May 2006 Archive
-April 2006 -June 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 May comment - in "Real choice: Quality, the internet, and the need for public service broadcasters" argues that public broadcasters are if anything even more important as the internet allows wider listening horizons.
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.
2006-05-31: XM Satellite Radio in an SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) filing says that it may have to ask manufacturers to suspend shipping of various receivers following Federal Communications Commission (FCC) tests showing that two devices breached its permissible emission limits.
XM says that it has been conducting a review of the Audiovox Xpress - Audiovox has already suspended shipment of the model, Delphi XM SKYFi2, and other "other devices compatible with the XM system that use a wireless FM modulator to transmit XM programming from an XM action concerning various receivers that includes requests that manufacturers suspend "suspend shipments to retail of radios or accessories that may require changes to operating or installation instructions, or modifications to software or hardware, such as small attachments that reduce emissions through the antenna or cigarette lighter adapter."
XM says it is working to limit the interruption in supply of certain models of XM radios to retailers, and plans to have modified devices shipping to retailers in the near term, adding that no health or safety issues are involved with these wireless XM radios.
Sirius could also face similar problems as some listeners have reported hearing its signals, including the Howard Stern Show, over the programming they are listening to (See RNW Apr 30).
2006-05-31: BBC online and download cum podcast figures, a record in March, show a fall for most stations in April, when figures were affected by the Easter break although the Asian Network bucked the trend with a listening increase as did the BBC Newspod.
Overall on-demand listening was down 12.9% on March - but up 48.2% on a year ago - to 4,271,334 hours and live listening was down 15.0% on March but up 50.5% on a year ago to 7,525,869 and combined figures were down 14.2% on March but up 49.7% on a year earlier at 11,797,203 hours.
In terms of network listening in April this year, the rankings were - Total listening hours - live plus on-demand and percentage change compared to March 2006 then to April 2005:
Radio 1 - 5,466,402 -11.6%; + 60.7%
Radio 2 - 3,493,370 -16.7%; +48.5%
Radio 4 - 2,723,620 -14.6%; +37.6%
BBC 7 - 1,450,150 -12.1%; +39.6%
Radio 5 Live - 1,334,914 -10.3% +84.4%
Radio 3 - 875,242 -6.5%; +54.2%
6 Music - 654,511 -14.6%; +21.2%
1Xtra - 545,247 -12.4%; +10.6%
Asian Network - 278,713 +2.4%; +55.5%
5 Live Sports Xtra - 136,504 -72.6%; +510%
The top five on-demand programmes were
1 - "The Archers" on Radio 4, which retained top rank with 650782 listens - down 702 on March;
2 - "Chris Moyles" on Radio 1, which retained second place with 451819 listens - down 100,397;
3 - "The Essential Selection" on Radio 1, which moved up from fourth with 240,920 listens - up 8,967;
4 - "The Afternoon Play" on Radio 4, down from third place with 229,981 listens - down 21,577;
5 - "Essential Mix" on Radio 1, retaining its spot with 209,439 listens, down 16,297.
Amongst daily podcasts cum MP3s the top five were:
1- BBC News "Radio Newspod" - up from third with 467968 listens, up 320,304;
2 -Radio 4 "Today 8.10 Interview" - down from first with 392857 listens, down 81,500;
3 - Radio 1 "Scott Mills Daily" - down from second with 361274 listens, down 30,803;
4 - World Service "World News Bulletin" - a new entrant with 128,147 listens;
5 - Radio 4 "Today lead interviews" - Up from sixth with 83,050 listens, up 49,411;
The leading weekly podcasts were:
1- Radio 1 "Best of Moyles" retaining top rank with 416,424 listens, down 25,408;
2 - Radio 4 "In our Time" retaining second place with234,400 listens, down 21,478;
3- Radio 4 "From Our Own Correspondent" retaining its rank with 164,957 listens, up 19,107;
4 - Radio 4 "The Now Show" - a new entrant with 132,042 listens;
5 - Radio Five "Live Mark Kermode's Film Reviews" - down from fourth with 131,286 listens, down 12,650;
Amongst other podcasts/MP3s the World Service documentary archive was a notable success with 257522 listens.
Previous BBC Online figures:
2006-05-31: Katz Radio Group and HipCricket have announced an exclusive sales partnership under which HipCricket will provide wireless marketing expertise and solutions for the Katz Radio Group.
Katz Radio Group President, Steve Shaw, said the arrangement was "an exciting opportunity for us to offer the very latest mobile marketing technology to our clients and customers."
"We can now enable our radio clients to become fully interactive with listeners while advertisers will benefit from a new media channel for marketing and cross channel promotion," he added. ". HipCricket's expertise as a leading wireless marketing provider coupled with their knowledge of the radio industry made them the best choice for us."
In another US radio industry tie-up Westwood One announced a multi-year management agreement with Excelsior Radio Networks for the day-to-day operation of the Westwood One 24/7 music formats.
Under the agreement Excelsior, through it's Dial Communications - Global Media, will assume responsibility for affiliate sales and programming of the Westwood One 24/7 music formats from August 1, 2006, and oversight of all aspects of the formats - including advertising sales - from January 1, 2007.
Westwood One President and CEO Peter Kosann said, "This partnership will enable Westwood One to focus on its other programming and new media initiatives, while benefiting economically from this platform. We will work hard over the coming weeks and months to ensure a seamless transition for our affiliates, advertisers, and employees."
Previous Katz Media:
Previous Westwood One:
2006-05-31: International Satellite radio operator WorldSpace has announced an agreement with Sama Communications Company Limited (Samacom) for a new satellite uplink facility in Dubai that will allow it to enhance its satellite radio content delivery and enable live programming from Dubai.
Dubai was selected to house the facility based on its central geographic location within the WorldSpace service area and the new uplink station will be able to uplink to channels of the company's AsiaStar and AfriStar satellites simultaneously.
2006-05-31: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin upholds no complaints, considered one radio complaint and four TV standards complaints resolved, and gave details of one TV standards and two TV fairness and privacy complaints not upheld.
In addition it listed with no details a further 133 complaints against 121 items that were rejected or held to be out of remit compared to corresponding totals of 165 complaints against 144 items in the previous bulletin.
These included 20 radio complaints relating to 20 items and 113 TV complaints relating to 101 items compared to 21 radio complaints relating to 21 items and 144 TV complaints relating to 125 items in the previous bulletin.
The radio complaint considered resolved related to what LBC termed a 'blipvert' (a short advertisement) broadcast between the news headlines and full news stories that had led to a complaint that this suggested the news had been sponsored.
Ofcom said it was "concerned that the message implied a commercial relationship between the news and DHL [the sponsor]" but accepted that measures taken by the station to provide a clear delineation between news and sponsors was sufficient for it to consider the matter resolved.
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2006-05-30: Kimberley Dozier, London bureau chief and chief European correspondent for CBS Radio News from 1996-2002 before she moved to TV work, has been seriously injured and the crew working with her - cameraman Paul Douglas and sound recordist James Brolan - were both killed on Monday in Baghdad.
They were with a U.S. Army unit covering a "routine" story on American Troops for Memorial Day and had got out of their armoured vehicle when a nearby car packed with explosives was detonated, killing the crew at the scene. A US Army Captain and Iraqi interpreter were also killed.
Dozier, who had just returned to Baghdad after a period of leave, was flown to a U.S. military hospital inside Baghad's Green Zone, where she underwent surgery and is said to be in critical condition although doctors say they are cautiously optimistic about her prognosis.
Dozier, who had only just returned to Baghdad after a period of leave, had received three American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT) Gracie Awards - for her radio reports on Mideast violence, Kosovo and the Afghan war.
CBS News report:
2006-05-30: An English radio station has dropped two of the most played hits of recent times - James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" and "Goodbye My Lover" following recent research that it said showed listeners had tired of Blunt's sound.
GCap Media's Essex FM is planning further analysis of listener feedback to confirm whether the move has widespread approval but the station's programme controller Chris Cotton said that they had received more comments about Blunt than they had ever had about an artist.
He told the UK Independent, "It was quite staggering. People said, 'Can you get rid of him?' 'Can you ban him?' Even people who say they are fans of his songs go on to express that they're sick of it."
The initial reaction, he said was in favour of the ban, adding, "The amount of feedback is enormous, so it looks like there'll be a pretty long-term ban. This does tend to happen when artists reach a certain level of popularity, when it becomes wall-to-wall coverage."
"He has a unique sound and is an honest songwriter," said Cotton. "That's the sort of combination that makes someone stand out, but people also tend to tire of that sound. We don't have anything against James Blunt and we're pleased he has been so successful, but we really need a break."
Last week Blunt won two Ivor Novello awards - "You're Beautiful" was voted international hit of the year and most performed work - and in accepting his award commented, "To all those bastards who don't like my music - you're all adults, you can switch your radio off."
RNW comment: Essex FM listeners, it seems, may have taken him at his word or, of course, GCap could have been looking for some publicity or it could be a combination of both.
Previous GCap Media:
UK Independent report:
2006-05-30: The investigations into payola and subsequent settlements by three of the four major recording labels are having a significant effect on US radio festivals according to a Reuters/Billboard report.
It says that recording company promotions departments that in the past often provided assistance in booking their star bands for the shows - often making no charge in exchange for airplay - are now absenting themselves and as a result the festivals are having to pay bands.
Not only pay them but pay them ate regular rates as well according to Tampa-based Clear Channel regional VP of programming Brad Hardin who was quoted as saying, "We pay retail for these bands. We're not getting any special breaks because we're a radio station."
The report says that exacerbating the situation for radio companies is the changed economics of the recording business that has meant many bands are no longer making a living from record sales.
The result in some cases has been that stations have opted to "skip the hassle of putting on their own shows and instead create marketing and branding opportunities around multi-artist events like Ozzfest."
"This," it adds, "usually involves giving away blocks of tickets to listeners, orchestrating meet-and-greets and blanketing the venue with signs promoting the station."
The stations that are continuing to throw festivals are also having to change the style of their festivals to meet fans' expectations according to the report that quotes Philadelphia rock station WMMR-FM marketing director Eric Simon as saying, "We decided to drop some of the more conventional things, such as decorations and beach balls, and reach out to a video monitor company just to get some interaction with the crowd and give our listeners something to watch in between bands."
Other stations mentioned are working with sponsors to add interactive activities to boost their shows - Houston modern rock station KTBZ-FM will include such activities with Nintendo and Sony Play Station - and also looking for other sources of finance such as producing instant CDs from a festival performance.
The report says both ends of the operation are being squeezed with higher costs making it difficult to keep ticket prices affordable and also involving a lot of upfront costs that are new to stations.
2006-05-30: Commenting on last week's European Media Forum report that suggested the BBC should sell off its Radios 1 and 2, media consultant Paul Robinson writing in the UK Guardian sums up his view with the headline, "Why a sell-off does not make commercial sense."
He quotes figures from the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) that say the stations if funded by advertising would generate revenues of GBP 66.9 million (USD 124.4 million) and GBP 73.7 million (USD 137.0 million) respectively, which on the basis of their current BBC budgets would deliver earnings of GBP 28 million (USD 52 million) and GBP 32 million (USD 59.5 million) respectively but notes that this would involve an overnight growth in UK radio advertising of around 27% in an economic climate when it fell by 5% in 2005.
"Advertising," writes Robinson, "is a conservative business and the growth in budgets to sustain all the stations isn't going to happen overnight, so the likely impact of privatising Radios 1 and 2 would be to destroy the advertising revenue of existing commercial radio stations and drive half or more into the red. "
"It's for this unspoken reason," he continues, "that the CRCA is not in favour of the sell-off and is campaigning merely for the networks to boost their public service credentials."
He then goes on to look at some details, this time of output, noting that "With the exception of Saga and a handful of others, monitoring of musical output shows that Radio 1 plays around 1,000 and Radio 2 1,700 unique song titles a week, about double many commercial stations" and also that in terms of public interest content the "the BBC points out that both networks carry large volumes of intelligent speech, accounting for 45% on Radio 1 and 30% of hours on Radio 2 during peak, higher than the off-peak figure."
"Commercial radio must be kicking itself," he concludes, "that the BBC charter review has coincided with an advertising recession. In times of plenty, they would have swallowed Radios 1 and 2 in a heartbeat."
RNW comment: When we reported the story (See RNW May 23) we commented in part "As for selling off the channels, we would think this might well be the death knell of a number of commercial stations as advertising could well migrate to the more popular national stations." We could not then and still cannot see why an industry already struggling to attract advertising would want to put more competitors onto the playing field. The figures above would seem to bear this out apart from those with blind faith in the market and a dislike for public services but few shares in the businesses involved.
UK Guardian article:
2006-05-29: We start this week's look at print comment on radio with a follow-up to the spat between Britain's commercial radio and the BBC concerning the amount paid to its top hosts by the corporation, said by the some in the commercial sector to be more than they can afford and to be driving up the cost of talent.
Well not quite so if Jenny Abramsky, Director of BBC Radio & Music, is being straight in a letter to the UK Times related to an earlier article by Tim Luckhurst: He had parroted thecommercial companies' line that BBC Radios 1 and 2 have made themselves the main competition to UK commercial stations and cross-promoted them, produced them on large budgets, and "recruited many presenters who now work for the BBC, only to watch them defect."
"Nowadays," wrote Luckhurst, "only the BBC can offer huge audiences and national fame. It does not need to offer vast financial rewards as well."
Abramsky took up his article in a letter in which she said she could assure him "that commercial radio has offered many of our presenters significantly higher salaries than we pay" and added, "The majority choose to stay with the BBC because they value our approach to programming. Many have joined from commercial radio at the same or a lower rate for similar reasons."
She also wrote that "The charge from commercial radio of "reputation by night and ratings by day" ignores the range of music, the support for live and new (and British) music, and the news and speech programming, whether Newsbeat on Radio 1 or Jeremy Vine on Radio 2, all of which distinguish the networks from their commercial rivals."
Ten days after his original article, Luckhurst returned to the fray, this time in the Independent on Sunday, in which he pegged his introduction to a think tank report that recommended selling off the two stations (See RNW May 23), but this time he was in much more emollient mood.
After various praise of Abramsky " her colleagues adore her, and her track record since she joined the BBC in 1969 as a "programmes operations assistant" has been of consistent innovation and achievement" " Abramsky will be 60 in October, but she remains vivacious and still has the smile contemporaries say made her instantly noticeable during her student years at the University of East Anglia" he moved on to the crux of the argument.
After summarizing the arguments of the commercial radio companies and the think tank's recommendation, he went on to Abramsky's defence - on accountability "We have shown every track we have played and dissected everything we do to ensure that our approach is distinctive. Commercial radio does not have to do that"; on claims that it is stifling the commercial market "It is a myth that the BBC is stifling the market. The truth is that commercial radio has been targeting 15- to 45- year-olds. They have the majority share of 15 to 45s. Commercial radio has had a difficult time because they haven't made the right decisions. There are lots of things they could do. Maybe instead of having very tight play lists, rotating all the time, our approach might be better"; and on remuneration, "There have been some quite disingenuous stories that we are inflating the market. I'm not going to breach confidentiality but I have had a number of my presenters offered extraordinary salaries by commercial radio, and they have stayed to work for the BBC for considerably less. I would absolutely dispute that we have caused super-inflation."
After Abramsky's charge that the commercial radio industry had brought many of its problems upon itself through the audience it targets - for music in this case - on to Paul Donovan in the UK Sunday Times who says much the same thing about speech radio.
"In Britain," he writes, "two distinct types of speech radio are emerging. The commercial one is speed talk; young and opinionated. Intended to involve the audience 24/7, it is directly inspired by US stations. (Talk 107's programmes boss went to New York to see how 1010WINS and WABC do it there.)"
On the other Donovan said of the corporation's output, "The BBC type is rooted in studio discussions, reviews, fiction, documentary output, experts and pre-recording. It is a rich and subtle tapestry.
He goes on to quote BBC Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer as saying, "One of the distinctive characteristics of British democracy is that it embraces debate and argument. We also have a great literary history and a marvellous mongrel language. So there are deep foundations. The market for speech radio is large and often passionate. Thank heaven."
It's not just in the UK that the public broadcaster has been involved in controversy - the same has applied in various ways over the past year in the US and Canada and in Australia the recent appointment of Mark Scott as managing director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (See RNW May 23)
The appointment has generally attracted fairly positive comment about Scott himself but there have been some doubts expresses ad in The Australian where Brad Norington comments under the heading, "Directors who pick boss call the tune."
He says "the big question is not whether Scott can handle the job (he probably can). Rather, it is the likely interplay between Scott and the ABC's board of directors. As one ABC veteran puts it: 'Anytime you go outside seeking a clean pair of hands and then select someone without direct experience in the organisation or the medium, that person is more likely to do the bidding of the board.'"
"Commentary this week", he continues, "has portrayed Scott as affable in chitchat, diplomatic in style and possibly a good fit at the ABC because he can "talk the trendy media talk". It is another side to the man, however, that has caught the eye of many observers. Scott also has been noted as following his master's orders to the letter, no matter how brutal."
In an echo of comments made in the US about the attitudes and actions of Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the Bush administration appointee as chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) who eventually had to resign (See RNW Nov 5, 2005), there are suspicions that the conservative Howard administration in Australia is also attempting to set the public broadcasting agenda.
Recently it abolished the post of staff-elected director and Norington writes: "Already there are suggestions a replenished band of conservative but hawkish directors may want to be more aggressive on policy, launching a fresh assault on the ABC's perceived left-wing culture."
He notes that the present ABC board, chairman Donald McDonald, a long-time arts administrator and friend of the Prime Minister, are all conservatives and "most are antagonistic to the way the ABC is run lower down the chain."
Norington notes that Federal Communications Minister Helen Coonan has indicated that she favours extending McDonald's term from June 30 until the end of the year to avoid the disruption at the top of changing the chairman and managing director at the same time but says a "A chairman with a different take on the ABC may already be waiting in the wings, though: Skala [ Steven Skala, a board member who is deputy chairman of Deutsche Bank in Australia and formerly a senior partner with Melbourne legal firm Arnold Bloch Leibler], despite joining the board only last October, is the hot favourite to succeed McDonald."
After commenting on differences between Skala and McDonald, Norington writes, "What is certain is that if Skala ends up in the chair, the Victorian Liberal establishment aligned with party powerbroker Michael Kroger will try to exert influence in routing the so-called left-wing bias."
Although the board does not control programmes directly, says Norington, "a board intent on flexing its muscle in editorial decisions would have several avenues for action through a compliant managing director" and he suggests pressures about story selection and forced redundancies of senior journalists as possible actions. There would also be pressure, he writes, for the ABC to take advertising to ease its budget problems, something that would require legislation for its broadcast radio and TV services but not online and as one unnamed observer is quoted as commenting, "It will be [then be] much harder to resist the argument not to have it on other free-to-air media, namely radio and television, as well."
And finally a question of standards, double or otherwise, in connection with the US and pain-killing drugs, a matter that led Rush Limbaugh and his coterie of supporters to accuse Florida law-enforcement officials of being politically motivated in applying to him doctor-shopping laws passed by a Republican state administration.
Writing in op-ed news - which is clearly not of right-wing persuasions - under the heading, "PAIN MANAGEMENT: A DOUBLE STANDARD?", William Fisher contrasts the result of the prosecution of the host with the case of South Carolina pain management physician Dr. Michael Jackson whom Fisher terms "one of hundreds of pain management specialists arrested, charged and jailed by federal and state authorities for violating the Controlled Substances Act, designed to limit the dispensing of illegal prescription drugs by doctors and their use by patients."
Jackson in an interview contrasted what he called "a widespread double standard - one for the 'haves' and another for the 'have-nots'."
The former he said include such names as Limbaugh, Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Miami Dolphins' football star Ricky Williams, former baseball great Darryl Strawberry, Florida Governor Jeb Bush's daughter, Noelle, and former Pittsburgh Steelers football quarterback Joe Gilliam.
Jackson's case was part of a prosecution known as "The Myrtle Beach Eight" that involved eight physicians associated with a pain clinic in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Jackson claims the clinic's owner was coerced into a plea bargain that implied a conspiracy to illegally distribute opiods, thus meaning the prosecution did not have to prove a motive to commit a crime.
His DEA (Drug Enfordment Administration) registration was revoked, cutting off his income and leaving his defence to a court-appointed public defender and he was initially found guilty not only of offences linked to prescribing opiods but also with manslaughter and as a result received a 25-year-sentence. That was reduced on appeal to 2.5 years after the prosecution dropped the manslaughter charge following the revelation that the patients who overdosed and died from multiple drug abuse were not his patients[RNW comment: Which somehow one doubts would have been discovered later had Jackson had a star-studded defence].
An appeal to the US Supreme Court was declined by the court and Fisher notes that his sentence is now not the most severe by any means - they included 19 years and seven months for Dr. Ricardo Alerre, a 74-year-old physician at the clinic. In addition another of the accused, Dr. Benjamin Moore, who pleaded guilty, committed suicide prior to sentencing.
In another case, wheelchair-bound Richard Paey who suffers from multiple-sclerosis was convicted in Florida on charges involving his use of painkillers and after rejecting - said to be on principle -an offer of probation was sentenced to 25-years in prison where he is on a morphine pump that administers more pain-killing medication than he was accused of taking before he went to prison.
So over to Rush! If he's an halfway decent human perhaps he should look into such cases and take the risk that he may find evidence which could take him into views on how pain should be managed that might well upset his loyal listeners.,
If he isn't, without any malice towards them, we can only regret that it's Paey who's in jail for 25 years not Rush and a few more big names since there does seem to be a significant discepancy in proportionality of sentencing. So for any US readers who care to put a call into Limbaugh, here's a topic.
On to suggested listening and first some strong programming from the BBC - first BBC Radio 3 and "Performance on 3" at 18:30 GMT tonight - when as part of "The Tchaikovsky Symphonies" in which Gianandrea Noseda conducts all six he begins with Symphonies 3 (The Polish) and 4, performed by the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg. On Wednesday the programme has the First and Fifth symphonies with the BBC Philharmonic and on Friday the second and sixth, again with the BBC Philharmonic.
In addition from BBC Radio 4 this week we suggest the "Afternoon Reading" (14:30 GMT) that this week is made up of five short stories by American writer Gina Ochsner; the "Woman's Hour Drama" (Either 09:45 GMT or 18:45 GMT) and "Ottoline and Bertie", a dramatization of the love affair between philosopher Bertrand Russell and Lady Ottoline Morrell; and "The Sports Programme" (22:00GMT) which on past programmes is likely to present some unusual and intelligent perspectives on sports and sports writing.
Also from Radio 4 at 22:30 GMT on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, three programmes on "Winning Beauty" in which Rosie Goldsmith looks at the world of beauty contests, starting in the USA with Miss Louisiana; moving on to Sun City in South Africa, which is hosting the "Face of Africa" that attracts contestants from all over the continent and nowadays features few "white" faces; and on Friday concluding with Miss Tourism Queen International in the city of Hangzhou in China.
Changing continents and topic to a number of programmes with medical connections, we recommend a dip into the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "All in the Mind" from May 20 (Still on the site as a stream or MP3) that looked at research into multiple sclerosis; the ABC's "Background Briefing" from May 14 (Again on the site as a stream or MP3) that looked into China's health service including discussion of the knock-on effects of weaknesses in the country should a viral pandemic start in China; and BBC Radio 4 again with a different perspective in "Inside the Ethics Committee" at 19:00 GMT on Wednesday, which discusses the tough choices that may be faced should there be an outbreak of pandemic flu. It includes a panel of three experts, taken from clinical ethics committee around the UK debating such decisions as should medical staff, worried for their families, be forced to come into work? How the country will cope with the intensive care crisis? And with limited supplies available, who should be given antiviral medicines? Topics that will, of course, apply almost anywhere should there be a global pandemic.
After the gloom a lightening of tone from BBC Radio 4 in Sunday's "Archive Hour" slot, "Thanks for Listening" that paid tribute to John Ebdon, a BBC stalwart for 26 years - known for his skittish and silly comic journeys into the archive that were once a fixture of every third Monday - and also Director of the London Planetarium. Also from Radio 4 we suggest "The Accidental Entertainers" - Thursday at 10:30 GMT - a look into the origins of the stories of the Brothers Grimm.
Then drama and from BBC Radio 4 last week's "Friday Play" - "Abrogate Abrogate", recorded in Los Angeles and written by Larry Gelbart, the creator of M*A*S*H. It posits a future in which Hilary Clinton is President (we would give odds this won't be the case) and a congressional hearing is investigating the conduct of various individuals and departments during the Bush years. Some of it was in our view a little silly but the language sparkles at times; Radio 3 and last Sundays "Drama on 3" and "The Lysistrata Project" in which Ryan Craig re-works Aristophanes' classic play with the help of young people living and studying in London.
Then to end, for anyone who still has time, comedy from BBC Radio 2 with "It's Been a Bad Week", which returns on Thursday at 21:00 GMT with a 12:30 GMT Saturday repeat when it's preceeded at noon GMT by "The Day the Music Died"; from BBC Radio 4 earlier that day in the 17:30 GMT comedy slot , "Who Took the Cork off my Lunch - a Tribute to WC Fields" and in the same slot on Friday "Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive" which takes over from "The Now Show" which ended its most recent run last week (MP3 available until this Friday).
Op-ed News - Fisher:
The Australian - Norington:
UK Independent - Luckhurst:
UK Times - Abramsky letter:
UK Times - Donovan:
UK Times Luckhurst:
2006-05-29: German public radio station Radio Bremen, part of the ARD network, is being sued by a female DJ who says she was fired for dressing too "sexily."
25-years-old "Lady Ray" is now taking the station to an industrial tribunal claiming damages for unfair dismissal.
She said of the matter," My boss told me that my skirts were too short and my tops too low. But I don't understand it, it's not as if any of the listeners can see me and my breasts don't speak into the microphone."
2006-05-29: Irish state broadcaster RTÉ has announced that legal affairs journalist Mary Wilson will take over from Rachel English, who announced earlier this month that she was stepping down from presenting its Radio One "Five Seven Live " Drivetime programme after six years in the post and would be working on several new projects for the station over the coming year.
There had been considerable speculation over who would take over from English with reporter and regular stand-in Philip Boucher-Hayes, and Evelyn O'Rourke, presenter of "The Morning After" on Sundays amongst those tipped earlier on. Wilson's appointment came as a surprise.
The announcement follows an earlier announcement of changes in the station's afternoon and evening radio schedules from September that will see a boost for "Liveline", hosted by Joe Duffy, which gets an extra 15 minutes at the end and will run from 13:45 to 15:00 before a new show, with the working title of "Afternoon Ireland", a music and speech magazine programme to be hosted by Derek Mooney before the new "Drivetime Show" - another working title - that will run from 17:00 to 20:00 and incorporate "Drivetime" running to 18:30, "Drivetime Sport with Des Cahill" running to 19:00 and "Drivetime Express" with Dave Fanning's offerings of music and the movies running to 20:00: Cahill currently hosts the News & Sportscall programme running from 19:00 to 20:00.
The current afternoon offerings - "Rattlebag", hosted by Vincent Woods, at 14:45 and Nuacht (News) & The Creedon Show hosted by John Creedon from 15:30 to 17:00 have been dropped: Creedon gets a slot from midnight to 02:00 - "Late Date with John Creedon."
After Drivetime the current line-up of News followed by "Flux", hosted by Ronan Kelly (20:00 to 20:30) and "The Mystery Train" hosted by John Kelly and running to the 21:50 Nuacht (News) have been replaced with a one-hour Features/Documentaries/Drama slot from 20:00 to 21:00 followed by Music features to 22:00 when "Tonight with Vincent Browne" is retained to 23:00 to be followed by "Nightlines" until Creedon takes over replacing the current 23:00 to 02:00 offerings of "Book on One", "Round Midnight" and the 00:30-02:00 "Late Date".
RTÉ says of John Kelly's 's departure that after seven years he has "decided to concentrate on other broadcasting commitments." He is rumoured to have been offered, and rejected, a switch to RTÉ's Lyric FM classical station.
The head of Radio One Ana Leddy said of the changes, "Listeners have never had more choice. RTÉ Radio 1 has the people, talent and resources to bring the best of popular radio to our listeners. That's what drives these changes. We aim to appeal to bigger audiences across the whole schedule whether in news, entertainment, sport, music or culture. Our plan is all about competition, integrity, choice and quality"
She added of Wilson, "She is one of Ireland's leading journalists and will bring a wealth of experience with her to the job."
The station's earlier daytime schedule - of "Rising Time" with Maxi; "Morning Ireland"; "The Tubridy Show"; "Today with Pat Kenny"; Ronan Collins; and "News at One" - remains in place.
Sister station RTÉ 2 fm also announced its new schedule with changes mainly in the afternoons and evenings. They include a new noon to 14:00 show anchored by Nikki Hayes; a move from 22:00 to midnight to an earlier 18:00 to 21:00 slot for Rick O'Shea; and then a new 21:00 to midnight show from Damien Farrelly.
Other new shows are a Friday 19:00 "Here Comes The Weekend" show hosted by Avril Hoare and a 19:00 Sunday show hosted by Dave Fanning.
2006-05-29: According to Robert Feder of the Chicago Sun-Times, former Infinity and Clear Channel Radio executive John Gehron, who resigned as the latter's Chicago-based regional vice president in October last year (See RNW Oct 25, 2005), is in "serious talks" with Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions about heading the company's new radio unit.
Winfrey announced the formation of Harpo Radio in February in conjunction with the announcements of a three-year agreement for an "Oprah & Friends" channel on XM Satellite Radio that is to be produced at Harpo Studios radio facilities in Chicago,
2006-05-28: The main regulatory news this week related to personnel with the Senate vote to confirm Republican Robert McDowell as a Federal Communications Commissioner, a move that will break the 2-2 partisan logjam at the agency (See RNW May 27) and an announcement that Ofcom chief executive Stephen Carter is to stand down (See RNW May 27): Elsewhere there were no radio announcements from Australia but there was a steady level of routine activity at other agencies.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in its usual routine work including the following radio-related decisions (in order of province):
*Renewal until 31 August 2013 of licence of CJSU-FM, Duncan.
*Approval of application to increase the power of community-based campus station CHRY-FM, Toronto, from 50 watts to 158 watts, and also increase the antenna height. The power increase would take the station's status from that of a low-power, unprotected service to that of a regular, Class A service.
*Renewal until 31 August 2013 of licence of CHCQ-FM, Belleville. The commission also approved the station's request to delete the condition of licence requiring an annual contribution of CAD 2,000 (USD 1,800) to Canadian talent development. CHCQ had said it would abide by a condition of licence requiring an annual contribution of CAD 400 (USD 360) to Canadian talent development.
*Renewal until 31 August 2013 of licence of CKSY-FM, Chatham.
*Renewal until 31 August 2013 of licence of CFYZ-AM, Toronto.
*Approval of application to increase the power of CFIC-FM, Restigouche (Listuguj), from 50 watts to 425 watts, a change that would take the station's status from that of a low-power, unprotected service to that of a regular, Class A service.
Saskatchewan and Manitoba:
* Renewal until 31 August 2013 of licence of CFGW-FM, Yorkton, Saskatchewan, and its transmitters CFGW-FM-1, Swan River, Manitoba and CFGW-FM-2, Wappela, Saskatchewan
The CRTC also issued a public notice, with a June 5 deadline for interventions or comments, concerning an application by Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. (AVR) for the use of frequency 106.3 MHz (channel 292C) for its Native Type B FM English and Native-languages radio FM in Vancouver.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has advertised six new community licences (See RNW May 26) and conditionally awarded the quasi-national news/speech licence to News 106 Ltd (See RNW May 23).
It also announced that it had received 145 submissions in response to Phase 2 of its consultation about its programme standards code, which is being developed for both radio and TV in the Republic.
Phase Two relates to rules and principles that will relate to certain types of programme material, including violence, sexual conduct, coarse language, portrayal of persons and groups in society, and the portrayal of drugs, alcohol and solvent abuse.
The BCI said Submissions received were from a broad range of interested parties including broadcasters, representative bodies, educational institutions and members of the public.
Commission staff are now reviewing the submissions and detailed reports will be prepared for consideration by the Board at its July meeting.
The third phase, which will involve consultation o a draft code, will take place in the autumn (fall) and the BCI plans to formally launch the code by the end of this year.
In the UK, Ofcom as already noted has announced that its chief executive is to step down: It has also published its reasons behind the award announced earlier this month of eight more community licences, the final such licences in its current round (See RNW May 24).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued its latest report on licensed broadcast station totals showing that it gained 202 stations in the first quarter of this year (See RNW May 27).
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-05-28: Ulster Television (UTV) chairman, John B McGuckian has singled out the performance of the company's radio stations in a trading update, saying the company's "outperformance, particularly in radio, should mitigate against the generally difficult trading conditions in advertising and help to sustain further progress for your company in the current year."
He said the foundations for growth are "being built upon in 2006, with like-for-like revenue growth in our radio stations in Great Britain up by 13% in the first quarter compared to an 8% decline in the market as a whole."
"Continuing outperformance is expected in the second quarter," he continued, "with the soccer World Cup delivering a further stimulus to our national radio station, talkSport, and helping to drive an expected 15% like-for-like improvement in our GB radio advertising revenue compared to an anticipated 2% decline in the market in the six months to 30 June 2006."
"Substantial outperformance," said McGuckian, "is also being achieved in our Irish radio division where like-for-like advertising revenue is forecast to grow by 15% in the first half and where particularly favourable economic conditions in the Republic of Ireland should maintain the momentum of growth into the second six months of the year."
He also said its new UK stations in Belfast and Edinburgh "have got off to a good start and are on target to achieve profitability in year three as planned, although in the current year budgeted losses of just under GBP 2 million ( USD 3.6 million) will impact upon profit growth. Nevertheless, the strong performance of our other radio assets should enable us to readily absorb these losses while significantly improving the contribution to the bottom line."
In contrast to radio, "adverse trading conditions" were said to be affecting TV's contribution and McGuckian said the "expected stimulus to the market of the football World Cup in June has not materialised and we are now forecasting our television advertising revenue to be down by 6% in the first half of 2006."
The company also says it anticipates a 16% revenue increase in its internet division in the first six months, driven by broadband and telephony growth.
2006-05-28: In yet another sign of the dominance of former GWR interests in the merged company, GCap Media has consolidated its GBP 5 million (USD 9.3 million) a year media planning and buying account with PHD Group's Rocket, which had the planning and buying brief on the GWR account.
Two other agencies, ZenithOptimedia, which had the Capital Radio brief, and MediaCom, which was used for Capital's regional Century network, have both been dropped.
Jim Cruickshank, group marketing director at GCap Media, told Brand Republic the decision to appoint Rocket had been carefully considered and added, "The decision came down to the fact that GCap has to innovate, and we felt that Rocket and the PHD resource offered a level of thinking that was head and shoulders above the competition and we were very confident that Rocket was the agency that would help us identify original solutions."
Derek Morris, vice-chairman of ZenithOptimedia, said, "Although it's a small loss, it's a sad loss, as we've held the account since Zenith opened its doors in 1988. Having said that, we wish them luck with GWR's incumbent agency."
Previous GCap Media:
Brand Republic report:
2006-05-27: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is back up to full strength following the US Senate confirmation of Republican Robert McDowell that breaks the 2-2 partisan tie on the commission. His term will run to June 2009.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, who had backed McDowell's nomination, welcomed the vote, saying "Rob's expertise and experience will be an asset to the commission as it tackles a variety of critical communications issues in the future."
Others congratulating McDowell included FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin, who spoke of his "wealth of knowledge and expertise in the communications arena" and Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps who said McDowell would "ring a wealth of experience and valuable perspective to the Commission."
McDowell, 42, is a former lawyer for Comptel, a trade association that represents telephone and Internet companies that compete against bigger carriers leading to some suggestions that he might have to recuse himself from rulings on some deals.
2006-05-27: CBS, Sirius Satellite Radio and host Howard Stern have now settled a lawsuit brought by the former against the latter two plus Stern's agent Don Buchwald, alleging breach of contract by the host and also that he improperly used CBS radio airtime in the last few months of his employment there to promote Sirius and his then forthcoming satellite show.
The agreement involves Sirius paying buying from CBS the rights to the CBS archive of Stern Shows: In a statement CBS said "As part of the settlement, CBS Radio will receive payments relating to the conveyance of its rights in recordings of the Howard Stern show. Sirius, for its part, will make a total payment of USD 2 million related to this conveyance."
The plural payments seem to indicate that Stern may also be paying CBS but no details were released with CBS saying other details were confidential.
2006-05-27: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced that its chief executive Stephen Carter, who is 42, is to stand down from October 15 from his post and that he will not be party to Ofcom's economic, competition and policy decisions from August 1, although he will continue to carry out his duties relating to operational and financial matters until he stands down.
Carter, who has been at Ofcom since February 2003, is a former managing director of cable company NTL, which he left at the end of 2002 as the Group was poised to exit Chapter 11, with a payoff and bonus of GBP 1.6 million (USD 3 million): His Ofcom salary was around GBP 400,000 (USD 744,000) a year and no announcement has been made about his future plans although Ofcom noted that his contract prohibits him from securing other employment whilst employed by the regulator and also has "gardening leave" restrictions running up to a maximum 12 months at the discretion of Ofcom's chairman.
Ofcom says an executive search for a successor will be led by Jan Hall of JCA Group from June 18 with the aim of making an appointment by early autumn and the post will be open to internal and external candidates. Amongst those expected to pitch for the job - and possibly to leave Ofcom if he does not get it - is Ofcom COO Ed Richards, the former Downing Street policy adviser who helped to draft the Communications Act as British Prime Minister Tony Blair's media adviser. Richards has been sent on a Harvard management course, a sign of being groomed for an executive role, and is seen as the obvious successor.
Ofcom Chairman Lord David Currie paid tribute to Carter, saying in a release, "Stephen took on an immensely challenging task - and has performed outstandingly. His legacy is an effective and credible organization which plays an important role in delivering greater choice, lower prices and greater innovation."
Carter in a statement said: "There is never a good time to leave a great job. However, Ofcom is now firmly established, broadband and digital competition are delivering real results, and the recent extension of David's term makes for an orderly transition."
2006-05-27: The US gained 202 licensed broadcast stations in the first quarter of this year according to latest figures from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which showed the total at the end of March as 27,556, up from 27,354at the end of 2005
Within the figures, the number of licensed radio stations was 13,724, up 388 from the previous total of 13,660 with AM station numbers up two to 4759, commercial FMs up 12 to 6243, and FM educational up 74 to 2746 while the number of FM translators and boosters was up by 54 to 4049 and the licensed low power total was up 37 from 675to 712.
The FCC has also corrected its broadcasting complaint number for the first quarter of this year that it published earlier this month( See RNW May 20). The correction significantly increases the numbers of complaints: It now says Radio and Television Broadcasting complaints received went up from 44,287 to 275,257 (corrected from 141,994) and of these Obscenity/ Indecency/Profanity complaints went up from 44,109 to 275,131 (corrected from 141,868).
Previous FCC station numbers:
2006-05-27: The newly formed UK commercial radio industry body,The RadioCentre, has confirmed that former Nestlé marketing director Andrew Harrison is to become its first chief executive. Harrison, currently managing director of yogurt company Müller, is charged with "with forging a single vision for the future of commercial radio in the UK, demonstrating the benefits of the medium to broadcasters, advertisers and listeners" and will take up his post on October 1.
In a statement he said, "I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the RadioCentre team at this important time in the development of UK commercial radio. Our groundbreaking plan to unite in one new organization -- The RadioCentre -- all the well-established strengths of our five separate support bodies will create a forward-looking team and a single joined-up approach for commercial radio. This will benefit our advertisers, listeners, agency partners and broadcasters, as we work together to build revenue and ratings growth."
CRCA Chief Executive Paul Brown, who is chairman of the RadioCentre, added, "The RadioCentre is delighted to have recruited a CEO of Andrew's background, experience and drive. I am confident that he will lead the centre's talented and dedicated team to new heights and, in the process, assist commercial radio towards revenue and ratings growth."
Brand Republic said Harrison was expected to get a package worth around GBP 250,000 (USD 465,000) a year and that he was one of four candidates thought to be in the running for the job for which final interviews were conducted last week.
The RadioCentre is made up of commercial radio bodies the Commercial Radio Companies Association, the Radio Advertising Bureau, the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC), network programme company Hit40UK and the Joint Industry Committee for Radio IT.
Brand Republic report:
2006-05-26: Boston modern rock station WFNX and its sister stations WFEX-FM in Manchester and WPHX-FM in Portsmouth, both in New Hampshire, are now commercial-free - or rather is a one advertiser station - for 40 days until July 4 under a deal in which Snapple has bought all the station's advertising time at a price of more than USD 2 million according to the New York Times.
D..J.s from the Phoenix Media/Communications Group's FNX network of three stations will mention on-air the Snapple promotion of that is being termed the "Summer Free for All."
The Times suggests that amongst the mentions is likely to be a declaration that WFNX is "playing the best stuff on earth," a nod to the long-time Snapple slogan and says there will be sound effects mixed in with the D.J. patter, like the "whoosh" a Snapple cap makes when it is twisted off a bottle.
The D.J.s will also identify the Snapple brand as the benefactor behind various including free concerts and giveaways of merchandise and beverages by teams of Snapple employees who will visit area beaches, and events with retailers that sell Snapple products.
