April 2006 Archive
-March 2006 -May 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 April comment - in "Live or later: Implications of on-demand audio" looks at the implications for radio of the change from a mainly live-reception mode to a listen when you want one.
RNW March comment - in "The Battle for rating" considers whether Arbitron can retain its business against potentially superior technological competition to the PPM.
RNW February comment - asks whether commercial radio's current business model can survive new technologies and competition.
2006-04-30: Last week was mainly one of routines for the regulators with the main news in the US the nomination of Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin J. Martin for a second term.
Elsewhere there were no radio decisions from Australia or Ireland but in Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in various radio-related decisions including (In order of province):
*Renewal until 31 August 2013 of the licence of CHBE-FM, Victoria: The station along with CFAX-AM was acquired by CHUM from Seacoast Communications Group Inc., an acquisition that was made subject to conditions relating to a proposed package of tangible benefits and payment of Seacoast's arrears for its Canadian talent development expenditures. These conditions have been met.
*Renewal from 1 September 2006 to 31 August 2007 of the licences of the English-language radio networks Sportstalk, The Stirling Faux Show, Home Discovery (formerly known as The Home Ideas Show), Money Talks and Housecalls.
*Administrative renewal until 31 August of the licence of CKNU-FM, Donnacona and its transmitter CKNU-FM-1, Sainte-Croix-de-Lotbinière: The Commission notes that it heard the application for renewal of this licence at its 20 March 2006 Public Hearing in Québec but will not be able to rule on this application before the current licence expires.
*Approval of 100,000 watts Rock and rock-oriented music format English-language commercial FM in Weyburn. Applicant Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. committed itself to Canadian content for 40% of all its popular music broadcast each week, above the minimum 35% normally required.
The CRTC noted that Weyburn currently has two local stations - Golden West's country format CFSL-AM and a low-power tourism information service and said it considered the proposed station would bring greater programming diversity to the Weyburn radio market.
The CRTC also issued two public notices concerning applications, one with a May 30 deadline for submission of interventions or comments and the other with a May 31 deadline.
The first includes the following radio applications:
*Application to add 50-watt FM transmitters at Slave Lake, Weberville and Hines Creek to broadcast the programming of CIAM-FM, Fort Vermilion.
*Application to renew the licence of CKDO-AM, Oshawa, and its transmitter CKDO-FM-1, Oshawa.
*Application to increase the power of CHIN-AM's transmitter CHIN-1-FM, Toronto, from 35 watts to 161 watts, relocate the transmitter and decrease the antenna height.
*Application to increase the power of CJBE-FM, Port-Menier (Île d'Anticosti) from 16 watts to 88 watts, relocate the transmitter and change broadcast frequency. The change would result in a change of the CJBE-FM status from a low power unprotected service to a regular Class A service.
The second includes the following radio applications:
*Application to add a 3,700 watts FM transmitter at Swan Lake to broadcast the programming of CINC-FM, Thompson.
*Application by Radio communautaire du Manitoba Inc. to amend the licence of community type A CKXL-FM, Winnipeg, to allow it to reduce its weekly station-produced programming from 121 hours to 68 hours. The licensee says the station, which relies on volunteers, does not have the resources to maintain 121 hours a week of station-produced programming.
*Application to add a 250 watts FM transmitter at Iqaluit to broadcast the programming of CJLF-FM, Barrie, Ontario.
*Application to increase the day and night power of CKPC-AM, Brantford, from 10,000 to 25,000 watts.
*Application to add a 26,915 watts FM transmitter at Foymount to broadcast the programming of CKJJ-FM, Belleville.
*Application to relocate the transmitter, reduce its antenna height and decrease the power of CHYR-FM, Leamington, from 19,320 watts to 10,650 watts.
*Application to relocate the transmitter, reduce its antenna height and decrease the power of CFLZ-FM, Niagara Falls, from 7,200 watts to 4,000 watts.
*Application to renew the licence of CIRA-FM-1, Sherbrooke.
In the UK Ofcom has published its reasoning for the recent awards of the new North East England regional FM to Saga and the new Southend FM licence to Southend Radio Limited (See RNW Apr 26) and has also given the reasons for six community licence awards made earlier this month (See RNW Licence News Apr 23).
In the cases of five the awards it allowed each of the groups to seek up to half its annual income from programme sponsorship or the sale of advertising but for Cambridge station 209radio income from advertising and programme sponsorship was barred because its area is within that of a local commercial station (Star 107) with between 50,000 and 150,000 adults within its coverage area.
In most of the cases the awards were made on the basis of experience in broadcasting, demonstration of support for the proposed services and provision of training.
Ofcom also published its completed reviews of output (Individual PDFs for each station) on radio stations that have recently undergone a change of control, none of which had its Format amended as a result of the review.
The licences involved were:
Licences operated by Forever Broadcasting plc
Acquisition of licences operated by Tainside Ltd (Choice FM) by Capital Radio plc
Acquisition of Time FM (Thamesmead) and Fusion 107.3 (Lewisham) by London Media Company Ltd
Acquisition of SouthCity FM by Southampton Leisure Holdings plc
Acquisition of Radio Ceredigion by Tindle Newspapers Ltd
Licences operated by Radio Investments Ltd
Acquisition of Star 106.6 by the London Media Company Ltd
Acquisition of 2BR FM by The Local Radio Company plc
Acquisition of Telford FM by MNA Broadcasting Ltd.
Acquisition of Delta FM by Tindle Newspapers Ltd.
Acquisition of Dune FM by The Local Radio Company plc
Licences operated by GWR Group plc
Licences operated by Saga Ltd. (Management Buy-Out)
Acquisition of Spirit FM by The Local Radio Company plc
Acquisition of KCR FM by The Local Radio Company plc
Acquisition of Mercury FM (St Albans & Watford) by Adventure Radio Ltd.
Acquisition of Your Radio (Dumbarton) and Your Radio (Helensburgh) by Clyde and Forth Press Ltd.
Licences operated by The Wireless Group plc
Overview of SRH 355 Reviews
Acquisition of Hertbeat FM by Shadow Radio Holdings Ltd.
Acquisition of Bath FM by The Local Radio Company plc
Acquisition of Century 106 (East Midlands) by Chrysalis Radio Ltd
Acquisition of Juice FM (Liverpool) by UTV Radio (GB) Ltd
Acquisition of FM107 The Edge by Perth FM Ltd.
Acquisition of Reading 107 by Madejski Communications Ltd
It also announced the names of 12 successful bidders in the first of a new series of auctions of spectrum that could yield large returns to the British government.
The winners in this case were bidding for spectrum in the 1781.7-1785 megahertz band that is suited for operating private mobile phone networks in limited areas.
The provisional winners were British Telecommunications PLC; Cable & Wireless UK (England); COLT Mobile Telecommunications Ltd; Cyberpress Ltd; FMS Solutions Ltd; Mapesbury Communications Ltd; O2 (UK) Ltd; Opal Telecom Ltd; PLDT (UK) Ltd; Shyam Telecom UK Ltd; Spring Mobil AB; and Teleware PLC but the amounts of the winning bids are still to be released.
Other spectrum due to be auctioned over the next four years includes that in the 1452-1492 MHz (L Band) range suitable for mobile multimedia and broadband wireless and 1500 MHz to 2690 MHz band - the "3G expansion band" that can also be used by outside broadcast vehicles.
Ofcom also issued more consultation documents, this time relating to proposals for a review of restricted service licences (RSLs), permanent audio distribution system
(ADS) and Community Audio Distribution Systems (CADS) services with restricted coverage using what was formerly defined as non broadcast spectrum - regarding which trials are currently being conducted, and the policy for the release of up to 8 MHz of unused spectrum in the 55 to 68 MHz band that among other uses could be made available for ADS services.
In the case of RSLs Ofcom is asking for suggestions among other things as to the most appropriate method to be used when there are multiple applications for short-term licences covering the same event in the same place on the same date - currently it draws lots - and regarding longer-term licences, which are currently granted for five years for such purposes as hospital or campus radio, it is asking whether it should allow shorter terms and licences for commercial establishments and regarding ADS and CADS it is asking for proposals for future licensing of such services.
In the US the FCC as already noted has seen its chairman Kevin J. Martin nominated for a second term. Martin was also in the news for comments he made to NAB 2006 saying that FCC indecency rules should be clear to broadcasters (See RNW Apr 26).
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-04-30: The reason for a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling that one of XM's receivers was not complying with emission regulations (See RNW Apr 28) seems likely to be due to interference with other broadcasts that led to complaints to the Commission and that could lead to rulings over other satellite radio receivers.
According to the Baltimore Sun listeners to National Public Radio and Word FM broadcasts in the Baltimore area have been finding satellite signals on their receivers, some receiving Howard Stern from Sirius instead of NPR's news or Word FM's Christian broadcasts.
The paper quotes NPR chief technology officer Mike Starling as saying NPR has been speaking to Sirius and XM about the issue, and "they've offered their full support to look into the problem."
The report concentrates on interference from Sirius and Stern, which it says has upset some of Stern's unintended listeners and quotes Charles W. Loughery, president of the Word FM Radio Network as saying, "Usually they're upset, because they don't know what's going on. This isn't what they tuned in to [hear]."
The report says that engineers say badly installed, intentionally altered or defective equipment satellite radio receivers can become transmitters relaying to other nearby vehicles the signal they're tuned to. This, it adds, is usually 88.1 MHz, or nearby frequencies reserved for non-commercial, religious or educational stations.
Starling says the same effect can be caused by MP3 music players - or any portable audio device - if it's using a built-in or aftermarket "FM modulator" that enables it to play through a car's FM radio.
The Sun says four of Loughery's six small radio stations have reported broadcast interference from Sirius Satellite Radio, with Stern and his potty-mouth the most oft-mentioned offender and adds that Anthony Brandon, president and general manager at NPR affiliate WYPR-FM said he's forwarded 60 complaint letters from listeners to the FCC and Neil Hever, program director for WDIY-FM, an NPR affiliate in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, said he'd forwarded 38.
"Back in December, a gentleman called from Warren County, N.J.," Hever recalled. "He said, 'I'm not going to turn you in, but I take offence to the rap music you're playing.' We said, "We don't program gangsta rap.'"
Hever said he was also concerned, adding, "We're upset because we know it's aggravating our listeners, and we know it [interference with a licensed broadcaster] is against the law We are subject to FCC rules relating to content and language."
Hever said he fears the station will be named in a complaint to the FCC because of obscene content that listeners hear over his stations' assigned frequencies. "The toughest thing about that is we're guilty until we can prove ourselves innocent to the FCC," he commented.
Baltimore Sun report:
2006-04-30: Air America is to lose its New York flagship station WLIB-AM at the end of August according to Media Week which says that it only managed to get a five-month extension to its original deal with Inner City Broadcasting that ran to August 31.
The report says WLIB will be operated as a joint-venture to be programmed by PI, which is run by former Clear Channel Radio CEO Randy Michaels who is expected to keep a progressive talk format but replace Air America programming with more local shows but is likely to include Ed Schultz, whose show is syndicated by PI.
Media Week quotes an unnamed Air America spokesman as repeating earlier assurances that it will remain in New York but not being definite about its outlet, saying, "To be clear, Air America will not go silent on the New York City airwaves. We do not, however, comment on hypothetical speculation."
Previous Inner City:
Previous Piquant (Air America owner):
Media Week report:
2006-04-30: The long-running row over the tower for Fordham University's WFUV-FM appears to have finally been settled. Because of new regulations about emission levels of its then transmitter on top of a student dormitory the university wanted to build a 480-foot tower directly across Southern Boulevard from the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, centrepiece of the New York Botanical Gardens.
The height was reduced by the university to 380 feet as a result of the concerns expressed and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) hosted meetings concerning the objections and counter-proposals (See RNW Licence News July 7, 2002).
Construction was halted by New York when the tower was 260 feet high and various court battles followed and in 2002, the Montefiore Medical Center offered to lease to Fordham the roof of a 28-story apartment building housing members of the hospital staff around a mile (1.6 km) away.
Now the New York Times reports that the last part of Fordham's tower has been torn down thanks to an agreement between the garden, the university, and the Montefiore Medical Center.
A new tower is in operation reaching 440 feet above ground level, although it is still being tested: This allows the signal to reach more listeners as well as removing the visual blight of the radio tower that was around 100 yards (metres) from the garden.
New York Times report:
2006-04-29: Conservative US host Rush Limbaugh has reached a settlement with the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office to end the investigation of his alleged "doctor shopping" - getting multiple prescriptions for a drug without informing one doctor of prescriptions for another - to obtain prescription painkillers.
A statement that the host posted on his site from his attorney Roy Black says that the deal is to be filed with the court on Monday under which:
*The State Attorney has filed a single charge of doctor shopping with the Court. The charge is being held in abeyance under the terms of an agreement between the State and Mr. Limbaugh.
* Mr. Limbaugh has filed a plea of "Not Guilty" with the Court.
*Mr. Limbaugh will continue in treatment with the doctor he has seen for the past two and one half years.
*After Mr. Limbaugh completes an additional 18 months of treatment, the State Attorney has agreed to drop the charge.
*Mr. Limbaugh has agreed to make a USD 30,000 payment to the State of Florida to defray the public cost of the investigation.
In his statement Black adds, "Mr. Limbaugh and I have maintained from the start that there was no doctor shopping, and we continue to hold this position. Accordingly, we filed today with the Court a plea of 'Not Guilty' to the charge filed by the State As part of this agreement, Mr. Limbaugh also has agreed to make a USD 30,000 payment to the State of Florida to defray the public cost of the investigation. The agreement also provides that he must refrain from violating the law during this 18 months, must pay USD 30 per month for the cost of "supervision" and comply with other similar provisions of the agreement."
"Mr. Limbaugh," adds Black "had intended to remain in treatment. Thus, we believe the outcome for him personally will be much as if he had fought the charge and won."
An Associated Press report in the Palm Beach Post says that the host turned himself in to authorities on a warrant filed Friday charging him with fraud to conceal information to obtain prescriptions. It adds that he and Roy Black left about an hour later, after Limbaugh was photographed and fingerprinted and he posted USD 3,000 bail.
It quotes Limbaugh spokesman Tony Knight as saying of the agreement, "It's not in the system moving toward trial. It was all a formality. It's a concluded deal. "
Mike Edmondson, a spokesman for the state attorney's office, said prosecutors had not yet received the signed agreement and added, "I am not disputing the facts, the conditions that Black represented, but until his client signed the agreement, we don't have a full agreement I am sure it's just a timeline issue."
Following the announcement, Kraig T. Kitchin, President and COO of Premiere Radio Networks, which syndicates Limbaugh's show, said in a statement, "I'm pleased that a settlement has been reached between Rush Limbaugh and the state of Florida that finally brings this matter to an end. Rush's not guilty plea is consistent with the position he has taken all along. Throughout it all, he has continued to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to his listeners, affiliates, and advertisers. We have always stood by Rush -- for good reason -- and will continue to do so."
Previous Premiere Networks:
Limbaugh web site:
Palm Beach Daily Post/AP report:
2006-04-29: Sirius Satellite Radio has received mixed verdict from the latest Bridge Ratings study of satellite radio subscribers for which it interviews consumers at retail outlets who have purchased satellite radio.
Initially it says brand loyalty was not a major factor for purchases but over recent weeks Sirius is more consistently cited for its programming with a higher percentage of consumers now able to mention specific Sirius programming.
At the end of the first quarter this year noted Bridge, Sirius was continuing to ride on the launch of the Howard Stern Show and added 814,000 subscribers, 26% less than in the previous quarter, whilst XM was 37% down on the previous quarter with 568,000 new subscribers.
The report estimates that 1.1 million Stern fans, 8.4% of his former terrestrial audience, have now followed him to Sirius but there is now "apathy" among former Stern listeners who had not moved about taking up a subscription.
Amongst 3,200 former Stern listeners questioned 32% said they didn't miss the show enough to subscribe and a further 25% said the costs were too high and 18% were now listening to a morning show that had been their former second preference. Of the remaining quarter, 10% said they didn't now listen to morning radio, 9% didn't see the value in satellite radio, and 6% were in the "Don't know" category.
There is also a sting for Sirius in the pattern of responses about which service people ha purchased. For the week ending March 6 Sirius led 55% to 45% and it remained equal or in the lead until the week ending April 10 when XM took a 60% to 40% lead, which it has since retained although it has slipped back a little to 57% in the week ending April 24.
XM also has the edge when it comes to those who said they made the move because of programming variety - leading by 38% to 29% in the most recent week and also leading 37% to 30% amongst those who gave absence of commercials as a reason for the move.
XM also led by 20% to 15% amongst those who gave sports packages as a reason for subscribing but lagged by 5% to 15% when it came to citing personalities as the reason.
Sirius meanwhile has announced three more shows in its line-up: It is to introduce a new Scandinavian music programme "Nordic Rox" on Sunday; is adding "Bill Bennett's Morning In America" from May 1; and in the summer will launch "Mark Cuban's Radio Maverick", a new Sunday show hosted by Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban.
Nordic Rox will be produced under the creative guidance of songwriter, producers and musicians Per Gessle, and be hosted and programmed by Radio Stockholm on-air personality Viktor Petrovski.
Sirius notes that historically, Sweden is the third largest exporter of music, after the US and Great Britain and Sirius President of Entertainment and Sports Scott Greenstein commented, "The wave of high-quality bands coming out of Sweden today rivals anything since the big UK music movements. The launch of Nordic Rox, together with our recent addition of BBC's Radio 1 channel, further establishes Sirius as the leader in discovery of new popular music around the world."
Bridge also indirectly notes the waning of the Stern factor in its figures for those who were asked to name a satellite radio company prior to their subscription purchase: At the start of February Sirius led by 59% to 41% but in the most recent week the figures were reversed.
Bridge has also released its latest study on terrestrial radio in which it questioned 2,500 listeners in San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Chicago, Cheyenne and Boston in the week ending April 24 about their radio and music listening habits: It says three quarters of them said their local AM/FM stations are providing what they need in their daily and weekly radio listening.
On the reverse side of the coin 54% said they were "spending more time than before with my personal music collection" and 25% that they "were listening to more music on the Internet lately."
Previous Bridge Ratings:
2006-04-29: London Kiss FM breakfast host Bam Bam (Peter Polton) has left the station after seven years in the slot - the show led the London ratings for the 15-24 demographic in the most recent ratings and gained regular Sony nominations with a strong year in 2000 with a number of awards including The Breakfast Music Award and Music Presentation Award for stations with an audience up to 12 million (See RNW May 4, 2000): he is to work on other broadcasting projects and has already completed a pilot TV project. The host's current three-year contract ran until January next year (See RNW Nov 8, 2003).
Drivetime host Robin Banks, who has been filling in for Bam Bam on the Emap dance music station whilst the latter has been on holiday, is to remain in the breakfast slot for now although Emap has made no announcement about a permanent succession. Banks' slot in turn is currently being handled by Simon Dale, who usually hosts the 0900 to noon slot, and weekend host James Merritt is standing in for Dale.
Emap is to re-launch the station in July, boosting its dance music output.
Previous Poulton (Bam Bam):
2006-04-29: Former Montreal DJ André Arthur, now a Member of Parliament but best known for his on air comments that led to a number of court judgments against him and his former station CHOI-FM, whose licence renewal was refused in part because of those comments over a decade, has become a member of a committee that amongst other things oversees the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
He was named as a member of the House of Commons standing committee on industry, science and technology along with former Minister of Transport and radio and TV host, Liberal industry critic Jean Lapierre, who joined Montreal station CKAC-AM in 1992
Arthur when asked about his relations with the CRTC by the Montreal Gazette responded by likening himself to a hydrant and said, "Ask a fire hydrant if it likes dogs."
He then added that he wouldn't let the past colour his judgment, saying, "I don't have an axe to grind, not even with the CRTC, I will smile nicely at them, I promise."
The committee on which Arthur now sits is one of two that oversees the CRTC and deals with telecommunications regulation as opposed to the heritage committee that oversees the CRTC's regulation of broadcasting.
On his new role he said he expected the committee to study various issues including the use of Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) calls and added, "We already know that there is an important report that has arrived in the (industry) department concerning the deregulation of telephone services. That fascinates me because what I understand is that we put the brakes on technological development in order to be sure to protect consumers, but consumers haven't had the technological advances."
Lapierre welcomed Arthur's appointment, pointing out the ex-shock jock has a proven technique in questioning people but suggested he might have to recuse himself on matters concerning the CRTC to avoid a conflict of interest. "God knows we have problems in Quebec, major problems of industrial transformation," he commented. "There are major problems in his region, so in that sense, welcome."
Montreal Gazette report:
2006-04-29: Seattle headquartered Fisher Communications has reported first quarter revenues up 9% on a year earlier to USD 33.8 million and has cut its losses from USD 5.1 million a year ago to USD 1.7 million for the quarter.
In Divisional terms TV revenues were up 10% to USD 22 million and those for radio were up 7% to USD 8.6 million whilst its Fisher Plaza revenues rose 13%, primarily because of increased occupancy and services fees.
President and CEO Colleen B. Brown said Fisher "gained solid revenue and net operating improvements in the first quarter of 2006 -- especially in our large-market ABC-affiliated television stations and our Seattle radio stations."
"Though the first quarter of the year is generally seasonally lower in the broadcasting industry, we are very encouraged by our first quarter 2006 results and look forward to the remainder of the year," she added
2006-04-28: XM Satellite Radio says that in its first quarter it added 569,000 subscribers to reach a total of 6,501,859, 72% more than a year earlier, with revenues just more than double - up from USD 103 million a year ago to USD 208 million and a net loss up from USD 119.9 million to USD 149.2 million.
Its EBITDA loss was up from USD 71.3 million a year ago at USD 83.5 million including USD 18.4 million in de-leveraging charges - nil a year ago; USD 12.1 million in stock based compensation expenses - up from USD 300,000; a USD 8.9 figure for equity in net loss of affiliates - nil a year earlier; and other income of USD 4.6 million - up from USD 2.0 million.
XM has also announced that it has successfully completed the consent solicitation with respect to its outstanding 14% Senior Secured Discount Notes due 2009, 12% Senior Secured Notes due 2010 and Senior Secured Floating Rate Notes due 2009 with consents received from the holders of approximately 59.1% of the outstanding principal amount of the 14% Notes, approximately 99.6% of the outstanding principal amount of the 12% Notes and approximately 90.2% of the outstanding principal amount of the Floating Rate Notes
Commenting on the results President and CEO Hugh Panero said, "XM added more than 568,000 new subscribers at efficient subscriber acquisition cost levels," and added, "XM is positioned for continued strong growth in 2006 with our outstanding content and the introduction of five new radio models, including our revolutionary XM/MP3 players. With our first quarter subscriber growth, we remain on track to reach nine million subscribers and positive cash flow from operations by year end."
XM has also said it is to introduce five new receivers in the second quarter including "next-generation portable XM/MP3 players." These new models, the Pioneer Inno and Samsung Helix, allow listening on the move and the ability to record programming for later playback and also to bookmark songs heard on XM for purchase from the XM+Napster web site. It is also to introduce the portable Samsung NeXus25 and NeXus50 players, which can be connected to a docking station and are able to store up to 25 and 50 hours of content, respectively, as well as bookmark songs for purchase.
These introductions could potentially fall foul of a bill that Reuters reported earlier this week was to be introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers to require satellite companies to "compensate the music industry for downloads."
The report said the "PERFORM Act" or the "Parity, Platforms and Protection: The Future of the Music Industry in the Digital Radio Revolution", backed by Senators Dianne Feinstein (California Democrat), Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican), and majority leader Bill Frist, (Tennessee Republican) would require satellite, cable and Internet broadcasters to pay fair market value for the performance of digital music and also require the use of "readily available and cost-effective technological means to prevent music theft."
Feinstein commented that digital has been a boon for businesses and consumers but "these new technologies and business models have become so advanced that the clear lines between a listening service and a distribution service have been blurred" and said the act would "help strike a balance between fostering the development of new technologies and ensuring that songwriters and performers continue to be fairly compensated for their works."
Recording industry executives argue , says the report, "They argue that the new devices XM Radio is bringing to the market that allow customers to save songs on the receivers without paying for the download rip off the copyright holder."
"Digital sales are finally replacing physical losses," said Mitch Bainwol, chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Assn. of America (RIAA). "If someone gets a distribution right without paying for it, that blows a hole in the digital marketplace."
Warner Music Group chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. in testimony prepared for a hearing on the issue said, "When I see a device that permits consumers to identify the specific tracks they want from a satellite broadcast, record them and library them for future use, I call that device an iPod and I call the satellite service making that device available a download service. What is clear to everyone is that these services no longer resemble and will increasingly stray from our collective understanding of what constitutes a traditional radio service."
XM says the devices are just a high-tech way to record radio programming, which is protected and for which it pays millions in copyright royalties, and XM chairman Gary Parsons in his prepared testimony said the bill would "lead to a new tax being imposed on our subscribers." He says the push for the new royalty is a negotiating tactic to push up those royalties, which are currently being reviewed by the copyright office.
Parsons testified to the Senate Committee hearing that CM had "designed these [MP3] devices to fully comply with copyright law", adding, "Recording from the radio is not a download service.
Everything recorded from the radio is locked to the device. It cannot be transferred to the Internet ensuring that it is only for personal use. And you can only hear the material as long as you remain an XM subscriber."
Sirius has already negotiated reached deals with the major record companies that compensate them for downloads on its S-50 receiver that allows customers to record content but XM is in the process of negotiating a new performance agreement and Parsons said, "By changing the standard now, the recording industry hopes to stack the deck in its favour."
Bainwol denied the charge and said, "Their license is for a performance, not a distribution. I was struck by the power of their slogan: 'It's not a pod. It's a mother ship.'"
RNW comment: It is already clear that the recording, TV and movie companies would like to see severe restrictions on people's ability to record anything off a broadcast just as it is crystal clear that technological developments have already given them a tremendous boost that their attitudes when the technologies were introduced would have denied to them.
From an initial model of cinema showings and vinyl recordings they have already gained extra income first from tapes (Hollywood, of course, tried to kill VCR recordings at home) and then from CDs and DVDs. Not they want to gain a much cheaper means of distribution and maximize their charges, with noises already being made that the 99 cents per song charge that enabled Apple to massively increase the paid-for download market is too low.
We also see no compelling logical reason to absent terrestrial radio from the list in the PERFORM legislation and there is no doubt in our mind that if the RIAA wins this one for satellite, terrestrial radio will be next on its list: In our view what the RIAA is likely to want would be against the public interest and might well turn out to be against their own long-term interests.
Washington Post/Reuters report re "PERFORM Act":
2006-04-28: UK commercial radio companies plan to tell a government enquiry that the BBC's licence fee should be cut to curb its "insatiable appetite" for launching new services according to the UK Independent.
The Burns study, headed by former Treasury mandarin Lord Burns is running in parallel with the Government's process for renewing the BBC's royal charter and the Independent says the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) not only wants the licence fee cut - it is to submit that the bid for the licence fee increase of 2.3% above inflation should be rejected and the fee capped at its current level and any efficiency savings used to reduce it - but also to have the National Audit Office to scrutinize the BBC's expenditure plans before any settlement.
The paper quotes a CRCA spokeswoman as saying, "Enough is enough. We cannot continue to heap increasing amounts of public money on the BBC to spend on distorting the market" and arguing that the BBC should concentrate on areas not covered by commercial operators.
A report by accountants and business advisers PKF that was commissioned by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (3 PDFs - a 329 KB 32 page summary plus 188 pages full report in 2 parts totalling 2. 1mb) has called for a lower increase than that requested by the BBC.
The report, "Review of the BBC Value for Money and Efficiency Programmes" notes that since 2001 the BBC has delivered efficiency savings of GBP 548 million ( USD 987 million) an annual efficiency saving of around 1.3% per annum.
It adds that in the first years of this licence fee settlement period, to 2004/05 the BBC has achieved GBP 2,131 million (USD 3,839 million) of self-help savings and that a further two years of such savings will mean that "even without further positive action" the corporation will achieve its agreed savings target of GBP 3,290 million (USD 5,928 million).
"We suggest," it says, "that the renewal of the Charter offers an opportunity to consider the scope for more fundamental change across BBC divisions so as to deliver transformational change, specifically with regard to the content divisions, where in many instances the level of efficiency savings proposed is low and this may provide scope for a reduced settlement."
The BBC chairman Michael Grade responded to the report by saying it "offers some helpful analysis, in places matching the independent work previously commissioned by the Board of Governors. It also raises some questions that require closer scrutiny and the BBC will review the report carefully prior to the public debate at the Burns seminar on Friday 5 May. The Governors' objective remains the delivery of licence fee payers' expectations of quality at the lowest possible cost."
The BBC is already facing possible strike action over one cut it has just announced - plans to close its final pension salary scheme to new employees in favour of a defined benefits scheme, raise the retirement age from 60 to 65 and increase the BBC contributions to staff pensions from its current 7.5% to 17.3% and staff contributions to their pensions from the current 5.55 to 7.5% in two stages with a possible further increase of up to 1.5% depending on the results of a 2007 pension scheme valuation.
The unions are to ballot their members about strike action, possibly in June during Wimbledon tennis and Royal Ascot horse racing: They want the final pension salary scheme to remain open to new members and for employees to be allowed to take their pensions from the age of 60.
BECTU assistant general secretary Gerry Morrissey commented, "The pension scheme has a surplus, but the BBC is choosing to close it, reduce the benefits and expect staff to pay more for them. Failure to agree to all of these demands will lead to an immediate ballot for strike action."
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) says the pension fund currently has a surplus of GBP 13 million (USD 23 million - RNW comment -which is virtually nothing in terms of potential liabilities) and adds that the planned changes breach promises in a 2003 latter by BBC management saying that "contribution rates will never be more than a maximum of 7.5% of pensionable salary".
NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: "For both existing and new staff this will come as a bitter blow. The BBC will create a two-tier workforce, force some staff to work longer and expect all staff to pay more for the privilege of doing so. All those under 50 face paying more and working five years longer simply to get the same pension. The BBC's promises have been shown to be worthless and it is hardly surprising staff are reacting with anger."
He added, "The pension scheme is cash-rich, in surplus and the BBC admit there is no crisis - so why are they seeking to penalize staff in this way. It is all the more galling that staff are being asked to pay up to GBP20 million (USD 36 million) a year more when the BBC themselves have saved more than GBP 1billion (USD 1.8 billion) by paying reduced contributions since 1992."
BBC Charter Review web site - links to PKF report PDFs:
UK Independent report:
2006-04-28: Former St Louis KTRS-AM radio host David Lenihan, who was fired last month after using the word "coon" in reference to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her credentials for the post of NFL Commissioner - for which he immediately apologized on air (See RNW Mar 24) is back on air.
He has been given a two-week stint in the 1600-1800 slot at Viper Communications Broadcast Group's news-talk KRMS-AM, Osage Beach.
Station owner Dennis Klautzer told the Associated Press, "I consider him a great talent. Everybody can make a mistake and say something he shouldn't have. ... It was obviously a slip of the tongue."
Klautzer added that he had discussed a full-time job with Lenihan, who has a family home at the popular mid-Missouri resort but was told Lenihan wanted to remain in St. Louis, where he teaches neuroanatomy and anatomy at the Logan College of Chiropractic and also does postdoctoral research in spinal cord injury at Washington University.
Lenihan said he was grateful for the second chance, adding, "I'm just down here getting back behind the mic. You just have to learn from things and move on."
Kansas City Star/AP report:
2006-04-28: XM Satellite Radio in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has revealed that one of its radios has been found to be in non-compliance with Federal Cmmunications Commission (FCC) emission regulations and also that it is the subject of an inquiry by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) into its marketing activities.
It gives little detail, saying regarding the Delphi XM SKYFi2 radio has been tested by the Federal Communications Commission's Office of Engineering and Technology Laboratory, which found its transmitter is "not in compliance with the applicable emission limits."
XM adds that the FCC letter seeks "information from us regarding the testing, emissions and other matters relating to this radio. We are conducting an internal review, and anticipate responding to the letter shortly and cooperating fully."
Regarding its marketing it says a letter from the FTC said the Commission was "conducting an inquiry into whether our activities are in compliance with various acts, including the FTC Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Truth in Lending Act and the CAN-SPAM Act."
"This letter," it adds, "requests information about a variety of our marketing activities, including free trial periods, rebates, telemarketing activities, billing and customer complaints. We are conducting an internal review of these matters, and anticipate responding to the letter shortly and cooperating fully with this investigation."
XM says it is "too early in the process to determine the significance, if any, of these matters to our business, consolidated results of operations or financial position.
2006-04-27: CBS Corporation has reported first quarter revenues up 4% on a year earlier to USD 3.58 billion - 2005 figures are on a pro-forma basis as the company was then part of Viacom, which split into a new Viacom Inc. and CBS Corporation at the end of 2005 (See RNW Jan 1) and current figures exclude 2006 stock option expenses - with net earnings from continuing operations up 5% to USD 232 million (Up 11% per diluted share from 27 cents to 30 cents)
The increases were driven by the company's TV, Outdoor and Parks and Publishing Divisions but pulled back by Radio whose revenues were down: TV revenues were up 5% to USD 2.52 billion, Outdoor revenues were up 5% to USD 452.2 million, Parks/Publishing revenues were up 11% to USD 187.5 million and radio revenues were down 6% to USD 434.5 million and losses on eliminations increased 19% to USD 8.1 million.
Operating income figures were worse for radio - within a total increase of 1% to USD 511.2 million, TV went up 3% to USD 382.8 million, outdoor bounded up 175% to USD 44.5 million, and radio was down 14% to USD 162.6 million: Parks/Publishing losses were down a third to USD 13.3 million
Executive chairman Sumner M. Redstone said he was "very pleased with the progress of the new CBS Corporation," adding, "The Company's rapid pace of change and innovative approach to emerging business opportunities can be seen in the many strategic announcements we have made over these past few months. The more focused and more nimble organization we sought to create has become a reality and that aggressive spirit of excellence and innovation will continue to benefit shareholders for many years to come."
President and CEO Leslie Moonves echoed these remarks before going on to comment on radio, saying, "We have clearly built strong momentum during our first three months. Our strong double-digit free cash flow growth demonstrates that we are successfully leveraging the revenue growth produced by our core operations. Our Television segment continues to perform well, led by significant revenue growth at CBS Paramount Television, Showtime and our television stations; and our industry-leading network is extremely well-positioned. I'm particularly pleased with the performance of Outdoor where profits are up dramatically as a result of strong North America revenue growth and our strategy to exit less profitable transit contracts."
He then continued, "Radio -- which has extremely valuable assets -- is our one segment that is not yet achieving acceptable growth. We have implemented a number of recent initiatives to change that, including the new JACK and Spanish formats which have shown good success. And we believe this week's announcement to add a powerful new morning show will greatly improve the performance of our drive-time programming in the nation's largest east-coast markets. [The Opie and Anthony Show, which is replacing David Lee Roth (See RNW Apr 25). The duo went on air on CBS on Wednesday taking care to avoid swearing and also gaining support from Catholic League president Bill Donohue who called into the show and joined attacks on former CBS host Howard Stern, now with Sirius.]" ..."We're going to continue to invest in the best programming and marketing, and actively adjust our portfolio to maximize Radio's growth potential."
