July 2006 Archive
-June 2006 -August 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 July comment - in "The "cost" of broadcast spectrum - will spectrum pricing hit broadcasters?" considers moves to price spectrum to improve economic efficiency in its use and the potential impact on broadcasters as costs are likely to rise.
RNW June comment - in "Advertisers, demographics and maybe damaging the future." says broadcasters must think digital and that neglecting young and older groups less attractive to advertisers may damage them.
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.
2006-07-31: We start this week's look at print comment on radio with a rare report on co-operation between the satellite and terrestrial radio companies in the US courtesy of Sue Zeidler of Reuters.
In an analysis she comments on the common interest the rivals share in fighting bids by the recording industry to promote laws that would increase their royalties and restrict technology allowing recording of digital radio signals.
Earlier this month (See RNW Jul 17) XM asked a federal court to throw out a multi-billion dollar suit filed against it by the major US record companies over its "Inno" receiver that can also store around 50 hours of songs and Zeidler comments that the lawsuit is "part of the music industry's aggressive legal strategy to curb copyright piracy in the digital age that has left it embroiled in battles to block various new technologies from MP3 players to peer-to-peer file-sharing technology."
She adds that "While the industry scored a victory this week in winning a USD100 million settlement from long-time file-sharing foe, Kazaa, some industry watchers believe it has overreached in turning a legitimate business like XM into an antagonist" adding that XM's new alliance with over-the-air broadcasters could hurt the recording industry's legislative efforts.
Zeidler quotes Clear Channel as saying of the action, "Every time new technologies are developed that would enhance consumers' lives, the content community complains the sky is falling" and adds that a dozen chief executives from radio companies - including Clear Channel, Cox Radio, Entercom and Emmis - sent a letter last week urging Arlen Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to postpone consideration of the Perform Act (Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights Holders in Music), which would restrict ability to record off-air digital transmissions, citing the uncertainty of the pending XM lawsuit.
The Act, sponsored by California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein, would make digital rights management (DRM) technology mandatory for all broadcasts or Internet streams of music that uses statutory licensing, and has been termed by the lobby group The Electronic Freedom Frontier (EFF) "yet another petulant scrawl by the RIAA on the statute books, placing their short term interests over the freedom to innovate and the future freedoms of America's musicians and customers."
Specter reports Zeidler has told Feinstein he thinks it unwise to try to move the bill through the committee unless a consensus is reached.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) claims that the idea behind the bill is to equalize royalty rates for all types of broadcasts - currently the satellite radio companies pay less than broadcasters pay to stream their terrestrial signals but the terrestrial broadcasters are exempt from charges for their terrestrial broadcasts.
After a tale of co-operation, one of scepticism, this time about HD digital radio, that we noted from Mark Ramsey, the president of hear2.0, the audio entertainment strategy company, and Mercury Radio Research.
Referring to a Kagan Research report that in headlines says HD radio expected to generate USD1.6 billion in revenue by 2011, the bulk of which is expected to come from advertiser based secondary channels, Ramsey says he'd love to review the "the original report in its entirety to give it the kind of analysis it deserves."
He goes on to suggest that it is puffery from radio industry sources and says that what he hears from industry sources, "There is no established model for how stations or groups plan to derive revenue from HD radio"; "There is no plan to spend more than subsistence sums on investments in HD radio programming"; and there "is no guarantee that these radios will be offered by the automakers because they want to provide only what their customers want, and audience based demand is so far lacking."
He also says that for the moment there is no desire to add inventory to HD channels because the industry is using "advertising free" as a come-on to entice people to purchase receivers and adds that few receivers are in circulation and "Even with millions of HD radios in circulation there would be no "local sales" model since millions of radios nationwide don't amount to any significant numbers at the local level."
"There is no strategy regarding how the radio industry can sell HD radio without cannibalizing listeners and dollars from the very stations which are now the cash cows," writes Ramsey. "Remember, you have to go through the current station to get to its HD-2 channel. And who is most likely to go there first? The ones who go to your current station, of course."
He also notes that the absence of commercials is a major factor in driving satellite radio sales not s much by "more choice" and that the evidence is against HD radio attracting new income but plenty of evidence that "the focus on HD radio is distracting broadcasters from focusing on obvious web opportunities, and this is causing us to lose ground on the web relative to other radio alternatives which might be much more potent in the future than satellite or HD."
New technology concludes Ramsey, succeeds because consumers want the products not because of what an industry wants and in some cases for the average consumer what exists already is "good enough" and asks if radio is "one of those things?"
Next some more questions, this time from Jim Schutze in the Dallas Observer about plans for a frequency swap for Dallas public station WRR-FM, a swap that he says would simply make the station worth less.
"Get this," writes Schutze, "WRR makes money. It is owned by Dallas City Hall, and it makes money. I know. It's amazing."
He adds that station general manager Gregory Davis did not want to talk to him about the plans but he sent the station "an open records demand anyway for its financial numbers" and these, when he got them showed that "In the last five years, WRR has posted profits averaging more than half a million bucks a year."
WRR he says, even though owned by the city, "is licensed as a commercial station" and "is licensed as a commercial station." Of the deal on the table, he says that Salem wants WRR's 100,000-watt signal and tower and in return would offer a non-commercial frequency and tower plus around USD 50 million, leaving the city with a "non-commercial tower and signal, worth much less because now the new WRR can't sell ads."
Schutze says of the puffery [our word, not his] from Salem's agent to the effect that the city would get a signal with coverage close to that of the current signal and that it's "a no brainer for the city" that looking at the figures, WRR costs USD 3-4 million a year to operate and that even if the city put the entire USD 50 million into something returning 5% per annum, it wouldn't cover the costs.
He also comments that some arts group were frank in saying they'd like a slice of the money if the deal is ever done and concludes that if it is, "Great! We've taken the one successful, profitable city agency we could find and screwed it up and hobbled it so that ultimately it will die. And somebody outside City Hall will make a whole lot of moolah on the deal."
Finally comment, before moving onto listening suggestions, from Paul Donovan in his UK Sunday Times "Radio Waves" column, about London station LBC's latest version of the phone -in - a three hour show "Iain Lee's Triple M Show with No Presenter" that was promoted on the basis of being the first ever such show without a host and where, if nobody rings in there will be nothing to hear except dead air.
Donovan quotes Lee as saying, "We want to try three hours without an agenda, giving callers unedited power to express themselves. It could be either pure brilliance or utter tedium."
He goes on to suggest he rather fears the latter, writing, "From what I heard last week of his shows - which go out on weekday afternoons and Sunday nights - I have no doubt which of these two possibilities will come to pass. Lee said he wished he were in television "because the pay is better and the chicks are better-looking"; called his show the previous day "awful" and "atrocious"; described some of his present show as "boring" (true); told us he was "grumpy" and had a headache; dismissed one caller as a "right-wing idiot"; and spent much time lambasting Jon Gaunt, a populist talkSPORT phone-in host. True, he won't be there tonight, but what of his callers? They were often inarticulate and inaudible. Sometimes there were only grunts, clicks and pauses.,, Almost every conversation was characterised by ping-pong insults, assertions masquerading as argument, trivia, dire sound quality and continual querulousness."
So on to suggested listening and, apart from noting that "The Proms" and programmes on WOMAD continue on BBC Radio 3, we start with BBC Radio 4 and the most recent "Archive Hour" that on Saturday in "Putting It Simply"looked at the way that science has been seen and heard on radio and television.
Then plenty to go at in two BBC Radio 4 Series that have just ended runs but are posted on the channel's web site.
The first is Documentary that a week ago aired "A Date with Bevin", looking at plans by Jewish terrorists shortly after the end of the second World War to assassinate the British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin and that included comments from former members of the Stern Gang and Irgun on their plans.
The second is the "Bottom Line" business series that ended its latest run on Saturday with a look at the growth in children's retailing.
Sticking to series of programmes we next suggest the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Street Stories" that for the last three Sundays has been running a series "Single at Sixty" on women aged around 60 who have never married. All three programmes will be on the site for the rest of this week.
Also from the ABC we'd suggest, perhaps as a counter to various past selections of its "Religion Report" (last week's programme with the intriguing title, "Floyd Landis:Mennonite in tights" was of course prepared before there were any suggestions of drug taking or naturally high testosterone levels but is also misleading as the programme is more about women bishops and such other mainstream religious matters) and "Spirit of Things" (which last week in" Spiritual Classics, Part 7" was on Sikhism) last week's "All in the Mind", which was "Breaking the spell: Daniel Dennett on Religion", Dennett's version of the evolution of religion - a double whammy against him for the fundamentalists. Also from ABC, we suggest last week's "Night Air", which was "Satan call God" in which a radio-deity and audio demon engage in theological conversation with interruptions from the cosmic PA.
Then back to BBC Radio 3 for Drama - a new production of "Salome" in "Drama on 3 " yesterday, this time with the emphasis on the family drama in the story as opposed to Oscar Wilde's sexual rendering of it - and from Saturday in the "Between the Ears" slot "Doing the To Do List", a rather eccentric rendering - that can be dipped into and out of - of the need to bring order and the pleasure of ticking off that which has been done, although the "have baby" part of the list apparently didn't get the tick.
On Wednesday we'd suggest Radio Netherlands and its "Documentary" programme - "Casting the Net", which looks at the sole surviving major wild eel fishery in Europe, Loch Neagh in Ireland, and how the fishery has been affected by a 90% decline in eels arrving in the Lough after their long migration from the Sargasso Sea.
Then back to BBC and Radio 2, which tomorrow in two programmes marks two real stars - first Katherine Hepburn, in the first of four "Putting on More Style" programmes (19:30 GMT) then at 20:30 GMT the final of the four-part series about Edith Piaf presented by Petula Clark.
The station is also carryin coverage of this year's Cambridge Folk Festival - on Saturday Stuart Maconie's show was live from the event (it's on the website) and on Wednesday there are two more hours from 18:00 to 20:00 GMT.
On Friday (18:00 GMT the station has "The Good Life: Tony Bennett at 80" - a title descriptive enough to need no more comment,
And finally comedy with the last of the current series of "The Department" on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday at 22:00 GMT, and "The Now Show" - last week's is still on the site as a stream or MP3 until than - on Friday at 17:30 GMT.
Dallas Observer - Schutze:
Reuters - Zeidler:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2006-07-31: The anniversary of the world's first voice and music "broadcast" by the Canadian-born pioneer Professor Reginald Aubrey Fessenden, is to be celebrated this week in Marshfield, Massachusetts, which takes in Brant Rock, the location of the 420 -foot radio tower that was used for his first broadcast on Christmas Eve 1906 - and in January 1906 by Marconi for the first transatlantic wireless communication that was sent using Morse code to its sister tower in Machrihanish, Scotland.
The official site for the celebrations, hosted by Marshfield Broadcasting Co's WATD-FM, notes that Fessenden, who was demonstrating the feasibility of a wireless telephone, did not pursue the concept of "broadcasting" and the value to him of multiple receivers installed in ships was to document reception.
Events planned from Friday to Sunday include demonstrations by ham operators and a live remote broadcast by WATD from the mansion at the Daniel Webster Estate and Heritage Center featuring radio pioneers sharing memories on their times on the air as Radio Personalities plus a gala cocktail party and celebration dinner at the Daniel Webster House.
The latter will include a performance by the Massasoit Radio Players of a 15-minute play "Miracle at Brant Rock" that was written by Scott Wheeler, a member of the Fessenden Centennial Committee (abbreviated as the FCC).
He told the Boston Globe, "Fessenden deserves credit for being the first voice and music broadcaster, the first disc jockey, the first person to play live instrumental music and talk and recite poetry" by radio, adding, "We're trying to hit it big in every way, so everyone knows this Canadian guy with a big white beard is the father of communication."
"It's a wonderful thing to picture people at sea sending and receiving Morse code, and suddenly they hear a man's voice and a recording of a Handel piece and playing `O, Holy Night' on the violin, and throwing off their headphones and saying, `Captain, you have to hear this!' ", said Wheeler.
Amongst those present for the celebrations will be Peter H. Glaubitz, of Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania., who said that he decided to come in honour of his grandfather, Hugo Julius Glaubitz, who was Fessenden's mechanical engineer and designed and oversaw construction of the radio tower.
Boston Globe report:
WATD - Fessenden official site:
2006-07-31: The soccer World Cup boosted BBC Radio Five Live in June with its online listening up nearly 45% and bucking a general fall in online and download cum podcast figures - overall listening online was down 3.4% on the month before to 19,291,346 hours, with live listening down 0.83% to 13,183,668 hours and on-demand listening down 8.52% to 6,107,678 hours:
In terms of network listening in June this year, the rankings were - Total listening hours - live plus on-demand and percentage change compared to May 2006 then to June 2005:
Radio 1 - 5,901,966; -4.6%; + 61.8%
Radio 2 - 3,720,037; -5.6%; +54.9%
Radio 4 - 2,677,876; -8.6%; +24.2%
Radio 5 Live - 2,069,558; +44.2%; +165.4% up a rank
BBC 7 - 1,494,415; +3.1%; +35.3%
Radio 3 - 799,689; -8.13%; +17.5%
6 Music - 678,118; -3.8%; +14.1%
1Xtra - 524,651; -2.1%; -0.2%
Asian Network - 219,140; +2.7%; +16.4%
5 Live Sports Xtra - 701,283; -21.1%; +137%
The top five on-demand programmes were:
1 - "The Archers" on Radio 4 with 636124 listens - down -120606 on May;
2 - "Chris Moyles" on Radio 1 with 466493 listens - down -70,252;
3 - "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" on Radio 4 with 302618 listens -in May it was eighth with 142690 listens on Radio 4. In addition repeats on BBC 7 then put it in11th rank with 129,956 listens while this month the BBC 7 version was in 13th rank with 103,229 listens;
4 - "The Afternoon Play" on Radio 4 with 213,752 listens - down 2,410;
5 "The Essential Selection" on Radio 1 with 192,819 listens - down 36,485 and dropping from third rank;
This pushed the "Essential Mix" on Radio 1 down from fifth to sixth rank with 190.769 listens, up 12,903.
Amongst daily podcasts cum MP3s the top five were:
1- BBC News "Radio Newspod" with 582,068 listens, up 22,282;
2 - Radio 4 "Today 8.10 Interview" with 352,839 listens, down 14,392;
3 - Radio 1 "Scott Mills Daily" with 312,406 listens, up 74,958;
4 - World Service "World News Bulletin" with 180,813 listens, down 3,254;
5 - World Service "The World Today" with 117,551 listens, up 12,823 and up from sixth rank;
This pushed the Radio 4 "Today lead interviews" - with 104,693 listens, down 1,780 - down to sixth rank
And as a postscript we note that two more podcasts were added to take the total to 54 including an additional daily podcast, "Today in Parliament" that was in last rank - 12th - with only 386 listens; So far its only in audio, although the corporation has now also started video downloads -vodcasts
Previous BBC Online figures:
2006-07-30: Last week the main regulatory news came from the US where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is to face a court battle with CBS over the USD 550,000 penalty levied over the incident of Janet Jackson's breast (See RNW Jul 29) and also formally released the full text of its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking it adopted last month and is asking for public comment on US media ownership regulation (See RNW Jul 25).
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), has been involved in the prosecution of a pirate operator in Sydney (See RNW Jul 28): It also ruled against one community station over broadcasting adverts and another for the way it dealt with a complaint.
The ruling concerning broadcast of an advertisement involved Radio Eastern Sydney Cooperative Ltd, licensee of 2RES, and an advert for a restaurant broadcast on its Monika Geetmala (Voice of India) programme in January. The complainant had also said the station often breached the limit set for sponsorship announcements but as he did not provide specific details this complaint was taken no further.
The material considered an advert was a four-minute interview with the proprietor of an Indian restaurant during which the menu and buffet dinner and its cost were discussed and listeners encouraged to visit the restaurant. The complainant said there was nothing new or of community interest in the interview but the station responded by saying the restaurant had introduced a totally new concept in Indian food and that it was not considered advertising as no details of location or phone number were given.
The ACMA disagreed and concluded the interview did amount to an advert and the licensee has subsequently ensured that the programme presenter is aware of his obligations: On this basis, the ACMA considered no further action was needed although it will continue to monitor the station.
In the second case Hobart FM Incorporated, the licensee of 7THE in Hobart was found not to have breached codes in relation to broadcasting material - in the Serbian Program of May 21 last year - which may have stereotyped, vilified or attempted to demean a group of persons on the basis of ethnicity, nationality or religion; in relation to the factual accuracy of a news and current affairs broadcast; and in relation to clearly distinguishing factual material from commentary and analysis.
It was, however, found to have breached the Community Broadcasting Code of Practice because it had failed to respond to the complaint within 60 days.
The station says it has now taken action to prevent recurrence and this was considered adequate.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in a number of routine radio-related decisions that included (in order of province):
Approval of new FM transmitters at Peace River (2,900 watts), High Prairie (1,400 watts), Fairview (850 watts), Valleyview (1,400 watts) and Saddle Hills (2,500 watts) for CKYL-AM, Peace River.
O.K. Radio Group Ltd., licensee of CFGP-FM, Grande Prairie, opposed the addition of a transmitter at Saddle Hills, alleging that this Hills is an attempt by CKYL's licensee, Peace River Broadcasting, to obtain a broadcasting licence to serve Grande Prairie "by the back door." Crude Communications Inc also expressed concern on a similar basis.
In response, Peace River Broadcasting confirmed that CKYL would not abandon its current listener base in an attempt to become a Grande Prairie radio station and noted that CKYL has served the area surrounding Grande Prairie, which is known as Peace Country, for more than 51 years and stated that the signals of Grande Prairie radio stations are received clearly in the Peace River radio market. On the basis of the response, the CRTC approved the application.
*Approval of new 31 watts FM transmitter at Fisher River for Native Type B station CINC-FM, Thompson.
*Approval of application by Bedford Baptist Church for a 50-watts low-power English-language religious FM in Bedford.
*Approval of new 49.3 watts low-power FM transmitter at Madoc for Type B community station CKOL-FM, Campbellford.
*Approval of application by Sur Sagar Radio Inc. to extend the deadline for it to bring into operation its transitional digital radio undertaking at Toronto by a year until 31 March 2007.
Prince Edward Island:
*Approval of application to relocate the transmitter, increase its antenna height, and increase the power of CFCY-FM, Charlottetown, from 73,300 watts to 100,000 watts
*Administrative renewal until 31 August 2007 of Astral Media's French-language commercial stations CHIK-FM, Québec; CKMF-FM, Montréal; CIGB-FM, Trois-Rivières; CHRD-FM, Drummondville; CFEI-FM, Saint-Hyacinthe; CIKI-FM, Rimouski, and its transmitter CIKI-FM-2, Sainte-Marguerite-Marie; CJOI-FM, Rimouski; CJDM-FM, Drummondville; CHEY-FM, Trois-Rivières; CITE-FM, Montréal; CKSM-AM, Shawinigan; CFZZ-FM, Saint-Jean-Iberville.