It also says a "guitarmeter" will be placed outside a convenience store at Copley Square in Boston, signalling distribution of free drinks to passers-by on days when the temperature at noon tops 85 degrees.
The paper quotes Holly Mensch, marketing vice president for the Snapple brand at Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages, as saying consumers decide "how, when and where they will receive your messages," and adding, "It's getting harder and harder to reach people through traditional media avenues. So if you want to break through, you have to connect in a way that fits with their lifestyles, in a way they can't tune you out."
The paper notes that Snapple has a long record of non-traditional marketing and says in this case the sponsorship idea came from Jay Coleman, president at EMCI in New York, an agency that works on projects for Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages.
Coleman termed it "brandcasting" and said his inspiration came from New York radio station, WAPP-FM, which introduced a format change by going commercial-free for the summer of 1982.
He said he selected WFNX for several reasons including the youthful audience for its format and Andy Kingston, general manager at the WFNX Radio Networks division of Phoenix Media/Communications, said the network was seeking a big idea for the summer.
"One of most powerful things a radio station can do is go commercial-free," he said. "We were approached by Jay, originally with the idea of going commercial-free for a year. Obviously, that was something we couldn't consider. But we ultimately agreed on this approach, which we found very appealing."
He also noted that some other WFNX advertisers will take part in the Snapple sponsorship and that other media owned by the group, including The Boston Phoenix newspaper, will be involved in promoting the sponsorship.
As well as EMCI, two other agencies - G8wave, a division of Phoenix Media/Communications that specializes in mobile marketing, and Rainmaker Media will be involved in the campaign.
New York Times report:
2006-05-26: Sirius Satellite Radio CFO David Frear has told an investor conference organized by Morgan Stanley that a merger with rival XM would increase shareholder return but as quoted by MarketWatch, citing a transcript of his comments, added, "whether or not that's feasible from a public policy perspective."
Sirius also re-iterated its subscriber guidance for 2006 following a lowering of previous guidance by XM (See RNW May 25). It says it still expects to reach more than 6.2 million subscribers by the end of this year, a figure that now compares to 8 million from XM, which had previously forecast 9 million.
Sirius says it took a 54% retail market share in April and for the year to date has a 58% share, compared to 40% a year earlier. It also says it could reach positive free cash flow, after capital expenditures, as early as the fourth quarter of 2006 and retain the positive thereafter.
CEO Mel Karmazin said, "We continue to experience dramatic growth and strong demand for our service across our retail and automotive OEM channels. This supports our expectation that we will capture the majority of retail satellite radio net additions in 2006."
Sirius shares, which fell to a 52-week low of USD 3.60 on Wednesday rebounded Thursday to end the day up 14.7% at USD 4.22. whilst XM, which dropped 11.75% on Wednesday, continued to fall early on Thursday but then recovered to end the day up 4.4% at USD 14.35
2006-05-26: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has advertised six new community licences with a July 21 deadline for applications.
They are for Charleville Town and Environs, Co. Cork; North West Dublin; North East Dublin; North Inishowen Peninsula, Co. Donegal; Shannon Town and Environs, Co. Clare; and South West Clare.
2006-05-26: International satellite radio operator WorldSpace like a number of other radio companies has been endeavouring to boost its income via non-traditional revenue such as ties with music sales - in its case earlier this month it announced strategic partnerships with Indian music retail chains - Planet M and Music World - but a recent article in Technology Review shows it potentially stepping into an area that appear likely to remain its exclusive domain.
The article says that it could be valuable for one-way delivery of educational digital information and reports that a test was carried out last yea at the Mbita Point primary school on the Kenya-Uganda border by a Swiss foundation called BioVision that showed what was possible.
BioVision installed a satellite receiver at the school, gave out handheld computers running Linux-based software, and downloaded up-to-date curricula from Kenya's education ministry, an approach it says is far cheaper than buying books every year.
The foundation has now passed the project, which it terms EduVision over to venture capital firm Bridgeworks, which hopes to turn it into a self-sustaining business. Bridgeworks is in talks with education agencies in several countries about implementing the system on a large scale; one possible Rwandan project would serve more than 20,000 children in 504 secondary schools.
"Our idea is that it will not be highly profitable but profitable enough to expand," says Matthew Herren, a Swiss raised in Kenya who started the project. He predicts that at least one of the countries now in talks will be using the system within a year.
Some African countries have already used WorldSpace to transmit audio versions of classroom lectures but over the past couple of years WorldSpace has opened up some bandwidth for the broadcast of any digital information, delivered at 128 kilobits per second - enough to transmit text documents reasonably speedily and adequate for video and stills included in periodic downloading of educational materials.
Calestous Juma, an international-development professor at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, commented, "One of the reasons why African educational systems have fallen behind, particularly in the sciences, is that it's very expensive to update and revise curricula Africa has been waiting for something like this since the time of Julius Caesar."
WorldSpace senior vice president -Srinivasan Rangarajan says his company provides the only service that allows data download to cheap receivers with palm-sized antennas, as opposed to the expensive, high-bandwidth satellite receivers used by governments, invaluable for delivering educational, health, and agricultural information.
Technology Review report:
2006-05-25: CBS is reported by Reuters to have settled its breach of contract lawsuit against its former host Howard Stern, which quotes an official in a New York court clerk's office as its source although it adds that both sides have said no agreement has yet been signed.
It quotes a CBS spokesman as saying, "A settlement agreement has not been signed. When it is signed, we will make an announcement" and adds that office of Peter Parcher, Stern's lawyer, in similar vein said, "The only response we're authorized to give you is the settlement agreement is not yet signed. We will release a statement when it is."
The lawsuit was filed by CBS against Stern, his company One Twelve, Inc., his agent Don Buchwald, his agent's firm Don Buchwald & Associates, Inc. and Sirius Satellite Radio, Inc. (See RNW Mar 1).
Earlier this month lawyers for CBS told a Manhattan judge they are close to settling the organization's law suit against Howard Stern and Sirius according to the New York Daily News (See RNW May 12).
2006-05-25: XM Satellite Radio has revised its guidance of an expected 9 million subscribers by the end of this year downwards and now says it expects only 8.5 million. This it says will give it subscriber revenues of USD 835 million and it expects an EBITDA loss (excluding stock-based compensation, other income/expense, equity in net losses of affiliates, and loss from de-leveraging transactions) of USD 235 million.
XM shares fell on the announcement, ending the day down 11.35% at USD 13.75.
Despite the reduction XM says it still expects to reach positive cash flow from operations for the fourth quarter of 2006 and remain in positive territory thereon.
President and CEO Hugh Panero said of the reasons for changing the guidance, "Subscriber growth for the first quarter of 2006 was consistent with our initial guidance of nine million subscribers by the end of 2006 (but) although XM has regained retail market share since the first of the year, the satellite radio category has seen an overall softness at retail during the second quarter to date, and we have been later than anticipated with broad availability of our new products."
XM said that the revised guidance still represents growth above 40% for the year but notes that it is "currently working through regulatory and legal challenges, the resolution of which could affect future product availability and operating results, and require us to review this revised guidance."
The issues include a number lawsuits launched against XM by the US major recording companies over its Inno receiver that allows XM subscribers to record up to 50 hours of its broadcasts and also to search for specific songs (See RNW May 18) and also suits related to claims by investors that they were misled into buying stock at higher values than it was worth.
The suits, the first of which was launched at the beginning of the month (See RNW May 4) say that XM and Panero "violated federal securities laws by issuing a series of materially false statements."
On the programming front XM has just released details of its summer schedule including original music programming that will include work from artists such as the Dixie Chicks, Pretenders, David Gilmour and Rob Thomas.
2006-05-25: GCap Media profits, as expected, for the year to the end of March were well down on a year earlier according to its preliminary pro-forma figures that show revenues down 12.7% to GBP 220.2 million (USD 414.7 million); Profit before tax down 40.5% to GBP 22.2 million (USD 41.8 million) and basic earnings per share down 44.7% to 7.8 pence
"Statutory" results - the group's first under prepared under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) - showed full year revenues of GBP 210.7 million (USD 396.8 million) compared to GBP 58.5 million ( USD 110.2 million) for the six months to the end of March 2005 - the first merged Capital and GWR results - with a full year loss before tax of GBP 47.9 million ( USD 90.2 million) after intangible amortization of GBP 42.8 million (80.6 million) and a charge for separately disclosed items- merger restructuring costs, goodwill impairment and the profit on the GBP 29.5 million ( USD 55.6 million) sale of Century 106 to Chrysalis - . of GBP 27.8 million ( USD 52.3 million). The last compares with a six month profit of GBP 6.5 million (USD 12.2 million) - GBP 3.3 million (USD 6.2 million) after intangible amortization of GBP 42.8 million (USD 80.6 million) and a charge for separately disclosed items - a year earlier.
GCap added to the gloom by saying revenues would be down 4% in April and May with no improvement expected next month and its flagship Capital FM, affected by a revamp and introduction of a policy to keep commercials down to a maximum of two per break, is expected to be down 26% for April and May with full year revenues for the station expected to be around GBP 7 million (USD 13.3 million) down on a year earlier. Excluding Capital the group's revenues were down 1% in April and May.
Initial reaction by the markets, which had anticipated the fall, were positive with shares up 1.54% at 11:00 AM but they later fell back to end Wednesday down 1.74% at 240 pence.
Emphasizing the positive, GCap said merger savings would now reach GBP 27 million; said Capital Radio's adverts were 38% more likely to be recalled in Capital Radio's two ad break than in a five ad break and its re-launch was on track; pointed to the launch of Xfm as a national network and record digital audiences for Planet Rock; and the highest revenues since 2002 at its national Classic FM station.
Chief Executive, Ralph Bernard said in the past year the company had "created the UK's leading commercial radio operator, carrying the cost of significant change against the background of a difficult advertising environment and audience declines at many of our stations."
"We have identified significantly higher cost savings than initially envisaged and realized them earlier than originally forecast," he added. "Media markets are changing fast and at GCap, we are creating the strategy to deliver improved profitability by developing strong national networks and increasing audiences in the most commercially important demographics. Capital Radio is the leading London station in the key 15-44 segment and the changes we are making to programming and advertising inventory position us well for future growth. Xfm and Choice audiences continue to grow, our digital station Planet Rock has achieved record reach and share and Classic FM remains at the forefront of our strategy to challenge the BBC."
GCap attributed its problems to weak advertising conditions, saying industry radio revenues were down 4.2% during the 2005 calendar year, audience falls at its core heritage stations with total listening hours down an average 7.4% year on year, mainly at Capital Radio and other key One Network stations (although it says it is now starting to see gains among the most commercially attractive 15-44 year olds); significant disruption in the business following the merger; and short-term effects of its inventory reduction policy at Capital Radio.
Capital's total revenues in 2005/06, said GCap, were GBP 26.6 million (USD 50.1 million) - represents only around 12% of Group revenues, making it the second biggest revenue generating brand for the Group behind Classic FM and the new inventory reduction policy at Capital Radio reduced revenues by GBP 2.4 million (USD 4.5 million) in the last quarter of the financial year.
Previous GCap Media:
2006-05-25: US National Public Radio (NPR) yesterday launched 11 new podcasts taking the total it now offers to 52: NPR notes that in addition more than 80 member stations are currently contributing to its public radio podcasts directory that when we last checked listed 314 titles under 25 category headings.
NPR says the new entries - "Hmmm Krulwich on Science"; "Radio Expeditions"; "NPR: Economy"; "NPR World Story of the Day"; "Hidden Kitchens"; "Your Health"; "World Café Next"; "Justice Talking"; "Press Start"; "What Would Robert Do?"; and "Love and Radio" - mark the fourth phase of NPR's podcasting project and already more than 25 million NPR Podcasts have now been downloaded.
The five leading categories, which account for some two thirds of the total, are Local with 65; People and Places with 51; News with 37; Music with 30; and Arts and Culture with 26: At the bottom end come Commentary; Legal Affairs; Politics; and Religion with one listing each.
RNW note: Some of the stations involved offer both podcasts and downloadable MP3s but many offer only a podcast. This we regard as a foolish policy since we just don't have time to weed out the dross - of which there is plenty.
We therefore keep a list of stations that offer MP3 downloads and an idea of what is in the particular show thus allowing a quick scan of content after which we decide whether a show looks worth the listening time. The choice available on this basis is more than we can listen to. As to podcasts, we now don't clutter up our computer with them.
NPR Public Radio Podcasts site:
2006-05-24: British media regulator Ofcom has now published its reasons behind the award announced earlier this month of eight more community licences, the final such licences in its current round (See RNW May 20).
It also said that it was satisfied that each of the groups awarded a licence should be allowed to seek up to half its annual income from advertising or programme sponsorship and that it was of the view that none of the new services would unduly prejudice the viability of any other local services.
The groups that gained licences all had either previous broadcasting experience through restricted service licences or the people involved and had produced plans that were felt to be well thought through and would have local support and produce social gain in their areas.
Ofcom has also asked for comments on proposals to open the 71-76GHz and 81-86GHz bands for licensed use to boost broadband fixed wireless services that could include very high capacity, point to point wireless networks, which could potentially be used as alternatives to fibre optic cable with possible data speeds from 1Gb per second to 10Gb per second over distances of 1-2 km. Responses have to be sent in by August 2.
2006-05-24: CBS Corporation, which has for some while been indicating that it intended to sell around 35 stations in various smaller markets, has now put rather more on the market with an announcement that it is to explore the sale of all its stations in ten markets.
The markets are Austin, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Columbus, Fresno, Greensboro-Winston/Salem, Kansas City, Memphis, Rochester and San Antonio where it owns a total of 39 stations of its current total of 179.
Some of the markets where it is making disposals - such as Cincinnati and Kansas City - ranked 28, and 29 respectively - are larger than markets where they are retaining stations including small California markets Victor Valley/Apple Valley -ranked 127- and Palm Springs - ranked 144 and larger markets such as Las Vegas -ranked 32 and Orlando - ranked 37: speculation is that CBS is making its disposals in markets that it thinks may shrink but holding onto stations in those where growth is anticipated.
CBS has also announced this week that it is selling its Paramount Park assets to Cedar Fair for USD 1.24 billion in cash.
2006-05-24: Emap has reported stronger results than expected for the year to the end of March with revenues up 8% to GBP 1.154 billion (USD 2, 17 billion) taking operating and pre-tax profits each up 9% to GBP 244 million (USD 459 million) and GBP 223 million (USD 438 million) with earnings per share up 11% to 65 pence and dividend per share up 20% to 30%.Its shares ended Tuesday up 2.38% at 837.5 pence.
The results include Emap's French publishing operations, which are up for sale and expected to fetch around GBP 400 million ( USD 752 million): Without them continuing revenue was up 11% to GBP 854 million ( USD 1,61 billion) and operating profit was up 7% to GBP 153 million ( USD 288 million)
Emap said its UK consumer magazines and radio continue to outperform their markets and there has been strong growth in B2B, excluding recruitment: In divisional terms UK consumer magazines underlying revenues were up 3% - 7% including launches; French consumer magazines underlying revenues were down 3%; International consumer magazines revenues were up 2%, B2B revenues were up 12%; radio, excluding its acquisition of SRH - the former Scottish Radio Holdings - was up 1% whilst including SRH they were up 44%; and TV revenues in a "challenging market" were up 1%.
Reported revenue figures were a 4% increase for UK consumer magazines to GBP 387 million (USD 728 million); flat revenues for France at GBP 300 million (USD 564 million); a 2% fall for International consumer magazines to GBP 46 million (USD 86.5 million); a 12% increase for B2B to GBP 256 million (USD 482 million); a 44% increase for radio to GBP 141 million (USD 265 million); and 1% increase for TV to GBP 24 million (USD 48.9 million).
Operating profit figures were an 11% increase for UK consumer magazines to GBP 81 million ( USD 152 million) ; a 25% fall in France to GBP 38 million (USD 71.5 million); a 33% fall for International consumer magazines to GBP 2 million (USD 3.8 million); a 20% increase for B2B to GBP 83 million (USD 156 million); a 50% increase for radio to GBP 33 million (USD 62 million); and a 17% increase for TV to GBP 7 million ( USD 13.2 million).
Of radio Emap said revenue and cost synergies from the SRH acquisition are now coming through and it had performed strongly in a weak market but Group Chief Executive Tom Moloney indicated that future growth would not be from radio consolidation, which he thought as largely over. He noted the "messy merger" of Capital Radio and GWR into GCap Media from which "thankfully for everybody they're recovering" and contrasted that with Emap's "an orderly takeover of SRH."
"From an industry view," he said, "maybe there will be other acquisitions here or there but the shape of the industry is now in place" and added that there could be growth opportunities through new analogue licences to be awarded although here he said that Emap had been the "only people who launched a successful FM business" - it's West Midland's Kerrang! station - whilst most of those who had launched new FMs wished they hadn't.
Moloney said Emap's plan was "to build a brand-led, multiplatform media group" and added, "Our strategic priorities remain targeted investment in core brands to accelerate growth, the launch of new products to meet changing customer needs, and acquisitions to strengthen our market positions and increase the Group's exposure to faster growth platforms."
2006-05-24: iBiquity's HD digital radio gets a boost from two US reports that in one case see it as a potential saviour against the threat from satellite competition and in the other reports general if not universal satisfaction with HD by those who have already purchased receivers.
ABI Research says the multicasting capabilities of HD offer a multitude of new opportunities for terrestrial radio to deal with competition from satellite radio.
"Fear of satellite radio is prompting an unprecedented level of cooperation among broadcasters in their efforts to launch HD Radio and HD2," says Frank Viquez, director of ABI Research's transportation practice.
The reports says switching to HD digital transmission costs stations relatively little and Viquez says the ability to transmit more than one signal offers them "many new possibilities" as does the signal quality improvement for AM stations.
"While specific revenue and business models have yet to be defined," he adds, "the broadcast content on HD2 will vary from station to station and by market. However, we can easily imagine broadcasters offering specialized channels that feature little or no commercial interruption, 'pay-per-listen' events such as concerts or other special events, or new formats that target a very specific demographic audience."
Bridge Ratings in its latest study of HD radio listeners is less bullish: It spoke to 500 of them in April and May in locations including in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and Dallas-Ft. Worth and says that 37% said they were "very" satisfied with their experience of HD with a further 26% being somewhat satisfied while of the remaining 27% a total of 15% said it was just OK with a further 12% somewhat dissatisfied and 11% not satisfied.
Bridge says reception problems were the main factor for dissatisfaction (35%) with a further 22% saying quality is not as advertised [RNW note: We have already commented on the basis of the samples posted by iBiquity that to describe it as near-CD is a significant exaggeration and that indeed UK experience, where FM reception quality is presumably much better in general than that in the US, is that good quality FM outperforms the best of the digital signals because broadcasters have opted to transmit more signals rather than better quality ones.].
Other factors for dissatisfaction were lack of programme variety (17%), low programming quality (15%) and poor value for money (11%).
RNW comment: The Bridge ratings survey in our view should be significant cause for concern by US terrestrial broadcasters since, behind the marketing razz it would seem that rather too many of those with HD are not satisfied with either its technical quality (which may be a matter of a good aerial in some case) or content whilst comparative figures for satellite seem much more positive.
Satellite may not yet be into break-even but it shows no signs so far of losing its taste for innovative programming and promotion, both areas in which it outperforms terrestrial in general.
Previous Bridge Ratings:
2006-05-24: BBC Scotland Head of Radio Jeff Zycinski is to move from Glasgow to Inverness as part of the corporation's plan to position key editorial roles in regional offices.
The BBC says his management style involves regular visits to centres outside Glasgow and he will continue to visit production centres across Scotland.
Zycinski commented, "I am looking forward to the move. The digital revolution will not be confined to Pacific Quay in Glasgow and regional centres, such as Inverness, will benefit greatly from the technological advances we are making.
"Inverness is a fast-growing city and it is important that BBC Scotland is connected to that growth."
The move from Glasgow is expected to be completed this year and the corporation says plans to develop its Inverness base into a premier broadcasting centre are at an advanced stage.
The move parallels plans to move a number of BBC departments in England including Radio 5 from London to Manchester where the corporation has now narrowed its search down from an initial four to two sites (See RNW Jan 18) with rumour currently favouring Salford Quays.
2006-05-24: XM Satellite Radio has called off its acquisition of WCS Wireless announced in July last year (See RNW Jul 15, 2005) and subsequently formally opposed by the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) , which petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deny the deal (See RNW Aug 5, 2005).
In its announcement XM says "the parties had expected to close their transaction by this time, with the timing dependent on receipt of necessary government approvals. Despite both parties' efforts to obtain that approval, it has not been forthcoming to date."
XM chairman Gary Parsons added, "With the inability to obtain the necessary government approval for this transaction in a timely manner, WCS Wireless needed to pursue alternatives for its spectrum with greater certainty of regulatory approval."
The move has been welcomed by NAB which had said there was a serious risk that "XM would seek to use these licenses in a way that could jeopardize the public benefits of local terrestrial radio."
NAB, which has expressed concern that the satellite radio companies could develop local programming that it says would contravene their licence conditions, said it was obviously pleased that the deal had been dropped, adding that it would continue to push for legislation to ensure tight compliance by the satellite companies with their licences.
2006-05-23: UK radio ratings organization RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) has opted to stick to diaries for at least two years but has enhanced them and also boosted Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) by moving forward with a London area pilot panel using the PPM for electronic measurement. In all it has budgeted to spend an extra GBP 3 million (USD 5.7 million) over the contract on top of its normal annual cost of around GBP 4.6 million (USD 8.7 million) and has awarded contracts to three organizations.
They are Ipsos-Mori, which will continue to deliver the ratings using diaries but will add information on listening platform and location; RSMB audience research whose responsibilities will cover such areas as sample design, panel control and monitoring, weighting specifications and quality control; and TNS, which has a multi-country PPM licensing deal with Arbitron and will use the PPM in the London area electronic measurement, which is being carried out under a joint venture between RAJAR and UK TV ratings organization BARB.
Presenting its decision, which they said was a unanimous one by its board, executives said they had chosen the PPM for a London area trial panel because it was, although not yet up to scratch, the "most ready" of the electronic metering systems considered.
RAJAR Managing director Sally de la Bedoyere said that they had chosen to split data collection and award a short contract they were recognizing the fact that current metering technology was not proven enough to become the currency for UK ratings: The factors considered in making the award included affordability - UK radio ratings cost around 2.5 times as much as TV pro-rate - and the specifications included the requirement to cover all UK stations, a robust definition of listening, a simplified radio map to cut down on volatility, greater immediacy of delivery of ratings rather than increasing the frequency, adequate depth of data with added value information and delivering details of the platform used for listening. RAJAR also considered listening location, time-shifted listening and listening to special events to be of importance but more a matter for panels than being of sufficient import for the regular ratings.
UK ratings have been carried out by Ipsos - now Ipsos-Mori following its acquisition of Mori last year - since 1992 when it was awarded its first diary contract: This was followed by with a further, but enhanced, diary contract in 1999 and there will now be further enhancements to enable it to report not only analogue listening but that on DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting), Digital TV platforms - both satellite and terrestrial, and the Internet- the first survey in the world to deliver this information.
In addition the diary has been redesigned to allow easier scanning and input of data - RAJAR says it should be able to shorten delivery by up to two weeks and the sampling will be based on fewer larger geographic areas so as to reduce volatility and also enable it to address more easily demographic issues, in particular reporting by young males and de la Bedoyere said electronic diaries might also be considered - Ipsos MORI and TNS are both involved in a programme to trial PDAs (Personal Digital Assistant) which are to be incorporated into the survey if they prove to be an effective tool amongst younger men.
She said of the contract, "The new RAJAR contract is a real step forward for the radio industry and will ensure the continued provision of a robust and reliable radio audience survey. The RAJAR board has made a clear and strategic decision in opting to introduce this two-year contract. Not only will it protect and upgrade the existing currency, it will also allow us to press ahead immediately with the introduction of a number of excellent improvements to the survey. Furthermore, the establishment of an electronic panel will move us up a level, beyond simply the testing of audiometers, to an exciting and essential period of research and development involving electronic measurement."
RAJAR says it sees the establishment of the electronic metering panel as a "vital component" of its planning and that the decision to introduce the new shorter contract will allow the industry time to learn about the audiometer data and its consistency over time and will also allow for the introduction of the new and necessary planning processes and protocols required to ensure the smooth introduction of electronic measurement when ready and affordable.
Of the joint-venture with BARB, which will be evaluating the PPM for TV use (RNW note: Nielsen dropped out of a similar joint venture with Arbitron to develop the PPM for TV use in the US- See RNW Mar 2), de la Bedoyere commented, "We are delighted that BARB has agreed to our proposal to establish a joint electronic panel and, whilst their requirements are different to ours, it makes eminent sense to work together on this project Not only will it provide the industry with a range of new and unprecedented opportunities, it will also allow us to ascertain the mutual value of audiometers to both industries."
From the commercial radio industry, which owns RAJAR jointly with the BBC, Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) chief executive Paul Brown said, "Commercial Radio and advertisers most wanted stable, robust, recent data. The contract announced today provides this via simplified survey geography, improved sample efficiency and RSMB's new quality control role. The London meter panel will nail radio's electronic measurement compliance issues and provide the radio industry with vital information to prepare for trading on electronic data. Significantly the panel also marks a unique and pioneering collaboration between television and radio which we believe advertisers will like."
BBC director of Radio and Music Jenny Abramsky said the contract was "a major step forward for radio audience measurement, significantly improving the methodology, whilst maintaining continuity of the data."
She added, "We particularly welcome the advances in sample design, quality control and the introduction of data on platform listening. The investment in a large electronic meter pilot will allow us to resolve unanswered questions about metering technology and prepare for a smooth transition to meter data, should the pilot prove successful. As a shareholder of both BARB and RAJAR with interests in television, radio and cross-media measurement, the BBC is delighted that BARB and RAJAR are collaborating with the meter pilot."
The PPM panel, of around 300 people, will provide information weekly from some 50 national and London radio stations within the M25 across four platforms: analogue, DAB, DTV and Internet. Its area does not correspond to current RAJAR's London reports and the information from the trial will not be used for ratings but for evaluation by BARB and RAJAR.
At the presentation of the contract it was said that this would include such factors as compliance - tests so far have indicated a hole of around two-and-a-half hours a day in use of the PPM, a fifth of people not carrying their PPM on a particular day and 70% not carrying their PPM at some time in a week ; problem times such as breakfast when people may not carry the PPM around and may be in a household with more than one radio being used - and tuned to different channels and how extrapolations of data might be made. When we asked about possibly combining portable audio meters with chips in receivers in selected households to aid evaluation of meter results, we were told this might be possible but that experience so far had shown that it was possible to influence behaviour of panellists and improve compliance by proper briefings, continuing contact with panellists and incentives. We were also told in response to asking about competitor devices - RAJAR also considered the Eurisko and TMA-Ipsos mediacell cell-phone metering devices - and the current call for proposals from Clear Channel in the US - that the field remained "wide open" as to what technology might ultimately be used although it was thought progress in the US on audio metering would be quite slow.
There was a consensus that audio metering was not yet advanced enough to be used for main ratings - Chrysalis radio division chief executive Phil Riley said that RAJAR was making "a huge increase" on what had been done previously but it could not move straight to electronic metering as its "currency" and that they had been unanimous that it was not time to introduce electronic metering and trade on it when it was not ready.
Arbitron in a news release welcomed the London trial and its president and CEO Steve Morris said the RAJAR evaluation was "the most thorough, rigorous and professional evaluation of an electronic measurement system that has ever been conducted anywhere in the world."
"While we are flattered to be chosen, we worked hard to make the PPM the most advanced and capable audience measurement system anywhere," he added. "To date our portable electronic measurement technology has been accepted over a number of competing systems as a radio, television or multimedia ratings system in seven countries. No other provider anywhere in the world can say the same."
RNW comment: The PPM trial certainly gives another boost to Arbitron, coming as it does on the heels of the CBS Radio decision to sign a PPM agreement with Arbitron (See RNW May 19). At the same time we are not convinced that its early lead means it has the best technology although the pressure must now be on TMA-Ipsos to get trials underway speedily in the US so as to have practical results ready in 2009 when the next RAJAR contract is due. However advanced their technology may be, we can't now see competitors being able to match Arbitron, even if technically superior, without some real world results under their belt so the pressure must be on them. We also found it interesting that the US markets marked Arbitron's shares down on Monday, albeit by only 1.26%, rather more than the general market fall.
Previous de la Bedoyere:
2006-05-23: Think tank the European Media Forum, an arm of the London-based European Policy Forum, has argued that BBC Radios 1 and 2 could survive easily as commercial operations and, as they have a limited public service role, should be sold off, a sale they estimate could bring the BBC as much as GBP 500 million ( USD 940 million).
Author, economist Keith Boyfield, who is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and a proponent of lower taxation, says that the BBC's budget ability to cross-promote has stunted the commercial radio sector in Britain.
"The BBC, with an annual radio budget of GBP 450 million (USD 850 million), has badly bruised its private sector rivals," says the report which continued, "The BBC's ability to tap all its various media platforms to cross-promote - and cross-subsidize - its radio output has added to the commercial sector's woes."
It says that the two stations only have a limited public service role because of their reliance on music and Boyfield commented, "Our argument is that whereas you can put forward a pretty compelling case for a public sector role for Radios 4 and 3 - and also Radio 5, it gets a bit thin when you look at Radios 1 and 2 - and they could survive quite easily in the private sector"
"Rather than rely on the new procedures outlined in the recent white paper, with regard to market impact assessments and the granting of service licences by the BBC Trust to constrain the ability of Radios 1 and 2 radically to alter their content offering, we believe it would be better to privatize both stations as soon as possible," he says adding that since they attract the highest UK audiences they should prosper commercially.
The BBC, as reported in a news story on its web site, said the stations offered diverse music, documentaries and current affairs shows that could not be found in the commercial sector and also provided innovative and challenging content that the market would not otherwise provide.
Former Wireless Group chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie, at the time a strong opponent of BBC Radio 5, which he claimed competed unfairly against his group's talkSPORT station, told BBC Radio 4's "Today" breakfast programme the idea was "splendid" and added, "Why does the BBC want to hang onto basically what is, on Radio One, pop music, and on Radio 2, middle of the road music, when all they're really doing is bankrupting commercial forces?"
"Why should advertisers go to commercial radio when they're missing 60% of the audience?" he asked.
RNW comment: We never noted MacKenzie commenting about cross-promotion by News Corporation when he as editing the Sun tabloid and promoting its Sky TV but have commented in the past that pretty well all his principles seemed to boil down to self-interest. Equally Boyfield's record is not one of praising the public sector. Both in our view would probably be quite happy to gut the BBC which in our view is one of Britain's great national assets, something we can't bring ourselves to even think of in the context of MacKenzie and we can only hope support from the public, despite attacks by commercial vested interests, is enough to keep the Corporation safe.
As for selling off the channels, we would think this might well be the death knell of a number of commercial stations as advertising could well migrate to the more popular national stations at their expense while the commercial owners cut costs at the expense of programming quality on both the new commercial national channels and local stations. The public in other words would probably suffer a double-whammy.
2006-05-23: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the award of a quasi-national news/speech licence to News 106 Ltd (trading as Newstalk 106) with coverage of around most but not all of the Republic's population.
The award, of a ten-year licence, is subject to contract negotiations but Newstalk has said it hopes to be on air by the end of this year (See RNW May 22) - CEO Elaine Geraghty told state broadcaster RTÉ that she has set a target date of October - at which time the BCI says it has agreed to terminate its current local radio licence serving the Dublin City and County area, although it will retain its existing frequency..
BCI Chairperson Conor J Maguire said after Monday's Board meeting, which made the decision, "We believe that the Newstalk 106 quasi-national service is an important addition to the diverse range of radio services broadcasting throughout Ireland. We look forward to concluding contract negotiations at an early date"
Newstalk, which was the only applicant for the licence, is expected to hire around 15 more staff and hopes to get an initial market share of around 4% of Ireland's adult population, rising to around 6% over the next five years.
2006-05-23: UK Chrysalis Group's profits for the half year to the end of February were down by more than the 50% forecast - they fell from GBP 4.3 million ( USD 8.1 million) before tax a year earlier to GBP 1.4 million ( USD 2.6 million) on turnover up marginally from GBP 67.7 million ( USD 127.5 million) to GBP 68.6 million ( USD 129.2 million) but the group said that its results had improved over the past few months and it had outperformed the market both in its radio and music businesses. The markets marked its shares down just under 2% to 136.25 pence.
Chrysalis said the results were "in line with expectations and reflect a difficult radio advertising market" and noted that Chrysalis radio outperformed the radio market with like-for-like half-year revenues down 4.6% against 8% for the sector (overall revenues were up from GBP 32.6 million ( USD 61.4 million ) to GBP 33.1 million ( USD 62.3 million) but down to GBP 31.1 million ( USD 58.6 million excluding revenues from Heart 106, the former GCap East Midlands Century 106 which it acquired in May last year) whilst its Music Division whose revenues were flat at GBP 36.4 million (USD 68.6 million) had what it termed "a very good first half of the 2006 financial year, with the publishing division.
Chairman Chris Wright commented, "During the first six months of the year, our radio and music businesses have both continued to outperform their respective peers in difficult markets. These encouraging results confirm that the benefits of focusing on these two well positioned businesses, as announced this time last year, are coming through as expected."
"The second half," added Wright "has started well and in line with our expectations. With our music publishing division currently enjoying a strong showing internationally and the radio market returning to positive growth, I am confident that the current financial year will be a successful one for the Group."
Chief executive Richard Huntingford said the results today were an "absolute vindication" of the policy of keeping both its radio and music businesses in the face of calls from some analysts for the company, which has already sold its TV and books divisions, to dispose of the music division to concentrate on radio as the industry consolidates.
Huntingford added that if deals that fitted its strategy turned up it would expand its radio operations but added that he wasn't "aware of any at the moment." He noted that the company's Heart brand delivered well in the key 25-44 demographic and said that in the longer term strong national brands, in which he included Heart, would be the ones that one out.
2006-05-23: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has appointed Mark Scott, currently Editorial Director at
John Fairfax Publications, as its new managing director in succession to Russell Balding, who resigned in January this year to take the post of become Chief Executive Officer of Sydney Airport Corporation (See RNW Jan 21).
ABC chairman Donald McDonald said the board had chosen Scott unanimously after a national and international search that produced an outstanding field of candidates and added of the appointment, "The ABC is one of Australia's largest and most diverse media organizations and in Mr Scott we have found someone with the media experience and drive necessary to take the ABC confidently into the digital media future."
McDonald said Australia's recent Budget provided the "best outcome for the ABC in more than 20
Years" with additional funding to "expand our Australian content on television, enhance regional and local programming and enable capital renewal across the corporation."
Scott said he was a "great believer in a strong and robust national broadcaster" and added "This is a tremendous opportunity to take the helm of a media organization that is known nationally and internationally for its strong and independent journalism and its innovative programming. It provides greater media choices for our audiences and can help create new markets through the innovative use of technology."
Of the role of the ABC, Scott added, "One of the great things about the ABC is its geographical reach from the major metropolitan centres out to the most remote parts of the nation, and internationally to the Asia Pacific region through Radio Australia and ABC Asia Pacific. The regional role of the ABC through its 50 non-metropolitan radio stations is a vital element of Australia's media landscape and an information lifeline for many of those communities."
Scott takes over in July and has been appointed for a five-year term.
Previous ABC, Australia:
2006-05-22: After a couple of weeks when the focus was on US hosts, we start our look at print comment on radio with the travails of an Australian host, Rex Hunt of top-rated 3AW in Melbourne.
Hunt, a millionaire who is Melbourne's top football commentator, a former player and also a former policeman and known as an angler who kisses his catches - the Melbourne Age described him as a "family-friendly, fish-kissing footy caller"- was known for public protestations of love for and fidelity to Lynne, his wife of 34-years, and for condemning infidelity by others.
He described these attacks on others to the Herald Sun as just "theatre", saying "I make my living out of verbal diarrhoea."
He admitted what he termed "sex-for-money "arrangements" - reported as being AUD 1000 (USD 750) a week over a decade - with three women going back to the early 1990s, most recently with a Melbourne beautician with whom his relations began in 1997 and with whom he said he agreed to end the relationship with a cash payment - reported as being AUD 50,000 (USD 38,000) - that called for confidentiality to protect his wife.
The paper said Hunt's wife, who has bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), found out about the relationship and knew with the payment but his children were against him making it. Hunt described the women involved as not being prostitutes but "desperate for money". He was also quoted in the paper as saying, "Did I commit a crime? No...Did I commit a moral atrocity? My bloody oath I did."
Since the host went public about the matter - employer Southern Cross Broadcasting has taken no action - his comments have been prominent in many Australian papers and he has also talked about the matter and apologized on air - various papers have used the matter as a peg to list other events involving Australian radio hosts.
A general list we noted was from the Australian Associated Press in the Melbourne Age under the heading "When shock-jocks fall short" and included a number of details of cash-for-comment matters on which we reported at the time - it broke in 1999 and led to a tightening of regulations (See RNW Mar 28, 2000 and earlier) and also other comments by hosts that made headlines.
The Age also listed "Controversy in Rex Hunt's past" including being forced to "apologize to Collingwood player Leon Davis for referring to the Aboriginal forward as 'black as a dog' during a match call. Hunt said he had come to use the phrase 'black as a dog's guts' to whimsically refer to the dark of night, or bad weather and a 2001 case in which he launched action against Rams Home Loans claiming he was short changed after appearing in an advertisement in which he kissed a sheep.
And of the overall ethics involved we'd suggest another Age report "Football, fish and farce: when celebrity culture blurs the media's ethical lines" - by Jo Chandler if only for its introduction, "THE formula for selling tabloid newspapers, as London Sun editor Rebekah Wade has put it so succinctly, is in "the three Fs" - fun, football and sexual relations. The Melbourne variation of it yesterday was fishing, football and fidelity Had Rex Hunt stuck to the first two, his sex life might still be safely under the doona. Instead it escaped to gain red-banner tabloid treatment."
And summarizing the matter, termed "17 minutes of the most excruciatingly exposing radio that listeners are ever likely to cringe to" - "Hunt, a footy commentator, celebrity fisherman and former policeman, revealed that he had, over the years, paid three women for sex; that he loved his wife but that he was not having sex with her and he was desperate; that he was weak and stupid. Along the way he was sprung by his wife, who was already suffering bipolar disorder and recovering from breast cancer."
After chronicling the tribulations and comments of male hosts, the question naturally arises as to whether female ones would be any different: We certainly don't necessarily think they would - try for example Randi Rhodes on Air America - but Lydialyle Gibson writing in the Chicago Tribune under the heading, "Talk radio finds softer side" argues that there is a difference.
Or maybe the difference is in the audience as she notes that US talk-radio has been "a largely male enterprise" with a "vast audience of mostly men" but that "women mostly have been tuning out."
A survey commissioned by ABC Radio Networks last year Gibson writes, "found that only 3 percent of women ages 18 to 54 strongly agree that talk radio is relevant to them, and half cannot cite anything they like about talk radio."
"Radio executives" she continues, "increasingly are seeking talk-radio programs aimed at female listeners. Programmers are looking to build female listenership with shows that answer women's common complaints: that talk radio is boring, argumentative and too political."
Gibson goes on to note the launch last year by ABC Radio Networks of a division devoted entirely to women's talk; the formation of Washington, D.C.-based FM talk network called GreenStone Media was formed with the mission of developing and syndicating programs for women - it plans to launch most of its programming in July this year ; of XM's launch of its "Take Five" channel aimed at women and planned launch of its "Oprah and Friends" channel; and Clear Channel's signing of Whoopi Goldberg for a syndicated weekday morning show, "Wake Up With Whoopi."
The article quotes Corny Koehl, director of women's talk for ABC Radio Networks, as saying, "It's not that women don't want to hear news and current events. They want to hear content that will make them think, but they also want to hear respect -- from hosts, callers and guests."
It goes on to suggest that a new format is emerging and quotes another ABC Radio Networks executive, Wendy Figliuolo, vice president of women's talk ad sales, as saying, "For the first time in 12 or 15 years, we're seeing the emergence of a new format. We knew we were on fire when advertisers that usually buy time on network television were taking money out of their TV budgets to put it on the radio."
Erin Rasmussen, program director at Minneapolis-St. Paul station WFMP-FM that switched to a 24-hour women's talk format four years ago, comments, "Women are navigating intimacy and bonding, supporting" and Liz Dolan, who with her four sisters launched "Satellite Sisters," in 2000 added, "When I'm driving home at the end of a long day and listening to the radio, I'm not going to push the button that gets me men yelling at each other."
Gibson also gives a plug for Chicago women's talk shows including the weekly two-hour "Walking on Air" show hosted by sisters Betsy Brint and Sally Higginson on WBLK-AM; the Sunday afternoon "What a Woman Can Do" hosted by Holly Campbell on WCFJ-AM; and "Kathy and Judy ", Kathy O'Malley and Judy Markey's weekday morning show on Tribune-owned WGN-AM that eschews partisan political debate quoting Al Peterson, news, sports, and talk editor at Radio & Records as saying of it, "They've shown what you can do without talking about politics all the time."
Switching continents and moving on to music, Classic FM, the UK's commercial classical music national station, came in for a fair - or unfair- pasting from Simon Heffer in the Telegraph.
Under the heading, "Music to make you really mad", he strongly attacks the station the most popular "classic" station in the country, with an audience not that short of three times that for BBC Radio 3 in the most recent ratings.
