD10 billion, could set off a scramble among the country's media giants - the News Corporation, Time Warner and CBS - as they vie for a slice of the lucrative and growing Spanish-language market" - Univision is the largest Spanish language broadcaster in the US in both radio -following its 2003 takeover of Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation - and TV.
The paper notes, however, that current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations prohibit any company from owning TV stations that reach more than 39% percent of US homes and cites comments made by Leslie Moonves, then co-chief operating officer of Viacom, now chief executive of CBS, at a Goldman Sachs conference in September last year when he said, "I wish the F.C.C. didn't regulate us. We would love to own some of the stations. As a matter of fact, we would go after Univision if we could own more television stations. But with our 40 percent cap, we're sort of limited by that."
The paper speculates that CBS and News Corporation, each of which would be affected by the cap, would probably be prepared to sell some stations to enable them to bid and also that Mexican media giant Grupo Televisa, which already owns 10% of Univision and provides much of its programming under an agreement that runs until 2017, might team up with another buyer for a share in Univision - as a foreign corporation it may not own more than a quarter of an American broadcaster on its own.
Time Warner adds the paper could be hamstrung because it is in the midst of a fierce proxy contest for control of the company's board with Carl C. Icahn.
After the announcement Univision shares rose nearly 12% to USD 34.20 - going up a little more to USD 34.48 in after-hours trading, valuing the company at around USD 10.5 billion and meaning that with a premium that analysts say could be 40% because it is the last opportunity for a major American media company to get into the Spanish-language market it could fetch around USD 15 billion.
Any such sale would net Univision chairman, president and CEO A. Jerrold Perenchio, who owns 11% of the company around USD 1.6 billion.
New York Times report:
2006-02-09: Both ABC and CBS TV news have carried reports on the investigation by New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer into "payola" with the news line that the focus of the investigation is now being turned onto the nine largest radio conglomerates in the US.
Subpoenas have been issued to Clear Channel Communications, CBS Radio (the former Infinity), Citadel Broadcasting, Cox Radio, Cumulus, Disney-owned ABC Inc, Emmis, Entercom, and Pamal Broadcasting according to court records filed by Spitzer who says he has evidence that shows that some of the radio companies have been involved in accepting payments to guarantee air play for songs, a practice that is illegal.
Spitzer told ABC News chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross, "The behaviour has been unethical, improper, illegal and a sanction of some severity clearly should be imposed."
Settlements have already been made by Warner Music Group, which contributed USD 5 million to charity (See RNW Nov 23, 2005) and Sony, which paid out USD 10 million (See RNW July 26, 2005).
According to Spitzer documents obtained in the investigation of Sony and Warner showed payments for songs that became major hits, including Jennifer Lopez's "I'm Real" and John Mayer's "Daughters" and much of the money went directly to corporate bottom lines, unlike payola scandals of previous decades when individual disc jockeys and program directors received the money.
"We have people in suits coming in with documents rather than cash payments under the table to a DJ," Spitzer told ABC, which said other artists whose songs are named in the documents Spitzer has obtained include Jessica Simpson, Celine Dion, Maroon 5, Good Charlotte, Franz Ferdinand, Switchfoot, Michelle Branch and R.E.M.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched its own inquiry (See RNW Aug 9, 2005) but Spitzer told ABC he would like them to be more forceful, commenting, "I would like to see the FCC more directly involved in addressing what is very clearly a payola scandal that has run rife through the industry."
Following the reports Cox president and CEO Robert F. Neil told the Associated Press in a statement, "Cox Radio has cooperated fully with Attorney General Spitzer's investigation. Years before this investigation began, Cox Radio was the first radio group to terminate all relationships with independent record promoters to avoid any suggestion or appearance of `pay-for-play.' We continue to be a leader in our industry on this issue."
Clear Channel's Executive Vice President for Law and Government Affairs and Chief Legal Officer Andy Levin said, "Our policy couldn't be clearer. We have zero tolerance for pay-for-play. Any employee who violates that policy faces disciplinary action up to and including dismissal."
Previous Clear Channel:
ABC News report:
CBS News/AP report:
2006-02-09: BBC managers have been meeting unions in talks to avert industrial action by radio production staff planned for February 15 and 23 over plans to combine a number of web site and radio roles into a single assistant producer job that would cut the number of posts by around 115 (See RNW Feb 3)
Announcing that they had agreed to the request for a meeting the unions - BECTU and the NUJ - said the threat of action remained: The unions say the change would damage programme quality by forcing staff to become jacks- of -all -trades.
2006-02-09: US National Public Radio (NPR) has named Bill Marimow, the former Baltimore Sun editor whom it hired in 2004 to the new role of Managing Editor (See RNW Mar 23, 2004 ) as its Vice President for News in which role Marimow will oversee all NPR News Division activities. As Managing Editor he was responsible for NPR News national desk, enterprise and investigative reporting.
Announcing the appointment NPR SVP for Programming Jay Kernis said in a release, "Our goal was to find the best person for one of journalism's most important management positions who also has the commitment to translate that journalism into the new world of digital media Bill is a dedicated journalist who has already demonstrated ability to make a difference at NPR News, both in our newsgathering and in the ways we translate it to emerging platforms that are critical to the expansion of our public service."
2006-02-09: UK Chrysalis Group, which is implementing a strategy of focusing on its profitable radio and music businesses, has announced the GBP 3.25 million (USD 5.66 million) sale of its half-interest in Air Studios, the Hampstead, London, based recording studio business.
Chrysalis owned Air Studios in conjunction with joint venture partner Pioneer GB Limited and under the deal each partner will receive half the sale price for the business which will be bought by a new company Air Holdings Limited that is associated to independent recording studio operator Strongroom Limited. They will also be entitled to additional payments should the company or the studio property it currently owns be sold within three years of the completion of the deal.
Chrysalis, which is holding its Annual General Meeting today, notes that the value of the asset on its books was GBP 1.6 million and thus the sale will not materially affect its results for the current financial year.
2006-02-09: Texas broadcasting pioneer Stan Wilson has died aged 90 following a long illness and a stroke he suffered in 2004.
Born in Lovilia, Iowa, he moved to Fort Worth in 1937. He was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2002 and his entry on its web site notes that he worked his way through Texas Christian University whilst working at the Swift & Company Packing Plant. He was hired to work at the Texas State Network before graduating and was working as a salesman for its radio station in Waco when the Second World War broke out, serving during the war as a Communications Officer for a Landing Craft Infantry group of the 7th Fleet in the South Pacific and being discharged in 1945 with the rank of lieutenant.
He then he returned to a career in broadcasting with The Texas State Network, serving in both radio and TV managerial positions in Waco, McAllen and in Amarillo where he managed his first TV station. In 1955 he was brought to Fort Worth to launch KFJZ TV, where he was manager until 1960.
Five years later he president of a partnership that purchased KFJZ Radio and the rights to the Texas State Network and in 1969 the Texas Association of Broadcasters named Wilson Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year, the association's highest honour.
Dallas Fort Worth Star-Telegram report:
Texas Radio Hall of Fame - Wilson entry:
2006-02-08: The Indian government's second phase FM licence auction has now ended with some 280 licences of the 338 on offer being bought, raising a total for the government of some INR 1134 crore (INR 1.134 billion - a crore is 10 million - USD 256 million) from some 85 bidders.
The new licences are being issued on the basis that annual fees will be on a revenue-sharing basis unlike those sold in the first round, which involved a heavy annual fee that pushed many stations into loss - only 22 stations actually made it to air as some winners handed their licences back.
Previous Indian Radio:
2006-02-08: Arbitron has taken another step in its attempts to gain Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation of its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings system with the delivery to the MRC - the industry association that audits and accredits media ratings services - of another phase of independent audit of the PPM.
The audit was designed by the MRC and conducted on its behalf by Ernst and Young and is an essential step in the accreditation process that requires audience measurement services desiring MRC Accreditation are required to disclose to the MRC membership (and all customers) all methodological aspects of their service; meet MRC Minimum Standards For Media Rating Research; and submit to MRC designed audits.
Commenting on the audit, Owen Charlebois, president, Operations, Technology, Research and Development, Arbitron Inc., said in a release, "Arbitron believes strongly in the value of the MRC and we look forward to working with them to ensure that the proposed PPM service in Houston meets all requirements for accreditation. While we can't comment on a final outcome nor an end date for MRC accreditation of the Portable People Meter, we are proud of the work we have completed in order to deliver this report to the MRC. The entire process so far, which began with pre-audit meetings in February 2004, has represented a million dollar plus investment by Arbitron in the quality of the PPM service."