Looking ahead CBS says is on track to deliver low single-digit growth in revenues and mid single-digit growth in operating income and earnings per share, noting that this 2006 business outlook excludes the impact of expensing stock options resulting from the Company's adoption of SFAS 123R, and is based on 2005 revenues of USD14.5 billion, pro forma operating income of USD2.7 billion and USD1.59 per diluted share from continuing operations. Pro forma results are adjusted for the separation and exclude the 2005 impairment charges.
2006-04-27: In further moves in mobile media, Frontier Silicon, the market leader in semiconductor solutions for mobile TV and digital radio, and Factum Electronics, the world's leading supplier of head-end solutions for DAB and T-DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting), have announced a strategic alliance to supply broadcasters with complete broadcast solutions for mobile TV and digital radio.
The announcement was made at the Beijing DAB Digital Broadcasting event and precedes plans for a launch this year by China of commercial mobile television and radio services using DMB and DAB-IP technology, both of which are based on the Eureka DAB digital radio system.
DAB, DMB and DAB-IP trials are currently underway in several parts of China and broadcast licences have been issued covering Guangdong Province, Beijing and Shanghai: Commercial DMB services from several companies will launch during the first half of 2006 in Guangdong and Beijing and Samsung Electronics has agreed to supply 500,000 DMB phones to two major Chinese DMB operators.
In Guangdong where there an estimated six million potential mobile broadcast phone users, the services will come from two companies - The Guangdong Yuguang Company, which was the first to adopt DAB in China and has been trialling audio services since 1997, and Guangdong Mobile Television Media, which plans to launch commercial DMB services in May, 2006 to cover the Pearl River Delta Area.
In Beijing, Beijing Radio teamed up with Sunshine Asset Group to establish Beijing Jolon Digital Media Broadcasting Co. which began DMB trials late last year and which plans launch eight commercial services next month with coverage reaching a potential 15 million people. Jolon has also been working with manufacturers Blaupunkt, Lenvo and JVC to develop DAB/DMB receivers.
In Shanghai, trials of have been underway since last year of DMB services for mobile television and radio in L-Band and OPG, a subsidiary of the Shanghai Media and Entertainment Group, is broadcasting six video and 12 audio services to the Shanghai area with estimated population coverage of more than 15 million people.
Trials using DAB are also under way in Tianjing and Langfang, and in Sha tin, Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.
DMB technology is also featured at NAB 2006 in Las Vegas as are demonstrations of Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) broadcasts and equipment including receivers that can handle DRM/DAB/FM/RDS and analogue short-wave, medium-wave/AM and long-wave signals. (See RNW Apr 11).
In another extension of DAB's reach, New Zealand is to begin a 12-month trial of DAB broadcasts in the Auckland area.
The trial will begin in September and The WorldDAB Forum is to assist BCL (Broadcast Communications Ltd), New Zealand's leading broadcast network provider, which will work closely with New Zealand's regulatory body to develop a spectrum plan, a scheme of incentives for broadcasters and a policy for roll out of both commercial and public broadcasting services.
Public broadcaster Radio New Zealand, and commercial broadcasters RadioWorks and Local Media Group, have agreed to take part in the trial.
Manufacturers including Sony, Morphy Richards, PURE Digital, Intempo Digital, Telechips and I-Tech, as well as network infrastructure vendors Radioscape and transmission equipment supplier Telequipment Pacific, who are providing Harris DAB transmission equipment- will also support the trial by providing DAB products to be placed with consumers and industry figures during the trial.
2006-04-27: Australian AM broadcaster WorldAudio which was put in administration last month after the Australian government dashed its hopes of gaining digital spectrum based on its analogue licences outside the broadcasting band (See RNW Mar 22) may yet gain a buyer for the whole business according to the Melbourne Age.
It says that according to Hall Chadwick administrator Bob Elliott there have been 19 expressions of interest in the business including what Elliott termed a limited number "from parties who are interested in acquiring the whole of the WorldAudio/Radio Two operation across Australia."
The 48 stations in the network are playing automated music and the paper says star presenters, Mikey Robins and Ian Rogerson, are reportedly now on the lookout for other work.
Elliott, who is to meet those interested in the whole business for further discussions, said, "Should all of those discussions fail, I will thereafter deal with those parties that were interested in parts of the business."
Radio 2 was launched in June 2005 and as well as its terrestrial network is the only national commercial digital broadcaster on the digital audio channel of the Austar/Foxtel subscription TV platform: It has a national audience of about 300,000.
Melbourne Age report:
2006-04-27: US President Bush has now confirmed the appointment of conservative radio and TV host Tony Snow as his press secretary to succeed Scott McClellan, who tendered his resignation last week as part of a shake-up of the President's top staff.
Introducing Snow at a briefing, President Bush said he was "confident Tony Snow will make an outstanding addition to this White House staff I am confident he will help you do your job. My job is to make decisions, and his job is to help explain those decisions to the press corps and the American people."
" He understands like I understand that the press is vital to our democracy. As a professional journalist, Tony Snow understands the importance of the relationship between government and those whose job it is to cover the government. He's going to work hard to provide you with timely information about my philosophy, my priorities, and the actions we're taking to implement our agenda. He brings a long record of accomplishment to this position. He has spent a quarter of a century in the news business. He's worked in all three major media."
Snow who hosts two Fox shows - "The Tony Snow Show" on radio and "Weekend Live with Tony Snow" on the Fox News Channel - had also been the host of "Fox News Sunday," one of the five major Sunday morning public affairs programmes.
.He was previously a columnist at USA Today and the editorial page editor of The Washington Times having started his journalistic career in print at The Greensboro Record in North Carolina in 1979. He also worked as a White House speechwriter for the president's father, the first President Bush.
In recent commentaries he has criticized administration policies and President Bush said of this, "He's not afraid to express his own opinions. For those of you who have read his columns and listened to his radio show, he sometimes has disagreed with me. I asked him about those comments, and he said, 'You should have heard what I said about the other guy.' I like his perspective, I like the perspective he brings to this job, and I think you're going to like it, too."
Snow responded by thanking the president for the honour of serving in the post and continued, "And just a couple of quick notes, I'm delighted to be here. One of the things I want to do is just make it clear that I -- one of the reasons I took the job is not only because I believe in the President, because believe it or not, I want to work with you. These are times that are going to be very challenging. We've got a lot of big issues ahead, and we've got a lot of important things that all of us are going to be covering together. And I am very excited, and I can't wait, and I want to thank you, Mr. President, for the honour, and thank all you guys for your forbearance, and I look forward to working with you."
2006-04-26: The BBC has announced its "Creative Future" editorial blueprint for the next six years including plans to re-launch the corporation's web site and create themed broadband portals such as "Sport, Music, Knowledge Building, Health and Science" and deliver "quality content for the on-demand world."
The announcement follows the work of ten teams who have spent the past year speculating what the world may be like in 2012 and the BBC says the plans aren't "about new services but a fundamental look at the creative challenges ahead with audiences in an on-demand environment that goes beyond current broadcasting models."
The results of the teams' work was presented to BBC staff on Tuesday and amongst comments from the "Audiences" team it highlights changes in demographics with an ageing population, more single-person households and a growth in what it terms "non-traditional" families and also the different ways in which people experience electronic media .
The "Beyond Broadcast" team says that "On-demand will be the third age of broadcasting and the second phase of digital. The first age was linear channels and limited choice. The second was linear channels but far greater choice - more of the same. The third gives the audience far greater control, personalization and interaction. It will require fundamental change in what the BBC commissions and provides in content and services and how it distributes them."
Its recommendations include building the corporation's on-demand portfolio "through pilots, digitizing content and making relevant parts of the archive available, and developing BBC iPlayer (MyBBCPlayer)" and also says the corporation should initiate "a single pan BBC rights strategy and digital rights management system" and "Pilot 360 degree commissioning which would give one team responsibility for all aspects of an idea on all platforms - linear broadcast, interactive, on demand, mobile applications."
Journalism recommendations include shifting emphasis to continuous news, developing on-demand offerings and services for mobiles and portable devices, the latter proposals being mirrored in recommendations from Music - whose recommendations include enabling "people to create their own virtual radio channels out of the wealth of our existing output, channels reflecting their own personal tastes", Sports, Children's and Teens, Comedy, Drama, Entertainment and Factual Formats, and Knowledge Building.
BBC Director General Mark Thompson in his speech to BBC staff on the plans said he wanted to "kick off a conversation across the BBC about our programmes" and commented "I launched Creative Future just over a year ago because I felt that, although the BBC had lots of policy ideas about the future, it hadn't really grappled with the creative challenge of what feels like an entirely new chapter in broadcasting."
Of this new world he spoke of: "Audiences with more choice, bigger expectations and in some cases a real sense of distance from the BBC. Technology which empowers those audiences, transfers control from us to them, lets them consume what they want, when they want, lets them create content, lets them participate" and added, "But there is another important factor in all of this - competition. As you saw in the Beyond Broadcast film, we are head-to-head with new competitors who are global, rich and in some cases already fit for the digital age."
And of this future he commented, "If we get this right, we can't fail. If we get it wrong, nothing else - White Paper, licence-fee settlement, you name it - nothing else will make up for it."
Thompson speech to staff:
2006-04-26: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J Martin, who has just been re-nominated for a second term in the post by President Bush, has told the National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) annual convention in Las Vegas that broadcasters should be clear on US indecency regulations because the law had not changed in 25 years.
He rebutted accusations that the agency had given insufficient guidance on what was permissible and commented of recent TV fines including a record (See RNW Mar 16), "The commission's findings recently on indecency did not extend beyond some of the same words that were found to be upheld by the Supreme Court in the 1970s" - a reference to the Supreme Court's decision in 1978 in FCC v Pacifica on the latter's broadcast of a monologue by comedian George Carlin concerning seven indecent words that could not be said on television or radio [Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker and Tits].
"I'm not sure when people say they want additional guidance if it's that different than it was back in 1978 or 1979, as far as some of the words that are still on the list,'' said Martin.
During a question and answer session Martin also spoke of a bright future for terrestrial broadcasters because of the role they played in their communities and asked about possible extension by US satellite broadcasters of local content through use of their terrestrial repeaters said the FCC would continue to regulate them as national services.
2006-04-26: Interep has reacted to the withdrawal by Oaktree Capital Management (OCM) of its bid for the company at USD 1.10 per share by saying that its board had been seriously considering the offer but adding that it was "understandable why Oaktree Capital Management demanded an immediate agreement -- to acquire the company at a discount."
Interep said it "believes that Oaktree Capital Management's offer did not reflect the company's true value and is aggressively evaluating all scenarios that would maximize shareholder value" and added, "This, coupled with recent favourable company developments and our mandate to keep the best interests of our shareholders, clients and employees top priority, supports our decision to resist being pressured by an arbitrary timetable."
"Interep," it says, "is exerting great care and diligence to ensure this value is reflected as the company considers strategic alternatives. Management and the Board of Directors remain willing to explore all options -- including a deal with Oaktree Capital Management or other prospective financial partners -- as we maintain our focus on achieving improved performance through stronger operations and excellent client service."
Oaktree in withdrawing its offer noted that funds it manages own "shares of the Company's [Interep's]Class A common stock and are also collectively the largest holder of the Company's 10% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2008" but does not specify the size of these holdings.
It had previously said that its offer of April 12 - representing a "439% premium to the previous day's closing price" would expire on Friday, April 21 (See RNW Apr 13), and in a letter to Interep's board said, "Despite our willingness to provide you with this final opportunity to complete a transaction that we firmly believe to be in the best interest of the Company's shareholders and our continued efforts to schedule meetings with you to finalize the terms of the transaction, to date we have received no communication regarding the Company's position on the remaining limited open points in the definitive documents or indication that the Board has made any determination with respect to the Company's intent to pursue to the transaction" and accordingly withdrew the offer.
Interep's shares closed Tuesday unchanged at 72 cents having reached 74 cents for a time.
2006-04-26: International satellite operator WorldSpace has announced a new receiver for the Indian market, where it is concentrating its efforts and on Monday launched its service in Nagpur.
The DIVA II is priced at around USD 55 and WorldSpace chairman and CEO Noah Samara commented, "The addition of the Diva II to our line-up means even more choice and selection for our subscribers. Through the unique combination of new equipment, such as the Diva II, and our diverse range of entertainment and programming, WorldSpace is able to provide our customers with a truly unique experience."
The new receiver is available in "Elegant Black" or "Chic Silver," has 40 memory pre-sets and four pre- fixed audio equalizer modes as well as stereo speakers, a remote control and dataport for connection to a computer.
RNW comment: Not being in a position to listen to the service we cannot be sure how well made the receiver is but its specifications seem adequate and the price certainly makes US HD receivers seem very expensive.
2006-04-26: UK media regulator Ofcom has published its reasoning for the recent awards of the new North East England regional FM to Saga and the new Southend FM licence to Southend Radio Limited (See RNW Apr 14).
In the first case, before the award Ofcom had said it would be likely to place particular emphasis on the extent to which a proposed service would broaden the range of programmes available by way of local commercial services in the area, and would cater for tastes and interests different from those already catered for - when it came to consider the applications for this licence. It also said relating to evidence of local demand that it would be likely to attach greater weight to "to robust and meaningful evidence of demand as demonstrated by findings from research" than to letters of support.
Saga's application says the Radio Licensing Committee "was a particularly strong one" not only regarding these but also in terms of all four statutory criteria that Ofcom has to consider.
"In the Committee's view," it said, "the application from Saga offered a highly coherent set of programming proposals and a format that has already proved successful in attracting listeners aged 50 and over elsewhere in the UK."
It added, "Saga conducted a particularly thorough programme of research which demonstrated that 'Easy Listening' was by some margin the format of choice among over-50s in the region. Its quantitative research was further supported by a large-scale qualitative auditorium exercise, which demonstrated good levels of support among the target audience for the station's more detailed music proposition. In addition, Saga's research showed that its format would be disproportionately attractive to listeners of BBC services (particularly Radio 2 and BBC local radio) rather than listeners to existing local commercial radio services."
The committee also said it "recognized that, traditionally, the over-50s audience has been a difficult one for commercial radio companies to sell to advertisers, and the revenue challenges implicit in targeting this demographic are certainly not to be underestimated. However, the financial performance of Saga's existing analogue stations has given confidence, and demonstrated the economic viability of the format. In this respect, therefore, the RLC considered that Saga's business plan for its proposed North East service was both realistic and achievable."
In the Southend award Ofcom had not indicated that there would be particular significance for any of the statutory criteria although it had said it would attach greater weight to evidence of demand as shown by research as opposed to letters of support.
The Committee commented that the combined backing of Stockvale Limited (80% shareholder) and Provincial Radio Limited (20% shareholder) gives Southend Radio a strong degree of financial stability, and appropriate experience of operating small stations in similar markets nearby and the involvement of the latter - a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tindle Radio - would give Southend Radio the opportunity to offer a combined advertising sell, which would be likely to place the new service in a much stronger financial position in relation to the heritage station Essex FM than might otherwise be the case.
It said "Southend Radio conducted robust quantitative research and monitoring which it used to shape and confirm demand for its music and speech proposals" and also noted, "Southend Radio's music proposal, which puts a 15% cap on current hits, combined with a broad music policy incorporating music from the 1960's onwards, was considered to offer a distinct alternative to the FM service available in the area (Essex FM). In addition, the inclusion of some appropriate contemporary music is likely to distinguish Southend Radio from the AM service in the area, Classic Gold Breeze. It was also considered that the group's chosen target audience of over-35s was an appropriate recognition of the age profile of the local population. Overall, the RLC considered that Southend Radio's proposed Format was well-drafted, and would both cater to local tastes and interests and broaden choice."
2006-04-25: US National Association of Broadcasters(NAB) President and CEO David K. Rehr has told the NAB 2006 convention in Las Vegas that he wants to look forward not backwards and said that NAB "must move from an organization that is perceived as being on defence . . . to one that is on offense."
"We cannot afford to be an organization that is perceived as protecting the status quo ... but rather, one that embraces change," he added, saying that "broadcasting has been defensive in its thinking for too long."
Rehr continued, "Confidence - not doubt or complaint - should set the tone as we move forward. Certainly we have challenges - but broadcasting has a solid base of strength on which to support the dazzling new possibilities ahead. We should not forget those strengths. "
He then cited some numbers for radio and TV, noting that satellite radio "has supposedly 10 million subscribers total. But 260 million people listened to broadcast radio last week alone. Furthermore, satellite radio lost about a billion dollars last year. Its business model is bankrupt. And this is even before our own digital HD radio has kicked in" and that broadcast TV in the 2004-5 season had the top 255 highest rated programs with cable's top rated show coming in at number 256.
Rehr said that building on the solid foundation built by broadcasters "digital TV and digital radio are about to reinvent our industry" and that the broadcasters' future depended on "on our ability to exploit every new technology - on every new platform."
He said that content was king but distribution was key and commented, "Our future is a broadcast signal on every gadget - cellphones, laptops, PDAs - and of course multi-channels of DTV and digital radio."
Rehr called for the education of the US public about digital TV and radio and also implied that more action was needed to level the playing field when it came to issues of decency, commenting, "For television, we need to reframe the debate away from the stray, indecent slip-up.
Instead, we will explain to parents that they have total power - right now - to control all TV programs in their homes. On the radio side, the FCC needs to pay more attention to the obscenity and vulgarity that has found its home on satellite radio. "
Rehr added of the issues of free speech, "We also cannot forget the importance of the First Amendment in this national debate.
Broadcasters feel strongly about free speech, and we will defend it whole-heartedly.
But, no one should imply that protecting the First Amendment is tantamount to promoting the right to be obscene When it comes to the issue of indecency, the NAB is going to play a leading role to maximize one of America's most fundamental axioms - the need for personal responsibility. We will empower people to make good choices based upon their own tastes and values."
He also spoke of switching emphasis in NAB's activities from being seen as lobbyists to being advocates "which conveys positive offense in framing the debate - and thus the future. It is only a change in wording, yes, but it reflects a larger change in attitude."
RNW comment: For his audience this speech probably went down well but only time will tell whether words will become actions and we certainly can't take his comments on "indecency issues" very seriously except as part of pressure to water down the First Amendment.
And as regards "the need for personal responsibility" and people "making good choices based upon their own tastes and values" we haven't seen any laws that force people to listen to any particular radio programming or watch any specific TV shows. People already are empowered and have an off-switch: If they choose to use them in ways NAB doesn't appreciate that is surely their right.
2006-04-25: CBS Radio has now officially confirmed that Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) whom they fired from WNEW-FM in New York in 2002 after the Sex in St Patrick's Cathedral furore (See RNW Sep 2, 2002) are to return to CBS and take over from David Lee Roth in seven markets from tomorrow.
No details of the finances of the deal have been released but other details are as already rumoured including the splitting of the Opie and Anthony Show on XM Satellite Radio into two segments - an initial three hours that will air from 06:00 to 09:00 ET on weekday mornings on both CBS and XM and then a further two hours on XM.
In its news release, which mentions the duo's career until their move from Boston to WNEW in 1998 but not their dismissal, CBS says the first three hours will originate from CBS Radio's WFNY-FM (FREE FM) studio in New York and be simulcast on XM uncensored and the duo will then broadcast from 09:00 to 11:00 ET exclusively for XM live from their current XM studio in New York.
The CBS stations that are to take the show are WFNY in New York plus WBCN-FM, Boston; WXRK-FM, Cleveland; KLLI-FM, Dallas; WYSP-FM, Philadelphia; WRKZ-FM, Pittsburgh; and WPBZ-FM, West Palm Beach: In addition the CBS show will be streamed from New York, Dallas and Philadelphia.
CBS Radio chairman and CEO Joel Hollander said of the deal, "Opie and Anthony have proven their determination to succeed in this business, and have a relationship with their audience that is second to none in the industry. CBS Radio is well known for having among its portfolio some of the best brands in radio, and it's great to have O&A among that stable again. Loyal listeners of O&A have grown accustomed to a show that's real and entertaining. As we move forward, we do so with confidence that this new enterprise will continue in that same spirit."
For XM President and CEO Hugh Panero termed the agreement "a big win for everyone" AND ADDED, "Opie & Anthony will now reach millions of new listeners and will continue to entertain the more than 6.5 million XM subscribers who have made their exclusive show on XM one of our most popular. XM is committed to creating the best content in radio and today's announcement is an example of how we're able to leverage it in a variety of ways that help build our business."
Hughes (Opie) said, "With the combination of XM and CBS Radio, we now have the best gig in the business. The O & A Show is going to be bigger and better than ever," and co-host Cumia (Anthony) added, "We'll now be able to reach millions of new fans and old fans with our new morning show on CBS while offering our loyal XM listeners an uncut show and two extra hours that will only be available on XM."
RNW comment: Apart from the caution, now they've made their peace with the Catholic League, that the hosts are likely to exercise in relation to the Roman Catholic Church we will be interested to find out how many bit of the show as aired on CBS get beeped out. There is an obvious dilemma here in terms of keeping happy the XM audience, whose tastes would be less censorious than FCC rules permit, and at the same time not having too much of an effect on the terrestrial broadcast. One to watch on the blogs on Wednesday?
Previous Opie and Anthony:
2006-04-25: The HD Digital Radio Alliance has announced that 22 more US markets are to add HD multicasts in the second wave of HD multicast programming that will take the total of new radio channels in the US to more than 450.
It adds that HD2 multicasts will now be available in 50 markets, 42 of them in the top 50 US markets -- more than six months ahead of schedule.
The new markets to add multicasts are, in order of rank:
15 - Phoenix,Arizona;16 - Minneapolis, Minnesota;17 - San Diego, California;18 - Nassau-Suffolk, New York;19 - St. Louis, Missouri; 21 - Tampa, Florida; 22 - Denver. Colorado; 23 - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; 25 - Cleveland, Ohio; 26 - Sacramento, California; 28 - Riverside, California; 30 - San Antonio, Texas; 31 - Salt Lake City, Utah; 32 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin; 34 - Providence, Rhode Island; 35 - Columbus, Ohio; 36 - Charlotte, North Carolina; 37 - Middlesex-Union-Somerset, New Jersey;38 - Las Vegas, Nevada; 39 - Orlando, Florida; and 40 - Norfolk, Virginia;
Peter Ferrara, President and CEO of the HD Digital Radio Alliance, commented, "One of the most exciting things about HD Radio is the ability to offer innovative new content customized for each individual local market. Unlike any other audio entertainment source, radio is all about serving the local community and these new HD2 channels will do just that."
In addition to the launch of new stations, Clear Channel has said it is to offer its format lab menu of 75 channels to competitor stations that are bringing HD stations onto the air.
Reporting on the move, Billboard Radio Monitor said in the next few weeks Clear Channel in conjunction with Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Networks is to launch what a spokeswoman describes as a "pretty significant music and industry marketing campaign" to non-Clear Channel prospects for either HD or terrestrial applications.
Most of the channels are "jockless" says the report and many "merely slice existing formats into the narrowest of shards" but "others break ground not heard on terrestrial or satellite radio: a workout channel, a make-out channel, a party channel billed as .a never-ending bar mitzvah.'"
The lab, says Billboard, offers seven country formats, from classic to new to rock to artist-driven. Rock is carved up 18 different ways: indie, metal, new alternative, classic alternative, soft, hard, mainstream, active, even an update of free-form FM complete with a Scott Muni clone. There are seven ACs, seven top 40s, 10 flavours of R&B/hip-hop and five in the jazz and blues vein.
It adds that Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan says customization and localization are key, commenting, "As good as Rush Limbaugh, John Boy & Billy and Bob & Tom are, that programming gets a lot better when it's integrated into the fabric of the radio station " and adding that the same principle applies to the new channels "Smart broadcasters will take the content and customize it and make it highly local and highly connectable to their local audience."
Clear Channel's format lab is overseen by executive VP of content development Tom Owens and executive VP of online music and radio Evan Harrison and the division is managed by co-VPs of content R&D Mike O'Connor and Eric Siebert.
The report quotes Siebert as saying the fundamental premise is "to create the best forms of music and talk programming in a format that can be adapted to terrestrial radio, Internet, HD or cell phones Or they can be part of a videogame, heard in a retail outlet or even in an elevator-wherever people want to enjoy great radio-type programming."
Clear Channel is spreading its wings beyond radio broadcasts in its services - it has an agreement to provide Motorola with content for 75 channels for its iRadio cell-phone subscription service and is providing Sprint customers in 32 markets with news and sports updates on their cell phones on a trial basis.
Hogan adds of the wider market for its offerings, "As consumers have the opportunity to access entertainment and information from so many different places, the opportunities grow for us to partner up with different providers .What really separates radio from other media is we create this incredible one-on-one bond with the listener. As music becomes more accessible and less proprietary, it has become even more important for us to increase our skill and our ability to connect with the listener. That's what differentiates us from a satellite service. Radio is a relationship."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous HD Digital Radio Alliance:
Billboard Radio Monitor report:
2006-04-25: GCap Media has confirmed the appointment of Scott Muller, Programme Director of DMG's Sydney Nova FM, as Programme Director of its flagship station Capital Radio: He will take his new role up in the summer of this year.
Commenting on the appointment and plans for Capital, GCap Operations Director Steve Orchard said in a news release, "While we are encouraged by the progress we have made since January and are receiving positive listener feedback, there is still much to do at this critical time in order to attract new listeners. In Scott Muller, we are gaining a world class programmer with the specific skills and experience to help us take the station to the next level. I am delighted to have him on board."
Muller, whose experience is in Australia apart from a three year stint with GWR, the "G" of G-Cap, responded, "London is the most vibrant and competitive radio market in the world and Capital Radio is at its core. Having taken Nova Sydney to the top spot in a similar market, I understand the challenges and opportunities that we will face and I am incredibly excited to be joining at what is a pivotal time in the station's growth."
2006-04-25: Bid4Spots, the online marketplace for unsold radio ad inventory, has announced at NAB 2006 in Las Vegas that it has now passed the USD 1 million mark in aggregate value of adverts sold through its site and has some 2,000 stations signed up in nearly all the top 300 markets in the US.
The company launched in 2005 with its reverse-auction system under which adverts are offered weekly for the following week: Would-be advertisers enter their criteria for the spots they are interested in including such factors as the demographic they are targeting, station formats and when they want to advertise and in what markets plus details of what they are prepared to spend in terms of the number of spots and maximum cost per thousand listeners.
They then upload their adverts and confirm requirements. From this information Bid4Spots works out the stations that fit the criteria using Arbitron data and invite these stations to bid with the lowest CPM bid winning.
The company argues that many stations that have unsold airtime would rather sell it at a substantial discount than not at all and that their system makes things easy for such stations since they gain access to a customer with spots ready to go and funds already cleared.
Its president and CEO Dave Newmark commented, "As our numbers demonstrate, we've gone from innovative start-up to emerging market leader in a very short time. We're the first to bring a workable solution -- the reverse auction model -- that harnesses the power of the Internet as a platform in a way that benefits radio stations and advertisers alike. And because we focus solely on last-minute inventory, we're a true ally to ad agencies and reps as well -- a status that sets us apart from others in the space."
The company also quoted advertisers and radio stations in support of its model with Mike Boggs, national media director for direct response advertising agency RainMakers International commenting "Bid4Spots allows us to test radio on the discount and see if it works for a client -- opening up the medium to a lot more potential advertisers. Bid4Spots has rejuvenated a portion of the radio advertising space that has not been fully monetized in the past."
Larry Eschenbacher, who sells airtime for Clear Channel's San Francisco progressive talk KQKE-AM added, "Bid4Spots gives us the ability to sell inventory that otherwise would spoil. It brings revenue -- and even some advertisers -- that we normally wouldn't have access to. If we continue to experience the level of success we've had so far, I expect Bid4Spots to turn into a six figure account annually -- one that requires much less maintenance than other accounts."
Bid4Spots web site:
2006-04-24: Hosts out and hosts on the way in plus the fallout from the disclosure of the pay of some top BBC radio names form the backbone of our look at print comment on radio this week.
First the host on the way in - Bob Dylan whose show on XM Satellite Radio launches next month (See RNW Apr 20) and which is previewed in the UK Observer by David Smith.
"It starts with the sound of rain," writes Smith. "A woman's voice tells us it is night in the city, and a nurse is smoking the last cigarette in the pack. Then comes a nasal, gravelly voice, more familiar in song: 'It's time for Theme Time Radio Hour. Dreams, schemes and themes.' The career of Bob Dylan, radio DJ, has begun."
And of the "theme" behind the show: "As the quaint title, Theme Time Radio Hour, implies, it is a simple format, even old-fashioned. Taking a different theme each week, Dylan introduces his favourite records with a wry line or pithy anecdote, then lets the music do the talking. First is 'weather'. Sounding utterly imperturbable in his new role, he drawls in characteristically rhythmic tones: 'Today's show, all about the weather. Curious about what the weather looks like? Just look out your window, take a walk outside. We're gonna start out with the great Muddy Waters, one of the ancients by now, who all moderns prize.' "
Dylan, says Smith, has been provided with a digital recording kit so that he can present the hour-long programme from home, studio or tour bus: He sends a playlist to XM Satellite Radio's researchers, who then assemble the music around his narration.
XM's senior vice president and chief programming officer, Lee Abrams, says the paper, spent three years persuading Dylan to take on the show and comments of the result, "'With Theme Time Radio Hour, Bob redefines "cool radio" by combining a sense of intellect with edginess in a way that hasn't been on radio before. Bob has put a lot of work into his XM show, and it's clear that he's having a good time behind the mic."
The Observer also played a recording of the show to BBC World Service DJ Charlie Gillett who commented, "The programme is seamless and natural - it's how radio should be. His growly commentary is charming. It draws you in and you never for a moment think he's playing games, which he's supposedly notorious for doing. In each case he's got something to say and it all hangs beautifully together. To put Jimi Hendrix and Judy Garland together and not make it sound weird is an impressive achievement. The lack of adverts is also a big boon. For his audience it's absolutely perfect."
Another Dylan devotee, poet laureate Andrew Motion, was impressed by the playlist, commenting, "It has a good mixture; it may not enhance the legend, but it very engagingly confirms a good many things we know - about the eclecticism of his taste, and about his skill in combining light-heartedness with seriousness."
On to the hosts out starting with David Lee Roth, whose last show on CBS Radio was aired on Friday and who has garnered no praise albeit some comments say he had an impossible task in succeeding Howard Stern on the former K-Rock, now Free FM (WFYN-FM) in New York and various other CBS stations, mainly in the eastern US.
David Hinckley in the New York Daily News commented brusquely, "One of the great mismatches of modern New York radio ended in an awkward silence yesterday as David Lee Roth tiptoed away from his final show at WFNY."
Hinckley notes that Roth was hired for a reported USD 4 million a year and was "terminated less than a week before the winter Arbitron ratings are expected to show that more than three-quarters of Stern's audience didn't stay around for 'Roth Radio'."
Roth, Hinckley also notes, called his 3-1/2 months at WFNY a great learning experience and said he hopes to parlay it into future radio and TV work whilst Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) who are expected to take over although no formal confirmation has come from CBS as to this or any details, seemed more concerned about Roth's predecessor with Cumia commenting of Stern, "His era is about over" whilst Stern in turn put out a disinterested comment, saying on his show, "I don't care who CBS hires. ... [Opie and Anthony] could do really well.".
Also out from CBS is San Francisco host John London and his afternoon show team, one of three teams that were with its San Francisco Free FM outlet (KIFR-FM) when it was launched in October: The Doghouse team was hired to fill mornings until Adam Carolla - Stern's West Coast replacement - launched his show in January, Darian O'Toole was dropped last month from here 10am - 2pm weekday slot without official explanation according to Ben Fong-Torres in his Radio Waves column in the San Francisco Chronicle and London, despite good ratings - he was No. 1 in time spent listening among men 18 and older- was dumped along with sidekick Dennis Cruz following comments earlier this month attacking syndicated CBS host and "comic magician" Penn Jillette who does a syndicated one-hour monologue on several CBS Radio affiliates (See RNW Apr 12)
Jillette had commented on the late Mother Teresa, calling her "a really bad, bad person" and claiming that "she got her kinks watching people suffer and die."
London, described by Fong-Torres as "a master of sardonic humour "had criticized Jillette before and began his afternoon show two days later with an attack over the comments.
London commented, "I said that Penn Jillette has said on a number of occasions that words do not hurt people. We should be able to say whatever we want, in the open marketplace of ideas. So here's a little string of sentences for ya: How about if I give somebody $5,000 to kill ya? I'll add $2,000 to that if there's some suffering attached to it. Somebody said, 'How about torture?' I said, 'That's ridiculous; of course not. That's in poor taste.' I said, 'I guess I'll have to open a Paypal account.' The whole thing was obviously a joke, and it was never mentioned again for the entirety of the show."
He added that his lawyers have told him that he violated no laws or FCC regulations and said, "I guess Penn Jillette and his people were calling back east (to CBS Radio chairman and CEO Joel Hollander) because he was getting death threats."
London said KIFR VP and general manager Ken Kohl made an appeal after Hollander, who'd been the subject of occasional crank calls from London, ordered him fired but Hollander stood firm.
"I guess they have a unique relationship with Penn Jillette, and he's going to protect that," London said. (Jillette and his partner Teller have a program, "Bull -- !" on Showtime, which, like CBS Radio, is owned by Viacom. That show has also carried scathing attacks on Mother Teresa and has been criticized by Catholic organizations.)
London said of his next move, "I've contacted some really bad lawyers who will go do some good work for me" adding that he had a no-cut contract -- "as do Chris and Dennis. They did nothing, and yet they were fired."
Still hanging on in a Stern-succession slot but not necessarily for that long is former Cleveland host Shane "Rover" French, whose regionally distributed morning show originates from Chicago's WCKG-FM and airs on a different Cleveland station to his former home base.
He's had poor reviews and ratings and in his column in the Chicago Tribune Phil Rosenthal suggests he could be heading back to his hometown of Cleveland.
"Given that Rover seems to be struggling to establish himself here and in other new cities, " writes Rosenthal, "it will be interesting to see if CBS decides to keep Opie and Anthony from competing directly against him, protecting him in a market where he has fared well before.
Rosenthal then answers the speculative question he's posed by continuing, "No, it's not: First they stuck Ryan Seacrest of "American Idol" in his chair. Last week, Star Jones Reynolds of "The View" got a chance to fill in.
Changing continents and topic, in the UK much comment has been generated by revelations about the pay of various BBC radio star names (See RNW Apr 19 and Apr 15 ) including that in a UK Observer article, "Should doctors and disc jockeys earn so much more than dinner ladies" that follows these revelations and also revelations about the salaries top general practitioners can earn in the UK.
One seemed particularly apposite in the current context, that from philosopher Mary Warnock.
She wrote, "Dinner ladies can have a huge influence but, though each is unique, professionally they are interchangeable. Their education has not been long and expensive, so their pay is low. GPs, too, are interchangeable, but they have had a long training. They are paid according to the number of procedures they carry out. If they overwork, they can earn a quarter of a million. Radio presenters need not be highly educated, but they must be uniquely talented. They're not interchangeable. Like football stars, they are sought for themselves. Their price rises with success. The market produces inequality, but not necessarily injustice "
We wonder how some BBC Radio 4 staff would react to the above since according to Richard Brooks and Maurice Chittenden writing in the UK Times, a number of presenters at the station are indignant at the amounts paid to some of the hosts on BBC's Radio 1 and 2.