"Classical music is not just one of my passions in life: it is overwhelming," he writes. "When Britain's first national commercial radio station started in 1992, I was very much in favour of it. Having heard commercial classical stations in America, I knew how good they could be. I could cope with the interruption for the ads in the interest of my choice of listening being expanded. Having been a Radio 3 addict since leaving school, I knew that there were those moments when yet another programme of early music was not what was required: so it was nice to have somewhere else to go."
He then goes on to damn Classic with faint praise "Indeed, to start with, Classic FM was not unduly offensive. It certainly broadened the definition of classical music, while narrowing the range of the oeuvre from which its playlist was drawn: but its heart was in the right place Before too long, however, things began to turn ugly."
"One of the great joys of Radio 3" writes Heffer, "was that it saw classical music as a crucial part of the civilizing process. You would, in listening to it over a period of weeks, hear much with which you were familiar, but you would also hear much with which you were not familiar. Radio 3 was, and still is, about broadening those cultural horizons."
And of the current Classic FM in contrast, "Its tenor can be judged from the fact that former disc jockeys, or people who ought to have been former disc jockeys, are recruited to present its music. The public may think that they enjoy this: indeed, to judge from Classic FM's continued success, they apparently do. However, they should realize, before it is too late and their taste valves are damaged beyond repair, that they are being conned. For most of the time on Classic FM, music is about being 'smooth'. It is about being 'relaxing'. It is about music as wallpaper."
After citing exceptions - David Mellor and Natalie Wheen - he says of other hosts, "The rest of them, however, give the impression of thinking that Purcell is something that washes whiter and that Britten is an island off the west coast of Europe. It is the perpetuation of ignorance that so annoys me about Classic FM."
And putting the boot in further, "I used to find it hilarious that some of its presenters would mispronounce the names of foreign composers or works with such glorious certainty. Now I find it tiresome It is especially revolting, though, to be told once one of these morons has played a piece of music how wonderful it is or where it ranks in their own list of personal favourites. Frankly, I couldn't care less what they think of it. It is not just that their opinions are so manifestly worthless - it would be a bit like a blind man evaluating a Picasso - as that it all reflects Classic FM's tedious obsessions with ranks, lists and charts."
And the music? "much of the music one hears on Classic FM is not, by the definition of most people who understand the term, "classical music". It is light popular music orchestrated, or the worst sort of film music, clichéd and completely intellectually undemanding, such as the aural wallpaper otherwise known as the theme from the television series "Band of Brothers". When they do play something recognizably classical, they have the unerring knack of choosing the most appalling available recording."
He concludes, "Should you be hooked on this station, realise that there is hope elsewhere. Realize, too, that just because music isn't relaxing or isn't the personal favourite of some dolt presenter doesn't mean that it is bad or worthless. And realize, instead, that Classic FM exists solely for those moments when you want to be really, really mad."
RNW comment: Heffer would presumably be pleased therefore that the latest ratings showed Radio 3 gaining listeners and share whilst Classic lost both, even if retaining its lead (See RNW May 12).
Next another attack, this time in Gerry McCarthy's Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times, and one that in its way relates more to male US talk radio than the female variety featured by the Tribune.
"Wouldn't it be nice to wake up and discover that Liveline (RTÉ Radio 1) is a spoof?" writes McCarthy. "That Joe Duffy, student revolutionary turned smooth professional Dub, was a fictional character? It has happened, after all, on the BBC, where Radio 4's controversial new phone-in show, Down the Line, turned out to be satire."
"Conventional wisdom," he continues, "says that Liveline's large audience is overwhelmingly passive: people who listen without feeling the urge to join in, leaving the phone calls to a minority of extremists" and McCarthy says there are times this seems to be true but later he comments, having noted the ironic phrase "First World problems" coined by Ryan Tubridy for "the irritations of affluence", that, "Liveline has become a sounding board for First World problems. The result is an ugly glimpse of attitudes prevalent in modern Ireland."
"Last week's running item on city-centre drunks and junkies was revealing," he writes. "Duffy began with Dublin, but the show quickly expanded to include other areas and other Irish cities The debate had a tone - a complete absence of charity - that marked it out from similar discussions in the past Callers were not complaining about being mugged at syringe-point or accosted by drunks. Instead, they spoke of the fear and nausea they felt simply on seeing these unfortunates."
McCarthy gives an example, "One man, out celebrating his granddaughter's first communion, recoiled in horror from an approaching 'moron' - until it transpired that the moron was only trying to offer a gift of money to the little girl The depressing point was that none of these callers could be described as crazies. They seemed like decent people: but decent people who no longer had the time to empathize with anyone who didn't look like them, and who have been conditioned to expect the worst from street people Duffy might once have tried to make this point. But, like his listeners, he has moved into the new superficiality, where appearances are everything and jokes about zombies are a handy way of distancing yourself from the truth. No satire, no joke."
And finally before listening suggestions another attack in the UK, this time on BBC Radio 4 and the Woman's Hour drama slot, a topic dealt that formed the basis of McCarthy's colleague Paul Donovan's Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times.
"'Leslie Grantham" writes Donovan, "'has been hung out to dry by the political correctness of Woman's Hour. It is utterly scandalous.' These angry words are those of the novelist and radio dramatist Charlotte Cory, who is incensed that what would have been the radio debut of the former EastEnders star was pulled the night before transmission by a BBC that, five weeks later, is still refusing to say why."
The subject of the ire was one of five monologues, all written by Cory but to be read by a different actor, that was due to have been broadcast last month under the overall title "Snap" that explored "the memory, loss, manipulation, regret and so on associated with photography": "Taking Pictures", to have been broadcast on April 10 and told the tale of a "a seedy Southend photographer taking mildly naughty photographs of a teenage girl in the summer of 1937."
Donovan says he "heard all five: they were sad, a bit dark, variable in their quality, but not offensive" but the evening before this drama was to have been broadcast Alison Hindell, the BBC's head of radio drama, sent a terse e-mail to Cory. "This is just to let you know that, unfortunately, Radio 4 has decided that episode two of Snap is not best suited for broadcast tomorrow, it being school holidays, and therefore the programme will not go out."
Cory, writes Donovan, has heard no more, Pam Fraser Solomon, the producer, is embarrassed but diplomatic, and he speculates on the reasons Could it have been the actor whose "taking rude pictures of himself led to a webcam sex-shame scandal in 2004?" Or the story?
Donovan comments that he thinks "there is far more unsuitable (coarse, wanton and potty-mouthed) material every week on Radio 1 - which, unlike Radio 4, is a station children listen to.2 and concludes, "Listeners have been deprived of the chance to hear a troubled but powerful actor whose voice drips with extraordinary menace (perhaps that was the reason?). Cory has been deprived of an explanation, which she deserves. "If you have any insights into why it was banned, I'd love to know," she says. "It strikes me as pretty tame by comparison with a lot of what gets aired."
Next listening suggestions and this week, in view of continuing and developing attack on the BBC, particularly in relation to its online plans, we opted to mention only BBC radio to show something of what some in the commercial industry would like to destroy for their own narrow commercial advantage.
We start with comedy- from BBC Radio 4 we opt for "The Now Show" -last Friday's is worth a listen from around 3mins in if only to realize those being sent up are not radio hosts but such figures as the President of the United States and British Prime Minister with views that might well get them a job on a Fox talk show; "Down the Line" (Tuesday 22:00 GMT) a spoof of a phone in; "Revolting People" (Tuesday 17:30 GMT) which shows that some stereotypes from today can fit in with those from the time of the US War of Independence - or vice-verso, or not depending on the skit; "That Mitchell and Webb Sound" (Wednesday 17:30 GMT), and also from Wednesday - at 22:00 GMT -"Mitch Benn's Crimes against Music" and from BBC Radio 2, also on Thursday but at 21:00 GMT "It's Been a Bad Week."
Then talk and to start off women's talk in the shape of "Woman's Hour" on BBC Radio 4 - 09:00 GMT weekdays with the drama slot, which this week features plays "that look at the reasons and motivations for missing out on motherhood (the BBC description - we do not wish to get into arguments as to whether "missing out" is the most felicitous phrase to use)"; "Broadcasting House" - Sunday's 08:00 to 09:00 GMT -last Sunday's edition (available as an MP3) is worth a dip into around 29 minutes in for an item on US use of brain scans to see of those polled are being accurate in their answers followed by wider discussion of surveys and how people modify responses to fit circumstances and thereby may not give pollsters an accurate idea of how they will actually behave or vote; "Start the Week" (Monday's 08:00 GMT, repeated but cut from 45 minutes to 30 at 20:30 GMT and available as an MP3; and "Unreliable Evidence-Divorce in the 21st Century" at 08:00 GMT in which. To use the BBC description again "senior judge and other legal experts discuss equality in the divorce courts, pre-nuptial agreements and the legal pitfalls of co-habitation." None of it is the kind of ranting talk the phone shows revel in but it does provoke thought and treat topics and those commenting with respect.
The same applies to BBC Radio 3's "Night Waves (Weekdays , usually at 20:30 GMT, that this week includes items on Paul Greengrass' United 93 (tonight); Richard E Grant on his autobiographical new film "Wah-Wah" (tomorrow night); former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who is promoting her book "The Mighty and the Almighty" talking about the importance of understanding the power and place of religion in international affairs (Wednesday); Will Self on his latest novel, "The Book of Dave" - the story of an East End taxi driver who writes down his disgruntled rants about modern life - only for them to be dug up 500 years later and used as the sacred text of a new religion (Thursday night); and Matthew Sweet talking to the writer Christopher Hitchens about the significance today of Thomas Paine (Friday night).
And for more talk, but this time sports talk with a difference, BBC Radio 4 and "The Sports Programme" at 22:00 GMT tonight (last week's is available until then), a programme we didn't expect to appreciate but changed our mind when we listened last week if only for the item on the bowler (cricket) whose damaged arm means his spin is unique.
Sticking with speech but this time talk about drama and last Saturday's "LA Story" from BBC Radio4, the second in a three part look at the TV industry in California. Unfortunately the first programme on pitching a series including contributions amongst others from the creator of CSI is no longer online but last week's on the pilot season, including comments from Tom Spezialy, producer of "Desperate Housewives" and Rick Ludwin, the executive who helped create "Seinfeld", will be around until next Saturday's final programme on the finances involved and whether the television industry can continue to produce fully-blown pilots that never make it to air, and extended series that are axed before they have been fully broadcast.
Moving on to documentary and drama, we first suggest BBC Radio 4 and "Shifting Meridians", a short programme on Sunday that looked at time zones and the politics involved after the 1884 agreement to set Greenwich as the prime meridian - Russia for example has opted for 11 zones but Beijing, which logically should have five, went for one -Beijing Time - showing where the power lay and some countries opted to be awkward and go for a half-hour difference - India is GMT plus five and a half hours and others with half-hour differences include Adelaide in Australia; Kabul and St John's; Newfoundland and Taiohae in the Marquesas Islands.
Then as an example of the value of scepticism and the exploitation of hope, "The Stem Cell Swindle" which aired last Tuesday with a repeat on Sunday (it is replaced tomorrow at 19:00 GMT when the "File on 4" slot considers reports that guns destined for Iraqi security forces and paid for by Uncle Sam are being diverted to Iraqi insurgents).
Moving onto music - first through music and talk with Charles Hazlewood, first in BBC Radio 3's "Discovering Music" series (Saturdays 13:00 GMT) that each week looks at what goes into creating a piece of music, a musical form or a composer's style (the BBC nobly keeps an archive of these online), and also on BBC Radio 2 in a current six-part series "The Charles Hazlewood Show" that this week has the fourth programme (20:00 GMT Wednesday) in which Hazlewood and cello virtuoso Robin Michael, deconstruct a Bach partita in its live form and remixed by the folk electronica artist Tunng (last week's programme is online until then).
Then music we hadn't heard in Saturday's "World Routes" on BBC Radio 3 - featuring Salif Keita's concert in Leeds, recorded as part of Radio 3's coverage of fuseleeds06 - and haven't heard so far with Composer of the Week (BBC Radio 3 11:00 GMT Weekdays) that this week features Andrzej Panufnik; and ,also from Radio 3 in a Miles Davis special in the "Jazz on 3" slot on Friday (22:30 GMT) featuring a recording of Davis live in concert in Rotterdam in November 1969, a recording that has not been made commercially available and which is broadcast in the UK for the first time.
Finally drama and the "Drama on 3" slot on BBC Radio 3 that last Sunday featured Ibsen's "The Pretenders" directed by Martin Jenkins and next Sunday (earlier than usual at 18:30 GMT features "The Lysistrata Project" a contemporary re-working of Aristophanes' classic play, developed by Ryan Craig with the help of young people living and studying in London
There is of course much more available - various popular music on BBC Radio 1, plus new black music on the digital channel 1Xtra, a fairly eclectic selection on 6-Music; Comedy, children's and drama programming on the digital channel BBC 7, the World Service, the Asian Network and sport on Five Live and Five Live Sports Extra.
RNW comment: Our TV licence helps pay for it, albeit little BBC TV gets watched, but the radio output is well worth the money in our view and we're happy for others to share it just as we'd delighted to be able to hear the output of public broadcasters from round the world including that from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Netherlands and Radio New Zealand and US public radio including various NPR programming and the weekly On the Media that we normally listen to. Good listening if you have the time: We'd suggest it'll beat the TV and you can do other things while listening.
Chicago Tribune - Gibson:
Herald-Sun on Hunt:
Melbourne Age _ Chandler:
Melbourne Age - Hunt's controversies:
Melbourne Age - When shockjocks fall short:
UK Sunday Times _ Donovan:
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy:
UK Telegraph - Heffer:
2006-05-22: Dublin talk station Newstalk 106 has been talking with other radio stations about sharing studios and content ahead of the decision, expected be announced today after a Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) meeting, on its application for a quasi-national licence according to the Sunday Business Post.
The paper notes that the licence would cover some four-fifths of the Republic's population and all the main population centres and would establish Newstalk, which last month was invited to a public oral hearing regarding its application for the licence (See Licence News Apr 2), as the main national competitor to RTÉ Radio 1.
Newstalk chief executive Elaine Geraghty told the paper, ''If we win the licence, we're going to be based in Dublin, but we propose to reach relationships with some of the independent operators around the country so we can use their facilities if necessary."
She added that they were already in talks with several stations about use of facilities and buying and selling content and already had "an agreement in place" with Radio Kerry.
Should it win Newstalk has said it will be on air in the final quarter of this year and Geraghty commented, "It's not like starting with a greenfield site because much of our programming has been done with a national complexion," but added, ''We have work to do - there's no question about it. Should we be awarded it, it should be a busy summer."
The station, majority owned by Denis O'Brien's Communicorp, has been in loss in its first four years of operation and the Post says it expects losses of some Euros 1.1 million ( USD 1.4 million) next year if it wins the licence.
Geraghty said that if it did now win she was not concerned about losing staff, commenting, "People who joined us, joined when we were local. Obviously everybody knew that the plan was to try and go national one day. But the staff who work at Newstalk are committed and loyal and I have had no conversations or inklings to suggest to me that they would be anything but loyal should we not go national."
Previous Newstalk 106:
Sunday Post report:
2006-05-22: The New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority tomorrow releases "Freedoms and Fetters:
broadcasting standards in New Zealand" its third national survey of attitudes to broadcasting standards, which shows an easing of attitudes to swearing.
The book, which costs NZD 19.95 (USD 12.40) in New Zealand, was prepared from the findings of face-to-face questioning of 500 New Zealanders and Broadcasting Standards Authority chair Joanne Morris comments in the organization's quarterly newsletter, "I was a member of the Authority when we conducted the first good taste and decency public attitude survey in 1993. It was repeated again in 1999, and this third time means that we can now look back over thirteen years of data. It seems clear people's attitudes are changing to swear words and to sex and nudity on TV."
The book contains a study of talkback radio and the survey also used focus groups to discuss issues such as balance and fairness in factual programmes. Of the latter Morris says, "Participants grasped some quite difficult concepts in a common-sense way, and everyone had an opinion!"
"Balance, fairness and accuracy are important to New Zealanders when it comes to news and current affairs," Added Morris. "The most important standard is accuracy, closely followed by considering the interests of children."
Regarding the use of "bad language", which is described as being considered "slightly more acceptable on television since the last survey in 2000" the book includes a list of the 23 words considered most unacceptable in the country: The list is headed by "cunt", which was found unacceptable by 70% compared to 79% in 2000, and "nigger", also considered unacceptable by 70%, followed by "motherfucker", which is considered unacceptable by 68%, down from 78%. In contrast less than a fifth found the words "bloody "and "bugger" unacceptable.
Rather more people raised spontaneous concerns about TV -35% commenting on objectionable "violence" and 28% each on "Sex" and "bad language" then radio where only a third expressed concerns.
Previous New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority:
New Zealand BSA Quarterly summary (2-page 360KB PDF):
2006-05-22: Looking ahead to UK radio results to be declared this week, Scotland on Sunday notes that declining advertising will hit profits from Chrysalis, Emap and GCap Media.
Chrysalis is to report today, Emap tomorrow and GCap follows on Wednesday and information that each has released already suggests significant falls in profit although Chrysalis said there had been a recent improvement.
The paper says that Numis Securities is forecasting a 46% decline in GCap's pre-tax profits for the year to GBP 20 million ( USD 37.6 million ) with earnings per share down 48% to 7.7 pence and dividend per share down 50% to 9.3 pence on revenues down 13% at GBP 220.6 million (USD 414.2 million).
Chrysalis profits for the six months to the end of February are expected to be down just under 50% - to GBP 1.9 million (USD 3.6) from GBP 3.7 million (USD 7.0 million) a year ago but the paper says analysts think the worse could be behind the company with one commenting that it would "outperform the sector as a whole, so they can afford to be down a bit."
Emap, which encompasses publishing as well as radio has put its underperforming French publishing business up for sale and is expected to show mixed fortunes in its various operations.
Overall Numis Securities expects Emap pre-tax profits to be up 6% to GBP 218 million ( USD 409 million )with earnings and dividend per share each up 6% to 61.6 pence and 26.4 pence respectively on revenues up 8% at GBP 1.1 billion (USD 2.1 billion) last year.
Emap's Magic FM in London led the most recent ratings in terms of reach and share (See RNW May 12) and the company is reported to be considering changes to the brand's eight AM stations in the north of England with more networked programming although licence conditions require it to provide a minimum fours hours a day of locally hosted and produced programming and hourly news.
Should the changes be introduced it is expected to retain local breakfast shows and provide networked programming for most other times.
Scotland on Sunday report:
2006-05-21: The main regulatory news last week came from the US and the US Senate, which has voted unanimously to increase broadcast indecency penalties ten-fold from the current USD 32,500 maximum to USD 325,000 maximum but has not gone along with more stringent penalties in a House resolution passed earlier that also including licence revocation amongst its penalties and a maximum USD 500,000 penalty that would have applied to individual on-air talent as well was licensees (See RNW May 20). Elsewhere it was more a matter of routines.
In Australia the Australian Communications And Media Authority (ACMA) has now published its Broadcasting Financial Results 2004-05 report that showed the country's 274 commercial radio licensees reporting a total broadcasting profit of AUD 170.3 million ( USD 130.7 million), up 37.8% on the previous year, on revenues up 10.9% to AUD 947.8 million ( USD 727.3 million) (See RNW May 17).
The ACMA also ruled that Western Australian Aboriginal Media Association (WAAMA), licensee of the community broadcasting service 6AR Perth, has breached the conditions of its community broadcasting licence by failing to reflect adequately the needs of the Perth Aboriginal community, which it is licensed to serve. (See RNW May 19).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been holding its first radio policy hearings since 1998 (See RNW May 16): It has also been involved in its usual regular radio related work including (in order of province):
*Denial of applications by Africa Motherland Broadcasting Inc. and by 4284186 Canada Inc., operating as Winnipeg Multicultural Radio, for broadcasting licences to operate new commercial ethnic FM radio stations in Winnipeg. The Commission noted that when it called for applications for such services in 2004 it advised potential applicants that they would be required to provide evidence giving clear indication that there is a demand and a market for the service they proposed:
It said that there was already one ethnic station in Winnipeg - Newcap's CKJS-AM, which airs programming in 19 different languages each week - and that community-based campus radio stations CKUW-FM and CJUM-FM together provide approximately eight hours of ethnic programming in the Winnipeg market with further ethnic services in a number of East Indian languages being offered on a Subsidiary Communications Multiplex Operations (SMCO) channel of CITI-FM.
Additionally it said that preliminary 2005 financial results for the Winnipeg market show a combined profit before interest and taxes margin (PBIT margin) of 13.5% compared to 20.94% for Canada as a whole and that the financial performance of CKJS-AM over the past four years has been relatively poor. Against this background it said it found that the Winnipeg market is capable of supporting only one ethnic radio station serving the largest ethnic groups and accordingly rejected the applications.
*Administrative renewal of licence of French-language radio network Réseau Rock Détente, from 1 September 20061 to 31 August 2007. The commission says it will not be able to rule on the renewal before the current licence expires.
*Approval of application by Golden West Broadcasting Ltd., which already owns Greatest Hits CHAB-AM and country format CILG-FM, Moose Jaw, for new 100,000 watts Adult Contemporary commercial English FM there.
* Denial of application by Kevin Shattock for 46 watts Christian music service commercial FM in Moose Jaw. The Commission said Shattock did not present an adequately developed business plan and did not demonstrate that it would be able to implement a viable radio service.
*Denial of application from Harvard Broadcasting Inc. for a 100,000 watts Adult Contemporary commercial English FM in Moose Jaw: Harvard currently owns and operates three radio stations in the neighbouring city of Regina, .
The Commission noted that it had received interventions in support of each of the three applications; comment on the Golden West and Harvard by the Canadian Independent Record Production Association (CIRPA) which noted the proposal to exceed regulatory minimums for Canadian content in each application but expressed general concern with the lack of CTD funding proposed to be directed to the Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Record (FACTOR) by these applicants; and an intervention opposing Harvard's application by Rawlco, which operates three stations in Regina.
Rawlco and Golden West both contended that Harvard's proposed radio station would provide a quality signal in Regina, which would effectively allow Harvard to operate a third English-language commercial FM radio station in the Regina market
The Commission in approving Golden West's application said that, based on the low level of profitability of the only incumbent radio broadcaster in the market, the decline in population over the last ten years, and the modest projections for growth in the economy in the upcoming years, it concluded that the Moose Jaw market is not able to absorb the introduction of a new broadcaster at this time without having an undue negative impact on the existing radio stations in the market.
*Revocation at the licensee's request of licence of community-based campus FM, CJOS-FM, Caronport.
The CRTC also issued two public notices regarding various applications.
The first, for which the deadline for submission of an intervention or comment is June 19, included the following radio-related items:
* Application to renew the licence of CKLF-FM, Brandon.
Application to renew the licence of CJAQ-FM, Toronto: The Commission noted that licensee Rogers Broadcasting Limited may have failed to comply with Canadian Content requirements.
*Application to renew the licence of CIBU-FM Wingham, and add a 2,288 watts FM transmitter at Bluewater to serve the population of Southern Huron County and along the Lake Huron shoreline.
* Application by CJNE FM Radio Inc. to amend the licence of radio programming undertaking VF2212, Carrot River, which currently transmits programming from CFMI-FM, Vancouver, British Columbia, to allow it to also transmit some programming from CJNE-FM, Nipawin, Saskatchewan.
The second, for which the deadline for submission of an intervention or comment is June 23, included the following radio-related items:
*Application to renew the licence of the CJZN-FM, Victoria, and its transmitter CKXM-FM-1 Sooke.
*Application to delete from the licence of CFEQ-FM, Winnipeg, a requirement that a minimum of 95% of all musical selections broadcast during each broadcast week shall be devoted to selections of non-classic religious music. The licensee says that, although it prefers deletion, it would accept a minimum level of 31% non-classic religious music. The change requested would allow a switch to a new and alternative rock format.
* Application to add a 32 watts FM transmitter at Paint Lake to broadcast the programming of CINC-FM, Thompson.
*Application to increase the power of CKOE-FM, Moncton, from 50 watts to 725 watts and increase its antenna height. The increase would change the station's status from a low power unprotected service to a regular Class A service.
*Application to relocate the transmitter of CFQK-FM, Kaministiquia: Its current transmitter site lease expires on July 30 this year.
*Application to add a 47 watts FM transmitter at Candiac to the licence of French-language Type B community station CHAI-FM, Châteauguay.
*Application to renew the licence of CILG-FM, Moose Jaw.
*Application to renew the licence of CJMK-FM, Saskatoon.
*Application to renew the licence of Type B community radio station CHXL-FM, Okanese Indian Reserve.
Also in Canada, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that a "Spin to Win" contest on CJOB-AM, Winnipeg, did not breach codes (See RNW May 18).
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has advertised a licence for a new youth based regional service in the North West (See RNW May 20): It was also involved in the release this week of the latest Irish ratings (See RNW May 19).
In the UK, Ofcom has awarded eight more community licences, completing its first round of community radio licensing and taking the total number of licences now awarded to 107 (See RNW May 20). It also gave details of the reasons for its award of the new Rotherham FM licence (Also May 20).
Ofcom also published its latest Broadcast Bulletin, upholding no complaints against radio (See RNW May 17) and issued outline procedures for handling fairness and privacy complaints (A 75kb 13-page PDF).
In the US as already noted a further stage in increasing maximum indecency penalties was passed with a unanimous Senate vote to put the maximum up to USD 325,000 that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) can levy although the bill has now to be reconciled with a more restrictive bill passed by the House before any change can take effect.
The FCC also published its quarterly summary of complaints - showing a tripling of broadcasting complaints (See RNW May 20) and fined a New Jersey AM USD 4,000 for operating above its authorized power during nighttime hours (See RNW May 19).
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-05-21: Radio Netherlands is refurbishing its relay station on Bonaire in the Netherlands Antilles following the recent approval by its Board of Governors of around Euros 4 million ( USD 5.1 million) on the work.
The station, which is almost 40 years old, delivers shortwave broadcasts to the Americas, Africa, Australia and New Zealand using Philips transmitters that are to be replaced by two new AM/DRM senders.
Work started at the end of last month on the rebuilding, which is expected to take around 18 months, but so far no decision has been made as to which transmitters will be used: A detailed technical specification has been prepared, and tenders are being invited from three or four manufacturers.
Bonaire, as well as transmitting Radio Netherlands services, also relays some programmes of China Radio International, Deutsche Welle, Adventist World Radio and NHK, Japan.
Radio Netherlands report:
2006-05-20: The US Senate has by-passed its Commerce Committee, which had dropped the issue of broadcast indecency from its agenda on Thursday, and voted for a bill from Kansas Republican Senator Sam Brownback that would increase Federal Communications Commission (FCC) penalties for broadcast indecency tenfold to a maximum USD 325,000 per violation.
Normally the issue would have first gone to the committee but Senate majority leader Bill Frist, a potential contender for the Republican Presidential nomination, pushed the bill to a vote of the full Senate. Frist had already sought to please conservative and Christian groups who had complained of delays in introducing new indecency and profanity legislation - with his comments based on video on the medical state of Florida woman Terri Schiavo in June last year.
The measure was first put forward more than 15 months ago following the row of Janet Jackson's partial breast exposure during the 2004 Super Bowl half-time show - CBS TV stations were fined USD 550,000 over the exposure, a penalty still being contested - and the House of Representatives last year passed a bill that would increase fines to a maximum USD 500,000 per violation and require the FCC to consider revoking a station's license after three indecency violations: It also increased the maximum fine on individuals - currently USD 11,000 and requiring a prior warning - to the same maximum USD 500,000 and took away the requirement for a warning. House and Senate negotiators now have to reconcile the differences in the measures they have passed before any increase can become law.
The Brownback Bill - S.193, the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act - was passed unanimously - had there been opposition from even a single Senator it could have been held up - and Brownback said in a statement on his web site, "I am glad the Senate took action and increased fines for broadcasters who show indecent material. Radio and television waves are public property, and the companies who profit from using the public airwaves should face meaningful fines for broadcasting indecent material."
He continues, "I urge the House to take action on increasing indecency fines so we can send a bill to the White House. It's time that broadcast indecency fines represent a real economic penalty and not just a slap on the wrist."
Brownback notes that his bill only raises maximum fines that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) can impose and "does not address other issues such as the definition of indecent material or how the fines are assessed" nor does it "grant the FCC new powers to revoke licenses from broadcasters who play offensive content."
The Senate Bill was welcomed by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), which had criticized the House measure in regard to its penalties on individuals.
In a statement the organization noted that the version passed was supported by AFTRA and did not include individual penalties and actor James Lurie who is chair of the AFTRA Legislative and Public Affairs Committee commented, "Individual fines would be devastating to our members, especially considering that performers and broadcasters don't make the decisions as to what goes on the air. We asked senators to keep performer fines and license forfeiture out of the Indecency Act-and they listened."
He added that AFTRA was "still watching Congress to make sure performers, recording artists, and broadcasters are not excessively penalized."
AFTRA notes that its members had sent nearly 5,000 email messages, since Monday asking senators to support the Brownback bill, saying that these were "just the latest effort by AFTRA members who have been working over the past 18 months to prevent adoption of performer fines and license forfeiture in any indecency legislation."
RNW comment: The fact that Brownback's bill was passed without a single dissenting vote seems to us rather surprising as we would have expected at least a few senators to have held the view either that people should take responsibility for their viewing and listening an that of their children rather than the state or that the market would be sufficient to temper any excesses.
AFTRA news release:
Brownback news release:
2006-05-20: A second former Michigan Public Media employee charged in connection with accepting gifts in exchange for on-air mentions on the University of Michigan's WUOM-FM has now accepted a reduced charge: He is Michael Coleman, now currently general manager of Detroit Public Radio, who with Jeremy Nordquist and Justin Ebright - was initially charged with embezzlement under USD 20,000, which carried a sentence of up to five years in jail.
Ebright entered no contest plea - treated the same as guilty in sentencing but not an admission of guilt - last month to a charge of embezzlement under USD 20,000 and a further charge of conspiracy to embezzle was dropped in exchange for his testimony against his two former co-workers (See RNW Apr 14).
Ebright was sentenced this week to two years probation, 50 hours of community service and to make USD 10,000 restitution by Washtenaw Circuit Judge David Swartz.
Coleman pled no contest to embezzlement under USD 200 rather than the USD 20,000 with which he was initially charged -and to make USD 3,500 in restitution to WUOM: He is to be sentenced on June 22 for embezzlement under USD200 and could face up to 93 days in jail and USD 500 fine. He could have been jailed for up to five years on the original charge.
Nordquist, a former account executive, still intends to go trial claiming that any potential wrongdoing occurred with the knowledge of supervisors according to the Ann Arbour News.
His lawyer Tom Moors told the paper Nordquist was mentored by and reported directly to Ebright: He added that Nordquist was charged with one count of embezzlement less than $20,000 and conspiracy but has not been offered a plea agreement and is to go on trial in July.
Moors said the charges against his client should be dismissed because the essential elements to prove embezzlement require an intent to defraud and no approval from a supervisor. He claims Nordquist is a scapegoat who acted within the operational culture of the station - where a majority benefited from in-kind trade agreements - and accepted a pool table from a local vendor with approval from his bosses.
Ebright's attorney, Dan Geherin, says the paper characterized his client's actions as a "greedy mistake'' and added, "When you have a client that writes a four-page allocution letter that takes ultimate responsibility for his actions and shows remorse for it, it speaks for itself.''
Coleman said the "entire situation has been very unfortunate. I'm very happy that it's been resolved and that we can put this behind us.''
Detroit Public Radio said it will keep him on as general manager.
Ann Arbour News report:
2006-05-20: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says the number of Radio and Television Broadcasting complaints received in the first quarter of this year was more than triple the number in the final quarter of 2005 - up from 44,287 to 141,994. The figures mark a run of increases after falls in the first half of 2005 - up from 6,429 in the second quarter of 2005 to 26,368 in the third quarter and then rising again as noted.
In all cases the biggest increase occurred in the Obscenity/ Indecency/Profanity category which in the first quarter of this year were up from 44,109 to 141,868.
Among complaints in other categories Wireless complaints decreased from 4,956 in the 4th quarter to 4,616 in the 1st quarter and Cable and Satellite Services complaints increased from 225 in the 4th quarter to 290 in 1st quarter.
*Update May 27: The FCC has issued a corrected report, significantly increasing the numbers of complaints listed above.
It now says Radio and Television Broadcasting complaints received went up from 44,287 to 275,257 (corrected from 141,994) and of these Obscenity/ Indecency/Profanity complaints went up from 44,109 to 275,131 (not 141,868 as above).
Other numbers are not changed.
Previous FCC complaints figures:
2006-05-20: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced the award of eight more community radio licences, completing its first round of community radio licensing and taking the total number of licences now awarded to 107.
A second round is to start later this year and Ofcom says it has already received 184 letters of intent have been received from groups interested in an application in the second round.
The new licences just announced go to:
*Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex - Saint FM, which is to serve Burnham and surrounding rural areas in the Maldon district in Essex.
*Chelmsford, Essex - Chelmsford Calling, which is targeting the over-60s.
*Lancaster, Lancashire - Diversity FM, which is a partnership between the YMCA and local educational establishments.
*Leasowe (The Wirral) - 7 Waves Community Radio, which is offering a service with particular attention paid to the elderly and disadvantaged.
*Northwich, Cheshire - Cheshire FM, which is to be a medium for community expression and a campaigner for community development.
*Runcorn, Cheshire - Halton FM, with a target audience living in, working in, or undergoing training or education in the borough of Halton.
*Sheerness, Kent - BRFM Bridge Radio, which is to provide a community service to the population of the Isle of Sheppey, Kent.
*Toxteth, Liverpool - Talkin' Toxteth TTFM, which is to provide a service designed to reflect and celebrate community arts, culture and diversity...
Ofcom has also published its reasons for awarding the new Rotherham licence to Rother FM which is wholly-owned by Lincs FM Group Limited and had been competing against two other applications (See RNW Feb 10).
It noted that in advertising the licence it had said would be likely to place particular emphasis on the ability of each applicant to maintain its proposed service for the duration of the licence period.
In this case the Radio Licensing Committee (RLC) felt that the backing of Lincs FM Group brings Rother FM considerable experience of operating successful smaller stations in similar-sized markets adjacent to Rotherham and also said it recognised the realism of the group's financial projections, the radio experience of its board and the clear recognition that the Rotherham licence would present a different challenge to other nearby markets.
It noted robust yet comparatively limited quantitative research and monitoring, which Rother FM used to confirm in broad terms a demand for its proposed format and said it took the view, that the relative weakness of this aspect of its application did not outweigh the strengths evident in respect of other elements of its proposal, especially since the group also demonstrated substantial local support for its application from a range of community leaders and potential advertisers in Rotherham.
2006-05-20: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has advertised a new youth-based regional radio licence for North West Ireland, a service that will cover the Counties of Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Longford, Roscommon and Galway.
The licence - for ten years- is for a service of speech and music programming of particular relevance to listeners in the 15 - 34 age group in this region - and applications have to be submitted by July 12.
2006-05-19: Arbitron has announced its first deal for use of its Portable People Meter (PPM) with a major US radio group - a seven-year agreement with CBS Radio to use the electronic ratings technology when the PPM is deployed in the 35 CBS Radio markets encompassed in Arbitron's previously announced PPM rollout plan.
Arbitron plans to launch the system as radio ratings service to the top 50 markets, beginning with Houston in July 2006 (pending Media Rating Council accreditation) and had previously announced agreements with a number of advertising agencies and two radio companies to use the system.
The previous radio agreements were with Spanish Broadcasting System, which owns and/or operates 20 stations, and Beasley Broadcast Group, which has 26 FM and 15 AM stations: CBS Radio operates 179, although parent CBS Corporation's CEO Leslie Moonves has said it plans to sell around 35 of them in smaller markets to allow it to concentrate efforts on improving larger market stations.
CBS Radio chairman and CEO Joel Hollander, commented, "CBS Radio is counting on the PPM to enhance the value of both our programming and the audiences we reach in the eyes of our advertisers. We're pleased to be the first major broadcaster to embrace the future by signing a contract for Arbitron's next-generation electronic audience measurement system. Radio has been searching for a more accountable method to provide advertisers with valuable information about its listeners, and I'm confident that the PPM will be supported throughout the industry."
Arbitron President and CEO Steve Morris responded, "We are pleased that CBS Radio has signed a long-term agreement with Arbitron for PPM radio ratings. We view this agreement as an endorsement of our electronic measurement technology from one of our largest and most sophisticated customers. We look forward to continuing to provide CBS Radio with the information services to help it grow and manage its business for years to come."
It is unclear how the agreement may affect the call last year by Clear Channel for proposals for a state-of-the art electronic radio ratings service that led to seven initial bidders, narrowed down in March by the US radio Cross-Industry Evaluation Team (set up following the initial call) to a shortlist of three competing systems - the PPM system plus the MediaAudit/Ipsos smart cell phone system and MediaMark Research's bid with a system based on parent GfK's Media Watch (See RNW Mar 10).
CBS Radio is involved in the evaluation and Hollander commented at the time," "The work of this evaluation team will ensure that we make the best choice. We must be patient enough to fully evaluate each of our options. A bad choice, made immediately, is the worst possible circumstance for all involved."
In the UK, RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research), which is due to announce details of its 2007 contract next week, last year narrowed its testing to the PPM and the Eurisko Media Monitor, the two systems that performed best in tests a year earlier, plus the Ipsos smart phone system (See RNW Jul 12, 2005).
RNW comment: A lot is riding on the PPM for Arbitron, which had to go ahead with its development on its own after Nielsen pulled out (See RNW Mar 3) and the CBS deal must give it a bid boost.
How others will react should a competitor system be adjudged superior to the PPM is unclear but CBS Radio would appear to have some problems should the rest of the industry opt for a competing system.
Previous Beasley Broadcast:
Previous CBS Radio:
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Media Ratings Council:
2006-05-19: Cox Radio is offering a USD 10,000 reward for information that leads to successful conviction of someone who hijacked the signal of its Long Island rock station WBAB-FM on Wednesday and for around 90 seconds broadcast what the station's web site terms "an offensive song filled with racial slurs."
In making the offer the station comments, "This is not some child's prank, this is a federal offence. We condemn their actions and their harmful words, are asking for a full investigation into this matter by the FCC and contacting local authorities to assist us into finding out who did this."
"Clearly," it adds, "someone has a bone to pick with WBAB, and understands the broadcast business well enough, to know how to hack into our signal, and has access to this equipment and obviously was able to gain access to our broadcast...Cox Radio and 102.3 WBAB are sickened by this incident. It goes against everything we stand for, and we are taking steps to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again."
Newsday in its report says that according to WBAB program director John Olsen a similar incident involving the same song occurred about two weeks ago with WBAB's sister station, hits-format WBLI-FM which shares a studio with WBAB on Sunrise Highway in Babylon.
It says the pirate broke into the broadcast around 07:15, interrupting "Hey You" by Pink Floyd and playing part of a country music-style song that in addition to using the "n word" suggests killing blacks and also refers to blacks getting welfare checks and includes an offensive reference to Martin Luther King Jr.
Hosts John Parise and Roger Luce told listeners their transmission had been taken over and stressed that they had no involvement in playing the song.
Earlier this month Newsday reported that under threat of suspension or firing the hosts had agreed to undergo cultural sensitivity training and channel more of the charitable donations they raise to Latino groups and apologized profusely for a fake commercial they aired called "Wetback Steakhouse".
The mock advert invited landscapers and dishwashers "to take a break from all that weed-whackin' and standin' on the side of the road waiting for work and come on down to the Wetback Steakhouse."
The spot had aired several times and the station said it was a good-natured effort at humour by the hosts that had not led to any complaints until after Latino activist the Rev. Allan Ramirez threatened a boycott.
The paper adds that the spot is one of several about immigrants that Parise and Luce have aired on their show and until it was pulled was listed among "Roger and JP Listener Favorites" on the station's Web site. It says it was removed minutes after Newsday called for comment.
Newsday report on signal takeover:
Newsday report on hosts' earlier apology:
WBAB web site - reward offer:
2006-05-19: The US Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has backed XM Satellite Radio in its legal fight with the recording companies over a receiver that permits users to record programming and select the songs they want to keep (See RNW May 18).
In a statement CEA President of Government Affairs Michael Petricone commented, "Here they go again. The record industry is returning to the courts in their non-stop efforts to stop new technology, neuter existing products, frustrate consumers and make illegal long-standing consumer home recording activities. Their new target is XM Satellite Radio, one of America's top technology success stories of the new millennium. XM's only offence is providing legal and exciting programming options to millions of Americans, while opening new revenue and promotional opportunities for the recording industry."
"The lawsuit announced yesterday" he said, "is a brazen effort by the labels to strong-arm more money from a successful technology industry start-up. XM Radio already is the largest single payer of digital music broadcast royalties. More, the record labels receive royalties on every XM recording device sold as provided by Congress under the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA).
"Through this lawsuit," Petricone added, " the record industry is trying to block private, non-commercial recording off the radio-an activity which Americans have enjoyed for decades, has always been considered legal, and in this case has been expressly recognized by Congress, in the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA), as protected from lawsuit."