Phase 1 of the two-phase audit was completed in November last year and presented to the MRC PPM audit subcommittee after which Arbitron then responded to an in-depth set of questions on the phase.
Ernst and Young 's report on the second phase of the audit was completed at the end of last month and delivered to the MRC staff and media committee members for their review.
2006-02-08: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest consultation document is seeking comment on its proposals to allow sponsoring of entire TV and radio channels. This was prohibited under codes in operation before Ofcom took over in 2003 although individual programme sponsorship had been allowed for some 15 years.
Ofcom says that research conducted last year showed that viewers were likely to accept channel sponsorship as a funding source for television and added that it was minded to allow channel sponsorship.
It is now seeking comment on what rules might be necessary to ensure that channel sponsorship deals are compatible with rules governing programme sponsorship and says its preferred options are to ensure that any deals do not results in indirect sponsorship of programming that cannot be financed by sponsors such as news [RNW comment: Unlike the US where there have been a number of cases of sponsorship of news on radio stations - See RNW Dec 14, 2005], and to ensure that all sponsorship arrangements are transparent.
In particular it says it would intend to prohibit the incorporation of sponsor names into a channel name and also, although not changing codes, to issue guidance to ensure credits for sponsors do not result in undue prominence for the sponsor.
In drawing up its regulations it says it wants comment from members of the public, representatives of listener or viewer organizations, broadcasters, advertisers and potential sponsors or others involved in broadcast sponsorship, individuals and organizations that are involved in broadcasting or related industry sectors and other regulators.
2006-02-08: Rogers Communications' Toronto station CHFI-FM has refused adverts for a new play by Eve Ensler, best known as the creator of "The Vagina Monologues", turning down advertising worth around CAD 20,000 (USD 17,000) because they included the "V" word according to the Toronto Star.
The paper says that some other Toronto stations including CP24 and EZ Rock initially hesitated about using the word "vagina," but opted to go ahead with the adverts for the play "The Good Body" that is to open next month
It quotes CHFI program director and general manager Julie Adam as saying, "I know this is a fabulous event. I've heard nothing but great things about it and, personally, I'm a woman who has no trouble with saying that word But our mandate on CHFI is that we're family friendly. We don't put anything on the radio that a parent could be uncomfortable hearing with their child in a car. You use a word like that and the next thing you know they're asking, `Mommy or daddy, what's that mean?'"
The play's Toronto producer, Corey Ross, said the advert read, "The creator of The Vagina Monologues is back on stage exposing even more! Don't miss Eve Ensler in her hilarious and poignant Broadway hit, The Good Body. March 7th to 12th at the Music Hall."
He said of the decision by other stations to run the promotional spots, "It was all a matter of context. Once they heard that it was being used as part of the title of an acclaimed piece of theatre, they had no problems."
Toronto Star report:
2006-02-08: Two strangers who won a Birmingham, England, radio station's "Two strangers and a Wedding" competition (See RNW Jan 6) have now married.
Former soldier Craig Cooper (30) and his 28-years-old wife Rebecca nee Duffy were wed during a private ceremony at a Birmingham Hotel and are now on the way to their honeymoon in Bermuda after a brief news conference and subsequent appearance on British TV: They said that they were genuine in their desire to make the wedding, which was criticized by some church leaders, work and the bride said she was "really happy" and said of her husband, "He's as lovely in real life as he was on the radio."
The wedding took place only three days after the couple first spoke to each other during a broadcast on Gcap's BRMB which was staging the second such competition: It held a similar competition in 1999 on which occasion the marriage lasted only three months. This time the couple, who were among more than 250 hopefuls who entered, won an apartment and a car for a year
Previous GCap Media:
2006-02-07: The long-expected sale of Disney's ABC radio networks has now been confirmed by Disney and Citadel, which have now formally announced a deal valued at USD 2.7 billion under which ABC Radio - but not ESPN Radio and Radio Disney - is to merge with Citadel into a combined company "Citadel Communications." The new company they say will be the third largest radio group in the US and current Citadel CEO Farid Suleman will be CEO of the new company.
The deal will be structured in a number of stages for tax reasons starting with distribution by Disney of ownership of ABC Radio, to Disney shareholders in either a spin-off or split-off transaction, a decision on the exact form to be based on market conditions.
The former would involve distributing shares to Disney stockholders pro rate to their holdings whilst a split-off would allow Disney shareholders to exchange Disney shares for stock in the radio business.
The deal, structured as a "reverse Morris Trust" transaction, is expected to be tax-free to Disney shareholders for federal income tax purposes and if it gains regulatory approval will provide Disney with USD 1.4 to USD 1.65 billion in cash, depending on the price of Citadel at the time of closing.
Citadel currently owns 163 FM and 58 AM radio stations in 49 markets located in 24 states across the United States whilst ABC includes 22 radio stations - 14 FM and eight AM - and the ABC Radio Networks: The combined group will own 177 FMs and 66 AMs.
Following completion of the merger, Disney shareholders will own approximately 52% of Citadel Communications and current Citadel shareholders the remaining 48% and The Walt Disney Company will retain USD 1.4 to USD 1.65 billion in cash depending on the market price of Citadel Broadcasting at the time of closing.
Commenting on the deal, The Walt Disney Company President and CEO Robert A. Iger said of it, "Our ABC Radio business represents a premier set of assets that have been exceptionally well-managed. ABC Radio and Citadel are a strong strategic fit that will create one of the country's largest radio station groups. With this merger we have a unique opportunity to offer Disney shareholders ownership in a new radio leader that will be well positioned for long-term success."
Citadel currently owns 163 FM and 58 AM radio stations in 49 markets whilst Disney owns 22 radio stations and
Suleman added, "By joining forces to form Citadel Communications, our new company can continue to deliver on Citadel's impressive record of success as well as pursue many exciting growth initiatives in the future," said Suleman. "We look forward to welcoming our talented new colleagues at ABC Radio who have a long history of strong market performance, and are eager to work together to integrate ABC's top-notch assets into our new strategically enhanced radio group."
In another expected US radio deal a partnership led by Arte Moreno, owner of The Angels baseball team, has agreed to purchase 50,000 watts KMXE-AM, the nation's largest Spanish language AM radio station from Radiovisa, LLC. In a deal valued at around USD 42 million.
KMXE, which currently has a Spanish-language news, talk and sport format and carries live coverage of University of Southern California football, NASCAR and The Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA soccer, will become the flagship Hispanic radio broadcast outlet for Angels Baseball, staring with the 2006 season..
In addition the new owners plan to convert it to a bilingual format and expand its sports content.
Dennis Kuhl, a partner in the acquisition, said in a news release, "The acquisition of Radio 830 KMXE provides a new opportunity to bring play-by-play commentary and Angels game coverage to a large audience of Hispanic Major League Baseball fans. Once the transaction is complete the station's sports broadcast line-up will be expanded to a bilingual format, providing Hispanic sports enthusiasts with access to exciting regional, national and international sporting events. It will also provide an opportunity for advertisers to reach an audience with a buying power of more than USD105 billion."
2006-02-07: Latest figures released by the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB) show what it terms "encouraging growth trends "in the sales of DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) during 2005.
The UK led the way with sales of 483,500 DAB receivers in the 2005 Christmas period and 1.45 million for the full year, taking the value of the market for the year to some GBP 135 million ( USD 236 million), up 57% on 2004.
Other significant increases were recorded in Denmark, where sales up to the end of November 2005 had reached a cumulative total of 143,000, up from 43,000 a year earlier; Norway, where coverage is set to increase to 80% and receiver sales totalled 51,000 units in 2005 compared to an industry forecast of just 15,000; and Singapore where sales rose 83% to 10,000 in 2005.
The UKDRDB says China and Korea have the potential to be massive markets - in Korea more than 110,000 DMB (Digital Multimedia broadcasting, that is based on the DAB standard) enabled receivers have been sold with sales expected to top two million by the end of this year and in addition Samsung Electronics has agreed to supply 500,000 DMB phones to two major
Chinese mobile TV operators that are planning to launch commercial DMB broadcasting in the spring.
Sport is expected to boost DMB in Europe where two major trials are to be held centred on the 2006 soccer World Cup.
Previous UK DRDB:
2006-02-07: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is asking for a budget of USD 302,542,000 for its 2007 financial year, some USD 1.5 million less than it asked for in the 2006 financial year.
In a 102 page budget request it says it will use its resources to promote the deployment of broadband services, deregulate where competition exists, enhance public safety and homeland security, ensure the viability of the Universal Service Fund, promote the efficient use of spectrum, and review media regulation to foster competition and diversity.