"Their indignation," says the Times report, "has little to do with how poorly they are paid in comparison. They are simply outraged that the corporation is paying so much money to people who chatter on air between playing records."
In contrast to the figures that have been published ranging up to GBP 800,000 USD 1.426 million) a year for Terry Wogan, the BBC Radio 2 breakfast host , the Times says presenters of many popular Radio 4 programmes are paid between GBP 700 (USD 1,250 ) and GBP 1,000 (USD 1,800)per show.
The paper notes that the publicity is not good for the BBC at a time when it is trying to persuade the government to boost its licence fee and quotes two Radio 4 presenters - Libby Purves, who presents "Midweek" and who commented, "There is no real national rival to Radios 1 and 2 but for some extraordinary reason they have decided they are in this frenzied celebrity market as if they were television stations" and Andrew Marr, who presents "Start the Week" and said, "I take the view that while we are not munificently rewarded it is an appropriate level."
On to listening suggestions and for those who want to do their own assessment of the relative values of BBC hosts mentioned in various stories on pay the Corporation's online offerings make it fairly simple: Unfortunately the Dylan programming by XM is only available in the US as are Stern and Opie and Anthony, making it nigh impossible for outsiders to form their own view from a non-US perspective.
What is available however is the BBC Radio 4 programme "When Studs Met Fortune" that we recommended last week but feel worth a second recommendation for those who missed it on Thursday or its early Monday repeat: Now approaching 94-years-old Studs Terkel remains lively and opinionated with a sharp eye for the hypocrisies and contradictions of America.
When compared with the comments on the past years inherent in last week's "On the Media" report about the departure of White House press secretary Scott McClellan it certainly indicates that age is not necessarily a bar to producing good radio: We'd take Studs any day.
From Australia, the most recent "All in the Mind" programme from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: "Seeing ourselves as others see us" was an illuminating commentary on prejudices and bigotry with an Australian perspective and American accent (the two prime interviewees came from Princeton) on how prejudices are formed and overcome, "the difference between benevolent sexism and hostile sexism" and how judging people by their attitudes to dogs can be remarkably accurate as a predictor of their attitudes to fellow humans.
And also from Australia the curse of hearing too much in the latest edition of "The Health Report", which was about a rare medical condition called 'Superior Canal Dehiscence' that causes people to hear so much that it becomes a curse - they hear as the programme puts it "hear their blood, their bones, their eyeballs moving and even their pain, as well as every noise echoing in the world around them, from the tiny scratch of insects to every lawn mower in their suburb and conversations dozens of metres away."
Then from BBC World Service we suggest "Chernobyl Tales", stories gathered by Olga Betko on her return 20 years after the nuclear disaster to her mother country: They form the basis of two programmes in the "One Planet" slot - updated on Thursday- so last week's first programme is on the site until then. If nothing else a good illustration of military priorities - one woman commented, "Children are playing in the gardens and [only] the military people are in protective masks."
BBC Radio 4 also looks at Chernobyl in its "Chernobyl Story" tonight at 19:00 GMT when Bridget Kendall travels to Chernobyl and produces a programme with contributions from former residents and experts - including Dr Hans Blix, then Director of the International Atomic and Energy Authority.
Also from BBC Radio 4 - at 14:45 GMT this week -" Test Tubes and Tantrums" in which William Hartston recalls the insults traded when great scientific minds argued about such topics as calculus -Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz; the discover of oxygen and the cautionary tale from the former Soviet Union of how agricultural policy was based on scientists telling Stalin what he wanted to hear rather than what was actually so.
And from Saturday the latest "Archive Hour". In "Say It Plain" Dotun Adebayo looked at the struggles of American blacks for equality through the speeches of those who said it plain, Black American activists.
Switching to BBC Radio 2 , for Led Zeppelin fans the station on Saturday aired "The Led Zeppelin Legacy" and on Wednesday (21;00GMT) the latest of the "10 Million Can't Be Wrong" series looks at the 1976 album "Night Moves" by Bob Seger.
Then BBC Radio 3 and first last Saturday's "The Verb", which included a short story especially commissioned for The Verb in which the Nigerian born writer Segun Afolabi explores the role of blame in our societies today and also talked about the art of the short story with Ian McMillan and guests.
Also from Radio 3 we'd suggest this week's "Performance on 3" slot at 18:30 GMT weekdays which this week features five programmes "Celebrating Dame Janet Baker" on the mezzo-soprano and for Jazz enthusiasts "Jazz on 3" that at 22:30 GMT on Friday marks this year's Cheltenham Jazz Festival. There's more from the Festival at 15:00 GMT on Saturday in "Jazz Line-up."
Chicago Tribune - Rosenthal:
UK Observer - Smith on Dylan (includes playlist of Dylan's first XM show):
UK Observer - Warnock:
New York Daily News - Hinckley:
San Francisco Chronicle - Fong-Torres:
UK Times - Brooks and Chittenden:
2006-04-24: Former Montreal radio host and now Independent Member of Parliament André Arthur and his former employer have been ordered to pay CAD 220,000 (USD 194,000) to 1,100 of the city's taxi drivers for comments made on the now-defunct CKVL-AM in 1998.
In all, according to the Canadian Press, interest and costs will take the bill for more than CAD 300,000 (USD 264,000) for the remarks said by Justice Jean Guilbault of Quebec Superior Court to have been racist and defamatory.
Arthur had said that Montreal taxi drivers only speak Creole and Arabic, in a city that is French and English and added that he couldn't understand them because he doesn't speak "nigger"; deplored their driving skills insinuating they obtained their permits through bribes; and said all the garbage on the street ends up in taxis driven by Arabs and Haitians, making the vehicles dirty and foul smelling.
The Quebec Association of Professional Taxi Drivers was originally refused permission to launch a class-action lawsuit as the Superior Court judge ruled defamation is, by definition, a personal attack but the Quebec Court of Appeal overturned that ruling and in the current judgement Arthur and Metromedia CMR, which owned CKVL at the time, have been ordered to pay CAD 200 (USD 194) to each of the taxi association's taxi drivers whose mother tongue was Creole or Arabic in 1998.
In the judgment Justice Guilbault said discussing problems with the taxi industry were in the "public interest," but there should be no reference to the origins of the drivers.
"Must one target Arab and Haitian taxi drivers to assert a point of view?" he asked in his ruling. "The court doesn't believe so" and also commented that associating the taxi drivers with corruption "was particularly insulting and hurtful."
Taxi association president Fares Bou Malhab told NTR, the French-language broadcast service of The Canadian Press, "The judge condemned the unacceptable ideas. I understand that he wants to denounce industry problems, but he can't blame two communities for all ills. You can't target people and incite hatred against a group or an industry."
Toronto Globe and Mail/Canadian Press report:
2006-04-24: Indian private broadcasters like their US terrestrial counterparts are objecting to applications by satellite radio for terrestrial repeaters in this case plans by WorldSpace which wants terrestrial repeater licences to take its signal to automobile receivers according to Screen India.
As in the US satellite radio is not currently regulated in India and in a letter to the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting the Association of Radio Operators of India (AROI) said, "We fail to understand why the government of India is working on WorldSpace application, even when proper guidelines on satellite radio are still not available."
The publication says sources say that if WorldSpace gains its repeaters it will make FM radio non-viable and quotes AROI coordinator Rajiv Mishra, who is also CEO of Radio Masti , as noting broadcasters had paid exorbitant one-time-entry fee and adding, "Government will have to protect FM radio industry for at least the next 10 years. The ministry is already in plans to welcome new players into the terrestrial radio arena, directly threatening the existence of the FM radio licensees. This is not acceptable."
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has also expressed concern and in its consultation paper said, "Absence of a licensing policy causes several problems, including absence of a 'level-playing field' with respect to FM operators, regulatory uncertainty on the part of the existing and potential satellite radio operators and haphazard development of this important industry."
Previous Indian Radio:
Screen India report:
2006-04-23: Last week saw the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) step up its payola investigation according to the Los Angeles Times (See RNW Apr 21): Otherwise it was mainly a week of routine licensing decisions.
In Australia the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found that two community stations breached Australia's Broadcasting Services Act 1992 by broadcasting advertisements: They were Ballarat Community FM Radio Cooperative Society Ltd, licensee of 3BBB, Ballarat, Victoria and Bankstown City Radio Co-operative Ltd, licensee of service 2BCR, Bankstown, New South Wales.
In the 3BBB case the ACMA found that the station had broadcast an advertisement for line-dancing classes but did not exceed the allowable time limit for sponsorship announcements and took the view that action taken was adequate to address the compliance issues raised.
In the case of 2BCCR it found that the station had both broadcast advertisements during the program Dosti - for a concert, a money-transfer business and a sports business- but had not exceeded the five-minute hourly limit on sponsorship announcements. Again it took the view that action taken was adequate to address the compliance issues raised.
The ACMA has also made changes to the technical specifications at seventeen transmitter sites for the Remote Central Zone commercial radio service, 8SAT and at five transmitter sites for the Remote North East Zone commercial radio service, 4RBL that it says will "will improve coverage of the remote services to areas within the respective remote licence areas, whilst limiting the level of signal overspill into any neighbouring licence areas."
It is also to make FM channel capacity available for Rebel Radio Network's second commercial radio service, 4BRZ, at Bourke, NSW and Chinchilla and Weipa, Queensland.
In Canada licensing decisions by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) included (In order of province):
*Revocation of licence of CJAV-AM, Port Alberni, now that replacement FM station is in operation.
*Approval of extension until 18 March 2007 of time limit to commence operation of low-power English-language FM radio programming undertakings to provide tourist information services in Morden, Winkler and Morris that were authorized in 2004.
*Approval of 210 watts English-language commercial FM in Swan River with a music format featuring selections from the 1960s to the present.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Approval of 1,940 watts FM transmitter in St. Vincent's for CBN-AM, St. John's, to rebroadcast the programming of the CBC's national, English-language network service Radio One.
*Approval of power increase from 5,850 watts to 24,200 watts, and decrease in antenna height for the transmitter CBTB-FM, Baie Verte, of CBT-AM, Grand Falls.
*Approval of increase in antenna height and transmitter relocation for CIOO-FM, Halifax.
*Approval of low-power English-language Type B community FM in Erin.
*Licence renewal until 31 August 2013 for CIBM-FM, Rivière-du-Loup and its transmitters CIBM-FM-1, Rivière-du-Loup, CIBM-FM-2, Trois-Pistoles, CIBM-FM-3, Sully and CIBM-FM-4, Saint-Juste-du-Lac.
The CRTC also gave notice of a public hearing to be held in Edmonton on June 19 to consider various applications including the following radio ones: The deadline for comment or interventions is May 25.
*Application by United Christian Broadcasters Canada for a licence to operate a national English-language specialty Christian music service to be known as UCB Canada Radio 1.
For FMs in Grande Prairie:
*Application for a 100,000 watts English-language classic hits commercial FM
*Application for a 100,000 watts English-language Christian music format commercial FM.
(The above applications are mutually exclusive since they both propose use of 96.3 MHz).
* Application for a 100,000 watts English-language classic hits commercial FM on 98.9 MHz.
*Application for a 66,000 watts modern and classic rock English-language commercial FM using 99.1 MHz.
(The above two applications are also mutually exclusive).
*Application for a 100,000 watts classic rock and modern rock English-language commercial FM using 103.3 MHz
*Application for a 100,000 watts classic rock/hits English-language commercial FM using 103.3 MHz
(The above two applications are also mutually exclusive).
*Application for a 100,000 watts classic rock English-language commercial FM using 104.7 MHz
*Application for a 100,000 watts classic rock English-language commercial FM using 104.7 MHz
(The above two applications are also mutually exclusive).
* Application for a 50 watts classic rock, alternative rock and new rock commercial English-language low power FM using 95.5 MHz.
*100,000 watts soft rock English-language commercial FM using 101.9 MHz
For FMs in Fort McMurray:
*Application for a 20,000 watts adult standard/modern nostalgia format English-language commercial FM using 94.3 MHz.
*Application for a 20,000 watts classic hits format English-language commercial FM using 94.3 MHz.
Application for a 15,300 watts classic hits format English-language commercial FM using 94.3 MHz.
The above three applications are mutually exclusive.
* Application for a 20,000 watts adult contemporary format English-language commercial FM using 102.9 MHz.
* Application for a 20,000 watts popular music and adult contemporary format English-language commercial FM using 103.7 MHz.
* Application for a 20,000 watts classic hits format English-language commercial FM using 100.5 MHz.
* Application for a 20,000 watts adult contemporary format English-language commercial FM using 105.9 MHz.
* Application for a 20,000 watts Christian music format English-language commercial FM using 104.5 MHz.
*Application for a 35 watts low power Christian music commercial specialty FM using 91.1 MHz.
*Application for a 3.6 watts English-language FM Type B community FM in Powell River. Applicant, the Powell River Model Community Project for Persons with Disabilities, has a licence to operate a developmental community radio station in Powell River that expires on September 9 this year
*Application for an 11,000 watts French-language FM Type A community in Miramichi.
*Application for a 50 watts developmental campus FM in Antigonish.
*Application by Maritime Broadcasting System Limited to convert CHER-AM, Sydney, Nova Scotia to FM.
*Application for a 200 watts English and French-language FM to provide emergency information in Greenstone on such threats as forest fires, train derailments and severe winter storms.
*Application or a 1,750 watts English-language adult contemporary/middle of the road commercial FM in Strathroy.
*Application for a 200 watts English-language commercial classic adult contemporary FM in Wasaga Beach.
*Application by 1656810 Ontario Limited, to acquire the assets of the low-power English-language tourist information service CKTT-FM, Timmins, from Tri-Tel Communications Inc., and operate it as a commercial specialty offering religious programming. The Commission adds that the applicant also wants to delete the licence conditions relating to a tourist information service and ban on music except as incidental background and replace it with conditions saying that it will draw at least 95% of the total weekly music from category 35 (non-classic religious) and also provide a minimum of 10 hours of balance programming per broadcast week as defined in Canada's Religious Broadcasting Policy.
*Application from Primetime Radio Inc. to acquire from the partners of AM 740 Primetime Radio Limited Partnership, the assets of CHWO-AM, Toronto, and of the transitional digital radio undertaking CHWO-DR-2 associated with CHWO.
Application for a licence to operate a stand-alone digital radio ethnic programming undertaking proposed to operate from one of three Canadian Broadcasting Corporation facilities located at Montréal and serve the Indian, Pakistani and South Asian communities of Montréal by offering programming in the Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and Tamil languages.
*Application for a 5 watts English-language FM developmental community FM in Dawson City.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has received three applications for the new youth-based South West Regional Licence that will cover the Counties of Kerry, Limerick, Clare, North Tipperary and South-West Laois (See RNW Apr 20).
In the UK, Ofcom has issued a "yellow card" to CN Group's Touch FM, Coventry, (See RNW Apr 21) and also upheld one standards complaint against radio and considered two more resolved in its latest Broadcast Bulletin (See RNW Apr 19) as well as issuing six more community licences.
This brings the total for such licences now issued to 99: The latest licences went to:
Aldershot, Hampshire - Aldershot Army Radio, a service for the soldiers, their families and MoD civilians living and working within the army community in Aldershot Garrison, Mytchett Barracks and the Deepcut/Pirbright training areas.
Cambridge - 209radio, a service for the people of the City of Cambridge, with particular attention being paid to currently under-served, minority or disadvantaged communities.
Cardiff - Beats FM, a service for the black and multi-ethnic communities of Butetown and surrounding districts in Cardiff.
Chesterfield, Derbyshire - Trust FM, a community service for the population of Chesterfield.
Nelson, Lancashire - Pendle Community Radio, a service that will target the Pakistani community in Nelson (over 13% of England's Pakistani population live in the Borough of Pendle).
Stockton on Tees - Cross Rhythms Teesside, a service for the Christian community in Stockton-on-Tees in the 16-35 age group.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as noted has now launched a formal payola investigation: it also dismissed most of a petition concerning the death toll to migratory birds by communications towers in the Gulf Region (See RNW Apr 18).
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-04-23: XM Satellite Radio has now priced its USD 800 million offering of new senior notes comprised of USD 600 million of 9.75% Senior Notes due 2014 and USD 200 million of Senior Floating Rate Notes due 2013 that will offer an interest rate of 9.6% for the initial quarterly period and then at LIBOR plus 4.5%.
It says it intends to use the proceeds to repurchase or redeem its outstanding 14% Senior Secured Notes due 2009, 12% Senior Secured Notes due 2010 and Senior Secured Floating Rate Notes due 2009, which are the subject of a cash tender offer that is scheduled to expire on May 10, 2006, and to make a prepayment in the amount of approximately USD 240 million to retire approximately USD 320 million of fixed payment obligations that would have come due in 2007, 2008 and 2009 under XM's distribution agreement with General Motors.
2006-04-23: Florida authorities have closed down another pirate radio station, this time Creole and Caribbean music broadcasts by Sak Pase Compas, the seventh station to be closed since Florida made it a felony to operate a pirate radio station according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The Miami Herald reports that two men - Junior K. Pierre, of Fort Lauderdale, and Willem Michel, of Lauderhill - were arrested and charged with operating an unlicensed radio station. It says the case began when complaints were made in March about the station, which operated from behind a Fort Lauderdale music store.
Miami Herald report:
2006-04-22: CBS Radio has now dumped Free FM host David Lee Roth who replaced Howard Stern on the company's East Coast stations in January but it is remaining coy about its plans with a company spokeswoman saying an announcement will be made soon. Free FM (WFNY-FM) in New York has not put any details on its web site but has taken morning drive details out of its line-up.
Roth on his last show on Friday said, "I was booted, tossed, and it's going to cost somebody" and the Associated Press says this suggests his lawyers will be pursuing full compensation for his reported USD 4 million contract. The host said he was only told about the syndicated show's demise while in a car on his way to the WFNY-FM studios in Manhattan.
The replacements as rumoured (See RNW April 21) are to be former CBS Radio (then Infinity) WNEW-FM (now a Classic Dance format) hosts Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) in a posting on their web site at commented, "Well, it's all over the news, so apparently we can talk about it now... so much for keeping a lid on this. The Opie and Anthony Show will be replacing David Lee Roth in several markets on CBS Radio FREEE-FM stations (just so you know, a lot of what is being reported is INCORRECT. There will be an official statement about how this whole deal is going to work soon). "
Later on the page after the adverts for "OXY POWDER. This stuff REALLY cleans you out. Most of the staff has tried, and has cleaned out their insides... Now you can cleanse your colon too" and "For some reason, last night we got a BUNCH of new BIG BOOB videos in the LATEST DOWNLOADS SECTION, including they posted a message from "penguinsfan1 "saying, "Please please please ... just don't wreck the XM show. I trust the b-b-boys, but I'd rather not have more of those watered down shows they admit doing during the Citidel simulcast."
[RNW note - spelling errors left in - link below for those who want to dip around the site for more of the duo's style].
An Associated Press report said that Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, who demanded the pair's dismissal after the St. Patrick's scandal that led to their firing from WNEW, issued a statement wishing the pair well. Donohue, who appeared as a guest on the pair's XM show commented, "(They've) made it clear they regretted the St. Patrick's stunt In short, the Catholic League hopes Opie and Anthony have a great run on CBS Radio."
The report also quoted Tom Taylor, editor of the trade publication Inside Radio as saying, "What they're doing is switching to a proven act. This is a group with a pedigree. I would think the stations involved are very happy about this."
Previous Opie and Anthony:
Opie and Anthony web site - carries link to Apr 21st announcement of return to CBS
Washington Post/AP report:
2006-04-22: According to the UK Guardian, Scott Muller, programme director at DMG's Nova FM in Sydney, is tipped as the frontrunner to become Capital Radio's new programming director.
The paper says it understands that Muller, who recently visited the UK, has been targeted for the task of turning Capital Radio around.
Should Muller take the post it will add yet another former GWR executive to GCap Media's roll call and may also invite City speculation regarding the company's attitude to Capital Radio whose managing director Keith Pringle and programme director Nik Goodman have just been dumped by the company (See RNW Apr 21).
They had been responsible for Capital's re-launch in January (See RNW Jan 10) and for retaining Johnnie Vaughan as breakfast host to succeed Chris Tarrant and retaining Richard Bacon at drivetime and there is speculation that the commitment to the hosts may be much weaker with a new programme director.
UK Guardian report:
2006-04-22: Entertainment Network (India) Ltd (ENIL) this week launched its tenth Radio Mirchi station when its new Hyderabad station went on air.
Earlier this week it had already launched Mirchi stations in Bangalore and Jaipur, two other stations whose licences it won in Phase-II of India's radio privatization.
Previous Indian Radio:
2006-04-22: UK Chrysalis has gone national with Jamie Theakston's breakfast show from London Heart FM, which is now on airing a "re-packaged" version of the show on five digital Heart regions - Central Scotland, North East, North West, Yorkshire, and South Wales & the West, which had been airing their own breakfast content using local presenters.
The regional versions of the show will contain local news and travel bulletins and include all the content from the London show, which airs on Heart from 06:00 to 09:00.
Heart Managing Director Barnaby Dawe, said of the change, "Taking the Jamie Theakston breakfast show across the UK ensures that Heart continues to be a national brand with local links. Our regional digital Heart stations will now have access to exclusive big celebrity interviews, which have previously only been available to London's 106.2 listeners. This move further ensconces Heart's position as national proposition."
2006-04-22: UK media regulator Ofcom has issued a "yellow card" to CN Group's Touch FM, Coventry, after examining a Content Sampling Report concerning the station: The regulator announced in February that such reports were to be the main tool to regulate stations as it moved towards "output" rather than "input" regulation.
Such reports are compiled on a "spot-check" basis or after a complaint and in Touch's case there had been a complaint about the station's music content. Ofcom's report found the "general music policy to be acceptable, but identified a problem with the specialist Irish music output - namely, that it was being broadcast in an inaccessible timeslot (0000-0500hrs Mondays), when it had previously been communicated to the station's owners that such scheduling would be contrary to the spirit of the Format."
It noted that the Format forms a part of the station's licence and told the station, which has agreed to do so, to take appropriate remedial steps. Ofcom will not undertake further sampling over the next two months at the end of which it may lift the Yellow Card or, if the station is not operating according to its format, institute sanctions, which would normally be a written warning or fine.
Previous CN Group:
2006-04-21: According to various US reports, CBS Radio is to dump David Lee Roth and bring back Opie and Anthony ( Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) whom it fired from its then WNEW-FM in New York in 2002 after the Sex in St Patrick's Cathedral furore (See RNW Sep 2, 2002).
The duo according to the reports are to retain their XM Satellite Radio channel and provide a "sanitized" three hour show that will air on XM and seven CBS stations - Free FM - formerly K-Rock, the Howard Stern flagship station, in New York and WBCN-FM in Boston, WYSP-FM in Philadelphia, WRKZ-FM in Pittsburgh, WNCX-FM in Cleveland, WPBZ-FM in West Palm Beach, Florida, and KLLI-FM in Dallas - and then continue on XM with a further two hours of show.
Neither CBS nor XM would make any formal comment but the report cites the sources for the story - two people with knowledge of the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity pending an official announcement next week - as saying it [the deal] was in the works.
The Wall Street Journal reported that under the deal Opie and Anthony would promote XM on air to their CBS listeners, a move that would fuel their long-standing rivalry with Howard Stern, now on Sirius where he has disparaged the duo: Stern would be hit with a double-whammy of seeing his rivals take over his slot and also be allowed to promote their show and gain a significant additional audience from CBS whilst it is suing him for promoting his Sirius Show before he left to join the satellite company.
RNW comment: If nothing else there is now a fascinating clash to come between the hosts - the New York Post ran the story under the headline "DOPEY OPIE AND PERVY PAL BACK TO BEFOUL AIR" - and also one that could have ramifications in terms of many eagle ears out to spot any breaches of FCC rules by Opie and Anthony. There is also the question of whether by bringing the pair back CBS could again fall foul of the Catholic Church whose outrage - aided by advertising boycotts - led to their original firing. It wouldn't take too much of a slip in our view to bring the pair and CBS under attack.
Previous Opie and Anthony:
Boston Globe/Associated Press report:
New York Post report:
2006-04-21: Queen Elizabeth II has officially re-opened BBC Broadcasting House in London following its refurbishment.
During a visit to mark the 80th anniversary of the granting of the Corporation's Royal Charter the Queen, who is celebrating her 80th birthday, was also introduced to BBC presenters including Chris Moyles of Radio 1; Sir Terry Wogan KBE of Radio 2; Penny Gore of Radio 3; John Humphrys and James Naughtie of Radio 4; Nicky Campbell and Shelagh Fogarty of Five Live; Jason and Iyare of 1Xtra; and Sonia Deol of the Asian Network.
Wogan commented afterwards, "She was a 'Togg' (one of Terry's Old Geezers) which I'm very proud of. She was probably trying to butter me up We had a good chat but John Humphrys kept interrupting as usual. She asked me how long I'd actually been at the BBC; I said I'd never worked there, but then admitted I've been here for 40 years."
Sonia Deol said that her "favourite moment was whilst I was standing next to Jo Whiley and Chris Evans in the reception in the Council Chamber [where a reception was held]. As she was about to leave the room, Chris Evans got her attention and said 'Your majesty, what do you think is the vital ingredient of a good radio show?' and she said 'I don't actually listen to radio that much but I do listen whilst I'm busy doing other things'! That told us! "
2006-04-21: According to the Los Angeles Times the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Wednesday "launched formal investigations into pay-for-play practices at four of the nation's largest radio corporations, the biggest federal inquiry into radio bribery since the congressional payola hearings of 1960."
The paper says two FCC officials with direct knowledge of the matter confirmed that the agency had sent "letters of inquiry" to Clear Channel Communications Inc., CBS Radio Inc., Entercom Communications Corp. and Citadel Broadcasting Corp., asking for information: At the start of this month the four were reported to be involved in negotiations with the FCC over a possible settlement (See RNW Apr 2) and New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who launched a suit against Entercom last month (See RNW Mar 9), has criticized the FCC over the negotiations saying the figures being spoken of "would be a substantial evisceration of the negotiations we're involved in." (See RNW Apr 4).
Clear Channel Executive Vice President for Law and Government Affairs and chief legal officer Andrew Levin subsequently told the San Antonio Express-News the company was "willing to pay a reasonable amount to put this matter behind us", said by the paper to be USD 1 million (See RNW Apr 6).
The paper said it was told by Bryan Tramont, who served as chief of staff to former FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell and is now an attorney in private practice, that the inquiry appeared to be more than a fishing expedition.
"The FCC would only launch a formal investigation if they had information leading them to believe possible violations have occurred," he said.
The paper also quoted an unnamed "current FCC official familiar with the inquiry" as saying, "Until now, we've been limited to the evidence Spitzer gave us, but a formal investigation will compel the radio companies to answer certain questions, which are usually pretty exhaustive. It will all be on the record now, and once we start demanding documents, we can keep on going until we're convinced we've found everything."
The FCC has denied that it has been slack in its investigation of payola accusations but beyond the identification by FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin last month during a news conference of the four companies as being involved in settlement talks has said little publicly.
Los Angeles Times report:
2006-04-21: Capital Radio Managing Director, Keith Pringle and Programme Director Nik Goodman have left GCap Media as part of changes announced by the company's newly re-launched flagship London station: GCap says the decision, is it moves on with the development of Capital and tries to attract new listeners, is "based on the need to recruit specific skills and experience that will allow us to fulfil these ambitions" and adds that it is to name a new Programme Director next week.
GCap Operations Director Steve Orchard said in a statement, "Since the implementation of the changes to the station in January, much has been achieved through the commitment, hard work and creativity of the team at Capital Radio. The new advertising policy has been welcomed by advertisers, we have held pricing levels, and early listener feedback from our own research is extremely encouraging. However, there is still much to do at this critical time in order to take the station to the next level and attract new listeners. This role is now a unique position in radio in the UK that requires a different skill set and expertise as we seek to turn the station around."
He thanked the two departing executives for their "significant contribution to the re-launch and management of the station in recent years" and added, "They are talented and experienced programmers and I wish them every success for the future."
The departures leave the group even more firmly in the control of former GWR executives: GCap's then chief executive, David Mansfield, the former Capital Radio chief executive, left the group in September last year (See RNW Sep 20, 2005) followed by former Capital colleagues - commercial director Linda Smith and operations director Paul Davies (See RNW Sep 29, 2005) and Graham Bryce, the managing director of Choice and Capital Gold (See RNW Oct 4, 2005). All GCap's three executive directors - chief executive Ralph Bernard, Orchard and finance director Wendy Pallot were with GWR before the merger with Capital Radio to form GCap.
2006-04-21: Arbitron has reported first quarter revenues to the end of March up 7.4% on a year earlier but earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) were down 11.2% to USD 32.7 million and net income was down 8.3% to USD 19.8 million ( Down from 63 cents to 58 cents per diluted share).
Arbitron noted that panned spending on the Portable People Meter (PPM) and Project Apollo initiatives and the required expensing of share-based compensation, effective January 1, 2006, increased costs and expenses for the first quarter by USD 9.3 million/20.9 % to USD53.7 million in 2006 and commenting on the results president and CEO Stephen Morris noted, "In March, Arbitron made the commitment to roll out the Portable People Meter as our radio ratings service in the top 50 markets in the United States. Pending accreditation by the Media Rating Council, Houston will become the first radio market to be electronically measured, as early as July 2006. We continue to work with our radio customers to facilitate the adoption of electronic measurement by broadcasters as well as by advertisers and agencies."
He added, "We are also working with VNU and the six advertisers who are the pilot subscribers to the Project Apollo pilot panel to demonstrate the value of our proposed service for media planning, media mix allocation and return on media investment. This collaboration between research providers and research users will help Project Apollo deliver on its potential to better elevate the role of media in the marketing mix."
On the figures he said, "We met our revenue expectations in the first quarter. We also exceeded our earnings guidance by USD0.06 per share (diluted). This was due, in large part, to lower than projected share-based compensation expense-which was USD0.04 per share (diluted) less than anticipated."
Arbitron says it expects second quarter revenues to be up 6%-8% on a year earlier with earnings per share from 20-22 cents compared to 48 cents a year ago and notes that this year it anticipates that the figures this year will include around USD 2.2 million (5 cents per diluted share) share-based compensation expense quarter and that in 2005 the figures included a USD 3.9 million (12 cents a diluted share) tax benefit related to prior periods. Its full year guidance is for revenues expected to be up 6% to 8% on 2005 and earnings per diluted share expected to be between USD1.69 and USD1.74, up on the previous ) guidance of USD1.65 to USD1.70 because of the impact of lower share-based compensation expense.
The market reacted by marking Arbitron stock up 1.3% to USD 34.09.
RNW comment: In view of the battle being fought between Arbitron and the Media Audit/Ipsos over provision of meter ratings, a battle that Arbitron's Portable People Meter could lose, any guidance is highly speculative.
We are tending towards the view that Arbitron's competitors have superior technology and if loses this fight in the US, we cannot but see very stormy times ahead for the company.
Previous Media Rating Council:
2006-04-20: Chicago public radio station WBEZ-FM is planning to drop jazz, blues and world music programming early next year to make room for news, talk and public affairs around the clock according to Robert Feder of the Chicago Sun-Times, resurrecting a 14-years old plan to make such a move.
At that time says Feder the plan was that WBEZ's two other outlets -- WBEW-FM in Chesterton, Indians, and WBEQ-FM southwest suburban Morris -- were to drop their simulcast of WBEZ and turn into full-time music outlets.
Feder, notes that the plan to make such a move in 1992 from the station's then program director Ken Davis, who was fired two days after his memo was published by Feder, was not taken any further but adds that this time Torey Malatia, who succeeded Davis as program director and subsequently moved up to president and general manager, marshalled the full support of his station's governing board before going pubic with his plan.
Feder says that what cost Davis his job wasn't his proposal per se but anger from WBEZ board members about reading his memo in the newspaper before they had seen it.
He notes that the station's music audience has fallen a fifth from last year, that for eight hours each day that WBEZ airs music, the station draws less than half the listenership of its 16 hours of news and talk daily , and that the availability of jazz in other forms has increased dramatically in recent years with jazz available as it was 14 years ago from WDCB-FM , the west suburban public radio outlet operated by the College of DuPage, but also now channels available from both the satellite radio companies, the Internet, and also that the HD secondary channel of Clear Channel's smooth jazz WNUA-FM broadcasts a 24-hour announcer-free and commercial-free digital signal of traditional jazz.
Feder says that whilst full details of the planned changes are yet to be released, they call for WBEW and WBEQ will be combined with the Internet to "expand on Chicago Public Radio's mission to serve the community, foster dialogue and bridge social gaps with a form of programming that has never been tried before."
He quotes Malatia as saying that what he envisions is a "surprising array of audio experiences that will challenge and entertain listeners The listeners will feel that the station and they are both consuming and creating news and culture with a sense of purpose, energy and discovery that through the very act of listening and participating increases citizen involvement."
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
2006-04-20: The Detroit Free Press says that documents it has obtained under Michigan state's Freedom of Information Act show that Donovan Reynolds, the 55-years-old former director of the University of Michigan's public radio and TV stations received more than USD 108,000 in exchange for his resignation and cooperation in a criminal probe of the stations.
Donovan, who resigned at the start of March, reported suspicious business practices at the university's radio stationslast fall and the paper says that he agreed not to bring legal action against the university for age discrimination in exchange for the severance pay, the equivalent of nine months' salary.
Two former Michigan University employees, including Michael Coleman, former deputy director of Michigan Public Media, are currently on trial for embezzlement and a third has pleaded guilty to one embezzlement charge in a plea bargain (See RNW Apr 14).
Detroit Free Press report:
2006-04-20: The disclosure of BBC radio top pay by two British tabloids - The Sun, which gave details of BBC Radio 1 pay (See RNW Apr 15) and the Daily Mirror, which gave details of pay at BBC Radio 2 (See RNW Apr 19) has prompted criticism from the Commercial Radio Companies Association, whose spokeswoman told BBC radio that they had concerns about the levels, which the commercial industry could not match, and also said that licence fee payers had a right to know what was being bought with their licence money.
The BBC has taken the view that details of contracts with its stars should be kept secret and has refused requests for information about them under the UK's Freedom of Information Act, which does not apply to commercial companies. The Corporation publishes details of the salaries of its senior managers appear in its Annual Report - Director-General Mark Thompson was paid GBP 459,000 (USD 823,000) in the past financial year - but not the packages of on-air talent.
The most recent pay disclosures, which showed BBC Radio 2's new drivetime host Chris Evans as being paid GBP 540,000 (USD 962,000) a year, have further fuelled criticism of Evans on the station's notice boards.
The vast majority of comments posted - and on the corporation's duty log of complaints received, albeit this totalled only 32 complaints on Tuesday, 21 attacking Evans, and the station has a weekly audience of 13.25 million listeners in the latest ratings (See RNW Feb 3) - attack Evans' performance.