He said the recording industry had "cut a deal, embodied in legislation, which said digital audio recording devices are legal if they do not allow copies of copies. And, throughout their pursuit of the Grokster case, the labels insisted that they had no intention of threatening the sort of in-home, private, non-commercial recording enabled by the devices under question in this suit The products at issue in this lawsuit do not allow redistribution over the Internet or to any other product. They simply allow consumers to time-shift music they are lawfully receiving through subscription fees - fees that support the royalty payments to the labels. No matter how hard the record labels try to stretch the truth, XM has zero resemblance to the old Napster or other peer-to-peer file sharing services."
"The recording industry" said Petricone,"seems to have developed amnesia about the AHRA into which we and they had substantial input. Under this law, there is no doubt that the satellite recorders at issue in this lawsuit are legal."
He added, "It is time to say 'enough is enough.' It is time to put an end to ill-founded lawsuits and over-reaching legislation that effectively impose an 'innovation tax' on consumers and technology developers. These ongoing efforts discourage innovation and jeopardize America's global technology leadership. If only the music industry spent as much time adopting new business models as they do filing lawsuits and aggressively lobbying for anti-consumer, anti-technology changes in the law, they might find they can actually expand their market."
Petricone concluded by saying the "consumer technology industry will continue to take a strong stand against persistent, punitive, obnoxious and over-reaching efforts by the record labels to control innovation and limit reasonable consumer activities."
2006-05-19: UTV has given TalkSPORT breakfast host Alan Brazil three months notice following a row according to the UK Guardian, which says the host was reported to be unhappy about station trails that poked fun at his enjoyment of drink and his lifestyle.
The paper notes that Brazil has been penalized by the company - it gives a figure of between GBP 20,000 and GBP 30,000 (USD 36,000 to USD 57,000) for failure to urn up on time on four occasions and it quotes an unnamed TalkSPORT source as saying "They have had a bit of a fight and Alan has been given his notice. The breakfast show is not an easy gig when you are going out on the road all the time. He didn't mind the trails, but not when they were taking money off him as well."
The former Tottenham, Ipswich, Manchester United and Scotland International soccer player was fired in March 2004 by the station's then owners, The Wireless Group, headed by Kelvin MacKenzie, following an outside broadcast at the Cheltenham Festival but he was brought back as a result of protests by listeners.
Rumours about his future began circulating earlier this month after Charles Sale in his Sports Agenda column in the Daily Mail of May 4 said Brazil was at "loggerheads with his bosses"
Sale suggested that Brazil's case is that talkSPORT should not be able to both encourage and live off his love of alcohol and then punish him so heavily when he steps out of line.
Brazil became host of the breakfast show in April 2000 and in the following year was teamed with Mike Parry, a partnership that lasted until July 2004 when Parry was diagnosed with a heart condition and Graham Beecroft replaced him.
The station web site still lists Brazil, describing him as a "big, loveable bear of a man with an endearing Glaswegian twang who takes no rubbish and pulls no punches."
"Alan," it continues, "has been making millions of listeners' lives bearable in the morning with a no-nonsense approach that makes Genghis Khan look like a pacifist."
So far no official comment has been made by either the station or the host.
TalkSPORT web site - Brazil page:
UK Guardian Report:
2006-05-19: Latest Irish radio ratings just released from the JNLR/TNSmrbi survey show that listening in the year from April 2005 to March this year remained at the same level as in the previous survey for January to December 2005 with 85% of the Republic's adults listening to radio daily, a figure that was in turn the same as a year earlier
The weekday reach for national stations remained unchanged compared to the previous release (the year to the end of 2005) except for RTÉ 2FM, which dropped back 1 point to 20%. The other figures were a weekday reach for all national stations of 57% then 25% for RTÉ Radio 1; 15% for Today FM; and 3% for RTÉ Lyric FM.
Overall weekly reach however saw some losses with RTÉ Radio One down 1 to 40%; RTÉ 2FM down 1 to 37%; Today FM unchanged with 30%; and RTÉ Lyric FM unchanged with 9% and south-east regional station Beat 102-103FM retained an unchanged 32%..
In terms of share RTÉ Radio One was up 0.2% to 22.4%; RTÉ 2FM was down 0.5% to 13.9%; Today FM maintained 10.9% and RTÉ Lyric FM maintained a 1.6% share.
In contrast regional and local stations increased their listenership share by 0.4% to 50.9% overall in the 07:00 to 19:00 period.
For weekly reach:
In Dublin the top five stations were RTÉ Radio 1, which lost 1% to 42%; FM104, which lost 1% to end with 35%; RTÉ 2FM, which lost 1% to end with 30%; 98FM, which lost 1% to end with 29% and Q102, which lost 2% to end with 23%: Today FM was in sixth place -down 1% to 20%.
Cork's top five stations were Cork 96FM/County Sound 103 FM, which lost 1% to ends with a 69% reach; RTÉ Radio 1, which lost 1% to end with 33%; Cork's Red FM with an unchanged 29%; RTÉ 2FM, with an unchanged 24%; and Today FM, with an unchanged 21%.
Most successful local stations were Highland Radio - up 3 to 89%; Limerick's Live 95FM - an unchanged 85%; Galway Bay FM - down 2 to 81%; Ocean FM -up 3 to 80%; and Radio Kerry - up 2 to 78%, a total it shared with Mid West Radio, which was up 3 to the same 78%
For weekday reach:
In Dublin the top five stations were RTÉ Radio 1 with an unchanged 29%; FM104 with an unchanged 21%; 98FM, which lost 1% to end with 16%; RTÉ 2FMwith an unchanged 15%; and Q102, which lost 1% to end with 12%:
Cork's top five stations were Cork 96FM/County Sound 103 FM, which lost 1% to ends with a 48% reach; RTÉ Radio 1, which had an unchanged 19%; Cork's Red FM, which lost 1% to end with 15%; RTÉ 2FM, which lost 2% to end with 11%; and Today FM, which gained 1% to end with 10%.
Most successful local stations were Highland Radio - up 1 to 72%; Limerick's Live 95FM - up 4 to 65%; Ocean FM -up 1 to 63%; Shannonside/Northern Sound - up 2% to 59% and Radio Kerry - up 3 to 56%
Previous Irish Ratings:
2006-05-19: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ruled that Western Australian Aboriginal Media Association (WAAMA), licensee of the community broadcasting service 6AR Perth, has breached the conditions of its community broadcasting licence by failing to reflect adequately the needs of the Perth Aboriginal community, which it is licensed to serve.
During the period from August 2003 to April 2005 said the ACMA the station did not represent the interests of the Perth Aboriginal community, which it is licensed to serve, nor did it encourage members of that community to participate in the operation of the 6AR service.
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman commented, "Community broadcasters are licensed to provide services that meet the specific, identifiable needs of cultural or geographic communities, with the involvement of those communities. ACMA's investigation has shown that WAAMA's efforts to understand the needs and interests of the Perth Aboriginal community were inadequate, it did not provide programs to adequately meet those needs and there was limited opportunity to shape the format and content of programs."
He added, " as a result of our recent discussions with WAAMA, we consider that WAAMA does have the capacity to provide programs that meet the needs of the Perth Aboriginal community and better involve the community. To that end ACMA will continue to advise WAAMA on steps it could take to ensure it complies with the Broadcasting Services Act."
Following the ruling the Authority says it is to impose additional conditions on the station's licence, yet to be finalized, that will aim to support compliance with the statutory licence conditions, by requiring WAAMA to:
*Adequately ascertain the needs and interests of the Perth Aboriginal community in respect of community broadcasting;
*Develop and broadcast talk and music programs that adequately meet those needs;
*Establish mechanisms through which members of the Perth Aboriginal community can participate in the operation of 6AR, by becoming members of WAAMA and/or volunteering to assist with the operation of the station.
2006-05-19: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined a New Jersey AM USD 4,000 for operating above its authorized power during nighttime hours.
WTMR License Limited Partnership, licensee of WTMR-AM, Camden, had not disputed breaching regulations but argued for cancellation or reduction because its violation was less than n other cases where a USD 4,000 penalty was levied.
It termed exceeding authorized power limits "comparatively minor infraction": The commission disagreed and confirmed the full penalty.
The Commission has also issued a USD 8,000 penalty to a New York Company - Cibao Express - Car & Limo Inc. - for by operating radio transmitting equipment on two unauthorized frequencies and operating two transmitters with output powers in excess of the power specified in the station license.
2006-05-18: The US major recording companies - Universal Music, Sony BMG, EMI, and Warner Music - have launched a lawsuit against XM over its Inno receiver that allows XM subscribers to record up to 50 hours of its broadcasts and also to search for specific songs.
XM and its rival Sirius Satellite Radio claim that their existing royalty payments for music cover the devices as their subscribers are only recording their broadcasts for later use, something that has been permitted on audio and video cassettes since the movie industry lost the 1984 Betamax case (Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc ) in which it was ruled that it was "fair use" for people to record shows for later viewing and that the manufacturers of devices capable of substantial "non-infringing" use could not be sued for illicit use of their equipment.
Sirius, however, has negotiated an agreement over its S50, which also permits users to store broadcasts (See RNW Apr 28) but XM has said its receivers have been designed to fully comply with copyright law and that they allow only personal use of material (Also RNW APR 28).
The shares of both companies fell on Wednesday, XM by 5.73% to USD 16.62 and Sirius by 4.74% to USD 4.02.
The lawsuit filed by the recording companies, which are lobbying for a change in the law, claims that the Inno is in effect a "new digital download subscription service" because it allows people to choose which songs to save: It is asking for USD 150,000 in damages for every song copied by XM Satellite customers using the devices, which went on sale recently priced at USD 400 apiece.
The Los Angeles Times quoted Mitch Bainwol, chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) as saying, "XM wants to offer listeners what is essentially a free version of iTunes without paying the music companies for the right to sell their songs. It's a great deal for XM because it drives subscriptions. But it's fundamentally unfair to songwriters and labels and threatens to puncture the integrity of the digital music marketplace right as it is growing."
XM says it will fight the case and said in a statement, "These are legal devices that allow consumers to listen to and record radio just as the law has allowed for decades. The music labels are trying to stifle innovation, limit consumer choice and roll back consumers' rights to record content for their personal use."
The paper says executives close to XM, who requested anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity, said the company had offered to pay the record labels about USD 18 per device sold for the right to allow users to record individual songs, reportedly a better deal than the labels received from Sirius, but the recording companies refused because they wanted to have a say in what facilities could be offered. .
Record company executives, who also requested anonymity, it adds, disputed that account and portrayed the lawsuit as an attempt to pressure XM into abandoning its stance that the current licenses are within the law.
Both sides says the Times expect the issue to be resolved before any decision because neither wants to be stuck with a precedent from the courts if they lose: The paper quotes former RIAA Chairman and CEO Hilary Rosen, who now is a consultant to XM, as saying, "When I was the head of the RIAA, I knew that trying to regulate technology is not a good strategy. In the end it was always better to get as much money as you could upfront."
RNW comment: Irrespective of the merits of this case, and it's one we would be happy to see the recording companies lose since we don' think there will be any significant amount of music not recorded as a result of storage of songs by satellite radio subscribers thus meaning the public interest case in our favours the satellite radio companies, the amount being demanded in the lawsuit is obviously ludicrous.
We do not regard such outrageous demands as in the public interest and in our view it ought to be standard practice in such cases, even if the side making the demands wins, to reduce the award by a factor equal to the amount demanded by the amount awarded. Since we cannot see the value of a song delivered in this manner must be less than the amount for which it can be bought on I-Tunes this would make the maximum that could be awarded 0.00067 cents per song - and we would require the recording companies to produce evidence of each download - does XM have a way of recording this? - and pay the total costs of the lawsuit.
Los Angeles Times report:
2006-05-18: Arbitron has announced that it is to replace its printed ratings book with an electronic replacement, the Arbitron eBook, in all markets from the Spring 2006 survey onwards with the Winter 2006 its last printed Radio Market Report.
The company says the replacement is "designed to preserve the look and feel of the printed book, while making it easier for customers to access, locate and use the data".
It adds that as well as the convenience of having the books online the ability to download it will make it easier to use information in client marketing materials: eBook, it says, will release the same day as Arbitrends in the four-book markets, and will be the very first data to release in two-book markets and agencies will now receive their eBook at the same time as they receive data for their media buying systems.
It also notes that the new book also replaces its Advances service and will be released at approximately the same time as Advances historically released with no extra expense involved.
Arbitron has also released in conjunction with Edison Media a report, "Internet and Multimedia 2006: On-Demand Media Explodes"
The report was based on 1,925 telephone interviews conducted in January this year and Arbitron says it has been following on-demand service trends closely because it believes "they will have a fundamental impact on how advertisers successfully market their products and services."
"Many of the on-demand media behaviours and devices we examine," it says, "allow consumers to change or even limit the commercial messaging they normally receive through television, radio and the Internet."
Since its previous report in 2005 it says, there has been a sharp increase in what it terms "Heavy" on-demand consumers - those who own multiple on-demand devices such as TV recording digital devices, portable audio players and so on: In 2005 only 11% were in this category but this year that had risen to 21%.
Cell phones are listed as the device having the most impact (38% said it had made a "big impact") and broadband internet access was the most powerful facility cited - from a split of around 50-50 dial-up and broadband access at home a year ago the percentage has moved to 58% broad band and 38% dial-up with a quarter of those without broadband say they plan to get it within the next 12 months. In terms of "life-changing" items, however, AM/FM radio still leads broadband - 24% to 20%.
Among audio devices, MP3 player ownership increased from 14% to 22% of all respondents and from 27% to 42% amongst those 12-17. The iPod was the dominant single device - it went from 6% to 11% of all respondents and from 10% to 22% of those 12-17.
Arbitron also notes that around 30% of those polled say they are spending less time with traditional media because of time spent online - 33% say they watch less TV, 30% that they spend less time reading newspapers or magazines, and 19% that they are listening less to AM/FM radio.
Posed the choice of having to do without the Internet or TV, 40% said they would drop TV, up from 26% giving the same answer in 2001 and among 12-34 year-olds a majority say they would now drop TV. In terms of online purchases, those saying they had made an online purchase in the last month has increased from 16% in 1999 to 31% this year and 39% of those with Internet access said they looked up information about a product or service online in the 2005 holiday season before making a purchase in a store while a fifth had seen an item in a store but purchased it on the Internet
In terms of censoring broadcasts, half of those questioned said network TV should be unrestricted, 63% that cable channels such as MTV and Comedy Central should be unrestricted and three-quarters that pay networks should be unrestricted.
There has also been a significant increase in listening to Internet radio - 21% said they had listened to Internet radio in the past month and the estimated monthly audience for Internet radio is now 52 million, with the weekly audience up 50% over the past year to 12% of Americans over 12 and 19% of those 18-34.
Satellite radio awareness has also jumped, with 61% of those questioned now being aware of XM and Sirius, up from 50% for XM and 54% for Sirius a year ago and 41% for XM and 28% for Sirius two years ago. In addition 18% of non-subscribers said they were likely to subscribe within the next 12 months although only 4% said they were very likely to subscribe and fully 23% of Sirius subscribers said they took the service specifically to listen to Howard Stern.
On a positive note for satellite, 27% of subscribers were in households with an annual income of USD 100,000 or more, nearly twice the national average of 14%.
When it came to new developments, the report noted some confusion about podcasting, Internet broadcasting and downloadable music but 11% said they had listened to a podcast, slightly more of them male than females (52% to 48%) with a skew towards younger demographic whilst regarding HD radio 35% of those read a description expressed interest if a receiver was USD 50 albeit only 8% said they were very interested. The interest dropped back to 9% overall for a receiver costing USD 200 or more and only 5% at USD 300.
77% said that they expected to listen to the same amount of AM/FM radio although this dropped to 64% of satellite radio subscribers.
Arbitron Internet and Multimedia 2006 (42 page, 656 kb PDF):
2006-05-18: Australian radio broadcasters and the country's automobile industry have begun discussions on the development of automobile digital receivers in advance of the 2009 start date for digital radio recently announced by the Federal Government (See RNW Apr 5).
Australia's commercial radio industry is expected to invest around AUD 400 million (USD 300 million) but it is expected to adopt a Eureka DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting ) system with more advanced coding than that currently used in Europe, meaning that existing receivers will not be compatible with the Australian system if it opts for the more advanced system..
Industry body Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) has held meetings with car makers including Holden, Toyota and Ford to prepare for the launch of digital radio and this week a briefing for car and receiver manufacturers and government officials was hosted at the National ITS Centre in Melbourne by Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Australia, a non-profit organization focused on facilitating the development of technologies to improve the safety and efficiency of transport systems.
CRA CEO Joan Warner commented, "There is already a pleasing level of interest in, and knowledge of, digital radio among car manufacturers. They have asked to be kept fully informed of progress and we plan to make further presentations to product and technical managers later in the year."
ITS Australia Executive Director Brent Stafford added, "The introduction of digital radio must be coordinated nationally to ensure systems compatibility across Australia in order that DAB can be made available to as many people on the move as possible. With the massive increase in congestion over recent years we must look to every opportunity to provide rich, timely, accurate and relevant traffic and public transport information to transport users. DAB is a great platform to connect people with information such as traffic maps and other driver information services."
A recent survey by Colmar Brunton found that 75 per cent of Australians said they were very or quite interested in buying a digital radio and 36 per cent said an in-car receiver was their number one preferred way to access digital radio.
In Europe, Swiss public broadcaster SRG SSR is planning to expand its DAB cover more speedily than originally envisaged with full coverage to be reached by the end of 2008 rather than in 2009.
It already expects to reach more than 90% of the German-speaking population with DAB transmissions by the end of this year and have 100% coverage in the Italian-speaking Ticino canton. In French-speaking areas all of the more densely-populated areas will be equipped with DAB transmitters by the end of next year with sparsely populated mountainous areas in Valais and Grisons to be the last areas to gain DAB transmissions.
2006-05-18: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that a "Spin to Win" contest on CJOB-AM, Winnipeg, that offered as the prize "trip for two to the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas, including luxury hotel accommodation" did not breach its rules although it added that many of the problems complained about could probably have been avoided if the arrangements had been "less loose" and the rules clearer.
The ruling followed complaints by the winner that the station had been unable to provide the prize on convenient dates and thus had "participated in a promotion with no apparent prize available."
The panel noted that many of the issues related to the complaint related to matters of fact - such as who said what, when, to whom, and the like- that were outside its mandate but said that the organizational inefficiencies involved, which meant the winner was unable to find a time when she and her husband could take up the prize, did not breach Canadian Association of Broadcasters codes.
It comments of the prize that it could be argued that Las Vegas is not the "entertainment capital of the world" but the winner had not done so, that the hotel accommodation offered was not "luxury" as the winner argued, but the description used was "nothing more serious than reasonable puffery." They had also said that they were unable to get firm information as to the trip time - they said they were told "it was probably the weekend of Dec 1-4, 2005, and maybe the Riviera Hotel" - so they could make arrangements for child care for their three small children.
The winner added that she had contacted the prize providers to try and arrange a suitable time for the trip and, after "too many unreceived and promised phone calls" spoke to a woman they found to be "rude and impatient" and that later had received a call from the man at CJOB in charge of promotions to say that she "should leave everybody alone because I had created difficulties in making arrangements!"
The couple did accept the prize but complained about the treatment they received and absence of any choice about when to go on the trip and where they would stay.
2006-05-18: The US Senate is reported to have postponed discussion of a bill sponsored by Kansas Republican Senator Sam Brownback that would amongst other things have increased broadcast indecency penalties tenfold to a maximum USD 325,000.
It had been reported last week that the matter would be on the agenda of the Senate Commerce Committee today but is now said to have been left off the schedule.
2006-05-17: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has now released its 2004-05 Broadcasting Financial Results report on commercial broadcasting in the country.
Earlier this month it announced the licence fees (which are based on gross earnings by the licensee in the previous year) it had collected during 2004-05 (See RNW May 9) showing rises in the radio licence fees collected of 14.7% and in TV licence fees of 11.5%: These figures show radio becoming more profitable and TV less so.
In 2004-05 Australia's 274 commercial radio licensees that reported figures achieved a total broadcasting profit of AUD 170.3 million ( USD 130.7 million), up 37.8% on the previous year, on revenues up 10.9% to AUD 947.8 million ( USD 727.3 million).
The country's 53 TV licensees who reported had total profits of AUD 576.9 million (USD 442.6 million), down 2.4% on 2003-04 on revenues up 10.6% to AUD 4,119 million (USD 3,160 million)
2006-05-17: The BBC says it has identified a temporary agency worker as the source of information about salaries that recently made the news including those for star presenters on BBC Radios 1 (See RNW Apr 15) and 2 (See RNW APR 19).
It says 23-years-old Sam Walton, identified after an internal inquiry, had admitted being pair more than GBP 1,000 ( USD 1,800( for information he obtained while working as an assistant in the business affairs team and that he has now been fired by his agency. It added that the Corporation would not hire him in any capacity in future.
Walton, said the Corporation, had previously been employed as a researcher and runner on "Top of the Pops" and "Strictly Come Dancing" spin-off "It Takes Two" and in his latest role had access to the financial system for three months. Walton admitted selling some information but denied being responsible for all the leaks according to the BBC.
BBC News report:
2006-05-17: LBI Media, Inc. has reported first quarter revenues to the end of March up 8.3% on a year ago to USD 22.2 million but operating expenses - excluding depreciation and amortization and non-cash employee compensation of USD 275,000 -were up 10% with the result that net income fell by a third from USD 1.8 million to USD 1.2 million.
LBI put the revenue increase down mainly to its Houston radio stations and California and Texas TV operations: In divisional terms it said TV revenues were up 13.9% to USD 12.4 million and TV operating expenses - excluding depreciation and amortization and non-cash employee compensation were up 14% to USD 7.9 million and operating income was up 13% to USD 3.5 million whilst radio revenues were up 2% to USD 9.8 million, operating expenses with the same exclusions were up 2% to USD 5.1 million and operating income was down 13% to USD 3.8 million.
Executive Vice President Lenard Liberman said of the performance, "I am enthusiastic about the prospects for both our television and radio operations in 2006. Our television stations are performing well due to the success of our creative, internally produced programming. Revenues increased due to our original programming drawing larger audiences. Our newest television program, "El Show de Don Cheto", benefits from the popularity of our top radio personality, Don Cheto, by expanding his talent into a daily variety show. This programme demonstrates our continued ability to leverage the successes of our radio and television properties."
"Our radio stations in Los Angeles and Houston," he added, "also continue to perform well and our primary formats in each of these markets have experienced improving ratings gains."
LBI notes its hiring earlier this month of William S. Keenan as Chief Financial Officer, a post he took over from Lenard Liberman, who resigned from that position but is to stay on as Executive Vice President and Secretary.
In other US radio business news Entercom has announced a quarterly cash dividend of USD 0.38 per share and in other Spanish radio news Univision Radio is to add three new shows to its AM programming on the Univision Radio Network. They are "Cuentamelo!" - a celebrity and entertainment gossip and news show, "Al Dia" - a news, information and phone-in show, and "Hollywood Al Aire" - a show about movies and TV.
Univision Radio President and COO Gary Stone said the new lineup added "exciting variety to our schedule of proven and successful programmes, includes something for everybody and is sure to attract Hispanic listeners across the country."
2006-05-17: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin upholds no radio complaints and only one TV standards complaint - against a trailer; in addition it considered two TV standards complaints resolved.
This compares with the previous bulletin's totals of one radio fairness and privacy complaint partly upheld and two others resolved plus two TV standards complaints upheld, a TV fairness and privacy complaints partly upheld, two other TV standards complaints considered resolved and a further TV standards complaint that attracted 123 complaints and about which it gave details not upheld.
In addition Ofcom also listed with no details a further 165 complaints against 144 items that were rejected or held to be out of remit compared to corresponding totals of 204 complaints against 170 items in the previous bulletin.
These included 21 radio complaints relating to 19 items and 144 TV complaints relating to 125 items compared to 17 radio complaints relating to 17 items and 187 TV complaints relating to 153 items in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2006-05-16: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on Monday opened its first radio policy hearings since 1998 with chairman Charles Dalfen opening the proceedings by commenting on the changes in the sector since then that he said was "largely due to industry consolidation, technological developments and new economic factors that have rapidly come into play."
Dalfen said the hearings would focus on elements that would create new commercial radio policies appropriate to the current environment that will support a strong and flourishing radio industry in both official languages while pursuing the objectives set out in the Broadcasting Act.
He made particular reference to the role played by radio in promoting Canadian artists and their works, noted that the policies must foster commercial radio that offers a greater diversity of musical genres and an appropriate amount of regularly-scheduled locally produced information programming and also said they would review digital transmission and new distribution platforms.
The Toronto Globe and Mail reported that Canadian broadcasters want stations to be rewarded for playing new and emerging Canadian music rather than meeting Canadian content regulations with music from established artists and quoted Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) President and CEO Glenn O'Farrell as saying before the meeting, "Because [a song or artist] is new, because it's untested, it's a commercial risk you are taking to put that into play lists with the possibility of turning off an audience member. We would like to see an incentive for the broadcasters."
Advocates of Canadian content oppose the suggestion says the paper as a backdoor attempt to slash the amount of domestic content that gets played and noted a letter from watchdog group the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting that called efforts by the radio industry to claw back content requirements in the 1990s "repugnant and entirely without merit."
The organization's spokesperson Ian Morrison at the meeting called on the CRTC to level the playing field between private conventional radio and the new content providers saying that cell phone companies and other new content providers that deliver music to consumers should be required to contribute financially to the development of Canadian musical talent and content.
He noted that commercial radio had "done exceptionally well under the Commission's regulatory policies" with profits "way up" and said its contribution to Canadian music and talent should also rise provided the CRTC acted to secure fair competition.
Friends is calling on the Commission to increase Canadian content requirements from its current 35% to 540% with at least a quarter of this new minimum be set aside for new and emerging genres and artists. It is also calling on the CRTC to resist attempts by private broadcasters to cut local programming.
For the CAB O'Farrell said the country had both a regulated system developed over the past 80 years, and a largely unregulated, parallel system of new delivery options for audio content.
He asked how many of those at the meeting were users, or better yet, had even heard about the iPod two years ago and continued, "Yet within approximately 24 months, the iPod has become the dominant force in the consumer electronics audio space. Who among us here today can predict what will dominate that same consumer audio space 24 months from now? How will all the new digital technologies impact Canadian private radio? These are not easy questions."
CAB Radio Board chair Rael Merson, who is also Rogers Broadcasting Limited President & CEO, said that despite recent strong revenue figures for the industry since 1998 audience numbers showed a very disturbing and steady year over year decrease - largest amongst the young - in tuning to radio across all demographic segments and that revenues and profitability on a per station basis were showing signs of decline.
He was backed by Astral Media radio president and - Président du Comité de stratégie radio, marché francophone de l'ACR Jacques Parisien who said the experience of the French-language commercial radio sector could well prove to provide forewarning of the challenges that the radio industry as a whole will face as a result of the technology revolution and noted the markedly lower profit margin of the French-language radio sector.
The CAB said that combining the copyright payments mentioned earlier and CTD (Canadian Talent Development) funding, private radio's contributions to the music industry went from CAD 24 million in 1995 to more than CAD 85 million in 2005 and that it was clear that the Commission's 1998 policy yielded many positive results for both the radio and music industries but also noted that
the Commission's decision in 1998 to increase Canadian content levels from 30 to 35% and require 55% of French Vocal music in day parts did result in marked increase in Canadian music sales, which have remained stable at 16% since 1998.
It said its bonus system proposals were aimed at increasing the exposure of emerging Canadian artists who, according to the Commission's analysis, do not materially benefit under a traditional quota system and that providing programmers with an incentive to play new and unfamiliar tracks by emerging artists, both in day and evening parts it believed these artists would gain significantly greater exposure to more listeners.
Unlike a quota system, it said, the bonus system would mean that programmers would be engaged in actively seeking out and fostering new talent in a manner that responds to the demands of their listeners and is conducive to their market and the supply of Canadian music available for their format.
The CAB also wants more frequent reviews of policy saying that technological developments mean a seven-year cycle is far too long and that as a first step it commits itself to filing a report three years hence that measures the impact of its proposals on 1) increasing the amount of airplay dedicated to emerging artists and the effectiveness of its funding in supporting Canadian talent development.
It says that in this period it thinks programmers will have had enough experience with the bonus system to consider and evaluate its application in the French and English markets and suggest changes that might be required to increase its effectiveness and impact on emerging Canadian artists.
O'Farrell summed up by saying, "A financially healthy radio industry, supported by good public policy since the last radio review, is positioned to face these new challenges and continue to serve the cultural and social policy objectives this Commission is entrusted to uphold. We have not proposed wholesale change to radio regulation."
"We have instead," he continued, "submitted proposals to maintain the principles of Canadian music exhibition requirements and Canadian Talent Development contributions, in addition to reconfirming the radio sector's commitment to the broad regulatory contract with government, notwithstanding the technological undoing of its cornerstone assumption - controlled market entry. And given the changing circumstances in the environment, we propose to assess and monitor the impact of our proposals in three years from today, against the backdrop of hopefully, a clearer understanding of the appropriate regulatory directions for private radio."
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2006-05-16: Entercom's New Orleans's news-talk WWL-AM is to get a new competitor from Clear Channel, which is to switch its classic rock WRNO-FM to news talk according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, which says June 1 has been set as a provisional date for the changeover.
The paper says the move comes as a result of Hurricane Katrina, which led Entercom and Clear Channel to create the United Radio Broadcasters of New Orleans, for which air staffs combined to produce shows simulcast on stations owned by both companies.
That effort has now closed down but Dick Lewis, New Orleans-based regional vice president of Clear Channel, told the paper, What we learned in that process was that . . . in order to be truly important to the city, we needed a news-talk component. The market, the city, the people -- I as an individual -- need to know more. Life is not normal. We have the new normal. In that new normal, information is critical."
According to the Times-Picayune WRNO will carry the syndicated Sean Hannity show but other programming is yet to be decided and it is unclear whether the Rush Limbaugh show, syndicated by Clear Channel subsidiary Premiere Radio Networks and currently carried by WWL, could eventually be moved.
It adds that neither Premiere nor Entercom would comment on the WWL deal but notes that rumours of the WRNO format flip could have been the spark that led Entercom to simulcast WWL programming on its 105.3 FM frequency and move its classic rock WKBU-FM, which had been using the frequency before Katrina, to 95.7, formerly used to air oldies KOOL-FM: At the time Entercom management said the transmitter for 105.3 had been damaged in the storm and getting WKBU-FM, anchored by the morning duo John Walton and Steve Johnson, back on the air at a strong signal position was a priority but that the KOOL air staff would be returned to air on 105.3, which at the time was still simulcasting WWL.
The return happened in late March but in mid-April Entercom e-mailed advertisers to say there had been a poor response, saying, "The outpouring from our listeners was overwhelming. The people of New Orleans want WWL on AM and on the FM band too!"
It added that KOOL would be moved to an internet-only status (at www.kool1053fm.com - RNW note: This is in operation) status.
The paper also notes, courtesy of a radio-insider chat board, that in late February Clear Channel secured the Web site names www.newstalk995.com and www.fmnewstalk 995.com and in early April, Entercom, which owns stations at that frequency in other markets locked down the Internet domain address www.news995.com.
Ken Beck, New Orleans vice president and market manager for Entercom, refused comment on the domain names , saying he didn't know, but of the potential competition said, "We have competitors in all of our markets. We hardly ever get away without competition. The only thing we can do is do the best job we can do on the air."
Previous Clear Channel:
New Orleans Times-Picayune report:
2006-05-16: BBC World Service says it has recorded its highest ever listening figures despite cutting ten language services as part of changes that allowed it to fund a new Arabic TV channel (See RNW Oct 26, 2005) and also saw it move its emphasis more to news and current affairs.
The audiences for these services - Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Kazakh, Polish, Slovak, Slovene, and Thai- that ended broadcasts within the last six months are not included in the figures.
The 33 language services it now runs says the BBC attract 163 million listeners a week, up 14 million on a year ago (See RNW Jul 9, 2005), ten million more than its previous record of 153 million in 2001 (See RNW Jul 7, 2001), and half as many again as any other international broadcaster. The BBC says more than ten million of the extra listeners receive the service through FM services from BBC partners or its own relay stations - the FM service is now available in 150 capital cities, five more than a year ago.
It also recorded an increase in short and medium wave listening, particularly in rural areas in parts of East Africa and SE Asia (Burma, India and Nepal).
Overall BBC international services - BBC World Service radio, BBC World television and the online news service bbcnews.com - now have an audience of around 210 million a week, some 65 million of them for BBC World, which is commercially funded as opposed to the radio service, which is funded by the British Foreign Office (it received GBP 245 million, (USD460 million) last year).
The online service now attracts around 33 million unique users each month, up from around 21 million unique users a year ago.
BBC World Service Director Nigel Chapman commented of the figures, "This record-breaking audience is an outstanding achievement against the background of fierce competition, fast-developing technology and rapidly changing audience demands in many media markets."
"The challenges ahead for BBC World Service remain formidable, as they do for all broadcasters, " he added, "but this is a strong and welcome indication that we are not only strengthening our impact in priority areas but are flourishing in the multimedia age."
Within the World Service radio totals, some 43 million are to English language broadcasts, up from 39 million last year; the Africa and Middle East service attracts 73.6 million a week, up 7.6 million; the Asia and Pacific Region now attracts 61.1 million, up 7.9 million;
In terms of increases in countries the service saw the recorded audience in Burma upped by 6.7 million to 7.1 million listeners a week, put down to independent survey takers being allowed greater access and thus able to estimate nationwide audiences rather than sample in some cities; that in Indonesia up 2 million to 6.4 million following a rise a year ago of 1.2 million; that in India up 1.2 million to 17.6 million, following a rise of 4.8 million last year; that in Kenya up 1.5 million to 6.0 million following a drop last year of 2.1 million; that to the Nepalese service up 2.6 million to 3.7 million, swelled by recent political events in the country; that in Nigeria up 3.6 million to 23.8 million, more than regaining the loss of 1.5 million last year; that to the Swahili service in Tanzania up 2.7 million to 12.9 million, again more than regaining a loss, which was 1.3 million last year'
Country audience losses came in Bangladesh - down 4.4 million to 8.6 million following a rise off 2.6 million last year and Pakistan - down 900,000 to 8.5 million. In both countries the Service is hoping to develop local FM partnerships to mitigate the loss.
2006-05-16: The HD Digital Radio Alliance, an initiative of leading US radio broadcasters to promote the take-up of HD Digital radio, has announced more moves to push receivers on the US retail market with amongst others Texas-headquartered RadioShack Corporation announcing a pilot program in several major markets as a prelude to a national roll-out later this year.
More than 100 RadioShack stores in the Dallas/Fort Worth area are now stocking HD Digital Radio receivers, or more accurately just the table top Boston Acoustics Recepter priced just under USD 300, for the pilot launch, as are several dozen additional stores in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston and Washington, D.C.
RadioShack is to add its own brand receivers when the pilot goes national in the fall.
Amongst other retailers pushing HD according to the alliance will be tri-state area retailers Harvey and Electronics Expo, who have launched marketing campaigns online and in print. In addition both will roll out programs similar to those launched by ABC Warehouse, Tweeter and Crutchfield.com last month, including custom made commercials running on 11 Alliance member radio stations, Spanish-language versions of marketing and advertising, in-store and online instruction to assist customers, extensive staff training and in-store and point-of-purchase marketing.
In the Detroit area Mickey Shorr will launch a marketing and advertising campaign devoted to HD Digital Radio and ABC Warehouse will expand its current HD Radio campaign and in Los Angeles electronics retailer Ken Crane is offering HD Digital Radio products in its stores and has launched online and print advertising and marketing campaigns.
Previous HD Digital Radio Alliance:
2006-05-15: After the past few weeks we had hoped to ease off on the amount of our weekly report that was devoted to US radio hosts but that resolve went out of the window with the comments of New York DJ Troi Torain ("Star" of the "Star and Buc Wild" show) - the man who on air said he wanted to sexually molest the 4-years-old daughter of a rival deejay, to urinate and ejaculate on the girl, and called her mother a "whore," "the woman who carried that little mongrel for nine months."
Torain has been fired (See RNW May 12) - yet again - after the comment, this time by Clear Channel who had picked up the show after Emmis fired the DJ in 2003 (See RNW May 22, 2003) and a suspension last year by Clear Channel's WUSL-FM (Power 99) in Philadelphia following protests after he verbally abused a woman at an Indian Call centre (See RNW Jan 12, 2005).
Torain was subsequently arrested on charges of harassment and endangering the welfare of a child (See RNW May 13).
With what we in most generous mode would term considerable "chutzpah" Torain was said by the New York Times in a report by Lola Ogunnaike to have denied that he was a shock jock and said, "There is a philosophy behind what I do. I have an ideology."
The paper said he described this as "objective hate" but refused to expand on this beyond saying, "Visit www.rebirthofreason.com. When you start scrolling through those posts, then you'll understand my philosophy."
Eschewing the rest of the report, we will add only a couple of quotations from Torain that it published, one from a posting on the site in which he said, "Soon, I will indeed explain how the cheap emotion of hate, a common subliminal thread in all men including myself, can only be fully understood by way of Objectivism" and the other a rejection by him of a comparison with Howard Stern: "rejected the comparison to Mr. Stern, saying, "I'm not some black version of that coward Howard Stern. I'm right there on the verge of being the new Lenny Bruce."
RNW note: The site is one devoted to Ayn Rand's philosophy of "objectivism", described by her in an appendix to "Atlas Shrugged" as "My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." To which our comment on this as a justification of racist abuse and calls to molest a child is that the man at the very least should be spending some time receiving treatment and if there is any risk of him attacking anyone would be best away from society, philosopher or no.
Torain has, of course, only managed to get his notoriety and disseminate his abuse so widely because of the stations that employed him gaining ratings success from his comments.
The New York Times article cites an interview with The New York Daily News earlier this month in which Tom Poleman, vice president of Clear Channel Communications was quoted as saying, "We brought in Star to help make Power the market leader. He's done that. We're delighted."
The Daily News itself also commented on the affair in an article by David Hinckley under the heading, "Big bucks spur bigger insults."
"There are USD 60 million reasons hip-hop radio stations constantly push toward the 'edge' over which WWPR's Star plunged this week," writes Hinckley. "They're the reasons listeners have routinely heard a Puerto Rican producer on WWPR-Power 105.1 summoned as 'Hey, s---!' and why even now they can hear a daily comedy bit on WQHT-Hot 97 in which a Roger Toussaint imitator talks about how he misses the gay lover he acquired in jail."
"Stations," he writes, "need listeners to get advertisers, and in the noisy world of hip hop, this is how stations go after them."
And later on those advertisers, after commenting on the estimated USD 37 million Hot 97 took in advertising last year and USD 24 million for Power FM, he writes, "Hot 97's big lead is built on its popularity with the 18- to 34-year-olds that hip-hop advertisers - fast food chains, phone companies, TV networks and others - most want to reach."
And of who should shoulder the blame, he quoted Michael Harrison, editor of the trade mag Talkers, as saying, "Hosts are under enormous pressure to be 'edgy,' to push as far as they can. But when they take that one step too far - and because they're human, some will - the corporation suddenly doesn't want to know them. If you make the company a lot of money, like Howard Stern, it will take the heat. If you don't, you're gone. It's 'Mission: Impossible.'"
So, leaving it to readers to reflect on what that means in terms of the ethics of the radio companies, their advertisers, and the audience for hip-hop stations, on to comment from Clive Davis in the UK Times under the heading, "Hip-hop 50 cent short of a dollar."
The article was not written in response to the Torain incident but as a comment on pop music - Davis writes, "Admitting to disliking hip-hop is, we are told, a sure sign that you have entered middle age. But it's not necessarily so, is it? I thought rap had run out of steam when I was 23, yet I never grow tired of discovering new musicians from the realm of world music or - less often, admittedly - jazz. I love Motown and blues too. After journeying through those soundscapes, listening to the latest rap hit is like being invited for a five-course dinner at the local Burger King."
"All the same," he continues, "you court trouble by professing that rap is depressingly one-dimensional. As Slate, the online magazine, reported this week, the pop singer-songwriter Stephin Merritt has been accused of racism for saying that, although he liked the early days of rap, he is bored by the modern-day version."
"Pop critics," says Davis, "who are - need I remind you? - Overwhelmingly white and middle-class, and guilt-ridden to boot, employ a curious double standard here. It's absolutely OK to ridicule the audience for country music - "white trash" have always been fair game. No one would ever try the same with Dr Dre's posse - and not just because of the risk of flying bullets."
And his conclusion? " the packaging and the slick videos exploit racial stereotypes that were all the rage in the Jim Crow era. The minstrel show is back, and nobody seems to have noticed."
After Torain, another US host who unless the reports of his resignation are misrepresentative deserves a metaphorical boot up his backside and push back to reality: He's Art Cronk, a veteran of Englewood, Florida, talk station WENG-AM who resigned from the Viper Communications news-talk outlet.
According to Gavin Off, Assistant Englewood Editor for the Sun-Herald, Cronk "fought in the Vietnam War for his beliefs in freedom of speech" and "those beliefs led to his resignation from the Englewood radio station."
The paper says Cronk, a former marine who opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants on his afternoon "Front and Center" programme, and had called on his listeners to boycott any businesses that supported this month's immigrant boycott, said he quit after management told him to give both views of the illegal immigration story.
Cronk, the paper reports, said he believed station management received "outside pressure" to have him provide both views, and commented, "You're not going to take away my First Amendment rights."