The CRTC has also posted a public notice - with a deadline for comments of August 28- relating to an application by Radio communautaire du Saguenay inc to add a 60 watts FM transmitter at Saguenay (zone La Baie) to broadcast the output of CKAJ-FM Saguenay (zone Jonquière).
In another public notice, with a deadline for comments of August 30, there were the following radio applications:
*Application to renew the licence of English-language commercial station CKLM-FM, Lloydminster, and its transmitter CKLM-FM-1, Bonnyville. The licensee is proposing that its obligation to broadcast Canadian selections as 40% of its category 2 musical content should be reduced to 35%.
*Application to renew licence of English-language commercial station CJSI-FM, Calgary.
* Application by Aboriginal Christian Voice Network to renew the licence of low power Christian music commercial specialty station CIAJ-FM, Prince Rupert.
*Application to renew the licence of CFXJ-FM, Toronto.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the allocation of more than Euros 10 million (USD 12.7 million) - Euros 468,000 (USD 568,000) of it to 41 radio projects in funding for programming in the second round of its Sound & Vision Scheme (See RNW Jul 27).
It also advertised a new quasi-national Christian and religious service to be broadcast primarily on AM, announced that two community licence applicants were to be invited to an oral hearing and the receipt of six applications for other community FMs (Also Jul 27).
In the UK, Ofcom, which is moving from input to output-oriented regulation with a consequent focus on content sampling, has published two more content sample reports.
One concerned The Local Radio Company's Warminster, Wiltshire, station 3TR FM, which has a locally oriented music and information format with a target 25-54 audience.
Ofcom said of its sampling that this did "not reveal local output in much abundance" and "presenter links were largely taken from newspaper stories/trivia, entertainment and showbiz news" and specifically notes that "During the sample period there didn't appear to be anything broadcast that indicated Warminster had an armed services community."
"Most 'local' stories, " it said, "seemed to have greater resonance with the wider region of West Wiltshire rather than the immediate Warminster area. However, where a story did contain a direct focus on Warminster or a feasible Warminster angle, this was exploited and brought into focus for listeners."
In its conclusions Ofcom accepted that the station was operating within its format but noted that the format requirement included "output of relevance to the local armed services community" and said this was "one aspect of the output where we would like to see some remedial measures taken and we will pursue this with The Local Radio Company group."
The second report related to Emap's Belfast station Cool FM, with a rock and pop format aimed at 15-35 year olds. Again Ofcom found that it was operating within format, having noted that its format did not have a high level of requirements "in relation to speech obligations and specialist music provision
Ofcom also published its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld two standards complaints against radio and gave details of a third complaint not upheld (See RNW Jul 25) and issued a consultation document about future pricing of spectrum used for terrestrial television and radio broadcasting commenting that this "addresses the issue of whether, how and when the prices paid for spectrum used for terrestrial broadcasting should reflect the opportunity cost of using spectrum for that purpose, with the objective of ensuring, in the long term, that spectrum is used as efficiently as possible."
Ofcom comments that "Broadcasting is almost unique among major spectrum users in not currently having to pay AIP (Administered Incentive Pricing, or AIP - the charging of annual fees for the holding of spectrum that reflect the "opportunity cost" of the holding of that spectrum) and says that it is important to understand that its primary purpose in applying AIP "is to ensure that the holders of spectrum fully recognise the costs that their use imposes on society by holding spectrum (or seeking to acquire additional spectrum), when making decisions."
"AIP, or its equivalent," it says, "is not only paid by most commercial users of spectrum, but also by many government and public agencies, including for example the police, fire and ambulance services, and the MoD. Broadcasting is one of the few remaining areas of spectrum use where AIP has not yet been applied."
To give an idea of the relative use of spectrum it notes that currently terrestrial television broadcasting currently occupies 368MHz of spectrum in the band 470-854MHz; analogue terrestrial radio currently occupies around 20MHz of spectrum and terrestrial digital radio broadcasting (DAB) currently occupies 12.5MHz in bands below 1GHz whilst 2G and 3G mobile telephony currently occupies only 70 MHz (7%) of spectrum below 1GHz, and only 350MHz of spectrum below 3GHz. [RNW note- Third generation spectrum auctioned in the UK in 2000 fetched GBP 22.48 billion (See RNW Ap 28, 2000): This is currently around USD 42 billion, giving an idea of the value of spectrum used for broadcasting).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has finally, as noted, collected the USD 550,000 in penalties relating to Janet Jackson's breast but is now facing a court challenge over the matter and also proposed penalties totalling USD 61,000 relating to eight licences that it renewed but where there were breaches of its regulations, mainly relating to public file documentation (See RNW Jul 29).
It earlier cancelled a USD 3,000 penalty it proposed to levy on American Family Association (AFA), licensee of KBMP-FM, Enterprise, Kansas, for failing to respond fully to a Letter of Inquiry ("LOI") concerning an apparent violation of the main studio rule by KBMP (See RNW July 26).
Also as noted it formally released the full text of its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking it adopted last month and is asking for public comment on US media ownership regulation in light of issues raised when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in June 2004 ruled against several rules adopted by a partisan 3-2 majority by the FCC in its 2002 Biennial Review Order).
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-07-30: US radio revenues in June, like those a month earlier, were up 1% on a year ago in June, with the rise as then due to a rise in national and non-spot revenues according to the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
Within the figures national revenues were up 1%- in May, local revenues were down 1%, total combined local and national advertising was flat and- non-spot revenues up 17%.
For the second quarter the total was down 1% - in April it had fallen 4% - with national revenues 2% down on a year earlier; local revenues down 1%; and non-spot revenues up 8%.
Year to date figures now show the grand total flat within which national revenues were flat; local revenues were down 1%; total combined local and national revenues were down 1%; and spot revenues were up 8%.
RAB's Ad Sales Index that equates pre-dot.com boom base year 1998 to 100 showed June figures of 137.3 for total combined local and national with the local index 139.8 and the national index 137.3 and the year-to-date figures as total combined local and national, 141.1; national, 145.0; and local, 139.7.
Previous RAB & RAB figures:
2006-07-29: Arbitron has announced that it is to release the results of the Spring 2006 ratings survey for New Orleans and Biloxi-Gulfport-Pascagoula on Monday, August 14 after a hiatus following the carnage of Hurricane Katrina.
Because of the situation it had cancelled the Summer, Fall and Winter 2005 books for the former - then ranked market 46 - and the Fall 2005 report for the latter, which was rated in the Spring and Fall.
Arbitron says that according to updated New Orleans and Biloxi population estimates compiled by Claritas that it has accepted as satisfactory, the New Orleans 12 plus population, which was 1,079,300 pre-Katrina, is now down 20% to 864,100, taking it from 46th rank to 58th: It also notes that the 12 plus black population is down 35.6% from 391,200 to 251,900.
For the Biloxi market, the population reduction was only 1.6% - from 308,300 to 303,400, lowering it from 139th rank to 143rd. The black population went down by 3.1% from 61,400 to 59,500.
Arbitron says that over the next fortnight it will prepare and release a white paper detailing population estimates, survey execution and sample performance metrics for these markets and will also hold meetings with customers discuss the white paper.
Owen Charlebois, president, Operations, Technology and Research & Development said that they had focussed their review on two areas - population estimates and how well they were able to conduct the survey: He commented of the latter, "The consent, return and response rates for these markets as well as the distribution of in-tab diaries by geography, demographic and race/ethnicity are certainly within our research quality standards. "We are confident that the Spring 2006 reports in these markets are reliable measures of radio listening and that they reflect current radio audiences in these markets."
2006-07-29: CBS TV has now paid the USD 550,000 penalty imposed on what was then Viacom by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in relation to the exposure of a Janet Jackson breast during the 2004 Super Bowl half time show (See RNW Sep 23, 2004) but is filing an appeal with the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. In a statement CBS said it had paid only because this was a prerequisite to the filing and it continues to dispute the contention that the incident was legally indecent.
In other enforcement actions, the FCC has proposed penalties totalling USD 61,000 relating to eight licences that it renewed but where there were breaches of its regulations, mainly relating to public file documentation.
In descending order of amount of proposed penalty the stations are:
WSSA-AM, Morrow, Georgia: Penalty proposed of USD 11,500 for failing to retain all required documentation in the station's public inspection file.
WCHC-FM, Worcester, Massachusetts: Penalty proposed of USD 10.000 for failing to retain all required documentation in the station's public inspection file.
WERS-FM, Boston, Massachusetts: Penalty proposed of USD 10.000 for failing to retain all required documentation in the station's public inspection file.
WHJJ-AM, Providence, Rhode Island: Penalty proposed of USD 10,000 for failing to retain all required documentation in the station public inspection file.
WWZN-AM, Boston, Massachusetts: Penalty proposed of USD 10,000 for failing to retain all required documentation in the station's public inspection file.
WXCT-AM, Morrow, Georgia: Penalty proposed of USD 4,000 for failing to retain all required documentation in the station's public inspection file.
KNBU-FM, Baldwin City, Kansas: Penalty proposed of USD 4.000 for failing to retain all required documentation in the station's public inspection file. The FCC also admonished the Licensee for providing inaccurate and contradictory responses to staff inquiries.
FM translator Station W267AD, Bryson City, North Carolina: Penalty proposed of USD 1,500 for failing to timely file a license renewal application.
2006-07-29: Charges of endangering the welfare of a child - the 4-years-old daughter of rival DJ Envy (See RNW May 12) laid against former Clear Channel DJ Star (Troi Torain) are to be dropped in six months provided he performs three days of community service and complies with an order of protection that bans contact or communication with the child or her parents according to the New York Times.
The paper quoted a spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney's office as saying prosecutors made their decision "because it spares the 4-year-old victim from any further attention or exposure."
Envy - Raashaun Casey, who works for Emmis's Hot 97 - and his wife, wife, who is partially of Asian origin, did not comments but John C. Liu, a city councilman of Chinese descent, who had demanded that Torain, who is black, be punished, said he was disappointed by the decision.
He added that the issue was not whether Torain "would have actually done anything to harm the child directly, but whether someone listening on the public airwaves would have somehow gotten it into their head that they were going to get a cash reward" for harming a child.
Torain asked if he regretted his language or wished to apologize, told the paper, I'm done with that line of questioning. You've got a decision by a court. What more are you looking for? Case dismissed means not enough evidence to go forward, or however else you want to interpret that."
The Times says Torain compared himself to Lenny Bruce and others involved in free speech cases [RNW comment: Which means that he's either both unable to discriminate between free speech and abuse thereof and ignorant of Bruce's work as well as an ignorant, misogynist bigot or just relying on others' ignorance] and said, "If you're in the media you'd better know what happened to me," Mr. Torain said, "or else you'll just be another sheep sitting around, and all of a sudden one day you'll be told that you don't represent the demands of a certain community and then you're out of a job."
He told the paper he had no plans to try and get his old job back but would stay in New York and added, "I most certainly will be back on radio, and television as well. I've got a great television deal in the works."
Torain is also involved in another court case, this time involving Keysha Whitaker, who as "Prozac Girl" on the then syndicated "Star & Buc Wild Morning Show," says that she was lost her job because she drew the line at being spit at in addition to abuse thrown at her.
The Connecticut Post says that Whitaker, whose character was based on her real-life bout of depression, has filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit claiming intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, defamation and violation of the Americans with Disability Act.
Clear Channel hired Star following his dismissal by Emmis in 2003 (See RNW May 22, 2003) and the show began airing on WPPH-FM in Hartford in April 2004: The suit says Whitaker was hired in February that year to play the role of Prozac Girl at a salary of USD 60,000 a year and was to be paid a further USD 20,000 lump sum each time the show was syndicated to a new locale
According to the suit during a May 2004 broadcast Torain spat on show producer Miguel Candelaria and said, "all of you in here are going to get anointed with my spit".
Whitaker said she would resign if Torain insisted on "anointing her with his saliva." It adds that three days later, Candelaria shot a "phlegm-laden" launch at a character named "Crossover Negro Reese" a newsman and Torain then threatened to spit on Whitaker, who again objected.
As a result, the suit charges, Candelaria demanded a letter of resignation from Whitaker, stripped her of her office keys and walked her out of the building and it adds that Torain called Whitaker after she left and told her she was fired because she "is sick," "disabled" and has depression.
The Post reports that after listening to arguments from both sides for around an hour .S. District Judge Janet C. Hall rejected Clear Channel Broadcasting's request to dismiss the case against the company; Torain, and Candelaria but did dismiss an assault charge because the suit claims only an oral threat was made and that Star did not actually attempt to spit on her. Hall added that Whitaker's lawyer could resurrect that claim if he can show Torain did attempt to spit on his client.
RNW comment: If the allegations are correct and IF Whitaker took the matter up with Clear Channel rather than the station, our view is that the company is clearly unfitted to hold broadcasting licences and we would find it appropriate were it to find its licences for all stations that aired the Star and Buc Wilde Show at the time were revoked. If, however, the matter was not taken up with the company, it seems to us that its culpability is significantly reduced although we agree that the damages suit should have been allowed to proceed as the presumption in view of the Torain's history has to be that Clear Channel must have been aware of the likelihood of unreasonable behaviour and should therefore have set suitable procedures in place.
The same should apply in our view to any TV or other broadcasting company considering hiring him: It ought to fear in advance that if it hasn't set curbs in place its licences could be at risk and that its defence against lawsuits would be very weak.
Previous Clear Channel:
Connecticut Post report:
New York Times report:
2006-07-29: Its radio operations and Trader Media group boosted UK Guardian Media Group (GMG) in its 2005-06 year to April 2 whilst its newspapers faced difficult advertising conditions.
Overall GMG revenues were down 0.7% to GBP 700.3 million (USD 1.31 billion) but its pre-tax profit from continuing operations was up 23.6% to GBP 66.4 million (USD 123.8 million) and overall its profit after tax, exceptional items and discontinued operations went up 4.1% to GBP 45.9 million (USD 85.6 million).
In divisional terns its national newspapers - The Guardian and Observer - reported losses before exceptional items up 3.8% to GBP 19.3 million (USD 36.0 million) on revenues up 1.5% to GBP 237.4 million (USD 442.6 million): Losses after exceptional items, primarily associated with new printing arrangements for the papers, which were re-launched in the full-colour "Berliner" format, GBP 49.9 million (USD 93.0 million). GMG said digital revenues within the total were up 41% but did not quantify this although it did note that its web site is by far the most popular UK newspaper site with a 10% market share.
Regional newspapers did worse with turnover down 7% to GBP 126.8 million (USD 236.4 million) and operating profits before exceptional costs were down 37.2% to GBP 21.6 million (USD 40.3 million) but its Trader Media outperformed its competition with revenues up 0.5% to GBP 303.3 million (USD 565.5 million) with operating profit up 2.8% to GBP 119.5 million (USD 222.8 million).
Radio performance was strong with revenues up 13.9% to GBP 27.9 million (USD 52.0 million) and operating profit nearly tripled - from GBP 1 million (USD 1.86 million) a year earlier to GBP 2.7 million (USD 5.0 million).
Chief Executive Sir Robert Phillis, who is to step down at the end of the month because he is to undergo a bone marrow transplant (See RNW Jan 15) said of the results, "This has been a year in which the benefits of our diverse portfolio have enabled us to undertake a significant programme of renewal, underpinned by major long-term capital investment. The fact that this programme has been completed at a time of economic uncertainty, accompanied by further rapid technological developments across the communications sector, says much about the resilience of our strategic plans."
Chairman Paul Myners, added, "These are a very satisfactory set of financial results in what have been difficult trading conditions across the media sector in general, and the national and regional press in particular. It has also been a year of very considerable investment in both our traditional publishing activities and in the digital/electronic publishing future. This is a tangible manifestation of the Group's long-term vision, creativity, innovation and courage."
2006-07-28: XM Satellite radio has again announced significant subscriber increases - it has now topped seven million - and a greater loss in its second quarter results - up to USD 229 million from USD 147 million for the second quarter of 2005 but including one-off losses of USD 105 million in de-leveraging and other non-operating charges without which it would have trimmed the loss to USD 124 million.
During the quarter, running to the end of June, XM added 398,012 net subscribers - out of a gross addition of 926,281- and ended the quarter with 6,899,871, up 56% on a year earlier.
Revenues for the quarter were up 82% on a year earlier at USD 228 million driven by subscriber growth and increases in average revenue per subscriber: Its subscriber acquisition cost, however rose by 28% to USD 64 and cost per gross addition was up 14.3% to USD 112.
XM notes that its adjusted EBITDA loss (non-GAAP) improved to USD 46 million from an adjusted EBITDA loss of USD 88 million a year ago.
CEO Hugh Panero said of the figures that with more than seven million subscribers XM had "achieved yet another major milestone as the leader in satellite radio" but the company has cut its end of year subscriber forecasts yet again: It had already reduced a forecast of 9 million to 8.5 million in May (See RNW May 25) and has now cut the figure to between 7.7 million and 8.2 million, adding that it will refine this range at the end of the third quarter when it expects to have a firmer sense of regulatory progress and availability of product for the fourth quarter[RNW note: A reference to the compliance problems it and rival Sirius have with interference on some models that use FM to move the satellite signal to an analogue car radio.] , as well as retail sales trends.
It adds that it "still expects to achieve positive cash flow from operations for the fourth quarter 2006 and the full year 2007, although its ability to do so becomes challenging toward the lower end of the subscriber range."
Commenting on the performance, Panero said, "Despite near-term challenges, XM's revenues grew in the second quarter by 82 percent compared to the same quarter last year and we were able to significantly bring down our adjusted EBITDA loss year over year."
2006-07-28: The BBC has announced that following six months of tests at BBC Radio Lincolnshire it is to adopt a pocket computer phone system at all of its radio stations.
Radio Lincolnshire had teamed up with Maastricht-based Technica del Arte to transform a pocket PC phone, the XDA, into a professional recording device capable of sending high quality sound down a mobile phone line or from a wi-fi spot.
The device is on the shortlist for an IBC Innovation Award to be judged at a ceremony in Amsterdam in September and Andy Griffee, BBC Controller of English Regions, said: "This new technology means that journalists are totally self-contained. They no longer need to waste time travelling to and from base - they can prepare and broadcast quality radio direct from the scene of the story without going anywhere near a studio, isdn line or mobile transmitter."
"This has revolutionized newsrooms and newsgathering in Lincolnshire, and will do the same across the country," he added.
As well as audio the system can be used to send pictures for use on web sites and 'first break' video footage for television.
As well as issuing the phone to its staff, Radio Lincolnshire has also provided selected members of the public with the technology, which has also been tested by the world famous RAF aerobatic team - the Red Arrows - who recorded and sent back more than 30 items for Radio Lincolnshire from pre-season training in mainland Greece and Cyprus and early season displays in the Middle East.