Amongst the comments on Radio 2 message boards that we noted was one that commented, "Saviour of R2? More like its death knell. Chris Evans is the avian flu of broadcasting" and another that said, "Speaking as a pensioner (just) who is an avid fan of Radio 2 Monday to Friday 6.00am to 7.00pm (now 5.00pm as I can't stand CE) I would agree that the weekends need some attention but I cannot agree that Chris Evans is the future of R2 - he is excruciating and not suited to the network, he should go back to Radio 1 as that is a more appropriate audience for his type of broadcasting."
There were some comments defending the Evans show including one comment that said, "Friday night and Sunday Radio 2 is OLD and extremely OUTDATED. Chris Evans is the SAVIOUR of Radio 2, NOT the dusty old pensioners on Friday nights and Sundays."
The UK Guardian has a blog on its site for comments on the new show which is rather more balanced between those pro and con including pro comments (comments as posted), "Good start to the show, good guest also" and "it fell like home already, albeit a new home where you've not arranged all the furniture or unpacked all of the boxes. nerves showed which was good to hear. will do fine" and con ones, "So far, it's everything I expected. That's not intended as a compliment!" and "Oh dear - every bit as bad as I feared it might be. Juvenile, superficial, crass. Turned off after 30 minutes. End of an era for me, no more radio 2 between 5 and 7pm."
BBC Radio 2 web site -message boards page:
UK Guardian blog re Evans:
2006-04-20: XM Satellite Radio has announced a May 3 start date for Bob Dylan's weekly show "Theme Time Radio Hour with Your Host Bob Dylan" that will feature a mix of music based around a particular theme each week together with special guests and stories about the music and topics of interest from Dylan.
XM says guests due on the show will include Elvis Costello, Charlie Sheen, Penn Jillette, Sarah Silverman and Jimmy Kimmel.
It adds that the first show will be devoted to the theme of "weather," with a song list that includes "A Place in the Sun" sung in Italian by Stevie Wonder, "The Wind Cries Mary" by Jimi Hendrix and "Keep on the Sunny Side" by The Carter Family and says song lists for future episodes will be built around themes such as "cars," "dance," "police," and "whiskey."
XM will post complete track lists of each show on a dedicated Bob Dylan page on its web site including links to allow the purchase of selected tracks through Napster.
2006-04-20: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has received three applications for the new youth-based South West Regional Licence that will cover the Counties of Kerry, Limerick, Clare, North Tipperary and South-West Laois.
They are from Fresh FM Ltd.; Carrarush Ltd. (Red FM South West); and Spin South West Limited and the Commission says it expects the first phase of consideration of the applications will take place at its board meeting on June 19.
2006-04-19: Emmis has reported fourth quarter revenues up 4% on a year earlier at USD 84.5 million and full year revenues to the end of February up 10% to USD 387.4 million but the market reacted strongly to a fourth quarter overall loss of USD 35.4 million (USD 1.01 per common share) from continuing operations - compared to USD 10.1 million profit a year earlier: Emmis stock, which had closed at USD 15 on Monday, ended Tuesday down 11.5% at USD 13.28, having fallen at one point to USD 11.86.
Overall Emmis reported net income for the quarter of USD 139.6 million (USD 3.71 per share) compared to a loss a year earlier of USD 265.9 million (USD 4.75 per share) and for the year of USD 358.4 million (USD 8.15 per share) compared to net loss of USD 304.4 million (USD 5.58 per share) a year earlier when Emmis recorded a non-cash charge of approximately USD 303.0 million, net of tax, in its fourth quarter as a cumulative effect of an accounting change.
Emmis says that of its fourth quarter loss, 99 cents per share came principally from a pre-tax impairment loss of USD37.4 million resulting from its annual SFAS No. 142 impairment review and also a pre-tax loss on debt extinguishment of USD7.0 million resulting from the application of television station asset sale proceeds; approximately USD6.1 million of corporate bonus and severance payments of associated with the sale of the Company's television stations; and increase in interest expense of USD11.9 million.
The company now operates only a radio and publishing division with the former dominant- its reported revenues in the quarter were up 4% at USD 63.1 million -- pro forma radio net revenues including WLUP-FM and the Emmis radio networks in Slovakia and Bulgaria for all periods decreased 2% - and for the year were up 10% at USD 300.5 million whilst publishing revenues for the quarter were up 7% to USD 21.4 million and up 12% for the year to USD 86.8 million.
Within the radio figures international radio net revenues for the quarter ended Feb. 28, 2006 were USD 8.7 million and Emmis notes that full-year consolidated net revenues and station operating income from Slager Radio, Emmis' 59.5% majority-owned radio station in Hungary, were USD19.2 million (up 11%) and USD7.8 million (up 16%) respectively.
Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said of the performance, "In the past fiscal year, we have transformed the company. We sold 13 of our 16 television stations at higher than expected prices, and we used that money to pay down debt and buy back nearly 40% of our stock. Our balance sheet is very strong, which will allow us to invest both in our core properties and in businesses we expect to grow faster, including our interactive division."
South of the border, Mexican broadcaster Grupo Radio Centro, S.A. de C.V. reported broadcasting revenue for its first quarter to the end of March up 60.3% to MXN 176.53 million (USD 16.1 million) , putting the increase down mainly to increased political advertising.
Broadcasting expenses for the quarter were up 8.3% to MXN 96.8 million (USD 8.8 million) and broadcasting income nearly tripled - it was up from MXN 20.7 million (USD 1.89 million) in the first quarter of 2005 to MXN 79.7 million (USD 7.25 million).
Overall Grupo Radio turned a net loss of MXN 9.54 million (USD 870,000) for the first quarter a year earlier into a profit of MXN 33.9 million (USD 3.1 million) this year.
Previous Grupo Radio:
2006-04-19: Following revelations by rival tabloid The Sun about BBC Radio 1 salaries (See RNW Apr 15) the UK Daily Mirror has now published details of the pay of BBC Radio 2 star names including the highest paid - weekday breakfast host (Sir) Terry Wogan who receives GBP 800,000 (USD 1.426 million) a year for five two-hour shows and has a daily audience of around 8 million - and the highest pay per minute - Jonathan Ross, who gets GBP 530,000 ( USD 945,000) for a three-hour Saturday morning show that has an audience of around 3.4 million making his rate GBP 56.62 (USD 101) per minute compared to GBP 25.64 ( USD 45) for Wogan.
Amongst other names the paper says Chris Evans is being paid GBP 540,000 (USD 962,000) to take over Johnny Walker's weekday Drivetime slot; Steve Wright gets GBP 440,000 (USD 785,000) for five three-hour shows a week with an audience of 6.5 million; Mark Radcliffe gets GBP 197,000 (USD 351,00) for his mix of poetry, interviews and live music; Ken Bruce gets GBP194,000 (USD 345,00) for his weekday morning programme; Janice Long makes nearly GBP 137,000 (USD 244,000) for her programme that runs from midnight to 3am on weekdays; Michael Parkinson who gets GBP 115,000 (USD 205,000) for his once-weekly Sunday Supplement on Radio 2; and Bob Harris who gets GBP 96,000 (USD 171,000) for presenting three shows a week covering country, new music and classic hits.
UK Daily Mirror report:
2006-04-19: Entravision has announced that it has promoted Susan Knoll from her previous post as Director of Research, Entravision Radio to the post of Vice President/ Director of Research overseeing all Entravision Communications divisions, including Television, Radio and Outdoor.
Knoll has spent the last 11 years in research including spells with ABC Radio Networks in Dallas, Texas; Chancellor Media Corporation/AMFM Radio Networks - from 1998 to 2001; Clear Channel, where she was Director of Research Operations & Information Services for Clear Channel Communications in Los Angeles; and then from 2004 with Entravision overseeing its radio research and later adding outdoor to her brief.
She will be based at Entravision's corporate headquarters in Santa Monica, California.
2006-04-19: Indian private FM station owners, who are currently banned from transmitting news and current affairs, are planning to test the market with short news updates at peak hours and are hoping that the government will relax regulations that currently allow only public broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) to transmit news according to the Indian Financial Express.
The paper quotes an unnamed FM radio CEO as saying, "News will not be a 24 by 7 (round the clock) affair. It will be more by way of updates with exceptions like live coverage of, say, cricket matches."
It adds that because of the costs stations are less likely to set up their own news operations than to tailor content from other media and quotes Lakshmi Narayanan, transmission manager for Sun TV, a major broadcaster in south India that has won rights to 26 FM frequency bands, as saying, "Although we broadcast film music currently, we do not have a problem with broadcasting news and current affairs as we can depend on our TV news channels."
Indian radio advertising is expected to grow four-fold over the next few years from, INR 300 crore (USD 67 million- a crore is ten million) to INR 1,200 crore (USD 250 million) according to consultant PricewaterhouseCoopers (See RNW Mar 26)
Previous Indian Radio:
Indian Financial Press report:
2006-04-19: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin upholds one standards complaint against radio and considered two more resolved and regarding TV it also upheld one standards complaint and considered two resolved. In addition it gave details of three more TV standards complaints and four fairness and privacy TV complaints that were not upheld.
In addition Ofcom also listed with no details a further 176 complaints against 151 items that were rejected or held to be out of remit compared to corresponding totals of 123 complaints against 110 items in the previous bulletin.
These included 30 radio complaints relating to 26 items and 146 TV complaints relating to 125 items compared to 22 radio complaints relating to 21 items and 123 TV complaints relating to 110 items in the previous bulletin.
The radio standards complaint upheld involved comments made in February on Tom Binns' drivetime show on GCap Media's BRMB before a news bulletin on the day after a Moscow market collapsed under the weight of snow, killing 57 people.
GCap said it agreed that the comment - "They are still pulling survivors from the Moscow market that collapsed, the good news is that all the survivors are being given a blanket and 250 Clubcard points" - was both "ill judged and insensitive", apologized and said all possible steps have been taken to ensure that there will be no further occurrence of this kind in the future.
Ofcom commented that "although the presenter is new to this slot, he is an experienced comic and should have recognized that such a comment was not appropriate In view of this, we thought that the comment was offensive in this context, particularly given its broadcast before the news bulletin."
The radio complaints considered resolved involved the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast with Graham Beecroft on talkSPORT and the Steve Earl Insomnia night time show on Vibe fm, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
The first related to references to the sponsor of a competition within the programme and talkSPORT acknowledged that any promotion of the sponsor should have been limited to credits at the beginning and end of the feature, also accepted that an aired requirement to use the sponsor's name in text entries was not editorially justified, and said it had taken measures to ensure there would be no repetition.
In the Vibe case a complaint had been made about a caller who said he and his friends had "dressed up as Pakis - by the way, I'm not racist", to which the presenter responder, "That's OK" and later comments in which the caller spoke of being chased out of a supermarket after going in with "head gear on and that" and the presenter responded, "Oh dear Maybe they thought you were going to build a corner shop I don't know whether I should have said that or not.". When the conversation ended he played a record, after which he announced: " if that last phone call offended anybody in any way I apologize."
Parent Emap said the presenter's inexperience - he had only hosted five programmes previously - led him to mistakenly continue with the call in question rather than terminating it and also to the clumsy apology. It added that the station's Head of Programmes had spoken to the presenter, stressing the importance of terminating conversations in which racist or derogatory language is used.
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2006-04-18: Sumner M. Redstone, chairman of both Viacom and CBS has defended the decision to launch a lawsuit gainst former Infinity (Infinity is now now CBS Radio) host Howard Stern over Stern's promotion of Sirius before moving to the satellite radio service and says CBS is "pretty confident of winning."
In an interview with Newsweek concerning his plans and the future for CBS and Viacom he was asked why CBS waited until February to launch its lawsuit seeking the USD 200 million stock bonus that the host received from Sirius.
Redstone responded that Stern "used our airwaves to advertise a competitor" and added, "We are supposed to get paid for advertising. We did not. And he was incentivized to do that, as shown by the bonus that he got [from Sirius]."
"We delayed suing him," said Redstone, "because we do not lightly enter into litigation. But now that we have, we are determined to see it through. We're suing not only for what he did on the airwaves, but for the bonus that he got as a result of misusing our airwaves. We are pretty confident of winning. And if you don't believe me, ask Les [Leslie Moonves, CBS President and CEO]."
Stern has described the law suite as a personal attack on him by Moonves whom he has described as "vindictive, vicious and jealous."
2006-04-18: XM Satellite Radio has announced plans to sell USD 600 million of Senior Notes Due 2014 and Senior Floating Rate Notes Due 2013 to qualified institutional buyers. It says the proceeds will be used to Senior Notes Due 2014 and Senior Floating Rate Notes Due 2013 to qualified institutional buyers.
It adds that the interest rate and offering price are to be determined by negotiations between XM and the initial purchasers of the notes and says the transactions will simplify XM's capital structure and are expected to lower XM's ongoing interest costs and extend the maturity dates of the company's debt portfolio.
In an 8-K filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission XM says it will need up to around USD 530 million of net proceeds to retire all of the 14% Notes, 12% Notes and Floating Rate Notes and that it anticipates that the new notes will be unsecured and will have lower interest rates than those of the existing senior notes, as well as a later maturity date.
It also says it has received or expects shortly to receive commitments with respect to a new USD 250 million revolving credit facility from a group of banks led by J P Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. and UBS Loan Finance LLC and also expects to have the right to increase the size of the facility by up to USD100 million, with any increase to be syndicated on a "best efforts" basis with no lender being required to increase its commitment.
The filing also says XM is currently negotiating a series of amendments to its arrangements with General Motors, including a possible prepayment of some USD 240 million that would retire approximately USD 320 million of fixed payment obligations that would come due in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
2006-04-18: Coast to Coast AM host Art Bell has married Filipina Airyn Ruiz whom he met after a mutual friend introduced them following the death of his wife Ramona in January this year after an asthma attack (See RNW Jan 7).
Bell, who now hosts the weekend editions of the show spent around an hour of it at the weekend telling the story of how he met his new wife, whom he spent several months getting to know through video conferencing followed by a visit to the Philippines with his friend, who has married Ruiz's sister.
The host said that he is to move to the Philippines at the end of the month and will host shows from his new home: He also said he's putting his current Nevada home and oldies radio station KNYE-FM in Pahrump up for sale.
Coast-to-Coast site story (including photographs of Bell wedding):
2006-04-18: Clear Channel has announced that 900 of its stations are now simultaneously offering exclusive, on-demand content to its audience the biggest week ever for the unit, which was launched in March last year.
The company says Clear Channel Radio station Web sites will be the only place to hear the latest albums from Rihanna and Godsmack and also to check out Carrie Underwood's exclusive, in-studio STRIPPED performance.
In a news release Evan Harrison, Executive Vice President of Clear Channel Radio and head of the company's Online Unit commented, "We have some of the greatest artists choosing Clear Channel Radio to debut their content exclusively on-demand on our site. Godsmack has a devout rock audience and Rihanna's "SOS" is burning up the charts. It's an honour to offer our millions of listeners the first chance to experience these eagerly anticipated releases as well as an intimate STRIPPED recording with Carrie Underwood."
Clear Channel says that since it began delivering original, on-demand content at the start of this year the total number of plays has increased more than ten-fold and now averages 1.3 million plays a week.
Previous Clear Channel:
2006-04-18: CBS Radio in Chicago is to restructure its Chicago management from the start of next month following the departure of WCKG-FM (Free FM) general manager Terry Hardin.
Company veteran Rod Zimmerman who is currently SVP and market manager of CBS Radio in Chicago and vice-president and general manager of WBBM-AM, will add the WCKG general managers post to his duties.
Peter Bowen, who is currently vice-president and general manager at WBBM-FM (B-96) and also director of sales for the company's seven Chicago stations will drop the latter role and add the roles of vice president and general manager of WJMK-FM (Jack-FM), replacing Dave Robbins in the last post.
Gabe Tartaglia, who has been with CBS since 1994 and general sales manager of WUSN-FM since March 2004, has added the role of director of Sales for the cluster.
Dave Robbins, who was named as director of Digital Programming, CBS Radio, in September 2005 and is also vice president and general manager of WUSN-FM, will retain these roles but drop his WJMK GM post to concentrate efforts on CBS Radio's HD initiatives.
Commenting on the changes CBS Radio SVP/regional manager Les Hollander said in a statement that CBS Radio had "assembled an extraordinary line-up of executive management in Chicago driven to produce outstanding results for CBS Radio This new structure is designed to capitalize on each individual's unique talent and role in the evolution of the radio landscape in the market."
Previous Les Hollander:
2006-04-18: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), although it is still to consider scientific information about the matter, has dismissed or denied most of a 2002 petition filed by the Forest Conservation Council, American Bird Conservancy and Friends of the Earth that claimed that its policies in relation to tower construction in the Gulf Coast region, which it says is critically important for migratory birds, breached various environmental statutes.
The bodies had claimed that the towers were having a "significant adverse impact on migratory birds in that region" and said that the FCC violated the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) "by categorically excluding from environmental review 5,797 communications tower registrations in the Gulf Coast region, and by failing to consider migratory bird concerns in its environmental review of an additional 96 communications tower registrations" and also violated other regulations by failing to prepare a programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) addressing the environmental effects of past, present, and future antenna structure registrations in the Gulf Coast region and by failing to consult with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) regarding the effects of its antenna structure registration decisions on listed species and by failing to take action to minimize the "take of migratory birds".
The organizations subsequently filed a law suit (See RNW Feb 24, 2003) and in August 2003 the Commission adopted a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) to gather comment and information on the matter (See RNW Aug 22, 2003).
It says in its ruling, which dismissed the petition in part and denies it in part the FCC says that it will address "as appropriate, in connection with issues already specified in the Notice of Inquiry."
The commission says that in response to responses received it retained environmental risk consulting firm Avatar Environmental to help it evaluate studies and says that the petitioners have not shown specific evidence enough concerning the impact of towers in the region on migratory birds.
It dismisses the call for it to commence an Environmental Impact Study on all "past, present, and reasonably foreseeable antenna structure registrations in the Gulf Coast region" and for environmental reviews on the existing 5,797 communications towers in the region and the call for relief submitted by 11 birdwatchers. It also denies a request that the owners of 96 constructed towers in the Gulf Coast region supplement their Environmental Assessments to consider effects on migratory birds.
Both Democrat Commissioners issued statements concerning the decision with Jonathan S. Adelstein commenting, "While I do not fully embrace this Memorandum Opinion and Order, I am willing to vote in favour of our ruling today because of the agreement to my request to consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the larger proceeding addressing the important issue of the potential effects of communication towers on migratory birds" and adding, "While I am sympathetic to a number of issues raised in the petition before us today, the petition just is not the right vehicle for these overarching concerns. This is particularly true when you consider the rebuilding efforts that will be so critical to the Gulf Coast area over the next several months, particularly with a new hurricane season rapidly approaching."
His colleague Michael J Copps notes that "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conservatively estimates that collisions with communications towers kill more than four million birds per year. Some estimates put the figure as high as forty million bird kills annually" and that migratory birds are particularly vulnerable.
He then goes on to stress the importance of communications towers but says the matter is not an all or nothing one and comments, "Evidence suggests, for example, that something as simple as tower lighting changes might significantly reduce bird mortality" and adds, "Today's action says less about the impact of communications towers on migratory birds than it does about past Commission failure to do its job. It was in 2003 that we initiated our Migratory Bird proceeding. Many of the issues still unresolved in that proceeding are the same issues underlying the Petitioners' request before us. We need to get on with this job. More research may need to be done - and some serious inter-agency dialogue and coordination are in order."
He concludes that he "must respectfully dissent from the remainder of the decision that dismisses the Petitioners' request for action, because it fails to analyze substantively the issues underlying it."
2006-04-17: Spurred in part by the award of the new North East England regional licence in to Saga (See RNW Apr 14), we start our look at print comment on radio this year with two US reports that illustrate a very different regulatory environment.
Saga is offering a format targeted at he 50-plus audience and under UK regulations, as in most countries, the format is part of the licence conditions meaning that WBIG-FM, Clear Channel's former Washington D.C. oldies station that has just been narrowed down to a format of rock-oriented hits from the '70s would almost certainly have survived in most countries.
The reason for the change, as noted by Marc Fisher in the Washington Post, isn't that the station has lost its audience but rather, "The simple explanation for The Day the Oldies Died in Washington is that the people who love the oldies got too old."
Oldies stations writes Fisher "draw an audience with an average age of about 51, and in the music radio business, that's considered too old to attract the most desirable advertisers. (Different standards apply to news and talk stations. The all-news station that is this market's No. 1 revenue producer, WTOP, has an audience in the same age bracket, and nobody complains about its success.)"
He also comments on the business model for radio: "Radio in recent years has been all about narrowcasting, defining a demographic niche and trying to dominate it, even if the station's overall audience numbers seem low."
Fisher notes that in this case Clear Channel has eschewed a common practice at Oldies station of dropping earlier music from the 50s and 60s and concentrating on the 70s onwards and also that the change is likely to significantly change the make-up of the audience for the station.
"Because its music choices and programming style mimicked the old Top 40 razzle-dazzle, with jingles and fast-paced, big-voiced deejays, Big 100.3's oldies format," says Fisher, "was one of the last remaining places on the dial that attracted a racially mixed audience (all-news and smooth jazz are about the only formats that still manage to do that)."
The change, in other words, in a city where the white suburban population is a declining part of the potential audience was made with business rather than station audience considerations in mind: "By selling time to advertisers on a package of all the company's Washington music stations -- classic-rock WBIG, soft-rock WASH (97.1), hard-rock DC101, country WMZQ (98.7) and pop hits Hot 99.5 -- Clear Channel can offer local businesses ways to reach much of the more affluent suburban (and white) market."
Fisher comments on radio's priorities as "Radio executives don't especially care whether they duplicate the appeal of another station in town or if entire genres of music vanish from the
dial. Their imperative is to deliver the demographic group advertisers seek" and quotes Sean Ross, vice president of Edison Media Research as saying, "Owners of oldies stations have been so determined to change the composition of their radio stations that they've all but declared war on their own audience."
All, of course is not lost for oldies fans who are prepared to pay directly for their choices and Fisher notes that for XM oldies are one of the most popular offerings and, according to its vice president of programming Eric Logan "the '60s channel audience is equally as strong as the '70s and '80s channels."
As Fisher comments, the radio companies' decisions "might push ever more listeners to shell out USD 13 a month for satellite radio, but broadcast radio companies are so focused on short-term return that they barely seem to notice."
As well as issues related to advertising demands, which have also affected African-Americans who have seen their interests affected as spending has moved over to attracting Hispanics after the 2000 census showed the latter to be the largest "minority" group in the US, another aspect of the market-based approach to radio in the US is that like many things governed by market pressures there is often an inherent instability in changes made to meet the demands of the moment.
One area where this has happened relates to reggaeton, which Agustin Gurza in the Los Angeles Times says "saw a quick burnout with fans and radio."
Gurza notes both the quick rise - Los Angeles's KXOL-FM dumped its easy listening format to switch to reggaeton in May last year and in summer was up from 18th to second place overall in Arbitron's ratings and first among listeners 12 to 24 years old - and fall of the format - "By the end of the year, however, KXOL had slipped to eighth place in the Los Angeles market, trailing three Spanish-language competitors with more conservative formats" and "In at least three markets - Las Vegas, Dallas and Miami - stations that gambled on the music's growing popularity have since switched back to more traditional musical formats."
He puts part of the problem down to over-exploitation of the music - "Reggaeton's sudden international success is also the source of its current troubles. The rap on reggaeton has always been that it's too repetitive. Without a deep catalogue of hits to fall back on, new reggaeton radio stations found themselves stuck with a relatively small set of records to program. To critics and sceptical newcomers, it all started sounding like one long song being played 24/7."
On a different note, Peter Dobrin in the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that The Philadelphia Orchestra is returning to national radio in a deal with National Public Radio.
Performances will not be broadcast live but in recordings from concerts that will air on NPR's SymphonyCast and Performance Today and the orchestra's interim executive director Elizabeth Warshawer commented of the deal - for one year initially with an NPR option for two more seasons, "This will provide us with the national presence that we haven't had .As we focus on both our local brand image and our global brand image, this is certainly an important piece of that."
The deal is more about exposure than cash and under its terms NPR does not pay the orchestra for content and expenses are to be paid from parts of the orchestra's endowment earmarked for electronic-media projects.
In contrast to the Philadelphia Orchestra's success in getting back on air - even if only as part of programmes - rumours persist that former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth is about to see his radio career die.
In an Associated Press report carried by Newsday, Larry McShane quotes Michael Harrison, founder of the trade publication Talkers magazine as saying of Roth, "He's a dead man talking. Based on reports from behind the scenes and critical reaction, coupled with early ratings, it's not looking good."
Harrison was backed up by Tom Taylor, editor of the trade publication Inside Radio who said, "I think the radio industry expects this will end sooner than later. It's widely expected in the industry that this won't go on. It's looking dark. It's looking bleak."
As well as failing to hit the mark with audience figures Roth has also been savaged by critics -- Roth's show is ... skin-crawlingly awful," wrote Rob Sheffield in a Rolling Stone piece. "In these days of bland Clear Channel/Infinity corporate radio, it's bracing to hear a guy who has no idea what he's doing. ... Listening to Roth, you feel actual physical pain."
It's also become the butt of jokes and comments from rivals - Don Imus said of Roth, "He's a mess, and he's a loudmouth punk" and after WKTU-FM aired a Van Halen song co-host Goumba Johnny commented, "David Lee Roth singing on that? More people heard him on 'KTU this morning than on Free-FM."
CBS has declined to comment on the show.
And before moving on to suggested listening, a look at the UK's experience of Community Radio courtesy of Laura Smith in the UK Guardian.
In all Ofcom, which invited applications for the first community licences in 2004, has now licensed 93 stations having received 194 applications but, says Smith, "Those faced with the challenge of funding the not-for-profit stations - at an average annual cost of GBP 100,000 (USD 180,000) - say lobbying of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport by commercial stations fearful of the impact on their bottom line has led to restrictions that will make it hard for them to function."
Alan Fransman, deputy director of the Community Media Association, commented, "The commercial sector lobbied very hard for additional restrictions, which we believe are far too severe. They pursued legitimate means but they enjoyed huge political support from MPs who thought they were protecting their local commercial stations and didn't understand community radio."
The restrictions include a ban on community stations in an area where a commercial station already serves fewer than 50,000 adults but community radio's proponents argue that fears of a threat to commercial stations' revenues are unfounded and that they look for different advertisers such as small traders and ships who cannot afford commercial stations' rates. Fransman also argues that whilst commercial stations sell advertising for a particular audience, the community stations change throughout the day and commented, "They might change music genre and even language from one hour to the next so the audience migrates. It is very rarely that you find someone who listens to a community station all day."
With an opposing view, Kevin Stewart, chief executive of Tindle Radio and a director of the Commercial Radio Companies Association, says stations making a smaller profit need to be defended.
"Most of them just about make a little profit and in many cases make a loss supported by a group like ours," says Stewart. "Every station I have is community-focused. You are talking school closures and what the local council is doing. I think it's only fair that they should be protected."
At Ofcom the issue is regarded as one of balancing priorities and Peter Davies, Ofcom's director of radio, commented, "On the one hand you have small commercial stations that are worried and on the other you have community stations that want to launch. We need to see how it works out over the next 18 months and whether the restrictions are too strict."
And now listening suggestions: First for those who can spend today just listening BBC Radio 3 from 0800 to midnight local (0700 to 2300 GMT) is airing "The Ring in a Day", the whole of Wagner's Ring Cycle in a Daniel Barenboim Bayreuth recording with a cast including Anne Evans as Brünnhilde, Siegfried Jerusalem as Siegfried and John Tomlinson as Wotan.
Barenboim, incidentally, is delivering the 2006 Reith Lectures - last Friday's second lecture is on the BBC Radio 4 web site as both an audio stream and video and an MP3 and the first lecture is on the site as an audio stream or video.
And for those who might like a little light-relief, BBC Radio 4 at 10:30 GMT has the fifth of a six-part series of "Ayres on the Air": Until then last week's which is worth a listen for the baby-sitting by grandmother sketch alone is on the web site until then.
Also from the BBC today, Radio 2 at 18:00 GMT in the first of a series of programmes exploring the work of what the station is terming "legendary and maverick record producers" features Trevor Horne, producer among others of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, ABC, Grace Jones, Seal and Yes.
The station tomorrow has a contrast in "Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Story", the first of a three-part series presented by Paul Gambaccini at 1930 GMT followed an hour later by the first of a four part series presented by Steve Van Zandt telling the story of the late actor, singer and jazz trumpeter Louis Prima.
On Friday at 20:30 GMT it features "Happy Birthday Ma'am", an 80th-birthday tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, presented by Mariella Frostrup
Then for more at-a-time of your choice listening, we'd recommend from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation last Saturday's "All in the Mind" which in "The psychology of terrorism" looked at current research into the psychology of terrorism and its implications for solutions to the problem.
The station in its latest "Law Report" draws parallels between the current War on Terror and the Alfred Dreyfus case, seen as rather forced in some areas by some of the contributors but with a general agreement over the parallel of Dreyfus, like many of those now in US custody -and some in British custody - not being allowed to see the evidence against him. In the case of Dreyfus, the evidence was forged.
Back to BBC Radio 4 and Thursday at 10:30 GMT and "When Studs met Fortune" in which British satirist John Fortune, who 44 years ago appeared on Terkel's show meets Terkel, coming up to 94 next month, to catch up on events. Also from Radio 4, we note that the "Now Show" (Fridays at 17:30 GMT) is now available as an MP3 as well as an audio stream for a week after its airing.
And a final recommendation from last week's "On the Media" from WNYC in terms of two items relating to HD radio, once concerning HD itself and the other on the lobbying by Recording Industry Association of America to make flag technology (which would prevent listeners from making copies of music they had recorded from HD radios) mandatory for all HD.
Los Angeles Times - Gurza:
Newsday/AP - McShane:
Philadelphia Inquirer - Dobrin:
UK Guardian -Smith:
Washington Post - Fisher:
2006-04-17: Although he trend of radio rights payments is down, primarily after CBS decided it had been overpaying - in St Louis CBS Radio's KMOX-AM opted not to renew its Cardinal's rights deal (See RNW Aug 6, 2005), and in Washington D.C. its WJMK-FM opted out of a new deal for the Redskins unless the price was cut (See RNW Dec 26, 2005) - the rights in each are now with stations owned partially (St Louis) or wholly by the teams - rights for the Boston Red Sox are likely to buck the trend and go for an increased amount to one of two stations according to the Boston Globe.
The paper says that bidding by Boston's dominant sports station, Entercom's WEEI-AM, and Greater Media's WBOS-FM is likely to give the Sox at least USD 12 million a year, nearly as much as the current USD 13 million a year paid for the Atlanta Braves' rights and more than the current USD 10 million a year for rights to New York Yankees.
The paper notes that this is against a background of falling prices for sports teams including the White Sox in Chicago, which, despite winning the World Series last year, recently moved stations and accepted USD 1 million a year less in the process according to the Chicago Tribune and the teams that have as noted gone for stations in which they have an ownership stake.
In Boston, the paper says, WBOS has offered a deal that includes a quarter interest in the station, and Entercom, whose rights deal expires this year, has also offered a deal including an equity interest: The paper says it had already offered a 10% stake in stations, excluding WEEI, that carry the Sox, had also offered to move the games to its WRKO-AM, and is likely to increase the equity offer.
Play-by-play radio consultant Bob Snyder who owns Beason Broadcast Partners outside Chicago described the current radio rights environment as "horrible" and added, ''for every profitable radio rights play-by-play deal, there are probably 10 that are not. Across all sports leagues, the soaring rights fees paid to teams over the last decade have caught up to the radio stations, and many are now drawing the line."
The stations' financial losses ''used to be a justifiable expense," he said but are now so large they are ''no longer justifiable."
The Globe notes that CBS Radio chairman and CEO Joel Hollander has publicly criticized Major League Baseball's decision to sign a deal with XM Satellite Radio and another deal with Cingular Wireless to let baseball fans download local radio feeds into their cell phones as diluting the value of baseball's existing radio contracts and has publicly vowed never to do another unprofitable rights deal.
The Red Sox refused comment on the current negotiations but the Globe quotes the team's chief operating officer Mike Dee from an earlier interview when he commented, ''The radio business has been a changing business: you have satellite radio and you have digital radio coming on board. We're going to go into the process with open eyes and look to do something that's in the best interest of the Red Sox."
Previous Greater Media:
Boston Globe report:
2006-04-16: Last week was fairly quiet for the regulators as regards radio with no announcements from Australia or Ireland and only routine announcements in the US but a little more activity in Canada and the UK.
In Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced a number of radio related decisions including, in order of province:
*Approval of application by O.K. Radio Group Ltd. for extension until 31 August 2006 of time limits to start operation of transitional digital radio undertaking CJZN-DR-1 and CKKQ-DR-1associated with CJZN-FM and CKKQ-FM, Victoria.
O.K. had requested an extension until 19 March 2007 but the commission noted that the date proposed would extend beyond the expiry of the licence in question and that it does not grant extensions for the purpose of implementation beyond the expiry of licence terms.
*Renewal of licence of community-based campus radio programming undertaking CKUW-FM, Winnipeg, to 31 August 2013.
*Approval of application by Maritime Broadcasting System Limited for a new 100,000 watts Adult Contemporary English-language commercial FM to replace CHNS-AM, Halifax. The application was opposed by CanWest, CHUM, and Rogers, all of whom own stations in Halifax.
They noted that the Commission had approved applications to operate four new Halifax FM stations in November 2004 said the Commission should allow sufficient time to assess the impact of the newly licensed FM stations prior to licensing additional stations and also noted that Maritime had already put forward the same AC format in an application for a new FM that was denied by the Commission in November 2004.
*Approval of a 1,925 watts French-language Type A community FM radio station in Halifax provided the application submits within 90 days an application for an acceptable frequency.
*Approval of an application for a new 508 watts English-language, commercial specialty FM radio station in Toronto that would target the Caribbean and African communities in Toronto with a particular focus on World Beat and Non-classic religious music. The approval is subject to the applicant submitting, within three months, an application for an acceptable frequency.
This application, like other licences for new licences in Toronto, was opposed by CHUM and Rogers, amongst others.
*Denial of power increase from 50 watts to 250 watts and transmitter relocation for CJFH-FM, Woodstock, from 50 watts to 141 watts and increase in antenna height for CJTW-FM, Kitchener, and frequency change and power increase from 10 watts to 500 watts and decrease in antenna height for CHJX-FM, London. Licensee Sound of Faith Broadcasting had said it wanted to improve reception quality and also gain protected status for the frequency of each station
The applications were opposed by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters on the basis that the proposed would enable these radio stations to compete directly with incumbent commercial radio stations in the Woodstock, Kitchener and London markets, and would create a precedent whereby low-power radio licensees could obtain commercially competitive status by filing applications for technical amendments rather than by following the Commission's usual procedures for commercial radio applications.
In addition, Tillsonburg Broadcasting Company Limited, the licensee of CKOT and CKOT-FM Tillsonburg, filed an intervention noting that it planned to file an application to use the same frequency as that used by CJTW-FM and expressed concern that allowing a CJTW to gain protected status could have a negative impact on the intervener's search for an alternative frequency.
Sound of Faith had responded by pointing to supporting interventions as evidence of demand for an improved signal but the Commission.