The paper says another occasional fill-in host Paul Zecchino had said that following Cronk's resignation he would not work for the station any more and added, "The bigger picture is censorship. At this point, I don't see how I can (return) in good faith."
And of the show, "This was a very popular guy. Considering popularity means listeners, listeners means ratings and ratings mean advertising dollars, I just can't understand it."
RNW comment: It seems to us that a simple reading of the First Amendment- "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" indicates an intent to prevent legal restrictions on speech, does not support any contention that the host has a right to air time and moreover that the amendment is meant to encourage the expression of multiple viewpoints rather than that of an individual to deny any right of reply to comments made.
Cronk could honourably have disagreed with and argued reasonably against opposing views but the report indicates that he wanted to censor them and that Zecchino supports such censoring. Poachers than gamekeepers both in our view and people we would be quite happy to put on air to debate the issue with someone of an opposing viewpoint but would not pay a dime for so doing. From the line-up of the station - it includes Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly - it doesn't seem to us that the station is in any way to the "left" or pro-censorship of "right-wing" views.
Enough of hosts and on to another attack on the BBC by its commercial rivals as outlined in the UK Sunday Times by Angus McCrone under the heading, "Private sector tells BBC: Get off our turf, you're distorting the market" and says , "Internet, music and publishing companies are claiming the BBC is abusing its power."
We would of course note that News Corporation, whose holdings include The Times and Sunday Times, has a vested interest in weakening the BBC but also add that we regularly see praise of its radio output in the paper.
The article notes lobbying attempts to cut back the licence fee award due to be decided later this year.
McCrone quotes Emap chief executive Tom Moloney as complaining of the BBC that it is "overfunded and is therefore looking for things to do" and Warwick business school professor Martin Cave as adding, "The BBC's motivation is that if they expand, they may be able to get a higher licence fee. There is also a defensive motive - not to get left behind if the public moves into non-traditional services, with the risk that the licence fee could be undermined."
Amongst BBC plans being attacked by the commercial sector are pilot projects for "ultra-local" TV stations employing five "video-journalists" based in a local radio station and producing a daily TV bulletin: Of this Kevin Stewart, chief executive of Tindle Radio, commented, "If the BBC goes ahead with a national roll-out of its ultra-local TV stations, it will distort the market and we will see some local commercial radio stations handing in their licences. It would be a bit like Tesco opening up next to the village store."
RNW comment: Against this we would note that the eponymous Sir Ray Tindle, whose group owns 132 regional newspapers, issued a statement at the start of the war on Iraq saying he would not allow any anti-war articles, anti-war letters or anti-war comment in any of his papers. Our view at the time was that all his stations should have been monitored and is such censorship was found to have been practiced there and in breach of their licences, all of them should have been revoked.
There has also been opposition to BBC plans to puts its audio and video online -- Mike Darcey group commercial and strategy director at BSkyB in which News Corporation has a 37.7% stake, said, "Just when people are getting used to the idea that they should pay for useful internet services, the BBC weighs in with a large free proposition" and added that if the BBC archive were free online "it would be extremely difficult for any other video-content business models to survive, apart from possibly Sky with sport and movies".
Regarding radio, critics have argued that the BBC's "generous resources" have allowed it to pay more than commercial companies can afford and the article quotes a spokeswoman for GCap Media, as saying, "It is not the commercial sector that is driving up salaries. When we lose presenters, generally we know they are going to the BBC for more money."
Lisa Kerr, at the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA), said, "The BBC's expansionism is endemic. No matter how many times an executive says that the corporation is not trying to compete for ratings, it still does so. Radios 1 and 2 are targeting commercial radio's heartland audience with entertainment-based programming during the daytime. Having news bulletins for a couple of minutes an hour, with the occasional longer one, is not enough to make them public-service broadcasting."
McCrone says the BBC responded that more of the licence-fee money goes to Radios 4 and 5 than to Radios 1 and 2 and added that the budget for Radio 1, at GBP 18 million (USD 34 million), has been increasing during the current funding period at below the rate of inflation and that Radios 1 and 2 offer a much greater choice of music (new, live and in special-interest areas such as folk and jazz) than their commercial rivals do.
The article does indicate that attitudes are changing to reflect the environment and quotes Ed Shedd, media partner at Deloitte, as saying that with the advent of the trust and new public-interest and market-testing rules, "there is a realization within the BBC that it needs to think very hard about what services to launch and not to launch".
RNW comment: When many years ago we joined the BBC local commercial TV was certainly paying more than the corporation and a few years later commercial radio poached a goodly number of staff from the corporation, which had trained them. The argument it seems to us is one that the commercial sector is having a difficult time and would much rather vandalize the corporation's output than try to be more imaginative about competing. We remain of the view that BBC radio is far more worth keeping than its commercial competitors.
Finally before listening suggestions on to a recent BBC Radio 4 programme which attracted as complaints from some BBC Radio 4 listeners and was taken seriously by amongst others various letter writers to The Daily Mail before it was officially revealed as not a genuine phone-in but spoof of phone-in shows.
"Down the Line", which airs on Tuesdays at 22:00 GMT, made its debut two weeks ago and as Paul Donovan notes in his Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times, "The BBC issued a two-page profile of its new young host, alongside a smiling picture of him. We took notice. 'Gary Bellamy starts a new live phone-in,' I wrote. 'Basildon-born Bellamy made something of a name for himself as an award-winning talk-radio DJ in Canada," said The Observer. 'A former Today researcher, he is now back on Radio 4 hosting a new late-night phone-in...' And so on."
He then continues, "Oh, dear. We were all fooled, even Radio Times. None of us bothered to ask why Radio 4 was launching a late-night phone-in, a genre associated with the loopy and the lonely, in a slot (11pm on Tuesday) that is generally reserved for comedy. Or why we had never heard of Gary Bellamy, or his 'three prestigious Molson awards'."
And then, "All became clear - to most listeners, if not quite all - soon after the show went on air. This was a hoax. Down the Line is not a live phone-in, but a recorded spoof. It is put together before transmission. It is a brilliant pastiche of all the clichés, crossed lines, bathos, mis-hearings, mispronunciations, non sequiturs, racism, political correctness and general banality of many radio phone-ins. I think it is dazzlingly clever, and have rarely laughed so much. Judging from the Radio 4 message boards, though, just as many regard it as witless drivel."
Donovan quotes Caroline Raphael, Radio 4's head of comedy and entertainment, as saying the BBC hoodwinked the public "partly to see whether we could pull it off and partly because Paul and Charlie wanted it that way. They wanted creative space, they wanted people to listen, rather than just try to spot the voices. But we had to ask Editorial Policy. We have taken care not to lampoon the audience, not to be spiteful and not to involve real people on air. The telephone number we give out is a free number."
Donovan concludes," Deceiving licence-payers is problematical. People do not, on the whole, like to be made fools of. One's mind goes back to "The War of the Worlds", "Ghostwatch", "Brass Eye and "Panorama's" spaghetti tree, though these all differed. But the Down the Line spoof has been done with affection, and for a purpose. Deliberately exposed after a fortnight, it would not have been half as funny, or made any impact, had one known in advance that it was a hoax. Judging from the calls the BBC has received, there are still some listeners who think it was genuine. But perhaps we should not be too hard on them for believing what they heard, when we were only too willing to believe what we read."
So there is our first listening suggestion - last week's programme is on the website until tomorrow night. Ten minutes listening should allow anyone to make up their mind which of the opposing views to take of the programme and whether to listen more or stop.
And as a further suggestion more BBC Radio 4 comedy from the 17:30 GMT slot in "Revolting People" (also tomorrow); "That Mitchell and Webb Sound" on Thursday and "The Now Show" - Fridays at 17:30 GMT but also available as an MP3.
Moving on to the kind of programme that BBC Radio 4 excels at but is unlikely to gain a commercial audience, the Music Feature slot on BBC Radio last week had "Tinker, Tailor, Composer, Spy" in which Kenneth Shenton told the story of the composer Elizabeth Poston, who as well as composing and writing hymns spent part of The Second World War working from BBC Bush House and sending messages to the Resistance forces in occupied Europe using music: The piece plated after the midday news had been read, told the listeners who knew the code something vital to the war effort.
Changing channels but returning to comedy the BBC Radio 2 one-hour "Out to Lunch" series hosted by comedians Rob Deering and Russell Howard at noon GMT on Saturdays is also worth a dip into.
Then drama and "Drama on 3" yesterday on BBC Radio 3 was a production of Jean Genet's "The Maids" - new translation for radio by Neil Bartlett - and last weekend's BBC World Service "World Drama" - "Madam Bitterfly and the Stockwell Diva" by Bernadine Evaristo, which mixed dramatic comment on beauty, colour and the acting profession in the story of a south London girl who sets out to conquer Hollywood (On the web site until next Saturday).
Documentary and from BBC Radio 4 Sunday's "In Business" looked at the influx of Poles into Britain since Poland joined the European Union; "Great Lives" on BBC Radio 4 that on Friday had Johnny Weismuller - chosen by Olympic gold medallist swimmer Duncan Goodhew and including comment from the swimmer and star's only son Johnny Jr.; "Ockham's Razor" from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that last week looked at the importance of evidence-based research in preventing crime; today's "Research File" on Radio Netherland's English service that today includes a look among other things at the 'iCat', a cat-like robot that looks suspiciously like a very cute toy but is a research platform for the study of human-robotic communication; and also from Radio Netherlands "EuroQuest", which tomorrow includes an examination of the Dutch integration exam, a test that most non-westerners planning to move to Holland must take before going to live in Holland.
And finally for those interested in The Eurovision Song Contest BBC Radio 2 tomorrow at 19:30 and "50 Years of Eurovision" in which Jimmy Carr and Sandie Shaw look at the event in advance of this year's contest, which airs from 19:00-22:00 GMT next Saturday.
New York Daily News - Hinckley:
New York Times - Ogunnaike:
Sun-Herald - Off:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Sunday Times - McCrone:
UK Times - Davis:
2006-05-15: Former Clear Channel New York WWPR-FM (Power FM) morning host Troi Torain ("Star" of the "Star and Buck Wild" show) has now been released on bail of USD 2,000 following his earlier arrest on charges of endangering the welfare of a child.
The charges were laid after the host said he would like to sexually abuse the four-years-old daughter of rival host J Envy (Rashawn Casey) of Emmis's WQHT-FM (Hot 97) D and also racially abused Casey's wife, who is partially of Asian origin (See RNW May 12): A harassment charge was dropped after his attorney Benjamin Brafman said Torain "never intended to frighten the family." Brafman has said the comments were unacceptable but not illegal and that they were made in response to similar threats from Envy and another Hot 97 host Tarsha Nicole Jones - "Miss Jones".
2006-05-15: Industry body Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) has expressed "surprise and concern" at a news release by the Australian Attorney General announcing a government decision to lift the current statutory cap on broadcasting fees paid by radio broadcasters to record companies- set at one percent of the relevant broadcaster's gross annual earnings.
Commercial Radio Australia quotes CEO Joan Warner as saying, "This could lead to spiralling payments by radio stations to record companies - and we are especially surprised as we were told by the Government only a couple of months ago that it was not inclined to change the cap at this time."
The comments are at odds with the document still on the Attorney General's web site, which refers to a recommendation:" To achieve competitive neutrality and remove unnecessary impediments to the functioning of markets on a commercial basis, the Committee recommends that s. 152 (8) of the Copyright Act be amended to remove the broadcast fee price cap."
However the response posted is, "The Government does not accept that action on the recommendation to amend s.152 (8) of the Copyright Act is required at this stage. Following detailed examination of the IPCR Committee recommendation, the ceiling will be maintained on the basis of ensuring that copyright legislation continues to be fair and effective in balancing the interests of copyright owners and copyright users and in acknowledging that contractual arrangements are in place."
The document posted by the Attorney General also notes that no change is recommended as regards the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's feed and that the government accepts this, and among other things indicates that the government has no plans to extend general copyright but is considering expanding photographic copyright to the same period (Author's life plus 50 years in Australia) and that caching of material on the internet should in general continue to be allowed without licence fees.
The Commercial Radio Australia release suggests a change in government attitude or misunderstanding over broadcast fees as Warner continues by saying, "It is of significant concern that the Federal Government has chosen to take the side of the multi-billion dollar global record industry over Australian radio stations at a time when costs are rising and revenues are unstable for the local industry - particularly for radio broadcasters in regional areas. In addition, commercial radio stations have commenced planning for the digital rollout, at considerable expense, of superior radio services to all Australians using digital radio technology."
Update:The CRA release was correct. The Attorney General's Office, which had been listing its statement as the "latest" with a link to an undated PDF, subsequently and belatedly updated its site.
Attorney General's document (44KB PDF)
CRA news release:
2006-05-14: The most significant regulatory news at the moment comes from North America where yet further attempts are being made in the US Senate to increase indecency fines tenfold and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) tomorrow starts holding its first radio policy hearings since 1998. Elsewhere thare was a steady level of radio related actions by the regulators.
In Australia the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) collected 11.7% more in licence fees in 2004-5 (See RNW May 9) than in the previous year, indicating a strong broadcasting performance since they are based on gross earnings by the licensee.
It also decided to extend digital radio trials in Melbourne and Sydney (See RNW May 10) and published a number of radio licensing decisions.
These included a proposal to offer a new high power open narrowcasting radio service in Canberra, to operate on 1323 kHz on the MF-AM band; the allocation of a new community licence for the Mackay region of Queensland to the Mackay and District Aboriginal and Islander Media Association Inc (MDAIMA), the only applicant for the licence; and the allocation of a new community radio licence for the Sanctuary Point region of New South Wales to Bay and Basin Community Resources Inc (BBCR), which was also the only applicant.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is, as noted to start hearings on radio policy from tomorrow with the main issue almost certainly to be that of Canadian content.
The CRTC in 1988 increased the requirement for Canadian music on radio from a minimum of 30% to a minimum of 35% but commercial radio companies say that the advent of satellite radio services, which are not bound by the same rules, and other technological developments such as portable MP3 players mean that the rules are outdated.
They want a reduction in Canadian content minima, particularly for Oldies stations, saying that they expect a loss of listeners in the future because of the new competition although they had a strong 2005 (See RNW May 5) and are also calling for a bonus system to encourage airplay for new Canadian talent and stricter control on licences for new stations.
On the other side of the fence watchdog group the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting wants an increase to 40% in Canadian content requirements for popular music.
The CRTC has also now received an application to add satellite radio to some digital cable services provided by Rogers Communications (See RWN May 11) and public notice (below): It has also been involved in a number of routine radio decisions including (in order of province):
*Approval of transmitter relocation and increase in antenna height for low-power service CKFU-FM, Fort St. John. The changes will extend the rang of the service and had been opposed by Standard Radio Inc., licensee of CHRX-FM and CKNL-FM, Fort St. John, which argued that increased revenues that would accrue to CKFU would cause undue harm to its stations. The commission said the change would only add 10% to the potential households reached and took the view it would not cause such harm.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Approval of application for 49,000 watts FM transmitter at Baie Verte to rebroadcast the programming of the CBC's national, English-language network service Radio Two originating from CBN-FM, St. John's.
*Approval of application for 1,450 watts FM transmitter at Windsor to rebroadcast the programming of the CBC's national, French-language network service Espace musique originating from CJBC-FM, Toronto.
*Administrative renewals from 1 September 2006 to 31 August 200 of licences for the English-language radio networks known as Home Focus, Human Nature, House Of Blues, MuchMusic Radio Countdown, MuchMoreMusic Radio Countdown, The Funnies with Gord James, Human Nature Health Minute, Star Entertainment, and One-Off/One Time Music Specials.
The CRTC also issued a public notice concerning various applications including the following radio-related matters with a deadline for interventions or submissions of June 12:
*Application by CBU-AM, Vancouver, to add a 3,000 watts FM transmitter at Squamish to broadcast the programming of its Radio One service originating from CBU.
*Application to renew the licence of CFNY-FM, Brampton: The CRTC notes that the licensee may have failed to comply with Canadian music content regulations in January 2004.
*Application to renew the licence of CHAM-AM, Hamilton.
Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Application by Rogers Cable Communications Inc. (Rogers) to amend the licences of its cable distribution undertakings to allow it to distribute Sirius Canada and XM Canada programming.
Prince Edward Island:
*Application by Newcap Inc. for the use of frequency 105.5 MHz for 33,000 watts new English-language commercial FM approved in Charlottetown.
*Application by CFVD-FM, Dégelis, to add a 5,750 watts FM transmitter at Rivière-du-Loup.
The CRTC is also proposing to reduce the requirements for cable services to carry radio programming. It had received a request by the Canadian Cable Telecommunications Association (CCTA) to repeal regulations relating to requirements that various cable services must carry the programming of all local radio stations, The CCTA argued that few subscribers were aware of the radio services, even fewer used them, and that the analogue capacity used for the services could be better used for digital TV distribution.
The request was opposed by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) and others: The CAB argued that cable carriage was important to local stations, particularly AM services, for signal quality reasons, and that the requirements currently provide a de facto safeguard against cable companies giving undue preference to some radio services.
As an alternative to the repeal the CAB proposed that the section be amended to require that the signals of all local radio stations be distributed on a digital basis.
Other objectors representing campus and community services argued that many people access the programming of radio stations via cable Broadcasting Distribution Units (BDUs) and said cable distribution is an important tool for the development of community and campus radio stations, particularly since many small radio stations initially commenced operations as cable-only services, although some accepted that requiring only digital transmission of their radio signals would be acceptable.
The CRTC is proposing to retain more limited requirements that Class 1 and Class 2 BDUs distribute local community, campus and native radio stations, as well as one English- and one French-language CBC radio station.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) says it had received a total of 233 applications for funding in the second round of Sound & Vision, the Broadcasting Funding Scheme that offers grants for new television and radio programmes on themes of Irish culture, heritage and experience and is funded by 5% of the television licence fee.
Of the applications 118 were from TV and 115 from radio, the latter mainly from broadcasters whereas most TV applications were from independent producers. The radio applications were from both commercial and community stations with documentary programmes accounting for most applications and English or bi-lingual requests dominating - 60 of the radio applications were for English-language programmes, 14 for Irish language ones, and 41 for bi-lingual programmes.
Of these 71 were for documentaries, 14 factual, 13 "other", seven each Entertainment and Drama/Feature and three Children's programmes.
Also in Ireland, sister regulator Comreg has been in action against pirate broadcasts again but this time not music pirates but churches whose transmissions had been interfering with communications to pilots (See RNW May 12).
In the UK, Ofcom has awarded the new Rotherham commercial FM to Rother FM, which is wholly-owned by Lincs FM Group Limited and had been competing against two other applications (See RNW Feb 10).
It has also announced that it has received two applications for a new Andover FM licence in Hampshire and four for a new FM in Exeter, Devon.
The Andover applications are from:
*Tindle Radio's Radio Andover Limited, proposing a music-led service with a mix from the 60s to today plus news and information:
*Anton FM, which is proposing a service targeted at a 25-54 demographic with news and information plus the best music of the past four decades.
The Exeter applications are from;
*Exeter Radio - proposing a services for the 35-54 demographic of news and information plus music from the 50s to the present.
*Exeter Live - proposing a service rich in quality local news & information and with a genuinely wide range of music.
*Silver FM - The Macquarie-bank backed bid with a service for those above 35 of classic hits plus local news and information.
*Sunshine Radio - A local service with significant speech content for 35-64 year-olds.
Ofcom notes that a fifth application was received but considered invalid as it did not comply with published guidelines.
Ofcom has also advertised a new FM licence for Perth in Scotland (See RNW May 10)
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a routine week but as noted is likely to see further pressures for increasing penalties for broadcast indecency with a Senate Bill sponsored by Kansas Republican Sam Brownback likely to go to a committee vote this week. Like previous proposals the measure includes proposals to increase the maximum penalty from USD 32,500 to USD 325,000.
In the past Alaska Republican Ted Stevens, the Senate Commerce Committee Chairman, has blocked proposals on the basis that he would prefer people to police their listening and viewing rather than control through large penalties but Conservative organizations had lobbied extensively for the larger fines and are predicting that if there is a vote the new higher penalties will go through.
The FCC has also called on Oklahoma City station KATT-FM to show cause why it should not be reclassified as CO to allow a first local service at Bokchito, Oklahoma. KATT currently operates below the minimum requirements for a class C station.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-05-14: XM Satellite Radio says it has completed its tender offer relating to its outstanding secured notes: It purchased a total of approximately USD 110.8 million (around 59.4% of the total of such notes) of the 14% Senior Secured Discount Notes due 2009, representing approximately 59.4% of the total principal amount of 14% Notes, USD 99.7 million of the 12% Senior Secured Notes due 2010 (around 99.7% of the total), representing approximately 99.7% of the total principal amount of the 12% Notes, and USD 182.9 million of Senior Secured Floating Rate Notes due 2009, (around 91.5% of the total ).
In addition XM has called for redemption of all the remaining 14% Notes and Floating Rate Notes, expected to complete this by the end of May using proceeds of its recent offering of unsecured fixed and floating rate notes for the redemption.
The completion took place against a background of more law firms trawling for potential clients in class action suits against XM following the launch earlier this month by Washington D.C. law firm Schatz & Nobel, P.C. of a first suit against XM Satellite Radio and its President and CEO Hugh Panero seeking class action status and claiming that they "violated federal securities laws by issuing a series of materially false statements (See RNW May 4).
Subsequently at least two other law firms - Finkelstein, Thompson & Loughran and Berman DeValerio Pease Tabacco Burt & Pucillo - have filed similar suits and are trawling for investors to join in the action.
On a more positive operational note for the company it has announced that American Honda has sold its one-millionth vehicle with factory- installed XM: American Honda began factory installation of XM in 2003 and says it will equip more than 550,000 of its 2006 model year vehicles with receivers.
2006-05-14: Latest Australian radio ratings from Nielsen Media Research show DMG Australia's new Vega FM stations in Sydney and Melbourne having mixed fortunes in their fourth ratings - Sydney Vega gained share from 2.1 to 2.3 but in Melbourne the station went down from 1.6 to 1.4.
In Sydney Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB held on to its ratings top spot and kept the top rank at breakfast even though host Alan Jones was in hospital for two weeks of the survey period: The Sydney breakfast ratings showed 2GB with 12.9, down from 13.9 followed by Austereo's 2-Day's "Kyle and Jackie O Show" with 10.3 - up from 9.9 and DMG's Nova's "Merrick and Rosso" with 9.2 up from 7.9.
Southern Cross's 2UE, which fell from third to fifth overall , was fifth at breakfast with 7.9, down from 8.5, but also fared poorly in mornings, which John Laws once dominated but where it now languishes and 2GB leads. Morning shares were 16.4, down from 17.4 , for 2GB then 2-Day with 10.5 (10.4) and Nova with 8.8 (8.0) and ABC 702 where Virginia Trioli pulled up from 8.5 to 8.8 to go ahead of 2UE, which fell from this with 8.5, down from 9.5.
City by city, the top three stations were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: Mix 14.1 (14.5) - Same rank; SAFM 13.4 (12.5) up from fourth; 5AA 13.3 (12.8) - same rank. Nova with 12.4 (13.5) fell back from second to fourth, pushing ABC 891 with 11.5 (11.6) down a rank to fifth.
*Brisbane - Nova with 15.2 (14.4) - Up from second; Triple M with 15.0 (16.5) - down from first;
97.3 FM with 9.8 (9.8) - up from fourth:
*4BC with 7.7 (10.4) fell from third to sixth.
*Melbourne - 3AW with 16.7 (14.5) - same rank; Fox FM with 11.3 (10.3) - up from third; ABC 774 with 11.2 (13.0) - down from second;
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM 17.5 (18.1) - same rank; 96FM 12.6(11.7) - up from fourth; Nova with 12.0(11.8) - same rank;
*ABC 720 with 10.6 (12.1) fell from second to fifth:
*Sydney: 2GB 12.9 (13.4) - same rank; 2-DAY with 9.8 (9.6) same rank; Nova 8.7 (7.8) - Up from fourth;
*2UE with 7.9 (8.3) - fell from third to fifth, behind ABC 702 in fourth place, up from sixth with 8.2 (7.7):
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross:
2006-05-13: New York police have now arrested Troi Torain (Star of "Star and Buc Wild"), the fired WWPR-FM (Power FM) DJ following comments he made on air a threat to sexually molest the 4-years-old daughter of rival D.J. Envy ( Real name- Rashawn Casey)who works for Emmis's WQHT-FM (Hot 97) (See RNW May 12).
The Manhattan district attorney's office said Torain was charged with endangering the welfare of a child after officials had reviewed a transcript of his comments.
The New York Times reports that Torain was called to police headquarters in Lower Manhattan on Friday afternoon and ordered to surrender his target pistol license and his weapon, a .9-millimeter handgun: When he arrived, he was arrested by detectives from the police department's Hate Crimes Unit.
Torain's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, told the paper that what his client said about his rival and his family was "inappropriate, it was offensive" but "it was not criminal" and he added that Torain had apologized for his remarks, which were part of an ongoing exchange between two competitor D.J.s.
Brafman said, "This did not start with Star. At the end of the day, I think the charges will be dismissed" and added, "This starts out as warring, competing radio stations and inappropriate comments being made on both sides of this dispute and at the end of the day it spirals out of control and it ends up with an arrest."
New York Times report:
2006-05-13: Howard Stern "replacement" on CBS Radio's WCKG-FM, Chicago, Shane "Rover" French, who on Monday left his show and checked into Northwestern Memorial Hospital for tests, has now had to suffer an on-air bid from Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) to compete with him.
The bid came after CBS Radio chairman and CEO Joel Hollander told Opie and Anthony on their XM Satellite Radio Show, which is also syndicated by CBS Radio in New York and other stations where David Lee Roth had replaced Stern before his show was dropped (See RNW Apr 25), that they were going to be "on more stations."
Hollander had commented, "Let me be clear: Adam Carolla, Rover, the Sports Junkies, we're very committed to those guys. They're doing better every day. But there's a lot more real estate, isn't there?" and Hughes asked, "What city? Chicago?"
The Chicago Tribune says that Cumia cut off his co-host, saying "There is protocol for this sort of thing," but later off mike Hughes pressed for more and commented, "Chicago, right? Just give me a wink. Chicago, cool, I knew it."
The Tribune notes that CBS insists that French is a success in Cleveland, from where he was moved to Chicago, but that since he took over WCKG mornings listenership among men age 25 to 54, which had been a 6.1 rating and No. 2 in Chicago when Stern was in the slot, was down to a 0.6 and 30th place.
Previous Opie and Anthony:
Chicago Tribune report:
2006-05-13: Regent Communications has announced agreement to acquire two FMs in Peoria, Illinois, for USD 12 million allied with a second deal to sell three of its stations, with weaker signals, in the market for USD 2.8 million.
Being purchased from AAA Entertainment are Class "B" stations WZPW-FM and WXMP-FM and being sold to with Independence Media are Class "A" stations WIXO-FM, WVEL-FM and WPIA-FM.
The deals are expected to complete late in the third quarter or early in the final quarter of this year and Regent President and CEO Bill Stakelin said they were "extremely happy to be able to upgrade our competitive position in Peoria in the continued pursuit of increased shareholder value."
"These transactions," he continued, "demonstrate our commitment to prudently strengthening our position as the leading operator of middle and small-sized market radio station clusters. This purchase not only enhances our overall position in Peoria, but also benefits our adjacent station cluster in Bloomington, Illinois. Looking ahead, Regent is very well positioned as the premiere player in this size market, and we will continue to look for opportunities to benefit our shareholders."
2006-05-13: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that comments by CKAC-AM Montreal, host Doc Mailloux about people with trisomy 21 (commonly known as Down syndrome) were abusive and unduly discriminatory and breached the Human Rights clause of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Code of Ethics.
The programme concerned involved a segment in which a caller objected to comments Mailloux had made on a previous episode about a television advertisement that had focussed on people with trisomy 21: Mailloux then re-stated his views saying that "you don't elevate women with trisomy 21 by lowering normal women, for heaven's sake!" and saying you don't tell "normal" people , "'You're no better than a person afflicted with trisomy 21'' and added, "I find it degrading for normal people to be told they have the same value as someone who is truly abnormal and handicapped."
He then went on to use the term "mongoloid" in a number of comments, saying among other things, "When someone was mentally deficient or not too bright, well we'd say listen, that's a mongoloid attitude" and speaking of "hypocritical bull that they are individuals having the same value."
The station had responded to complaint by saying that taste was extremely subjective and in the case concerned CKAC was confident that the comments were "not based on latent hostility or discrimination and that they cannot be considered to be hateful or inciting hatred."
The complainant responded that the issue was not about taste but "evidence of contempt" and that Mailloux's comments were "an affirmation of intolerance and nastiness on the part of an intermediary with respect to a group of handicapped individuals that does not, moreover, have the ability to defend itself."
The letter continued by saying expressing profound concern "that a health professional would make, what are at minimum, leading comments concerning individuals with trisomy 21. "
The CBSC Quebec Regional Panel said it found that the "dialogue reflects a disrespect for those afflicted with trisomy 21" and continues, "On the level of societal value, Mailloux is almost filled with contempt for the notion that a 'normal' woman would be compared as equal to a trisomy 21-handicapped woman. It is, he goes so far to say, 'dangerous, unhealthy and inappropriate' to make such a suggestion. And then, adding insult to injury, he insists on the use of the terms "mongoloid" and "mongolism", despite the attempts on the part of his co-host, Janine, to make him understand that the terms are not only inappropriate in North America but also pejorative.
It said that when the host held "identifiable groups up to ridicule and disrespect by making abusive or unduly discriminatory comments, he crosses the line of entitlement and loses the benefit of the shield of free expression" and found the comments in breach of Canadian standards.
2006-05-13: The administrator of Australian AM non-broadcasting band network WorldAudio has said he is reasonably confident of selling the business by the end of the month and added that secured creditors had approved finances to enable the network to remain operating while he negotiated a sale.
Bob Elliott of accounting firm Hall Chadwick is in talks with four potential buyers and The Australian says it is thought a price of as much as AUD 5 million ( USD 3.9 million ) might be achieved: It notes that Elliot said it was costing less than AUD 200,000 ( USD 155,000) a month to keep the network operating while a sale was negotiated but that licence fees come due in June.
Last month WorldAudio switched output to automated music (See RNW Apr 27).
The Australian report:
2006-05-12: Universal Music Group, the world's largest record label company, has followed Sony-BMG and Warner in agreeing a settlement with New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer over its "payola" practices: It is to make a payment of USD 12 million, to be distributed through the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, to New York State not-for-profit entities to fund music education and appreciation programs.
Sony-BMG had settled for USD 10 million (See RNW Jul 26, 2005) and Warner Music for USD 5 million (See RNW Nov 23, 2005): In addition Spitzer has launched a suit against Entercom (See RNW Mar 9).
All the recording companies have agreed to end the promotional practices that led to Spitzer's investigation: In a statement on the latest settlement, the Attorney General's office referred to "pervasive 'pay-for-play' practices" and said "Universal, a subsidiary of Vivendi Universal which owns Island Def Jam, Interscope, Universal Motown Recordings Group, Uni-South, Universal Nashville and Verve, has agreed to stop making payments and providing expensive gifts to radio stations and their employees in return for "airplay" of particular artists' songs."
The settlement with Spitzer's office obligates Universal to undertake corporate-wide reforms, including immediate cessation of payments and other inducements to radio stations for airplay; discontinuance of independent promoters as a pass-through for securing airplay; hiring of a compliance officer to monitor promotion practices; and implementation of an internal system to detect future abuses.
Spitzer commented, "Consumers have a right not to be misled about the way in which the music they hear on the radio is selected. Pay-for-play makes a mockery of claims that only the 'best' or 'most popular' music is broadcast."
His office said Universal's "pay-for-play strategy" strategy included:
* Outright bribes to radio station programmers, including electronics, vacations, airfare, hotel accommodations and tickets to sporting events and concerts;
* Payments to radio stations to cover operational expenses and contest giveaways;
*Retention of middlemen, known as independent promoters (or "indies"), as conduits for illegal payments to radio stations;
* Payments for "spin programs" and "time buys," airplay under the guise of advertising.
The Attorney General's office obtained emails showing that Universal executives were not only aware of the payoffs but regularly trained and pressured subordinates to buy airplay.
It also said top management had stressed "the importance of requiring radio stations to deliver the bargained-for airplay" and cited an e-mail that commented in one instance, "This is embarrassing and a total lack of accountability. We have gotten ripped off beyond belief... That's almost $300,000 dollars and they are looking for some heads...bad bad bad. I don't want one invoice processed for indies, stations etc until their end of the deal is held up. If I find out that the deals were cut with lack of airplay and overnight spins starting with the nationals, as they say heads are gonna roll, including mine."
Switzer's office has posted two PDFs - one 41 pages of Universal's Assurance of Discontinuance and the other 87 pages of exhibits and these include various examples of payments including a receipt from Dave Symonds, program director at Entercom's WBEE-FM, Rochester, for a Dell laptop valued at USD 2512.08, another from Interscope for an i-Pod valued at USD 291.30, and others thanking Universal for what it had provided or asking for promotional support as well as various exchanges regarding promotional activities.
The investigation is still continuing and involved most if nto all of the large US radio groups..
UMG Assurance of Discontinuance (41 page 355 KB PDF):
UMG Exhibits of Assurance (87 page 693 KB PDF):
2006-05-12: Latest UK radio ratings from RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) just released provide good news for digital stations, with more than half of adult Britons saying they can listen to digital broadcasts and digital-only stations capturing 11.4% of all listening; the BBC, albeit not for Radio 1 - the Sony Station of the Year 2006 (See RNW May 9) - which lost listeners; and Emap but mixed news for GCap Media flagship Capital Radio as Emap's Magic took the lead in reach and listening in London: Emap's West Midlands Kerrang! , which was the Sony Station of the Year for stations with a 1 million plus potential audience and three other Sony Gold Awards, also performed well.
It had its highest-ever figures with a weekly reach of 366,000, up 13% year-on-year, and listening up 32% year-on-year at 2.77 million hours.
Magic managing director Andria Vidler commented of its success, "Last year, we said we wanted to take Magic 105.4 to number one - and that is what we have achieved. We have a clear proposition based on 'more music, less talk'; we have a great new breakfast presenter in Neil Fox and we have a Sony gold winning programmer of the year in Richard Park."
She added, "Consistent market leadership remains our long-term goal, and this amazing result shows that Magic is right up there. In London - one of the world's most competitive radio markets - there will be fluctuations in market leadership, but this is another great achievement in Magic's long-term plans."
GCap as usual stressed the positive, saying it was "Delivering on strategy, targeting commercially attractive 15-44's and getting Capital Radio on track" and adding that Capital Radio remained at the top for the 15.44 audience including females in the demographic - and for once the markets went along, boosting its shares 1.65% to 247 pence on Thursday.
It also stressed Capital's success with Johnny Vaughan's breakfast show saying that it topped the ratings for the time - it had a weekly reach of 963,000, down from 1.238 million a year earlier, with Heart in second rank with 855,000 and Magic third with 804,000 - and also noted that Vaughan also topped the ratings for females 15-44 "attracting a greater share of listening than Heart and Virgin combined."
GCap Media Operations Director, Steve Orchard commented: "Capital Radio's re-launch strategy set out to target the top position in the important 15-44 year old female audience and the station is now more appealing to this market. At Breakfast, Johnny Vaughan has significantly increased his lead over our nearest commercial competitor and the show remains London's clear commercial number one. I am delighted that Johnny has increased his share, particularly amongst women, who account for 58% of listening to the show. Feedback since the re-launch has been extremely positive and we have laid a solid foundation for Capital Radio's recovery."
GCap Media chief executive Ralph Bernard took a wider view, commenting, "These RAJARs demonstrate that as audiences fall at Radio 1 and Radio 2, we are starting to deliver audience growth at key stations challenging the BBC. Xfm and Choice FM have both recorded growth nationally and in the important London market. Meanwhile, Capital Radio's groundbreaking strategy of no more than two ads in a row is helping to deliver growth in our target market and independent research published this week demonstrates that this policy has improved ad effectiveness by almost 40%."
At Chrysalis, whose Heart FM had previously overtaken Capital Radio in listening, stress was placed on Heart's success as a network.
Chrysalis said it "remains the UK No 1 commercial ILR brand, with a 2% increase in year on "year listening hours" and said overall the results showed "a solid year on year performance from the Chrysalis Group, with total weekly hours for Chrysalis Radio increasing to 52.3m, up 1.4%."
In his comments Chrysalis Radio Chief Executive Phil Riley singled out LBC for praise, saying, "I am particularly delighted with the results for LBC. Following the two Sony Gold Awards earlier this week - including the Breakfast Show Award for Nick Ferrari - this dramatic increase in listening hours is fantastic news for the station and particularly encouraging that so much of the growth has been driven by our recent signings" and also expressing satisfaction with the group's newest Heart station, its East Midlands Heart 106 - the former Century 106 - increasing listening by 12.3% quarter-on-quarter in its first full survey.
For the BBC, Jenny Abramsky, Director BBC Radio & Music, said the figures represented "a steady quarter for BBC Radio" and added, "I'm pleased to see Radio Five Live and Sports Extra being rewarded for their unrivalled range of live commentary."
Within the figures, compared to the previous quarter (and year):
*BBC Radio 1 lost 560,000 listeners to drop back below ten million to a weekly audience of 9.734 million and a listening share of 9.1, down from 9.2% (8.4% a year ago when it had 9.957 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 2 lost 310,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 12.942 million and an unchanged listening share of 16.0% (16.5% a year ago, when it had 13.331 million listeners)
*BBC Radio 3 gained 126,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 2.099 million and a listening share up from 1.2% to 1.3% (1.3% a year ago, when it had 1.988 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 4 lost 27,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.291 million and listening share fell to 11.7% from 11.8% as people listened longer (11.8% a year ago when it had 9.262 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 5 Live, excluding Sports Extra, gained 449 ,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6.170 million, and a listening share of 4.6%, up from 4.3% (4.6% a year ago when it had 6.134 million listeners).
(Including Sports Extra it gained 492,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 6.269 million and a listening share of 4.8%, up from 4.7% (4.6% a year ago when it 6.178 million listeners).
*BBC World Service lost 91,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.262 million and a listening share of 0.6%, down from 0.7% (0.6% a year ago when it had 1.148 million listeners).
*BBC Asian Network gained 7,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 427,000 and a listening share down from 0.3% to 0.2% (0.2% a year ago when it had 443,000 million listeners).
On the commercial side for national networks:
*G-Cap's Classic FM lost 199,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.711 million and a listening share down from 4.3% to 4.2% (4.3% a year ago when it had 5.977 million listeners).
*UTV's (formerly The Wireless Group's) talkSPORT lost 108,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.070 million and a listening share down from 1.8% to 1.7%(1.8% a year ago when it had 2.482 million listeners.)
*SMG-owned Virgin (total including all AM and FM) lost 66,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.458 million and an unchanged listening share of 1.6% (1.5% a year ago when it had 2.420 million listeners).
The audience for digital radio listening was a record and RAJAR says that 13.6% of the UK population now live in a house with a DAB receiver - up from 11.1% at the end of 2005 and listening was up across all the digital platforms, terrestrial DAB broadcasts, Digital TV both terrestrial and satellite, and the Internet.
Although the listening pattern was of general increases there were some losses at two commercial stations over the last quarter - Kiss was down 52,000 listeners to 2.251 million and Smash Hits was down 62,000 to 660,000 - and year-on year - Q was down 8,000 to 320,000 and Smash Hits was down 51,000..
Year on Year audience changes were BBC 5 Sports Extra 48% gain to 613,000 a week; BBC 6 Music 15% gain to 359,000; BBC 1xtra 5.7% gain to 371,000 and BBC7 12% gain to 621,000 and for the main commercial digital offerings - Planet Rock 61% gain to 461,000; Q 2.4% loss to 320,000; Core 13% gain to 110,000; Xfm net 64% gain to 1.068 million, boosted by adding Scotland to its geographical reach and topping a million for the first time; Kiss Net 3% gain to 2.25 million; Kerrang! 7.5% gain to 1.202 million, Oneword (speech channel) 9% gain to 132,000; Smash Hits 7% loss to 660,000; The Hits 16.5% gain to 970,000, The Storm 37% loss to 54,000 and Sunrise 2% gain to 455,000.
Joining the ratings for the first time Emap's digital radio station 3C - Continuous Cool Country, recorded 109,000 listeners nationally and FUN Radio for pre-schoolers had 34,000 listeners while another recent addition, Virgin Radio Xtreme saw its audience up from 82,000 in December to 96,000.
RAJAR has also separated out Scottish listening for the first time, showing BBC Radio Scotland, the only station with national coverage, reaching 1.036 million listeners a week - up from 1.017 million in the previous quarter and 947,000 a year earlier but listening share was down from 9.4% in the previous quarter to 8.3% although for the year it was up from 7.9%; Second placed was Radio Clyde with 761,000 listeners, up from 721,000 in the previous quarter and 754,000 a year earlier - and in third place was Real Radio with 720,000, up from 701,000 in the previous ratings and 649,000 a year ago.
BBC Scotland noted success with its Internet streams, boosted by soccer requests, and Jeff Zycinski, Head of Radio at BBC Scotland, said he was delighted by the latest success, commenting, "Our willingness to take risks and try new ideas seems to have won the hearts of our listeners."