2006-07-28: Westwood One, the CBS-operated syndication company, is to cut around 70 jobs in a move to "increase productivity". The cuts follow cuts of around 100 posts at CBS Radio (See RNW Jul 13)..
An internal memorandum by Westwood One President and CEO Peter Kosann says the action is part of "several steps" it has to take to face the problems of an advertising market that has "proven to be both challenging and ever-evolving."
Westwood One is currently evaluated its services to Metro Networks affiliates in its smaller markets as part of its plans to trim local costs although it says it intend to continue to provide "quality services" in the markets.
Previous Westwood One:
2006-07-28: Former WUOM-FM salesman Jeremy Nordquist has been found guilty on one count of conspiracy to commit embezzlement from the Michigan Public Media station and now awaits sentencing at the end of next month.
He was found not guilty on a charge of embezzling up to USD 20,000 and, although the conspiracy conviction carries a sentence of up to five years in prison the Ann Arbor News says he is not expected to be jailed and notes that two others found guilty in allied prosecutions - Michael Coleman, the former deputy director at Michigan Public Media, and Justin Ebright, the former director of development - were sentenced to probation.
Coleman, now the general manager at public radio station WDET-FM, Detroit, pleaded no contest in May to a misdemeanour charge of embezzlement under USD 200 as part of a plea agreement in which a felony embezzlement charge was dropped and last month was placed on probation for two years of ordered to pay USD 3,500 in restitution to Michigan Public Media (See RNW Jun 24).
In May Ebright had been sentenced to o two years probation, 50 hours of community service and to make USD 10,000 restitution after entering a guilty plea to a charge of embezzlement under USD 20,000 (See RNW May 20).
Nordquist maintained he was only following the lead of Coleman and Ebright and was the only one of the three to take the charges to trial.
Ann Arbor News report:
2006-07-28: The unlicensed operator of a Sydney Greek-language radio service has been fined AUD 4,000 plus court costs of AUD 65 (USD 3,100 in total) and had his transmitter confiscated by a Sydney court.
George Leoudis of Hurlstone Park, New South Wales, had pleaded not guilty to the unlicensed operation: His case was initially referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) after he had been sent a number of warnings and ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman said that while "ACMA's default approach to compliance is to negotiate and resolve matters, we have had a number of recent court successes, across a number of the Acts we administer, and this judgment should be seen as further evidence of our willingness to prosecute when necessary."
2006-07-27: The battle over digital radio standards for the world's most populous area will move a stage further next month when the Asian Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) holds its second Digital Radio Convention with some 40 experts leading discussions and workshops on the various competing systems.
The opening session of the four-day event being held in Kuala Lumpur from August 14 will introduce the essential features of the current systems - DAB-Eureka 147, DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale),iBiquity's HD Radio, ISDB-TSB (The Japanese Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting system that combines digital TV and digital audio broadcasting system), WorldSpace and DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcast), plus the planned expansion of DRM into the DRM+ standard to cater for services operating up to 120MHz and subsequent sessions and workshops will be held on the various systems.
ABU Secretary-General, David Astley commented of the convention, "An increasing number of radio broadcasters in the region are embracing the transition to digital transmission. This convention will provide an excellent platform for broadcasters and industry players to network and understand the business issues as well as new technical developments. We would particularly like to address those issues that seem to be holding up the wide-scale adoption of digital radio technologies in the Asia-Pacific."
The principal sponsor of the event is the Harris Corporation and other sponsors and exhibitors include various manufacturers and industry bodies including Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), DMB, iBiquity Digital Corporation, and WorldSpace and representatives of the four digital radio standards consortia - WorldDAB, ISDB, HD Radio and DRM.
So far most of the countries in the area have opted for or indicated preferences for DAB/DRM and DMB although HD has had limited success with some installations in Indonesia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Thailand.
2006-07-27: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the allocation of more than Euros 10 million (USD 12.7 million) in funding for programming in the second round of its Sound & Vision Scheme.
The largest part by far goes to TV projects - 39 of them get a total of Euros 9.59 million (USD 11.6 million) with the highest single award being of Euros 694,000 (USD 842,000) for an animation programme "Fluffy Gardens /Gairdíní Cadáis" from Monster Animation Ltd. for RTÉ TV- whilst 41 radio projects share Euros 468,000 (USD 568,000).
17 of the radio awards, which rang from Euros 2,800 (USD 3,400) to Euros 30,000 (USD 36,000) are for awards of Euros 10,000 (USD 12,700) or above, with four of Euros 20,000 (USD 24,300)or above - of euros 30,000 (USD 36,000) to Aileen O Meara & Tim Hastings for a documentary "Across the Counter" for RTÉ Radio One; of Euros 22,000 (USD 26,700) each to Raidio na Life for a factual documentary "Seó an Phobail" for Raidió na Life and to The Media Co-op/Near fm 101.6 for another factual documentary "Special Broadcasts" for Near FM; and Euros 20,000 (USD 24,300) to Conn Ó Muíneacháin for a general documentary "An Líonra Sóisialta" for Flirt FM.
Within the radio awards, documentaries - arts, factual, general, history, music, nature and sports - take 83% of the funding with three drama awards sharing the remaining Euros 52, 000 (USD 63,000): In language terms the split is 68% to English-language programmes and the remaining 32% to Irish language and bilingual projects.
BCI, Chief Executive Michael O'Keeffe said of the awards, "The increase in applications for funding in this second round of Sound & Vision is very encouraging and underlines the significant interest in the scheme from both broadcasters and the production sector. There was also an improvement overall in the quality of applications received in terms of presentation, research and in creatively addressing the themes of Irish culture, heritage and experience."
The BCI has also made a number of licensing announcements and advertised for applications for a new quasi-national Christian and religious service to be broadcast primarily on AM with supplemental low power VHF-FM transmissions.
Regarding Community licences it has said that it is to invite two applicants for licences in its second phase of community licence adverts - Community Radio Youghal and Raidió na Life - to attend private oral hearings with the Commission's Executive in September: it also announced the receipt of six applications for community FM licences advertised in May.
Four are from existing licensees - Inishowen Community Radio for a Donegal licence; NEAR FM for Dublin north-east; Phoenix FM for Dublin north-west; and South West Clare Community Radio (Raidió Corca Baiscinn). In addition new applicants Ballyhoura Community Radio is applying for a Limerick licence and Jet FM for one in Shannon.
2006-07-27: UK media regulator Ofcom has started the process of inviting applicants for short-term restricted service licences (RSLs) for stations during Ramadan and Eid in 2007.
Ofcom is currently conducting a consultation on restricted radio services and how it should best decide between competing applications (See Licence News Apr 30) but says that until a decision is made about introducing new procedures it will continue with its practice of accepting short-term applications up t a year in advance, which means in this case Tuesday 12 September - Monday 9 October 2006 as Ramadan will commence in mid-September next year.
Applications have to be accompanied by a GBP 400 (USD 740) fee but Ofcom says that if its decides on a new procedure for deciding between competing applications it will let applications know what this and allow them to withdraw their application.
2006-07-27: Clear Channel says that is now offering HD Digital Radio broadcasts from 300 of its stations, an increase of a half over the past nine months, and expects to be offering HD in 95% of its stations in the top 100 US markets by the end of next year.
So far Clear Channel has HD stations in 34 markets including all of the Arbitron top ten markets.
Previous Clear Channel:
2006-07-26: Bridge Ratings says that a new study shows 45% of those it polled - it used a sample of 2,500 aged 12-54 - naming terrestrial radio as the preferred source for discovering new music.
Despite the Bridge headline "Terrestrial Radio Still Primary New Music Discovery Destination" closer examination of the figures shows significant cause for concern as "traditional" radio fares increasingly worse amongst younger demographics - whilst 61% of those 35-54 named it as their preferred source compared to 11% listing Internet radio, none satellite radio, 7% peer to peer and 21% traditional retailers - the figures then dropped back dramatically.
For those 18-34 they were 35% for traditional radio, 18% for Internet radio, 1% for satellite radio, 25% for Peer-to-Peer and only 8% for traditional retailers.
The picture was slightly better amongst those aged 12-27 - we would speculate this might be because of parental curbs on Internet use - where the figures were 38% for traditional radio, 10% for Internet radio, 1% for satellite radio, 29% for Peer-to-Peer and only 2% for traditional retailers.
Bridge Ratings President Dave Van Dyke commented of the study, "As far as new music discovery, teens have a stronger affinity for On-line virtual community networks like MySpace.com and P2P trading than other demographics do, but a significant number of teens still discover new music through their current-based terrestrial radio stations!"
"Internet radio," he added, "did not show as well as we might have expected; Overall only 13% of the sample used Internet radio in this way. Among all age groups, 18-34 year olds used Internet radio more often for new music discovery - but less than 1 in 5 do so."
Bridge notes that a year ago a similar study showed Internet radio doing much better - it was named a preferred source by 27% of all those polled - but the expanding use by young people of sites such as MySpace and Napster has cut into this significantly: These "on-line virtual communities," it says, "are fast-becoming excellent sources of discovery for music consumers 12-34 years of age.
Of satellite radio, Bridge comments, that it is not perceived or used as a new music discovery destination but is used by most people "much like terrestrial radio is often used - for familiarity of music content."
Previous Bridge Ratings:
Previous van Dyke:
2006-07-26: BBC World Service has appointed Ghanaian-born presenter Vera Kwakofi as Project Manager of its new BBC Africa Radio Awards that aim to celebrate the achievements of the best of the stations and individual broadcasters in the continent.
The Awards are to be launched in September this year and overall winners will be announced at an awards ceremony next year with awards for Radio Station of the Year, New Radio Station of the Year (launched since September 2004), News Journalist of the Year, Sports Journalist of the Year, Local On-Air Campaign of the Year, Interactive/Talk Show of the Year and Young Broadcaster of the Year (entrants must be 20 years of age or under on 31 December 2006).
Entries will first be judged on a regional basis with the winners selected by an independent panel of judges, chosen for their knowledge of the region and its media: In addition three listeners will also take part in the judging process as prize-winners of a competition running on the interactive programme, Network Africa. The winning regional entries will be put forward for the overall prize.
Kwakofi commented, "Having worked in radio in Ghana, I know how important radio has become to the growth of a democratic culture, as radio has helped make people more aware of their place and role in the development of their country.
"With this competition," she added, "the BBC is recognizing the vibrant radio scene that has flourished across Africa and the hard work that has gone into the growth of radio in Africa. I am honoured and excited to be part of this project."
2006-07-26: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has cancelled a USD 3,000 penalty it proposed to levy on American Family Association (AFA), licensee of KBMP-FM, Enterprise, Kansas, for failing to respond fully to a Letter of Inquiry ("LOI") concerning an apparent violation of the main studio rule by KBMP.
It had already reduced the proposed penalty from USD 10,000 to USD 3,000 last month (See RNW Jun 27) and now says it finds no evidence that AFA intentionally failed to respond but rather that its omission was "was based on an openly expressed albeit mistaken understanding of our requirements" and that AFA made efforts to respond as rapidly as possible. On this basis it says it does not believe a monetary forfeiture is justified and has cancelled the penalty.
2006-07-26: XM is to pay its newly appointed President and COO Nate Davis (see RNW Jul 25) a base salary of USD 500,000 a year to begin with rising by USD 50,000 a year for the next two years to USD 600,000 in the third year according to a filing by the company.
It also says that on July 20 it granted Davis a 10-year option to purchase 400,000 shares of XM Class A common stock at USD 11.92 per share- the closing price that day - and also 200,000 shares of restricted stock: The options will become available in equal instalments on each of the first , second and third anniversaries of the grant, although this could be moved earlier under certain conditions, but Davis will not be allowed to sell restricted stock shares - apart from to fund the payment of taxes due to their vesting - until the average closing price of our Class A common stock over any seven consecutive trading days equals or exceeds 150% of XM's stock price on the date of grant.
The filing also reveals that if XM chooses to terminate Davis's employment without cause or if he resigns for good reason, including a change of control, he is to receive his base salary and all applicable benefits for two years from the date of the termination and also to pay a pro-rated discretionary bonus, based on the percentage of base salary awarded as a discretionary bonus in the previous year, for the portion of the year prior to termination. Should XM choose not to offer to renew his contract, all options previously granted will vest immediately and be exercisable for 18 months and if XM does offer a renewal but Davis opts to leave any restricted shares and options scheduled to vest on July 20, 2009 will immediately vest and any vested options will remain exercisable for three months but all other non-vested options and restricted stock would be forfeited.
2006-07-26: Former Emmis Chicago WKQX-FM host Erich "Mancow" Muller is to add Chicago public television to his resume with spells as an occasional contributor to WTTW-Channel 11's "Chicago Tonight" when Chicago Sun-Times columnist Debra Pickett is off air.
His first commentary was aired last night and Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder quoted the programme's executive producer Mary Field as saying of Muller, "He is charismatic, bright and a self-described libertarian -- and we are always looking for fresh voices and diverse perspectives. We will be introducing him to a new audience, and we hope, in turn, that some of his younger fan base will tune in and discover the program."
Muller is still of the radio airwaves in Chicago but his "Mancow's Morning Madhouse" is aired elsewhere through syndication and Muller also continues to deliver commentaries on Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends."
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
2006-07-25: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now formally released the full text of its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking it adopted last month (See RNW Jun 22) and is asking for public comment on US media ownership regulation in light of issues raised when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in June 2004 (See RNW Jun 25, 2004 ) ruled against several rules adopted by a partisan 3-2 majority by the FCC in its 2002 Biennial Review Order (See RNW June 3, 2003) :The full report was released a month later (See RNW Jul 3, 2003).
In the new document - for a 2006 Quadrennial Regulatory Review - the FCC asks for comment on its rules on local TV ownership limits; local radio ownership limits, the Newspaper-Broadcast cross ownership ban; the radio- TV cross ownership limit; the Dual Network Ban; and the UHF discount on the National Television Ownership Limit.
The FCC is to hold six public meetings about the issues raised and has extended the comment period to run 120 days.
All of the Commissioners issued statements, those of the Republican majority containing no dissent but those of the Democrat minority dissenting in part.
Chairman Kevin J. Martin, noting the delay since the court stayed the previous rules and instructed the commission to respond, says the FCC should "should take into account the competitive realities of the media marketplace while also ensuring the promotion of the important goals of localism and diversity" and adds that "the Commission will look carefully at the relationship between media ownership and localism as it moves forward with this rulemaking."
Commissioner Robert M. McDowell commented that the rules "must take into account the dramatic changes that have occurred in the media landscape since the Commission adopted them" but added, "At the same time, we must ensure that the rules continue to promote the long-standing values of competition, diversity and localism that lie at the foundation of our nation's broadcasting system."
The third Republican commissioner, Deborah Taylor Tate, wrote of a recent trip to China driving home "how interconnected today's media world really is" and added that " we must realize that the world is indeed interconnected and that American companies must be able to compete in order to continue to be global leaders in the media marketplace."
Of the two Democrats, Jonathan S. Adelstein wrote, "Unfortunately, the manner in which the Commission is launching this critical proceeding is totally inadequate. It is like submitting a high-school term paper for a Ph.D. thesis. This Commission failed in 2003, and if we don't change course, we will fail again The large media companies wanted, and today they get, a blank check to permit further media consolidation. The Notice is so open-ended that it will permit the majority of the Commission to allow giant media companies to get even bigger at the time, place and manner of their choosing. That is the reason I have refused to support launching this proceeding until now, and it is why I am dissenting from the bulk of this Notice. This Notice is thin gruel to those hoping for a meaty discussion of media ownership issues. "
He said the process - which he termed "such a shallow" one -"lacks commitment to three basic building blocks of a successful rulemaking on media ownership - an issue that affects the daily lives of every single American. First, the process does not commit to giving the public an opportunity to comment on specific proposals before any changes to the rules are finalized. Second, it does not commit to completing the localism proceeding and rulemaking before changing the ownership rules. Finally, it does not commit to making any final decision in a comprehensive manner. Given the history of this proceeding, these failings are astonishing."
Adelstein also highlighted issues of localism saying it would "be unacceptable to finalize any decisions regarding media ownership until we complete our localism proceeding, which began in 2003 in direct response to the millions of Americans who expressed outrage at the Commission's relaxation of media ownership rules " and further commented on the need for rule changes to be handled in a comprehensive final order to ensure "consistency" and "an urgent need for the Commission to complete research papers and reports, which provide professional and objective information about current market conditions, trends and future expectations of the radio, television and newspaper sectors."
His fellow Democrat Michael J. Copps said all could probably agree on the need to start the proceeding and commented of the 2003 proposals, "A majority of Commissioners approved stunning-there is no other word for it-rules that would allow one corporation to own, in a single community, up to three TV stations, eight radio stations, the cable system, the only daily newspaper and the biggest Internet provider. How can it be good for our Country to invest such sweeping power in one media mogul or one giant corporation? "
Of the current proceeding he commented, in terms that indirectly make very clear his expectations, "We'll undoubtedly have some hearings and some research this time-I think at least that part of the lesson has been learned. But Americans know the difference between a fig leaf and a real commitment If you see hearings in your hometown, instead of a just a few pre-selected cities, you'll know. If you see FCC Commissioners come to listen to your point of view personally, instead of expecting you to hire a $500 an hour lobbyist to get heard, you'll know. If the FCC contracts for independent, well-funded studies and seeks public comment on those studies, instead of buying a few-half hearted, time-crunched papers that slide into the record without comment, you'll know. And, critically, if the FCC shows you the specific rules that will reshape the American media before forcing a vote, instead of rushing from this short document to a final vote, you'll know."
Text of Notice - 36 page 285 KB PDF:
2006-07-25: XM Satellite Radio has announced the appointment of Nate Davis, former President and COO of XO Communications, to the newly created position of President and Chief Operating Officer.
Making the announcement XM CEO Hugh Panero said he knew "first hand the kind of action-oriented, business leadership that Nate will bring to his new role" and added, "He has a deep understanding of our business as a member of our Board of Directors since 1999. He has a truly impressive track record in operational management and a unique background in finance, technology, and launching new and innovative products. I can't think of anyone better qualified to help take XM to the next level."
Davis said in a statement he was "passionate about XM and the wonderful content it delivers to its subscribers" and added, "While there are near term operational challenges to work through, the growth opportunities in front of us are tremendous."
XM has also announced that it has agreed a new five-year music licensing agreement with the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) but did not give details of the amounts involved.
In other US radio appointments, NextMedia has promoted Jeff Dinetz, nephew of President/CEO Steven Dinetz, to the post of President and COO of its radio division to replace Skip Weller who announced his resignation last week.