The funding it says would cover mandatory increases in salaries and benefits and inflationary increases for office space rental, supplies, printing, postage, and contractual services and also for an outreach campaign to educate consumers about the impact and benefits of the transition to Digital Television (DTV) as well as to, among other things, replace Mobile Digital Direction Finding (MDDF) vehicles that are used to support public safety such as police and fire departments in the resolution of harmful interference to their communications systems.
In respect to media regulation the submission says the FCC will review this "to foster competition and diversity" and will also pursue the conversion of analogue TV broadcasters to digital, allowing their current channels to be reallocated to commercial and public safety uses.
FCC budget submission (102 Page 2.19 MB PDF):
2006-02-07: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin upholds three radio standards complaints but no TV complaints although it also considered three TV and one radio standards cases resolved: It also gave details of two TV and one radio fairness and privacy cases that were not upheld: The numbers compare with two radio standards complaints and standards complaints against three TV programmes upheld ion the previous bulletin and one TV fairness and privacy complaint and standards complaints against six TV programmes resolved with details given of a further seven TV complaints that were not upheld.
The radio complaints upheld involved BBC Radio 1, Lancashire station Rock FM and London station Choice FM.
The BBC Radio 1 complaint upheld involved promotions for its Sunday Surgery advice programme that 'broke into' normal programming (in these cases, music) with what sounded like radio interference and then promoted a telephone number in the style of a sex-line advertisement: The promotions were accompanied by sounds of graphic sexual moans and groans.
Ofcom noted that there was no other information around the promotions - which were scheduled at various times and attracted a number of complaints - to explain the nature or context of the item or any reference to the promotions by the presenters.
Some of the complainants said they were aware that the promotions were trailers but considered the content was too adult in nature and that the promotions were therefore inappropriate for broadcast at a time when children were available to listen.
The BBC said in response that it had given careful consideration had been given to how to convey the safe sex message to the intended audience, and discussions with a wide range of agencies had taken place to establish the approach such a campaign should adopt.
It added that three particular points emerged - that large numbers of young people seemed immune to the more conventional sources of advice available to them: that in spite of public frankness about sexual matters, one-to-one discussion was still severely hampered by mutual embarrassment; and that (as suggested in a recent World Health Organization report) any campaign should aim to target young people before they became sexually active - aiming to reach 9/10 -14 year olds as well as older children
The result was trails that were scheduled to avoid times when the youngest children were particularly likely to be listening and unusual enough to grab the attention of those who would have understood them (anyone who followed up the invitation to dial the number had the campaign explained fully to them) but which would have passed over the heads of the younger, minority audience. Given the statistics for teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, the BBC believed that some explicitness was justified as a way of attracting the attention of those most at risk.
Ofcom said it had no issue with the points made about the merit of a campaign of this type but was concerned with the style and sexual explicitness of the promotions and the times at which the promotions were aired - particularly in one case at 16:20 when young children might be listening.
It said the scheduling was an editorial and compliance misjudgement and breached rules on its appropriate scheduling rules.
In the case of the Choice FM breach presenter Adam Caterall was involved at 21:50 in a very detailed and sexually graphic conversation with a woman whom a male friend of his had met the previous weekend. Parent company Emap said the "live discussion veered out of control" and it had told the presenter that the content of the feature was unacceptable and put internal measures in place to address the issues raised by this item.
Ofcom welcomed the action but held the programme in breach of generally accepted standards.
The third radio complaint upheld also involved a breach of generally accepted standard, this time by Lucy Ambache of GCap Media's Choice FM in London who, after what the company said had been a tame discussion about a forthcoming item on dating younger men commented that she had just got a "filthy" text, which she proceeded to read out in spite of acknowledging that it might "get her the sack" - it read: "If they are old enough to bleed, they're bleeding big enough, old enough".
Ofcom commented, "The presenter's comments before she read out the text indicated that she was aware that it was potentially offensive. We thought that her deliberate decision to relay the content of the text, with its apparent endorsement of under-age sex, was ill-judged, especially given that this slot typically attracts a young audience, including those under 15.
The radio case considered resolved involved a Beacon Radio presenter's use of the word "poof" - slang for homosexual in a manned that parent company GCap said it thought was intended to be light-hearted and inoffensive but added that nevertheless it had discussed the matter with the presenter and apologized for any offence the remark had caused.
Not upheld was a complaint against Danny Baker for comments he made on his Breakfast Show on BBC Radio London on an incident that resulted in his car being towed away and that the company responsible for enforcement of parking rules said had treated it unfairly. Ofcom said the programme was unlikely to have been capable of adversely affecting the company's reputation
Ofcom also listed with no details a further 54 complaints against 66 items that were rejected or held to be out of remit compared to corresponding totals of 109 complaints against 100 items in the previous bulletin.
These included 5 radio complaints relating to 4 items and 61 TV complaints relating to 50 items compared to 11 radio complaints relating to 11 items and 98 TV complaints relating to 89 items in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2006-02-07: The Voice of America (VOA) s to follow BBC World Service (See RNW Oct 26 , 2005). in cutting foreign language services under its fiscal 2007 budget proposals from the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the "independent" federal agency that supervises all U.S. government-supported non-military international broadcasting.
Its proposals call for an overall increase of 4.3% on the previous year to USD 671.9 million following on a 7.5% increase in 2006 and the agency says the increases will go primarily to Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MEBN), the operator of the Alhurra TV service - whose hours would be increased from 16 hours to 24 hours a day - and Radio Sawa, which would add customized local news content. MEBN is to get a 13% budget increase and VOA 5.3% under the proposals with the latter concentrating on the Moslem world.
The proposals also call for adding a one-hour television program for Afghanistan in both Dari and Pashto, and enhancing transmission for VOA Pashto programming to Afghanistan along the border region while adding additional FM and medium wave capability.
In a statement the BBG says that "Faced with the increased costs of expanding critically needed television and radio programming to the Arab and non-Arab Muslim world, the Board has had to make some painful choices" and then says it is proposing to eliminate VOA News Now radio while maintaining VOA English to Africa, Special English and VOA's English website whilst also proposing to end broadcasts in Croatian, Turkish, Thai, Greek and Georgian.
In addition, it proposes dropping VOA radio broadcasts in Albanian, Bosnian, Macedonian, Serbian, Russian and Hindi, although TV broadcasts would continue in these languages, and also that Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty drop Macedonian programming although continuing to broadcast in Russian and Georgian.
BBG chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson said in a statement, "Every member of the Board of Governors regrets the loss of VOA services proposed in this budget. The men and women who provided these services for many years served with distinction and provided programming that were critical to this nation's interests. However, the Board believes that the priorities reflected in this budget proposal represent the best allocation of funds."
RNW comment: As with the BBC plans, said to have been proposed by the broadcaster itself rather than pushed by the government, we have serious doubts about the wisdom of some of these moves and certainly feel that, as with the BBC, if there is not a long-term serious and intelligent commitment to the expanded services the boost to them will certainly turn out to be ill-judged. Indeed as we talk to more Arab colleagues, we rather feel that without very significant changes in attitudes in the US, the money will be wasted anyway with the end result that potential and actual friends will be alienated but very few if any new ones made.
Tomlinson, of course, is the former Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) chairman who resigned last year after criticism in the report of the CPB's inspector general of his use of funding to push for more conservative programming (See RNW Nov 5, 2005); The report's subsequent publication showed it to have concluded that Tomlinson had broken federal laws and violated the CPB's code of ethics (See RNW Nov 17, 2005), something he denied.
All-in-all, it would seem to us, a man hardly likely to have the breadth of vision and understanding needed to effectively influence a Moslem world that is cynical or sceptical of US motives and commitment towards a significantly improved view of the US but probably very effective at saying what his political masters want is what is needed, however much evidence may turn up to the contrary.
Previous Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty:
2006-02-06: The hoax by Montreal radio host Marc-Antoine Audette of CKOI-FM , Quebec, in which he fooled French President Jacques Chirac into believing he was Canadian PM-elect Stephen Harper (See RNW Jan 28) forms the cue for the first article in our look at print comment on radio over the past week.
Commenting on the hoax, Paul Donovan in his Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times notes that in 1995 the same station fooled Queen Elizabeth when the DJ Pierre Brassard pretended to be Canada's then premier, Jean Chrétien, and " got through the Buckingham Palace switchboard and spoke to the Queen for 14 minutes (eight in English, six in French)."
"He duped her, "notes Donovan, "into giving out her fax number and agreeing to make a broadcast urging people in Quebec not to split from the rest of Canada in an impending referendum. The entire conversation was taped without her knowledge and broadcast over Canadian radio and television. The royals changed their 'vetting procedure' as a result."