Accepted wisdom in radio these days seems to be about playing it safe, but in the first few months
Previous GCap Media:
Previous RAJAR ratings:
2006-05-12: Clear Channel's WWPR-FM (Power FM) has fired host Troi Torain, "Star" of the "Star and Buc Wilde" show that he co-hosts with his half-brother Timothy Joseph, after making what the New York Daily News termed "a series of shockingly ugly, racist and violent on-air remarks - including a threat to sexually molest the 4-years-old daughter of a rival deejay." He also said he wanted to urinate and ejaculate on the girl.
Premiere Radio Networks, which syndicated the show, has also dropped it.
The paper says the comments could lead to further action by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Manhattan district attorney's office, after Torain offered listeners USD 500 to tell him where the daughter of nemesis DJ Envy ( Real name- Rashawn Casey), of Emmmis's Hot 97, went to school and then went on to say he would like to abuse the child.
The paper says Torain ranted, "Yes, I disrespect your seed. If you didn't hear me, I said I would like to do an R. Kelly on your seed. On your little baby girl" and then went on to describe in graphic detail what he meant by reference to the R&B singer Kelly, who allegedly committed an unnatural act on an underage girl, a stunt captured on a widely circulated video. It says he also said in his diatribe that he carries a gun and used a number of anti-Asian slurs about Envy's wife Gia, calling her a "whore," and "lo mein eater" among other things and commenting about "the woman who carried that little mongrel for nine months."
She appeared at a news conference with several City Council members yesterday and said that she was afraid for her children, if not to Torain, to a listener and added, "I want his job to be yanked from him, and I want Clear Channel to have to be responsible on some level for allowing this to happen. Because not only have they condoned it, but by condoning it they have promoted it."
The paper quoted Queens Councilman John Liu, as saying Torain's words merited his being "terminated from the face of the Earth," and said he had filed a complaint with the FCC.
In a statement posted on the station web site, Rob Williams, SVP Clear Channel Radio/ Market Manager New York City, said , "Power 105 finds recent remarks broadcast by Troi Torain of the Star & Buc Wild Morning Show to be wholly unacceptable he is no longer with Power 105.1 or Clear Channel Radio. We sincerely apologize to those who may have been offended by his remarks."
RNW comment: Our view of Torain has not changed since we last commented in February after complaints over his abuse of a woman at an Indian call centre (See RNW Feb 18, 2005) but these remarks are a whole degree worse. Either Torain is on drugs or he perceives this kind of comment to be a way to attract his audience - in which case we wonder why any advertiser with morals could advertise with the show if he has it wrong or the station if he has it right.
At the same time the weasel comments from Clear Channel don't carry much weight since this is not the first time apologies have been to those who "may have been offended" - strictly correct but nowhere near a clear enough condemnation. At corporate level surely the company should have issued guidance that at a minimum all such apologies have to be to those where "were offended" and probably much stronger in a case like this when for once a few adjectives such as "appalling" would not have gone amiss.
Councillor Liu equally went over the top in our view which is that if Torain's control was affected by substance abuse he needs treatment - and removing from the air - and if it is his perception of what he should do to attract an audience the station should have taken action earlier and have to worry about losing advertisers - and advertisers with it worry about long-term boycotts of all their products - should he or other DJs feel they are working in an atmosphere where racism and abuse is considered a reasonable way to boost its ratings.
We would not remove a station's licence for bigoted comments but would feel it reasonable for advertisers to withdraw their support but if , as may well be the case here, remarks stray into inciting violence and can be prosecuted as a criminal matter then we do think a three-strikes and the licence goes might well be a reasonable policy.
Also in New York, Power FM's main rival, Emmis's WQHT-FM (Hot 97), which fired Torain in 2003 (See RNW May 22, 2003), has agreed to hire armed security guards to patrol outside its premises in Greenwich Village as part of attempts to stave off eviction following a shooting outside (See RNW May 3).
The landlord, the New York City District Council of Carpenters, is still pursuing eviction but State Supreme Court Judge Bernard Fried has ruled that some of the changes it had put into effect went too far and granted an order sought by Emmis to remove restrictions to its other stations in the building, "CD101" and "KissFM."
Fried also ruled that only on-air guests at Hot 97 would be allowed into the building for interviews, allowing their entourages to be barred.
Brian O'Dwyer, who represents the union, told Newsday, that the council would continue to pursue eviction, commenting of proceedings, "We were really pleased the judge understood the seriousness of the situation, the threat to the safety of our tenants and the community," he said. "There is really only one ultimate solution: ejectment."
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Daily News report:
Power FM site:
Power FM statement:
2006-05-12: Irish spectrum regulator the Commission for Communications Regulations (Comreg) has contacted three churches in the Republic after unlicensed broadcasts of Masses were found to be a likely cause of interference with pilots near Dublin airport.
The Irish Independent reports that after months of complaints from pilots of transatlantic flights flying over Ireland about bursts of static as they approached the airport an investigation by ComReg pinpointed the source as mass services that were being transmitted by churches, which had not been licensed to broadcast.
The Irish Aviation Authority said it had received complaints over the past year and had "identified a trend that most of the interference seemed to be happening at morning time" and worked with Comreg to find the sources.
Lilian Cassin, of the Irish aviation authority told the paper, "None of the pilots actually reported hearing prayers or hymns coming over the airwaves, but what prompted our suspicion was the regular timings of the disturbances. Our controllers couldn't hear the static on the ground."
After Comreg tracked the sources, priests at three churches in Counties Kildare, Meath and Kilkenny were warned that their unlicensed broadcasts were cutting across air-traffic control.
The Catholic Communications Office said the Church did not condone illegal broadcasts but the relaying of Mass was a lifeline for those in hospitals, hospices and parishioners unable to attend church and Comreg has said that it hopes to have a dedicated radio frequency in place later this year "to meet the needs of religious and other community organisations".
Irish Independent report (Requires registration - free):
2006-05-12: Lawyers for CBS have told a Manhattan judge they are close to settling the organization's law suit against Howard Stern and Sirius according to the New York Daily News.
CBS launched the lawsuit at the end of February claiming compensatory and punitive damages for multiple breaches of contract, fraud, unjust enrichment, and misappropriation of CBS Radio's broadcast time and also seeking damages from Sirius Satellite Radio, Inc. for unfair competition and tortuous interference with Stern's CBS contract. (See RNW Mar 1).
The paper says CBS lawyer Irvin Nathan told Manhattan Supreme Court Judicial Hearing Officer Ira Gammerman they were "very close" to settling.
None of the parties have made any formal comment as we publish.
New York Daily News report:
2006-05-11: Cumulus, which earlier this month announced the completion of its purchase of Susquehanna Radio (See RNW May 6), has reported first quarter revenues up 4.4% on a year ago to USD 75.3 million but station operating expenses were up 6% to USD 53.6 million - an increase put down primarily to costs associated with the launch of a second station in Houston - with the result that station operating income was only up 0.4% to USD 21.7 million: Net income attributable to common stockholders rose 4.1% to USD 857,000 (an unchanged one cent per diluted share).
It also noted that in the quarter it repurchased 2,011,500 shares of its Class A Common Stock at an average price of USD 12.77 and, since the start of its re-purchase plan has spent USD 136.1 million on 10.782 million shares and currently has authority to spend a further USD 63.9 million although this is reduced to USD 36.4 million by the company's current credit agreement.
Further to this it has now announced the intention to initiate a Dutch Auction Tender Offer to repurchase up to 11.5 million shares of its Class A common stock and also up to 5.0 Million Shares of its Class B Common Stock from Affiliates of Bank of America Corporation at the tender offer purchase price. The shares to be repurchased amount to around 24% of its outstanding Class A stock and Cumulus says it expects to commence the tender offer next week and keep it open for 20 days with the high end of the offer price range around an 8% premium to its May 9 closing price of USD 11.56 - it ended Wednesday up 4.3% at USD 12.06.
Commenting on the plan, chairman, president and CEO Lewis W. Dickey Jr. commented, "We believe that Cumulus stock represents an attractive investment opportunity and this transaction is another step toward our long-term goal of maximizing stockholder value. This tender offer also serves as an efficient mechanism for us to return cash to those stockholders electing to participate at a premium over recent trading prices without the usual costs associated with open-market transactions."
Also reporting - for its second quarter running to April 1 - was the Walt Disney Company, which is selling its ABC Radio operations to Citadel: Overall its revenues were up 3% on a year earlier to USD 8.027 billion and net income was up 12% to USD 733 million (from 31 cents to 37 cents per share).
Disney does not split out radio results within its Media Networks division, which saw the largest revenue increase - up 18% to USD 3.551 billion with operating income up 20% to USD 969 million: In other divisions Parks and Resorts revenues were up 7% to USD 2.251 billion with operating income up 17% to USD 214 million, studio entertainment was down 22% to USD 1.774 billion and 39% to USD 147 million respectively and consumer products was down 3% to USD 451 million and 8% to USD 104 million respectively.
Within the media division cable network revenues were up 9% to USD 1.772 billion and broadcasting revenues were up 29% to USD 1.779 billion - put down primarily to growth at ABC TV Network - with operating income up 5% to USD 809 million and from USD 38 million to USD 160 million respectively: Disney shares ended Wednesday up 1.79% at USD 30.11.
2006-05-11: Bridge Ratings' latest update on HD radio shows most Americans are still unaware of HD digital radio with awareness of the technology amongst only 19% of Americans above 12: The peak awareness was 26% amongst the 12-24 demographic followed by 15% of those 25-54 then 10% of those above 55.
Interest in owning an HD receiver follows the same trend but is also fairly low overall with 11% expressing interest - 8% very interested and 3% somewhat interested- expressed interest in owning an HD radio and interest peaks at 31% of those in the 12-24 demographic amongst whom 19% say they would be very and 12% they would be somewhat interested in owning an HD radio some time in the future falling to only 8% - 5% very and 3% somewhat - of those above 55 and only 17% - 12% very and 5% somewhat - for those 25-54.
The largest group in all demographics are the not sure - 52% overall with 18% answering "not really" and 19% "not at all."
Bridge also says that more than three quarters of their sample questioned in the week April 17-24 were satisfied with the programming from their local AM and FM stations but it also said that more than half - 54% - said they were spending "more time than before with my personal music collection" and a quarter that they were "listening to more music on the Internet lately."
RNW comment: Although the actual listening to traditional radio is still well ahead of that spent with other sources - 18.9 hours a week compared to 11.9 hour s spent using the internet but only 1.7 hours a week listening to "Internet radio" , 1.2 hours on streaming music other than radio and 0.8 hours on podcasts in addition to 5.9 hours spent with personal music collections, the concern for radio has to be that of trends.
Bearing in mind that host households have radios easily available most of the time whatever they are doing and that it is only a simple press of a switch to listen, one would expect the older medium to dominate.
Against that background the fact that more than half people's listening is to audio other than radio - 9.6 hours compared to 18.9 - is a very significant change over the past few years and as other sources become more easily available and people acquire the required equipment it seems to us inevitable that radio's share will go down significantly.
Previous Bridge Ratings:
2006-05-11: RadioScape has announced what it says is the World's first software-controlled, single chip RF front end that can handle six frequency bands -- Band III and L-Band for Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), medium wave, long wave and short wave for AM and Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), and Band II for FM.
It says the RF chip combines with a standard DSP chip that runs RadioScape's baseband digital radio software and also controls the RF IC to form a two chip solution, which dramatically reduces the power consumption and size of modules compared with current generation solutions, which have used independent RF front ends for each of the different frequency bands - each consuming power and adding to the bulk of the product
CEO John Hall said of the development, "This new RF IC is a breakthrough technology for RadioScape that will revolutionize multi-standard, multi-band digital radio."adding
He added, "There is nothing like it in the market and is the result of a major initiative that we started over two years ago to create a technology platform for our next generation consumer radios. The objective was to create a highly flexible RF device that would complement our software-defined radio approach, timed to coincide with the emerging DRM market, and we have done that."
The company's VP of Business Development Dave Hawkins added, "Our unique partitioning of the radio system allows us maximum re-use of the digital components by loading only the appropriate baseband stack into the DSP as and when required. We have used the same approach in our RF IC, which reuses internal functionality to best suit the frequency band and standard required at the time. Dynamic configuration of the RF path on the RF IC is controlled by the DSP using software algorithms to ensure the optimization of both performance and power consumption. The result is a multi-frequency RF device that requires less than half the power used by the equivalent circuits in our current generation of multi-standard modules."
Samples of the new offering in a RadioScape module are expected to be available next month.
2006-05-11: GCap Media chief executive Ralph Bernard has said he underestimated the challenges of the merger between GWR and Capital Radio and also the extent of the advertising downturn.
The UK Times quotes him as saying, "It's been a tough year and we have been upfront in our comments that we did underestimate some of the challenges the merger would bring, particularly cultural differences. Even though both companies were in the same business, we experienced inevitable operational and technical differences once the merger took place."
On advertising - GCap reported a 17 per cent drop in revenues in the first three months of this year (See RNW Mar 25) - Bernard added, "We also underestimated the advertising downturn and the level of focus we would have to place on Capital Radio" but continued, "On the positive side, though, we also underestimated just how far we could reduce costs and have significantly increased cost synergies to a total of £25 million."
Previous GCap Media:
UK Times report:
2006-05-11: Rogers Communications Inc. has filed an application with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to add satellite radio to the services it provides on cable digital services in Ontario, New Brunswick, Labrador and Newfoundland.
The filing, reports the Toronto Globe and Mail, was made in February shortly after Sirius and XM launched their services in Canada, but only made public this week when the CRTC called for comments: The paper says Rogers has only held preliminary negotiations about pricing and packaging with the satellite radio firms according to its letter to the CRTC.
The Globe and Mail says John Lewis, vice-president of operations at Sirius Canada, declined to comment on whether it had held talks with Rogers but said there had been "been discussions with a number of players" while XM Canada chairman and chief executive officer John Bitove said in a statement, "We don't comment on specific discussions or negotiations, but we believe that the more places Canadians can listen to or sample XM the better" and added, "XM is a service that can travel across platforms and we are negotiating on multiple platforms to expand our brand awareness and enhance our revenue streams."
Sirius Canada has announced that it now had more than 100,000 subscribers a figure that President and CEO Mark Redmond said exceeded "all of our expectations" for its first five months of operation.
It has also announced that it is to add ten new channels to take its total offering for 110 - the new channels are three music channels - "Sirius Love" , "BackSpin" , and "Hot Jamz" taking it to a total of 65 commercial-free music channels - and seven news and entertainment channels including the tremendously popular Howard 101, lifestyle channel "Lime", "CNN Headline News", "FOX News Talk" and from Canada's leading weather information provider," The Weather Network Satellite Radio Service."
Previous Sirius Canada:
Previous XM Canada:
2006-05-10: Australian metropolitan radio stations' advertising revenue in April this year was 7.1% up on a year earlier to AUD 47.7 million ( USD 37 million) according to figure from PricewaterhouseCoopers just released by industry body Commercial Radio Australia (CRA).
Strongest growth was in Brisbane, which was up 15.6%, followed by Adelaide, up 12.5 %, and Melbourne, up 9.6%.
Sydney, which accounts for almost 40% of the total of capital city advertising in the country, and whose revenues declined in February and March was up 1.7% to AUD 17.5 million ( USD 13.6 million).
Overall Australian commercial in the cities in the ten months to the end of April was up 3.3% to AUD 492.9 million (USD 381.7 million) and Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner said the April "growth rate was the strongest performance in eight months but it is still too early to say whether this represents the start of a turnaround in the market."
Looking forward, it's unclear how much the recent interest rate increase will affect consumer confidence and flow on to the advertising market, but the return to growth in April is good news," she added.
2006-05-10: International satellite radio company WorldSpace, which yesterday announced that it was to start its first European service in Italy (See RNW May 9), ended the first quarter with 153,437 subscribers, of whom 111,723 subscribers were in India, where it has recently been concentrating its efforts (It recently extended its operations to four more Indian cities - Goa, Jaipur, Nagpur and Thiruvananthapuram -with a 2.6 million targeted listener base and a total population of 6.2 million.).
Subscription revenues doubled compared to a year earlier - up from USD 800,000 to USD 1.6 million and overall revenues were up 35% to USD 2.6 million - but its net loss was up by even more - from USD 9.2 million (40 cents a share) to USD 29.2 million (79 cents a share) this year although they were down on the final quarter of 2005 when they hit USD 33.2 million (90 cents a share).
Compared to that final quarter EBITDA loss was also down - from USD 44.9 million to USD 31.2 million and the company said its Cost Per Gross Addition (CPGA) and Subscriber Acquisition Costs (SAC) were also down quarter on quarter.
Commenting on the results, chairman and CEO Noah Samara said, "We are continuing to focus very closely on driving subscriber growth, especially in India, as we expand our services to more cities, ensure the availability of our products at more retailers and upgrade our content and products."
He added, "We are launching more cities and creating innovative special promotions that are driving strong revenue growth. We are confident that we have taken the necessary steps in terms of management changes, enhanced visibility, expanded marketing alliances and improved products that will enable us both to grow and retain subscribers to our ever-expanding unique and exciting content."
WorldSpace has also announced the appointment of two co-Chief Operating Officers - Gregory B. Armstrong and Alexander P. "Sandy" Brown: Armstrong will oversee the company's sales, customer care, technology and distribution functions, and Brown its company's marketing and content departments, including driving market development activities in Europe, China and other new markets.
Armstrong was previously with Liberty Media and Brown with various media companies, most recently as President and CEO of CNBC Asia Pacific.
2006-05-10: Entercom's deal with the Boston Red Sox that saw off a rival bid from Greater Media (See RNW May 6) is giving the team more than USD 15 million a year and could possibly provide it with an ownership stake in several New England radio stations according to the Boston Herald.
The paper says that under the 10-year deal, the Sox will have the option to take up a minority stake not only in WRKO-AM, which will broadcast most of the team's games next year, but also in sister stations WEEI-FM in Providence and WBEC-FM in Springfield.
The paper quoted Julie Kahn, general manager of Entercom in Boston, as saying the deal, which involves moving Sox games from their former home, Entercom's sports talk WEEI-AM, will benefit both WEEI and WRKO and adding, "It was a handsome payday for the Red Sox."
The paper adds that Greater Media had offered up to USD 14 million a year and a USD 8 million signing-on bonus plus a stronger signal on adult rock WBOS-FM before it dropped out of the race.
In other US sports-radio developments, Red Zebra Broadcasting, the media company set up by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, has announced completion of its (reportedly USD 33 million) purchase from Mega Communications of simulcast WBPS-FM, Warrenton, Virginia and WBZS-FM, Prince Frederick, Maryland, plus WKDL-AM, Alexandria, Virginia (See RNW Jan 21).
Red Zebra CEO Bennett Zier said of the completion, "With only 96 days until kickoff of the Redskins' first pre-season game, Red Zebra Broadcasting is getting ready to take to the field to serve and entertain our community. Closing this transaction is a significant first step."
Previous Red Zebra:
Boston Herald report:
2006-05-10: UK media regulator Ofcom has advertised a new commercial FM licence for Perth in Scotland and the surrounding area.
It says that depending on technical details the signal could reach an adult population of around 60,000 people. Applications, together with a non-refundable fee of GBP 5,000 (USD 9,300) have to be submitted by August 10.
2006-05-10: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is to extend the current Eureka 147 DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) trials in Sydney and Melbourne until the end of June next year, particularly to allow trials of new coding technology that would allow more efficient use of bandwidth.
The Australian government has indicated that it will allow broadcasters 128kbps for Eureka 147, a bit rate that allows FM quality whereas the later AAC+ coding is said to give near CD quality at 64 kbps and would allow a 128kbps signal to deliver much the same as currently requires more than 200kbps.
The ACMA has not firmly committed itself to the Eureka system and Giles Tanner, ACMA General Manager, Inputs to Industry Division, commented, "While these trials have been extended again, ACMA remains committed to facilitating trials of all digital radio technologies, including Eureka 147, Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), In-Band On Channel (IBOC), ISDB-TSB and any other existing or emerging system that makes use of the broadcasting services bands."
On the extension he said, "Information gathered in relation to the current digital radio trials is an important consideration in informing the development of the Australian Government's digital radio policy. In particular, both triallists will be testing new coding and an advanced version of Eureka, which if successful will significantly improve the quality of digital radio sound that will be available to each broadcaster."
As well as bit rate-signal quality issues, the trials in Sydney have also investigated signal penetration into various kinds of buildings (See RNW Apr 5).
2006-05-09: BBC Radio 1 has won this year's UK Station of the Year Sony Gold Award - and four other golds - with commercial stations taking the other "Station" awards for those stations with limited audiences, Nick Ferrari of LBC taking the Breakfast Gold and other Gold personality winners including BBC Radio 1 breakfast host Chris Moyles and Radio 2 host Chris Evans.
Other awards included the annual Gold Award to BBC Radio 2 veteran and breakfast host Terry Wogan, and BBC Radio 3, which took the Special Award for its "Beethoven Experience" broadcast of all the composer's works.
The other Station Of The Year awards went to Planet Rock; Kerrang! 105.2 West Midlands - it also took three other golds); Pirate FM - Cornwall, Plymouth & West Devon; and Coast 96.3 -North Wales Coast (Up to 300,000).
Overall programmes aired by the BBC took 19 Golds to 12 for commercial radio and amongst the individual winners Zane Lowe stood out by repeating his "double" of last year and again taking the repeating the double of last year and again taking Sony Gold for The Specialist Music Programme Award and Music Broadcaster of the Year.
The Gold winners in this year's 31 categories were:
*The Special Award- The Beethoven Experience on BBC Radio 3.
*The Gold Award - Terry Wogan.
Station of the Year Awards:
*Station Of The Year - BBC Radio 1.
*Station Of The Year -1 million plus - Kerrang! 105.2 West Midlands.
*Station Of The Year -300,000 to 1 million - Pirate FM - Cornwall, Plymouth & West Devon.
*Station Of The Year - under 300,000 - Coast 96.3 -North Wales Coast.
*Station Of The Year - Digital Terrestrial - Planet Rock.
*The Breakfast Show Award - Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, LBC 97.3FM
*The Music Programme Award - Mornings with Rick Shaw, Kerrang! 105.2 West Midlands.
*The Specialist Music Programme Award - Zane Lowe, BBC Radio 1.
*The News & Current Affairs Programme Award - 1800 News Bulletin, BBC Radio News for Radio 4.
*The Sports Programme Award - Fighting Talk, Worlds End for BBC Radio Five Live.
*The Speech Programme Award - The Stephen Nolan Show, BBC Radio Ulster.
*The Interactive Programme Award - Scott Mills, BBC Radio 1.
*The Entertainment Award - Chris Moyles, BBC Radio 1.
*The Music Broadcaster Of The Year - Zane Lowe, BBC Radio 1.
*The Music Radio Personality Of The Year - Chris Evans, BBC Radio 2.
*The News Journalist Of The Year - Angus Stickler, BBC Radio News for Radio 4.
*The Speech Broadcaster Of The Year - Eddie Mair, PM for BBC Radio 4.
*The Station Programmer Of The Year - Richard Park, Magic 105.4.
*The Drama Award - BBC Radio Drama for Radio 4 with "No Background Music."
*The Comedy Award - BBC Radio Entertainment for Radio 4 with "The Ape That Got Lucky."
*The Feature Award - BBC Radio & Music Factual for Radio 4 with "A Requiem for St Kilda."
*The Music Special Award - Brook Lapping Productions for BBC Radio 4 with "Lennon: The Wenner Tapes."
*The News Feature Award - Return to Sarajevo, BBC World Service News & Current Affairs for the World Service.
*The Breaking News Award - Capital Radio/GCap Media News for Capital Radio, 1548 AM Capital Gold, Xfm & Choice FM with "The London Bombings."
*The Live Event Coverage Award - LBC Newsroom & Programming for LBC 97.3FM & LBC News 1152AM with "The Boat Race 2005."
*The Community Award - BBC Hereford & Worcester with "Hearing Voices."
*The Promo Award - Jingle Service: TM Century with "Kerrang! Christmas.
*The Competition Award - Xfm with "Xfm's Rock School."
*The Station Imaging Award - Kerrang! 105.2 West Midlands.
Previous Sony Awards:
Sony Awards web site:
2006-05-09: Emmis shares have soared following an announcement by Chairman, president, and CEO Jeffrey H. Smulyan that he will try to take the group private in a USD 567 million deal - USD 15.25 per share: Emmis shares ended Monday up 21% at USD 16.25, valuing the company at USD 599.54 million, having closed on Friday at USD 13.43.
Smulyan, who is a former owner of the Seattle Mariners, last week lost a bid to purchase the Washington Nationals baseball team: He already owns around 17% of Emmis and is planning the purchase through a company he owns, ECC Acquisition.
In announcing the offer Emmis notes that holders of Class B Common Stock will be entitled to vote on the transaction on an "as converted" to Class A Common Stock basis thus giving Smulyan power to block any other bid - as the announcement puts, it he owns "approximately 66.7% of the combined voting power entitled to vote on any such other transaction (calculated to include
shares issuable under all options exercisable currently or within 60 days), thereby giving him the ability to prevent Emmis from engaging in any such other transaction."
Reuters says the bid implies an enterprise value of about USD 1.4 billion, including debt and preferred stock and that after a buyout, Smulyan would refinance some of the company's outstanding debt and preferred stock.
Emmis has not made formal comment but its board has set up a special committee of independent directors to look at the proposal. The company, which is selling off its TV stations to concentrate on radio has also announced plans to sell a further TV station - WKCF-TV in Orlando, Florida, to Hearst-Argyle Television Inc. for USD 217.5 million in cash, and also a USD 77.7 million deal to sell KKFR-FM, Phoenix for USD 77.5 million to Bonneville. Bonneville plans to drop KKFR's CHR/Rhythmic format and initially simulcast its News/Talk KTAR-AM, Phoenix.
Emmis notes in a release that since May 2005, it has found buyers for 14 of its television stations and two stations remain in the Emmis portfolio - New Orleans' WVUE-TV (Fox 8) and Honolulu's KGMB-TV (CBS 9). - whilst after the KKFR deal closes it will own 23 domestic radio stations in seven markets.
2006-05-09: International satellite radio operator WorldSpace, which has recently been concentrating its efforts on the Indian market, has now announced a partnership to launch Europe's first satellite radio service.
It says it has received approval for from the Italian Ministry of Communications to launch the subscription service and anticipated a launch next year using one satellite already in orbit, and a terrestrial gap-filler network to be rolled out in all major cities throughout Italy.
The company adds that intends to start rolling out this complementary network as soon as its installation plan, currently under finalization, is approved by the Ministry and that eventually subscribers in Italy will have access to approximately 50 channels of diversified sports, talk, and commercial-free music programming.
The partnership will be between WorldSpace Italia S.p.A, a majority-owned subsidiary of WorldSpace's European holding company, Viatis Satellite Radio, and New Satellite Radio S.r.l., an Italian company whose primary shareholder is Class Editori S.p.A., a leading Italian financial, media and broadcast corporation based in Milan.
Commenting on the agreement, WorldSpace Chairman and CEO Noah Samara said, "We are very pleased to receive these authorizations from the Italian Ministry of Communications for the launch of our service," adding, "Italy is an attractive market for us. Our research shows it to be one of the two top markets for satellite radio in Europe We continue to believe that the market for mobile satellite radio service in Europe is larger than that of the United States, where XM and Sirius have been hugely successful."
"Our strategy," he continued, "has been to roll out a European service on a sequential, country-by-country basis. Our goal was to obtain our first terrestrial authorization in one country in 2006. We have accomplished this in Italy, which we consider to be the best near-term market for a mobile satellite radio service. We will continue to seek similar approvals in the rest of Europe to achieve our goal of a pan-European satellite radio service."
Luca Panerai, CEO and director of New Satellite Radio S.r.L. and board member of Class Editori S.p.A. added, "We are confident that coupling Class Editori's extensive Italian media experience and broadcast capabilities with WorldSpace's technology and unique platform offerings will provide a first-of-its kind listener experience in Italy. We are very proud that Italy, due to the effectiveness and sensibility to technology innovation of the management of the Italian Ministry of Communications and Communications Authority, is the first country in Europe to authorize the revolutionary satellite radio service which already counts more than 10 million subscribers in the U.S. The authorization also paves the way for the Italian car manufacturing industry to be the first in Europe to provide digital satellite radio service."
2006-05-09: In US radio results there were yet more ups and downs with Entercom first quarter revenues and net income down whilst for Salem and Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) both were up. The markets marked Entercom shares up 8.4% to USD 28.93 and SBS up 4.76% to USD 5.50 whilst Salem was marked down 1.25% to USD 15.07.
At Entercom net revenues were down 3% to USD 91.1 million -same station revenues were down by 4% to the same total - whilst station operating expenses were up 2% to USD 59.5 million - a 1% increase to the same total for same station operating revenues.
Same station operating income was down 13% to USD 31.6 million and overall net income was down to less than half a year earlier - from USD 16.237 million to USD 7.755 million - from 34 cents to 19 cents per basic and diluted share.
The latest figures included USD 1.5 million in legal expenses, primarily in connection with a deal that fell through, and Entercom also noted that during the quarter it repurchased 2.6 million shares of common stock for USD 77.2 million and that it has subsequently purchased a further 700,000 shares for USD 18.3 million. Its board has authorize continuation of the programme by authorizing additional expenditure on repurchases of up to USD 100 million and since starting repurchases has bought nearly a quarter of its stock back - buying a total of 12.1 million shares at a cost of USD 399.8 million.
Commenting on the results, President and CEO David J. Field said, "First quarter results were adversely affected by sluggish advertising conditions affecting all traditional media, exacerbated by weakness in the New Orleans and Boston markets. Entercom's revenue results for the quarter were in line with the markets in which we operate."
"Looking ahead, " he continued, "we are optimistic that radio revenues will accelerate as advertisers take notice of the strength and stability of radio listening levels and the medium's highly compelling value proposition vs. competitive media. Our investments in new brands, enhanced content, new platforms and industry initiatives will drive value for our listeners and customers and enhance the company's business model going forward. We believe our stock remains significantly undervalued and have continued to repurchase our stock, acquiring 2.6 million shares during the quarter. In addition, we commenced a quarterly dividend of 38 cents per share"
Entercom is forecasting report second quarter net revenues down mid-single digits on 2005 same station figures of USD 121.2 million basis and station operating expenses (excluding non-cash equity compensation expense noted below) to be lower by approximately 1% than the USD 66.5 million in 2005. It adds that it expects to recognize non-cash compensation expense, which now has to be reported under new accounting rules, of USD 1.8 million for the each of the remaining quarters in 2006 and notes that no non-cash awards were made in the first quarter of this year.
Salem recorded a 3.8% increase on a year earlier in net broadcasting revenue with operating income up 16.5% to USD 10.6 million and net income up 13.5% to USD 2.7 million ( from 9 cents to 11 cents per diluted share).
The latest figures include a USD 3.5 million gain from the disposal of assets, a further USD 400,000 gain from discontinued operations and a USD 1.3 million non-cash compensation charge whereas those a year earlier included only a USD 100,000 loss from discontinued operations.
President and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III commented, "Radio broadcasters, including Salem, faced a challenging advertising environment in the first quarter with industry revenue flat compared to the comparable period last year. Positives for Salem for the quarter included our News Talk stations, which posted 7% same station revenue growth, our consistent local and national block programming business, which grew revenue by 7% over last year on a same station basis, and our Internet business which achieved 30% revenue growth over last year."
He continued, "Looking further into 2006 and longer term, we are optimistic that we can continue to outperform the overall radio industry. Nearly half of our radio stations are in a start-up or early development stage and there is substantial upside if we can successfully take these stations to maturity. Furthermore, we have made it a priority to develop a new media strategy that embraces technology as a growth opportunity for Salem. The integration of our proven traditional media platform with new media offers significant growth opportunities for us to become a leading multi-media creator, aggregator and distributor of faith, family and values based content."
Salem also noted that during the first quarter of this year it repurchased 979,375 shares of its Class A common stock for USD15.1 million and that as of May 5 it had repurchased 1,619,168 shares of Class A common stock for approximately USD 26.7 million at an average price of USD 16.48 per share, and had 24,357,520 shares of its Class A and Class B common stock outstanding.
Looking ahead it says it expects second quarter net broadcasting revenue to be between USD 54.2 million and USD 54.7 million reflecting mid single digit growth compared to second quarter 2005 net broadcasting revenue of USD 51.2 million; SOI to be between USD 19.8 million and USD 20.3 million compared to second quarter 2005 SOI of USD 19.9 million; and -- Net income per diluted share to be between ten cents and 12 cents. The quarter's figures will include non-cash compensation expense, based on stock options currently outstanding, of USD 1.2 million in corporate expenses and USD 200,000 in broadcasting operating expenses.
Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) revenues were up 5.7% to USD 37.8 million and it turned a USD 2.2 million (3 cents a share) net loss a year ago to USD 51.1 million (71 cents per share) profit. The figure included a USD 50.8 million gain on its sale of its Los Angeles stations KZAB-FM and KZBA-FM,a much delayed USD 120 million sale to Styles Media that was originally announced in 2004 (See RNW Aug 18, 2004).
Radio revenues were up 6% to USD 37.3 million and SBS said its start-up TV operation "mega-TV" had revenues of USD 400,000.
Chairman and CEO Raúl Alarcón Jr. commented, ", "During the first quarter, we continued to outperform the general radio market by a considerable margin, while successfully completing our de-leveraging plan with the closing of KZAB-FM and KZBA-FM and the repayment of our $100.0 million second lien credit facility. Our solid revenue growth reflects the prime positioning of our radio stations and our success in growing and monetizing our audience shares. In the recent Arbitron Winter ratings book, we generated exceptionally strong rating gains in several of our top markets, which should add momentum to our sales and marketing efforts as the year progresses." "In addition," he added, "we got off to a solid start in launching our new TV operation, Mega TV in South Florida, on March 1st. Early indication among the Hispanic and advertising communities has been positive, Nielson overnight ratings have trended well thus far, and we are very optimistic about the station's long-term growth potential"
Alarcón concluded, "As the year progresses, we remain focused on executing our strategy to leverage our top-ranked content and station portfolio to further penetrate the communities we serve, while increasing our share of total advertising dollars across our markets."
In the second quarter, excluding any non-cash stock option expense, SBS says it expects radio segment net revenue growth to be in the low single digit range and radio operating income from continuing operations before depreciation and amortization and gain on the sale of assets, net and growth to be flat with its television segment to generate start-up operating losses of approximately USD 5.0 to USD 6.0 million.
In other US radio business Radio One Inc has announced completion of its previously announced USD 20 million cash acquisition of WRDA-FM, St. Louis, from Emmis (See RNW Sep 27, 2005). It had already started operating the station under a Local Marketing Agreement and changed the call letters to WHHL-FM and programming to an urban contemporary format.
Previous Radio One Inc:
2006-05-09: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) says it collected commercial broadcasting licence fees of AUD 271.5 million (USD 208.7 million) for the 2004-05 financial period, up 11.7% on a year earlier.
Of the total AUD 20.3 million (USD 15.6 million) came from commercial radio licensees (Up 14.7%) and AUD 251.2 million (USD 193.1 million) from TV licensees (Up 11.5%).
The fees are based on gross earnings by the licensee in the previous financial period and the ACMA is scheduled to release aggregated figures for the country's broadcasting industry later this month.
2006-05-09: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it is ready to award 54 construction permits relating to its Auction 62 in which it received 163 provisionally winning bids totalling a net USD 54.25 million for the 171 licences on offer (See RNW Feb 1):
The permits involved cover stations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota; Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington State, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
They include the three highest bids in the auction - of USD 6,657,000 from A & J Media LLC for a permit for Indian Wells, California, followed by bids from Horton Broadcasting Company, Inc. of USD 5,251,000 for a permit for Satellite Beach, Florida and USD 2,739,000 for a permit for Lynn Haven, also in Florida.
Previous FCC Auction 62:
2006-05-08: We start this week's look at print comment on radio with a look at Internet radio - by which we mean radio streamed on the internet not just internet audio or Podcasts/MP3s - with particular reference to copyright problems that have led most UK radio stations to make their streams unavailable outside the UK (See RNW Mar 21).
In the UK Guardian under the heading "Will licensing kill the radio star" and sub-heading "New rules on royalties are stifling British internet radio stations while allowing foreign rivals to broadcast into the UK unhindered", Wendy M. Grossman noted that many UK stations have made their internet streams out of bounds for those outside the UK following a warning that copyright organizations are to start policing those streams and demanding payment.
The streams provide little revenue from customers outside the UK and Grossman says that as a result most commercial UK stations "have elected to discontinue that part of their service rather than pay for a licence to continue."
"So," she continues, "a flowering medium that crosses borders effortlessly is suddenly being stifled - at least by its UK practitioners, though not by those beyond - with potential ramifications for all concerned."
Grossman quotes GCap Media's digital content manager Nick Piggott as saying, "We opted to block streams to non-UK listeners. We don't do a lot of overseas streaming, and we didn't feel it was a great hardship if we switched it off, compared to the potential cost in licensing fees and legal paperwork terms. We're a UK broadcaster. We don't earn any revenue for ads delivered outside of the UK, so in strict cost terms, a stream that leaves the UK costs us money we can't recoup. If you compound that by having to pay further royalties, it's not an attractive model."
Grossman notes that in most parts of the world outside the US broadcasters pay both Performing Rights fees (collected in the UK on the basis of music aired by the Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL)) and mechanical licence fees - the former relating to the recordings and that do not apply in the US and the latter to the composers and songwriters whose work has been broadcast.
In the UK commercial stations pay from 8% to 12% of revenues, around three times as much as those in the US.
The article says Virgin Radio, which has 4.2 million listeners in the UK and 1.3 million online, pays a little more than 10% of its revenues and quotes managing editor James Cridland as saying "We paid over USD 2million [GBP 1.1 million] to rights holders last year to allow us to play music and we think it's well spent because we play some very good music and that makes our radio station as well listened to as it is. But it is a considerable sum of money and it's considerably more than a similar sized station in the US would be paying."
Grossman notes that the difference in US practice and that in the UK means that Virgin online is competing with dozens of US radio stations including Cornell University's student-owned, student-operated radio station WVBR-FM, which has a very similar playlist and Cridland add, "It's odd that we have to stop broadcasting outside the UK yet we can still have all of these non-UK stations broadcasting into the UK."
Cridland also notes that if the PPL somehow managed to stop foreign stations from broadcasting into the UK we would become the only country other than China to prevent access to overseas media sources and Grossman says it is possible this could happen and quotes Peter Leathem, director of legal and business affairs for PPL, as saying they "are currently in dialogue with a number of US service providers and adding that it is prepared to sue.
Grossman then notes that in the US the fees being demanded for streaming audio by the record companies looked as if they would close down most webcasters until Congress stepped in and mandated more reasonable rates whereas in the UK the PPL's rate for web-only broadcasters (that is, not traditional radio stations simulcasting their output) is .000503p per listener per track per stream.
It sounds cheap, she writes, but Tom Lousada, founder of the Association of Streaming Media Companies (ASMEC), points out that a web-only station with 5,000 listeners would be paying approximately GBP £1.7 million (USD 3.2 million) in rights fees annually, an economic model that is clearly not sustainable.
"If you applied this model to traditional broadcasting, the jump in what you'd have to pay is astronomical as a percentage of revenue. It wouldn't be allowed," says Lousada and Grossman notes that the rate rises sharply as soon as any interactivity is added to the stream, such as allowing listeners to tailor the stream they listen to or time-shift.
RNW comment: The interesting issue to us in all this is the way technology could yet change things if musicians in general - as orchestras are already doing to a degree as recording companies cut their classical output - opt to use the technology available to start making and distributing their own recordings. If nothing else we could see considerable long-term self interest in radio companies developing digital channels that play only new music directly from bands (some organizations already provide such services online) allied with a buy facility for recordings and a promotion of offering true CD quality on bought music as opposed to low quality streams. Sufficiently developed it is a way at the very least to kick the recording companies where it will hurt yet benefit most musicians who want their music out and without the massive expenses linked with recording company deals would probably do nearly as well.
At one time the costs of producing and promoting records put them out of reach for many but now they're not and there is much less need for the traditional recording company distribution system.
On however, from online radio problems to on- air hosts ones with another mention thrown in of a host who doesn't seem to be regarded as having many: That latter is Bob Dylan, whose XM show, continues to garner praise round the world as a quick online search for news stories about the show will show - as well as suggesting, since XM can only be heard in the US, that there could be a profitable business in offering paid-for downloads worldwide for a reasonable price.
Less fortunate is London Capital Radio breakfast host Johnny Vaughan whose station has been described by its owners as in "intensive care" (See below) and who is also seen as being under threat by many observers.
Writing in the UK Independent under the headline "Bad news, Johnny - the boss says you're 'in intensive care'", Tim Luckhurst noted that Capital's audience has fallen from three million to 1.8 million over five years and refers to comments on the station by GCap chief executive Ralph Bernard by writing, "Attacking your own product has been seen as a sign of desperation ever since the jeweller Gerald Ratner paid the price for describing one of his own firm's products as "total crap"[The group collapsed after this comment was made in 1991and Ratner was thrown of the board of the company, which was renamed]. But Mr Bernard had good reason for doing so in an interview with Marketing Week magazine last week."
He then quotes Howard Bareham, head of radio at the media agency Mindshare as saying, "He's right. Capital is in intensive care. The question is whether GCap has the right doctors and nurses."
Bareham then suggests that Vaughan may be part of the problem rather than the solution, commenting, "Johnny does not appeal to the female audience as much as they hoped he would. Some people think he is too laddish."