A 25-year radio industry veteran Jeff Dinetz has overseen NextMedia operations in Decatur, Illinois; Saginaw, Michigan; Wilmington, Delaware; and the Coastal Carolinas since 2000.
Previous Steven Dinetz:
2006-07-25: According to the Sydney Daily Telegraph quoting an unnamed former employee of Austereo's 2-DAY FM, the station's breakfast show hosted by Kyle and Jackie O has recently been "continually" airing bogus calls.
The allegation follows an admission that last Friday the show used calls from two fakes - friends of an unnamed producer - to fill a half-hour : In the segment a caller named 'Cindy' told another bogus caller posing as her brother that his wife was supposedly going to leave him.
Austereo general manager Helen Davies, reports the paper, said on Friday the producer had been reprimanded and hosts Kyle and Jackie O were "unaware" the callers were phony. It adds that other segments are now thought to involve bogus calls and says it's claimed by the former employee that a call last year in which Jackie O made a call to her personal trainer to tell him he smelt of body odour was in fact made to an Austereo executive.
Sydney Daily Telegraph report:
2006-07-25: Shares in GCap Media fell by 7.5% on Monday following another trading update in which it warned of a decrease in revenues of around 6% year-on-year for the quarter to the end of June: Excluding flagship London station Capital Radio revenues were down 3%.
Making the announcement GCap said that in its announcement of last years results (See RNW May 25) it had identified four factors affecting its revenues - short term effects of our inventory policy at Capital Radio; audience declines at our core heritage stations; post merger disruption and weak advertising conditions.
The inventory policy, it said, had affected revenues in the quarter but it added that its "Board remains confident that management are taking the right steps to improve audience performance with improved presentation, music and general content across the station; with the arrival in August of a new Programme Director and the roll-out of a marketing plan."
It warned, however, that while it had "addressed internal factors" a worsening advertising market was the main factor for the revenue fall and added that the "difficult conditions look set to continue into July and August."
Of July, which is forecast to be down 14% (down 8% excluding Capital Radio), it said it believed the results showed "like June, an exceptional decrease primarily due to lower advertising spend around the World Cup. "
"Recent trading has been weaker than we expected," it concluded, adding, "Visibility remains limited and the GCap Media Board takes a cautious view on market conditions in the near term. However, against the backdrop of a difficult advertising market we remain committed to our strategy which we believe will deliver long term value for the business."
GCap did have some consolation at its annual general meeting when only 11% of its shareholders failed to rebel over the GBP 1.13 million (USD 2.06 million) paid to former chief executive David Mansfield for loss of office (See RNW Jun 27). It had explained in its annual report that this resulted from a 2001 contract, saying, "Shareholders will recall the environment for media companies at that time, where securing the services of management was more difficult in the sector."
2006-07-25: Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) says it has now raised USD 56 million for its "The Next Standard" capital investment campaign with a gift of USD 3 million from wealth management company UBS to complete construction and launch programming at The UBS Forum at Minnesota Public Radio.
Most of the funds - USD 48.5 million - have gone to MPR's expanded headquarters and broadcast facility in downtown: The expansion more than doubled the space in the organization's previous headquarters and houses new technology, public space, production facilities and broadcast studios, editing suites, a digital archival facility and multimedia conference rooms.
MPR President Bill Kling said the organization was "grateful for the generosity demonstrated through this campaign, the largest and most significant in our history" adding, "It will ensure that Minnesota Public Radio is able to deepen the public service we provide. This capstone gift from UBS is a powerful investment in Minnesota Public Radio as a convening organization and in the advancement of individual and community life in Minnesota."
2006-07-25: British media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin upheld two standards complaints against radio and gave details of a third complaint not upheld: Regarding TV it upheld three standards complaints and considered four TV standards complaints resolved by action taken by the broadcaster as well as upholding two TV fairness and privacy complaints - one of them in part - and giving details of two further TV fairness and privacy complaints that were not upheld.
This compares to no radio complaints upheld in the previous bulletin in which two TV standards complaints were upheld ; two further such complaints considered resolved and details given of a TV fairness and Privacy complaint that was not upheld.
In addition Ofcom listed with no details a further 171 TV complaints involving 147 items and 26 radio complaints involving 26 items that it were out of its remit or not upheld. The totals compare with 187 TV complaints involving 161 items and 41 radio complaints involving 39 items that it said were out of its remit or not upheld in its previous bulletin.
The radio standards complaints upheld involved London Greek Radio and GWR FM, the former relating to a complaint about the presenting of programmes up to March 2006 by a Conservative Councillor Andreas Tambourides who at the time of the broadcasts was the outgoing mayor of a Borough and was facing re-election as a councillor in the May 2006 elections.
The station said that Tambourides was employed simply as a newsreader, did not carry out any interviews, and had been instructed not to read items that related to the local elections in which he was a candidate but Ofcom noted that UK regulations prohibit politicians being used as newsreaders or presenters unless it is editorially justified in which case his or her political allegiance must be made clear to the audience.
It added that this was to ensure that news was presented and perceived to be presented with "due impartiality" and that this was particularly important at election times when it was important that no candidate or party gains an electoral advantage due to either the candidate being seen to be the face or voice of the news or by the insertion of the candidate's own political views into the news.
Ofcom said it was reassured by the steps the station had taken to ensure that the news did not reflect the presenter's views but that nevertheless its rules had been broken.
However because of the steps taken and because Tambourides ended his duties on April 1 it said the potential for electoral advantage was minimal and opted to impose no sanctions.
The GWR FM complaint concerned a bingo-based competition aired by the Bristol and Bath station in which listeners were invited to cross off the names of music artists, listed on individual game cards, as they were announced by the station.
A listener complained that she had called the station believing that the name of each of the artists listed on her card had been read out, was put on air and read out each artist listed and was announced as the winner of GBP 10000 (USD 18,500). On the following day she was contacted by the station to be told that she had not won as three of the artists listed on her card had not been announced by the station.
Station owner GCap confirmed that the complaint had not held a winning card and said that she had been told before she was put on air that the award was subject to checks. It admitted that it should have had a "more robust system" in place for checking before a person claiming to be a winner was put on air and said that in this case it decided not to mention on air that the woman had not in fact won because it believed the original announcement would have led to most other players discarding their cards and thus that "to have resuscitated the competition in such circumstances would have been impractical and unfair". Instead it decided to run a further competition with the same prize.
Ofcom said they appreciated why GWR had decided not to resuscitate the competition but nevertheless listeners who had participated were entitled to know that the prize had not been won, why not and that the station had opted to resolve the matter by running another competition with the same prize. In not announcing these details, it said, the station had breached its rules.
The radio complaint not upheld but where details were published involved BBC Three Counties Radio and an item in which a mother had a pre-arranged conversation about a will in which her daughter was identified as a beneficiary.
The woman's full name was disclosed but subsequently it emerged that the woman and her daughter were not speaking to each other and she complained about infringement of her privacy.
Ofcom said it "considered that this was an unfortunate case where private and potentially sensitive or embarrassing information had been disclosed in the programme without the complainant's consent" and added that it was clear that the programme makers were acting in good faith and that any infringement of the complainant's privacy was obviously unintentional." It said that the there was no evidence that prior to broadcast the woman had said that the information she was providing was in any sense private and not to be disclosed and ruled that there had not been an unwarranted infringement of privacy.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2006-07-24: "Is there hope for US radio?" was the underlying theme of a number of print articles we noted last week and led us to the them for this week's look at print comment on the media.
First however praise for a California station owner who has been resisting the lures of profit to keep his classical music format on the air - and who has also said he doesn't want his children to sell up and live off the profits.
The owner is Saul Levine, whose family-owned Mt. Wilson Broadcasting Inc. operates classical station K-Mozart, or KMZT-FM - and also pop standards KKGO-AM - and who was featured in a Los Angeles Times report by David Colker.
Colker says that Levine, who paid around USD 25 for the licence and launched the station that he had built on Mt Wilson on land leased from the US Forest Service for USD 350 a year in 1959, could now get USD 100 million or more for it. This is largely because the station, which under Federal Communications Commission rules that took effect in 1962 would be restricted to around 680 watts, can operate at almost 18,000 watts.
Mary Beth Garber, president of the Southern California Broadcasters Assn., commented of this, "He has the rights to one of the most powerful signals in Southern California. It's one of the few stations that can be heard all the way in Palm Springs."
The value of the station relates to is power and not its format and Colker quoted arts consultant Bob Goldfarb who conducted a survey of classical music radio stations for aNational Endowment for the Arts report, as saying of many FM licences in California that were bought with the help off leveraged buy-outs: "A station, after it was bought, had to not only earn a profit but also service the debt that eventually got into the nine-figures range. You can't service a debt like that on the income of a classical music station."
KMZT was originally launched as KKGO-FM and its first broadcast was of selections from Franz Lehar's operetta "The Land of Smiles." Levine, a lawyer who had dreamed of having his own radio station since growing up in rural Michigan, commented, "It was just by chance the first album I grabbed. But it was how we felt."
The station played traditional and contemporary jazz until 1989 at which point then Los Angeles classical commercial station KFAC-FM was sold for USD 55 million and became KKBT-FM - "Rock With a Beat" and the classical format, dating back 58 years, was dropped. That change gave Levine the chance to return to classical music and he gradually took it into profit and also cleared his debts through the sale of a San Francisco AM station.
In 2000 Levine applied to change the call sign from KKGO-FM to KMZT-FM, after Mozart and Levine commented, "I thought about naming it for Beethoven but I couldn't figure out how to get that into call letters."
Now 80, Levine still goes into his office daily and he says of offers received for the station, "Whenever I get an offer, I call my wife and she tells me to tell them to go away. She doesn't want me hanging around the house, and I would go nuts."
And of the future, he says he doesn't want his children to sell up, saying, "You are supposed to work. I would not want them to sit around on an island in the Mediterranean."
Whether his wishes would be fulfilled was, however, left open: His son Michael, who is KMZT's marketing director, declined to comment apart from saying, "He is still the owner."
In contrast to KMZT, which has remained in business with its format thanks to an owner who wants satisfaction rather than just maximum returns, Jeff Miers in the Buffalo News sums up his feeling about the medium through a sub-heading, "There is a revolution afoot in the world of radio, but you won't find it on the dial."
He posits that the traditional music radio role of keeping listeners connected to a larger music community by a service that included "taking chances on new sounds; and by offering listeners DJs who were considered experts" has died with the result that many music lovers abandoned the medium.
In support of his argument he quotes John Richards, morning show host on the University of Washington's KEXP-FM in Seattle, as saying that commercial radio has "taken our airwaves and created a world where every station fits into a certain demographic. "
"You have no choice on the dial, so what do you do?" asks Richards. "You choose not to listen to the dial, and that's sad. Once you leave, you leave the potential for listening to something local and part of your community. In most cities, that doesn't even exist anymore."
Miers says the radio response to competition from digital downloading was "frustrating, if unsurprising; in the desperate quest to grab hold of a rapidly shrinking listenership, formats became even tighter and more strictly adhered to - modern rock, classic rock, Top 40, adult alternative, et al."
The result, according to Miers, was that listeners went elsewhere: "Internet and satellite radio," he writes, "have capitalized on broadcast radio's inability to give listeners what they truly seem to want - variety, voices of knowledge and authority, some sense of excitement, and the ability to hear what they want, whenever they want.
Miers does not, however, contend that all is lost for traditional terrestrial radio. He quotes Spin magazine Executive Editor Doug Brod as saying, "Homogenized corporate radio will survive, because it's free and easily accessible. There's no computer or satellite receiver required. Corporate radio stations will likely just reinvent themselves Radio formats are constantly in flux, so, for example, as soon as the boomers who listen to '70s classic rock can't play music too loud because of their hearing aids, the format will become a dinosaur."
Also quoted is "Little" Steven Van Zandt, whose "Underground Garage" radio show is syndicated to hundreds of commercial stations weekly, and broadcast - minus his between-song commentary - 24/7 on Sirius Satellite Radio: He said in a recent online interview that he feels "it's a complementary relationship between so-called terrestrial and satellite, and I continue to [see] a very ... synergistic relationship between the two."
Also dipping into issues of radio last was CNN.com with a three features - "Terrestrial radio strikes back", which looked at various measures being taken by terrestrial radio including changed formats such as JACK-FM and technological developments such as HD digital radio; "New tricks for oldest broadcast medium", in which Todd Leopold of CNN looked at the re-invigoration of radio by the satellite services and their competition; and "XM and Sirius: A brotherly discussion" in which brothers Todd Leopold, who subscribes to XM and drives a Honda, discusses with brother Erik, a Howard Stern fan and Sirius subscriber, why they made their choices and what they get from their subscriptions.
The latter should cause some concern since both brothers appear to have given up on the terrestrial version.
Finally before suggested listening some Bushshit, by which we mean Presidential comments caught by a microphone that had been left open
The comment, as noted by various newspapers, put broadcasters on the spots even more than it did the print media, many of whom coyly chose the "S-word" - they did not mean sense but shit - to describe the utterance: The broadcasters now face fines of up to USD 325,000 for airing such utterances unlike cable and satellite channels who do not and thus have fewer inhibitions.
In many US cities the only terrestrial offering of the uncensored audio came from US National Public Radio (NPR), which offered an unedited version in its "All Things Considered" although some chose to use a bleep instead.
In New York, David Hinckley in the Daily News, noted that WNYC-FM used both censored and uncensored versions - carrying the former on its Brian Lehrer programme, where it used a CBS feed, and the latter with an unchanged airing of "All Things Considered."
NPR spokeswoman Andi Sporkin commented, "We based our decision on three factors: The importance of the speaker, the importance of the issue and the context." She added that stations had been alerted in advance and took FCC rulings into account in its decision.
At WABC-AM program director Phil Boyce expressed caution. His station's hosts talked about the incident but did not use the word and Boyce said, "Just because the President said it doesn't mean it's okay for us to put it on the air. With a tenfold increase in potential fines, no one wants to be the first to get one of those whoppers."
Other commercial stations also exercised caution. All-news WINS-AM program director Mark Mason said, "We wouldn't run it under any circumstances. We will debate whether to use words that are offensive ... but we would never run an obscenity" and at competitor WCBS-AM Tim Scheld concurred, saying, "I couldn't imagine any circumstances where we would have aired an expletive like that."
Scheld said choosing not to air the word was not a disadvantage because the station "delivered the facts with context" and added that the interesting part of the story for them was "the window into the private moments of world leaders," showing "the President as someone not unlike many of the rest of us."
RNW comment: We wonder whether this refers to making crude comments or simplistic evaluations showing ignorance of complexities of a situation. Well no we don't since it's pretty obvious that the main US broadcast media are likely to devote much more attention to a "potty-mouth" comment than trying to explain real complex dangers.
We can't think of any knowledgeable analyst who has argued that Syria can now "get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit" in the current circumstances nor that this would mean "it's over" although plenty argue rationally that similar attitudes from the US in the past may well have closed opportunities to reduce hostility towards it.
On then to suggested listening and first the current Middle East conflict and comment on cover of it in "On the Media" from WNYC last week was "Balance Beam" in which J.J. Goldberg, editor of the Jewish newspaper The Forward, discussed the biases therein - and incidentally comes over as intelligent and thoughtful in his comments on how "balance" in mainstream cover is perverting coverage of the story and in particular on how US habits of reporting in human terms rather than in terms of issues leads to inadequate information. We wouldn't necessarily agree with all Goldberg says but he deserves careful listening and earns respect.
The rest of the programme is nearly all Middle East related including looks at Arabic satellite TV cover of the conflict, at Hezbollah's "Al-Manar" TV - the first TV station to be banned from US airwaves - and at US stations Radio Sawa and TV AlHurra - a recent study suggests that rather than winning hears and minds for the US they could be losing them although its scope and methodology as is admitted by its author suggest that the study if more a sampler of than a comprehensive look at attitudes to the programmes.
It also looked at comment about the conflict from the Moslem world and Israel, the former pretty well universally anti-Israel and the US and some of it plain nonsense.
For those interested in more perspective on events in the area we suggest the latest editions of two BBC Radio 4 programmes - "Profile" in which Razia Iqbal looked at Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and From Our Own Correspondent.
Sticking with areas of concern, our next suggestion is last week's "Law Report" from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
"Journalists and their sources" looked at the potential jailing by a Melbourne court of two journalists who reported - using information from a whistleblower - on a decision by the Australian government to renege on an increase in benefits to war veterans that had been announced in its budget by the government. There are moves in Australia to change the law to allow some protection in specific circumstances but the case does illustrate the potential dangers in reporting, even in countries regarded as committed to freedom of the press, information that embarrasses the powerful however much the action may be in the public interest. The programme considers such matters in a wider context including the recent publication by the New York Times of details of telephone tapping in the US.
An interesting programme and an issue where we think part of the problem is the fact that there is no effective counter-penalty on government: Our view in such matters is that there need to be and that if a case should go to court and demonstrate illegal activity by the government penalties should include the ability to rule any elected person who approved such action or should have stopped it, all the way up to the highest rank, ineligible for public office for a period - not because we think the Australian Prime Minister should be removed from office on such a basis but because he or she - or their counterparts elsewhere - would then be much more careful about considering where the balance of public interest lies.
Also from the ABC we'd suggest last week's "Religion Report" that looked at the crisis in the Catholic Church in Ireland where seminaries are now almost empty and last year, for the first time in its history, the Archdiocese of Dublin didn't have a single candidate for ordination. Over the whole country there were only 25 ordinations from 2003 to 2005 and African and Vietnamese priests have become a familiar sight. The figures were boosted this month when three priests were ordained in Dublin but the question posed by its Archbishop Diarmuid Martin shortly after his installation remains a forceful one " Will Ireland be Christian in 2030?" The programme also included an obituary of Phillip Reiff the cultural theorist, and author of 'The Triumph of the Therapeutic, the Enemy of the '60s'
Taking a break from the serious we suggest amongst the week's comedy offerings, a tribute to Lenny Bruce from BBC Radio 2 tomorrow with "Lenny Bruce is Dead" at 19:30 GMT, and then on Wednesday from BBC Radio 4 at 22:00 GMT "Warning: This Show May Cause Offence", a late night slot that allows Allan Beswick to provide some examples of humour at its most abrasive and politically incorrect.
Moving on the musical offerings, we begin with BBC Radio 2 and the 2006 Cambridge Folk Festival on Thursday at 21:30 GMT. Then World Music and Jazz, both from BBC Radio 3, with the former in the shape of WOMAD 2006 with broadcasts starting at 21:15 GMT on Friday when the station runs into Saturday with the Manchester Jazz Festival in Jazz on Three from 22:30 GMT.