The commission ruled that the current authorized technical parameters of CJFH-FM, CJTW-FM and CHJX-FM were adequate and commensurate with those of the low-power services that Sound of Faith originally proposed for each of the radio stations and that no compelling evidence of either an economic or technical need had been provided to justify the proposed changes.
In the UK, Ofcom has awarded the new North East England regional FM licence to Saga and the new Southend-on-Sea FM licence to Southend Radio Limited (See RNW Apr 14).
Ofcom has also published a consultation, with a deadline for responses of May 16 concerning its proposals to encourage use of the internet for licensing including changes to ship, amateur and citizens' band radio licences.
Fee changes proposed are a lifetime free licence for amateur radio operators if obtained through the internet but otherwise a charge of GBP 20 (USD 35) with no age-related concessions (The fee is currently GBP 15 (USD 26) a year and free for those under 21 and over 75); a lifetime free licence for ships licences obtained using the Internet (The fee is currently GBP 20) and also a free lifetime licences for a ships portable radio licence, which is currently GBP 15; and a free Citizens' band licence assuming Ofcom will also make related exemption regulations related to which a separate consultation to be issued shortly (The fee is currently GBP 15).
It also issued a consultation related to Spectrum Usage Rights with a deadline for responses of June 20. It notes that the rationale for regulation of spectrum use is that unregulated use of spectrum is likely to lead to interference between transmissions that destroys the value of the spectrum as a medium for communication but adds that its general policy is to set technical restrictions that are the minimum necessary to provide adequate protection against harmful interference. This is because optimal use of the radio spectrum is more likely to be secured if users decide, rather than Ofcom dictates, what technology to use or service to provide in a particular frequency band.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-04-16: Emma B (Emma Boughton), the former BBC Radio 1 DJ, takes over Chrysalis-owned London Heart FM's drivetime show tomorrow on her return from holiday.
Greg Burns, who had been with the station for seven years and on the drivetime show for four years, recently co-hosting it with Boughton , has left Heart.
His departure was announced by Heart on April 5 and since then Paul Hayes has been standing in.
Boughton, who joined Heart in August last year to host a Sunday evening show, which she retains, became co-host of the drivetime show in January, replacing Erica North.
Previous Emma B:
2006-04-16: XM Satellite Radio has declared a regular quarterly dividend on its 8.25% Series B Convertible Redeemable Preferred Stock payable in shares of the Company's Class A Common Stock at a rate of $1.0313 per share of Series B Preferred Stock owned, with fractional shares to be paid in cash.
The dividend, payable on May 1, values the Class A stock to be issued at its average daily price for the 10 consecutive trading days ending on April 13.
2006-04-15: In an upbeat report entitled "The Infinite Dial: Radio's Digital Platforms" Arbitron and Edison Media paint a picture of new ways of listening to audio increasing but without cutting into the time spent listening to terrestrial AM and FM in the US.
It says the weekly Internet audience has increased by half over the past year with nearly a fifth of adults 18-34 saying they have listened to Internet radio in the past week; awareness of satellite radio is now 61% each for Sirius and XM amongst those 12 and over with satellite radio subscribers nearly than twice as likely to have an annual household income of USD 100,000 (27% to an average of 14%); some confusion about the differences between podcasting, downloading music and Internet listening but with podcasting tending to attract a younger demographic although 11% of the total said they had listened to an audio podcast (53% of them under 35).; and 35% expressing interest in HD radio but with nearly half of those expressing interest saying they would only be likely to purchase a receiver that cost USD 100 or less.
In terms of the future for existing terrestrial radio three quarters of those questioned - a total of 1,925 contacted by phone between January 13 and February 12 this year - said they expected to continue listening to AM/FM to a the same degree as in the past -- 77% overall, a figure that went down to 64% for those who subscribe to satellite radio. The report also adds that those who listen to such sources as Internet or satellite radio tune to AM/FM for the same amount of time as the average listener.
In terms of numbers the report says an estimated 52 million Americans listened to Internet radio in the past month with a little more than half of this number listening in the last week and adds that Internet listening is skewed towards men (58% to 42%) and the younger demographic (41% are between 18 and 34).
The report has some good news for the satellite companies with 18% of those who do not currently subscribe to satellite radio saying they are likely to subscribe within the next 12 months although this is tempered by a reduction to 4% when the term is "very likely" to subscribe. Within satellite radio subscribers, says the report, 53% are male, and 18% 55 or older in contrast to the breakdown for Internet listening already noted.
As regards HD, the report indicates that receiver price is crucial to take-up - 8% of those who were read a description of it said they were "very interested" and a further 27% that they were "somewhat interested" with the total 35% saying they would be likely to purchase a receiver if it was under USD 50 reducing to 21% if it is USD 100, only 9% if it was USD 200 or more and only 5% at USD 300.
The report also looked at ownership of portable digital players - now up to almost a quarter of Americans, a figure that increases to half amongst teenagers - and paying for music downloads - more than a fifth of those between 18 and 34 rising to a third amongst those who listen to online audio weekly. It also notes that of those who have purchased downloads more listen on their PC rather than on a portable player.
RNW comment: Although the presentation is upbeat the report in our view has some worrying news for terrestrial companies in that the figures indicate that a quarter of Americans think they will listen to AM/FM less in future and in addition, although the others say that they do not expect new forms of listening to cut into their time spent with traditional radio, there are only 24 hours in a day so something will have to give at some stage. We also discount somewhat the statistic saying those who listen to satellite to Internet radio already also listen to AM/FM as much as the average listener, in part because we would assume a self-selection in this group that makes them more likely to listen to radio than the average.
It should also be of concern in our view that the take-up of HD is likely to be very low unless prices tumble since in the meantime more and more of the potential HD audience is likely to have made purchases of satellite or portable players and offerings on other platforms such as cell phones (or other internet listening as broadband and wireless develop and more simple Internet listening devices become available) and may well decide to stick with their new listening, even if they do end up buying an HD receiver later when prices have fallen.
2006-04-15: Canadian broadcasters Astral, CHUM and Corus have all reported strong second quarters to the end of February although there are some warnings of difficulties ahead for the rest of the year.
Astral reported revenues up 10% on the quarter and half- year to CAD 138.2 million (USD 120.2 million) and CAD 292 million (USD 254 million) respectively; EBITDA up 12% for the quarter and 13% for the half-year to CAD 38.4 million (USD 33.4 million) and CAD 87.2 million (USD 75.8 million) respectively; net earnings for the quarter down 15.4% and up 16% for the half- year to CAD 37.8 million (USD 32.9 million) and CAD 22.5 million (USD 19.6 million) respectively; and earnings per basic share down 14% for the quarter and up 20 % for the half-year to CAD 0.70 and CAD 0.42 per share respectively. The net earnings figures include non-cash future income tax expense resulting from future income tax rate increases recently enacted by the province of Québec
In divisional terms radio revenues were up 7% for the quarter to CAD 25.7 million (USD 22.2 million) and up 10% for the half-year to CAD 55.9 million (USD 48.6 million); TV revenues were up 9.4% for quarter to CAD 103 million (USD 90 million) and up 9% the half-year to CAD 213 million (USD 185 million); and Outdoor revenues were up 26.4% for the quarter to CAD 9.3 million (USD 8.0 million) and up 21% for the half-year to CAD 23 million (USD 20 million).
President and CEO Ian Greenberg said the quarter was a strong one adding, "In what is traditionally a slower quarter in the advertising industry, revenues were up across the board, once again reflecting Astral Media's well balanced asset mix. The Television group had a strong quarter with an 8% increase in subscriber revenue and a 15% increase in advertising revenue, resulting in an overall Television EBITDA increase of 15% for the quarter. Our Radio group recorded a 7% increase in revenues for the quarter and almost matched last year's EBITDA, despite incurring higher music royalty fees. Our Outdoor Advertising division continues on its momentum, with an exceptional 26% quarter-over-quarter increase in revenues and a significant increase in EBITDA."
CHUM reported second quarter revenues up 7.8% to CAD 152.4 million (USD 132.6 million) and for the half-year up 12.3% to CAD 339.2 million (USD 295.1 million) with net earnings for the quarter up 135% to CAD 5.9 million (USD 5.2 million - up 133% to CAD 0.21 per share whilst EBITDA was up 30% to CAD 19.2 million -USD 16.7 million) and for the half-year up 26% to CAD 30.2 million (USD 25.3 million - up 23% per share to CAD 1.07)
In divisional terms radio revenues were up 7.6% for the quarter to CAD 31.2 million (USD 27.1 million) and for the half-year up 5.3% to CAD 68.6 million (USD 59.7 million); TV revenues were up 8.3% for the quarter to CAD 118.7 million (USD 103.3 million) and for the half-year up 14.6% to CAD 265 million (USD 230.6 million); and other revenues were down 8.1% for the quarter to CAD 2.75 million (USD 2.24 million) and for the half-year were down 0.2% to CAD 5.5 million (USD 4.8 million).
Divisional EBITDA figures showed radio up 2.7% for the quarter to CAD 8.7 million (USD 7.6 million) and up 1/1% for the half year to CAD 21.8 million (USD 19 million); TV up 44.7% for the quarter to CAD14.8 million (USD 12.9 million) and up 24.9% for the half-year to CAD 55.1 million (USD 47.9 million); whilst "other" EBITDA loss for the quarter was up 9.7% to CAD 4.4 million (USD 3.9 million) and up 17.5% for the half-year to CAD 9 million (USD 7.9 million).
CHUM described the radio performance as satisfactorily but warned of a "a challenging environment in fiscal 2006, with lower growth in radio industry advertising and increased competition in certain markets." It also forecasts advertising revenue in conventional TV to be flat in the second half of the year and on specialty channels is forecast to be down slightly.
Corus Entertainment reported combined Radio and Television revenues up 10% for its second quarter to the end of February quarter and year-to-date and with combined profit up 14% and 13% for second quarter and year-to-date respectively
Overall Corus revenues for the quarter were up 6% to CAD 164.4 million (USD 143.0 million) with profit up 11% to CAD 42.2 million: Divisional figures showed a revenue increase for TV of 11% to CAD 90.9 million (USD 79.1 million) with profit up 20% to CAD 36.4 million (USD 31.7 million); for radio of 8% to CAD 57.8 million (USD 50.3 million) with profit down 5% to CAD 9.5 million (USD 8.3 million). Corus notes the impact of the sale of its Red Deer assets and a multi-station swap in the province of Quebec: Same station revenue was up 7% and profit up around 12%); and for its content division down 18% to CAD 17 million (USD 14.8 million) with profit up 27% to CAD 1.9 million (USD 1.65 million).
For the first six months Corus revenues overall were up 7% to CAD 359.7 million (USD 313.0 million) and profit was up 11% to CAD 111.9 million (USD 97.4 million) before taking into account the effect of a CAD 132.0 million (USD 114.8 million) pre-tax debt refinancing charge related to the purchase of the Senior Subordinated Notes that took it into a net loss of CAD 34.3 million (USD 29.8 million - CAD 0.80 per basic and diluted share) compared to net income a year earlier of CAD 42 million (USD 36.5 million - CAD 0.98 per basic and diluted share).
Divisional figures showed a revenue increase for TV of 11% to CAD 199.7 million (USD 173. 7million) with profit up 17% to CAD 88.4 million (USD 76.9 million); for radio of 9% to CAD 130.2 million (USD 113.3 million) with profit up 1% to CAD 31.4 million (USD 27.3 million). Corus again notes the impact of the sale of its Red Deer assets and a multi-station swap in the province of Quebec: Same station revenue was up 8% and profit up around 12%); and for its content division down 18% to CAD 32.8 million (USD 28.5 million) with profit up 50% to CAD 2.4 million (USD 2.1 million).
President and CEO John Cassaday said Corus "kept pace with our overall expectations for the year in the second quarter on the strength of our television results" and added that the company expected interest savings of around CAD 20-25 million (USD 17-22 million) a year as a result of retiring its high-yield notes at an after-tax cost of CAD 80.7 million (USD 70.2 million).
Executive Chair Heather Shaw added, "The Company is executing well on its operating strategies, and with the refinancing of our debt, Corus is making good use of its strong free cash flow, with an increased dividend, debt repayment and share buybacks (At the end of February Corus had purchased for cancellation 218,000 Class B Non-Voting Shares at an average price of CAD 35.09 per share)."
2006-04-15: The BBC is reported to have launched an investigation into how The Sun tabloid newspaper got hold of details of the pay of a number of star names including those of eight Radio 1 DJs that it published on Thursday and the paper says that its revelations have set the DJs "at each others' throats."
According to the leaked figures the highest paid DJ is breakfast host Chris Moyles, who is on GBP 630,000 (USD 1.1 million) a year followed by morning host Jo Whiley, reported to be paid GBP 250,000 (USD 440,000); Sara Cox, reported to get GBP 200,000 (USD 350,000) for two weekend shows a week; duo Edith Bowman and Colin Murray, who are reported to be paid GBP 175,00 (USD 306,000) and GBP 170,000 (USD 300,000) respectively; Scott Mills and Zane Lowe who are each said to be paid GBP 130,000 (USD 228,000) ; and dance DJ Pete Tong who is said to be paid GBP 70,000 (USD 123,000).
The paper says the DJs have been barred from discussing the matter on air but quotes an unnamed source said the "atmosphere was nasty. People were outraged to learn Moyles gets GBP 630,000 while Jo Whiley is only on GBP 250,000" saying that the discrepancy was too large and adding, "People also thought Sara Cox's GBP 200,000 was a lot, as she only does two shows a week. The pay deals were all anyone was thinking about."
2006-04-15: CanWest Global Communications Corp. has announced the completion by a Canadian-Turkish consortium in which it has a quarter interest (See RNW Sep 23, 2005) of the purchase of Turkish radio stations Super FM, Metro FM, Joy FM and Joy Turk FM from The Turkish Savings and Deposit Insurance Fund for USD 61 million.
CanWest says it will initially have an equity interest of 20% in top-40, popular national music station Super FM, the largest and most profitable station in the group and its subsidiaries will have options to acquire up to a 100% interest in each station, subject to a relaxation in Turkish foreign ownership restrictions and receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals. Wholly owned subsidiaries of CanWest have entered into agreements whereby they will provide certain operational, sales representation and advisory services to the four radio stations on a fee-for-service basis.
Commenting on the deal Tom Strike, President of CanWest MediaWorks International, said, "We are delighted with completing the purchase of these radio stations at reasonable prices based on the excellent market growth prospects in Turkey."
"Turkey," he added, "continues to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world with a rapidly expanding advertising market. This investment furthers our strategy of strengthening CanWest's growth profile while taking advantage of the wealth of international market expertise and knowledge the Company has developed from its operations in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland."
Strike added that CanWest would "leverage the radio expertise from our New Zealand and Canadian operations in the development of the Turkish radio operations With two national stations and two stations in Istanbul, we are well positioned to implement an integrated radio strategy in Turkey, which we believe will appeal to a wide variety of audience demographics and advertisers."
2006-04-14: According to the Wall Street Journal, Entercom has moved for dismissal of the payola law suit filed against the company by New York attorney-general Eliot Spitzer last month (See RNW Mar 9).
The Journal says Entercom is claiming the attorney-general acted improperly in basing his suit on New York's consumer-protection laws and that in so doing Spitzer must prove that consumers were harmed as a result of material deception.
Entercom argues that because radio is free there was no material harm but Spitzer argues that payments for plays can affect the charts, which influence consumer buying.
Entercom also cites a New York law saying that compliance with federal law is a "complete defence" against the state consumer-protection laws and says it complied fully with federal law in disclosing when it accepted payment for airplay.
No figure has been published of what Spitzer wants to settle the suit but payments of USD 10 million were made by Sony-BMG and of USD 5 million by Warner Music and it is rumoured that Spitzer is asking for USD 20 million from Entercom.
RNW comment: If the rumours are correct the USD 1.5 to 3 million that Clear Channel was reportedly offering to settle allegations against it with the Federal Communications Commission (See RNW Apr 2) seem small. Equally USD 20 million is big enough to pay for quite a lot of lawyers' time so the motion to dismiss Spitzer's suit must seem a reasonable ploy.
At the same time some of the details given by Spitzer, relating in particular to WKSE-FM, Buffalo, and subsequent comments made for former WKSE PD Dave Universal, would seem to indicate that Entercom is being somewhat disingenuous in saying it complied fully with federal laws regarding disclosure and the ploy may not be as well founded as it is being portrayed.
2006-04-14: One of the three former University of Michigan public radio employees who had been accused of embezzlement for accepting rewards in return for on-air mentions (See RNW Mar 19) has entered a guilty plea to embezzlement for accepting items such as a lawn sprinkler system, a Persian rug and a golf membership when he was development director for the university's stations.
A further charge of conspiracy to embezzle was dropped against Justin Ebright in exchange for his testimony against two former co-workers according to the Detroit Free Press. It adds that he is scheduled for sentencing on May 18 and could face up to five years in jail but quotes Assistant Prosecutor Blake Hatlem as saying that this is unlikely and adding that the prosecution is interested in restitution.
The Ann Arbor News adds that Ebright agreed to pay at least USD10,000 in restitution for patio furniture, Persian rugs, and a golf club membership he misused and notes that in addition to a potential jail sentence Ebright also potentially faces a USD10,000 fine or three times the amount embezzled - whichever is greater.
The other two charged - Michael Coleman, former deputy director of Michigan Public Media who is now general manager for Wayne State University's WDET-FM, in Detroit, and former account executive Jeremy Nordquist - were bound over for trial on embezzlement charges by Washtenaw County District Judge John Collins: Nordquist will also be tried on a charge of conspiracy to embezzle.
Donovan Reynolds, who was director of Michigan Public Media before resigning last month, testified that he became suspicious after discovering a trade agreement for a lawn irrigation system that didn't appear valid: "I couldn't imagine why the radio station needed such a service because we had no lawn," Reynolds told Hatlem, adding that he confronted Ebright, who resigned.
Reynolds also testified that there was no formal procedure in place to discuss trade agreements and that he had confidence in Coleman's judgment to determine what an appropriate deal was.
The Free Press says University of Michigan auditors have estimated that its three stations lost airtime worth about USD520,000 and said they also discovered around USD 50,000 in expense account fraud and excessive in-kind bonuses
Hatlem alleged that Coleman took about USD 3,500 in meals from the Aut Bar in Ann Arbor in 2000-03 as part of a trade agreement that he did not disclose to Reynolds whilst Nordquist is accused of taking merchandise, including about USD 1,000 in Persian rugs, as part of a trade agreement, and a pool table as a performance bonus.
His attorney, Tom Moors, said Nordquist had no intent to defraud the station and that Ebright negotiated the trade agreement. He said Nordquist thought the pool table was a legitimate bonus.
The Ann Arbor News reports that local business owners testified that Coleman, Ebright, and Nordquist each made deals for items or services on behalf of the public radio service from 2001 onwards and says several other employees at Michigan Public Media, including station managers and organization leaders, also received personal benefits in the form of meals, tickets to Detroit Tiger games, concerts, museums, and local theatres although only the three accused made deals.
Ann Arbor News report
Detroit Free Press report:
2006-04-14: Westwood One, which is operated by CBS, has announced the resignation of its Chief Operating Officer Chuck Bortnick who is to become President/General Manager of CBS Radio's New York sports radio station WFAN-AM, a role left vacant when Lee Davis left the station last year.
He had been in his current role since 2002 and was previously with Metro Networks, which he joined in 1993 after 17 years on the station side of the business: When Metro and Westwood One merged in 1999 he became President and Chief Operating Officer of the Metro Networks/Shadow Broadcasting division of Westwood One and led the integration of two competing traffic organizations into one media platform.
Commenting on the appointment, Westwood One President and CEO Peter Kosann said Bortnick had "been a key part of our executive team, helping guide the Company through periods of rapid growth and change" and added, "We thank Chuck for his many contributions and look forward to working with Chuck both as a customer and a friend of Westwood One."
Bortnick joins WFAN next month and reports directly to CBS Radio SVP/Regional Manager Les Hollander who said that CBS was fortunate to be able to count on Bortnick's expertise to guide one of the company's most important stations [RNW note: According to BIAfn figures - see below - WFAN was the eighth largest billing station in the US last year and the fourth in the CBS stable].
Previous Les Hollander:
Previous Westwood One:
2006-04-14: The US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) has unveiled a new print advert campaign promoting radio as a "highly effective and essential tool for today's advertisers and their agencies."
The adverts, termed "humorous -- and at times, eye-wincing" by the bureau ads show the downside of not using everyday items such as tweezers, sunscreen and toothbrushes and, with the tagline, "If it works, don't ignore it," the ads aim to depict the consequences of overlooking something that is proven to be effective, such as radio.
The campaign was created by the New York ad agency DeVito/Verdi and outgoing RAB President and CEO Gary Fries noted, "The studies from RAEL (Radio Ad Effectiveness Lab) reveal the way Radio's unique engagement properties influence consumers, the effect it has in a media mix and on Return On Investment, " adding, "The studies that will be released over the next couple of years will dive deeper into the consumer's experience with Radio to further quantify its effectiveness."
Ellis Verdi, president of DeVito/Verdi added, "People have been writing radio's obituary for years, but the truth is: there is nothing else that compares with its ubiquity, effectiveness and ROI. What we're also trying to communicate to the creative class is that radio enables you to be much freer to write funny, thoughtful or emotional spots - more so than with any other medium."
RAB has also voted to mark Fries tenure in his post - he has been in the post since 1991 - by renaming the RAB Radio Training Academy as the Gary Fries RAB Radio Training Academy.
2006-04-14: UK media regulator Ofcom has awarded the new North East England regional FM licence to Saga and the new Southend-on-Sea FM licence to Southend Radio Limited.
The Saga bid was competing against 12 other applications and promises a format of "easy, melodic, popular music from the past six decades and today, with news, information and lifestyle oriented speech, primarily targeting listeners in the North East region aged 50 and over." (See RNW Dec 10, 2005). The licence area will have an adult population of some two million people.
Saga, whose parent group provides a range of services to the 50 plus demographic, has three stations already covering the East Midlands, West Midlands, and Glasgow.
Southend Radio Limited was competing against three other applications - from Estuary FM with a mix of classic and contemporary popular music; Radio Futures Limited (Seacoast Sound) with a bid targeted at the 45 plus demographic; and Radio UK Holdings Ltd. (Diamond 105 FM), the Macquarie Bank-backed bid with mainstream Classic Rock music during the day and Alternative Rock music during the evenings.
Southend Radio's winning bid offered a "locally relevant radio station for Southend with the latest news, information, engaging chat and great music from the 60s to today."
Southend Radio's licence area will have an adult population of around 250,000 adults and the company is 80% owned by Stockvale, the owner of the leading tourist and leisure attraction in the Southend are and is also behind the St Albans & Watford Broadcasting Company which operates Hertfordshire's Mercury FM, and 20% by Provincial Radio, a subsidiary of Tindle Radio Holdings, which according to the latest information on its web site currently owns and operates eight stations, is soon to launch new stations in Norwich and Ipswich, and is a partner in the launch of the new station for Cornwall.
2006-04-14: XM Satellite Radio has announced a cash tender offer running until May 10 for its 14% Senior Secured Discount Notes due 2009, 12% Senior Secured Notes due 2010 and Senior Secured Floating Rate Notes due 2009 as part of a move to reduce the interest on its debts.
Holders who tender their Old Notes and deliver consents will receive USD 1,073.75, USD 1,126.86 and USD 1,002.50, respectively, per USD 1,000 principal amount of 14% Notes, 12% Notes and Floating Rate Notes.
XM says it expects to complete a private placement in which it issues new unsecured floating rate and fixed rate senior notes (in an amount expected to be sufficient to repurchase the Old Notes tendered and accepted for payment pursuant to the Tender Offer, and redeem the 14% Notes and Floating Rate Notes not purchased in the Tender Offer.
It adds that it has received or expects to receive commitments from a group of banks and financial institutions, and anticipates establishing a secured revolving credit facility to provide approximately USD 230 million of incremental liquidity following the closing of the refinancing transactions.
2006-04-14: BBC Radio has announced a news re-organization in which Mary Hockaday, currently BBC Radio's Editor of World Service News and Current Affairs, takes up the new post of Deputy Head of Radio News with responsibility over the whole of BBC radio news at the end of this month.
Hockaday and Ceri Thomas, appointed last month as editor of Radio 4's flagship breakfast programme (See RNW Mar 22), had deputized for the Head of Radio News Stephen Mitchell covering domestic and world affairs respectively.
Announcing the appointment Mitchell said part of the new role would be to enhance foreign coverage and added, "Mary has significant editorial experience both in the field and on programmes on World Service and Radio 4.
"I am very confident that she will now help us to transform the way we deliver our journalism across the board in the light of the major changes that are affecting our audiences and the wider BBC."
Hockaday commented, "I'm really looking forward to working with colleagues right across BBC Radio News, to help deliver traditional and new news services to big and varied audiences and to help bring closer together the editorial strength and creativity of staff from across domestic and World Service news departments."
Following the appointment, the corporation says it is looking for a new Editor of World Service News and Current Affairs, as well as a Radio Newsgathering Editor to take up Hockaday and Thomas's previous posts.
2006-04-14: BIA Financial Network has amended its list of 2005 top-ten US revenue-generating radio stations in a move that dropped Clear Channel's WLTW-FM, New York, to fourth place from first with USD 58.9 million in revenues and put CBS Radio's Los Angeles' KROQ-FM in first place, with USD 67.6 million in revenues.
The amended top-ten list shows KROQ in top rank followed by CBS Radio's WINS-AM, New York, with USD 60.8 million then Clear Channel's KFI-AM ( USD 59.3 million) and WLTW-AM (USD 58.9 million) in Los Angeles then Emmis's KPWR-FM, Los Angeles in fifth rank with USD 57.9 million.
The following stations are CBS Radio's WCBS-AM, New York (USD 56.2 million); Clear Channel's KIIS-FM, Los Angeles (USD 52.8 million); CBS Radio's WFAN-AM, New York (USD 52.5 million); Tribune's WGN-AM, Chicago ( USD 52.4 million) and CBS Radio's KLSX-FM- now Free FM, Los Angeles (USD 51.2 million).
CBS also dominates the top ten clusters where it owns half the group. It leads the rankings with Los Angeles (USD 310.8 million) followed by Clear Channel, Los Angeles (USD 285.8 million); CBS New York (USD 259.6 million); Clear Channel New York (USD 202.8 million); CBS Chicago (USD 167.5 million),; CBS Boston (USD 123.575 million); Clear Channel Houston-Galveston (USD 115.6 million); Cox Radio Atlanta (USD 110.7 million); CBS Philadelphia (USD 106.3 million) and Clear Channel Chicago (USD 105.6 million).
Previous Clear Channel:
2006-04-13: Interep has now gone public with what is effectively a brush-off of a bid from Oaktree Capital Management for the company saying that although a Letter of Intent from November last year obligated negotiations in good faith it was not binding on Interep and not an obligation to accept an unsatisfactory deal.
Oaktree has now set an April 21 deadline for its offer of USD 1.10 per Interep share - they have now more than tripled in price, closing Tuesday at 68 cents - and claims that failure to do the deal with them could cause "irreparable" damage to shareholders.
Interep says it "has the right and the obligation to look at possible alternatives to Oaktree's deal" and adds that, despite Oaktree's statements to the contrary, negotiations have been conducted in good faith but some issues have still not been resolved.
"While Oaktree's offer of USD 1.10 per share does represent a premium over the current market share price," says Interep, "the Board will continue to evaluate the intrinsic value of the company with a view to determine a fair valuation. This requires the Board to continue to explore alternatives that could result in greater value for the company's shareholders and employees.
For these reasons and others, Oaktree's claim -- that a failure to do a deal with them will result in irreparable harm to Interep's shareholders -- is simply untrue. The Board believes that it has carried out its fiduciary duties to the shareholders and that Oaktree does not have valid claims against the Board or the Company."
Nearly a year ago, Interep chairman and CEO Ralph Guild issued a memo to staff saying Oaktree, a major bondholder that owns around 2% of Interep's equity, was not in a position to take control of Interep and noting that Interep had made all of its contractual interest payments on all its bonds including those held by Oaktree.
2006-04-13: Cumulus Media has announced that it expects to complete the acquisition of Susquehanna Radio by Cumulus Media Partners, LLC, a private partnership created by Cumulus, Bain Capital, The Blackstone Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners, next month.
When the USD 1.2 billion deal is completed Cumulus, including stations owned by Cumulus Media Partners' subsidiaries, will own or operate 345 radio stations in 67 U.S. media markets.
Cumulus has also revealed through an SEC filing the remuneration of its executives last year. All were paid higher salaries but only chairman, president and CEO Lewis W. Dickey Jr received a larger bonus - up from USD 523,600 a year earlier to USD 700,000.
The totals for salary and bonus were USD 1.48 million - up 23% on a year earlier - to Lewis W. Dickey Jr.; USD 757,000 - up 4% on a year earlier to his brother and EVP John W. Dickey; USD 645,000 - down 7% on a year earlier - to EVP,CFO and treasurer Martin R. Gausvik; and USD 592,00 - down 1% on a year earlier - to EVP and COO John G. Pinch.
In addition to this remuneration all are also entitled to time-restricted performance-related stock options for 2005.
Previous John W. Dickey:
Previous Lewis W. Dickey Jr.:
2006-04-13: The BBC has announced that Sue Lawley is to give up presenting the BBC Radio 4 "Desert Island Discs" programme - her last will air on August 27 -- after nearly 20 years in the post.
She took up the role in 1987 from Michael Parkinson, who in turn had taken over in 1985 following the death of Roy Plomley, who devised the programme and presented it from its launch in January 1942 with American comedian Vic Oliver as the inaugural guest.
Lawley said she had told BBC Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer a couple of weeks ago that she wanted to leave the programme, adding, "I've had more than 18 very happy years and have talked to some extraordinary people as they revealed themselves through their choice of music. It is one of the best jobs in broadcasting. But it has dominated my professional life and I feel the time has come to concentrate on other aspects of broadcasting and maybe a bit of business too."
Damazer said he "tried hard to persuade Sue to change her mind but to no avail."
"She started her career as a journalist and is still a journalist at heart," he added. "She also has an enormous interest in people. Put these two attributes together and you end up with fascinating and entertaining interviews that are now the hallmark of Desert Island Discs. She will be a tough act to follow."
The format - asking a guest to choose eight records, a luxury item (this was added in the 1950's) and a book (added in the 1960s) - except for the Bible (or other religious book) and Shakespeare's complete works, which are already on the island -they would take with them were they cast away on a Desert Island has attracted many great names to the programme in its 64-years on air.
It has a weekly audience of nearly 1.8 million listeners in the UK and in all around 2600 castaways have been on the programme since it began of whom Lawley interviewed some 750 figures from the arts, literature, politics, science and sport.
When she took over there was some criticism of Lawley's style including comments from Plomley's widow, Diana, who objected to guests being asked about their sex lives and others who criticized her interviewing style and the quality of interviewees comparing them with world names including Orson Welles and Marlene Dietrich who had appeared on earlier programmes.
Radio 4 Desert Island Discs web site (Includes list of some 65 recent interviewees - this programme is not avaialable on a listen-again basis):
2006-04-13: Although only an estimated twelfth to a sixth of Howard Stern's estimated 12 million listeners a day have followed him to Sirius satellite radio, his successors on terrestrial radio have only held on to around the same numbers according to "industry analysts" quoted by the Los Angeles Times.
The paper notes that this leaves between 8 million and 10 million former Stern listeners who were not keen enough to pay subscription fees but not satisfied with what his successors are delivering and it cites a survey from Jacobs Media as indicating that Stern's former listeners are changing to established morning shows.
Jacobs Media founder Fred Jacobs said that Stern's move had provided a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for local radio stations" and added, "I think what you're going to find is that existing mature shows that are in the same basic neighbourhood of Stern will grow stronger. And the new and fledgling shows are going to perform like new and fledgling shows."
The paper adds that other terrestrial winners from the move may be local talk radio and National Public Radio (NPR), arguing that whilst most morning talk radio is dominated by conservatives Stern's audience tends to be centrist to liberal and thus a better fit with NPR.
It quotes Alex DeMers, head of a media consulting firm near Philadelphia as saying, "There's more than a surface connection between Howard and NPR. As much as Howard is put down as being all about dirt and sex, it's also intelligent talk, and he's funny."
Michael Harrison, editor and publisher of the talk radio magazine Talkers, said that although most hard-core Stern fans are thought to have already signed with Sirius the satellite company could yet gain some more if terrestrial radio failed to offer them a satisfactory alternative.
"There is nothing else out there right now that approximates Howard," said Harrison adding "Some may eventually migrate to Sirius" but others might just not listen to radio.
Harrison was dismissive of Stern's successors - Adam Carolla on the West Coast and former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth on the East Coast - no mention was made of Rover ( Shane French) in Chicago, who had had even worse reviews if anything - and commented, "I think CBS is already trying to figure out an exit strategy with Roth. The jury is still out on Carolla."
Los Angeles Times report:
2006-04-13: Toronto-headquartered Standard Broadcasting Corp. Ltd. is reported by the Toronto Globe and Mail to have hired Scotia Capital Inc. and RBC Dominion Securities Inc. to advise it on a potential initial public offering that would value it at around CAD 1 billion ( USD 870 million).
Standard is controlled by 74-years old Canadian businessman Allan Slaight, who helped Toronto's CHUM to become a commercial radio success in before purchasing Standard in 1985 from Conrad Black for CAD 180 million ( USD 157 million) and the paper says there has been speculation that Standard was contemplating converting to a trust, in part to lay the foundation for estate planning reasons.
It adds that Slaight's eldest son Gary , the 55-years old president and CEO of the company, confirmed that it is involved in talks on a potential IPO, but wouldn't speculate on the value.
"We're seriously looking at all our options right now and an income trust is one of them," he said, adding, "We are looking at it, but we have not made a decision and we have not finalized anything. Until we decide to go ahead and file, there's not a lot I can say about it."
Previous Gary Slaight:
Previous Standard Broadcasting:
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2006-04-13: Sirius Satellite Radio CEO Mel Karmazin is reported to have told the Morgan Stanley Auto Conference that his company took a retail share of more than 60% in the first few months of this year and it is also claiming a web site visits victory of its rival XM.
Figures from Nielsen/Net Ratings show Sirius overtaking XM for the first time in January, when it launched the Howard Stern Show and had 2.3 million unique visitors compared to XM's 1.6 million: it retained the lead in February and March when it had 1.9 million unique visits - up 188% on a year earlier whilst XM had 1.7 million, up 47% on a year earlier.
The figures also show a high level of return visits - on a par with popular streaming audio sites - with Sirius visitors spending an average 15 minutes on the site and XM's just above 13 minutes and indicate that 44% of Sirius users from work logged in to access a media player for streaming content whilst for XM the figure was 27%.
Jon Gibs, senior director of media, Nielsen//NetRatings commented, "Satellite radio services have traditionally been thought of as linked to a specific satellite radio device. It is becoming clear that satellite radio subscribers are accessing the content they subscribe to online As these services continue to gain in popularity by adding new talent and programming, they could become a significant threat to online music subscription services such as Rhapsody and MSN Radio."