Donovan goes on to note similar pranks in the UK - "Denis MacShane, Labour MP for Rotherham and Europe minister until last year, was sacked from the BBC in 1976 when, posing as a listener, he rang a phone-in on the local radio station that employed him to call a certain Tory politician a 'crook'" and "In 1998, Jon Culshaw, then a hired hand on Steve Penk's show on Capital, fooled Tony Blair into believing he was talking to [then Opposition Conservative Party Leader] William Hague."
"It is easy to see why they do it," comments Donovan, "It proves they are brilliant mimics and gives them the fame they crave, the oxygen of publicity. Their names go round the world, and people like me facilitate that. Yet there is cruelty in the deliberate, premeditated deception of others, done just so that the callers can further their own careers."
He then goes on to say the last laugh is sometimes on the pranksters as happened in 1995 "When the conversation was broadcast, the Montreal radio station was deluged with calls from listeners. They were, said Brassard afterwards, "very impressed with how well she spoke French, her sense of humour, her laughter, how approachable she was". And how did the people of Quebec vote in their referendum? They voted to stay in Canada. Vive la reine!"
The other prank we noted last week seemed to us to be a little lacking in style compared to that of CKOI albeit it got publicity for the "Jersey Guys" (Craig Carton and Ray Rossi) on Millennium's WKXW-FM, Trenton, particularly in The Trentonian that ran a prominent "Seacrest Out - American Idol host storms out of Ewing Radio Station "story that the duo feature on the station web site.
As Trentonian editor Carl Barbati wrote under the heading "We were scammed" the station "pulled an on-air prank Wednesday afternoon and we fell for it."
So he notes did others, commenting that "Listeners - and news outlets - had no reason to think that Carton had strayed from the truthful to the fictional with the bogus interview. And it was some "interview," including Carton asking the fake Seacrest if he was gay and the fake Seacrest storming out of the studio. .
The paper says others at the station were involved including "Jersey Guys" producer Charod Williams who "was contacted four times by phone by The Trentonian during Wednesday's hoax." Williams "played along with Carton's gag, verifying that Seacrest had been there and had left the building."
RNW comment: Although the paper fell for the spoof, the fact that, assuming its account is correct, its success depended on the producer lying to them, which rather detracts from any credit the show could claim for a successful hoax. The logical response, of course, is for the paper, other media, and the public to assume that anything said by the station may well be inaccurate-probably a not too unfair assumption anyway - and also in future the paper to qualify all reports on the station with specific attributions (i.e. a person sounding like a male who called himself ... and the like). Properly done for a period this could even get up the Jersey Guys' noses and with luck a might make them the butt of a few jokes amongst their potential audience.
In considering radio hoaxes one of the things we have noted is that they seem to be almost exclusively a male domain, at least in the English-speaking world, and nowhere is there a clue as to whether most women have more sense than bother with many of the stunts or just aren't in the position to stage them. In the US, judging by Randy Dotinga's column in the North Country Times, it may be more a case of the latter.
Under the heading "Women still a minority in radio" Dotinga considers the issue of women on the radio in the context of San Diego stations but makes some general points about women being "second-class citizens, often relegated to sidekick status" and considers some of the reasons as to why this might be.
Among them are women not liking the hours needed to land a "morning drive" show - KIFM's Melissa Sharpe, one of just two women who lead morning shows in San Diego, commented, "I think maybe women have a problem with getting up at 3 a.m. and leaving their kids to fend for themselves at 4 a.m."; Female listeners aren't big fans of female disc jockeys - Sharpe commented, "I was told by my program director in Tucson in the mid-1980s that normally, women don't like to listen to women DJs" and was backed up by Meg Banta, a disc jockey at KPRI who teaches classes and runs the radio station at Palomar College, who said. "Women are very critical of other women, and I'm not sure why that is"; Women have a tough time being assertive on the air - Monique Marvez, the new lead morning host on 100.7 Jack FM, said, "I don't think women are taught to say this is what I say, this is who I am, this is what I'm about, directly and unequivocally. They think that's not particularly feminine, as did I for many years"; and Women have few positive female role models on the radio.
Which, of course, could be a cue to suggest shows hosted by women in our listening selection but as opposed to TV, where eye appeal seems to benefit younger women (not so much older ones judging by American, Australian and British TV) and even then often as part of a team if not sidekicks, there don't seem that many around. In the US you could try Air America and the Randi Rhodes Show - certainly one woman host who's hardly afraid of coming forward and saying bluntly what she thinks and in the UK the BBC has Sara Cox and Jo Whiley on BBC Radio 1 albeit they're known more as "ladettes" than as women and are also greatly outnumbered by male hosts as is the case on other stations although we'll give a plug to Mica Paris (Soul Solutions on Wednesday at 21:00 GMT on BBC Radio 2) and Anna Hill and Miriam O'Reilly, who present the Farming Today (0545-06:00 GMT) and Farming Today This Week (0635-07:00 Saturday) programmes on BBC Radio 4, but the balance seems marginally more even in Australia where women host a number of Australian Broadcasting Corporation shows.
Amongst them is Background Briefing, currently being hosted by Lynne Malcolm (while regular host Natasha Mitchell is on a Fellowship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology), out first suggestion for last Saturday's programme on "The other end of shyness" when "social phobia", the third most common mental illness, was the topic of discussion.
Drama next and BBC Radio 4's Saturday Play which is having a strong coupe of weeks: Last Saturday's offering was "Gallery Girl", based on the troubled relationship between Theatre and movie star Tallulah Bankhead and Evie Cronin, her long-suffering companion, secretary and dogsbody and next Saturday's is John Tydeman's adaptation of Arthur Miller's classic play "Death of a Salesman" (1430 GMT). It's followed by "Playing the Salesman" (16:30 GMT) in which four actors - Dustin Hoffman, Warren Mitchell, Brian Dennehy and Alun Armstrong - talk with Christopher Bigsby about playing the role and John Malkovich and Marjorie Yates, who played Biff and Linda, and the directors Michael Rudman, David Thacker and Bob Falls, recall working with the author on the play. In addition, in recordings made before he died a year ago, Miller reflects on the Everyman he created.
Then the topics of religion, state, and freedom of speech starting with a Moral Maze Special from BBC Radio 4 on Saturday evening that looked at the issues of freedom of speech and freedom from religious hatred in the light of the controversy over a Danish newspaper's publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed that have led to the burning down (as we write) of two Danish embassies in the Middle East.
Also worth a listen is the same station's Any Questions and Any Answers from last week, an interesting combination in which in our view many of the Moslems phoning in seemed to understand freedom of speech at least as well if not better then Margaret Hodge, the Government Minister on the panel.
We'd also suggest from ABC Radio National The Spirit of Things of January 29 (predating the row) that features highlights from talks given last year on the relationship between church and state by John Anderson, the former deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the National Party, and Kevin Rudd, current Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs .The MP3 and streaming audio are still on the site.
And as a final contribution on the matter we'd suggest On the Media from WNYC that began with a discussion on the row.
Back to women on radio and tomorrow in the 18:30 slot on BBC Radio 4 we suggest comedy with It's That Jo Caulfield Again and then finally a short programme, the last of The History of Blacksmithing series on BBC Radio 4 that was about artist blacksmiths and is worthy of a listen just for the enthusiasm evident in the description of the unveiling of the stainless steel gates installed in Winchester Great Hall to commemorate the 1981 wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales.
North County Times - Dotinga:
Trentonian - Barbati:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
WKXW-FM - Jersey Guys:
2006-02-06: The UK Theme that is to be axed as the start of the day's transmissions on BBC Radio 4 (See RNW Jan 24)is now to be recorded and issued on CD and online.
The new recording will be produced by Mike Flowers - best known for his 1995 "light music" version of "Wonderwall", the Oasis hit - and recorded by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia under the direction of Gavin Sutherland. It will be paired on the CD with a recording of "Sailing by", the music that closes the station's broadcasts.
The recordings will be made next week at London's Henry Wood Hall along with several other pieces for a full-length CD celebrating British light-orchestral and traditional music and any profits from the single - to be available either as a CD or online from the Save the Theme web site and iTunes- will go to The Light Music Society.
More than 16,000 people have now signed the petition on the SavetheRadio4theme web site to keep the theme and in a news release on the site Flowers comments, "If you translate the campaign's 16,000 petitioners into record sales, then the UK Theme would certainly do well in the charts and maybe Radio 4's new controller would begin to get the message. Wouldn't it be marvellous if he was forced to back down?"
The Light Music Society & Library is run by Ernest Tomlinson, 81, from his farm near Preston: He started his library of scores, parts and manuscripts after visiting the BBC some years ago only to find dozens of works thrown out in a skip and now has a barn full of over 40,000 scores.