Finally classical music and another week of the Proms from lunchtime to evening on BBC Radio 3: This week's offerings include a performance of the original version of Schumann's Fourth Symphony this afternoon in Prom 9 and this evening a concert with Haydn's "Surprise" Symphony, the UK Premiere of George Benjamin's Dance Figures and Brahms first Piano Concerto. Tomorrow night has a Latin Air with works from Spain and South America and Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Floréz making his Proms debut in bel canto arias and popular Latin American songs. And on Wednesday the late Prom at 21:15 GMT has a selection of "sacred and secular music from the high water mark of Venice's musical history" including works from Cavalli, Gabrieli, Grandi and Monteverdi.
Buffalo News - Miers:
CNN Com - New tricks for oldest broadcast medium:
CNN Com - Terrestrial radio strikes back:
CNN Com - XM and Sirius: A brotherly discussion:
Los Angeles Times - Colker:
2006-07-24: The BBC World Service flagship news and programme "The World Today", which on Thursday last week broadcast from San Diego will today come from Seattle. In each case local public broadcasters - KPBS-FM in San Diego and KUOW-FM in Seattle - supported and aired or are to air the broadcasts.
In today's broadcast - to air on KUOW from 1600 to 1700 and 1900 to 21.00 PT on Monday (2300 to 2400 GMT July 24 and 0200 to 0400 GMT on July 25) - George Arney will talk to leading figures in Seattle about its place in global technology.
Guests will include former Washington State Governor Gary Locke; former Microsoft Strategist, Robert Scoble; the Head of Microsoft Emerging Markets Department, Craig Fiebig, and the Leader of the Development Team for Boeing 787, Mike Bair.
Arney commented of the broadcast, "Through broadcasts like this we get closer to our audiences across the world, putting their lives in the global context.
"We will be channelling the views of people in Seattle to our listeners and online users worldwide, while also bringing the global technological, environmental and political agenda to Seattle."
2006-07-24: Boston host John dePetro has returned to the airwaves on Entercom's WRKO-AM after a two-day suspension for calling the Matt Amorello, head of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, a "fag".
His station had taken him off the air, apologized and suspended him after his comments were aired on Tuesday last week and DePetro has now apologized to virtually everyone except Amorello.
In his on-air apology, DePetro said, "On Tuesday, the language that I used was offensive. It was stupid, there was no excuse for it and I apologize. There were many, many members of the local and national community who were offended by that language."
"That is not the type of language that should be used on any show and certainly will not be used on my show ever again," he continued. "We discuss topics very passionately on this show, but we should never allow, and I should never allow, offensive language to enter into our discussion no matter how intense that it gets."
The comments at issue were made during a discussion about Amorello who has been attacked after a concrete ceiling panel in a tunnel fell onto a car and killed a woman. DePetro referred to Amorello as "Fag Matt" and then expanded on the comment by saying, "And I don't mean gay fag, I just mean the way when you're a sophomore, juvenile, in grammar school and somebody would say you're like a sissy boy fag. I don't mean gay fag. I mean like sissy boy. He's a little sissy boy. Wife wears the pants."
RNW comment: Irrespective of the apology the comments themselves say a lot about DePetro and his audience, a number of whom called in to support the host and term his suspension an over-reaction: To an outsider the comments read as mere abuse with no relevance to any failings of Amorello and the abuse chosen to reflect prejudice rather than any rational reaction to a tragedy.
2006-07-23: Last week saw no major regulatory decisions in radio and no radio announcements at all from Australia or Ireland with only routine decisions elsewhere although in UK Ofcom has released its annual report for the past financial year and in the US the satellite radio companies still have problems with meeting emission regulations for various receivers that produce an FM signal to allow listening on an analogue automobile radio.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) as well as a number of routine radio-related decisions has published a long list of administrative renewals of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation licences across Canada until 31 August 2008 (Available via this link). Other radio- related actions included (In order of province):
*Administrative renewal until 31 May 2007 of licence of English-language commercial station CIWV-FM, Hamilton/Burlington.
*Renewal until 31 August 2013 of licence of radiocommunication distribution undertaking CIRA-FM-1, Sherbrooke:
*Short-term renewal until 31 August 2008 of CHNC-AM, New Carlisle, and its transmitter CHGM-AM, Gaspé. The Commission notes that this will allow it to assess compliance with licence conditions regarding the provision of logger tapes.
The CRTC also issued a public notice with a deadline for interventions or comments of August 23 that includes an by The Kamloops Campus/Community Radio Society to decrease the antenna height, relocate the transmitter and increase the power of CFBX-FM, Kamloops, British Columbia, from 4.9 watts to 420 watts
The power increase would change the status of the station from a low power unprotected service to a regular Class A service.
The CRTC also announced that it has received applications for new commercial services for Sydney, Nova Scotia, and Sudbury, Ontario, and called for competing applications from any other parties interested in such licences.
In the UK, Ofcom has received ten applications for a new Liverpool FM licence (See RNW Jul 15) and also published its reasons for awarding the new Andover licence to Tindle Radio subsidiary Radio Andover Limited (Also RNW Jul 15) and for awarding the new Kingston-upon-Hull FM licence to Planet Broadcasting Company Limited's KCFM bid with a format of classic hit music plus local news (See RNW Jul 18).
On the enforcement front its latest Broadcast Bulletin upheld no complaints against radio (See RNW Jul 11) and on the consultation front it published responses to its consultation on the future of digital radio (See RNW Jul 20) and proposed (in a consultation document that also asks for comments on its plans to also exempt Citizens' Band (CB) Radio users from needing a licence) to lift its ban on "micro" FM transmitters that are used to connect digital audio sources such as MP3 players to FM receivers through a wireless link (See RNW Jul 16).
It has also announced the award of GBP 229,063 (USD 426,000) in Community Radio grants (See below) and as already noted has released its annual report for that amongst other things detailed the pay of outgoing chief executive Stephen Carter, who is now to leave at the end of this month rather than October as previously announced (See RNW Jul 21)
The report noted that during the year Ofcom completed its four strategic reviews - of telecommunications, radio spectrum, radio, and public service broadcast TV: In relation to spectrum it highlighted the release of new spectrum and introduction of spectrum trading; the introduction of lifetime amateur radio and ships radio licences; the decision to allow use of Radio-Frequency Identification Technology (RFID); and a change in priorities regarding interference from routine checks to targeted checks where there is the greatest risk.
In relation to radio it highlighted removal of regulation from input to focus on output and allowing greater flexibility in studio location.
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as we have already reported has found continuing problems with emissions from devices from Sirius and XM Satellite radio that transmit the signal via an FM frequency to an automobile radio (See RNW Jul 21).
The FCC also proposed a total of USD 7,000 penalties (See RNW Jul 22); announced that it was ready to issue 17 more construction permits relating to its FM Auction 62 (See RNW Jul 19); and published details of its fiscal year 2006 regulatory fees (See RNW Jul 18).
In Florida, it upheld he renewal of the licences of Anscombe Broadcasting Group, Ltd.'s WSIR-AM, and WAVP-AM, Avon Park, denying an objection from RJM Communications, Inc., which had objected on the basis that Anscombe had usurped control of WGSR-AM, Fernandina Beach, Florida, from RJM without Commission authorization. The FCC said this related to a different station and was not relevant to the renewals.
In Michigan, it granted a licence renewal to Synergy Media, Inc.'s WWKR-FM, Pentwater, Michigan, denying an objection filed by Thomas Olejniczak who had claimed that the president of Synergy, Todd Mohr, acted "unscrupulously" when acquiring WKGH-FM, Allegan, Michigan, from him. The FCC said the allegations, which related to alleged misconduct ten years ago at another station, had no bearing on the renewal.
In New York it granted a licence renewal to WJPZ Radio, Inc.'s WJPZ-FM, Syracuse, and denied am opposing petition from John V. Oldfield who had alleged amongst other things that the station had sanitized" its station public inspection file by removing items and failing to provide copies of items requested in a timely manner and that WJPZ was untruthful or inaccurate in its application for renewal.
In Ohio it re-instated an application by M&M Community Development, Inc. for a low-power community FM in Englewood, Ohio, denying an objection by the National Lawyers Guild Center on Democratic Communications. The application had originally been denied to M&M on the basis that it had not been an entity recognized under state law when the application was made but M&M Dayton said it was an unincorporated association recognized under Ohio state law at the time it filed its application.
In Texas it granted an application from Philos Broadcasting Company, Inc. for a new non commercial educational FM at Caldwell, rejecting an application to deny the grant from Brazos Educational Radio, which was amongst four mutually exclusive applications for the frequency for which the FCC had decided that Philos was entitled to preference.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
Ofcom annual report - 4.16 Mb 157 Page PDF:
2006-07-23: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that a broadcast by CKYK-FM, Alma, Quebec, of an address "an individual who was apparently convicted of paedophilia" breached the privacy article of the Radio-Television News Directors Association of Canada (RTNDA) Code of (Journalistic) Ethics.
During a discussion on October 31, 2005, about Halloween one host mentioned that a listener had called the station to inform them that a convicted paedophile was living in the city and that this person's house was decorated for Halloween and went on to say that parents should be aware which house it was and then gave the address. They repeated the address the following day when they again discussed the issue and three individuals who lived at the house had complained about violation of their privacy and also said they had been harassed.
The station responded by saying that the information about the conviction was publicly available from court documents and that it was in the public interest to provide safety information related to Halloween.
The CBSC Quebec panel in rejecting the argument noted that there were three persons living at the address "at least two of whom would apparently not fall within the category of the station's designated target yet they were also made to suffer the consequences of the disclosure."
In an earlier ruling the CBSC ruled that there had been no breach of its regulations in a commentary made on Bruce Allen's Reality Check aired on CKNW-AM, Vancouver, in September last year.
In it, Allen criticized a government program designed to assist drug addicts on Vancouver's East Side to inject themselves, commenting: "What's the down side if these people [drug addicts] don't get their fix? They die? Yeah, so? Are we losing big contributors here? [...] Kind of like driving around a car at a hundred kilometres an hour when the sign says fifty. You take your chances, you reap the consequences."
A listener complained to the CBSC that this editorial "promoted hatred towards a disadvantaged group in our society, people with substance abuse problems" and CKNW argued in response that Allen was simply stating his objection to the government program.
The panel ruled that the opinion piece tough but entirely fair and beached no codes.
2006-07-23: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced the award of GBP 229,063 (USD 426,000) in Community Radio grants to 15 applicants; not awarded a grant to eight others; and deferred decisions on a remaining 12 applications. It now has a total of GBP 600,937 (USD 1.12 million) left to disburse and a second round of applications is to be invited in October.
In all when it made its decision it had GBP 4500,000 (USD 836,000) available from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) for grants in the 2006-07 financial year and received funding applications that totalled GBP 1,760,340 (USD 3.27 million): It notes that the Community Radio Fund Panel also hoped at the time that further funding not distributed in previous years would be added to the Fund for this year but that the DCMS had not confirmed whether any of this funding would be made available during the year but has subsequently said a further GBP 380,000 (USD 706,000) is to be made available.
No applicant received the full amount sought and the average grant this year was GBP 15,270 (USD 28,400) compared to GBP 23,874 (USD 44,000) in the 2005-06 financial year.
The awards made were (in descending order of amount):
GBP 23,930 (USD 44,470) to Pure Radio, Stockport, for a volunteer & community outreach co-ordinator (GBP 16,000 -USD 29,700) and a Project co-ordinator (GBP 7,930 - USD 14,700):
GBP 22,000 (USD 41,000) to Angel Radio, Havant, Hants for a fundraiser:
GBP 18,368 to Leith FM, Leith, Edinburgh, for a project manager:
GBP 16,000 (USD 29,700) to Oldham Community Radio, Oldham, for a sustainable business development manager:
GBP 16,000 (USD 29,700) to Radio Teesdale, Barnard Castle, County Durham, for a station manager:
GBP 15,500 (USD 28,800) to Gloucester FM, Gloucester, for a station manager:
GBP 15,000 to Angel Radio, Newport, Isle of Wight for a fundraiser:
GBP 15,000 (USD 27,900) to Black Diamond FM, Dalkeith, Midlothian, for a station manager:
GBP 15,000 (USD 27,900) to Radio Ikhlas, Derby for a station manager:
GBP 15,000 (USD 27,900) to Sunny Govan Radio, Govan, Glasgow, for a broadcast assistant:
GBP 14,400 (USD 26,800) to Forest FM, Verwood, Dorset, for an administration officer:
GBP 13,925 (USD 24,700) to TGR Sound, Bexleyheath, Kent, for a community liaison officer:
GBP 12,000 (USD 22,300) to Kemet Radio, Nottingham, for a senior executive manager:
GBP 10,940 (USD 20,300) to Youth Community Radio, Worcester for a volunteer & community support worker:
GBP 6,000 (USD 11,100) to Vip on Air, West Glasgow, for technical support:
2006-07-23: Emmis is now advertising for a replacement for its former morning host Erich "Mancow" Muller, who in his last ratings at WKQX-FM (Q101) had his best performance for years and a number of other changes are under way in the city.
In the Chicago Sun-Times Robert Feder reports that Clear Channel's urban contemporary WGCI-FM has now named comedian Tony Sculfield to replace its tip-rated afternoon host Sam Sylk, who is moving a host a morning show for Clear Channel in Philadelphia although Feder says he is expected to host a Saturday Show for WGCI from Philadelphia.
Sylk ends his run on July 28 and Elroy Smith, operations manager and program director of WGCI, told Feder, "When I think of Sam Sylk, I think of excellence, endurance, honesty and humility. He has done an extraordinary job as the king of afternoon drive . . . As he follows his dream to do mornings, I predict that he'll rule in Philly within a short span of time."
Of his replacement, who takes over on August 7, he said Sculfield was "one of the most hilarious, humorous, creative, passionate and topical personalities in Chicago."
Feder also reports changes at CBS Radio's WBBM-FM where Brian Middleton was dropped after almost 10 years as midday personality.
He is to be replaced by long-time afternoon personality Roxanne Steele who is to return from maternity leave in September until when interim, overnight host Candi Gomez will fill in.
Afternoons will be taken from tomorrow by the duo Doug Stylz and Justin Roman, who move from evenings, and their place is to be taken by Julian Nieh, who has hosted evenings for more than three years at Clear Channel's WIHT-FM in Washington, D.C.
There was bad news in the ratings for another CBS station WCKG-FM - "Free FM" - where Howard Stern replacement Shane "Rover" French was in 35th place in his 18-34 male target audience, taking only an 0.3% share.
Overall WGN-AM retained top rank in Chicago with a 5.5% share, up 0.2% from its winter ratings, followed by WGCI-FM with 4.8, down from 5.4; and then sharing third rank with a 4.1 share are WVAZ-FM, up from 3.7, and WBBM-AM, down from 4.2. WOJO-FM, with 4.0, down from 4.3, dropped to fifth and WCKG-FM was down at 30th with its share dropping from 1.2 to 0.9
In day parts, Spike O'Dell held on to top rank in mornings for WGN-AM with a 7.8% share, down from 8.2%; Kathy O'Malley & Judy Markey with Steve Cochran were top in middays for WGN with an unchanged 5.0 and Sam Sylk held on to his lead in afternoons with 5.2, down from 5.3 for WGCI.
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
2006-07-22: Figures just released by Statistics Canada based on an annual survey covering more than 90,000 radio listeners in the country show that the lockout of staff in August last year (See RNW Aug 16, 2005) cost the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) around a quarter of its audience.
The lockout ran from August 15 to October 11 and overlapped in large part the period of the survey in which groups of listeners filled in a log for a week during the period from September 5 to October 11.
The figures showed that the CBC , which had held a share of around 11% of listening, was down to 8.8% in the 2005 survey, results that pushed it down the "format" rankings from its previous third place to fifth as country music and talk radio went ahead of it - Adult contemporary retained top spot with a 24% share followed by Gold/oldies/rock with 14.9%; Talk with 10.2%; Country with 10.1%; Contemporary with 9.5% and then CBC with 8.8%.
As in previous years there were significant regional variations - AC's highest share was of 32.6% in New Brunswick and its lowest 6.6% in Prince Edward Island whilst the CBC did best in British Columbia with 12.2% and worst in Newfoundland and Labrador with 5.5% compared to 22.1% for talk there.
The survey shows that on the whole radio listening was stable during 2005 with average listening of 19.1 hours a week although it has slipped back over the years - its peak was 20.5 hours in autumn 1999. Regionally Prince Edward Island had the most avid listeners, recording 21.2 hours week, four hours more than the lowest figure that came from British Columbia. Prince Edward Island also recorded the steepest fall in listening to the CBC - its share was down from 25.1% in 2004 to 9.6%
One exception to the decline for the CBC was Quebec where its share was stable at 11.6%: Statistics Canada comments that this is probably because the CBC lockout did not apply in Quebec or Moncton or to French-language radio, whose share was stable at 2.7% compared to a fall from 8.5% to 6.0% for the CBC's English-language services.
The CBC's share remains higher amongst the elderly and those with a university degree but these groups posted the steepest drops in listening to the corporation - amongst men 65 and over its share went down from 21.5% to 17.2% and amongst women of the same age it fell from 22.9% to 18.3% and amongst those with a university degree its share was down from 28.2% to 22.4%.
There was some good demographic news for radio overall, however, as listening by teenagers, which had been declining for several years has now stabilized at around 8.6 hours a week: It was 10.1 hours in 2001. Teenagers, noted the report, maintained their listening to their first choice - contemporary music, which took 26% o f their listening.
Previous Statistics Canada:
2006-07-22: The Media Audit/Ipsos is claiming that Americans in general are more likely to agree to participate in research using a cell-phone than a pager-like device following a telephone survey it carried out of 1,000 adults as part of its bid for a US radio ratings contract.
Its smart phone device suffered a blow in May when CBS opted to plump for Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) system (See RNW May 19) and British radio ratings organization RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) also opt for the PPM in further trials in the London area (See RNW May 23) and it is now trying to fight back against the PPM, which has been tested more comprehensively,.
At the time of the CBS decision to sign a seven-year deal with Arbitron for the PPM, Media Audit President Bob Jordan had said it was "undaunted" by the announcement and looked forward to working with the Next Generation Committee that was set up by Clear Channel for a future radio ratings system "in its effort to bring the radio and advertising industries the best possible solution for media measurement."
Commenting on the latest study, which he termed a "landmark study" Jordan said their research shows adults are 3.5 times more likely to agree to participate in a panel study using a cell phone (66%) versus 18% who would agree to carry a pager.
"These findings coincide with common sense and put a dimension to what most people already
believe." added Jordan. "The cell phone is an integral part of people's lives today. The less disruptive the monitoring device, the more inclined people are to cooperate. Greater cooperation leads to more reliable and accurate research. Of the monitoring devices that are being used today, cell phones are the least intrusive to our life styles. This is why we say the cell phone is the simple, common sense solution for media measurement today and for tomorrow."
The study prompted a response from Arbitron that accused The Media Audit of posing a "loaded choice" and noted that it already had 2,000 people carrying PPMs in its Houston trial.