2006-04-12: According to Jacobs Media its recent Technology Web Poll - conducted in February, 2006, among more than 25,000 respondents across 79 different Rock-formatted stations - shows that US radio companies have to work on building awareness of HD radio amongst rock station listeners with only one in five saying they knew about the technology but may benefit if they do since one in three of the sample said after being told of its features that they'd be "very or somewhat likely to purchase" a receiver a price of USD 300 if "most of the stations in your city or town" begin transmitting new sub-channel stations.
Jacobs adds that those familiar with HD Radio have a greater inclination to spend money on a receiver and that men, Mainstream Rockers, and those who classify themselves as "Early Adopters" when it comes to new technology purchases are more open to buying an HD Radio.
Jacobs notes that when it split out from its national survey figured for Detroit, where WRIF-FM and WCSX-FM began broadcasting in HD last July, it found that half of those who came from the WRIF and WCSX databases knew about HD and comments, ". Since both stations had been promoting HD Radio for just over six months when our survey was taken, awareness was swift."
RNW comment: Our conclusion would be somewhat different since we'd take the view that if after six months of promotion only half a station's listeners were aware of HD either the promotions are very poor or many of the listeners short of a few cents on the dollar.
More significantly perhaps, of those WRIF and WCSX respondents who said they are aware of HD Radio, Jacobs found their overall knowledge about it is no better than that of the total sample. That would indicate to us the same triumph of form over content in the promotions that we found in the Clear Channel HD promotional adverts we reported on yesterday (RNW Apr 11 Clear3) - "Are You Def Yet?" may be a short slogan but it doesn't do anything to inform people about HD.
Previous Jacobs Media:
2006-04-12: PURE Digital has launched a new DAB/FM radio with a recommended price of GBP 49.99 (USD 87) that it is claiming has features not previously seen on a sub GBP 50 DAB radio - FM with RDS, kitchen and sleep timers, USB upgradeability, a custom display with status icons, mute control, 20 combined DAB and FM presets, and support for a rechargeable battery pack.
It also includes two new features textSCAN, which allows listeners to pause and control scrolling text so that they can note down details of such things as web addresses and song titles, and Intellitext, which stores specially formatted scrolling text transmitted by a broadcaster - in standby mode as well as in operation - so as to give listeners on-demand access to DAB extended text broadcasts for the latest sports news, headlines and more.
The set will operate for around 35 hours on six standard "C" batteries or around 20 per charge on the battery pack, which costs just under GBP 30 (USD 52).
Intellitext will be broadcast by UTV's talkSPORT, which says it will be the only station offering it until after the end of this year's soccer World Cup and has signed an exclusive deal with retailer Currys to supply 20,000 talkSPORT-branded PURE receivers.
The station's business development director Calum Macaulay commented, "This deal increases talkSPORT awareness, driving listenership and loyalty to the station. Throughout the World Cup, it will attract more listeners to the FIFA World Cup 2006 as they will be able to receive the latest news and scores."
RNW comment: We'd also say the range of features available at the price puts to shame current US HD offerings. And at that price it does seem to us that unless iBiquity and the satellite companies are unreasonable about licensing charges it should soon be possible to build a combined DAB/DRM/HD/Sirius/XM/AM/FM receiver for less than is being charged for HD-only at the moment.
Maybe the answer is for the FCC for once to sit down with the viewer and listener's interests at the top of all priorities and come up for a scheme say ten-years hence that insists on all equipment being built to be capable of handling all the signals on offer with any licensing charges to apply only when a system is activated - something that should be fairly simple once USB upgradeability is built in since it would only require a dealer to have appropriate equipment to enter in a code and transmit a "feature licensed" payment , something that would have the virtue of making it crystal clear how much of a receiver's cost was going on the basis of proprietary system charges and thus tend to drive them down or push take-up of open-standards systems.
In other UK digital radio news, Leeds United soccer club has now formally confirmed its plans for Yorkshire Radio on the MXR multiplex in Yorkshire (See RNW Apr 11). The station will be based next to the club's Elland Road stadium and with coverage that extends from "Catterick and Darlington in the north to Mablethorpe in Lincolnshire and Dronfield in Derbyshire and from the Pennines to the North Sea" will have a potential audience of 4 - 5 million.
Yorkshire Radio's board will consist of Leeds United chairman Ken Bates, Jayne McGuinness, Mark Taylor and Shaun Gregory, who will be a non-executive director. The station has appointed Ben Fry, previously head of presentation and promotions for the two Yorkshire Coast Radio licences in Scarborough and Bridlington, as its director and started fitting out its studios with plans to go on air in a few weeks time.
2006-04-12: CBS Radio's KIFR-FM (Free FM) in San Francisco has fired local host John London, his producer Dennis Crux, and sport reporter Chris Townsend of the drivetime Inferno show after initially suspending them after London offered a reward on air to anyone who killed his fellow host Penn Jillette according to the San Jose Mercury News.
Jillette had attacked Mother Teresa on his show, calling her a fraud and saying the nun had set up refuges for dying people for "sexual kicks" and said Paris Hilton was morally superior to the nun.
Last Wednesday London spent much of his show, which follows Jillette's , complaining about the Jillette show and on Thursday, at the beginning of his show, he offered "USD5,000 to the person that kills Penn Jillette. If he suffers, I'll make it USD 7,000,'' according to Cruz as quoted by the paper.
London speaking from his San Francisco home, said his comment was a satirical response to Jillette's attack and added, "I was sickened by it. What he said wasn't satire. He raped her morally, when she couldn't respond.''
London said he was told Jillette had received death threats as a result of the broadcast, but added that such threats would be expected after what the comedian said about the Mother Teresa and he and Cruz said the station's managers had a ``dump button'' and could have stopped the program if they thought they were broadcasting something offensive or illegal.
"What I said may have been in bad taste,'' said London. ``But it wasn't illegal, as they are claiming.''
KIFR said it did not comment on personnel matters and has not posted any comment on its web site about the firings but it has removed London's Inferno drive time show from its posted line-up although when we last checked it had not removed pages listing biographical details of him, Cruz, and Townsend.
KIFR - London page (If not removed by time we publish):
San Jose Mercury report:
2006-04-12: The University of Michigan's spring fund-raising has reached a total of more than USD 766,000 - 14% up on a year ago - despite felony embezzlement charges against three former employees (See RNW Mar 19) according to the Detroit Free Press.
The University operates WUOM-FM in Ann Arbor, WFUM-FM in Flint, and WVGR-FM in Grand Rapids and the paper quotes station manager Jon Hoban as saying listeners contributed more than USD 563,000 of the total during the two-week drive and adding, "The charges do not appear to have hurt us. We got notes from people with their checks telling us not to worry, they continued to support us."
In contrast reports the paper Wayne State University's Detroit public station WDET-FM, which now employs Michael Coleman, one of the three charged, as its general manager has seen its fund raising fall short of a year ago.
The paper says WDET says membership manager Tim Burke put the fall down to the state's weak economy rather than the charges pending against Coleman: With three days left of its drive the station had raised only around USD 350,000 compared to around USD 600,000 at the same point a year ago and expects to reach a total of around USD 420,000.
Coleman and his fellow defendants, all of whom deny the charges, are scheduled to appear in the district court in Washtenaw County today for a preliminary examination of charges - in Coleman's case of allegedly accepting benefits such as food, travel and accommodation in exchange for on-air announcements whilst at WUOM and in the case of the others - Jeremy Nordquist and Justin Ebright - of accepting merchandise from Ann Arbor-area businesses in exchange for on-air announcements.
Detroit Free Press report:
2006-04-11: In further moves to boost iBiquity's HD radio in the US three major retailers have announced what they term in a news release "sweeping marketing and education campaigns" to support the new customers they hope to gain through offering receivers in their stores nationwide. The move coincides with the second wave of the HD Digital Radio Alliance's USD 200 million advertising campaign that will feature prominently the retailers - Tweeter, Crutchfield and ABC Warehouse/Detroit .
As part of its contribution to the campaign, Clear Channel Radio is to make a series of HD Digital Radio Promotional Spots made by its Creative Services Group available free of charge to the member companies of the HD Digital Radio Alliance.
Samples of Rock/Chart offerings have already been posted on the www.areyoudefyet.com web site with offerings for News/Talk, AC and Hip-Hop/Urban and Country format stations listed as coming soon. All have the tag line --"Are You Def Yet?" that plays on the theme of high definition [The site before allowing access to the spots - at least they in 256 kbps technical quality - says that those downloading the spots have to "ACKNOWLEDGE AND ASSERT THAT YOU ARE AN EMPLOYEE OF ONE OF THE BROADCAST COMPANY MEMBERS OF THE HD DIGITAL RADIO ALLIANCE" albeit it does not insist on any details being entered to allow verification. It also says downloaders must agree not to use spots "in association with offensive or lewd material" and also that Clear Channel's permission is needed by anyone before they "modify or create a derivative work" of a spot].
Commenting on the campaign, HD Digital Radio Alliance president and C.E.O. Peter Ferrara said in the release, "Consumer demand for HD Digital Radio receivers has increased significantly over the past few months as consumers see the incredible value HD Radio offers. We expect these developments to end the lengthy waiting lists for receivers that consumers are currently experiencing. Clearly, these retailers have seen what we've seen: Consumers want HD Digital Radio programming, and smart retailers want to get ahead of the curve in providing it."
RNW comment: As sceptics about any marketing campaign - in our view by definition "educational" only in a very limited sense of the word whatever the guff in a release may say - we remain dubious about how successful any campaign will be while receivers remain at their current high prices, a factor that in our view the radio companies have still done far too little to address.
As long as it is possible to get a satellite receiver and a year's subscription to Sirius or XM for significantly less than the cost of any HD receiver it seems a reasonable alternative is to get the former whilst waiting for receiver prices to tumble.
As for the spots, listen and make up your own mind bur they did nothing that would have enticed us to buy HD although we accept that they will bring its availability to the attention of more listeners and if local stations have strong extra offerings on HD that are mentioned at the same time do provide some incentive to make a purchase.
The tag line either will or won't catch on and as for lines about parents not wanting you (presumably potential teenage buyers) to buy HD we note that in the UK, much to the industry's surprise more were bought by older demographics in DAB's early days than by teenagers, many of whom had spent their money instead on MP3 players and cell phones.
iBiquity has also publicized attempts to spread HD outside the US including announcements by Broadcast Electronics of the installation of an HD system on Paris, France, station TowerCast, a subsidiary of the NRJ Group that operates four major radio networks in France, and also in Thailand where it was put into a public radio network targeting mass transit commuters in Bangkok.
The French installation, given permission to broadcast on an experimental basis, is initially to use a low-powered transmission system for a single HD broadcast in a first phase trial and TowerCast plans a later phase with a multicast of two or more channels.
In Thailand, HD is being used by RNT Television Plc, which has a contract to broadcast to buses in Thailand using a portion of existing licensed FM frequencies. In all around 10,000 receivers will be installed in Thai buses.
RNW comment: As we have commented in the past we greatly value the universality of existing analogue systems and accordingly would like to see an equally universal digital world. Since we simply cannot see most of the world going for a proprietary system like HD in preference to the open standard DAB and DRM systems unless it has very great advantages -indications are that it is not perceived to have such advantages and the demonstrations so far provided by iBiquity are unimpressive - we logically incline towards HD's competitors as much more likely to gain acceptance in most of the world and would prefer efforts going into their development rather than that of HD.
For those who do want to find out more about digital radio and in particular about other systems than HD, Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) is to showcase live broadcasts on the new, multi-standard, DRM-capable consumer radios at NAB 2006 in Las Vegas.
The demonstrations will be the first of their kind at NAB and on show at the exhibit booths of DRM members Continental Electronics Corporation, RIZ -Transmitters Co. and TRANSRADIO SenderSysteme Berlin AG will be tabletop radios, capable of handling DRM/DAB/FM/RDS and analogue short-wave, medium-wave/AM and long-wave signals.
The receivers being shown use RadioScape's RS500 module and Texas Instruments' DRM350 digital radio baseband and they will be able to receive signals from special live DRM broadcasts from Continental Electronics (from Nevada), HCJB (from Ecuador), CVC (from Chile) and Radio Canada International (from Canada).
DRM says this will enhance the existing line-up of DRM broadcasts into the U.S. from Deutsche Welle, NASB, Radio Canada International, Radio Kuwait, Radio Netherlands, Swedish Radio International, TDP Radio and Vatican Radio.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous HD Digital Radio Alliance:
2006-04-11: BBC Radio 2 has announced a weekly podcast of the best of its Wake up to Wogan breakfast show, launching today.
It will feature speech highlights from the show, the UK's most popular breakfast show, but for copyright reasons no music, an absence Wogan portrayed as a virtue. In a news release he commented, "Every week you can download all the usual, highly-crafted, carefully wrought banter onto your mp3 player - without all that unnecessary music getting in the way of all me best lines! So listeners can snuggle up with me, wherever and whenever they want. "
On the technology itself he added, "I've given up trying to beat 'em, so now I'm joining 'em and I'm going to do it better than all the others. Look, Ma - I'm TOGcasting!"
The station is also to offer ad-hoc podcasts of Steve Wright's afternoon show offering selected interviews and also from April 21 a weekly podcast compiled from Chris Evans' new weekday drivetime show: it already offers "Chris Evans - The Best Bits" -highlights of his Saturday afternoon show which in February, the latest month for which figures have been published this attracted 80,952 downloads, placing it seventh in the BBC podcast/downloads rankings.
2006-04-11: The future of India's public broadcaster Prasar Bharati is set to be discussed next Tuesday at a meeting in New Delhi. by the country's 13-strong Group of Ministers headed by the Union Home Minister, Shivraj Patil.
On its agenda are various issues relating to the body including staff demands, its financial viability and potential asset transfers with the aim of allowing it to make alliances and borrow funds to modernise its facilities and expand.
Earlier this month Prasar Bharati reported record gross revenues of INR 1230 crore (USD 277 million - a crore is 10 million), up nearly 50% on a year earlier but still some INR 200 to 300 crore ( USD 45 million to USD 67 million) less than it spends each year (See RNW Apr 7).
Previous Indian Radio:
Previous Prasar Bharati:
2006-04-11: According to the UK Guardian, whose parent also owns Guardian Media Group Radio, the soccer club Leeds United is to launch a digital radio station as part of a new media strategy to be announced by its chairman Ken Bates.
The paper says the club will launch Yorkshire Radio on a slot on MXR's Yorkshire digital radio multiplex from Guardian Media Group Radio that had previously broadcast Jazz FM: GMG Radio will continue to broadcast Real Radio and Smooth FM on the multiplex.
Yorkshire Radio, which is being promoted on the getdabdigitalradio web site as to be launched soon, will, says the paper broadcast commentary of all Leeds games but will predominantly be a music service with phone-ins and interviews on football and local issues. The club already operates an online radio and TV service.
Leeds United radio and TV web site:
UK Guardian report:
2006-04-11: Japan's satellite digital multimedia broadcasting service "MobaHO!" is now broadcasting 37 audio channels and eight video channels, having added a further seven audio channels to its spring schedule.
They include various music genres including Japanese and Korean pop and also channels such as "HMV Japan-COUNTDOWN" that offers a list of top ten hits on the weekly J-pop singles and albums charts at the HMV Shibuya store and ties in to a purchasing system from MobaHO!'s cell phone website, and news, sports and entertainment including a number of foreign channels.
The latter include BBC World Service and a number of US station signals including Los Angeles jazz station KKJZ-FM, New York classical station WQXR-FM; Philadelphia hip-hop and R&B station WPHI-FM and San Diego country station KSON-FM and alternative FM94/9.
2006-04-10: We begin this week's look at print comment on radio with what is in a sense a digression in that Mark Lawson's column in the UK Guardian is about the "special relationship" between the UK and US: However he digresses in the context of his play "London, This is Washington" to be broadcast as this week's BBC Radio 4 "Friday Play" slot to comment on what he terms "a fascinating clash of accents" in London-Washington summits.
He comments on, "The counterpoint between Blair (posh Scots roughened by populist glottal stops) and Bush II (exaggerated Texan twang seeking Freudian distance from Yankee drone of Bush I) echoes previous sharply contrasting conversations: Harold Macmillan's Edwardian drawl, with its undertow of self-deprecation, v John Kennedy's Massachusetts affectations, with those elongated "a" sounds that make someone saying "car" seem to have slipped on a banana skin. And that vocal bout was followed by Harold Wilson, whose native Yorkshire was softened by Oxford, against Lyndon Johnson, who growled from one side of his mouth the toughest dialect of Texas" and then says of his play, "So one advantage of the radio play I've written about the Macmillan-Kennedy and Wilson-Johnson meetings of the 60s (to be broadcast next Friday) is that it solves a major problem of sound-only drama: differentiation between speakers."
Lawson's remarks lead us naturally on to the question of what makes good radio and, with only a very slight digression, to comments in About Radio from Corey Deitz on the topic "Whatever Happened to Hiring Real Radio People."
Deitz begins with noting that since David Lee Roth went on air in January to replace Howard Stern on various CBS Radio stations "It's been downhill ever since" and then goes on to say the point he is making is not Roth's qualities but m" Why did CBS Radio gurus choose to hire a non-Radio guy to do such an important morning show in 7 large markets? You could fit Roth's radio experience on a postage stamp. And yes, it does matter Why didn't they hire a Radio professional? One for each market? Professionals with acts honed over years who specialize in mornings?"
Deitz goes on to note, "Not everyone can do a successful morning show. It's a special skill and it requires not only experience and talent but a keen insight into attracting the desired audience. Even among Radio professionals themselves, only a small percentage are really cut out to do a morning show. The truly capable are a small battalion within the Army of Radio personalities."
He then comments in terms of the reputed sums being spent on Roth and other options available to CBS, all within the context of hiring those with experience of the job rather than just having a name.
And it's not just a question of people who "work" on radio, but also of the programming that does according to Gerry McCarthy in the UK Sunday Times: He began his latest weekly "Radio Waves" column on Irish Radio by commenting, "There are things that just don't work on radio, and the makeover programme is one of them. On television we can watch the process unfold. We get to see before-and-after images of the participants and can observe the effect the alteration has on them. Schadenfreude - pleasure derived from the suffering of others - plays an important role."
"These dimensions," he continues, "are lacking on radio, where the makeover becomes a kind of confessional. If the subject is able to sift out the most dramatic vignettes, there is some hope of success. But "Pimp My Life" [RTÉ Radio 1], Richie Beirne's new series about personal transformation, lacks such focus and punch."
"Beirne's problem," writes McCarthy, "is that he is a stand-up comedian of the rambling narrative school, and the programme quickly becomes a two-finger exercise in the same style" and he later adds, after trenchant dismissal of the product, some wider ranging comment on comedians general radio performance, writing, "Ever since comedy became the new rock'n'roll, comedians have been trying to translate their live appeal into radio shows, but success is about as rare as an amusing Ed Byrne routine. Radio 1's current output reads like a checklist of persistent pitfalls. The sketches produced by Fiona Looney and Paul Woodfull for "The Creedon Show" [RTÉ Radio 1], display a fatal reliance on allegedly funny voices and clumsy satire. Eamon Keane's Monday show on "Round Midnight" [RTÉ Radio 1] tries to blend live debate with pre-packaged sketches. The result too frequently is a cacophony of back-slapping hilarity that fails to match the quality of the humour on offer."
And finally before turning to listening suggestions, comments from some plain listeners rather than professional columnists courtesy of Robert Feder's column in the Chicago Sun-Times. Points made were fairly varied.
There was the issue of voice tracking from Doug Derevites: "I am surprised at your lack of criticism toward Clear Channel Radio after announcing they are broadcasting their afternoon program on WLIT via some guy recorded in Detroit! Does this make for good radio? A guy who couldn't tell you the first thing about Chicago? I am appalled that a company that bills in the tens of millions can't find a few bucks to pay a local personality. What's next? On any given Clear Channel station we may hear someone broadcasting from India? I'm sure radio personalities over there come even cheaper."
And on commercial clutter from Joel Dembo (others made similar comments): "When are you going to address the issue of more and more commercials on radio stations? One day when I was bored I timed 26 minutes of commercials out of one hour on the Steve Dahl show. It's not surprising that Sirius Satellite Radio already has 4 million subscribers. [RNW add - and XM 6.5 million plus]."
So on to listening suggestions and first, if you have a couple of hours - or three - to spare, we suggest last week's "BBC Radio 1 Chart Show with JK and Joel": Not for the music so much as for the accents of some of the callers and guests.
For a chart show and music we suggest Capital Gold, which this weekend marks 50 years of the British album chart by playing a track or tracks from 500 albums with various names commenting on the music played, which has been selected on the basis of numbers of albums sold and how long an album was in the charts.
The marathon run is on Good Friday (7am-7pm); Easter Eve (7am-2pm); Easter Day (7am-7pm) and Easter Monday (7am-7pm) and the station is available online as well as various AM, digital terrestrial, satellite and cable platforms.
Then accents again and apart from Lawson's play, which airs at 20:00 GMT on Friday, we suggest last week's "WorldPlay" in the BBC World Service drama slot.
Last Saturday's play - "A Stone's Throw" by Jason Sherman - was the second in the six-part series. WorldPlay is now in its eighth year and this year features productions from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and the US.
A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation production, "A Stone's Throw" tells the fictional story of a 30-years-old son trying to understand his famous father, the first Palestinian ever drafted into major league baseball.
Next week's play - first airing at 19:05 GMT on Saturday - is a Radio New Zealand production of "Attitude" by Stuart Hoar: It's the tale of James, an opinionated, confident man who is blinded in an accident and has to learn to adapt to new attitudes towards people with disabilities.
And still with drama a move to BBC Radio 3 and last Sunday's Beckett Night which included various actors talking about the playwright's relationship with performers of his works plus productions of "Embers", "Krapp's Last Tape", and "Not I". They're all available until next Sunday when the station's "Drama on 3" slot at 18:30 GMT features "Waiting for Godot."
And back to BBC Radio 4 and the 50th anniversary of the English Stage Company at the Royal Court which was marked in the "Saturday Play" slot last Saturday with Arnold Wesker's "Roots" whilst next week the slot (at 13:30 GMT) features "The Sea" by Edward Bond.
After drama poetry and history combined from BBC Radio 4 in the latest of its "The Poetry of History" series that on Sunday looked at the 1819 "Peterloo Massacre " in Manchester that prompted Shelley's attack on the government of the day in "The Mask of Anarchy."
And with history, also on Radio 4 on Sunday in the "Sunday Best " slot [In the "Factual" section of the station web site] "The Things We Forgot to Remember" looked in the first of a four-part series at the Battle of Mers El Kebir, the 1940 attack by the British Royal Navy on the French naval squadron in the Algerian port, destroying the ships and killing nearly 1,300 French sailors - an attack that Winston Churchill considered a regrettable necessity to stop the ships falling into the hands of the Nazis.
Also worthy of a listen from the station are this year's "Reith Lectures" "In the Beginning Was Sound" by conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim (Posted as streaming audio and MP3s) and the latest "Archive Hour" which on Saturday in "Speaking for Ourselves" had some remarkable people speaking for themselves as part of an oral history project about disability, run by the charity Scope.
On a lighter note, BBC Radio 2 on Saturday featured a strong comedy hour in the final "Smith Lecture" in the current run of the series followed by the final "Powder Room" in its run and later in the evening had "Coldplay: Live and Exclusive", a concert recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London.
Tomorrow at 20:30 GMT it has the second part of the two-part "Howlin' Wolf" series (Part one is available until then) and on Wednesday at 21:00 GMT has the first of a four-part series "10 Million Can't Be Wrong " in which Kate Thornton looks at albums that have sold more than ten million. This week's programme is about Meat Loaf's 1977 "Bat out of Hell".
The above, of course, unless you have plenty of time on your hands should fill the week but thanks to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's excellent downloads offering we feel free to suggest some MP3s to save for future listening.
First from "All in the Mind" the current "Fragmented Minds" programmes looking at schizophrenia; then "The Religion Report" that last week included an item on Christian converts facing execution in the Moslem world for apostasy [To which our comment is that any religion that has to rely on killing people to get them to remain in it has to have some serious weakness at its core: We leave it to those Moslems who do not believe this is really the correct interpretation of the Koran, which as far as we are aware does NOT call for the murder of apostates, to make their protests-we did note that CAIR (the Council on American Islamic Relations) did go public with its opposition when Abdul Rahman was facing execution in Afghanistan - and a fairly deafening silence from most of the Islamic world to its eternal shame]; and "The Spirit of Things" that last week was "In Search of Zarathustra" that looked for the origins of what may have been the world's first monotheistic religion.
About Radio - Deitz:
Capital Gold web site:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
UK Guardian -Lawson:
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy:
2006-04-10: Following publication of a letter from Marek Edelman, the last surviving leader of the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising, asking the Polish government to silence anti-Semitic outbursts from fundamentalist Roman Catholic station Radio Maryja, the Papal Nuncio in Warsaw, Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk, has written to Polish bishops urging them to deal with the station.
Edelman in his letter referred to a broadcast on March 27 in which presenter Stanislaw Michalkiewicz commented, that "Jews have humiliated Poland internationally by demanding money" for goods and property expropriated during WWII" and added, "We look after democratic issues in Ukraine and Belarus, while in our own backyard, 'kikes' sneak up behind us to try to oblige our government to pay them money on the pretext of these demands."
Edelman in his letter said he would ask the government to intervene to halt the anti-Semitic comments from the station which had gone on for a while and the European Jewish Press reports that the Otwarta Rzeczpospolita (Open Republic) organisation, which fights against acts of anti-Semitism and xenophobia, has lodged a complaint against the station with the Polish Higher Audiovisual Council, and is looking into the possibility of taking it to court.
"Because this was not a listener stating his opinion but a statement that came from the editorial staff which was broadcast more than once, and was posted on the station's website, there are grounds to go to court," said the organization's president, Paula Sawicka.
The European Jewish Press noted that nearly all of Poland's pre-war Jewish community of some 3.5 million -- the biggest in Europe -- was wiped out in the Second World War and that following Michalkiewicz's openly anti-Semitic statements, Radio Maryja was warned by the state council for media ethics that "a radio station that calls itself Catholic should avoid" making such statements.
It adds that leaders of Poland's ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, including Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, have made guest appearances on Radio Maryja and its sister cable television station, Trwam, since they came to power last year.
In his letter, reports the Independent Catholic News, Monsignor Kowalczyk wrote in his letter to the bishops, "The Holy See expresses its deep concern about Radio Maryja's political commitments" and urged the bishops to "overcome the difficulties caused by some of the radio's broadcasts and activities."
RNW comment: It seems to us that the Nuncio's action, whilst welcome, should only be a first step in the context of the structure of the Roman Catholic Church. Should there not be speedy action, it would be quite reasonable that the bishops should be told by Rome that that they must openly condemn the station and all those who support it in any way financially or face disciplinary action including removal from their posts.
We would not welcome state closure of the radio and TV stations, however, because it would be much better to make it clear that the attitudes expressed are abhorrent - and why, bearing in mind that of nearly half-a-million Jews in the Warsaw ghetto fewer than 40,000 were left by the time of the 1943 Warsaw uprising. In that context it would seem to us a moral duty for any politician to make it a condition of appearing on the station that they be allowed to condemn its anti-Semitic remarks on air uninterrupted for at least a couple of minutes and of any Catholic business to foreswear advertising with it unless it openly disowns Michalkiewicz and his comments.
European Jewish Press report:
Independent Catholic News report:
2006-04-09: The main news from the regulators this week came from the US, where the Federal Communications Commission has come under attack from New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer over its payola investigations and negotiations radio companies about a settlement (See RNW Apr 4) and from Australia where the government has announced a January 2009 start-date for digital radio (See RNW Apr 5).
In Canada licensing decisions by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) included approval of a new FM with a service directed towards Toronto's gay and lesbian community (See RNW Apr 6).
Other decisions (in order of province included):
*Approval of 230 watts FM transmitter in Castlegar and 460 watts FM Transmitter in Grand Forks for CJAT-FM, Trail.
*Denial of application by Kelowna Christian Center Society for a 48 watts English-language commercial specialty FM radio station in Kelowna. Concern had been expressed about potential impact on existing stations and in refusing the application the Commission said it could have an undue negative impact on the ability of existing broadcasters in the market to meet their programming commitments.
*Approval of application from Canadian Hellenic Toronto Radio Inc. for a new ethnic AM station in Toronto, primarily to serve the Toronto area's Greek-speaking community and also provide ethnic programming in Armenian, Romanian, Serbian and Bulgarian, as well as in English.
The applicant has been providing a cable service to the Greek-speaking community in the Toronto area since 1966.
This and the other Toronto applications, including the gay and lesbian community application were opposed in a joint intervention from CHUM Limited, Toronto, and Rogers Broadcasting Limited.
*Approval of new 18,200 watts opinion and classic rock format French-language commercial FM in Rimouski, Quebec.
*Denial of application for a new country music format English-language commercial FM in Tisdale.
The application had been opposed among others by Yorkton Broadcasting Company Limited and Walsh Investments Inc., partners in GX Radio Partnership, licensee of CJGX-AM and CFGW-FM, Yorkton, which said the population of rural Saskatchewan is decreasing, making it difficult for the current radio licensees who serve this very small market to remain viable and by Radio CJVR Ltd., licensee of CKJH-AM and CJVR-FM, Melfort, on the basis of impact on its stations. They also expressed concern at the viability of the station with its proposed budget and the CRTC in refusing the application also commented on these concerns and said it thought there could be an undue negative impact on existing stations.
The CRTC also issued a public notice concerning various applications for which interventions and comments have to be submitted by May 10 including the following radio applications:
*Application by Manitoulin Radio Communication Inc. to increase the power of CFRM-FM, Little Current, from 5 watts to 1,830 watts and increase its antenna height, changes that would take it from a low power unprotected service to a regular Class A service.
*Application by Radio Matagami to renew the licence of the Type A community radio programming undertaking CHEF-FM, Matagami expiring 31 August 2006.
*Application by Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. (AVR) for the use of frequency 106.7 MHz (channel 294A) with an average effective radiated power of 320 watts (maximum effective radiated power of 1,200 watts / antenna height of 209 metres) for the operation of the native Type B radio undertaking at Montréal.
*Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to add a 46,800 watts transmitter in North Battleford to broadcast the programming of its Radio Two service originating from CBK-FM, Regina.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has not announced any radio decisions but has welcomed the decision of the country's Supreme Court to approve its award of the Dublin alternative rock licence to Dublin Rock Radio Limited's Phantom FM (See RNW Apr 8).
In the UK, Ofcom has advertised a new commercial FM licence for Liverpool (See RNW Apr 7) and also published its latest Broadcast Bulletin, in which it upheld no radio complaints (See RNW Apr 5).
It has also announced that Sara Nathan and Ian Hargreaves have been reappointed with as Non-Executive Directors of the Ofcom Board, the former to a term running until the end of 2008 and toe latter to a term running to the end of next year.
Nathan will stand down as Deputy Chairman of the Content Board - the committee of the main Ofcom Board with delegated responsibility for content issues - and will be replaced by Adam Singer, who has been a member of the Content Board since May 2003.
In addition Ofcom Board Non-Executive Director Millie Banerjee is to join the Content Board as well as retaining her current main Board responsibilities.
In the US as already noted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has come under attack from New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer: It has also reduced from USD 16,000 to USD 4,000 a penalty on an Indiana AM for failure to register the antenna structure for the station, failure to notify the Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA") of a known antenna structure light outage, and its failure to exhibit the required red obstruction lighting.
WLTH Radio, Inc., licensee of WLTH-AM, Gary, operated using separate day and night antennas and a check by the FCC following a complaint that WLTH's antenna structure lighting was not operational found that the day antenna was not registered.
WLTH did not dispute the violations but argued that the forfeiture should be reduced or cancelled because it is now in compliance with the Rules and is unable to pay the forfeiture.
The FCC as usual noted that subsequent correction of violations was not a valid argument against a penalty but after reviewing documentation said that payment of the full USD 16,000 penalty would pose financial hardship and reduced the penalty to USD 4,000.
The FCC has also renewed - for two years - the licence of the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) public radio station KALW-FM but is proposing a USD 10,000 following a hearing over issues concerning the 1997 filing of a licence renewal application certifying that the station's public inspection files (PIFs) were complete: They were not and had earlier been the subject of a memo from station volunteer Susen Hecht to its manager Jeff Ramirez in which she said the files were "disorganized and incomplete" and listed the contents of the files.
A group calling itself Golden Gate Public Radio (GGPR), a nonprofit Corporation whose members were KALW employees or volunteers - all described by Ramirez as "disgruntled" about changes he had made - had sent a threatening letter to KALW's counsel what the FCC terms "a threatening list of justifications for a petition to deny, making clear that the petition could be avoided by agreeing to allow GGPR to operate the Station" and when their demands were refused filed the petition.
The FCC in its ruling noted that the station "consistently produced programming that was responsive to San Francisco" and that there was no "evidence of a repetition of compliance violations Except for isolated violations attributed to former General Manager Ramirez, SFUSD has a record of compliance with the Commission's rules throughout the renewal period."
On this basis it noted that his successor "showed greater concern for compliance" and that the station was now in the process of selecting another general manager.
It added , "There is good reason to conclude that there should be no reoccurrence of failures to maintain the Station's PIF, and that there will be no misleading application or report filed with the Commission in the future" and concluded that the licence should be renewed but the base-level forfeiture of USD 10,000 for PIF violations should be applied. SFUSD had said that its current deficit showed that it would be unable to pay even this amount but the FCC said the evidence presented did not show this to be so and "Considering the record as a whole, a USD 10,000 forfeiture is appropriate for SFUSD's erroneous 'Yes' certification in connection with maintaining a deficient PIF."
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-04-09: According to the Los Angeles Times a side effect of the payola investigation currently being conducted by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has been to push program directors into being more cautious about airing new music.
The paper says many programmers say that fear of regulatory scrutiny has scared them into airing fewer new songs and many stations are sticking to older, more tried-and-true tunes that seem less likely to prompt speculation that money changed hands.
Research shows, it adds, that listeners are hearing fewer new songs on the radio today than they were a year ago and according to trade publication Radio & Records in the first quarter of 2006, "active rock" stations added 23% fewer new songs to their playlists than during the same period in 2005; pop stations added 14% fewer songs; urban/hip-hop stations 16% fewer and adult contemporary stations 17% fewer even though the number of album releases increased, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The Times notes that in the wake of Spitzer's probe, radio companies have launched internal inquiries and fired and reprimanded scores of programmers, leaving many programmers with the impression that if their names are so much as mentioned in connection with pay-for-play, their jobs will be at risk.
It says, "More than a dozen radio programmers interviewed for this article - almost all of whom requested anonymity because they feared that discussing pay-for-play would endanger their jobs - said the slowdown in airing new songs wasn't official policy. Rather, it is a precaution that individual programmers are taking to avoid raising suspicion about their motives."
"I don't want anyone to look at my playlists six months from now and speculate about why I added a particular song when our competition didn't add it," one programmer said. "People have been fired for less."
It also reports that stations are now less willing to participate in legitimate promotions such as concert ticket giveaways and contests, partly because of new rules and paperwork involved in such activities
It also says small recording companies are finding it harder to get on radio because nobody wants to stick out by putting their music on air and adds that Spitzer's investigators acknowledge the chilling effect, though they predict that shrinking playlists will be only a temporary consequence of their inquiries.