Ernest was a friend of the late Fritz Spiegl, composer of the theme, and his widow, Ingrid, and visited her in Liverpool to see if she still had the original score and parts, finding two versions of a 'UK Theme' score, the version marked 'Mark II' being the one that is currently aired.
Savetheradio4theme web site:
2006-02-05: The main regulatory news last week came from the US where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ended its Auction 62 with 163 provisionally winning bids totalling a net USD 54.25 million for the 171 licences on offer (See RNW Feb 1): Elsewhere it was fairly quiet.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced two radio decisions - to make capacity available for a new community radio AM in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, and for new services in the Dubbo Region of New South Wales where it has made FM capacity available for Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) services
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), has announced various radio-related activity including (In order of province):
*Approval of application to increase the antenna height and decrease from 77,000 watts to 67,600 watts the power of CBAL-FM, Moncton.
The Commission also issued a public notice relating to various applications with a deadline for comment of March 10 including:
*Application to relocate the transmitter and increase its antenna height for CKFU-FM Fort St. John.
*Application to add a 230 watts FM transmitter at Castlegar and a 460 watts FM transmitter at Grand Forks for broadcast the programming of CJAT-FM Trail.
Application to renew licence of French-language radio network Réseau RockDétente.
The CRTC may also yet become involved in dealing with complaints about the Howard Stern Show on Sirius Canada's satellite subscription service but for the moment says until any complaints are received it will take no action in relation to the show (See RNW Feb 3)
There were no radio announcements from Ireland or the UK and in the US, apart from the ending of Auction 62 that we have already noted, the White House announcement that it proposes to nominate telecommunications lawyer Robert McDowell for the vacant Republican spot on the FCC (See RNW Feb 4) the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also confirmed a USD 10,000 fine on Cumulus for its failure to clean and repaint its antenna structures for WBMQ-AM, Savannah, Georgia, to maintain good visibility.
Cumulus had argued for reconsideration on the basis of "exceptional circumstances" as in attempting to comply with the rules but dismantle the towers it had experienced setbacks and delays due to approvals needed from a variety of governmental agencies before it could go ahead.
The FCC, which noted that the towers have now been dismantled, did not accept the arguments put forward and confirmed the full penalty.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
2006-02-05: In a postscript to his radio hosting days, new Canadian Member of Parliament André Arthur has received a bill for an extra CAD 50,000 (USD 43,700) relating to a libel case involving former Quebec premier Daniel Johnson and his wife, Suzanne Marcil. Arthur was elected MP for the Quebec riding (district) of Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier last month (See RNW Jan 25)
The Quebec Court of Appeal reduced from CAD 420,000 (USD 367,000) to CAD 320,000 (USD 280,000) damages awarded to Johnson and Marcil against Arthur and his former employer, Cogeco and Metromedia but also ordered Arthur to pay an additional amount because after the initial ruling, he went back on air in October 2002 and repeated the defamatory comments.
The three appellate judges ruled unanimously Arthur should pay more because of an agreement he had with his employer stipulating the company would bear the financial brunt of any repercussions from his diatribes.
Toronto Star/Canadian Press report:
2006-02-04: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin and Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein have both welcomed the White House announcement that U.S. President George W. Bush plans to nominate telecommunications lawyer Robert McDowell to fill the empty Republican seat on the Commission.
McDowell is currently SVP and assistant general counsel for lobbying group Comptel, which represents companies that compete against big telephone carriers like AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications.
The nomination will require US Senate confirmation and Martin said in a statement, "If confirmed, Rob McDowell will be a great asset to the Commission. He has a wealth of knowledge in the communications arena, and we will rely on his insight when evaluating the issues before us."
Adelstein welcomed the decision and said McDowell had "has a great deal of experience in the field of telecommunications that should be of great value to all of us at the Commission" and added, "I have enjoyed working with him in the past and look forward to the many contributions he will make to our deliberations upon his confirmation to the Commission."
2006-02-04: The Los Angeles Times says its report on the availability on Internet file-sharing networks of pirated copies of the Howard Stern Show on Sirius Satellite Radio has led to a five-fold increase in illicit downloading of the show.
It quotes Aram Sinnreich, managing partner of Los Angeles media consulting firm Radar Research as saying, "The genie's out of the bottle" and Mark Ishikawa, chief executive of BayTSP, a Los Gatos, California, company that monitors online piracy for the entertainment industry as describing the surge in downloads as "waking the sleeping giant."
The paper says that because companies like Ishikawa's count the number of files being exchanged at a given point in time - not the number of thieves - an exact tally of what Sirius is losing is not available although Ishikawa did say the numbers of files being swapped quintupled overnight.
Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol said the theft of Stern's shows was just another example of how piracy could dry up investment in entertainment and told the paper, "Sirius, the music community and other property owners are in the same boat. We want and deserve a fair return on our investment. When that return is compromised, so too is the risk-taking necessary to bring new content to fans."
The paper also quotes one Stern fan, who said he bought a lifetime subscription to Sirius so he could listen to Stern, as saying the company had inadvertently created the problem. He found that various talk shows including Stern's are not being streamed by Sirius, although it does stream its 68 music channels, and is pushing for the show to be streamed.
Los Angeles Times report:
2006-02-04: Clear Channel has re-organized its executive management for stations in New York, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia following the resignation of regional VP Andy Rosen, general manager of its New York cluster.
Rumours suggest that Rosen, said by Clear Channel radio President CEO John Hogan to have left "to pursue other opportunities" could end up with Emmis, which has a vacancy for a replacement for Barry Mayo, its senior vice-president and New York market manager, who announced last month that he is to step down (See RNW Jan 19).
Rosen's day-to-day work will be handled by SVP Rob Williams whilst a replacement is sought.
In addition Hogan has announced that Dave Pugh is to replace Bennett Zier, who left to join Red Zebra Broadcasting, owned by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder (See RNW Jan 12); Regional VP Manuel Rodriguez is to move to Philadelphia to oversee the market plus those of Wilmington, Delaware, Sussex, New Jersey, and Poughkeepsie, New York; whilst regional VP Richard Lewis, based in Allentown,, Pennsylvania, will oversee Northeast markets outside Philadelphia plus New York state markets including Albany, Binghamton, Rochester, Syracuse, and Utica.
Previous Clear Channel:
2006-02-04: UTV has pulled out of the bidding for nine GCap Media stations that are up for sale according to the the UK Guardian, which quotes one party interested in the stations as saying on condition of anonymity that the sale process had faltered because an investment bank was not involved, commenting, "It is a procedural issue. It is being led by internal executives and not advisers. As a result the process has lost structure."
The withdrawal from the sale, expected to raise up to GBP 25 million ( USD 44 million), says the paper leaves five contenders including the Local Radio Company, Cornwall-based UKRD and Absolute Radio.
Previous GCap Media:
UK Guardian report:
2006-02-04: CBS Radio is to begin streaming programming from KROQ-FM, Los Angeles, from Monday, taking the number of CBS stations streaming audio up to 50.
The company also announced immediate online audio access to 13 stations including WKQC-FM, Charlotte; WUSN-FM, Chicago; KHJZ-FM and KILT-FM , Houston; WPHT-AM, Philadelphia; KITS-FM and KLLC-FM, San Francisco; KBKS-FM, KJAQ-FM ,KMPS-FM and KZOK-FM, Seattle; and WPGC-AM and FM, Washington D.C.
Matt Timothy, Vice President of Streaming Media, CBS Radio, said in a news release, "We've made a major commitment to our online presence and have moved quickly these past 10 months integrating audio of a number of stations onto the web. Extending our core assets in a changing media landscape meets the demands of the increasing online listening community, as well as advertisers who continue to seek additional outlets to reach the consumer."
2006-02-03: US radio revenues for 2005 were flat compared to 2004 according to figures from the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) that also show a 1% fall in grand total combined spot and non-spot revenues for December.
Overall, says RAB, US 2005 radio revenues totalled USD 21.455 billion in grand total combined spot and non-spot dollars with local sales up 1% on 2004 to USD 15.634 billion, national sales down 2% to USD 15.634 billion; network sales down 2.6% to USD 1.053 and non-spot revenues down 1% to USD 1.398 billion.
Within the 1% fall in December RAB reported local revenues down 2% compared to a year earlier, national revenues flat and non-spot revenues down 2%.
The fourth quarter, described by RAB as the "toughest part of the year", saw a 3% fall in grand total combined spot and non-spot revenue with national revenues down 9% compared to a year earlier, local revenues down 1%, and non-spot revenues down 3%.
RAB's Ad Sales Index that equates pre-dot.com boom base year 1998 to 100 was 139.7 for total combined local and national revenues in the full year with the 2005 local index 139.6, and the 2005 national index 140.4: For December the combined index was 118.4 with the local index 118.2 and the national index 119.1.