RNW comment: Although from what we have seen of the technology - the Smart phone can be used either to detect embedded identification signals or match audio with broadcasts, thus not needing encoding - we still think the smart phone could be a better device than the PPM - and that the PPM would be better if it could also function using audio matching, this study doesn't do much to convince us its more than a marketing device.
The size and scope of the study is not impressive, the term landmark is hype, and the PPM does have advantages of being further along in its development. Whilst we can well understand that rivals need to counter that advantage, the best way in our view to do so is to get a quality device up and running not through more studies of preferences that, in the ultimate count, are irrelevant if Arbitron can persuade people to carry the PPM.
Previous Media Audit/Ipsos:
2006-07-22: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a total of USD 7,000 penalties for regulation breaches in South Carolina.
In one case it proposes a USD 4,000 penalty on a South Carolina station over its conduct of a competition in which the prize was a USD 35,000 custom motorcycle.
A contestant in the competition conducted by NextMedia's WYAV-FM, Myrtle Beach, complained that having won a "key certificate" that was to be exchanged for an ignition key, which if it started the motorcycle would make its holder the winner, and told to arrive at a concert before 7p.m. to exchange the certificate for an actual key he arrived at the concert at 6:30 p.m. only to be told the competition for the motorcycle had already taken place.
NextMedia had admitted that the prize draw did not take place as announced, saying that this was because on the day of the concert at around 6 p.m. it was told that due to contractual agreements with the second band on the schedule it could not hold the draw at 7:45 p.m. as originally planned as there could not be a break between the two bands' performances.
As a result it conducted the draw at 6:45 pm when all but five of the initial winners had received their keys and then held the contest and awarded the motorcycle. It says that before 7p.m. but after the contest was over three more initial winners arrived at the concert. A station representative apologized to these three and offered additional free concert tickets as compensation.
The FCC said that the contest rules had clearly been breached, that the fact that this was at the behest of the producer of the concert did not absolve NextMedia of its responsibility to fulfil the competition terms, that NextMedia's offer of compensation did not mitigate its liability and said the changes appeared to be "the result of NextMedia's inadequate planning and management of the Contest." It accordingly proposed to levy the base forfeiture of USD 4,000.
In another ruling, the FCC granted a waiver request relating to an application for a construction permit for a new FM at Due West, South Carolina, which was won by Frank J. Neely in its FM Auction 62 but proposed a USD 3,000 penalty for filing a required form after the deadline.
Neely had argued that he did not have the assistance of counsel during the auction process and that he neglected to fully read the February 8, 2006, Auction No. 62 Closing Public Notice: When he found he needed to file a post-auction Form 301 application, he immediately retained counsel to assist in filing the Form 301 application using the appropriate procedures for a late filing.
He argued for a waiver because he had complied with all other requirements and that late acceptance of the form would not harm any other party.
The FCC accepted that a waiver was justified but proposed the base penalty of USD 3,000 for failure to file a required form.
2006-07-22: The UK Radio Academy has named veteran broadcaster and music radio producer Trevor Dann to succeed John Bradford as its director: Bradford retires in the autumn (fall) after ten years in the post and Dann will take up his post in October.
Dann, who was awarded a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award for producing the 1985 Live Aid concert, began in radio at BBC Radio Nottingham in 1974. He then joined BBC Radio 1 as a producer until 1983 and went on to produce the corporation's BBC 2 TV "Old Grey Whistle Test" programme and a spell as Managing Editor of the BBC's London radio station GLR from 1988-93.
His later posts included those of Head of BBC Music Entertainment from 1996-2000 with responsibility for all the corporation's in-house pop music production including that of Radio 1, Radio 2, World Service pop output and Top of the Pops on TV followed by a move to the commercial sector as Emap's Managing Director of Pop in which role he oversaw the launch of both the Smash Hits TV channel and the Smash Hits Radio Show, which won a Sony Radio Academy Award in 2001.
More recently he presented BBC Radio Cambridgeshire's breakfast show from 2002-2004 and is currently working as a writer, broadcaster, producer and media consultant through his own company. His biography of singer Nick Drake - "Darker Than the Deepest Sea: The Search for Nick Drake " -made the UK Top 20 Hardback list and Amazon's top 40 and is due to be released in paperback in the US in October.
Previous Radio Academy:
2006-07-22: The Canadian Supreme Court has refused to review a libel award made against former shock jock André Arthur, now an independent Member of Parliament (See RNW Jan 25), and his employers Cogeco and Metromedia for comments made in 1999 about former Quebec premier Daniel Johnson and his wife Suzanne Marcil.
Arthur was initially ordered to pay CAD 420,000 (CAD 370,000) in damages but this was reduced by the Quebec Court of Appeal to CAD 320,000 (USD 282,000) and then increased to CAD 370,000 (USD 327,000) because Arthur subsequently repeated the libel.
2006-07-21: Arbitron has reported second quarter revenues up 6.2% on a year earlier to USD 74.2 million but EBIT (Earnings before interest and income tax expense) were down 35.8% to USD 11.9 million as its expenses rose 21.4% to USD 67.3 million, partly because of spending on its Portable People Meter (PPM) and Project Apollo and also because share-based compensation now has to be included.
Overall net income was down 52.2% to USD 7.4 million (from 48 cents to 24 cents per diluted share. During the quarter Arbitron completed its USD 70 million stock repurchase programme.
For the first half of the year Arbitron revenues are up 6.9% to USD 159.3 but EBIT is down 20% to USD 41 million and net income was down 27.5% to USD 25.5 million (from USD 1.11 to USD 0.83 per diluted share).
President and CEO Stephen Morris said of the performance, "The radio industry is making continued progress in its transition from diaries to electronic measurement. In the second quarter, we announced a number of Portable People Meter ratings contracts with key radio broadcasters."
"The broadcasters and agencies who have signed for PPM," he added, "recognize that no other company has the infrastructure, the experience, and the financial wherewithal to deliver a proven electronic radio measurement system in the rapid timeframe that the radio industry is demanding."
On Project Apollo he said, "In June, at two key industry conferences, we released the first tangible evidence that Project Apollo has the power to reveal the significant consumer targeting capabilities of new and traditional media. The advertisers who sit on the Project Apollo Steering Committee continue to help Arbitron and VNU refine the value proposition of our proposed single-source market research service that would use the Arbitron PPM as its primary media measurement system."
Looking ahead, Arbitron says it expects third quarter revenues to be up on 2005 by between 6% and 8% with earnings per diluted share between 59 cents and 62 cents compared to 66 cents a year earlier. For the full year its guidance remains unchanged with revenues predicted to increase between 6% and 8% and earnings per diluted share between USD 1.69 and USD 1.74.
2006-07-21: The Annual Report of UK media regulator Ofcom shows that its outgoing chief executive Stephen Carter, who is to leave at the end of this month rather than October as previously announced (See RNW May 27), received a 6% pay rise last year taking his total remuneration to GBP 440,667 (USD 814, 00) including salary of GBP 285,000 (USD 527, 00) and a bonus of GBP 57,000 (USD 105, 00).
Carter is on "gardening leave" since announcing that he was to move on and he is prohibited from taking another media position until December. The board could extend this period by six months but this is thought unlikely.
In all Ofcom spent GBP 1,79 million ( USD 3.31 million) on board remuneration and other executive pay included GBP 338,579 ( USD 626,000) to Chief Policy Partner Kip Meek ; GBP 308,930 ( USD 571,000 ) to Chief Operating Officer Ed Richards ; GBP 251,186 ( USD 464,000) to Competition Partner Sean Williams, and GBP 193,737 (USD 358,000) to Chairman David (Lord ) Currie.
Executive remunerations for the Ofcom board, content board and executive committee was GBP 3.7 million (USD 6.84 million) up 5.7% year-on-year.
Overall, Ofcom's board, were paid £3.7m last year, up from £3.5m in the year ending in March 2005.
During the year payments from radio licensees totalled GBP 9.3 million ( USD 17.2 million ) of which GBP 3.5 million ( USD 6.5 million) was from cash bids for licences - up GBP 100,000 ( USD 181,00) and GBP 5.8 million ( USD 10.7 million ) - up GBP 1 million ( USD 1.81 million) as percentage qualifying revenue payments.
In the year, tender payments from radio licensees consisted of £3.5m (2005: £3.4m) as cash bids and £5.8m (2005: £4.8m) as percentage qualifying revenue payments. In the year, tender payments from radio licensees consisted of £3.5m (2005: £3.4m) as cash bids and £5.8m (2005: £4.8m) as percentage qualifying revenue payments.
2006-07-21: Regent is pulling out of California with an agreement to sell its ten stations in the Redding and Chico markets for USD 17.5 million in cash to Mapleton Communications.
The stations involved are KNNN-FM, KSHA-FM, KRDG-FM, KRRX-FM, KQMS-AM, KNRO-AM, KFMF-FM, KALF-FM, KZAP-FM and KQPT-FM and Regent says it expects to close the deal in the fourth quarter of this year.
Regent president and CEO Bill Stakelin said of the sale, "This transaction represents our commitment to maximizing the value of our portfolio to the benefit of our shareholders. We intend to use the asset sale proceeds to strengthen our existing radio station platform as recently demonstrated in Peoria, Illinois and Albany, New York, while seeking strategic acquisitions that offer attractive growth opportunities in the nation's middle and small- sized markets."
Once the deal goes through, Regent will be left with 64 stations in 13 markers.
2006-07-21: The problems of interference from devices used to transmit satellite radio signals to a normal FM receiver continue to affect both Sirius and XM who in filings to the SEC have revealed that they have had to take a number of devices off the market.
In Sirius's case it says in its filing that in connection with an internal review after queries from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about compliance of some of its models it "discovered that certain Sirius personnel requested manufacturers to produce Sirius radios that were not consistent with the FCC's rules."
It says it is taking steps to avoid repetition including "adoption of a comprehensive compliance plan" and it believes its current radios comply with regulations and is and its manufacturers are "cooperating with the FCC to obtain new equipment authorizations for our remaining affected products."
It adds that in understands the FCC's testing laboratory is reviewing the methodology under which it tests FM transmitters and warns that should test parameters be changed "our new products may be found to be non-compliant, requiring us to make further changes in our products and possibly delaying the availability of these products to consumers."
In the case of XM, the problems relate to its Delphi XM SKYFi2 and also to the Audiovox Xpress that it had already reported (See RNW May 31) and XM says it obtained "new certifications in mid-June for modified equipment configurations with compliance testing based upon in-vehicle testing of three representative vehicles, consistent with the FCC's spring 2006 clarification of testing procedures."
These certifications have now, says XM, been dismissed, but not denied, meaning the equipment certifications can be reinstated if the equipment is deemed compliant. "We are working ." it says, "to complete design or installation modifications, as appropriate, or to conduct additional testing for XM radios, to include addressing uncertainties regarding emissions variability with testing results. In the meantime, we are working to limit interruptions in supply of certain models of XM radios to retailers."
2006-07-20: BBC Director General Mark Thompson, announcing changes in the corporation's structure that include the creation of a combined news and sports division, has spoken to staff about how they can make it "the most creative organization in the world, delivering content that our audiences will simply love."
He continued, "To achieve that, we need a BBC with more room for creativity and with commissioning and production more aligned. Yes of course with a level playing field for indies and a WOCC [RNW comment - Not a device in which to cook the head of a director general unable to avoid jargon but a "Window of Creative Competition"] which really does deliver the best ideas, but with BBC Production a full part of the bigger BBC story We need a BBC ready for digital, for 360 degree multiplatform content creation. Which brings different kinds of creativity together - in technology as well as content - to deliver what we need in this converging world."
The BBC says the changes, built on its "Creative Future vision that the best content should be made available on every platform at the audience's convenience" will be in operation by April next year and as well as changing organization will streamline "funding flows" by "bringing in-house production together under a single head, while reinforcing commitments made to the independent production sector through the Window of Creative Competition."
Thompson told staff the new model for the BBC was: "In the middle, MC&A [Marketing, communications and audiences]. Around it three new cross-media content groups: Journalism, Audio & Music and BBC Vision. Next a division with a new name and a significantly different mission: Future Media & Technology. And around that whole cluster, three specialist pan-BBC divisions - Operations, BBC People, BBC Finance - and Worldwide and Resources."
"MC&A," said Thompson, "give us our audience insights and those insights need to be at the start of the creative conversation - informing our thinking and choices - and our output. So I see MC&A as a creative division, shaping, building and driving our future relationship with all our different audiences."
Thompson also announced that in the autumn the corporation is to stage a "storytelling day - because virtually all the content we produce involves storytelling of one sort or another; and an audiences festival, devoted to raising awareness of all the different audiences we serve", saying that the BBC wanted "everyone, whether they work directly in content or not, to have a chance to take part in these two events."
The new structure compares with a current structure of some 16 areas including the separation of functions along technological and geographical lines - such as Radio, TV and music, New Media, World Service, Global news and Nations and regions - plus functional areas such as news, sport, entertainment and factual and learning and then marketing and trading, administrative finance and policy areas and its commercial operations.
Under the changes areas of responsibility as announced by the BBC include:
*Marketing, Communications and Audiences, led by Tim Davie - designated as a creative division working with others to bring audience insights to the creative process.
* Future Media and Technology division (FM&T), led by Ashley Highfield - to concentrate on emerging technologies, playing a leading role in finding and developing new ways for audiences to find and use content.
Content creation areas:
*A multi-media Journalism group, led by Deputy Director-General Mark Byford - this will include BBC Sport along with BBC News, Global News and Nations & Regions.
* An Audio & Music group, led by Jenny Abramsky with responsibility for all audio content including radio but also delivery to other platforms such as via the Internet and to mobile devices.
* BBC Vision led by Jana Bennett that will include BBC Television, Factual & Learning and Drama, Entertainment & Children's. Vision will be responsible for in-house multi-media production and also commissioning, which will be grouped under four controllers - Fiction (drama, comedy, BBC Film and programme acquisitions), Entertainment, Knowledge (including all factual and Learning) and Children's. Some existing senior staff will have to apply for the new jobs that are close to their existing roles.
Among individuals, BBC Creative Director Alan Yentob gets an expanded role ensuring that the Creative Future recommendations are implemented across all content and services and will continue to lead BBC Talent and to present Imagine and also chair a new Creativity and Audiences Training Board and the Creative Network; BBC Worldwide CEO John Smith will remain in his post but will concentrate on developing Worldwide and the sale of BBC Resources Ltd and relinquish responsibilities to the public service side of the BBC; and Caroline Thomson, currently Director of Strategy, becomes Chief Operating Officer. BBC Finance and People are not significantly changed.
RNW comment: Looking at the BBC's diagrams of its old "petals" structure and the new structure, some of the changes seem obvious responses to technological change but when it comes down to detail of how things will actually work out we're certainly not clear on many points nor are a number of BBC colleagues to whom we have spoken.
We have yet to find anyone who can convince us that for an audience separate reports properly constructed for listening - be it on radio or another platform - and thus filling in missing visuals and for TV - where the visuals allow verbal information to be pared down - are not superior to a single report aired on multiple platforms.
The approach does, of course, enable cost savings to be made and an organization to get more from individuals but there is always a tendency for the savings to dominate in the quality v quantity debate. When it comes to the quality of news output, we think there are well-justified fears that the savings come at the cost of a reduction in original reporting - as opposed to re-working agency wires and pictures - and the quality of the content because of the compromised made to meet multiple platform demands.
2006-07-20: Red Zebra Broadcasting, which is owned by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, is buying urban format WWHV-FM (Hot 102.1) in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and will use it to carry Redskins programming in the future although for now it will continue to air its current format.
Program director Parish Brown told the Hampton Roads Daily News that the details of when programming would change will depends on an LMA being negotiated.
Redskins' games are currently carried on WNIS-AM, Norfolk, and advertising has been sold for the fall season leaving things unclear as to whether WWHV will initially simulcast games and how long WNIS will continue Redskins broadcasts.
No price has been released for the deal but it is rumoured to be in the range USD 4.0 million to USD 4.5 million and is the firth station purchase for Red Zebra, which earlier this week launched on three stations it had purchased from Mega Communications - the former Spanish oldies simulcast WBPS-FM and WBZS-FM and regional Mexican WKDL-AM (See RNW Jul 18).
It is also in the process of purchasing WXGI-AM, Richmond (See RNW Jun 2) and has said it is interested in purchasing further stations in the Washington DC area.
Previous Red Zebra:
Daily News report:
2006-07-20: The impact of podcasts and portable players appears to be lower in Australia than in the US according to a Nielsen Media Research report that says only 16% of Australians above 14 own an MP3 player and less than a quarter of owners of players saying that they have downloaded a podcast.
The figures compare to Ipsos figures in its "Tempo" quarterly study of digital music that at the end of June that showed a fifth of Americans aged 12 plus saying they own an MP3 player - up from 15% a year earlier - and that nearly half US music downloaders own an MP3 player.
The Australian study shows that 48% of MP3 player owners listened to them less than three hours a week whilst in the US music downloaders listened an average of 12 hours per week.
Responding to the report, Joan Warner, chief executive of industry body Commercial Radio Australia, said it dispelled "the myth that mp3 players spell the end of radio listening and that podcasting is a threat to radio."
Noting that Nielsen's research said 39% of MP3 player owners listened to six or more hours of commercial radio a week, she added, "The study shows radio is important to mp3 owners - in fact they spend more time listening to commercial radio than to their mp3 players" and continued, "At the moment, downloading podcasts is still a niche activity but one that radio stations are successfully embracing to get even closer to our loyal listeners."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2006-07-20: Responses to the consultation by UK media regulator Ofcom on the future of digital radio have illustrated the divide between commercial companies wanting to a new national digital multiplex and the owners of the current Digital One national commercial multiplex.
In all Ofcom says it received 36 responses, five of which were described as confidential: The remaining 31 have been posted (in PDF format) on the Ofcom website, ten of them from individuals and 21 from organizations ranging from the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group - they think that there is not enough jazz on radio to match the interest in it and think a digital jazz station is needed - to the Welsh Assembly Government - it feels low population density areas of Wales "often feel neglected and forgotten" when it comes to new technology such as digital.
Most of the individual responses are concerned with circumstances relating to the responder's home area although one suggests the BBC should get some of the spectrum on an additional national multiplex to resolve audio quality problems, enhance data services and add one additional radio service.
GCap, which is the major shareholder in the existing Digital One commercial national multiplex, calls for licensing of a second national multiplex to be held up until Ofcom has confirmed the ability of all local services to migrate to digital and also re-iterates its view that it does not believe that a second national DAB multiplex would automatically increase choice and be the best use of the available spectrum. It adds that it thinks that "to expand listener choice, digital services on any new national multiplex must be completely distinctive to ones that are broadcasting on existing national commercial multiplexes and to quasi-national services that operate through a number of local and / or regional multiplexes."