"We've seen this in other industries we've investigated," said Darren Dopp, a spokesman for Spitzer. "There's a moment where everyone is frozen with self-examination, and then things improve. These reforms will eventually expand opportunities for artists."
Los Angeles Times report:
2006-04-09: Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard and U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton have joined in complaints over comments made by an Arizona talk host suggesting that one solution to the state's immigration problems would be to kill immigrants as they cross the border and have written to US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin about the remarks.
Brian James, who was filling in at KFYI-AM, Phoenix, on Tuesday evenings had already been the subject of calls for an investigation from the Arizona Interfaith Network who have a recording of a show last month in which James said, "What we'll do is randomly pick one night - every week - where we will kill whoever crosses the border. Step over there and you die. You get to decide whether it's your lucky night or not. I think that would be more fun."
The group's president Dick White told the Arizona Republic the remarks were irresponsible and could incite violence against immigrants and said the recording was "an example of what's wrong with the public debate on immigration Whatever your views on immigration, these remarks have no place on our airwaves. A license to broadcast is not a license to advocate murder."
James, said his remarks were taken out of context and that he did not support violence but was "simply trying to make a point" and KFYI program director Lauri Cantillo said that James had been trying to make the point that the debate over immigration has become "outrageous" and added, "He was very careful to say, 'Of course, I'm not advocating violence.' " This was to make a point about how outrageous this debate has become."
KFYI in a response posted on its web site said it had not been contacted by anyone from the Arizona Interfaith Network nor received any complaints from listeners and added of the comments made, "Brian James' comments were made in a satirical manner and should be interpreted as such If the intent of AIN is to diffuse tensions in the community, their actions are having the opposite effect."
It also posted a statement from James in which he said, "As a talk show host sometimes things I say get taken out of context or are exaggerated. I do not in any way advocate shooting illegal immigrants. The fact that it's necessary for me to address this shows my remarks were taken out of context.
"We are making little or no progress in dealing with the growing illegal immigration problem. My satire was intended to underscore the inaction. How much progress are we making on the issue when more attention is being paid to the ranting and ramblings on the radio than to the growing illegal immigration problem?"
RNW comment: Unless they have an internal saboteur who is literate KYFI appear to have unwittingly stated the case correctly in that by their actions the Interfaith Network would appear to have spread tension (which is what "diffuse" means) rather than defusing them (which is what KYFI meant to say). Without the full transcript - the station did not keep a recording and it is not clear exactly what the Interfaith Network has on record - it is impossible to make a full judgment but assuming the limited transcript is accurate it is difficult to defend comments of this nature, which could spur an extremist to action. At the very least they are ill judged, at the worst they could be incitement to murder and if a full transcript shows the latter our view is that James should have to face trial and the prospect of jail time. As for the station, their response in our view is the usual responsibility-dodging weasel reaction we tend to expect as the norm for most US stations.
Arizona Republic report:
2006-04-08: Dublin's new alternative rock FM, Dublin Rock Radio Limited /Phantom FM, which is backed by a consortium including U2 manager Paul McGuinness's Principle Management and promoter Dermot Desmond's Gaiety Investments, is now expected on the air in late summer, following the Irish Supreme Court's ruling against an appeal by Scrollside Ltd/Zed FM ,which is backed by Bob Geldof, regarding the licence award to Phantom by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI).
The BCI welcomed the ruling, which backed up an earlier High Court ruling in November last year (See RNW Nov 6, 2005) when it held in relation to Zed FM's arguments against Phantom on the basis of previous involvement in pirate transmissions that it was for the BCI, not the courts, to consider what weight it would attach to the illegal broadcasting matter when considering the character of Phantom.
Rejecting the appeal by a two-to-one majority the Supreme Court said it was satisfied that the Commission considered the issue of character in the context of Phantom's previous record of illegal broadcasting and that this was not in issue. In favour of the decision were the Hon Mrs. Justice Susan Denham, and the Hon. Mr. Justice Brian McCracken with the Hon. Mr. Justice Nicholas Kearns dissenting.
It also found that the BCI policy of encouraging the cessation of illegal broadcasting and accepting applications from illegal operators, provided they had ceased illegal broadcasting prior to the application being made, was entirely consistent with the objectives of Ireland's 1988 Radio and Television Act, 1988, was not irrational and is the type of decision that a specialist body might arrive at in light of all the circumstances in the industry.
As to the weighing of the applications for the licence by Zed and Phantom the court said there was no evidence that the BCI had favoured Phantom and found that the BCI's treatment of the applications received from both Zed FM and Phantom FM was objective and impartial and that there was a balanced appraisal of both bids.
Welcoming the decision, BCI Chief Executive Michael O'Keeffe said, "The BCI is very pleased with today's outcome. We have consistently held that the process for the award of the licence was fair, open and transparent and that the best applicant, Phantom FM, was awarded the licence. We now look forward to re-establishing contract negotiations with Phantom FM, with a view to providing Dublin listeners with an alternative rock music service. Further details regarding progress on negotiations will be announced in due course".
Zed FM said in a statement that while it had not had time "to read the judgements thoroughly, we note the dissenting judgement of Mr. Justice Kearns. The fact that our position has been vindicated within the judiciary confirms that it was appropriate, in the public interest, to have this case heard."
It added, "Obviously we are very disappointed with the result The fact is that Irish music needs a station in Dublin that plays a significant volume of original music, and in particular lots of music by unsigned bands - especially during daytime hours. Like everyone with a genuine commitment to Irish artists of a non-mainstream variety, we would like to see this being a real priority for Phantom" and concluded, "What is most important now is that music fans will finally have an alternative rock station to listen to in Dublin. There are good people on the Phantom FM team and we now wish them all the best in their campaign to get the station up and running successfully."
2006-04-08: UK Chrysalis is to launch a two-month trial of a scheme that will allow listeners to buy songs they hear on its Heart and Galaxy stations for downloading to a mobile phone with an MP3 copy also being sent to their computer.
The trial will involve 100 participants and will be held in June and July in conjunction with UBC, which is one of two holders of UK data spectrum licences that allow use of a digital radio signal to transmit data and a year ago announced that it was to invest in the development of software to allow downloads at the touch of a button when a song is heard (See RNW Apr 13, 2005). UBC's digital software developer, Unique Interactive was also reported last year to have been contracted by iBiquity to advise it on development of digital services in the US (See RNW Jul 30, 2005).
BBC News quoted Chrysalis Radio chief executive Phil Riley as saying of the plans, which are likely to be based on a subscription fee and per download charge, "It's a very neat way of allowing people who are time-poor, and not particularly technically-literate, the ability to download the music they like. The Heart type of audience - working women or mums with kids - are absolutely typical time-poor people. Getting the kids to school is much higher up on their list of priorities than downloading music."
UBC's chief executive Simon Cole said: "If you press 'Buy' when you're listening to James Blunt on Heart, the file is immediately added to your library in the phone. The server also pushes a 128-kbps version of the song to your home account so it's also on your computer waiting to be put on your iPod. We think people will be willing to pay a premium for that level of service."
RNW comment: If nothing else the technical quality of downloads being offered here, as on existing services, convinces us that the recording companies are missing a trick by not pushing the superior quality of CDs. In our January comment on digital radio quality one of the sites we cited suggested that at 256 kbps and above MP3s were virtually indistinguishable from the CD but nobody seems to be offering this quality level. Perhaps more germane was the comment he also made that "non-critical listeners really don't notice (nor do they care about) the difference in audio quality between CD's and 128Kbps MP3's.
In essence that probably accounts for around 95% of pop listeners in real terms but we rather think nowhere near that percentage would care to admit they didn't care: In other words the recording companies would probably have a sounder business plan if they pushed a combination of downloads as lower quality but cheaper and additional CD purchases to get top quality.
BBC News report:
2006-04-08: The Media Audit/Ipsos is continuing to gain support for its smart cell phone audience metering device, including what it terms in a news release an "inadvertent endorsement from Nielsen, the TV measurement giant" in a Wall Street Journal article "Ad Measurement Is Going High Tech .Explosion of Media Offerings Complicates Finding Whether Message Is Getting Through".
In it Nielsen SVP of strategy and business development Dave Harkness is cited as saying that both watermarks and audio sampling (audio matching) may be needed to provide the most complete exposure ratings.
Media Audit president Bob Jordan responded by commenting, "We have been studying electronic measurement for more than 2 years and we came to the same conclusion as Dave Harkness. The fact is both watermarking and encoding have their respective strengths. Indeed their strengths complement each other. For this reason we favoured integrating both monitoring systems in our Smart Cell Phone solution."
The article, which referred to the use of a cell phone for media measurement by San Mateo tech company, Integrated Media Measurement Inc, (IMMI) also, said that Arbitron spokesman Thom Mocarsky had said that doesn't work. [RNW comment: Which makes it remarkable that the Eurisko Media Monitor, which uses audio matching, outperformed Arbitron's PPM in UK tests by radio ratings organization RAJAR.]
The Media Audit in other recent announcements has also said that it has established an Ethnic Research Advisory Committee to assist in reviewing and advising The Media Audit/Ipsos on the most appropriate measurement of the ethnic communities and noted that its system will include "cell phone-only households" in its measurements from the start.
Jordan in making the announcement noted that figures recently released from an internet poll of rock listeners by Jacobs Media showed that 37% of 18-34 year olds were 'cell only households' and added that there is a strong trend to "cell only" in the Hispanic and Black markets.
Previous Media Audit/Ipsos:
2006-04-07: UK Media regulator Ofcom has advertised a new commercial FM for Liverpool and surrounding areas.
The licence will cover an area with an adult population of around 1.5 million and applications, which have to be accompanied by a non-refundable fee of GBP 25,000 (USD 44,000), must be submitted by July 13.
2006-04-08: New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer is reported to have opted to return around USD 40,000 in donations for his gubernatorial campaign following publicity given to them by the New York Post. Spitzer is involved in a high profile investigation into payola and the radio and music industries
The paper said most of the funds came from two donors - USD 25,000 from Paul Fribourg, who sits on the supervisory board of Vivendi Universal, the parent of Universal Music and USD 10,000 from Richard Sarnoff, who sits on the supervisory board of Bertelsmann AG, part of Sony BMG. Universal is under investigation by Spitzer and Song-BMG has made a USD 10 million settlement.
The paper quoted Spitzer campaign spokeswoman Christine Anderson as saying two donations had slipped through the vetting process and would be returned although she added that the two donations did not breach Spitzer's rules on donations that were unacceptable because the donors are just board members of companies that are only linked to their music-group counterparts.
The Post also quoted Andrea Tantaros, a spokeswoman for Spitzer's Republican rival Bill Weld as saying the issue "raises some serious ethical questions for the AG" and adding "Maybe it's time someone investigates whether Mr. Spitzer has his own version of payola."
RNW comment: To which in view of Jack Abramoff, Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Tom DeLay, and others we can only say the words "pot" and "kettle" sprang immediately to mind in party terms. We can only trust that Weld is squeaky clean and thus in part justifies a combination of cheap shot and chutzpah from his spokeswoman.
New York Post report:
2006-04-07: According to Bridge Ratings listening to terrestrial radio among 18-34 year olds slipped back significantly in the first quarter of this year and satellite radio subscribers, like people who have bought personal MP3 players, listen less to their new acquisition after six months of service.
Bridge says that its panel - its Audience Erosion studies use a panel of 6,000 who are interviewed on a weekly basis - recorded an average time spent listening to satellite radio in the second quarter of 2005 at 16 hours a week but for the first quarter of this year the time had slipped back to 12.6 hours a week amongst those who had subscribed to satellite for six months or more.
Bridge says that comparing the second quarter of last year to the first quarter of this year, terrestrial radio listening slipped back from 19 hours 15 minutes a week to 18 hour 45 minutes; satellite listening amongst those who had been subscribers for six months or more slipped back proportionately more - from 16 hours a week to 12 hours 36 minutes; Internet radio listening was down from 17 hours 30 minutes to 17 hours and listening to MP3 players was up from 12 hours 15 minutes to 12 hours 45 minutes.
Over the period from the third quarter of 2004, radio listening per week amongst the 12-24 demographic has slipped from 15 hours 30 minutes a week to 12 hours 45 minutes whilst listening to other audio devices has increased from 13 hours 45 minutes to 17hours 30 minutes: For the 25-49 demographic radio listening was down from 16 hours 30 minutes to 15 hours and listening to other audio rose from 9 hours 45 minutes to 15 hours; and for the 35-64 demographic radio listening slipped back from 19 hours to 17 hours 15 minutes whilst listening to other sources rose from five hours to eight hours 45 minutes.
In contrast to the fall in listening to radio, TV viewing increased amongst 25-49 year olds as did Internet use and listening to recorded music. The survey participants, asked why they were listening less to terrestrial radio , responded with a variety of reasons, particularly use of MP3 devices - 27% of 12-24 year olds, 22% of those 25-49 and 18% of those 35-64 ; changes in their habits and increased cell phone use with satellite radio lagging well behind being cited by only 2-3%: More worryingly for terrestrial radio, 15% of those 12-24 said radio programming was the "same old-Same Old" with the percentage going up to 17% amongst those 23-49 and 31% amongst those 35-64.
Previous Bridge Ratings:
2006-04-07: India's public broadcaster Prasar Bharati has reported gross revenues for the 2006-06 financial year up 48% on the previous year at INR 1230 crore (USD 277 million - a crore is 10 million) with Doordarshan TV increasing revenues by 43% to INR 960 crore (USD 215 million) and All India Radio (AIR) revenues up 67% to INR 268 crore (USD 60 million).
Its chief executive K S Sarma said that the body had set a target for revenues this year of INR 1,500 crore (USD 337 million) some 200 to 300 crore ( USD 45 million to USD 67 million) less than it spends annually. He added that Prasar Bharati had achieved the results "without compromising its values as a public broadcaster" and added that revenue had been driven by the organization's "ability to enthuse the governments to use our platform for information dissemination, aggressive marketing and telecasting films."
Prasar Bharati is planning in the coming year to start providing Doordarshan overseas - in partnership with the US-based Amritraj group - starting with the US by the end of May; to levy a "no-profit, no-loss" charge of INR 1 crore (USD 225,000) for private broadcasters to use its "free to receivers" direct-to-home (DTH) satellite platform whose offerings are to be extended from 33 to 50 plus channels with a further increase later of up to 100 channels, including a large number of radio stations; to offer Doordarshan channels on mobile phones; and to launch SMS and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) based interactive services.
Previous Indian Radio:
Previous Prasar Bharati:
2006-04-07: Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), which has been holding its annual General Assembly in Istanbul, Turkey, has re-elected Peter Senger of Deutsche Welle, who has been chairman since the consortium's inception in 1998, to a fifth consecutive two-year term in the post but long-time Vice Chairman and Treasurer Jan Hoek of Radio Netherlands has stepped down from his DRM role he had indicated that he would leave the post after last year after he was appointed Director General of Radio Netherlands.
Amongst other elections were two new Vice Chairman - John Sykes of the BBC World Service and Alain Delorme of TDF - and of Albert Heuberger of Fraunhofer IIS to fill the Treasurer role.
It also added three members to its newly created Executive Committee and elected four new companies to its 18-member Steering Board: Radio France, RadioScape Ltd., TRANSRADIO SenderSysteme Berlin AG and WRN.
2006-04-07: Drinks manufacturer Bacardi has launched an advertisement-free "music station" that can be listened to online and via mobile phones. Those wanting to listen to the station have to give their age and country of location and the site carries a warning: "YOU MUST BE OF LEGAL DRINKING AGE IN YOUR COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE."
bacardibliveradio.com ( and mobile service wap.bliveradio.com) are currently providing a stream of songs with titles on careen wit without DJs or announcements and Bacardi say they intend eventually to allow listeners to supply content to the service: It will be promoted through Bacardi's existing music events, which will be streamed through the station, and there are also plans to include video.
RNW comment: If this works for Bacardi, expect more of the same if only in some cases to get round restrictions on advertising on other media.
Bacardi radio site:
2006-04-07: CanWest Global Communications Corp. has reported a loss in its second quarter to the end of February of CAD 19 million (USD 16.5 million -0.11 CAD per share) on revenues of CAD 646 million (USD 560 million) down 5% on a year ago, when it reported net earnings of CAD 28 million (USD 24.3 million - CAD 0.16 per share).
The revenue figures exclude TV3 Ireland, in which CanWest holds a 45% interest that it is in the process of selling off.
The main shortfall in revenues came from TV where they fell 13.1% overall to CAD 297 million (USD 257 million) - down 22% in Australia, 6% in Canada, and 2% in New Zealand. Among other divisions Publications and Interactive - Canada revenues were up 4% to CAD 301 million (USD 261 million); New Zealand radio revenues were down 8.6% to CAD 22.3 million (USD 19.3 million), and Australian outdoor revenues were up 2.2% to CAD 25.5 million (USD 22.1 million).
Commenting on the results, President and CEO Leonard Asper said, "Operating results for the second quarter were disappointing reflecting difficult conventional television advertising markets, the negative impact of the strengthening Canadian dollar in respect of our international operations and comparisons with the exceptionally strong results reported by Network TEN last year. Compared to last year, results in Australia and New Zealand were translated at exchange rates 9% below prior year's levels, thus accounting for 3% of the 5% revenue decline in the quarter."
Looking ahead he said CanWest expected "varied financial results for the balance of the year Through continued strong revenue growth and an improving cost structure, we expect year-over-year operating profit growth for our newspaper and interactive operations."
Concerning its radio operations CanWest noted expansion in New Zealand with the acquisitions of Times FM and Q92FM and a successful bid with Turkish partners for Joy FM and Joy Turk FM, serving Istanbul.
Previous Leonard Asper:
2006-04-07: A Danish court has responded to their appeals by doubling the fines imposed by a lower court on three radio hosts for urging a listener to smash a creamy cake into the face of a bakery shop employee in.
Allan Kjaergaard, Mille Bruun Matthiassen and Dennis Ravn of hits station The Voice had offered a listener DKK 10,000 (USD 1,640) if he went into the nearest bakery, bought the cake, and pushed it into the face of the person who sold it to him.
The listener who did so was convicted of violence in October last year and stripped of his reward by the Copenhagen City Court, which also fined the hosts DKK 5,000 ( USD 820) each.
They appealed and the Eastern High Court in Copenhagen doubled the fines.
Canada Com/Associated Press report:
The Voice web site:
2006-04-06: Clear Channel has offered a USD 1 million payment to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to settle with the agency in relation to its inquiry into payola according to the San Antonio Express-News quoting a company official.
It does not attribute the amount specifically to him but quotes Andrew Levin, the company's Executive Vice President for Law and Government Affairs and chief legal officer as saying, "We're willing to pay a reasonable amount to put this matter behind us. We want to go back to focusing on our business and not on ancient history."
Along with Clear Channel, CBS Radio, Entercom and Citadel are reported to be in talks with the FCC over the matter (See RNW Apr 2) but so far only Clear Channel has made any public comment.
The Express- News also reports that Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein is said to want higher penalties: New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer, who had already negotiated settlements of USD 10 million from Sony-BMG and USD 5 million from Warner Music said earlier this month in relation to reports that Clear Channel was pushing for a settlement of USD 1.5 million to USD 3 million that the amounts being talked about "would be a substantial evisceration of the negotiations we're involved in" and accused the FCC of going behind his back in its negotiations with the radio companies (See RNW Apr 4).
Clear Channel was fined USD 8,000 in 2000 for engaging in payola, the most recent penalty the FCC has imposed for this offence, but since then has cut ties with independent promoters (in 2004) and last year conducted its own internal enquiry as a result of which two program directors were fired (See RNW Oct 12, 2005).
They were subsequently named by the New York Post as WWPR-FM (Power 105) program director Michael Saunders and KHTS-FM, San Diego, program director Diana Laird, (See RNW Oct 14, 2005).
Levin said the company had been asked for information before its internal crackdown but added, "Just because we're the largest radio company doesn't mean we have the largest violations. We have been a model for the industry in terms of trying to put a stop to this practice."
Previous Clear Channel:
San Antonio Express-News report:
2006-04-06: Figures for 2005 from the Commercial Economic Advisory Service of Australia (CEASA) show radio increasing its advertising revenue by 6.6% over 2004 to a total of AUD 897.5 million (USD 652.2 million).
Within the total metropolitan markets recorded 6.2% growth to a total of AUD 591 million (USD 430 million) and regional markets recorded 6.6% growth to a total of AUD 288.8 (USD 209.8 million).
Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner said of the figures, "Radio has performed well in 2005 in what is a very crowded media marketplace and the industry has worked hard to keep the medium at top of mind with advertisers, through its ongoing ad campaign."
She added that inter-media competition to attract advertising was proving strong this year but commented of radio's performance, "Even though there has been a slight overall softening of the radio market in the calendar year to date, it is pleasing to hear industry figures such as Harold Mitchell [Chairman of Australia's largets media buyers, Chairman, Mitchell & Partners] confidently predicting a "boom" after Easter. This is in line with our own thinking that the market should start to firm after this time."
2006-04-06: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved a commercial FM licence for a station to serve the gay and lesbian community of Toronto.
It goes to Rainbow Media Group Inc., which is equally owned by George Marchi and CKMW Radio Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Evanov Radio Group Inc., which is controlled by William Evanov .
The station will have a power of 50 watts and has been allowed use of the 103.9 MHz frequency, which will have a zone of interference with CIDC-FM, which is owned by Dufferin Communications Inc. - also controlled by William Evanov.
CIDC has the right to veto any plans that would cause such interference but Evanov has said he accepts it and accordingly the licence is being granted on the usual basis that it is technically acceptable and will not create any unacceptable interference with aeronautical NAV/COM services.
The application had been opposed by a number of people on various grounds including comments that a call for other applications should have been made by the commission and that the musical mix proposed by Rainbow does not differ from that offered by existing stations.
It was also opposed in a joint intervention from CHUM Limited, licensee of CHUM-AM and CHUM-FM, Toronto, and Rogers Broadcasting Limited, licensee of CFTR-AM, CJCL-AM, CHFI-FM, and CJAQ-FM, Toronto, which had opposed all the applications made for new Toronto licences and contended that this station could compete with existing stations to attract mainstream listeners.
Rainbow had responded that the 50 watt signal of the proposed station would ensure that such a station would only be viable through serving a small but cohesive audience and the noted not only the limited cover but also projected total first-year revenues of CAD 1.3 million (USD 1.1million), rising to CAD 2.9 million (USD 2.5 million) by the seventh year of operation and that the latter figure would amount to about 1.2% of the total revenues of the existing 25 Toronto commercial radio broadcasters during 2005.
2006-04-06: The BBC is facing a renewed threat of strike action after sending out compulsory redundancy notices to around two dozen people in defiance of a four-week deadline given last week by its unions - BECTU, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Amicus - to halt compulsory redundancies.
In all around 85 people are said to be facing redundancy and the unions are due to meet the Corporation today to discuss the matter: Should the BBC insist on the redundancies the unions intend to ballot members about industrial action to take place early in May.
The unions say more people have volunteered for redundancy in the first year of the corporation's "efficiency" drive than was called for by the BBC and want an explanation of why cuts cannot be deferred but the corporation is insisting that the job cuts are needed to deliver the savings it has to make.
The NUJ has also called on BBC World Service to restore its Thai language service, which was ended in January after 64 years on air (See RNW Jan 15) following comments by Thai senator Somkiat Onwimon that people who would have tuned to the service for news of demonstrations against Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who has now resigned, were instead having to tune to pirate radio stations to find out what was going on.
Labour MP John Grogan, who is spearheading a campaign against the World Service cuts, wrote to BBC World Service director Nigel Chapman last month urging him to temporarily reopen the Thai Service during the political crisis.
2006-04-05: Australia's Communications Minister Helen Coonan has announced a start date for the launch of digital radio of January 1, 2009, a date at the end of the period she had earlier indicated in October last year when she spoke of a launch in two to three years.
Speaking at the Australian Broadcasting Summit in Sydney she said of the date, "This is a realistic estimation of the time needed to put into place a complex legislative and regulatory time frame for the new broadcasting technology."
The launch will initially be in capital cities with regional rollout to follow and already some players are expressing doubts about the technology with Macquarie Radio Network (MRN) saying it did not plan to invest in digital.
MRN director Mark Carnegie told the Australian, "By the time 2009 comes, nobody will be thinking of digital radio - Steve Jobs (Apple chief executive) will have merged the iPod with a mobile phone and given it an internet connection" although the network's chief executive Angela Clark did not rule out digital, commenting that the date was "at the back end of what we're hoping for".
Industry body Commercial Radio Australia said commercial broadcasters were pleased that a start date has now been set and its CEO Joan Warner commented, It's good to see we have a time frame for the industry to work towards, it is in line with what we expected, and barring any unforeseen hurdles with spectrum planning, we consider it a feasible timeframe."
"Our research shows Australians are extremely interested in digital radio, and we are working towards delivering a lot of exciting new features and content that will allow radio to compete more effectively against new technologies," she added, noting that a survey just conducted by Colmar Brunton Media Solutions that she released at the summit showed 75 per cent of people surveyed and 84 per cent of 18-24-year-olds saying they would be very or quite interested in purchasing a digital radio priced within their budget (up from 68% and 80% respectively in a similar survey undertaken in 2004).
The survey looked at various aspects of radio finding that more than three quarters of listeners had felt frustrated by not knowing the title or artist of a song they like on the radio: The percentage was higher among women (80%) and those 18-34 (83%) and Warner commented, "The research shows there's a huge demand out there for more information about new music, and supports the market for digital radio technology, which will provide not only top sound quality, but will provide consumers with screens featuring track details, images of their favourite artists, CD covers and music news."
She also noted, "The uptake of mp3 players doesn't seem to have dampened consumer enthusiasm for the concept of digital radio. Digital radio technology is going to be a revolution for music lovers, particularly for younger people who have grown up in the digital media age."
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in a related move has released updated policy guidelines for digital radio trials using the broadcasting services bands.
Speaking to the Summit, ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said," The guidelines take account of the government's digital radio policy framework, broaden the scope of the guidelines to include the MF-AM band and set out a broader range of factors ACMA will take into account in considering whether to approve trials."
ACMA notes that digital radio trials already conducted in Sydney by Commercial Radio Australia have included an investigation into signal strength inside and outside buildings. Brick and wood buildings were found to weaken signals least but there were much higher losses in shopping centres. Little difference, however, was found between L band and VHF band III penetration for steel and concrete structures.
In Melbourne, tests are being conducted by Broadcast Australia using the Eureka 147 DAB system and it says it wants to conduct trials using AAC+ coding and its variants in addition to the MP2 system in use in the UK. ACMA says that the current system can deliver FM-like quality at 128 kbps but using AAC or AAC+ codecs near CD quality would only require around 64 bps an with 128 kbps broadcasters would attain a quality that currently required more than 200 kbps transmissions.
In terms of spectrum for trials, ACMA has decided not to re-open the Sydney licence area plan to further consider the use of 1386 kHz but for the moment will leave the frequency in the licence area plan for potential use as an analogue community radio service.
Applications had been received in July last year from TJH Systems to use of MF 1386 kHz for trials of Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) and the US In Band On Channel (IBOC) systems and in December last year from WorldAudio Limited to use it to trial DRM in Sydney.
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
The Australian report:
2006-04-05: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin has told US newspaper publishers that the ban on a newspaper owning a broadcaster should be dropped.
Speaking to the Newspaper Association of America 2006 Annual Convention in Chicago he began by praising the work of the media after Hurricane Katrina and then went on to note, "While there has been an explosion of new sources of news and information over the last thirty years, the number of newspapers has actually declined. At least 300 daily papers have stopped publishing since the cross-ownership rule was adopted."
Martin went on to comment that since 1996 the FCC has "recognized that the news business was changing and that the new media landscape warranted a revision of the cross-ownership rule" but said that it had then done nothing in that year and under new chairmen in 1998 and 2000.
"In 2003," he said, "the Commission finally eliminated this rule, replacing it with a general cross-media ownership limit. But as you all know, the Third Circuit overturned our order, finding that the Commission's actions were not fully justified."
Martin added, "Given the financial difficulties faced by newspapers in markets of all sizes, the continued prohibition on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership may adversely impact the quality of news and localism... Newspapers are the only media entities prohibited from owning a single broadcast station in the markets they serve. For example, in the largest markets, two broadcast television stations can combine and own up to six radio stations and the local cable system. Yet, newspapers remain prohibited from owning even a single radio station. We should correct any imbalance in our rules, create a level playing field, and give newspapers the same opportunities other media entities enjoy."
2006-04-05: Latest BBC online and download cum podcast figures show that the latter category has continued to grow as the BBC has expanded its offerings and also that there has been an increase in on-demand listening requests - up to a record total of just fewer than 12 million - although there was less on-demand listening.
Live online listening rose month on month by 1.16% and 56.8% on a year earlier to 10.11 million hours but on demand listening was down 5.01% month on month although it was up 42.15% on a year earlier at 6.284 million hours. Total listening was down 1.22% month on month to 16.943 million hours, up 51% on a year earlier.
In terms of network listening in February this year, the rankings were - Total listening hours - live plus on-demand and percentage change compared to January 2006 then to February 2005:
Radio 1 - 5,089,951 + 5.24%; + 59.6%
Radio 2 - 3,371,383 -2.36%; +52.0%
Radio 4 - 2,721,359 -10.44%; +40.7%
BBC 7 - 1,463,025 -4.52%; +52.3%
Radio 5 Live - 1,343,732 +8.85% +56.4%
Radio 3 - 775,008 -6.64%; +30.8%
6 Music - 656,643 -5.23%; +10.5%
1Xtra - 543,353 -4.41%; +0.9%
Asian Network 203,206 -6.17%; +6.6%
5 Live Sports Xtra - 72,671 +29.14%; +93.6%
The top five podcasts in February (January numbers in brackets) were the:
Best of Moyles (Radio 1) 364,265 (351,437- up from second).
Today 8.10 Interview (Radio 4) 329,888 (403,446-down from top rank).
In Our Time (Radio 4) 187,648 (184,006 - Up from fourth).
Documentary Archive (World Service) 169,940 (168,976 - Up from fifth).
From Our Own Correspondent (Radio 4) 134,119 (199,815 -Down from third).
Top five on-demand programmes for February (January numbers in brackets) were:
The Archers Radio 4 579,321 (676,905).
Chris Moyles Radio 1 492,969 (459,519).
Jo Whiley Radio 1 212,182 (214,584) up from fourth.
The Afternoon Play Radio 4 204,134 (268,140) Down from third.
Essential Mix (Radio 1) 191,739 (212,324).
Previous BBC Online figures:
2006-04-05: CanWest Global Communications Corp. says its 70% owned New Zealand media operation, CanWest MediaWorks (NZ) Limited, has reported a 4% increase on a year earlier to NZD 130 million (USD 79 million) in consolidated revenues for the six months ended February 28, 2006,.
EBITDA for the six months was down 10% to NZD 34 million (USD 21 million), primarily as a result of planned programming investments in the first half of the fiscal year.
The company said revenues for its RadioWorks subsidiary in the quarter to the end of February were up 1% to NZD 28 million ( USD17 million) - they were up 2% for the half year - with EBITDA down 6% in the quarter to NZD 9 million ( USD 5.5 million) and by 6% for the half-year to NZD 18 million (USD 11 million).
Tom Strike, Chair of CanWest MediaWorks NZ and President of CanWest MediaWorks International, said they were pleased with the revenue growth at TVWorks and added, "For RadioWorks, we expect that recent initiatives, including the acquisitions of Queenstown based Q92FM and Orewa-based Times FM, the development of Radio Live and the re-branding of a number of local radio stations to national formats, will strengthen its long-term market position and financial performance."
2006-04-05: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin upholds no complaints against radio although it considered three resolved: Regarding TV it upheld on TV complaint involving premium rate numbers and considered two more TV standards complaints resolved and a TV fairness and privacy complaint of which it gave details not upheld.
The figures compare to one radio complaint upheld and three radio standards complaints and a radio fairness case resolved plus one TV standards complaint upheld and four resolved and two further TV fairness and privacy complaints upheld in part and two other such TV complaints resolved
In addition Ofcom also listed with no details a further 123 complaints against 110items that were rejected or held to be out of remit compared to corresponding totals of 136 complaints against 102 items in the previous bulletin.
These included 22 radio complaints relating to 21 items and 123 TV complaints relating to 110 items compared to 19 radio complaints relating to 16 items and 107 TV complaints relating to 86 items in the previous bulletin.
The radio complaints resolved involved GCap's BRMB, Emap's Kerrang!; and SMG's Virgin Radio.
In BRMB's case, following a report in an early evening bulletin about a prostitute who bit a man's penis when he refused to give her more money the presenter the presenter added his own comment - that the man's mistake was to start haggling about the price while his "willy" was "still in her mouth".
BMRB apologised for any offence caused, agreed that the remark was unsuitable for broadcast at that time of day, and said it had spoken to the presenter regarding the future selection process of material for the show whilst parent GCAP said it believed that the presenter was simply making light of a story he had read about in the press. However, it appreciated that some of the detail was "not altogether appropriate", given the time of day, and apologised for any offence caused.
The Kerrang! case involved a promotion in which it was said that Kerrang! was "about as welcome as a tourettes sufferer at an auction" and the complainant considered a serious neurological condition. Kerrang!, which said the promotion was intended to be humorous not offensive, said it recognized it had made a misjudgement, and had withdrawn the promotion and apologised to the complainant as soon as it became aware of the complaint.
The Virgin complaint involved a competition Where is Jack Bauer? For which the prize was described, variously as a "great big telly", "enormous" and "these are not just piddly little ones, these are enormous". A winner complained that the prize had been described inaccurately on air, since what she received was a 19" LCD television.
Virgin Radio said that it had originally intended to give away wide-screen televisions but on the day of the competition, its sponsorship team had discovered that the televisions were to have standard format screens and so the briefing document for the presenters was amended to reflect the changes. It acknowledged that three of the descriptions it broadcast were inaccurate and apologised for its mistake, confirming that it was in the process of contacting all winners to inform them that they would now receive 32" wide screen sets.
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2006-04-04: New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has criticized the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for going behind his back in negotiations with radio companies said to be involved in "payola" and told the Associated Press that settlement figures being talked about "would be a substantial evisceration of the negotiations we're involved in."
His comments came after reports of FCC talks with Clear Channel, CBS Radio, Entercom and Citadel in which Clear Channel was reported to be pressing for a penalty between USD 1.5 million and USD 3 million (See RNW Apr 2): Spitzer has already agreed settlements of USD 10 million with Sony-BMG and USD 5 million with Warner Music (See RNW Jul 26, 2005 and RNW Nov 23, 2005 respectively).
Spitzer has targeted nine radio companies in his investigations and could continue with his case even if they strike their own deals with the FCC which he contended was now working against him.
"We have asked them several times to participate and they have not only not done that, but they are now furtively going out there negotiating behind our backs," he told the AP.
The FCC says it has been actively investigating the allegations and appreciated the co-operation of Spitzer's office but did not directly respond to the accusations by Spitzer.
Washington Post/AP report:
2006-04-04: Following a January 1% year-on-year overall rise the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) has reported a 1% overall fall in February as a continuing rise in national revenues was outweighed by a 3% fall in local ones.