2006-02-03: The BBC extended its listening lead over commercial radio in the latest UK radio ratings from RAJAR ( Radio Joint Audience Research), taking a record 55.1% share of listening - up 0.5% on the previous period and 1.15 on a year earlier - compared to 42.8% for all commercial stations combined - down 0.7% on the previous period and 0.2% on a year earlier.
In terms of audience, the BBC with a weekly reach of 32.97 million was up 100,000 on the previous quarter and 483,000 on a year earlier whilst commercial radio was up 166,000 on the previous quarter but down 388,000 on a year earlier whilst overall listening in the UK was up 54,000 listeners on the previous quarter and up 623,000 on a year earlier.
In terms of the way people listen, digital has taken its share of listening up from 10.5% in the previous quarter to 11% with 11.1% of adults now in houses with a digital radio, a year-on-year doubling, 38.5% of adults saying they have listened to radio using a digital TV and 20.2% saying they have listened to radio through the Internet. In addition 3.1 million adults say they have listened using a mobile phone and of some 9.6 million adults who own an MP3 player, 2.3 million say they listen to audio on it every day.
In London, GCap Media's Capital Radio has pulled itself up to a degree, increasing its listening share from 5.1% in the third quarter to 5.9% in the final 2005 ratings and going back into the lead in reach although it lost audience marginally - down 3000 from the 1.805 million a week in the previous quarter despite Johnny Vaughan's breakfast show adding 104,000 listeners a week to hit 987,000; Chrysalis's Heart FM held onto its listening lead with a 6.0 share but its audience was down 148,000 a week to 1.763 million, although again its breakfast audience was up - from 883,000 to 918,000. Its breakfast show with Jamie Theakston added 35,000 listeners.
On a year-on-year basis Capital's audience has fallen by 241,000 but that of Heart is up 142,000.
GCap Media Chief Executive, Ralph Bernard said of its performance, "We announced at the last RAJAR results that addressing audience issues was our immediate priority. Today's results reflect some of the very early changes we introduced at Capital in October and demonstrate that we have stemmed audience declines in other key areas of the business."
He added, "I am encouraged to see some important gains across our portfolio of stations including more listeners for Classic FM, the return of Capital Radio to the number one spot in London and record reach figures for Choice FM. In the London market where the Group gained around 7 million hours, we have maintained our position as the clear commercial leader. I am confident that these results give us a solid base to build on as we roll out our strategy to return the business to growth."
The BBC in its response to the results highlighted the performance of the Chris Moyles' Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 1 - its audience was up 140,000 on the quarter and 370,000 on the year to 6.66 million - and also that of Terry Wogan on BBC Radio 2 - up 300,000 on the quarter and stable year-on-year [RNW note- it was down 80,000 a week] at 7.97 million.
Jenny Abramsky, Director BBC Radio & Music, congratulated the duo "whose unique presenting styles continue to attract listeners" and added, "It's also exciting to see that more and more people are listening to radio through new, digital platforms."
The BBC also noted that BBC Radio Scotland had added 51,000 listeners a week compared to the previous quarter and now has a weekly audience of 1,017,000 listeners and that BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru had also increased their audiences - up 65,000 over the previous quarter to 449,000 people a week for Radio Wales and up 41,000 on the previous quarter and 53,000 on a year earlier to 182,000 a week for Radio Cymru.
In Northern Ireland, BBC Radio Ulster - including Radio Foyle - broke records with a weekly reach of 614,000 listeners and a listening share of 29.8 per cent.
For the commercial radio sector, Alison Winter, Research and Communications Manager of the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) emphasized the positive, commenting that the "RAJAR data reveals record figures among the core advertiser demographic of Housewives and a continuing strong relationship with our heartland 15 to 44 audience."
"The general growth in digital listening," she added, "bodes well for Commercial Radio's many, diverse services now available across these platforms, and indeed Commercial Radio already takes the lion's share of digital-only hours in the UK."
Emap also emphasized digital performance as well as commenting on the strong ratings debut of Neil Fox on "Magic 105.4's More Music Breakfast Show" in London - the station has increased its audience by 5% year on year to 1.67 million a week and has a UK audience via analogue and digital platforms of 2.89 million and the breakfast audience was up 6% on the previous quarter to 682,000 a week in London.
Of digital it said Emap's biggest digital-only stations continue to dominant the marketplace noting that The Hits attracted 875,000 listeners, a 6 per cent rise on the year, and Smash Hits attracted 722,000, a 1.0 per cent rise on the year with their chart and contemporary hits.
Emap along with other commercial operators also noted growth at its local stations including Key 103 in Manchester, with 9.2 per cent year-on-year increase in audience to 597,000 a week and Radio City in Liverpool with a 6.5% rise on the previous quarter to 507,000.
Dee Ford, Group MD of Emap Radio, said its " strategy of investing in local markets continues to pay dividends" and added, "And in London, the most competitive of marketplaces, it is great to see how quickly Neil Fox has been welcomed by growing numbers of Magic listeners."
Within the figures, compared to the previous quarter (and year):
*BBC Radio 1 lost 35,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 10.294 million and a listening share of 9.2, down from 9.4% (8.2% a year ago when it had 288,000 fewer listeners).
*BBC Radio 2 gained 393,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 13.252 million and a listening share of 16.0%, up from 15.6% (16.4% a year ago, when it had 53,000 more listeners)
*BBC Radio 3, without the Proms that boosted the previous quarter, lost 94,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 1.973 million and an unchanged listening share of 1.2%, (1.3% a year ago, when it had 127,000 more listeners).
helped by the Proms, gained 154,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 2.067 million and an unchanged listening share of 1.2%, up from 1.1% (1.1% a year ago, when it had an audience of 2.072 million).
*BBC Radio 4 lost 303,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.318 million but listening share was up to 11.8% from 11.5% as people listened longer (11.5% a year ago when it had 88,000 fewer listeners).
*BBC Radio 5 Live, excluding Sports Extra, lost 331,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.721 million, and a listening share of 4.2 %, down from 4.4% (4.3% a year ago when it had 260,000 more listeners).
(Including Sports Extra it lost 393,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 5.777 million and a listening share of 4.3%, up from 4.7% (5.0% a year ago when it had 302,000 more listeners).
*BBC World Service lost 68,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.353 million and an unchanged listening share of 0.70% (0.6% a year ago when it had 80,000 fewer listeners).
*BBC Asian Network lost 104,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 420,000 and an unchanged listening share of 0.3% (0.3% a year ago when it had 115,000 more listeners).
On the commercial side for national networks:
*G-Cap's Classic FM gained 68,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.910 million and a listening share of 4.3% up from 4.1% (4.4% a year ago when it had 294,000 more listeners).
*UTV's (formerly The Wireless Group's) talkSPORT gained 88,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.178 million and an unchanged listening share of 1.8% (1.7% a year ago when it had 96,000 fewer listeners.)
*SMG-owned Virgin (total including all AM and FM) gained 13,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.524 million and a listening share of 1.6%, up from 1.5% (1.4% a year ago when it had 63,000 fewer listeners).
As regards the new digital stations, the pattern year-on-year was of BBC stations showing much larger increases than commercial ones although both lost audience from the third to the fourth quarter of last year with the notable exception of BBC 6 Music.
Year on Year audience changes were BBC 5 Sports extra 34% gain to 460,000 a week; BBC 6 Music 49% gain to 238,000; BBC 1xtra 26% gain to 280,000 and BBC 7 54% gain to 391,000 and for the main commercial digital offerings - Planet Rock 25% gain to 361,000; Q 19% gain to 375,000; Core 15% loss to 104,000; Xfm net 10% loss to 625,000; Kiss net 3% loss to 2.30 million; Kerrang! 2% gain to 1,15 million, Oneword (speech channel) 9% gain to 122,000; Smash Hits 1% gain to 722,000; The Hits 5.93% gain to 875,000 , The Storm 9% loss to 61,000 and Sunrise 22% loss to 418,000
Previous GCap Media:
Previous RAJAR ratings:
2006-02-03: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), which with Standard Radio is a partner with Sirius in Sirius Canada - it and Standard each own 40% and Sirius has the remaining 20% - has said that it has reservations about the decision to air Howard Stern on the satellite station (See RNW Feb 2).
CBC spokesman Jason MacDonald is quoted in the Toronto Globe and Mail as saying, "It's no secret that Howard Stern's programming is not consistent with the kind of programming you would find on CBC/Radio Canada's airwaves, but this is a Sirius Canada decision" and adding, "Have we expressed concerns? Sure we've expressed some concerns about it."