And of the breakfast competition at Chrysalis's Heart FM analyst Susann Jerry of the Media Foundry says: "[Jamie] Theakston is more in touch with his feminine side."
Luckhurst comments that how GCap deals with Capital's problems are seen as a litmus test for the whole group and notes Jerry's comments on its tactic in cutting down on adverts: "Heart and Magic have been running the same number of ads as Capital for the last three years and their audience performance is better. This is not an ad problem. It is about content."
At GCap, however, Luckhurst says they think the worst is over and quotes an unnamed "GCap senior insider" as saying, "We've sorted out the management structure and we have re-launched Capital. But that is only one of our stations. We have 53 FM stations, including Classic FM, and more than 60 digital ones. The future of GCap does not rely on Capital alone."
Mention of Classic FM leads us on naturally to a third UK newspaper comment, this time from Paul Donovan in his "Radio Waves" column in the Sunday Times.
Under the heading "Less is more", Donovan devotes his column mainly to praise for BBC Radio 3 of which he writes, "Few stations last year were as lustrous as Radio 3. It gave us the entire works of Bach and Beethoven. Its Sunday night dramas ranged from Macbeth to A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. Its coverage of Africa suggested, almost alone among British broadcasters, that it contains not just famine and tyranny but also books and music. And, as usual, it carried every concert in the Proms, lunchtime concerts, live recitals, operas from Manhattan and Covent Garden, jazz, world music and new commissions."
"This," he continues, "is just to scratch the surface. I listen more regularly to Classic FM, which is better at making me unwind, but I learn more from, and am moved more by, Radio 3, which nourishes the soul, even if it does not ignite the ratings."
Donovan then goes on to note that after such a year "it is absurd that it has not even been short listed for UK Station of the Year in the Sony Radio Academy Awards" [Being presented tonight]. He concludes that he thinks his "helpful person" was correct and the award reflects audience size not programme quality and ends, "Does it matter? Not to Radio 3's income, no; nor to its value. Few listeners, probably, are at all bothered. It is the awards themselves, the most coveted in British radio, that are impoverished by not doing more to recognize Radio 3. Maybe, just maybe, in this diamond jubilee for the network, next year will be different."
In a way voicing similar thought to his colleague, Gerry McCarthy in his "Radio Waves" (on Irish radio) column in the paper comments on book programmes, starting his column, "Reading books requires concentration: that's one reason why so many people still do it. But broadcasters are running scared from the iPod generation, who like their pleasures less. The result is a flurry of book programmes doing their best to hype up and dumb down. "
He comments of approaches taken - one show with a "book-club spot designed to present reading as a form of communal entertainment" and says even some otherwise serious book shows take this route and comments of one, "But listening to Heather and Nuala describe their empathy - or lack of it - with some quasi-blockbuster protagonist is neither insightful nor interesting. It is merely a lazily populist strategy, an attempt to lure people who are not dedicated readers by making it sound like jolly good fun."
He then approves of Andy O'Mahony's "Off the Shelf" on RTÉ 1 that it makes no such concessions, adding, "O'Mahony does not shy away from accusations of elitism: if anything, he makes a virtue of it. O'Mahony makes a powerful case for literature as a kind of intellectual workout: a minority taste, perhaps, but good for the brain. Few broadcasters, however, show O'Mahony's courage - or ability - in the face of cultural change. As a result, some ghastly hybrids have sprung up: reviewers and programmes that want to proclaim the high sanctity of literature as high art while simultaneously making it seem like a good laugh."
His conclusion? "There should be a third way between literary pretension and populist chitchat, but nobody consistently achieves it. Which leaves us O'Mahony, and books as intellectual dumbbells. We could do worse, but we could also do a whole lot better."
We tend the same way about US talk shows and the most popular of those is that of Rush Limbaugh albeit looking at transcripts he posts it shouldn't be that difficult to do much better in terms of accuracy, elegant use of language and the ability to either be honest or at the minimum allow for another point of view possibly being right - you will gather we regard his "Excellence in Broadcasting" as an example of the kind of political mangling of meanings so well criticized by George Orwell.
With that in mind his response to the settlement in his "doctor shopping " case related to taking of painkilling prescription drugs seems in line with the host but at odds with any dispassionate review of the facts as editorials in both the Palm Beach Post and South Florida Sun-Sentinel make clear.
The former in its editorial comment starts, "Even in normal times, Rush Limbaugh makes little sense during his radio gasfest. But this week, he tried to fool his audience into thinking that he wasn't arrested" and continues, "Limbaugh was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail. He was fingerprinted. His mug shot was taken. He posted bond. His information will be in the national, state and county criminal databases. Yet he claimed on the air that he wasn't arrested and that the outcome would have been the same if he had gone to trial for doctor-shopping to illegally obtain painkillers and won, rather than accept a negotiated settlement on one felony charge. In fact, if he had won at trial, he wouldn't be under court-ordered supervision that requires him to pass a drug test each month for the next 18 months. He wouldn't be paying $30,000 for the public cost of dragging out the investigation."
Limbaugh it says has been "dishonest about his case from the start" and notes of his accusations that the case was politically motivated: "In fact, Mr. Limbaugh's name came up during a wider investigation into illegal sale of prescription painkillers, which the Republican-led Legislature recognized as a problem by making doctor-shopping a felony. The lead prosecutor was a Republican."
Of the result it concludes it is "fair, if belated. In late 2003, prosecutors had offered essentially the same deal on one count, with 18 months' probation. Under state sentencing guidelines, conviction at trial then or now would not have meant prison time."
In similar vein the Sun-Sentinel comments of Limbaugh's claims of vindication, "Some vindication. He turned himself in to the Palm Beach County Jail on the felony, and was fingerprinted, photographed and released on $3,000 bail. This, he absurdly insists, is not an 'arrest.'."
The paper says Limbaugh is in "public denial" and says of his comment - "From my point of view, the end result will be as if I had gone to court and won, but the matter is concluded much sooner, and at much less expense for both me and for the public" - that the "ugly matter could have ended far sooner, and at far less cost and aggravation, had Limbaugh not tried to manipulate the system with courtroom histrionics and bogus accusations of a conspiracy by Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer."
In the New York Times, John Tierney under the heading "A Taste of His Own Medicine" goes on the attack with the comment, "Now that Rush Limbaugh has managed to keep himself out of prison, the punishment he once advocated for drug abusers, let me suggest a new cause for him: speaking out for people who can handle their OxyContin."
He then details the case of Richard Paey who "suffers from back pain, which in his case is so severe that he's confined to a wheelchair" and who was also pursued by Florida authorities and is now "serving the third year of a 25-year term."
Paey's wife told Tierney that his explanation of the different sentences was "The wealthy and influential go to rehab, while the poor and powerless go to prison."
There is a difference however in that, as Tierney puts it, "Paey stood up for his belief that patients in pain should be able to get the medicine they need. Limbaugh so far hasn't stood up for any consistent principle except his right to stay out of jail."
" Paey was the rare patient who refused to turn on his doctor or plead guilty to a problem he didn't have. He insisted that he'd been taking large quantities of painkillers because he needed them. He wanted to protect his own right to keep taking them, and others' rights as well."
"'They say I was stubborn'," he told me last year. "'I consider it a matter of principle'."
Tierney then adds, "Even if Limbaugh believes that drugs like OxyContin are a menace to himself, he ought to recognize that most patients are in Richard Paey's category. Their problem isn't abusing painkillers, but finding doctors to prescribe enough of them. And that gets harder every year because of the drug war promoted by conservatives like Limbaugh."
On to listening and first BBC Radio 2 and a performer known as the English Dylan: The programme -on Saturday - was "Ramblin' Boy: Donovan at Sixty" and featured Bob Harris interviewing folk-pop singer/songwriter Donovan, who, after an initial perception of being a Dylan imitator became a purveyor of psychedelic pop, with songs such as "Mellow Yellow".
Next in view of the other Donovan's comments, some suggestions from BBC Radio 3 starting with drama and from Sunday the "Drama on 3 "Lou Stein 's production of Dostoevsky's "The Possessed" and also from Sunday "Andy Kershaw", whose programme featured the first UK radio session by the Somali rapper K'Naan.
For more conventional classical output, last week's "Composer of the Week" slot (Monday's programme available on listen again until 11:00 GMT today) was Prokofiev while this week (11:00 to noon GMT weekdays) Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Tomás Luis da Victoria (1548-1611), and other composers working in Spain in the 16th Century.
This is followed this week in the "Lunchtime Concerts" slot by "New Generation Artists" today and then for the remaining four days with performances from last summer's City of London Festival, which had the theme "Odes and Icons".
And from the rest of the week tomorrow's Performance on 3 (18:30 GMT) includes The world premiere of a 'celebration of glad noise' by Stephen Roberts and later at 20:30 GMT "Night Waves" includes Gabriel Gbadamosi talking to playwright Sulayman Al-Bassam about his latest work, "Kalila Da Dimna", which explores the Islamic empire from revolutionary beginnings in 750AD to parallels in Iraq today.
On Friday Performance on 3 - again 18:30 GMT has a UK premiere - of Esa-Pekka Salonen's "Wing on Wing" - written in 2004 for the opening of Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles- and Jazz on 3 at 22:30 is a special programme live from FuseLeeds06 including highlights of Matthew Bourne's Glenn Miller project and the Leeds Improvised Music Association.
Saturday also has variety including "Discovering Music", which looks at "Joseph Haydn and the Classical Style"; "World Routes" at 14L00 GMT with highlights from the "Nile Festival", an annual event at the Hammersmith Palais in London- headlines this year by Mahmoud Ahmed, who has been Ethiopia's leading singer for decades; and at 17:00 GMT "Opera on 3" is Götterdämmerung conducted by Antonio Pappano.
Then some suggestions on Alcohol - a current BBC World Service series (In its documentary archive) and also "Ockham's Razor" from ABC Radio National, with comments from a Melbourne chemistry teacher about the mind-altering qualities of ethanol.
Finally a few suggestions from BBC Radio 4 including a note that this year's Reith lectures by Daniel Barenboim are still on the site, and suggestions from Saturday of the "Saturday Play", which was "Home" by David Storey, one of a season of plays marking the 50th anniversary of the English Stage Company at the Royal Court; and the "Archive Hour" that in "Wild Times" featured Sir David Attenborough talking about his 50 years of broadcasting.
New York Times -Tierney (Requires subscription):
Palm Beach Post - Limbaugh editorial:
Sun-Sentinel -Limbaugh editorial:
UK Guardian - Grossman:
UK Independent- Luckhurst:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy:
2006-05-08: The New Zealand government has come under strong attack from other broadcasters and musicians over its grant announced last week of three new FM frequencies to keep CanWest's New Zealand music station Kiwi FM on air.
Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey said that under the deal Kiwi FM had been granted the use of three FM frequencies for an initial period of one year, during which time it would work towards becoming a not-for-profit organization. Award-winning author and radio broadcaster, Karyn Hay was appointed the new General Manager of Kiwi FM.
"Kiwi FM will take up the new frequencies from July," Maharey said in an announcement. "As part of the agreement to use the frequencies, the station's brief will be to significantly expand its content to include a greater range of New Zealand Music. At least eight new specialist shows, funded by NZ On Air [The New Zealand government department that promotes New Zealand culture on the country's airwaves through funding of radio and TV shows, public radio networks and access radio, and music videos], will be included on the new format. These include shows for Independent, Alternative and New, specific genres, unsigned artists, label features and more."
Kiwi FM was launched by CanWest MediaWorks in February 2005 but failed to attract enough of an audience to be commercially viable - CEO Brent Impey says the idea was for a niche format that they thought would pay its way and promote New Zealand music and musicians.
In the government release on the deal he commented, "CanWest has long been a strong supporter of Kiwi Music. Kiwi FM was launched a year ago to enhance this support. This agreement puts Kiwi in a positive position for the future."
Others, including New Zealand's most successful songwriter, Neil Finn, have accused CanWest of launching the station as part of a political ploy to "cosy up to the government" and they now say that the grant of the new frequencies is a gift of frequencies worth millions to the company: The frequencies had been earmarked for a public youth radio network.
Maharey told Radio New Zealand's "Mediawatch" programme that CanWest couldn't own the station at end of the year, has to contribute some of costs for first nine months," he said and added that at the end of the year Kiwi FM will have to tender for the frequencies
"There's no question of CanWest making any money from this and we wouldn't be any part of it if they were" and added there's absolutely no question that there would be future assistance to keep the station going.
Maharey said it was a one-year effort to see on a reserved frequency, not a commercial one that has a value attached to it, to see if a station broadcasting New Zealand music - which was in line with government policy - could work and if the deal had not been made CanWest would simply have closed Kiwi FM but they had now said that there were broadcasters with expertise and it was worth trying to see if the station could work on a non-commercial basis.
The other suggested use for the frequencies - for a youth radio network - was seen as a threat by the country's commercial broadcasters and Maharey insisted in an interview on Auckland station 95BFM that the deal would not kill off plans for the youth service.
Radio New Zealand "Media Watch" "podcast" site - links to MP3/Podcast of May 7 programme featuring Kiwi FM issue:
2006-05-08: GCap Media chief executive Ralph Bernard in an interview in the trade magazine Marketing Week describes group's flagship station Capital FM as in "intensive care" and says the group will not spend substantial amounts on marketing the station until it is "considerably better."
Capital was overtaken in London listening by its Chrysalis-owned rival Heart FM last year - although it pulled back into the lead for reach in the most recent ratings (See RNW Feb 3) and has hired Australian Scott Muller from DMG's Nova FM in Sydney as programme director (See RNW Apr 25): It has also adopted a similar policy to Nova of cutting down in the number of adverts it broadcasts to a maximum of two in each advertising break.
Capital's weakness is expected to be confirmed on Thursday when latest British radio ratings come out with continuing weakness at breakfast where host Johnny Vaughan, who replaced Chris Tarrant, has struggled against Heart FM's Jamie Theakston.
GCap says that it has a large promotional budget available to spend on Capital when the station's programming justifies it.
Marketing Week report (Requires subscription):
2006-05-07: Last week saw the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) publish its annual report on the country's commercial radio industry, showing a strong 2005 (See RNW May 5) but elsewhere it was fairly quiet for the regulators with just a steady low level of routine decisions.
In Australia the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has imposed additional conditions on Perth youth community broadcaster Groove FM - licensee the Youth Media Society of Western Australia Inc (YMS) - following an investigation by its +predecessor the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA).
The ABA had already imposed conditions on Groove FM in 2004 after an investigation - begun in June 2003 after a complaint by DMG Radio Australia - to ensure proper governance of the station, relating in particular to its finances and administration, and also the broadcasting of a wider range of music. (See RNW Licence News Nov 21, 2004).
In December 2004, YMS sought a review that led to the settlement, which the ACMA says simplifies and amends the conditions relating to music and talk programming while retaining the intent of the original conditions. Further conditions that have been satisfied already have been deleted.
ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman said of the conditions, "Community broadcasters have a responsibility to ensure that the communities they have been licensed to serve can participate fully in the service, and that they provide programming that caters to that community, rather than just a part of that community. The conditions imposed on Groove FM are intended to ensure that Perth youth are actively invited to participate in the service, that it provides a diverse range of music and talk programming, and continues to play a high level of local and Australian music.'
In Canada as noted the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has published its annual report on the state of the country's commercial radio industry: It has also been holding hearings into what emergency alert system Canada should adopt (See RNW May 2).
The Commission was also involved in a number of radio licence decisions including, in order of province:
*Approval of application to increase the power of CIHS-FM, Wetaskiwin, from 1,700 watts to 5,120 watts and increase the antenna height so as to improve reception to the east and southwest of Wetaskiwin.
*Approval of application to amend the licence conditions of CILV-FM, Ottawa, that specifies its required expenditures on Canadian talent development, in order to redirect CAD 700,000 (USD 633,000) from the Radio Starmaker Fund to Aboriginal Voices Radio (AVR) for the purpose of developing programming and implementing AVR's national radio network. The contribution to AVR may be paid either in a one-time lump sum, or in CAD 100,000 (USD 90,000) yearly payments over seven consecutive broadcast years.
*Administrative renewal until August 31, 2007, of licence for Wawatay Native Communications Society's native radio network. The renewal does not dispose of any substantive issues relating to the licence renewal.
*Administrative renewal until August 31, 2007, of licence for French-language radio network Radio Énergie, for the purpose of broadcasting programs originating from CKMF-FM, Montréal
*Approval of power increase from 4,300 watts to 9,600 watts and increase in antenna height for transmitter CBKF-FM-5, North Battleford.
There were no radio-related releases form Ireland but in the UK Ofcom released its youth media literacy showing more listening by girls than boys (See RNW May 4), its latest broadcast bulletin that partly upheld one fairness and privacy complaint against radio (See RNW May 3), and also the amounts paid in its first spectrum auction (See RNW May 5).
It also updated its schedule for the advertisement of new analogue local commercial radio licences
These include a smaller licence for Perth to be advertised this month; a smaller licence for Preston/Leyland/Chorley to be advertised in June; a larger licence for Manchester and smaller licence for Aberdeen to be advertised in 2006; and a South Wales larger licence to be advertised in August.
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had a quiet week apart from routine work. Its actions including cancelling a USD 4,000 penalty on Saga (See RNW May 3).
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-05-06: Cumulus Media Partners, the private partnership created by Cumulus Media Inc., Bain Capital, The Blackstone Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners, has announced completion of the previously announced (See RNW Nov 1, 2005) USD 1.2 billion acquisition of Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff Company's radio business.
Following the acquisition, Media Partners will own and operate 33 radio stations in 8 markets including: San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Kansas City and York, Pennsylvania: Cumulus is to manage the operations of Media Partners' subsidiaries and had contributed four stations in the Houston and Kansas City markets in exchange for membership interests in Media Partners.
Cumulus Media Inc., directly or indirectly through its investment in Cumulus Media Partners, will own or operate 345 radio stations in 67 U.S. media markets and both companies are to be headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.
Cumulus chairman and CEO Lew Dickey, who will also be Chairman & CEO of Media Partners, commented, "We are pleased to announce the closing of this transaction and are excited to begin working with an enormously talented group of people to maximize the potential of these great assets."
Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff Co. President & CEO William H. Simpson added, "The Susquehanna Radio stations and their many outstanding employees have been a tremendous source of pride for our Company. Their reputation in the industry is unparalleled, and we wish them continued growth and success in the years ahead under the leadership of Cumulus Media Partners."
Some of the effects of the deal are already being felt according to the Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram which on Thursday reported layoffs at Cumulus stations in Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston.
It said those who have been dropped included Dan Halyburton, senior vice president and general manager for Susquehanna-Dallas, who said he knew that there would be air staff changes, but that he was unable to discuss them because he wasn't completely in the loop.
"I can tell you I'm not gonna be here," he said with a laugh. "I don't know all the [other] particulars."
The paper adds that another Susquehanna executive Lon Bason, vice president and general manager of talk KLIF-AM and country format KPLX-FM (The Wolf), sent an e-mail to several recipients, including the Star-Telegram, saying he would "not be making the transition" to Cumulus.
Susquehanna also owned sports-talk station KTCK-AM (The Ticket) and classic-rock KDBN-FM (The Bone) in Dallas Fort-Worth and Cumulus is expected to change the format of the latter, which has been low-rated and whose signal only reaches part of the conurbation.
The paper says another Susquehanna-Dallas vice president and general manager, Dan Bennett, is to stay on and will oversee the four former Susquehanna stations. He declined comment on the changes.
Reports indicate that air staff out of a job include Big Bone Morning Show duo "Humble" Billy Hayes and Donovan Lewis and Wolf morning host Bobby Mitchell and evening host Hollywood Henderson.
In San Francisco there have also been victims of the takeover according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which reports that KNBR-AM has dumped sports reporter and talk show host Bruce Macgowan, who had been with the station 17 years.
Macgowan, who is 53 and worked without a contract, told the paper, "It's typical of what happens in our profession, but it did catch me off guard. I thought the new owners would wait a little while before making cuts.''
"Certainly you feel hurt,'' he added. "It's kind of mystifying to me why they would get rid of one of their more loyal and hard-working employees. I just appreciate that I got to work 17 years there."
Others dropped, again on Thursday before the formal completion of the deal, included Valerie Blackburn, director of business operations at Susquehanna in San Francisco, and sports sales manager Bob Sargent.
KNBR general manager Tony Salvadore praised Macgowan's performance as "terrific and said he "couldn't have lasted as long as he did if it wasn't. It was just a business decision.''
"That's what happens when one company buys another,'' Salvadore added."One of the things they do is make adjustments in spending levels.''
DFW Star-Telegram report:
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2006-05-06: In more US results, Regent has announced revenues and net income down whilst Univision has seen both rise over a year ago.
Regent net broadcast revenues were down 0.7% to USD 18.5 million - same station revenues were down 1% to USD 17.8 million - and net income was down from USD 386,000 ( a cent per share) in 2005 to USD 64,000 ( nil per share) this year.
President and CEO Bill Stakelin said, "Our first quarter revenues paced in line with the industry and slightly ahead of our internal expectations. We faced difficult comparisons given our revenue increase of 7% in the comparable period in 2005. "
He continued, "We are continuing to work through a challenging environment by executing our multi-pronged strategy. First, we are supporting our strong ratings by investing in quality content, while effectively marketing our stations to target audiences in our local markets. Second, we have joined with our industry peers in prudently investing in new digital distribution channels that will significantly strengthen our overall value proposition to both our listeners and our advertisers. And, third, we are continuing to review our portfolio, as well as potential acquisition opportunities, with the goal of maximizing the value of our assets, as well as our ability to drive future cash flows."
Stakelin said Regent had, given recent industry consolidation, "emerged as the premiere player in the small-to-middle markets" and continued, "Given our healthy balance sheet, operating focus and track record, we are well positioned to capitalize on the increase in transaction activity within our target markets," Stakelin continued. "In addition, we continue to study all avenues to return cash to our shareholders, including our ongoing share repurchase program."
Regent says it expects second quarter net broadcast revenues of USD 22.4 to USD 22.8 million and earnings per share to be approximately USD 0.03 to USD 0.04: Its shares ended Friday down just under 1% at USD 4.21.
At Univision, revenues were up 4%, to USD449.8 million and net income rose 21.1% to USD 53.9 (from 13 cents to 16 cents per diluted share).
In divisional terms, TV, radio and Internet revenues were up 8.6% to USD 402.6 million and music and publishing revenues fell 24.1% to USD 47.2 million with pro-forma TV revenues up 9.9% to USD 323.2 million, Radio was up 1.4% to USD 72.5 million, music was down 24.1% to USD 47.2 million and Internet was up 35.3% to USD 6.9 million. Pro forma operating income figures showed TV up 30.1% to USD 112.5 million, radio down 6.9% to USD 17.6 million, music down 64.2% to USD 4.3 million and internet moved from a USD 1 million loss to USD 200,000 in the black.
Chairman and CEO A. Jerrold Perenchio said the company's "strategic combination of industry-leading assets has made Univision Communications the #1 Spanish-language media company in the country. As the U.S. Hispanic population continues to grow rapidly and increasingly gain recognition by advertisers, Univision is well positioned to sustain superior revenue and cash flow growth. Coming off a strong first quarter, I am confident that our high ratings and attractive demographics will allow us to deliver another successful Upfront."
President and COO Ray Rodriguez said they were "extremely pleased "with Univision Network's performance and added, "In addition to our success in television, we maintained strong competitive positioning across our radio, music and online businesses. With tremendous audience share growth across many key markets, Univision Radio delivered outstanding Winter book results. In addition, after achieving its fourth consecutive quarter of profitability, we have great confidence in our Online division's continued ability to grow and extend its significant lead as the premier Spanish-language website in the U.S. With these successes, as well as the continuous flow of data that overwhelmingly supports younger Hispanics' preference for Spanish-language media, Univision is in an ideal position to offer advertisers compelling alternatives to the English-language media outlets."
2006-05-06: Kevin Marsh, the former editor of the BBC Radio 4 flagship breakfast programme "Today" has criticized his former staff in the corporation's in-house magazine "Ariel" and said the job made "constant, idiotic" demands on him.
Marsh has moved to become Editor-in-Chief of the BBC's new college of journalism (See RNW Feb 24), said he was pleased to be thinking about BBC journalism without "wretched journalists getting in the way" and also implied his resentment at the pay of presenters.
In the article Marsh wrote, "So, no backward glance from the perfumed groves of academe. No yearning for yet another early morning wrestle with John Humphrys[BBC Today show presenter] to wrest the Daily Mail out of his grasp. No fond memories of late-night sessions in the Blue Peter garden, filling presenters' wheelbarrows with cash One thing hasn't changed though. Thinking about BBC journalism ... except now it's possible to do that without wretched deadlines and wretched journalists getting in the way."
The UK Guardian reports that at least one senior editor on the programme has complained to Helen Boaden, the director of BBC news and current affairs and says programme staff felt that Marsh and his predecessor Rod Liddle were poor managers, quoting unnamed sources as saying new editor, Ceri Thomas, is "a breath of fresh air".
It also quoted an unnamed Today journalist as saying of the article, "It's gone down extremely badly. It's seen as an act of massive betrayal. Basically he's saying he was utterly miserable in the job, the staff were crap and the journalism was no good."
UK Guardian report:
2006-05-06: Greater Media has announced that it has pulled out of bidding for radio rights to the Boston Red Sox, leaving the field clear for Entercom, with which it had been locked in battle (See RNW Apr 17).
In a statement Greater Media President and CEO Peter Smyth said, "This was a difficult decision, but at the end of the day, the deal didn't make economic sense for the company."
The Boston Herald says that sources say that Entercom has won but that the Sox play-to-play is likely to move from its WEEI-AM, its top sports station, to WRKO-AM: Both Greater Media and Entercom were reported to have offered an equity stake to the Red Sox in an attempt to sew up a deal but in Entercom's case the stake was in WRKO not WEEI.
No formal announcement has yet been made by Entercom or the Red Sox about the deal.
Previous Greater Media:
Boston Herald report:
2006-05-05: It was a case of three up and three down in US radio results announce on Thursday as Citadel, Entravision and Radio One announced increases in first quarter revenues and Beasley, Saga and Westwood One reported falls although other figures did not all follow revenues and on the markets Beasley, Citadel and Westwood One were down whilst the others were up..
At Beasley revenues were down 5.4% on a year earlier to USD 27.1 million but station operating income was up 10.6% to USD 7.3 million, operating income was up 4.8% to USD 4.4 million and net income was up 0.2% to USD 1.6 million (An unchanged seven cents per diluted share).
Beasley said the revenue drop "primarily reflects the current radio advertising environment" and noted that revenues were up in Philadelphia but down in its other nine markets.
Chairman and CEO George G. Beasley said of the results, "First quarter 2006 market conditions were challenging and for several reasons our stations under performed their markets. However, with lower station operating expenses we recorded gains in operating income and SOI while net income remained constant with last year's first quarter. This was achieved despite a half million dollar year-over-year reduction in non-cash trade sales revenue as we intentionally reduced such inventory to re-allocate it for cash advertising. Notwithstanding the current market environment, we believe we have in place strategies to address many of the issues that weighed on our stations in the first quarter."
He noted agreement on a USD 17 million purchase of KDWN-AM in Las Vegas to build on its existing cluster of three FMs (See RNW Mar 25) and also commented on continuing repurchase of company stock - Beasley bought around 90,000 shares in the first quarter and has around USD 21.3 million remaining to spend on stock under its current authorization.
"We believe this action supports shareholder value and underscores our confidence in the industry and Beasley Broadcast Group," he said.
Looking ahead Beasley is forecasting second-quarter revenues to be down 8% on a year earlier. Beasley shares ended Thursday down 3.4% at USD 8.06.
Citadel revenues were up 2.2% to a record USD 94 million with operating income down 10% to USD 26.1 million and net income was down 20.2% to USD 9.5 million (From 10cents to nine cents per basic share and from nine cents to eight cents per diluted share). The latter figure included around USD 2.5 million of non-cash stock-based compensation expense - which now has to be reported under an accounting rule change - this year compared to USD 400,000 without which net income per basic share would have been up to 11 cents from ten cents.
Citadel noted revenue increases in Boise, Idaho; Lafayette, Louisiana; and Tucson, Arizona, partially offset by lower revenues in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Knoxville and Nashville in Tennessee as well as New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina...
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Farid Suleman commented, "The Company reported record revenues and station operating income for the quarter in spite of a continued tough environment in the radio industry and the decline in revenue from our New Orleans stations."
He added that "pursuant to the Company's stock repurchase program initiated in July of 2004, the Company has continued to repurchase shares of its common stock. In addition to the continued stock repurchases, our Board of Directors declared our second quarterly dividend to our common stockholders of USD 0.18 per share. The repurchase of its stock and the quarterly dividend underscore the Company's commitment to enhance shareholder value."
During the quarter, Citadel purchased some 3.3 million shares of its common stock for USD 39.9 million and since it began stock repurchases has bought 23.1 million shares of its common stock, or 41% of its public float, for USD 307 million.
Citadel also noted its agreement in February with The Walt Disney Company on a definitive agreement to combine ABC Radio, which includes 22 radio stations and the ABC Radio Networks, with the company (See RNW Feb 7).
Citadel shares ended Thursday down 1.1% at USD 9.96.
Entravision revenues were up 5% to USD 59.9 million as both national and local advertising revenues rose for the Spanish-language broadcaster: Broadcast cash flow (BCF) was up 12% to USD 4.9 million and a net loss of USD 4.5 million in 2005 turned to net income of USD 12.1 million (from four cents per basic and diluted share loss to a positive 11 cents).
Entravision has now sold its San Francisco/San Jose market stations and divisional information was provided only on a pro-forma basis. This showed TV revenues up 11% to USD 34.0 million, radio revenues up 3% to USD 19.2 million, and outdoor revenues up 2% to USD6.7 million while TV BCF was up 21% to USD 14.1 million, radio BCF was essentially flat - up from USF 5.510 million to USD 5.536 million - and outdoor BCF losses went up from USD 164,000 to USD 399,000
Entravision says it expects second quarter net revenues to increase by mid to high single digit percentages and operating expenses to increase by mid single digit percentages as compared to the second quarter of 2005.
Chairman and CEO Walter F. Ulloa said of the results, "We entered 2006 with continued healthy momentum across our businesses. In the first quarter, we delivered impressive top line growth across our diversified asset base as we capitalized on our unique position within the nation's fastest-growing Hispanic markets. Leveraging our strong ratings and national footprint, we are determined to increase our share of national and local advertising dollars, while continuing to improve our operating fundamentals. In the year ahead, we are focused on execution, sound operating discipline and prudent investment in our businesses. In addition, we will continue to evaluate our asset base, while allocating our capital to those markets that offer the highest growth potential, with the goal of maximizing returns for our shareholders."
Entravision shares ended Thursday up 1.1% at USD 8.39.
Radio One, Inc. reported net broadcast revenue up 7% to USD 82.1 million while operating income was down 22% to YSD 22.5 million and net income applicable to common stockholders was down 63% to USD 2.6 million (From seven to three cents per diluted share). The figures include USD 1.6 million of stock-based compensation this year compared to nil a year earlier.
CEO and President Alfred C. Liggins, III said they were "pleased to report a quarter that, while challenging, was actually better than the guidance we gave back in February of this year."
He added, "We are mindful of the fact that our exceptional performance in Q1 of 2005, when we outgrew our markets by 500 basis points, would make this year's first quarter that much more difficult. With that said, we continue to focus on maximizing our radio station portfolio and are finding opportunities for growth in places like Philadelphia and St. Louis and improvement in places such as Los Angeles and Cincinnati. Thus, we expect to continue to invest time and effort into our core radio business to maintain our competitive advantage and feel optimistic that in the second half of 2006 we will begin to see the fruits of our labour."
Radio One shares ended Thursday up 5.9% at USD 7.52.
Saga reported revenues down 2% to USD 31.2 million, operating income down 15.8% to USD 4.5 million and net income down 29.6% to UD 1.5 million ( From ten to seven cents per dully diluted share). It did not comment on the results.
Saga shares ended Thursday up 2.9% at USD 9.39
At Westwood One, revenues were down 9.9% on a year earlier to USD 134.1 million, a decrease it put down as "primarily attributable to adverse market conditions and a reduced demand for the Company's products and services."
Its operating income went from a positive USD 25.8 million in 2005 to a loss of USD 140,000 and overall it had a net loss of USD 3.5 million compared to net income of USD 13.8 million (from positive 15 cents to a loss of four cents per basic and diluted share).
During the quarter the company repurchased 750,000 shares of its common stock for USD 11 million. It says it expects second quarter high single to low double digit declines in revenue and low single digit increases in operating expenses, resulting in double digit declines in operating income before depreciation and amortization.
Westwood shares ended Thursday down 3.1% at USD 8.78
Previous George Beasley:
Previous Radio One Inc.:
Previous Westwood One:
2006-05-05: Latest BBC online and download cum podcast figures show a record month for online listening in March with more than 20 million hours of online listening; 12 million on-demand requests for audio and 2.8 million podcast and MP3 downloads, up a million on February as the total was boosted by the addition of new programmes to the list of those available as MP3s or podcasts.
In terms of networks, BBC Radio 1 continued to lead in terms on online listening - 4 million hours of live listening and two million of on-demand: The station also had the most popular weekly podcast with 441,832 downloads of the "Best of Chris Moyles" - ahead of BBC Radio 4's"In our Time" with 255,878 and "From Our Own Correspondent" with 145,850 - but among daily podcasts BBC Radio 4's Today breakfast show 8:10 interview held the lead with 474,357 downloads followed by 330,471 for "Scott Mills Daily" on BBC Radio 1 and 147,664 for the BBC Radio NewsPod news feed.
Live online listening rose by 24.9% over February and 65.8% on a year earlier to 13.32 million hours and on demand listening was up 15.6% month on month and 42.5% on a year earlier at 7.266 million hours. Total listening was up 21.5% month on month to 20.584 million hours, up 56.8% on a year earlier.
In terms of network listening in March this year, the rankings were - Total listening hours - live plus on-demand and percentage change compared to February 2006 then to March 2005:
Radio 1 - 6,181,337 + 21.4%; + 68.4%
Radio 2 - 4,195,793 +24.5%; +66.8%
Radio 4 - 3,189,407 17.2%; +47.4%
BBC 7 - 1,650,370 +12.8%; +37.6%
Radio 5 Live - 1,488,021 +10.7% +69.1%
Radio 3 - 936,247 20.8%; +40.5%
6 Music - 765,987 +16.5%; +19.9%
1Xtra - 622,659 +7.9%; +14.6%
Asian Network 272,204 +34.0%; +22.7%
5 Live Sports Xtra - 498,369 +585%; +1541%
The top five on-demand programmes were
1 - The Archers on Radio 4, which retained top rank with 651,484 listens - up 72,163 on February;
2 - Chris Moyles on Radio 1, which retained second place with 552,216 listens - up 59,247;
3 - The Afternoon Play on Radio 4, up from fourth place with 251,558 listens - up 47,424;
4 - The Essential Selection on Radio 1, which moved up from sixth with 231,953 listens - up 59,451;
5 - Essential Mix on Radio 1, retaining its spot with 225,736 listens, up 53,234.
The BBC has now split its Podcast figures up into groups including daily podcasts, what it terms regular podcasts (One to five a week), weekly podcasts and Occasional podcasts.
In terms of overall numbers the top five podcasts/MP3 downloads in March were:
Today 8.10 Interview (Daily) (Radio 4) 474,357 (329,888 in February- up from second).
Best of Moyles (Weekly) (Radio 1) 441,832 (364,265 in February - down from first).
Scott Mills Daily (Radio 1) 330,471 (Not in February rankings).
In Our Time (weekly) (Radio 4) 255,878 (187,648 - Down from third).
Documentary Archive (Regular) (World Service) 223,699(Not in February rankings).
Previous BBC Online figures:
2006-05-05: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) says revenues for Canadian radio stations in 2005 were up 8.7% on a year earlier at CAD 1.3 billion ( USD 1.2 billion ) and profits before interest and taxes (PBIT) were up 23.8% to CAD 277 million (USD 250 million).
Employment in the industry rose slightly - up from 9,701 in 2004 to 9,303 in 2005 when salaries totalled CAD 542.4 million (USD 490.0 million).
It notes that the figures are above the average for the past five years - of an annual revenue increase of 5.7% and PBIT increase of 12.8%.
Within radio, FM revenues were again healthier than those for AM - they were up 11.8% to CAD 1 billion (USD 903 million) and PBIT was up 19.6% to CAD 263.3 million (USD 237.9 million) as local advertising grew 7.9% to CAD742.2 million (USD 670.5 million) and national advertising was up 22.5% to CAD 272.0 million (USD 245.7 million)
In comparison, AM revenues fell 0.7% to CAD 300.4 million (USD 271.4 million) as local advertising revenues dipped 1.8% to CAD 245 million (USD 221 million): PBIT, however, was up fourfold, from CAD 3.4 million (USD 3.1 million) in 2004 to CAD 13.6 million (USD 13.3 million).
English language stations outperformed French language ones for both AM and FM outlets with English FM revenues up 11.3% to CAD 824.7 million (USD 745.0 million) whilst French FM revenues grew only 10.6% to CAD 190.8 million (USD 172.4 million); ethnic and aboriginal FM revenues were up 59.6% to CAD 16.8 million (USD 15.2 million).
PBIT figures were an increase for English language FMs of 20.9% to CAD 232.4 million (USD 201.0 million), an increase of 8.2% for French language FMs to CAD 30 million (USD 27 million), whilst ethnic and aboriginal FMs more than doubled their PBIT - up from CAD 454,000 (USD 410.500) to just above CAD 1 million (USD 900,000).
In comparison AM revenues showed an increase of 2% to CAD 264.7 million (USD 239.1 million) for English-language stations; a 22.9% decrease for French-language stations to CAD 17.5 million (USD 15.8 million); and a 10.3% decline for ethnic and aboriginal AMs to CAD 18.2 million (USD 16.4 million).
PBIT figures for AM stations showed English language station PBIT more than tripled - from CAD 5 million ( USD 4.5 million) to CAD 17.2 million (USD 15.5 million) whilst French AM PBIT losses went up 24.2% to CAD 6.2 million ( USD 5.6 million) and PBIT for ethnic and aboriginal AMs fell 23.1% to CAD 2.6 million ( USD 2.5 million).
2006-05-05: UK media regulator Ofcom says a total of GBP 3.8 million (USD 7 million) was bid for the 12 licences sold in its first spectrum auction - of paired frequencies particularly suitable for small-scale mobile networks.
It had already released the names of the winning bidders (See RNW Licence News Apr 30) but not the amounts bid and these turned out to range from a minimum of GBP 50,110 (USD 92,552) from Spring Mobil AB to a top bid of thirty times that - GBP 1,513,218 (USD 2,794,883) - from Colt Mobile Telecommunications Ltd.
Colt said afterwards that it was "perfectly comfortable" with the amount paid since it was based on a business plan and it felt that to bid lower might have led to it failing to gain a licence.
The 12 winners in the sealed bid auction (In ascending order of amount paid were:
Spring Mobil AB - GBP 50,110 (USD 92,552)
Cable & Wireless UK ( England) - GBP 51,002 (USD 94,200)
Mapesbury Communications Ltd - GBP 76,660 (USD 141,589)
PLDT ( UK) Ltd - GBP 88,889 (USD 164,176)
Shyam Telecom UK Ltd - GBP 101,011 (USD 186,565)
FMS Solutions Ltd - GBP 113,000 (USD 208,709)
Cyberpress Ltd - GBP 151,999 (USD 280,739)
Opal Telecom Ltd - GBP 155,555 (USD 287,307)
O2 ( UK) Ltd - GBP 209,888 (USD 387,659)
British Telecommunications PLC - GBP 275,112 (USD 508,126)
Teleware PLC - GBP 1,001,880 (USD 1,850,452)
Colt Mobile Telecommunications Ltd - GBP 1,513,218 (USD 2,794,883)
2006-05-04: Washington D.C. law firm Schatz & Nobel, P.C. has filed a lawsuit seeking class action status against XM Satellite Radio and its President and CEO Hugh Panero claiming that they "violated federal securities laws by issuing a series of materially false statements."
In the suit filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in the name of Morris Satloff of Providence, Rhode Island, the firm seeks to take action on behalf of everyone who purchased or acquired CM common stock between July 28, 2005 and February 15, 2006, the "Class Period" - in all involving "tens of millions" of shares of XM stock.
It says Satloff purchased XM stock during the period at "artificially inflated prices" and specifically alleges that XM and Panero misrepresented XM's ability to reduce the costs of new subscriber additions as it reached its goal of 6 million subscribers by year end 2005.
In reality, says the suit, the defendants knew XM would "be forced to spend extraordinarily large sums of money in the fourth quarter of 2005, in order to stay on track to achieve its stated goal" but they failed to disclose to the market that XM's cost of subscriber acquisition would rise to extraordinary levels, leading to huge increases in XM's net losses, which was" in complete reversal of the trends of declining subscriber acquisition costs and net losses defendants were reporting".
It also says that during the Class Period, several key insiders of XM made huge sales of their personal taking advantage of the artificial inflation of XM's common stock.
The suit says XM's value is based principally on the number of subscribers it has and the costs of acquiring subscribers and that it is locked in "heated race for new subscribers and new programming deals" with its rival, Sirius Satellite Radio.