For the month the grand total for combined spot and non-spot revenues was down 1% on a year earlier; combined local and national advert revenues were down 2%, national revenues were up 4%; local revenues were down 3%; and non-spot revenues were up 12%.
RAB's Ad Sales Index that equates pre-dot.com boom base year 1998 to 100 was 138.3 for total combined local and national with the local index 138.4 and the national index 137.9.
For the year-to date grand total combined spot and non-spot revenue are now flat with combined local and national advert revenues down 1%; national revenues up 5%; local revenues down 2%; and non-spot revenues up 11%.
Previous RAB figures:
2006-04-04: XM Satellite Radio says it now has more than 6.5 million subscribers having added a further 568,000 in the first quarter of this year, a total that President and CEO Hugh Panero said "represented another solid quarter of growth in XM subscribers, and is consistent with our goal of nine million subscribers by year end"
Panero also said XM has substantially reduced the cost of acquiring a subscriber since a year ago.
Despite the announcement XM shares were down on the day by 0.31% to USD 22:20 although it had recovered much of this in after hours trading when we last checked.
2006-04-04: The quotation "You can't shake hands with a clenched fist" by the Dalai Lama has taken an early lead in the BBC World Service's "Moving Words" campaign to find the world's favourite quotation. The programme last month invited people to nominate their favourite quotation via the programme's web site and a shortlist of ten has now been posted on the site.
The quotations are from Woody Allen; the Dalai Lama; Sir Isaac Newton; Saint Augustine; the Gospel according to Luke; Lao Tzu; The US Declaration of Independence; William Shakespeare - As You Like It; Nelson Mandela; and Mahatma Gandhi with the shortest on the list the Dalai Lama's quote already noted and the longest that from the Declaration of Independence - "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
The site also has a selection of quotations from those submitted by listeners from 100 countries last month - some as audio and some as text: Voting continues via the site until April 12 with the result to be announced the next day.
BBC World Service "Moving Words" web site:
2006-04-04: Interep has reported final quarter 2005 commission revenues down 7.2% on a year earlier to USD 20.8 million, largely because of the loss of its Cumulus and Radio One Inc. business to Katz Media combined with a comparison to a 2004 quarter boosted by US elections but for the whole year commission revenues were up 2.1% to USD 80.1 million.
Overall Interep reported a fourth quarter net loss applicable to common shareholders more than doubled - from USD 1.9 million in the final quarter of 2004 to USD 4.1 million a year later (from 17 cents to 37 cents a share) - primarily because of much larger contract termination revenue in the earlier period but for the full year its loss was less than half - down from USD 7.5 million (70 cents a share) to USD 3.5 million (31 cents a share).
Chairman and CEO Ralph Guild said they were "pleased to report that despite the loss of Cumulus and Radio One in 2005, our commission revenue for the year increased over 2004" but noted that the "fourth quarter proved more challenging since it was the first quarter that fully reflected the contract terminations."
For the future he said Interep would try to offset the lost business through "increased sales for on- going stations, continued new station acquisitions and further streamlining of our operations" and also noted Interep's expansion into the Hispanic television representation business in fourth quarter of 2005 with the opening of Azteca America Spot Television Sales, representing Azteca America television station affiliates.
SVP and CFO Bill McEntee added that the company had "streamlined operating costs in 2005 in areas which will not affect our ability to generate revenue for our clients, and will continue to do so in 2006" and said Interep expected to see the benefits of these savings in our operating performance in 2006 but also warned that national radio billing in first quarter of 2006 is soft.
2006-04-03: In the past we have carried reports of considerable comment in print about satellite radio and HD but have sighted little comparing them: This week we start our look at print comment on radio with an article by Marc Fisher of the Washington Post that does just that.
The heading - "For Digital Radio to Compete With Satellite, It Needs to Think Outside the Jukebox" - is a fairly good indicator of what Fisher has to say.
He notes new programming now available - "I've got an all-folk music station and one that plays classic country songs that haven't been heard on country radio in years. There's a station with the incongruous but accurate label "Deep Tracks Classical," one that plays pop tunes so new they aren't on Hot 99.5 yet, and one that plays the real rock you don't hear so much on DC101 anymore."
And also the costs: "For the moment, however, these sets run you about USD 300 (down from USD 500 just a few weeks ago), but hardly anyone is going to shell out that kind of green for what looks like an ordinary radio. (I didn't -- mine is borrowed from a friendly local radio station.)"
Then comes the crunch, even after noting that prices are likely to fall to around USD 100 this year: "I've spent the past few weeks listening to those new stations, and the content includes a fair number of the features that make satellite radio so attractive, but they've got a long way to go before they'll separate me and millions of others from our XM or Sirius."
And among his reasons: "But with no DJs and no human presence of any kind on the air -- most of the new digital channels are, and sound like, computer-generated jukeboxes -- the station feels even less like radio than do many satellite channels."
He does note some exceptions - "The only digital pop station on which I've heard signs of life from a deejay is Hot 99.5's "Digital FM 2," which bills itself as "the new music channel" and plays a mix of hip-hop, rock and pop not dissimilar from what airs on the parent station, but its songs haven't yet made it to the top of the charts" - but in general what is being offered is programming already available elsewhere - in other words HD has just given an extra means of distribution for them - or using the channel as a cheap way of playing tracks but not much else, or worse - "DC101-HD2 is the unhosted, harder version of its parent rocker, emphasizing new music, which makes the lack of information about what you're hearing particularly frustrating."
"Digital radio," comments Fisher, "is an inconsistent offering in its infancy; several stations described here mysteriously go silent for hours or days at a time. Others suffer from dropouts in which the sound vanishes for a disturbing second or two every few minutes."
That point about technical deficiencies leads us to another HD comment, this time from Jonathan Takiff in the Philadelphia Daily News regarding what he terms a "testy note to Boston Acoustics, complaining about reception problems with a radio NPR (US National Public Radio) had bought in huge numbers for giveaways."
The model concerned is the Recepter, whose price was reduced recently as noted by Fisher to USD 300 and Takiff comments, "Too bad somebody at Boston Acoustics blew the deal with a lousy FM antenna in the package. This supplied antenna is a short strand of wire that's unobtrusive but does a lousy job of picking up digital channels in fringe locations. (With digital radio, like digital TV, you either get the signal perfectly or not at all. There's no room for "mediocre" reception.)
In this case attaching a conventional dipole antenna made a significant difference and Takiff notes that they are to be packed with the Recepter in the next few weeks. He also looks at extra signals available locally on HD and the notes, "Commercial and public broadcasters aren't making a dime on these new offerings. They won't even try to sell advertising (or underwriting) for HD-2 channels until there's good penetration of digital radios, which could take years. For now, the broadcasters are just priming the pump - and using free HD to stem the stampede of converts to XM and Sirius pay radio."
RNW comment: To us the points made in both the above articles spell out the essence of a major issue for terrestrial radio broadcasters in the US, namely expecting a continuation of large-scale short-term return on investment - something that has been made possible over the past decade by technological advances and consolidation that became permissible with the passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.
The circumstances however have changed and the accountancy-led cost cutting approach seems to us a recipe for long-term decline, particularly so if the satellite companies continue to invest in programming and remain nimbler on their feed than terrestrial radio (the route XM is apparently to continue as evinced by the resignation earlier this year of director Pierce J. Roberts who favoured more stringent cost controls as opposed to growing subscribers -See RNW Feb 17).
It's bad enough that the radio companies can't face up to this in terms of the extra channels they are offering since for example it can't really be that expensive or difficult to identify tracks being played on a channel offering new recorded music and indeed had suitable investment been put in to also offer a "marking" system to purchase any such track, thus creating an opportunity for revenue generation. The radio companies do not even need to manage any such service themselves but could have worked on an identification coding and marking system they could all use that would then allow ordering of music from a third party and would have been an integral feature of HD. Even without that, it would seem to us that the very least any such station should be doing is ensuring that their playout system automatically generates a list of tracks played and time that is posted on a station web site allied with a system to e-mail it daily to all those who request such a message from the web site. If the station then has a deal to take a small cut for subsequent sales this would seem to benefit artists, recording companies, and the stations.
If this is being done our apologies to those stations that are doing it albeit the question then arises why isn't this being promoted with a regular announcement within the broadcasts
As for Boston Acoustics? Does anyone need to comment at this level of penny-pinching on a USD 300 radio?
On to another Washington Post article, this time concerning what might be termed the indivisibility of offerings from one corporate source. It came in Sunday's comments in the paper by ombudsman Deborah Howell who in "Three Venues and One Responsibility" - a reference to the availability of the paper in print, online and now on Washington Post Radio, which was launched on Thursday on Bonneville's WTWP as part of a shuffle by the latter of its D.C. operations that put the new station on frequencies formerly occupied by WTOP (See RNW Jan 5).
She made the point that "to most readers or listeners, The Post is The Post is The Post" and also offered what she termed "commonsensical advice for reporters who go on television or radio or do live chats."
Among them were points that on some other outfits seem to be breached regularly, albeit in a different context and presumably to a rather different audience than that the Washington Post as opposed to say - well you put in the names - is aiming for:
* Don't say anything live you would not write in the paper. Don't speculate without a sound basis in fact.
*Don't try to be ironic or sarcastic; it's always misinterpreted. Humour only works if it's light and at no one's expense but your own.
*A relaxed manner is good for chats, but watch you don't come off as unprofessional."
Howell also made appoint about comments made anywhere now that so much appears speedily online: "I found that out to my dismay when I uttered an unprintable word at a gathering of newspaper people in Minneapolis and found it on a blog within 24 hours and posted on a popular media Web site in another 48. Lesson learned."
RNW comment: To which our response is that far too many Americans need to lighten up a bit and take off the bigot-tinted spectacles when reading any comment on a blog, especially if the context isn't made completely clear and the blog is obviously partisan. The majority, of course, already do seem to be rather more aware of human frailties and misrepresentation.
Advice to broadcasters was also on offer from the UK Independent where broadcaster Sue MacGregor, writing in the context of the appointment of Ceri Thomas as Editor of the BBC Radio 4 flagship "Today" breakfast programme (See RNW Mar 22) offered her perspective as one who had known and worked with a number of editors of the programme on which she worked between 1984 and 2002.
For most of it we suggest following the link to the article but we felt MacGregor's comment on the programme's audience worth a repeat:" Radio 4 listeners like to feel secure at a fragile time of day. Editors are expected to be both innovative and to retain the best-loved bits. They should have well-stocked political minds, and yet not be so obsessed with the Westminster village that they bore the listeners. They must lard the heavy stuff with trivia and some humour, though nothing too raucous for the early morning. They have to work ridiculously long hours, and will be rung at home about urgent matters in the early hours as well as late at night. And they have to keep presenters - quirky, thin-skinned and self-obsessed as we are - happy."
And still with public broadcasters but moving continents to Australia where the Howard Government is perceived by many as hostile to the very concept as indicated by an editorial in the Melbourne Age, writing about planned media legislation in the country under the heading, "Is the aim of change to help the ABC do its job, or hinder it?"
"Amid the broader media shake-up," comments the paper, "the fate of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is murky. The noises from Canberra suggest the temptation to mould the ABC to the Government's liking is strong. To some conservative ideologues, the existence of the ABC in its present form is an anathema, a hangover from an age when government intervention in certain industries was considered in the national interest. Yet the ABC's staunchest critics sometimes have difficulty identifying what they dislike about the concept of a public broadcaster. Sure they are always critical of what they see as left-wing bias and the ABC is accused of being out of touch and focused on the concerns of the so-called inner urban elite. Then when an ABC television show becomes popular, as with "SeaChange" or "Kath and Kim", or when an ABC radio station such as 774 challenges for top of the ratings, the broadcaster is seen as encroaching on commercial territory."
It goes on to comment about the politics of appointments that have an echo in many countries: "Donald McDonald, whose second term ends this year, is in the gun from some conservatives for failing to achieve what they hoped the Howard appointee and friend would do: change the culture of the ABC. Since he was appointed in 1996, he has turned out to be a defender of the traditional values of independent journalism."
The paper also takes up other issues of significant concern to public broadcasting elsewhere particularly noting costs but defending the ABC: "A big country such as Australia needs a strong, non-commercial broadcaster," it says, "if only to ensure an adequate commitment to properly serving the whole country. For the sake of an informed, cohesive democracy, all citizens should have access to such a service. Despite the ABC's occasional flaws and misjudgements (in common with most other media outlets), an independent national broadcaster is crucial for Australia's political health. It must be free to scrutinise critically government and civil society. It must be able to produce drama that expresses Australian life and should be able to cater for a broader range of interests than is covered by commercial networks. It should be able to fulfil these expectations without being effectively nobbled by funding constraints."
It concludes with a dig at the US in this context: "Do Australians want a situation closer to that of the United States, where the Public Broadcasting Service is a relatively small niche organisation? We cannot see how that would improve the Australian media landscape or the health of Australian democracy."
And finally before moving on to listening suggestions an encomium from Gerry McCarthy in his Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times for Vincent Browne, host of the RTÉ Radio 1 "Tonight" programme for his coverage of the Morris Tribunal into allegations of police abuse in Donegal.
We liked his introduction: "To the uninitiated, the Detention Module might sound like something from a science fiction novel, perhaps a capsule in which restive aliens are imprisoned on a space ship. To followers of the Morris tribunal, the Detention Module is no less bizarre, the latest instalment in what is a jaw-dropping litany of abuse by certain gardai in Donegal", which was a set up for praise to Browne who he said "has doggedly made sense of the tribunal by means of reconstructions and painstaking explication."
He ends by commenting, "As a print journalist, Browne spent his most interesting years chasing smoking guns - metaphorically in relation to his greatest obsession, Charlie Haughey's millions; more literally in relation to the Workers' Party fundraising methods."
"It is as a radio journalist, however, that he has come into his own, with the Morris tribunal coverage a testament to his intellect, perseverance and capacity for outrage. And this is one that will run and run. If that's what the gardai were up to in Donegal, what delights await Browne and the rest of us from the 24 other garda divisions?"
Next listening and first some suggestions from BBC Radio 2 starting with tonight at 21:00 GMT with the last of its six "2006 Radio Ballads".
Tonight's is "The Ballad of the Big Ships" dealing with the death of the shipyards of Tyne and Wear and the Clyde: Until then last week's programme on the Troubles in Northern Ireland is on the site and worth a listen.
Also from Radio 2 through its listen again facility we'd suggest "Ray Davies: Sold on Song" from Saturday. It featured Davies discussing before a live audience how he came up with Kinks' classics such as "Dead End Street" and "Sunny Afternoon": This Saturday in the same 19:30 GMT slot the station has "Coldplay: Live and Exclusive" in a special concert recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London.
Also from the station we suggest tomorrow night at 20:30 GMT when Roger Daltry presents the first part of a two-part documentary about the life and career of the late blues singer Howlin' Wolf and Friday night at 20:30 GMT for an hour of the "BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Soloist 2006."
Changing stations but sticking with music, BBC Radio 4 last Saturday in "My Wizard" had John Aizlewood looking at Progressive Rock and the wide group of bands so labelled with music influenced from predecessors including blues, classical, folk, and jazz.
Also from Radio 4 on Saturday, when we felt it had a very strong day, were the Saturday Play - a production of John Osborne's "Look Back in Anger"- and "World in Your Ear" that last week featured Rosie Goldsmith looking on April 1 into various radio pranks and wind-ups from round the world.
Later in the evening "The Archive Hour" looked at the history of the Aintree "Grand National"horse race. All three are available until next Saturday.
This week from the station we suggest the Afternoon Readings (14:30 GMT weekdays)- five short stories inspired by a place created by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, in celebration of his bicentenary, and tonight at 20:00 GMT "Quest for a Cure" in which Peter Day follows the efforts of one of the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies to develop a treatment for HIV/Aids.
Later this week the 17:30 GMT comedy slot on Radio 4 features "Think the Unthinkable" looking at the credit card business (tomorrow) and the "Now Show" on Friday whilst on Wednesday at 10:00 GMT in "The Voice" Robert Beckford examines the history of Britain's most successful Black newspaper, now in its 25th year and on Friday at 08:00GMT when the first of this year's Reith Lectures
from pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim is an introduction to the series called "In the Beginning Was Sound." and
Later that morning (10:00 GMT) "Alpha Bravo Yankee Zulu"looks at the NATO phonetic alphabet, which was devised 50 years ago.
Next BBC Radio 3 and a combination of history and drama with "Night Waves" (Weekdays 20:30 GMT) whose Thursday edition features Sir Peter Hall on why Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot", which to brought to the stage for the first time, has had such an influence on theatre, and next Saturday with "Do My Ears Deceive Me?" at 20:00 GMT in which Professor Diana Deutsch joins Chris Maslanka to explore the world of aural illusions. (it's in the "Twenty Minutes" slot inside "Opera on 3", which starts at 17:30 GMT and this week is Massenet's "Manon" live from the New York Met).
Finally, as Easter approaches, we end with a suggestion from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation - last Sunday's "The Spirit of Things" which in "Spiritual Classics Pt 3: Judaism" features Mary Phil Korsak explaining her motives for providing a fresh and earthy translation of 'Genesis' as a long poem; translator Stephen Mitchell relating the power of "The Book of Job" to his own life and Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins on the wisdom of Hillel in the Talmudic book, "The Sayings of the Fathers"'.
Independent - MacGregor:
Melbourne Age - editorial:
Philadelphia Daily News - Takiff:
Sunday Times - McCarthy:
Washington Post - Fisher:
Washington Post - Howell:
2006-04-03: LBI Media has reported fourth quarter 2005 net revenues up 7% to USD 24.7 million, primarily from its TV growth and fourth quarter adjusted EBITDA up 20% to USD 10.7 million but overall including an impairment of broadcast license charge of USD 3.3 million recorded it recognized a net loss of USD 1.8 million compared to net income of USD 1.1 million a year earlier
In divisional terms in the quarter radio net revenues were up 4% to USD 12.4 million, mainly due to revenue growth in Los Angeles and Houston and operating expenses were down 6% to USD 6.2 million largely because of the costs recorded a year ago in relation to its parent company's initial public offering but operating income was down 3% to USD 4.3 million largely due to increased depreciation and impairment of broadcast licenses.
TV revenues for the quarter were up 11% to USD 12.3 million and TV operating expenses rose 4% to USD 7.8 million but operating income was down 94% to USD 200,000 largely because of a charge recorded for impairment of broadcast licenses.
For the full year, revenues were up 7% to USD 97.5 million and operating expenses were also up 7% - to USD 51.7 million and adjusted EBITDA was up 7% to USD 45.8 million: overall LBI had net income of USD 6.9 million in 2005, 47% down on the 2004 figure of USD 13 million.
In divisional terms radio net revenues were up 11% to USD 49.9 million and radio operating expenses were down 1% to USD 22.2 million with adjusted EBITDA up 7% to USD 45.8 million.
TV revenues were up 2% to USD 47.6 million and TV operating expenses were up 13% to USD 29.5 million with adjusted EBITDA down 11% to USD 18.1 million.
Overall LBI had net income of USD 6.9 million in 2005, down 47% on the USD 13 million in 2004.
Executive Vice President Lenard Liberman said he was "very pleased with our net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA growth in 2005," adding, "Our net revenue growth in both of our business segments in 2005 and our improved ratings performance in all of our markets in 2005 provides us with a strong foundation for an exciting year in 2006."
Previous Lenard Liberman:
2006-04-03: Industry body Commercial Radio Australia has announced that the winner of its 2006 Siren Awards for creative excellence in radio advertising is to be announced at a gala breakfast in Sydney in May featuring renowned Australian comedy director, Ted Emery and Nova's Bianca Dye as host.
Emery is to present the winner of the 2006 Siren Awards at the breakfast and also be guest speaker at the Sirens Masterclass, a creative seminar focusing on Australian comedy, and called "So Who the Bloody Hell Are We?" It which will follow the breakfast.
Others involved in the masterclass include Ralph van Dijk of Eardrum Australia whose agency last month won five awards at the UK 2006 Aerial Awards for radio advertising including the Gold, Silver and Bronze in the Best Directing category.
He commented of the event, "This is not one of those Australia Day navel gazing exercises. The Siren Masterclass will provide practical insights to what makes Australians laugh and why. With so much advertising attempting to engage through comedy, creatives of all levels could do with improving their skills in this area."
van Dijk has been running a national series of radio creative workshops in Australia.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2006-04-02: Last week was in general mainly a matter of routine for the regulators but in the US the issues of indecency/obscenity, on which no announcements relating to radio complaints have yet been made, and payola, where the Federal Communications Commission is reported to be in negotiation with the largest four radio companies about a settlement (See below) now appear to be looming closer for the Federal Communications Commission.
There were no radio-related announcements from Australia but in Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been involved in a various radio-related decisions including (in order of province):
*Approval of application by Rogers Broadcasting Limited for a licence to operate an English-language radio network to broadcast the hockey games of the Calgary Flames, originating from CFAC-AM, Calgary
*Approval of extension until 31 March 2007 of deadline for Bay St. George South Area Development Association to start operating Community radio station in McKay's approved in 2003.
*Denial of application for a 1.4 watts low-power FM transmitter in Edmundston, New Brunswick to broadcast the programming of CIEL-FM, Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec, to the population of Edmundston.
The application was opposed by Radio Edmundston Inc., the licensee of CJEM-FM Edmundston, by Radio Dégelis inc., the licensee of CFVD-FM Dégelis, by the Edmundston area Chamber of Commerce, by the Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada and by the Syndicat des communications de la république du Madawaska, which noted that the transmitter would increase CIEL-FM's revenues to the detriment of the two local radio stations, CJEM-FM and CFAI-FM- and by The Coopérative des montagnes limitée - Radio communautaire (Coopérative des Montagnes), the licensee of CFAI-FM.
The Commission in rejecting the application commented that BBM survey data contradicted the applicant's argument that Edmundston is within CIEL-FM's service area and also noted that financial data showed that the existing two stations are experiencing financial difficulty.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Approval of 1,276 watts FM transmitter in Glovertown to rebroadcast the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's national English-language network service Radio One from CBG-AM, Gander: This transmitter will replace existing low-power transmitter CBNG-AM, Glovertown.
*Approval of new 1,040 watts FM transmitter in Fermeuse to rebroadcast Radio One from CBN -AM, St. John's.
*Renewal until 31 August 2012 of licence of CJOJ-FM, Belleville.
*Approval of application by United Christian Broadcasters Canada for a new 16,700 watts Christian music service English-language specialty FM at Chatham.
*Licence renewal until 31 August 2012 for CJSS-FM, Cornwall.
*Licence renewal until 31 August 2012 for CFLG-FM, Cornwall.
*Renewal until 31 August 2012 of licence of CHYK-FM Timmins and its transmitters CHYX-FM, Kapuskasing, and CHYK-FM-3, Hearst.
*Approval of new of 85 watts synchronous repeater FM transmitter in Toronto for CJKX-FM, Ajax.
*Denial of application by the Association d'églises baptistes réformées du Québec (AEBRQ) for a broadcasting licence to operate a 13 watts French-language commercial religious FM in Québec.
The Commission noted that it was not convinced that the programming proposed by the applicant would ensure balanced multi-faith representation, or that the programming would permit the station's listeners to be exposed to differing views on matters of public concern, as provided under the Religious Broadcasting Policy.
*Approval of extension of time limits for Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. to commence operation of stations in Vancouver and Abbotsford, British Columbia; Calgary, Alberta; Ottawa, Ontario/ Gatineau, Quebec; and Montréal, Quebec
AVR had requested an extension to September 1 for each and, in what the CRTC termed the "the final extension to be granted by the Commission for these undertakings", was granted an extension to 30 June 2006 to file an application for the use of a frequency other than 90.9 MHz in Vancouver and to commence operation of the radio station authorized to serve Vancouver with a transmitter in Abbotsford; and to commence operation of the radio stations authorized to serve Calgary and Ottawa/Gatineau, respectively.
In addition it was given until 1 September to commence operation of the Montréal radio station.
The CRTC also issued a public notice regarding various applications for which the deadline for interventions and comments is May 3: They included the following radio- related matters:
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Application by Northern Lights Community Radio Corp. for fourth extension- this time until 27 February 2007- of the time limit to commence operations of community radio station in Forteau authorized in 2002.
*Application to renew the licence of community station CIAX-FM, Windsor.
*Application to renew the licence of 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.
Regarding this application the CRTC notes a history of non- compliances from 1989 to 1996 and the licensee's current state of non-compliance with its condition of licence relating to Category 3 (Traditional and Special Interest music). The current application requests various amendments to licence conditions relating to limitation to 9 minutes of the amount of advertising broadcast per hour; requirements for at least 35% English-language vocal music be broadcast ; conditions relating to Category 3 (Traditional and Special Interest) musical programming); and spoken word broadcasting.
It also issued public notices regarding applications it has received for new commercial services in Saskatchewan.
One is for a new commercial service for Saskatoon and the other for a service for Regina.
In each case it is calling for applications from other parties wishing to obtain a licence for the area and notes that no decision has been made yet regarding any such service licence.
The CRTC has also publishing a circular concerning changes it is to introduce to streamline and speed up processing of routine licence amendments and also plans to review other areas of broadcasting processes, including applications dealt with by public hearing.
Currently it notes that it takes an average of 75 days to deal with Applications that do not require a public process (other than ownership); 180 days for applications processed by public notice, but without interventions; and 300 days fro applications processed by public notice, to which interventions were filed that raise issues or concerns.
It says that under its expedited process for applications to amend licences that will be dealt with by public notice and for routine applications that do not require a public process it aims to ensure that within 15 business days of receiving an application for either a licence amendment that will be dealt with by public notice or an authorization that does not generally entail a public process, the Commission will issue one of the following:
a public notice announcing the application;
a letter approving the application;
a letter requesting clarification;
a letter returning an application that is deemed incomplete.
Applicants will be expected to respond within five business days to requests for clarifications and where there is an intervention to file a reply to any intervention within ten days of being served with the intervention. This new procedure, it says should reduce the current processing times by around half.
Other initiatives and matters relating to applications dealt with by public hearings are to be the subject of a review later this year
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has renewed in principle Today FM's national licence, has invited News 106 Limited (Newstalk 106) to a public oral hearing on April 24 regarding its application for a quasi-national news/speech licence, and is also to seek authorisation of ComReg to advertise a broad based service for the Limerick area franchise area (For both see RNW Mar 30). It has also launched the second phase of its consultation regarding the development of a Code of Programme Standards.
In the UK, Ofcom has denied that it has given any special assurances to GCap Media, the current majority stakeholder in the existing national commercial digital multiplex Digital 1, regarding a planned new national commercial digital multiplex (See RNW Mar 31).
It has also published its 2006-07 tariff list including licence fees for broadcasters covering application fees - ranging from GBP 1,000 (USD 1,740) for the smallest area commercial AM licence and GBP 5,000 (USD 8,700) for the smallest commercial FM licence up to GBP 100,000 (USD 174,000) for a national commercial AM or FM licence; annual licence fees that range from 0.221% of qualifying revenue up to GBP 1 million (USD 1.74 million) a year up to 0.498% of qualifying revenue above GBP 5 million (USD 8.7 million) a year.
Multiplex licences application fees range from GBP 1,000 (USD 1,740) for the smallest local licence to GBP 50,000 (USD 87,000) for a national multiplex with annual fees from GBP 1,000 (USD 1,740) for the smallest licence to GBP 50,000 (USD 87,000) for a national multiplex and community licences involve a GBP 600 (USD 1,040 ) application and annual licence fee and restricted service licences require a GBP 400 (USD 700) application fee.
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) apart from the issues of indecency/obscenity and payola that we have already noted, was involved in a number of enforcement actions.
They included a proposed USD 7,000 penalty on a Louisiana AM related to late renewal applications and broadcasting without a licence (See RNW Apr 1) and a USD 21,000 penalty on a Maine Amateur Radio Station licensee and one of USD 7,000 on the former licensee of a Montana AM (See RNW Mar 30).
The FCC also says it proposes to collect USD 288,771,000 in regulatory fees for Fiscal Year 2006 - a 3.1% increase on a year earlier and notes that as part of the requirements of the US Deficit Reduction Act is also required to collect an additional USD 10 million in the year. (See RNW Mar 28).
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-04-02: Clear Channel, CBS Radio, Entercom and Citadel are reported by "officials involved in the talks" to be in discussions with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about a settlement over payola allegations.
According to Reuters and the New York Times the talks have stalled on how much the companies might have to pay and the Times says Clear Channel, which has around 1,200 stations, has been pressing for a penalty between USD 1.5 million and USD 3 million according to someone involved in the talks. It adds that the company had previously offered between USD 500,000 and USD 1 million but FCC officials had balked at this amount.
The FCC has been criticized for inaction over payola by New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer who has been conducting an investigation into the issue and last month launched a lawsuit against Entercom (See RNW Mar 9) having already agreed settlements with Sony-BMG of USD 10 million (See RNW Jul 26, 2005) and Warner Music of USD 5 million (See RNW Nov 23, 2005).
The Times, which notes that FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin has already said that the agency's enforcement bureau would thoroughly investigate accusations of payola: Following the Sony-BMG settlement he issued a statement in August last year (See RNW Aug 9, 2005) , saying he was "very concerned" about the activities that led to Spitzer's investigation and that he had instructed the Enforcement Bureau to investigate "any incidents in which the agreement discloses evidence of payola rule violations."
The Times says that is no agreement is reached, the FCC is expected to start a broad investigation into the payments and request internal documents and e-mail messages from the radio chains.
From the radio companies it quoted Clear Channel's Executive Vice President for Law and Government Affairs and chief legal officer Andrew Levin as saying his company had already tightened its policies on promotional payments, commenting, "We take the issue of payola very seriously and, as the largest radio operator in the U.S., we know we have a tremendous responsibility and are doing everything we possibly can to be squeaky clean and a model for the industry."
Last year Clear Channel announced that it had fired two executives over payola allegations following an internal investigation (See RNW Oct 12, 2005). They were subsequently named by the New York Post as WWPR-FM (Power 105) program director Michael Saunders and KHTS-FM, San Diego, program director Diana Laird, both of whom had been named in documentation published by Spitzer in relation to Sony-BMG (See RNW Oct 14, 2005).
Previous CBS Radio:
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Times report:
2006-04-01: Canadian advertisers are recognizing demographic realities and moving attention away from younger listeners to baby boomers according to figures released by Canadian Broadcast Sales (CBS), a company owned by Corus Entertainment Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc.
They show that the percentage of advertising revenue from commercials directed at the 25-to-54 demographic has increased by more than 15 per cent to 44.4 per cent of total ad spending but that directed towards younger demographics has declined.
Patrick Grierson, president of CBS, said in a statement that the trend "likely reflects some recognition that baby boomers are continuing to age," but he noted that advertisers are still behind the curve in targeting older baby boomers, saying, "The ad dollars are following this group, but are still ignoring the fact that leading-edge boomers have already turned 60."
It noted that despite the trend ad spending aimed specifically at men ages 18 to 34 rose because of greater competition among beer companies.
The Canadian commercial radio industry has already noted that the fall in listening to radio by younger Canadians, and the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) commenting in a submission to a federal government review of the radio sector, "It is generally agreed that teens have abandoned conventional radio in favour of other audio platforms including peer-to-peer file sharing, music downloading and iPods."
CAB web site:
Canadian Broadcast Sales web site:
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2006-04-01: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a penalty on a Louisiana AM for failing to file its renewal application on time but has nevertheless renewed the licence.
KSLO Broadcasting Company, Inc., licensee of KSLO-AM, Opelousas, Louisiana, had failed to file a renewal application in February 2004 and had subsequently filed the application and a request for special temporary authorization to operate the station pending consideration of the untimely renewal application.
FCC staff granted the request in April last year but the company had not sought an extension of it when the authority expired on October 5 and has given no reasons for its failure to file the applications.
The FCC is proposing a full USD 3,000 amount for the failure to timely file the renewal application, but to reduce the proposed forfeiture for unauthorized operation from the usual USD 10,000 to USD 4,000 because, it says, the station had been licensed and thus the situation was not comparable to "pirate" wireless operations.
2006-04-01: "Progressive" US talk network Air America Radio, which was expected by many to fold in its first year after its initial model of insisting on stations taking all its programming fell apart, reached its second anniversary yesterday.
Its two years of life have been marked by various crises including the loss of its original Chicago and Los Angeles outlets after its deal with Multicultural Broadcasting's WNTD-AM in Chicago and KBLA-FM in Los Angeles -- fell apart in a financial dispute (See RNW Apr 15, 2004) ; a row over financing through a loan from the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club in New York (See RNW Jul 28, 2005) and more recently suggestions that it was about to lose its flagship New York station WLIB-AM (See RNW Mar 8) although it has now says it has agreed a new deal with WLIB owner Inner City Broadcasting (See RNW Mar 18).
It has also run through numerous top-level executive changes as well as changing ownership before the deal that put it in the hands of current owners Piquant LLC.
2006-04-01: BBC Radio 4 has announced that on April 24 it will launch its new early morning schedule that, as announced earlier, includes the dropping of the "UK Theme", the medley of folk tunes with which it has started its programming for 33 years (See RNW Jan 24).
In a conciliatory move to those who objected to loss of the theme is to make the music available as a stream on the Radio 4 web site from April 21 although not as a downloadable MP3 . For those who want the material as a download or on CD a recording produced following the protests was released at the beginning of this week and can be downloaded or ordered online through the savetheradio4theme site that was launched to protest at the decision.
The new Radio line-up starts at 05:20 local time (currently 04:20 GMT) with a welcome and Shipping forecast that now includes all 16 inshore waters areas, - previously only nine were covered - followed at 05:30 by the News Briefing.
After this the weekday and weekend schedules differ - on weekdays the briefing is followed by Prayer for the Day and Farming Today up until the 06:00 Today show whilst on Saturdays Prayer For The Day will be followed by a repeat of a 15 minute feature before the Today Show and on Sunday the briefing is followed by a repeat of Profile (or a Westminster Hour feature when Profile is off the air).
Commenting on the changes BBC Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer took up the issue of the UK Theme, saying, "I'm sorry that part of the audience is upset by the removal of the UK Theme. They may like to know that we will be offering the UK Theme as a stream on the Radio 4 website, where it will be available from Friday 21 April."
The station has also announced that Sandi Toksvig is to chair the next series of its News Quiz, starting in September. She replaces Simon Hoggart who chaired his last edition of the show yesterday - it is repeated today at 11:30 GMT.
Toksvig , who has been a regular on the programme and was in the panel for the most recent edition, will be only the fourth chairman of the show, which was launched in 1977 by co-creator Barry Norman who was followed by Barry Took and Hoggart.
Also with the BBC, BBC Radio Five Live has announced that former Wireless Group chairman and chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie, a declared arch opponent of the Corporation and licence fee funding, is to present two programmes - World Cup Scandals with Kelvin MacKenzie - on the station this summer in which he will look at scandals that have surrounded past World Cup Soccer tournaments. They are produced by produced by All Out Productions and are the first programming he has done for the Corporation.
MacKenzie, who is also a former editor of the tabloid "Sun" newspaper, said: "I'm delighted to be presenting these programmes for Five Live. They will be a fascinating romp through the bungs, boozing and bonking that have tarnished the reputation of so many players and tournaments. How could I resist?"
SavetheUKtheme web site:
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