He then noted, "Sirius Canada is a separate company. Yes, we're partners and Sirius Canada made the decision that was right for it based on what the market demands."
Sirius had initially opted to keep Stern off its service but is now working on the basis that technology that allows the channel to be blocked by subscribers will insulate it from Canadian regulatory action.
Unlike the US where content of paid channels is not regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - although some campaigners argue that obscenity laws still apply even if FCC indecency rules do not - Sirius Canada has to abide by Canadian broadcast regulations and is a member of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) industry watchdog body.
It says the ability to block out Stern should satisfy the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and its president and CEO Mark Redmond said that although they didn't know what Stern would say or do they did know "he's going to push the boundaries" but strongly believed that the protective systems are "sufficient to alleviate any of the concerns of the CRTC."
CRTC spokeswoman Miriam Gennaro said that the Commission responded to complaints by members of the public and added, "We would look at it on a case-by-case basis in terms of what action we would take."
Previous CBC/Radio Canada:
Previous Sirius Canada:
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2006-02-03: The final phase of India's current auction of FM licences starts today with licences for the south zone on offer.
In the previous Phase 2 bidding for licences in 21 cities, Times of India group's Entertainment Network India Limited (ENIL), the largest operator of private stations in the country - it owns the Radio Mirchi brand - kept up its record and won licences for all the cities where it was bidding, adding licences in Aurangabad, Nashik, and Kolhapur in Maharashtra State; Raipur, the capital of Chattisgarh ; Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh; Panaji, the capital of Goa; and Vadodara and Rajkot in Gujarat.
In earlier rounds of Phase 2 it had gained licences for Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jalandhar, Kanpur, Lucknow, Nagpur, Patna Surat, and Varanasi; ENIL will have licences in 26 cities, the only private FM to have licences in all cities with a population of more than 2 million.
Previous Indian Radio:
2006-02-03: BBC unions have voted for strike action on Wednesday February 15 and Thursday February 23 in protest at planned cutbacks by the Corporation, action that could affect live non-news programmes on Radio 1, Radio 2 and Radio 4 including the Chris Moyles and Terry Wogan breakfast shows and Woman's Hour.
The action will involve walkouts of 4 hours on each day but the times have not been specified.
The broadcasting union BECTU and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) want the corporation to reconsider plans to merge a number of production jobs into one role that would create 124 new "assistant producer" posts but cut 239 jobs among people currently working as radio producers, website producers and studio managers, a move that the unions say would damage programme quality by forcing staff to become jacks- of -all -trades.
BECTU officer Luke Crawley said: "Our members are saying that they are prepared to strike because they are not happy with the BBC's proposals. "
"The BBC want to introduce the new role of assistant producer which will do radio and web content production and studio management," he added. "We think it's a lot to ask of an individual, but more seriously will damage the high quality radio the BBC is justly famous for We've asked the BBC to reconsider and we've tried to compromise but they're not interested.
The BBC said the "wider use of multi-skilled assistant producers" was "part of a strategy through which the BBC's Radio and Music division plans to achieve significant efficiency savings without the need for compulsory redundancies" but added, "We recognize that the unions continue to have concerns over the role and we remain keen to resolve the outstanding issues if that is possible."
2006-02-02: Sirius Canada, which had earlier garnered considerable publicity over the absence of Howard Stern from its line-up, has reversed course and says The Howard Stern Show will be added to its service from Monday (Feb 6).
In a news release Sirius Canada President and CEO Mark Redmond said, "No one in radio commands more attention than Howard Stern. He is an industry icon with millions of loyal fans throughout the continent who will follow him anywhere to hear his unique form of entertainment. Sirius Canada is committed to providing an unrivalled radio experience for Canadian subscribers with the most variety and choice available in radio, and Howard's show will make our unique entertainment offering even more exciting."
Stern had been on terrestrial airwaves in Canada but onlyon two stations and for a short period - his show was launched on September 2, 1997, on CHOM-FM in Montreal and CILQ-FM (Q107) in Toronto and within a short period more than a thousand complaints were filed to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) which ruled the following month that each episode of the show broadcast in its first two weeks "contained abusive or discriminatory comments directed at French-Canadians and other identifiable groups, made sexist remarks or observations, or contained unsuitable language or descriptions of sexual activity during a broadcast period when children could be expected to be listening to radio."
In its ruling the CBSC commented, "CBSC has no hesitation in finding that, in this case, the expressions "peckerheads", "pussy-assed jack-offs", "scumbags", "pussies", "Frig the French" and "Screw the French" are clearly as abusive as the term "assholes" used by the host in the CKTF-FM matter (A previous case when it ruled against the depiction of depiction of "Newfies" as "assholes" on CKTF-FM).
It also noted, "Stern's remarks relating to French-Canadians were, in fact, only an example of his casual attitude toward abusive commentary directed at identifiable groups by virtue of their race, gender or sexual orientation. There is a regular flow of racial, homophobic or gender-related offensive comments, some of which are brief digs, and others of which extend to longer discussions. In the period reviewed by the Regional Councils, he has targeted Japanese, gays, Poles, Sikhs, blacks and Arabs among others."
CHOM dropped Stern in less than a year - in August 1998 - but CILQ kept him on air until November 2001.
When Sirius Canada announced its launch Stern was not on the list but commentators noted that concerns about breaching Canadian regulations conflicted with fear of losing subscribers in Canada to the "grey market" of subscriptions by Canadians to the US service by using an address in the US: XM Canada faced a similar quandary over the Opieand Anthony Show but its president Stephen Tapp played down concerns in their case on the basis that it offered "channel blocking" capabilities, had "extreme language advisories" and was intending to abide by the regulations in place.
Previous Sirius Canada:
Previous XM Canada:
CBSC 1997 Ruling:
2006-02-02: The US now has 700 stations transmitting HD signals according to iBiquity which notes that the 700th to go on air was Beasley Broadcasting Group's WXKB-FM, Fort Myers, Florida.
iBiquity says that every Arbitron-rated market in the US now has a radio station broadcasting an HD signal as well as stations in "dozens of unrated markets."
iBiquity president and CEO Robert Struble said that with broadcasters converting stations "at a pace of more than one per day, 6 in 10 Americans now have access to HD Radio broadcasts", adding that he expected the growth of HD to accelerate as more listeners looked to take advantage of its benefits.
Amongst those he noted were secondary HD stations, already totalling more than a hundred and expected to reach some 250 within the next few months.
2006-02-02: The Australian commercial radio industry has kicked off its 2006 efforts to promote the effectiveness of radio advertising with the first of a series of new adverts; the advert features Caroline Ralph-Smith, Marketing Director of NRMA Insurance, who says her company has been a long-time user of radio, which it regards as a "key component" of its media mix.
The launch is the latest stage of a three-year campaign that began in 2003 and will run throughout this year and Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) CEO Joan Warner said the insurance industry was a perfect fit to start the new year's on-air campaign as it had delivered significant growth in ad spend on radio during the past financial year ending June 2005 recording a 26 per cent increase in spend compared to the same timeframe a year earlier, to a total of AUD 14.52 million ( USD 10.9 million ).
"This is significant growth and is very pleasing for the radio sector, given the industry is not traditionally one of the big top-ten spenders on radio," she said.
2006-02-02: International satellite radio operator WorldSpace has added two new channels to the services on its AfriStar satellite that covers southern Africa.
They are Jacaranda, a leading South African brand music station that broadcasts in both English and Afrikaans and East Coast Radio, which targets its commercial music service to a cross-cultural audience and focuses heavily on regional news and sports.
Billy Sabatini, WorldSpace vice president of content, said that the two channels would deliver "a voice from home for South African expatriates" and added that the company was confident that the "new channels will be well received by our listeners and will not only enhance existing service, but also help us attract new subscribers."
2006-02-02: Macquarie Regional Radioworks' new networked talk show, "Charles Wooley Across Australia", started of on an embarrassing note this week when a technical problem meant that the host had to fill around three minutes of airtime when he "lost" Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
The Howard interview was to have added prestige to the launch but in the event its disruption got more notice than its content: Wooley, who had already said technology was his biggest fear, commented afterwards that it was good to have the "very worst thing that could happen" do so on the first day.
Previous Macquarie Bank/Macquarie Regional Radio:
2006-02-02: Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) says it has now received a final USD 65 million payment and has completed its USD 120 million sale, announced in 2004 (See RNW Aug 19, 2004), of its southern California stations KDAY-FM and KDAI-FM to Styles Media.
It has also announced record results for its flagship New York WSKQ-FM ("La Mega 97.9") and Los Angeles KLAX-FM ("La Raza 97.9") flagship stations that it says were the first and second ranked highest billing Spanish-language stations in the US in 2005.