It says its experience is that there is not "is not significant latent demand to launch new local radio services on DAB" and warns that the loss of service providers, either because they have gone out of business or taken capacity on the new national multiplex, could "significantly destabilise the current multiplex model."
"We do not believe," it says, "that it would be in the consumers-citizens' interest for Ofcom to increase competition by enabling new services to launch at a national level which reduces overall competition at a local level."
Channel 4, which has said it intends to bid for the new national multiplex, says it is "best-placed to provide public service plurality and competition to the BBC at a time when it now commands 55% of all radio listening in the UK" but that it to ensure returns on investment those bidding for a new national multiplex need a longer licence period - it suggests three years on top of the original 12 years - and also suggests that because the existing Digital One multiplex can change its services without needing regulatory approval providing it does not "diminish the range and choice " of the service it could "vary the services in advance of the award of a second multiplex in order to 'snooker' potential competition."
Channel 4 says there has already been evidence of this with the inclusion of Capital Gold on the Digital One multiplex combined with the loss of Prime Time, the 24 hours rolling news service provided initially by ITN, and then Bloomberg, and the Club Dance service that Digital One promised in its application. It also notes that the change of Talk Radio to TalkSPORT resulted in the loss of another distinct speech service and notes that "The cumulative effect is that Digital One will be providing only three of the seven non-simulcast services promised in its licence application (of which one, OneWord, is majority owned by Channel 4)."
"Ofcom," it says, "must ensure that Digital One does not abuse its monopoly position in the run-up to the award of a second national multiplex by cynically varying its licence to hamper competition."
The BBC expresses concern "that the proposed lack of provision for public service broadcasting on the national multiplex will disadvantage a large proportion of listeners who are not well-served by commercial providers especially listeners outside urban conurbations" - it expresses particular concern about services to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland with a slow roll-out of local digital services - and it calls for Ofcom to indicate to prospective bidders "that the inclusion of a BBC service as part of their station portfolio would not disadvantage them in the bidding process."
It also says increased choice "should not be directly equated simply with an increase in the numbers of stations available, but that digital capacity should be used to enhance the diversity and depth of offerings."
CN Group takes a much broader view than others, commenting that people "want to switch a receiver on and be able to choose whatever radio station they want irrespective of delivery platform which is not their concern."
It comments that it sees "the future of radio being about what comes out of the speakers and the ease and convenience for the user not about one particular method of delivering the content" and comments, "We have seen little difference in the sound quality of DAB and FM thus far ."
"What's wrong," it asks "[with] developing receiver sets that are multi platform and can pick up a wide variety of delivery methods - AM, FM, DAB, DRM, satellite etc? Surely this is the logical step for the future? This would not only assist consumers, the radio industry but also assist receiver manufacturers."
It concludes: "The main issue affecting CN Radio and one that is concerning all smaller radio station operators is the economics, pure and simple. We have created our business models around the technical costs of delivering analogue radio. To suddenly have to fund transmission costs three or four times higher and be shunted on to a single technology vehicle which may be the future but has still to prove its worth, is not sensible business and unreasonable to expect."
Previous Channel 4:
Previous CN Group:
Ofcom site - responses page (Links to PDFs of submissions):
2006-07-20: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) amend its rules to allow AM broadcast stations to operate FM translator stations for use as a fill-in service so as to "provide consistent service throughout their daytime operating contour."
It is also emphasizing the cost to AM stations of night time power reductions - or in some cases having to power down completely - that is says leaves the stations "left to hope that their audience remembers to turn the radio dial back to their station in the morning." It notes that the stations' "predicament will become worse starting in 2007, when recent actions by Congress to extend Daylight Saving Time (DST) become effective."
RNW comment: Attractive though this proposal appears on the surface, the NAB argument here it seems to us potentially runs foul of its objection to more LPFM stations since if frequencies are to be barred to LPFMs on interference grounds the objection must surely apply equally to FM translators for other stations.
The 19-page petition ( an 83 kb PDF on the NAB site) also brings in other matters that seem to us at best red herrings, arguing for example that "AM radio is characterized by its diversity of ownership and then going on to suggest that AM stations further the FCC's "diversity policy" because of ownership by minorities and women - of some 2,452 different owners it says the FCC's most recent reports indicate at least 154 minority owners and at least 161female owners hold licenses for some 438 AM stations.
We have already argued that the NAB's objections to LPFMs on the basis of potential interference are overstated and on that basis - as opposed to the base from which the NAB argues - it would seem there should be a significant number of localities where the provision of FM translators for AMs would be practicable. We would not, however, like to see them used, to squeeze out LPFMs, which we regard as a valuable resource in a different context.
The argument on women and minorities seems specious, like too many utterances from NAB. On the one hand any such improvement in a station's signal will increase its value - and probably mean that minority ownership is likely to decline if larger groups then view a station as worthy of interest - and on the other it's very much an argument for letting women and minorities have the leavings. We find neither option attractive.
2006-07-19: XM Satellite Radio has asked a federal court to dismiss the lawsuit brought against it by the major US record companies over its "Inno" receiver that can also store around 50 hours of songs.
The record companies claim that the device allows XM subscribers to download music and that this is in breach of copyright laws: XM in its filing to the court says it cannot be prosecuted for violating FCC rules because the Inno is protected by the 1992 Home Recording Act that allows recording of broadcasts for personal later use.
The XM device only allows a song to be played on the XM equipment by subscribers - it cannot be copied nor will it play once a subscription has ended.
The lawsuit filed in May (See RNW May 18) asks for damages of USD 150,000 for every song copied by XM customers since the Inno went on sale in April. It does not seek damages against XM subscribers for recording songs but it does accuse XM of contributing to copyright violation by the subscribers and inducing them to break the law, leaving the door open to possible action against subscribers as well as XM.
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), joined by the Home Recording Rights Coalition, in a related court filing has sided with XM.
Associated Press/Washington Post report:
2006-07-19: SMG chief executive Andrew Flanagan has left the company in what a statement to the stock exchange described as "by mutual agreement".
Donald Emslie, currently Chief Executive of SMG's Television business, has been named Acting Chief Executive of the Group until a permanent successor is found. Emslie, who has been on the SMG board for seven years, is thought to be a strong internal contender to take over on a permanent basis.
SMG chairman Chris Masters said in a statement, "Andrew has made an outstanding contribution to the development of SMG in his 10 years as Chief Executive and the Group is well positioned to capitalize on the strength of its brands through the opportunities that digital technology presents."
2006-07-19: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it is ready to award 17 more construction permits relating to its FM 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 new permits are in California (2); Kansas (1); Missouri (1): Mississippi (1); North Dakota (2); New Mexico (1); New York (1); Oklahoma (2); Texas (4), Washington State (1); and Wyoming (1). Last month the FCC said it was ready to award 36 permits to winning bidders in the auction.
Previous FM Auction 62:
2006-07-19: John Kelly, formerly host of the RTÉ Radio 1 "Mystery Train" programme that ended its run last week (See RNW Columnists Jul 17) is to joint the broadcaster's lyric FM classical channel in the autumn (fall) to present a new weekday afternoon programme as part of its new autumn schedule.
Kelly professed himself delighted with the move, saying in an RTÉ news release, "I have long believed that RTÉ lyric fm is the place to be. For those of us who are devoted to music and who are serious about its importance in our lives, I firmly believe that the future is RTÉ lyric fm. I couldn't be happier."
Also on the move to RTÉ radio in the autumn is Eamon Dunphy who leaves his NewsTalk 106 breakfast show to front a new weekly programme as part of the new RTÉ Radio 1 schedule.
He left the Dublin talk station, which is going national, after a breakdown in negotiations over his role.
2006-07-18: Red Zebra Broadcasting, the group founded by Redskins football team owner Dan Snyder, is to launch its service this afternoon as a simulcast "Triple X ESPN Radio. The New Home of the Redskins" on the three stations it recently purchased from Mega Communications - Spanish oldies simulcast WBPS-FM and WBZS-FM and regional Mexican WKDL-AM ( See RNW Jan 21) for USD 33 million.
The new service makes its debut at 16:00 ET with a three-hour show hosted by former Redskins player and Pro Football Hall of Famer John Riggins.
Previous Red Zebra:
2006-07-18: Arbitron is delaying the dates of its Winter 2007 and Spring 2007 survey releases to put them in line with its Portable People Meter (PPM) schedule: They will now cover the periods January 11 through April 4 and April 5 through June 27: The dates for the summer and fall 2007 ratings remain unchanged from June 28 through September 19 and from September 20 through December 12.
The change means that the former one-week break between the Spring and Summer Surveys will be ended after a decade.
In addition to these changes Arbitron will next year add an additional four week holiday period ratings survey for markets measured using the PPM.
2006-07-18: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has published details of its fiscal year 2006 regulatory fees. In all it has to collect USD 288,771,000 in regulatory fees during Fiscal Year to fund Commissions operations plus an additional USD 10 million of feeds to contribute towards US "debt reduction" in the year.
Overall for radio it says that for the year it expects to collect a total of USD 217,350 from Class A AM stations - up from USD 202,950 a year earlier; USD 2,619,500 from Class B AM stations, up from 2,467,600; USD 921,500 from Class C AM stations - up from USD 860,400; and USD 3,095,750 from AM Class D stations, up from USD 2,874,625.
Regarding FMs it expects to collect a total of USD 6,519,500 from Classes A. B1 and C - up from USD 6,013,875, and USD 7,924,300 from Classes B, C, C0, C1 & C2, up from USD 7,333,425.
In terms of stations feeds, AMs will pay from USD 625 for a Class A serving fewer than 25,000 people to USD 9.750 for a Class B, C, C0, C1 or C2 FM station station serving more than three million people.
2006-07-18: UK media regulator Ofcom has now published its reasons for awarding the new Kingston-upon-Hull FM licence to Planet Broadcasting Company Limited whose KCFM bid with a format of classic hit music plus local news and information was competing against six other applications (See RNW Mar 10).
It says KCFM's directors offer "a mix of business acumen and relevant commercial radio experience" and that it also "took account of Hull's distinct local character and in this context noted KCFM's strong links to the local community."
Ofcom adds that whilst the bidders financial forecasts are ambitious compared to existing services of a similar size its funding arrangement have been independently verified and it also gains additional security because the largest single shareholder is SMC Ltd. the management company behind Hull's sports stadium.
It also notes that KCFM had carried out a full range of research which showed general support for its proposals and particularly for the group's local speech commitments and commented on the relatively strong demand shown for sports coverage in this area, which KCFM had acknowledged within its Format, most notably in the commitment to a weekday evening football phone-in during the season.
2006-07-18: XM Satellite Radio has extended its portable range to motorcycles with the announcement of a new model radio to be offered as factory-standard equipment on some Harley Davidson machines.
The Road Tech AL20 XM Satellite Radio is handlebar mounted and costs around USD 250: It is waterproof and has a backlit LCD screen with large buttons that enable riders wearing gloves to change channels and XM claims that the display means that riders will "find that information, such as song titles, are as easy on the eyes as other motorcycle gauges."
RNW comment: As a former rider who has on occasion narrowly avoided accidents by being fully awake to road conditions, I rather doubt the accuracy of 3M's contention about the display. Standard gauges display the same limited range of information in the same format enabling information to be taken in at a quick glance whereas rolling text, however clear, takes longer to absorb. The good thing, we suppose, is that in general those killed and injured will be riders foolish enough to be distracted by absorbing information from their radio rather than the people they run into as might be the case for a car driver.
2006-07-18: Hazen Schumacher, the former host of the "Jazz Revisited" programme produced for three decades by Michigan University's WUOM-FM has expressed satisfaction with the new home in Hamburg, Germany of the show's collection of recordings and memorabilia according to the Ann Arbor News.
The show was dropped by WUOM in 1996 and ended up in the Jazz Museum Bix Eiben because no suitable home could be found for the archives. The show, which explored jazz between 1917 and 1947, was once amongst the ten most popular US public radio shows and was syndicated to more than 200 stations.
Schumacher and his wife, Rusty, have been to the museum in Hamburg twice and the paper says they are pleased with what they've seen. Schumacher described Eiben as "a retired manufacturing guy, determined to save jazz.''
"We gave them all the records and the books and stuff I used to produce the program; we told them to take everything that was on the shelves," he said. "That included more than 40,000 78-rpm platters, jazz books and the master tapes of the 1,570 'Jazz Revisited' shows,'' Schumacher explained.
All in all, almost 60,000 different items, that had been stored at five locations in Ann Arbor, were sent overseas and the museum has now produced a 125-page hardcover book on the show in English and German.
"The guy had told me was going to do a book. I thought he would do a rough- paper brochure. Then that came. I couldn't believe it,'' Schumacher said.
He added that the book is a limited-run edition that mainly consists of reprints of articles by Hazen or about him from Ann Arbor and national publications. It was not produced for commercial sale although it might eventually become available as part of a possible three-volume set and CDs of Schumacher's shows may also be released commercially. The collection is not open to the public, although it may eventually be, but its web site gives and audio-visual preview of the collection and there are plans to transfer all the programmes to digital media.
Ann Arbor News report:
Jazz Museum Bix Eiben web site (Animated preview with curtains opening under music and then various exhibits):
2006-07-17: This week we start our look at comment on radio with an insider's comment, that from Greater Media President and CEO Peter Smyth in his regular "From the Corner Office" posting on the company's web site.
This month he addressed the issue of "quality - quantity balance" and started off by hitting hard at one aspect of US business by commenting, "American business thrives on the fallacy of size. Bigger is better, right? No matter how large a retailer or manufacturer is, they're always on the lookout for another acquisition or merger to grow their business. Someone asked me how the principle of scale worked in the radio industry and I have to admit that radio's one of the few businesses I can think of where bigger may not be better."
Smyth went on to say that scale works against quality and says of radio, "Radio is almost totally dependent on our ability to wow our customers... our listeners, and to produce results for our advertisers. I, for one, don't believe that you can do that on a massive scale. Radio is local, not nationwide. Radio is live, spontaneous and immediate. To get that connection - that wow - to our listeners, we have to be organized to be just that. The designers of radio are the people who walk into the station each workday on both the programming and sales side of the station. The wow doesn't come from corporate headquarters."
He then says that "strategic vision" has to be understood by all to be effective and then be "empowered to execute that vision, with their own contributions and in their own style."
"Managers," says Smyth, "have to be empowered to react to changing marketplaces, to seize the offensive and to do what it takes to wow their advertisers and listeners."
"That, in a nutshell, is how a station or market cluster makes a difference in its home city," he continues, "If we don't have that as a goal for each of our clusters, then we're reduced to a service utility, and we've fallen short. The relationship between a listener and a station has to be ongoing, human, emotional and entertaining. Anyone, including phone companies and cable companies, can (and will) play music for listeners or run spots for advertisers. But without the relationship, how important can they be in someone's life? Americans spend 19 hours a week listening to radio; slightly less than 4 hours a week on the internet, and 13 hours a week with the TV networks. I wonder why?"
We were almost tempted to end there since there are so many points made - about how a medium relates to an individual, why - as we see it anyway - jockless Jack and its ilk are not a long-term competitor to the much greater ability of various digital media to produce selections that people can tailor to their needs if they just want a music service without a DJ, and why some of the bean counters can ruin a business by insistence on a short-term bottom line financial performance at the expense of keeping up a relationship that brings someone back time and again.
We resisted the temptation, however, when we read the "Radio Waves" columns in this week's UK Sunday Times, as much as anything because of the opening paragraphs in the columns of Paul Donovan and Gerry McCarthy and also the preceding day of their Times colleague Chris Campling.
Campling in his "Radio Head" column began, "Music was the radio schedulers' first love, and it will be their last. No matter how gaping the programming hole, it is never so large that it cannot be filled with an opera, a concert or a festival or two. And summer is the perfect time for wall-to-wall music."
He then went on to comment - as well as on individual programmes - on events during the current week in the UK - the Guilfest festival in Guildford; the sixth annual BBC Jazz Awards; the Promenade Concerts in London and on BBC Radio 2 in "Friday Night is Music Night" the soprano Amanda Roocroft topping the bill as part of Welsh Proms 2006.
Donovan's introductory paragraph is of a different nature, not so much general as pointed: "When did we last hear of a programme, I asked 12 weeks ago, about how many angels could dance on the point of a pin? Lo and behold, the answer is 7.50pm today on Radio 3, in a 20-minute item on invisibility called 'Now You See Me, Now You Don't.'"
The programme is the "break " between Acts II and III in the station's Proms broadcast of Wagner's "Siegfried" and comments of it, "True, it is not just concerned with theology. Physics, witchcraft, camouflage and even some of the social ideas adopted by David Cameron last week ("Hoodies are often more defensive than offensive; they're a way to stay invisible in the street") are also included, along with writing from Macbeth to Harry Potter. But the programme does raise the question, as did St Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century, of whether being impalpable necessarily means being invisible. It also covers the medieval disputes as to how many such beings, whatever their position in the celestial pecking order - from angels and archangels to cherubim and seraphim - can be in the same place at the same time."
And finally the ending of RTÉ Radio 1's "Mystery Train", the subject of McCarthy's "Radio Waves" column on Irish Radio, which he introduced with via a diversion to California: "On a Friday evening in August 1983 a Californian radio station, KFJC, kicked off a music marathon called Maximum Louie Louie that won instant notoriety. By the time it ended 63 hours later, the station had worked its way through 823 recordings of Louie Louie, a song with two supreme attractions: a riff so simple an orang-utan could strum it and lyrics so intriguing yet impenetrable the FBI studied them for possible obscenity. "
The intro was a lead-in: "In the seven years of Mystery Train, John Kelly played many of the more than 1,000 recordings of Louie Louie, but one more often than any other, the 1957 original by Richard Berry. Others would reflexively reach for the Kingsmen's 1963 recording, the version that popularised Louie Louie. In this as in much else, Kelly tended to avoid the popular option, favouring instead either the original or the highly arcane cover version."
And the programme itself: "It made for a programme with an eclectic mix, ranging as it did last week from Arvo Pärt to Buck Owen, though most often tracing a line from Duluth to New Orleans via Chicago and Memphis It also made for a discerning but small audience."
McCarthy concludes with the hope that Kelly will be back, writing, "Eventually, to service the inexorable demographic shift, RTE will find itself creating an equivalent to BBC Radio 2. When it does, its first call ought to be to a man from Fermanagh with what Mary O'Rourke, in the senate, called "that funny voice". Long may he run."
So on to listening suggestions and first the last "Mystery Train" programme that is still on the RTÉ web site, the Guilfest Festival (highlights of which are on the BBC Radio 2 web site and last Saturday's "Stuart Maconie" programme was from the festival), the "BBC Jazz Awards 2006 at 19:00 GMT tonight and on Friday at 18:30 GMT, "Friday Night is Music Night" and then from BBC Radio 3 The 2006 Proms, all of which will be broadcast on the station: The "Twenty Minutes" programme is listed separately in the Radio Player on the web site.