It also says that there was no disclosure of concerns expressed by director Pierce J. Roberts Jr., who was "emphatic that XM needed to reign in its skyrocketing, programming and promotional expenditures [RNW note: Roberts resigned over the issue, a resignation described by XM chairman Gary Parsons at the company's conference call about its 2005 results as one of a "balancing act" with other board members in support of stronger programming, content - See RNW Feb 17.]
The suit says that it was only at this time that the company disclosed the "shocking and theretofore undisclosed truth about the skyrocketing level of XM's subscriber acquisition costs in the fourth quarter of 2005." It notes that Panero "admitted" that the increases were the results of the campaign XM waged to counter the arrival of The Howard Stern Show on Sirius.
"Several key insiders" at XM it says "made huge sales" of their personal holdings in the company before "any disclosure of the astronomical increases in XM's SAC (Subscriber Acquisitions Costs) and CPGA (Cost Per Gross Addition), taking advantage of the artificial inflation of XM's common stock prices" and it adds that Panero "sold 413,334 shares on December 6 at prices between USD 28.37 to USD 28.95 to reap proceeds of USD 11,846,000, thus selling 99% of his holdings in XM." [RNW note: XM's shares fell 5.1% on Wednesday after new of the suit, to end at USD 17.51].
Others who sold according to the suit were Executive Vice President Stelios Patsiokas (103,514 shares or 62% of his holding for USD 2,976,000); Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary Joseph M. Titlebaum (9103.514 shares or 66% of his shareholding for USD 2,943,482); and Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing Stephen Cook (78,514 shares or 43% of his holding for USD 2,238,000)- they all made their sales on December 6.
In addition director George Weaver Haywood in three sales in November sold 72% of his holding for USD 58,943,000. None it says had sold any stock in the "comparable year earlier time period."
Schatz & Nobel filing (1.2Mb 22 page PDF):
2006-05-04: Clear Channel Communications and Cox Radio have reported first quarter results with revenues up 4% and down 1% respectively on a year earlier with net income up 44% and 1.6% respectively.
At Clear Channel revenues were approximately USD 1.5 billion after a decline of USD 28.5 million related to foreign exchange movements without which revenues would have been up 6%.
Its net income was up to USD 98.1 million with earnings per diluted share before discontinued operations up 58% to 19 cents with the figure in this case including USD 39.6 million of pre-tax gains (amounting to five cents per share) primarily on the divestitures of radio assets and the swap of certain outdoor assets. Clear Channel notes that excluding these gains, net income would have been up 9% to USD 73.4 million and the per diluted share earnings would have been up 17% to 14 cents.
In divisional terms radio revenues outperformed outdoor - they were up 5% to USD 809 million
Clear Channel Outdoor revenues were up 3% to USD 598.4 million, also including a USD 28.5 million decline due to movements in foreign exchange without which they would have been up 8%.
The company put the radio revenue increase - greatest in larger markets - down to an increase in both local and national advertising revenues and said it was driven by an increase in revenue per minute and average unit rates. It added that the number of 30-second and 15-second commercials broadcast as a percent of total minutes sold increased compared to a year earlier.
CEO Mark P. Mays said the company was "off to an impressive start in 2006" adding, "The investments we have made in our business as part of our multi-faceted strategic plan are clearly paying off. We are driving tangible returns across virtually every aspect of our business. Supported by considerable increases in audience shares across our radio portfolio, our radio division is performing ahead of expectations, while our outdoor division continues to post steady growth. Companywide, we continue to be optimistic about our outlook for the remainder of the year."
He continued, "We have now largely made the transition from a company focused on strategic realignment and investment to an invigorated organization committed to aggressive execution, strong operating performance and increased cash generation. We will continue to make concerted investments in our content and distribution channels with the goal of increasing our market share among the consumers and advertisers we serve. As a result of our industry leadership, highly profitable business model and emerging digital media businesses, we are in a position of strength in pursuing avenues to generate value for our shareholders."
Cox Radio revenues were down 1% to USD 97.6 million as local revenues dropped by 3.1% although this was partly offset by an increase of 3.3% in national revenues: Net income was up 1.6% to USD 14 million - an unchanged 14 cents per diluted share.
Cox noted that following authorization of a USD 100 million share repurchase programme in August last year the company had purchased 3.7 million shares for a total of USD 53.3 million - and average USD 14.41 per share - by the end of the first quarter.
President and CEO Robert F. Neil commented, "Our first quarter performance highlights our profitable business model and proven ability to deliver consistent growth in free cash flow. We knew comparisons would be difficult this quarter, given that our revenues were up 6% in the first quarter of 2005. However, we were still able to grow station operating income, free cash flow and net income. We effectively managed our business for the benefit of our shareholders, while pursuing a concerted investment strategy to support our future growth. We invested in our station brands, continued to develop our initial digital channels and launched a new station in Atlanta, WSRV-FM, the River. Going forward, we remain focused on executing our growth strategy and maximizing our ability to generate returns for our shareholders over the long-term."
The markets reacted favourable to both sets of results with Clear Channel ending Wednesday up 1.38% at USD 29.48 and Cox ending the day up 7.69% at USD 14.01.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2006-05-04: A report - "Media Literacy Audit: Report on media literacy amongst children" by British media regulator Ofcom - that focuses on children aged 8-15 across the UK says around 71% of children aged 8-11 say they listen to the radio, a figure rising to 85% of those aged 12-15 with girls more likely to listen than boys.
Girls, according to the report, are also more likely to have their own mobile phone, use the internet and read newspapers or magazines with the boys in the lead only when it comes to playing computer games.
In household terms it says around 72% have access to digital TV at home, 64% to the Internet, and 47% to digital radio - and 65% have their own mobile phone - 82% of those 12-15 and 49% of 8-11 year-olds.
There is a marked contrast in parental attitudes to TV and radio with 85% of parents of 8-11s and 61% of parents of 12-15s saying they had rules about watching television but only 26% of parents of 8-11 year olds and 16% of parents of 12-15 year olds reporting any such rules for radio listening and when it comes to the internet 95% of parents say they have rules about their child's access, with rules relating to content nominated by almost all of these parents: The figure falls to 78% for those 12-15.
When it comes to radio 51% of the children who listen usually do so on their own, a percentage that rises to 85% amongst those 12-15 but is only 38% for those 8-11: In the latter group 44% of boys and 33% of girls say they are more likely to listen alone.
Listening times amount to an average 5.4 hours a week according to children 8-15, approximately 60% of it at home and 40% in a car: The listening increases for older children - 6.6 hours per week amongst those 12-15 compared to 4 hours per week for those 8-11.
Amongst those children who listen to radio at home and either have internet at home or a mobile phone (48% of all aged 8-15), one in seven (15%) has interacted having heard something on radio using a mobile phone (to send a text message) or the internet (to send an e-mail or visit a website). This is significantly more common for 12-15s than 8-11s (at 20% and 8% respectively), and again it is girls aged 12-15 that are driving this difference (with 25% of girls in this group having interacted compared to 13% of boys).
The report also looks at the media devices owned by UK children: It says most popular is a game console - owned by half with a further third using one in households where there is a console but they do not own it. Boys are more likely to own games consoles than girls - 53% to 47% of those 8-11 and 58% to 43% for those 12-15.
Next most common is a CD player - owned by around 40% then a video cassette recorder (22%) or DVD player (21%); an MP3 player 12% of 8-11s and 18% of 12-15s. In all cases ownership is lower amongst those from children from minority ethnic groups, low-income households and living in rural areas.
Ofcom report (69-page, 620 KB PDF):
2006-05-04: Commercial Radio Australia has posted on its web site and also released on CD a compendium of international research on radio's effectiveness as an advertising medium: The compendium, compiled in conjunction with the organization's counterparts in the US, Canada and the UK - the Radio Ad Effectiveness Lab; UK Radio Advertising Bureau; Radio Marketing Bureau, Canada - covers topics such as ad avoidance, return on investment and the benefits of synergy.
CEO Joan Warner said the industry had released the International Research Compendium in recognition of the growing demand for better research and analysis into the impact and effectiveness of different media channels.
"Advertisers and media buyers are more conscious than ever about how different media channels impact on their marketing messages. Everyone wants to be able to prove the effectiveness of their advertising and clients insist upon it," she said, adding, "The research that has been conducted in Australia and overseas provides compelling evidence that radio should be used more heavily in marketing campaigns than it is at present."
"it also suggests that radio is still as important to advertisers as it ever was in this increasingly technological world. For example, overseas studies have demonstrated that radio is extremely powerful when used in combination with online advertising. In fact, ad recall can be as much as 52 per cent higher when listeners are involved in a related activity such as browsing websites."
According to the research radio's return on investment is 49% higher than television based on profit per advertising dollar; replacing one or two newspaper exposures with two radio ads almost tripled unaided brand recall; and radio advertising drove up unaided brand awareness and use with an 18% lift in consumption being achieved in the radio test markets.
Commercial Radio Australia site (Links to studies from the "Advertising on Radio" menu):
2006-05-04: UK digital radio sales topped three million at the end of March according to the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB), which says figures from industry tracking body GfK showed 3.053 million cumulative sales.
The organization's chief executive Ian Dickens said the UK radio industry was delighted by the numbers, noting that it took five years for DAB receiver sales to reach one million, just nine months to then add a further million and five months to take the total above 3 million.
According to the figures more than 11% of the UK population now lives in a household with a DAB receiver, with a fifth of DAB owners purchasing one or more extra receivers and 14% of all UK radio receivers now sold being DAB - 21% in terms of money spent.
The DRDB says two million DAB digital radios could be sold in the 12 months to December 2006, taking cumulative sales to 4.7 million and it expects a significant uptake of DAB radios during the FIFA World Cup and throughout the summer, especially hand-held devices, with sport being a key driver to purchase.
2006-05-03: Howard Stern added costs as well as benefits for Sirius Satellite Radio according to its first quarter results: The costs were USD 225 million in stock-based compensation to the host - in all stock based compensation, which now has to be recorded under new US accounting rules, amounted to USD 284.6 million, more than half the loss in the quarter of USD 485.5 million, up from USD 193.6 million a year earlier (Up from 15 cents a share to 33 cents a share). The loss also includes USD 4.4 million for the company's share of Sirius Canada, Inc.'s net loss.
Subscriber acquisition costs (SAC) per gross addition were USD 113 for the quarter, a 41% improvement on a year earlier, and Sirius says it anticipated reducing them to around USD 110 for the full year.
On the plus side, Stern helped bring in extra subscribers, boosting Sirius revenues to USD 126.7 million, up 193% from a year earlier, as it added 761,187 net subscribers in the quarter to reach a total of 4,077,747. Of the additions, 534,958 were from the company's retail channel, up 169% from a year earlier, 225,343 net subscribers from its automotive OEM channel, 109% up on a year earlier.
The results were received favourably by the markets and Sirius ended the day up 5.6% at USD 4.88 (Its high over the past 52 weeks is USD 7.98).
CEO Mel Karmazin said of the performance, "Sirius led the industry in the first quarter with the majority of satellite radio net additions, while achieving 64% share at retail and strong growth in our OEM channel. Based upon our growth we are pleased to be raising our subscriber guidance for 2006 to over 6.2 million and we continue to believe we could be free cash flow positive as early as the fourth quarter of 2006 and for the full year 2007."
Sirius says that it expects to have revenues above USD 600 million this year with an adjusted loss from operations of approximately USD 565 million but could reach positive free cash flow, after capital expenditures, could be reached as early as the fourth quarter of the year and Karmazin added of the company's plans, "We are also very excited about the launch of our first live wearable radio this summer and our plans to stream The Howard Stern Show via the Internet to Sirius subscribers by Father's Day."
Referring to the increased loss, Karmazin commented, "This was a great quarter on every front for Sirius. Non-cash equity charges were the primary reasons for our widening loss over last year and do not impact our free cash flow guidance or our very bright short and long term prospects."
During the company's conference call Sirius said it had enough cash in hand to fund its current requirements. Karmazin said it did not intend to follow rival XM in syndication programming to terrestrial radio, a reference to the deal between XM and CBS Radio over the Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) Show (See RNW Apr 25), commenting that it was a "great deal" for the two hosts but Sirius was in the business of attracting subscribers to its satellite service.
2006-05-03: Alaskan Republican Senator Ted Stevens and Hawaii Democrat Senator Daniel Inouye have introduced a bill that would reinstate a video and audio broadcast flag for digital transmissions in the US.
The 135-page "Communications, Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006" posted on his site by Stevens would give the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authority to "promulgate regulations governing the indiscriminate redistribution of audio content " on digital radio broadcasts, satellite digital radio transmissions and digital radios.
It proposes that the FCC set up "an advisory committee, to be known as the Digital Audio Review Board" with representatives of manufacturers, broadcasters, the recording industry, performing rights societies and organizations representing artists, performers and musicians and "any other group that the Commission determines will be directly affected by adoption of 17 broadcast flag technology regulations."
This committee would then have a year to submit its proposed regulations.
The proposals would allow the FCC to ban new digital receivers for HD and satellite radio that allow broadcast material to be recorded "consistent with fair use principles" and require that new receivers prevent recording of broadcasts marked by a "broadcast flag."
Other parts of the bill deal with such matters as the phasing out of analogue TV receivers and banning sales of analogue receivers; regulating VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls and requiring that they carry identification of the caller and persons called among other things; the introduction of broadband including the setting up of "an annual fund of USD 500 million to address communications needs in rural areas."
In a posting on his web site Stevens says, "This measure is a working draft intended to stimulate discussion and is open for comments and suggestions for change. It attempts to strike a balance between competing industries, consumer groups, and local government."
He adds, "This bill includes provisions throughout that will benefit consumers. It encourages competition and cost savings in the video market. It addresses some critical needs in rural America. And, it encourages deployment of broadband so that our nation can remain competitive."
Stevens web site - text of bill ( 135- page, 560 KB PDF):
2006-05-03: The landlord of Emmis's WQHT- FM (Hot-97) in New York has now filed a lawsuit to evict the station, a move that followed another shooting outside the station and that Emmis says has no legal basis (See RNW May 2). Emmis has a lease until 2012 on the seventh floor of the building.
The suit by the New York City District Council of Carpenters cited three shootings, two bomb threats and more than a dozen other incidents involving celebrity guests coming to the station's offices since March 2000 according to an Associated Press report.
It cited "numerous extremely serious incidents, including multiple shootings and altercations with building security" that "threatened the lives of tenants and the public." The station occupies the seventh floor of the building and Emmis has 20 days to respond.
Emmis in a statement said, "If the carpenters union wants to spend money dragging this issue through the courts, then we have no choice but to fight them on it and we will win. The union has tried to bully us into submission and accomplish through harassment what they can't accomplish through the legal system."
Following the most recent shooting New York police are to site a video surveillance camera outside the building, a move welcomed by the station.
Washington Post/AP report:
2006-05-03: California public broadcasters KQED, Inc. (San Francisco) and KTEH Foundation (San Jose) have announced a merger into a newly created organization: Northern California Public Broadcasting (NCPB).
Announcing the merger, which was approved unanimously by the boards of both organizations, Jeff Clarke, President and CEO of KQED, who will take on the additional role of President and CEO of NCPB, said, "KQED, KTEH and KCAH are joining forces to create the best public broadcasting services for Northern Californians. As Northern California Public Broadcasting, we are better equipped to operate and compete in today's complex and changing media landscape. The strength of our combined resources will provide new opportunities to serve the public while maintaining the integrity of our programs and mission."
Thomas E. Fanella, President and CEO of KTEH, added, "Joining KQED to form NCPB reflects the best possible future for public broadcasting in this region. With this venture, our members and viewers benefit from even more diverse programming, educational outreach, and community services."
2006-05-03: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has cancelled a USD 4,000 penalty it imposed on Saga in March (See RNW Mar 3) for broadcasting a phone conversation without first informing the other party to the call but has not given reasons for the cancellation.
Saga had petitioned for review of the penalty, which arose from a call by its WLZX-FM host Christopher Laursen to rival host Dave Sears at Western Mass Radio Company's WRNX-FM, Amherst (See RNW Feb 20, 2004) and the petition is now dismissed as moot.
2006-05-03: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin partly upholds one fairness and privacy complaint against radio and considered two other complaints resolved: Regarding TV it upheld two standards complaints and in part upheld one fairness and privacy one; considered two other standards complaints resolved and rejected a further TV standards case that had prompted 123 complaints and about which it gave details.
The radio complaint partly upheld involved BBC Radio 4 and Radio 5 Live and a report on a child protection case in which complainant Dr Paul Davis gave evidence.
The reports related to a case where a mother believed that her child had been taken away from her and placed into care after an allegation of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy ("MSbP").
Dr Davis did not participate in the programmes but he was named and extracts from his court report were read out in the Today programme and other contributors commented critically on his findings in both programmes.
He complained that the full content of the programmes was not disclosed to him; that his role in the court proceedings was exaggerated and misrepresented; that the programmes contained factually inaccurate information that harmed his professional standing; that he was identified as an expert witness in the case; and, that his privacy was unwarrantably infringed in the programmes by being identified by name.
Ofcom did not uphold the complaint of infringement of privacy but upheld almost all of the complaint of unfair treatment, saying three paediatricians had given expert opinions but this was not made clear and Dr Davis was singled out; that the report inaccurately implied that he was the motivating force in removing the child from his mother; and that there was not a "direct and immediate" connection between Dr Davis' report and the taking into foster care of the child.
The cases considered resolved involved Star 107.5 Cheltenham and a TV review on the Ali Malik Drivetime programme on Awaz FM that led to a complaint of racism after the presenter surmised, "It's a shame if you don't know who your son is", to which his colleague responded, "That's true, but then that's white people".
The station had apologized, said the comment was an off-the cuff remark by a volunteer- who was suspended for one week and reminded of the station's programme policy- and was picked up immediately afterwards by the presenter off-air. The volunteer had broadcast an apology to listeners when she returned the following week.
In the Star case, a discussion on the Brody and Louise in the Morning breakfast show had included comment on Brody's jacket by his co-presenter who commented on his "bipolar disorder" after which Brody made repetitive noises. A complainant, who had bipolar disorder, said he was offended by the comments concerning the condition that he said included mimicry.
The station said that technical problems had frustrated the presenters and the comment, intended to be light-hearted banter, occurs as a reaction to their frustrations. It added that it had spoken to both presenters and assured |Ofcom there would be no recurrence of such comments.
In addition Ofcom also listed with no details a further 204 complaints against 170 items that were rejected or held to be out of remit compared to corresponding totals of 176 complaints against 151items in the previous bulletin.
These included 17 radio complaints relating to 17 items and 187 TV complaints relating to 153 items compared to 30 radio complaints relating to 26 items and 146 TV complaints relating to 125 items in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2006-05-02: US radio revenues in March were down 1% on a year earlier matching the fall in February revenues according to the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB): As in February, national revenues were up - but by only 1% in March compared to 4% a month earlier - as were non-spot revenues - up by 5% in March compared to 12% in February- but local revenues were down - by 2% compared to a 3% fall in February.
RAB's Ad Sales Index that equates pre-dot.com boom base year 1998 to 100 was 141.5 for total combined local and national with the local index 140.1 and the national index 147.6.
For the year to date grand total combined spot and non-spot revenue are now down 1% as are combined local and national advert revenues while national revenues are up 3%; local revenues are down 2%; and non-spot revenues are up 9%.
Previous RAB figures:
2006-05-02: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has started a public hearing in Gatineau, Quebec, about proposals for emergency alert services for the country.
Speaking at the opening of the hearing CRTC Vice-chair of Broadcasting Michel Arpin, noted that the "need for a national alerting system has been apparent for some time, all the more so following the recent weather disasters in North America and throughout the world."
He then continued by saying that it was "especially important" to consider careful the merits of three proposals that had been put forward.
All three proposals - from Pelmorex Communications Inc., which would deliver alerts through The Weather Network/MétéoMédia cable channels; the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Société Radio-Canada (CBC/SRC), which would use its radio transmitters; and from Bell ExpressVu Limited Partnership, which would deliver messages as fixed text, bilingual alphanumeric crawls and audio warnings to its subscribers.
The latter two organizations are also asking to be allowed to relieved of obligations to obtain the agreement of programme operators, networks or distribution undertakings before inserting an emergency alert message into programming.
Pelmorex and Services Quebec have already announced the launch of a pilot project to develop and test advanced public warning capabilities for Quebec using the former's Weather Network and MétéoMédia cable channels to deliver localized alerts. Communications Laboratories Inc. will provide the satellite-based warning and messaging system, EMnet, which allows secure dissemination of messages to one or more stations simultaneously.
2006-05-02: Under the headline, "It's Over: The Operative Words are "Nt Guilty'" conservative US talk host Rush Limbaugh has posted on his web site incomplete details of his agreement with Florida prosecutors that in 18 months will end the prescription drugs case against him.
The deal filed on Monday stipulates that Limbaugh cannot own a gun, must submit to random drug tests and has to continue treatment for his acknowledged addiction to painkillers but he does not have to plead guilty to any offence.
On his show, Limbaugh didn't mention the conditions but said in relation to accepting the deal, "From my point of view, the end result will be as if I had gone to court and won, but the matter is concluded much sooner, and at much less expense for both me and for the public."
He continued, "I have spent thousands of hours and millions of dollars with lawyers over the past 2.7 months fighting this at every stage. We finally got a favourable ruling from the last judge to hear a ruling, rule on a motion in this case, in which he basically told the government that, 'Well, you can talk to Mr. Limbaugh's doctors but you can't ask them anything that'll help you unless he waves his privacy privilege, and I don't think Mr. Limbaugh is going to do that.'"
So the matter has been put to bed. I'm thrilled that it's behind me. It's my understanding the state attorney is also pleased and thinks that this is the correct outcome based on the facts in the case, and that's fine with me. The case is closed."
Limbaugh also took up the matter of some reports that said he had been arrested on Friday when what had happened was that he turned himself in. He concluded, "I've maintained all along there isn't any doctor shopping as has my lawyer, and if there was any evidence of it I don't know that we would have been able to settle this as we have."
In a statement to the Associated Press published in the Palm Beach Post, Limbaugh's attorney Roy Black said, "This is a common sense resolution and the appropriate way the state should treat people who have admitted an addiction to prescription pain medication and voluntarily sought treatment." He added that Limbaugh has been undergoing both scheduled and random drug tests "as part of the treatment program that he entered into voluntarily, and he has passed them all, so this is nothing new for him."
State attorney's spokesman Mike Edmondson said the information "in the charging document in this particular instance was only evidence sufficient to support that sole count and that did not reflect the totality of the evidence we had in the overall investigation."
The report also quoted prominent Miami defence lawyer and former U.S. attorney Kendall Coffey as saying the agreement was a standard deal for first-time, non-violent drug offenders and adding, "The essence of a pre-trial diversion is that you do not acknowledge guilt. It doesn't either vindicate the defendant's innocence nor does it truly vindicate the prosecution's assertion of guilt. In that sense, it's a draw."
Limbaugh web site:
Palm Beach Post report:
2006-05-02: Sirius Satellite Radio host Howard Stern has got one back on his old rivals Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) who last month took over his former slot on seven CBS stations (See RNW Apr 25) with his naming in Time Magazine's list "TIME 100: The People Who Shape Our World."
The list, in the print edition due out next Monday, lists only Stern from the world of radio. His write-up describes him as the "New King of Satellite": Written by David Spade, host of The Showbiz Show on Comedy Central, it focuses on his ability to make Spade - and others -laugh.
Time 100 list (Links on to details of all those on list):
2006-05-02: Emmis's New York WQHT- FM (Hot-97) is facing a threat of eviction following another rap-related shooting outside the Hip-hop and RndB station according to the New York Daily News.
The building that houses the station is owned by the New York City District Council of Carpenters which is expected to make a statement today regarding possible eviction - for which Emmis says there is no "legal basis."
The latest incident involved Brooklyn rapper Jamal (Gravy) Woolard who was shot outside the building and injured in the buttocks before a scheduled interview that he completed before going to hospital for treatment. Police said the assailant was a jilted hanger-on who was upset because the rapper had refused to let him sit in on the interview
The paper says Woolard refused to co-operate with police and no arrests were made.
Previous incidents near the station included a 2001 gun battle between crews linked to diva Lil' Kim and rap duo Capone-N-Noreaga after back-to-back appearances at the station and an incident last year involving interviews with rapper 50 Cent and his former protégé The Game that led to the landlord insisting on tightened security (See RNW Mar 10, 2005),
New York Daily News report:
2006-05-02: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has imposed a USD 8,000 penalty on a Pennsylvania AM for failing to maintain operational Emergency Alert System ("EAS") equipment.
Corry Communications Corporation, licensee of WWCB-AM, Corry, had not responded to a Notice of Apparent Liability issued in December last year.
2006-05-01: We were tempted again this week to start our look at print comment on radio with Bob Dylan in view of positive previews of his show that is to launch this week on XM Satellite Radio and also comments in his blog by XM's chief programming officer Lee Abrams about how the show came into being but in the end felt the topic was best handled on its own (see below).
We did think, however, that some of Abrams excoriating remarks about US terrestrial radio in his blog were worthy of mention.
After outlining some of XM's "mission", Abrams comments that "Few mediums are as powerful and engaging as radio" but then continues, "Am I pissed off at FM. Hell YES! I grew up with the transistor under the pillow BELIEVING that radio is the theater of the mind. To hear how music radio has declined into this artless, soul-free zone is disturbing and upsetting."
Abrams says he doesn't live in the past but respects it and praises radio of the past, saying, "To hear airchecks of the GREAT stations from the 50's and 60's can be an inspiration in the same way a Robert Johnson 78 can inspire a blues musician. Radio was COMPLETE back then. A total experience. Not a morning show, tested library and billboards."
He then posts a list of "20 myths" he has put together in which among other things he says it is a myth that there are great FM's in America, saying, "There are great call letters historically, but personally I can't think of ONE FM station that would be worth taping and playing to the XM Staff. There are some OK ones, but most really are doing nothing especially interesting, compelling or new."
He also plays down the value of research saying if traditional analysis worked "FM would be invulnerable and there'd be no need for an XM"
Apart from Dylan, the other host in the news last week - around the world as well as in the US - was Rush Limbaugh whose deal with the Florida authorities meant that he has avoided prosecution for prescription drug abuse if he continues treatment and doesn't offend again (See RNW Apr 29).
Most of the reports were fairly straightforward statements of the facts with some comment and of these the Dallas-Forth Worth Star-Telegram report by Brian Skoloff of the Associated Press seemed to us to carry the most balanced comment on the implications.
It quoted Kendall Coffey, a former U.S. attorney and prominent Miami defence lawyer, as saying, "This is a dismissal of the charge ... representing, in affect, a win for the defence. Having said that, I wouldn't call this case a major defeat for the prosecution. They fought and won an important legal point in establishing that you can use a search warrant in Florida to secure medical records." Coffey added, "That's an important precedent for prosecutors around the state. This could be the rare situation where both sides made a deal and can walk away feeling some satisfaction."
Michael Seigel, a University of Florida law professor and former federal prosecutor, said the deal allowed Limbaugh "to save face" and continued, "Given the high-profile nature of this, it's an indication to me that if Rush Limbaugh thought he could win the case and be vindicated, he would go to trial. He's not asking for his day in court."
In general reports seemed to mirror attitudes already held with right-wing publications and blogs claiming that Limbaugh had been totally vindicated: For a summary, from a pro-Limbaugh base, of the way the story was covered we'd suggest the Newsbusters report from Brent Baker (link below).
Also gaining significant coverage last week were Spanish radio hosts in the US who are credited with driving the "pro-immigrant demonstrations" by US Hispanics.
Amongst them is Eduardo Sotelo, Los Angeles' highest-rated morning radio show host, who was the subject of a New York Times profile by Mireya Navarro.
The report notes that Sotelo's show "Piolín por la Mañana" ("Piolín in the Morning") is syndicated to 18 other markets and says, "Last March, when his guests included the organizers of a march in Los Angeles against a pending bill in Congress that would make it a felony to be in this country illegally, Mr. Sotelo deemed the bill 'inhumane.' After all, he too slipped into the country illegally, on foot and stuffed in the trunk of a car."
Sotelo in fact left Jalisco, Mexico, aged 16 in 1986; paid a smuggler for passage to the US and then worked menial jobs, recycling cans, washing cars and cleaning apartments while attending a Santa Ana high school and breaking into radio in the early 1990's. He is now a legal resident as are his parents and two brothers and he plans to become a US citizen this year.
"If we have jobs, that means that they need us in this country," he said in an interview. "Our people suffer when they don't have documents. Our relatives die in Mexico, and we can't go to bury them. To hear immigrants called criminals pains me."
Sotelo called up his competitors on Spanish-language radio to set an example of unity and to plot a course of action and about a dozen of the disc jockeys and radio personalities responded, urging listeners "not only to march but also to make a good impression: they asked participants to wear peaceful white T-shirts, wave American flags and bring trash bags to pick up after themselves."
It adds that to mark today's pro-immigrant action - a boycott of work, school and shopping to show the economic strength of immigrants -seven-hour show - and those of some other Spanish-language DJs - will not be broadcast. The station will instead play music while he joins two marches in downtown Los Angeles, one of them organized by the Roman Catholic archdiocese.
Sotelo says he doesn't consider himself "political" bus as "one more immigrant who has come to the United States looking for a better life, a person who brings one more brick to the construction of our unity here."
His show certainly didn't build itself by being political but through pranks, jokes, music, interviews and calls from listeners - the report says, "One moment he's crank-calling a young listener's boyfriend, posing as her irate father. (The girl later explains to the boyfriend that she's not really pregnant.) Another he's asking a lobby guard to demand a USD 100 bribe from three visitors he is expecting from Fresno before letting them into the studio. (The visitors pay, and the money is later returned.)" and Rob Balon, chief executive of the Benchmark Company, a market research business in Austin, Texas, forecast problems for the show were Sotelo to go political, saying, "If Piolín decides to become a Limbaugh type, his audience is going to be bored."
Finally before listening suggestions, on to comment from the UK on changes in radio - and broadcasting - that are being planned by the BBC in its "Creative Future" released last week (See RNW Apr 26) and to a degree have already happened.
In the UK Guardian, Emily Bell comments, "If you work outside the media, my prediction is that the launch of the BBC's "Creative Futures" review last week will not have dented your world much - with the possible exception of the news that Grandstand is in for the chop. But in online media, people can talk of little else."
The ideas put forward suggests Bell are important not so much because they're new but because of the scale of the BBC's operations, noting that she had "blogged" about the matter and "One astute poster added a comment to the blog that observed that the BBC "was not just making water-cooler television but wants to own the water cooler too".
"At an in-house, off-the-record lunch at the Guardian last week," she continues, "an executive with another web company voiced what we all thought privately: "If the BBC implements all of this stuff, then the rest of you are going to be left miles and miles behind." This isn't because the Creative Futures document contained anything that is necessarily rocket science - there isn't a media organization in the world that hasn't got a similar strategy document lying around, and in many cases some of us are already implementing the type of things the BBC is talking about doing. But, much like Rupert Murdoch declaring the internet officially open about five years late, it is the scale of the organization that changes the game."
She also expresses caution about the degree to which people will want to "be corralled around the content by the BBC" but says the "wider issue is whether any of us in the 'incumbent media' can participate in the new, disruptive technologies."
In his Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times Paul Donovan comments, "When Mark Thompson, the BBC's director-general, used the words "amazing, bewildering, exciting and inspiring" in a lecture last Tuesday, he was referring to changes in broadcasting technology in general - but he could just as well have been talking only about radio."
He goes on to note that when he began the column he could listen to nine stations in London, today on digital radio it is about 50 and, "Now I can listen on a television, a computer or a mobile phone. If I miss Just a Minute, I can hear it at any other minute over the next seven days via the BBC's website. In addition to that listen-again facility, I can also download any of 50 BBC radio shows, and some commercial ones, straight onto my computer, then transfer them to a portable iPod to play them at any time and in any place to suit me, and (though not in law) for ever. Tens of thousands of people are now doing this: amazing and bewildering indeed. And this is not just a realm for the gadget- conscious, fashion-conscious young: John Prescott [the UK's Deputy Prime Minister] recently revealed, on a Bristol community station called Radio 19, that he uses an iPod Nano to play his favourite songs, including Town Called Malice by the Jam."
Donovan goes on to note the level of downloads of BBC radio and then comments, "But control over when you listen is not the same as control over what you listen to. Or, to be more precise, what is on offer to you, who makes the programmes, who appoints those people, what their values and beliefs are, who gets paid how much for what and who makes the decisions. Those matters, as we have seen from recent leaks, continue to be made by people who open shutters on the rest of the world, but prefer to operate behind closed doors."
Next suggested listening and for most of the world we can't suggest Dylan on XM since not only is a subscription required but also a US address to buy any subscription.
So in the absence of a Dylan a suggestion from "BBC 6 Music" from last week - the three-hour "Steve Lamacq Show" (it runs from 1500 to 1800 GMT weekdays) that last Thursday was co-presented with Nick Hodgson of the Kaiser Chiefs. It doesn't have the resources put into Dylan's show and like everything on the station has too many promos for our tastes but is worth a listen nevertheless.
In slightly different vein we'd then suggest this Wednesday's "10 Million Can't Be Wrong", the final in a four-part series that sees Kate Thornton in "Waking Up the Neighbours" talking to Canadian rocker Bryan Adams who took four years to record the 1991 album and whose single release from the album "Everything I Do I Do It For You" was number 1 in the British charts for 16 weeks. Last week's programme on the 1976 album "Night Moves" by Bob Seger is on the Radio 2 site until then.
Next we'd suggest a little comedy with, also from last Thursday, BBC Radio 4 and "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha Ha" in which actor John Sessions looks at the treatment of mental illness by comedians, and BBC Radio 4's "The Now Show" (Fridays at 17:30 GMT), which is available as an MP3 as well as a stream. In the same time slot tomorrow is "Revolting People", the comedy set during the American War of Independence
Sticking with BBC Radio 4 but going on to drama and documentary we suggest the "Classic Serial" from last Sunday, a dramatisation by Dan Rebellato of Nikolay Gogol's "Dead Souls" starring Michael Palin and Mark Heap, and today's "Afternoon Play" (13:15 GMT) which is "Nine Days in May" by Robin Glendinning and is based on the fight to retain the BBC's Independence during the 1926 General Strike when then Chancellor Winston Churchill wanted to take over the fledgling British Broadcasting Company.
And for documentary from Sunday "A New Axis of Power", the second part of a two-part programme in which Emilio San Pedro looked at how President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is attempting to build alliances to curtail the role of the US in South America. The first programme is also available as an MP3 from BBC World Service in the "Documentary" slot until Wednesday.
Also on the World Service "Documentary" site for the next few hours is the MP3 of the first of a World Service "Alcohol" series. This programme considers whether drinking in Kenya and Great Britain is out of control. The next programme is at 23:00 GMT tonight.
Changing continents and another suggestion of "On the Media" from WNYC, this time for last week's programme and in particular an interview with Garland Robinette, who happened to be filling in at WWL-AM for a sick friend when Hurricane Katrina struck, and who since then has become nationally known and a permanent host (1400-1700) on the Entercom station.
Back to Europe and last Friday's " A Good Life" from Radio Netherlands' English service (Available as a stream or MP3) that took a cue from Press Freedom Day (on May 3) to look at different elements of intimidation.
In Uganda, Andrew Mwembe, the Political Editor of Uganda's leading daily newspaper and host of a hard-hitting radio talk show has been jailed and faces charges of sedition for his comments whilst in Afghanistan Nawa Radio's problems come from the cultural taboos about sex that make it difficult to inform people about GIV and AIDS.
And finally back to BBC World Service and the latest "Heart and Soul" programme -" Vodou" - in which Naomi Wellings reports from Grand Popo in Benin, West Africa, the birthplace of vodou (widely known as voodoo ),which many dismiss as witchcraft, which was once banned, but is now an official religion practiced by some 60% of the population.
Lee Abrams blog:
Dallas Forth Worth Star-Telegram /AP - Skoloff:
Newsbusters - Baker:
New York Times - Navarro:
UK Guardian - Bell:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2006-05-01: The controversy in the US about illegal immigrants, particularly Spanish speakers, and how to deal with them, is dividing radio stations and groups as well as the US nation with the station divisions seeming to split mainly along business lines and tailoring their attitudes to those of their audiences.
In the case of the Spanish version of the American national anthem "The Star-Spangled Banner" it was aired by around 700 stations on Friday last week, including those in Clear Channel's La Preciosa Network.
It was not aired however by all Spanish language stations - in El Paso, where Entravision owns five stations, none aired the anthem - and in Southwest Florida, Fort Myers Broadcasting reflected a split in opinions in what was aired by its stations - Conservative news/talk WINK-AM, which it owns but does not operate, and Spanish music stations Latino 97.7-FM and Rumba 1200-AM, formerly an English-language talk format.
The News-Press cited Wayne Simons, the general manager of Fort Myers Broadcasting's radio division, whose Spanish-language stations voiced support for the pro-immigrant march and conservative talk radio station is planning an anti-march today to oppose those who had previously protested, as saying of WINK's plans, "I'm not going to say what they should be doing or not doing," Simons said. "They have to listen to their audience. A big part of news talk is about giving a voice to their listeners in the community."
South Florida News-Press report:
2006-05-01: The Bob Dylan weekly show that launches on XM Satellite Radio on Wednesday and which was previewed favourably last week in the UK Observer (See RNW Columnists, Apr 24) has attracted similar favourable comment so far in the US.
In addition XM SVP and Chief Programming Officer Lee Abrams has posted on his blog his account of how the show came to be.
Previewing the show, Daniel Gewertz in the Boston Herald gives it a rave review, commenting, "The first surprise was that Bob Dylan was even interested in playing disc jockey for satellite XM Radio. But here's the kicker: Dylan is darn good at it."
"In his weekly show, debuting Wednesday, "he continues, "Dylan gracefully eases into the role of your friendly, hipster host and roots-music expert. He's informative, funny and, wonder of wonders, totally mumble-free. The songs all come from his private record collection. And no surprise here: his taste is impeccable."
Some of the songs were not in XM's system according to Abrams, who notes in his "Dylan Diary", "We have millions of songs in our library, but even then Bob and his team are finding some real gems, that even we don't have. But we're getting them. I think some might be on 78's. But this ain't gonna be no oldies show. It's about MUSIC. The dates are irrelevant."
Abrams says Dylan's name was one that kept him sleepless from his arrival at XM in 1998 and when it came to moving forward with plans things did not go easily with problems getting through to Dylan but he kept trying-_" Every angle. Nothing. Then I heard that Bob owned something like 12 XM Radios and he loved it. The more I read and studied Bob--partially out of admiration...partially out of trying to sway him into a relationship I talked to a lot of artists and high level music types. No one really had much of a feel for this. There were the agents and artists who've worked with him, but there didn't seem to be the one "guy" that could unlock the door."
Eventually, writes Abrams, he was put in touch with Dylan's business manager with whom he hit it off as did XM CEO Hugh Panero. The deal writes Abrams wasn't so much about business as musical impact - "Sure, there are deal points, but it was more about coming to terms with XM being a logical and comfortable radio home for Bob. Without that, deal points are irrelevant. This is about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for art and technology to merge. For Bob fucking Dylan to play on a new stage....XM. Everyone can win here because this thing is for the right reasons."
Abrams says that at first there was talk of a Dylan channel but "reality set in and we thought about what Bob could actually do that has NO compromises, that he totally controls and that speaks volumes a bout his spirit, intellect and vibe...but isn't some cheesy tell all where he explains Blowin In The Wind. It was decided....A weekly radio show. One where he dreams it up and delivers...on his terms. I am ecstatic."
Later as the show progressed Abrams comments, "We first got copies of the song lists. For technical reasons we need to make sure they are in our system. As deep as the XM library his, they had us stumped on a few. Good! Symbolizes that the musical direction will break every radio rule. Perfect. In fact that they have no clue about what a traditional radio show should look and sound like means that the show WILL be a PURE reflection of Bob and uncompromised for mass consumption. I believe that because the show IS so unusual that it WILL be mass appeal but certainly not by trying to be."
The diary now awaits a final chapter - the launch, of which he says, "Feels like the days before the moon launch must of felt to NASA. The countdown continues "
Abrams blog site:
Boston Herald preview:
2006-05-01: WorldSpace founder, chairman and CEO Noah Samara is to deliver the opening keynote speech to the three-day International Radio Conference, Dubai, which runs from May 22-24 in the Gulf state.
The conference will include speakers from round the world, primarily Europe, who have been invited to comment on the business of radio and their vision of its future: The main focus of the event will be two-fold - a 'back to basics' forum in which to discuss the business of radio and an in-depth look into the future of radio in the Middle East and surrounding countries, addressing rapid regulatory and technological changes.
Among the speakers due to attend are Farid Antone, Creative Director, Radio SAWA, (UAE); Raymond Gaspar, CEO, Radio One (Lebanon); and Abdullatif Al Sayegh, CEO, Arabian Radio Network (UAE) from the Middle East stations and Julian Allitt, Managing Director, JazzRadio (Germany); Steve Martin, On Air Editor, BBC World Service (UK); Douglas McArthur, CEO, Radio Advertising Bureau (UK); Keith Pringle, former Managing Director, Capital FM (UK); and Sam Zniber, Deputy Managing Director and Program General Manager, RTL2 & Fun Radio (France) from Europe.
ICR Dubai web site:
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