It adds that in Miami, the third-largest Hispanic market in the US, its WXDJ-FM ("El Zol 95") with a total billing of USD 23.3 million topped the overall ranks, registering the highest annual revenue ever achieved by any South Florida radio station.
2006-02-01: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) FM Auction 62 ended yesterday with 163 licences won from the 171 on offer having raised a net total in provisional winning bids of USD 54,259,600 at the end of Round 61, USD 197,900 down on the total for Monday's closing round 52 of USD 54,457,500 as for the second day running withdrawals exceeded new bids. The gross total for provisional winning bids was USD 70,122,000
The winning bids (gross figures) ranged upwards from Horizon Christian Fellowship's USD 15,000 bid for a permit for Yakutat, Alaska, to USD 6,657,000 from A & J Media LLC for a permit for Indian Wells, California, followed by a bid of USD 5,251,000 from Horton Broadcasting Company, Inc. for a permit for Satellite Beach, Florida.
There were then four bids between USD 2 million and USD 3 million and ten bids between USD 1 million and USD 2 million with the remaining 246 bids under USD 1 million.
The top five winning bidders in monetary terms were Horton Broadcasting Company, Inc. - two bids amounting to USD 7,990,000 gross, USD 5,992,500 net (including the second-highest single bid of USD 5,251,000 gross as noted); A & J Media LLC with the leading single bid of USD 6,657,000 gross, 4,327,050 net; Ace Radio Corporation with 12 winning bids totalling USD 5,908,000 gross, USD 3,840,200 net; Tower Investment Trust, Inc. with 9 winning bids totalling USD 4,452,000 gross, USD 2,893,800 net; and Halfway Creek Broadcasting, Inc. with one bid of USD 2,760,000 gross, UD 2,760,000 net.
In terms of the numbers of licences won the top five were Ace Radio Corporation with 12 bids as already noted; White Park Broadcasting, Inc. with ten winning bids totalling USD 1,067,000 gross and net; Tower Investment Trust, Inc. with nine winning bids as noted above; Horizon Christian Fellowship with seven winning bids totalling USD 693,000 gross, USD 519,750 net; and World Radio Link, Inc. with six winning bids totalling USD 590,000 gross and net.
Previous FCC and FCC Auction 62:
2006-02-01: Figures released by Arbitron-Comscore for its first full year of online ratings show the three major webcasters it has measured for the period - it has now added two more services, those of Clear Channel and Live 365 - have all more than doubled their listening over the period although the audience only went up by around half.
LAUNCHcast, the top rated network of those measured saw its weekday cume (cumulative audience) in October 2005 up 73.6% on a year earlier at 1,864,200 and its AQH was up 129.7% tripled from 194,100 in October 2004 to 445,800 in October 2005: Full week figures were cume up 84.5% - to 2,882,200 and listening up 110% to an AQH of 270,400.
AOL, the second largest network measured saw its weekday cume (cumulative audience) in October 2005 up 28.6% on a year earlier at 1,127,200 but its AQH nearly tripled from 107,900 in October 2004 to 312,700 in October 2005: Full week figures were up only 5.5% - to 1,881,300 albeit listening was up 137% to an AQH of 193,700.
For Windows Media the weekday cume more than doubled - up from 300,900 to 604,800 - and listening was up nearly six fold - from an AQH of 32,700 to 168,200 whilst its overall cume was up 42.4% to 604,800 and listening was more than fourfold from an AQH of 20.400 to one of 95,500.
Arbitron has also announced that Beasley Broadcast has entered into a multi-year agreement for its ratings service to include use of Portable People Meter date when the system is deployed in Philadelphia.
Beasley chairman and CEO George G. Beasley said in a release from Arbitron, "Beasley is a progressive company committed to utilizing the most advanced technologies available to the radio industry to enhance our platform for both listeners and advertisers. The Portable People Meter will provide additional integrity to our ratings results, which we believe will be embraced by our advertising clients."
Previous George Beasley:
2006-02-01: Jim Cramer, host of CNBC's "Mad Money" and markets commentator for TheStreet.com, is to move his one-hour radio show, "Jim Cramer's Real Money", from the WOR Radio Network to CBS Radio from February 13.
Announcing the move CBS Radio chairman and CEO Joel Hollander said that the show would air on eight CBS stations - WHFS-FM (Baltimore), WCKG-FM (Chicago), WKRK-FM (Detroit), KIKK-AM (Houston), KNX-AM (Los Angeles), WFNY-FM (New York), KDKA-AM (Pittsburgh), and KCMD-AM (Portland) and would also be distributed nationally to non-CBS stations by Westwood One.
"Jim Cramer is one of if not 'the' most entertaining financial expert in the business," said Hollander. "His is a personality that combines wit, wisdom and unreserved enthusiasm. Couple that with some of the best advice ever heard on the radio and we have what will no doubt be one of the most talked about shows on the dial."
Previous Westwood One:
2006-02-01: UK Guardian Media Group has announced that it has appointed John Myers, Chief Executive of GMG Radio Holdings, to serve as an executive director on the main GMG Board.
The move follows the recent announcement that GMG Chief Executive Sir Robert Phillis is to step down in July for health reasons (See RNW Jan 15) and an announcement that the group is to appoint advisers on his future, moves that led to speculation that the company could be considering a sale of some assets to concentrate on core activities.
Myers, who is 46, has been Chief Executive of GMG's radio division since it was founded in 1999 - the group itself dates back to the founding of The Manchester Guardian in 1821 and had previously owned radio interests but sole them to EMAP in 1994 - and has overseen its growth from a single station (Jazz FM - now Smooth FM although Jazz FM is still on the internet, the Sky satellite platform and some local digital multiplexes) to ownership of five regional radio stations in Glasgow, Yorkshire, South Wales, Manchester and London under the Real Radio and Smooth FM brands.
Phillis said the appointment "demonstrates and reinforces the commitment of the Group to our radio operations," adding, "We plan to extend the Real Radio and Smooth fm brands through new licence applications and selective acquisitions as and when opportunities arise. It is entirely appropriate that the Radio division should be directly represented on the main Board alongside the other operating divisions."
2006-02-01: Following a call for to Clear Channel's KFI-AM to reprimand morning host Bill Handel for mocking the deaths of several hundred Moslems during the Haj pilgrimage last month (See RNW Jan 28) KFI has posted a note of regret but adds that it does not censor its hosts and has also posted a Handel "Apology ...Strings Attached" that would probably be better described as an anti-apology.
In its management statement KFI says it does "not condone making light of the deaths of people engaged in religious observances" and then goes on, "We regret that listeners found the comments of one of our on-air hosts to be insensitive. KFI does not censor its hosts, nor does it tell them what to say or not to say. KFI is a strong and passionate believer in 1st amendment rights and that is at the very core of this radio station."
Handel himself in his "apology" - a transcript and audio is provided of this as aired on his show - terms his comment on the deaths "a little skit that morning, about them desperately needing a helicopter in the sky, and a traffic reporter to guide traffic" and then goes on to say that his show makes "fun of everybody! There is no group that is off limits to us. There is no religion that is off limits to us, there is no ethnic group, no nationality. Nothing is off limits!"
After this Handel goes on to say he will formally apologize live on-air if CAIR (The Council on American Islamic Relations) denounces as "terrorism" all" bombings, attacks, where the intended victims were innocent civilians", says it accepts that Israel is a sovereign nation recognized and has a right to "exist with defensible borders" and says that it "and its associates have no ties, nor have they ever had any ties with individuals or known terrorist organizations, whatsoever, financially or otherwise, including but not limited to, Hamas, Islamic jihad, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, or Al Qaeda."
RNW comment: Taking the normal dictionary definition of condone - to overlook, forgive, or disregard an offence without protest or censure- condoning seems to be exactly what KFI is doing albeit it may not support such activity or may genuinely regard free speech as more important than taking action over these particular comments. We're not sure what it means in regretting that listeners found the remarks to be "insensitive" - does it or doesn't it agree that they were "insensitive."
Equally if we assume Handel has mocked the deaths of other groups and does, as he says, describe every other religion as a strange religion, he does stand up the free speech defence. It still, in our view, wouldn't be unreasonable for him to say he's sorry for making light of the deaths albeit defending strongly the right to poke fun at any religion.
The remarks do seem insensitive to us and Handel has prior "form" in terms of comments on Islam, comments to us that are not so much poking fun at the religion as being insulting about people. If he has made similar remarks about the deaths of any group of Jews or Christian's we'd welcome a transcript for comparison. We have difficulty in imagining how such remarks could be considered sensitive but it could show his claims of equal treatment for all religions to be honest ones.
Previous Clear Channel:
KFI web site:
KFI - Handel transcript:
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