Taking a break from music as such, we turn to comedy and from BBC Radio 4 "The Now Show" that returned last Friday (Available as an MP3 as well as a stream),
And finally on a little more serious note we suggest BBC Radio 4 starting with two programmes from Saturday - the most recent "Profile" from Saturday that looked at the Kaczynskis, the twin brothers Lech and Jaroslaw, Poland's president and prime minister respectively and the most recent "Archive Hour", which was on "District Six", the multi-racial area of Cape Town that was bulldozed under apartheid and its 60,000 inhabitants evicted. It was announced in 2003 that the township was to be rebuilt but reconstruction seems unlikely to bring back the old spirit.
Also from Radio 4, Sunday's "Analysis" was "Yankee Doodle Dandy", which looked at opposition to US policies and politics in much of the world even as it continues to absorb US culture in general whilst tomorrow at 10:30 GMT in "American Forces Network" Humphrey Lyttelton reveals the story of how, as US forces joined the fight against Hitler in 1943, a network of broadcasting stations was established to provide Americans with the kind of programmes they were used to hearing back home.
With a different perspective on the US, "Crossing Continents" at 19:30 GMT tonight features Julian Pettifer, who 40 years ago reported on the Vietnam War, back in the country looking at Vietnam-US relationships. It's followed at 20:00 GMT by "The Fall and Rise of the Bicycle" the first of two-transport related programmes from the channel.
The other is our final recommendation - from Radio 4 at 20:00 GMT on Wednesday when in "Steam Driven" Claire Barratt looks at technical advantages in steam locomotives since they disappeared from the railways of most of the world and plans for a 21st century locomotive.
Greater Media - Smyth:
RTÉ"Mystery Train" web site:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy:
UK Times - Campling:
2006-07-17: CBS News has announced details of changes to its programming when Katie Couric starts to anchor its Evening News on September 5 including plans to make the programming available on the Internet and radio as well as being on broadcast TV.
Couric will anchor the 17:00 CBS Radio News evening newscast as well as the TV Evening News and audio of the latter will be simulcast by CBS Radio News to its 500-plus affiliates: So far amongst stations that are to air the simulcast include WCBS-AM in New York, WTOP-AM in Washington, and WBZ-AM, Boston.
2006-07-17: The receivers for Australian AM non-broadcasting band network WorldAudio have asked its founder and director Andrew Thompson to reconsider his resignation, which could jeopardize an AUD 90 million (USD 68 million) rescue plan for the group according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The paper says that Thompson's resignation leaves the group with only two directors, one short of the three required by Australia's Corporations Act, and adds that administrators Hall Chadwick is now to call for the second postponement, this time for up to a month, of a creditors' meeting that was scheduled for today.
The Herald says that Thompson is understood to have resigned on the same day that a document was circulated among creditors outlining basic details of an agreement with two directors and an unnamed third party to acquire the "business and undertakings" of the group: It adds that under the plan an initial AUD 10 million (USD 7.5 million) would be raised through a private placement to backdoor list the third party into WorldAudio, followed by the raising of a further AUD 80 million (USD 60 million) raising, also through private placement and that the deal would enable the group to pay secured creditors in full a with unsecured creditors getting 10 cents in the dollar.
In May, administrator Bob Elliott had said he was reasonably confident of selling the business by the end of the month (See RNW May 13).
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2006-07-17: Radio New Zealand International and the BBC Pacific service today launch a new 30-minute weekday programme exchange under which the latter service will broadcast a bulletin of Pacific regional news and the "Dateline Pacific" current affairs programme from Radio New Zealand International that is comprised of items from Radio New Zealand International staff and stories filed by Pacific journalists from around the region..
Radio New Zealand International in return will broadcast a BBC World news bulletin, followed by BBC correspondent's reports from round the world and an international sports round-up.
Radio New Zealand International manager, Linden Clark, said she is delighted with the exchange, adding, "This will allow us to get more listeners for our flagship current affairs programme across the Pacific. It's also recognition of the relevance of the Dateline Pacific programme which is already relayed by Radio Australia around the region."
Previous Radio New Zealand:
2006-07-17: Indian commercial radio could grow at a compounded rate of 30-35% over the next decade according to Entertainment Network (India) Limited (ENIL)- owned Radio Mirchi deputy CEO Prashant Pandey who told last week's India Radio Forum 2006 in Mumbai that the medium had the potential to take around 13% of the nations advertising revenues compared to a current share of 3% and a world average of 7-8%.
A similar message came from other radio executives at the meeting including Red FM COO Abraham Thomas who also commented that the way radio was consumed would change dramatically and said the industry needed to "take into account consumer and market changes and adapt their programming and their station to suit that."
Thomas forecast that the leading players would dominate with the top three taking up to 90% of revenues and said that music royalties, which are 15 to 25 times those of the US, needed to be brought down.
Lintas Media Group chief strategy officer Raj Gupta pointed out that more than a fifth of products advertised catered to youth and that the youth market in India, where just above 60% of the population is below 30, accounted for some 59% of advertising.
Pandey, as well as speaking of the potential of the medium, said that for success it needed a relaxation in regulations, calling for more spectrum to be freed, privatizations of AM ad well as FM stations and allowing radio groups to operate multiple frequencies in the same market.
Pandey's Radio Mirchi dominated the first Promax India Radio Awards, the "Promax India Muse" awards that were made for eight categories
In all it took seven awards including Golds for Best Promotional Campaign by a Radio Station or Programme; Best Original Music Composition for a Promo and Best Promotional Item for a Radio Station or Programme; and silvers for Best Original Music Composition for a Promo; Best Promotional Item for a Radio Station or Programme; and Best Interactive Promotion for a Radio Station.
Radio One, the former Go-FM, was next with three Awards, including Golds for the Best Print Piece for a Radio Station or Programme and Best Interactive Promotion for a Radio Station.
Other winners included Red FM, which took the gold for Best Radio Promo-In-House - Music Station/Programme and O&M for WorldSpace, which took the Gold for Best Use of Outdoor Advertising.
In addition the inaugural Living Legend Award was presented to radio personality Ameen Sayani, who achieved fame through his hits programme Bianaca Geet Mala on Radio Ceylon in the 1950s and 60s and is credited with producing some 54,000 programmes and 19,000 commercials in a career spanning nearly six decades. He currently hosts a programme on Red FM.
Previous Indian Radio:
2006-07-17: Michael Collazo, the former director of Seton Hall University's WSOU-FM has admitted embezzling more than USD 550,000 from the station over a period of 13 years. He had embezzled some USD 236,000 from underwriting money and USD 350,000 through leasing two of the station's sub-frequencies and diverting funds to his own accounts.
One of the leases was for radio broadcasts for the blind by EIES of NJ, with whom the university had a long-standing agreement to lease it for a nominal fee of less than USD 100 a year (See RNW Jun 5) and Seton Hall says its insurers have now repaid the school for the sums that Collazo embezzled from it..
Collazo is to be sentenced on August 18 and could face up to five years in prison.
2006-07-16: Last week the main regulatory decision in terms of impact on consumers came from the UK where Ofcom, in line with other European regulators, is proposing to lift the ban on micro-transmitters to move a signal from a portable digital music device to a normal FM receivers (see below). Otherwise there was a steady flow of radio-related business in all areas.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) was involved in just one radio licensing decision, the renewal of the licence for New South Wales community broadcasting service 2HHH, Hornsby, after the station was able to satisfy concerns raised by the Authority about matters such as constitutional provisions relating to membership at the station, and with aspects of 2HHH's financial management processes.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been involved in a steady run of licence decisions including, in order of province:
*Renewal until 31 August 2013 of licence of English-language commercial station CKLF-FM,Brandon.
*Approval of application to add a 3,700 watts FM transmitter at Swan Lake and 31.8 watts FM transmitter at Paint Lake for CINC-FM, Thompson.
*Renewal until 31 August 2013 of licence of English-language commercial station CHAM-AM, Hamilton.
*Approval of application to decrease the power of English-language commercial station CFLZ-FM, Niagara Falls, from 7,200 watts to 4,000 watts, decreasing the antenna height and relocating the transmitter.
*Approval of application by English-language commercial station CHYR-FM, Leamington, to decrease power from 19,320 watts to 10,650 watts, by increasing the antenna height and by relocating the transmitter.
Prince Edward Island:
*Approval of use of 105.5 MHz and 33,000 watts for Newcap's new English-language FM in Charlottetown that was approved in January subject to finding a suitable frequency as the frequency originally proposed was technically mutually exclusive with two applications for the use of the same frequency in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
*Renewal until 31 August 2013 of licence for the English-language Type B community station CHXL-FM, Okanese Indian Reserve.
*Renewal until 31 August 2013 of licence of English-language commercial station CILG-FM, Moose Jaw
The CRTC also posted a public notice, concerning various applications including the following:
1- with a deadline for submission of interventions or comments of 16 August:
*Application by Coopérative Radio-Halifax-Métro limitée for the use of frequency 98.5 MHz, power of 2,350 watts and antenna height of 195.6 metres for new French-language community FM approved in April this year.
*Application by Native Communication Inc. to add a 40,000 watts FM transmitter at Kenora to broadcast the programming of CINC-FM, Thompson.
2 - with a deadline for submission of interventions or comments of 11 September:
*Application by Rogers Broadcasting Limited to acquire the assets of the radio programming undertakings CHDI-FM and CKER-FM Edmonton, CJOK-FM, CKYX-FM and its transmitter CJOK-FM-1, Fort McMurray and CFGP-FM, Grande Prairie and its transmitters CFGP-FM-1, Peace River and CFGP-FM-2, Tumbler Ridge, Alberta from O.K. Radio Group Ltd., a corporation controlled by Mr. Roger Charest.
The value of the transaction is estimated at 39.8 million dollars and Rogers Broadcasting Limited has proposed a tangible benefits package of 2.4 million dollars over a 7-year period.
*Application by 912038 Alberta Ltd. for a licence to operate a 50,000 watts rock music format English-language commercial FM in Bonnyville.
*Application by Prince George Community Radio Society for a licence to operate a 5 watts English-language Type B developmental community FM in Prince George.
* Application by 0749943 BC Ltd. (Matthew G. McBride) for a licence to operate a 500 watts English-language rock and pop music commercial FM in Pemberton.
* Application by the Mountain Culture Collective Radio Society for a licence to operate a 5 watts English-language FM developmental community radio programming undertaking in Whistler.
*Application by Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Ltd. (the general partner) and Jim Pattison Industries Ltd. (the limited partner), carrying on business as Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Limited Partnership (collectively the Pattison Group), to acquire the assets of the radio programming undertakings CKKQ-FM and CJZN-FM, Victoria, British Columbia and their related transmitters CKKQ-FM-1 and CKXM-FM-1, Sooke and their transitional digital radio undertakings CKKR-DR-1 and CJZN-DR-1, Victoria from O.K. Radio Group Ltd., a corporation controlled by Mr. Roger Charest.
The value of the transaction is estimated at $15,750,000 and the Pattison Group has proposed a tangible benefits package of $945,000 over a seven-year period.
*Application by Maritime Broadcasting System Limited to convert CFAB-AM, Windsor, to FM.
*Application by Wawatay Native Communications Society for a licence to operate a 224 watts Native-language Type A community FM in Sioux Lookout.
*Application by Wawatay Native Communications Society for a licence to operate a 50 watts low-power Native-language Type B community FM in Timmins.
* Application by WhiStle Community Radio for a licence to operate a 50 watts English-language Type B community FM in Whitchurch-Stouffville.
* Application by My Broadcasting Corporation for a licence to operate a 5,000 watts English-language adult contemporary and middle-of-the-road commercial FM in Napanee.
* Application by Radio Drummond for a licence to operate a 710 watts French-language Type B community FM in Drummondville.
*Application by MX Média inc. for a licence to operate an 840 watts French -language FM commercial FM in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield.
*Application by Club de solidarité du Bois-Joli inc. for a licence to operate a 1-watt commercial French-language specialty FM in Trois-Rivières.
* Application to convert CJRC-AM, Gatineau from AM band to FM band.
* Application to convert CKRS-AM, Saguenay, from AM to FM.
* Application to convert CHLT-AM, Sherbrooke, from AM to FM band.
* Application to convert CHLN-AM, Trois-Rivières to FM.
* Application by S.S. TV Inc. for a licence to operate an English-language commercial 1,000 watts day-time and night-time (ethnic) AM in Brampton
The CRTC also rejected a complaint that a public affairs programme interview carried by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation contained a misleading and undocumented statement that might create an anti-Palestinian sentiment in the Canadian public. (See RNW Jul 12)
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) will tomorrow hold a public hearing in Limerick concerning applications for the licence for a youth service for south-west Ireland for which two applications - from Red FM South West and Spin South West Limited - are in contention. The licence is expected to be awarded in September.
The BCI also announced that it had received five applications for the new youth licence for the north-west region that will cover the Counties of Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Longford, Roscommon and Galway.
They are from: FRESH FM (RRNW Limited); i 105 FM (I Radio Limited); Red FM (Red FM North West Limited); SPIN (Spin North West Limited); and Vibe FM (Vibe FM Limited).
In addition the BCI has now signed a five-year community sound broadcasting contract with Liffey Sound Communications Co-operative Society Limited - Liffey Sound FM - that will initially broadcast initially for 23 hours per week on weekends only, and will extend its hours to weekday evenings by October
In the UK, Ofcom as already noted is proposing to lift the ban on micro-FM transmitters to move audio from portable devices to FM receivers and also proposing to drop requirements for licences for citizens band users.
It has also announced receipt of ten applications for its new Liverpool FM licence and updated its analogue FM licensing timetable as well as announcing new members of its Content Board (All RNW Jul 15). Earlier its latest Broadcast Bulletin upheld no complaints against radio (See RNW Jul 11).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had a fairly quiet week apart from normal routines. It had been expected to discuss final rules for digital radio at its meeting on Thursday but in the event this was taken off the agenda.
The FCC has also confirmed a USD 10,000 penalty on Florida pirate Jhony Desinor, dismissing a petition for rec9onsideration of the penalty, which was issued in 2004, as "untimely". The penalty related to offences committed in 2002 that led to a Notice of Apparent Liability for USD 10,000 being issued in November that year.
Desinor had responded in December that year but his objections were dismissed in July 2004 and a forfeiture order issued and he had then subsequently missed the 30-day deadline for a petition for reconsideration.
The FCC also refused an application from American Family Association ("AFA") to renew the license for FM translator station K211CY, Spearfish, South Dakota, and to assign the station license to Horizon Christian Fellowship ("HCF") because of delays involved. AFA had told the commission in February 2004 that the station had gone silent the previous December but did not then submit an application to assign the licence until November 2004. It has not subsequently advised of any return to air meaning the station has been off air for 12 consecutive months and the FCC said it did not feel that the circumstances warranted exercise of its discretion to reinstate the licence in this case. The FCC also notes that the station's tower has to be maintained and illuminated for aircraft safety reasons until it is dismantled.
In North Carolina it has partly allowed an objection from Susquehanna Radio, former licensee of WABZ-FM, , Albemarle, to an application by Central Piedmont Community College for a construction permit to build a new Low Power FM ("LPFM") station at Charlotte .
Susquehanna had objected on the basis of interference to WABZ-FM's authorized modified facilities - modifications that were granted subsequent to Central's application - and the FCC avoided this by allowing the CP on the basis that its station have a maximum ERP of 0.045 kW and a minimum ERP of 0.043 kW as opposed to the maximum ERP of 0.086 kW that would have previously been allowable.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-07-16: UK media regulator Ofcom is proposing to lift its ban on "micro" FM transmitters that are used to connect digital audio sources such as MP3 players to FM receivers through a wireless link.
The proposal contained in a consultation document that also asks for comments on its plans to also exempt Citizens' Band (CB) Radio users from needing a licence from Ofcom, comes as the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has found a number of devices, including receivers to connect Sirius and XM to FM receivers has been causing interference with licensed FM broadcasts (See Licence News Jul 9 and RNW May 31).
Ofcom is also proposing licence-exempt exemption for a number of other "new technologies and novel applications of radio including Inmarsat BGAN and High Density Fixed Satellite Service (HDFSS) satellite terminals; Narrow band use of 24GHz for short range radar (including automotive applications); Radar Level Gauges; and Digital PMR 446 ("walkie talkies").
Comments on the proposals have to be submitted by September 22 and Ofcom says it expects to issue new regulations by the end of this year.
Under current regulations the UK's 20,000 or so CB radio users must obtain an individual WTA
Licence, renewable annually and costing GPP 15 (USD 27.5) except to those CB users aged less than 21 years or over 75 years of age who pay no fee.
Equipment power is limited to a maximum of 4 watts and Ofcom notes that it commenced issuing call signs for CB users in April 1999, primarily to facilitate operation of data on certain channels but that this has not proved popular and says it doesn't think the change will impact on the effective use of these frequencies.
Ofcom also noted that in 2004 it responded to demand, mainly from religious communities, for what it termed Community Audio Distribution Systems (CADS) - simple, short-range and inexpensive wireless public address systems transmitting local religious community services to housebound congregation members These shared spectrum with CB users and Ofcom is proposing to lift restrictions on them although it notes that this will need them, as "broadcasters", to be made exempt from the Broadcasting Act 1990 .
Regarding micro-transmitters it notes that the UK and most of Europe has banned their use because of interference potential but says that because of the widespread demand for the facility it "has been working in conjunction with other regulators across Europe to develop a set of characteristics for these devices that would enable them to operate effectively whilst minimising the risk of interference to domestic radio reception."
As a result the European Conference of Communications and Postal Administrations ("CEPT") is recommending that the devices be allowed subject to limiting the power to 50 nW, limiting the power that can be transmitted into adjacent bands, ensuring that approved equipment is flexible enough to enable users to select unused frequencies; and requiring that the device stops transmitting when not in use. In the UK such devices would be allowed to use the 87.5-108 MHz band.
2006-07-16: Australia's commercial radio industry is continuing to perform reasonably despite a softening in the market so far this year according to latest PricewaterhouseCoopers Radio Revenue Performance figures that show an increase in the past financial year to the end of June up 3% to AUD 596.1 million (USD 449.5 million).
The increase follows strong increases of 11% for the year to June 2005 and 12% for the year to June 2004 when performance picked up following a 5% increase in the year to June 2003.
Commercial Radio Australia chief executive Joan Warner said of the figures, "Attracting consistent growth over several years is indicative of a strong performance by the commercial radio industry and reflects the medium's resilience for advertisers."
"The market has certainly softened over the past twelve months," she added, "but it should be highlighted that the Sydney market has been the most affected with many of the other metropolitan markets continuing to attract good growth in revenue."
Warner said the industry was continuing to work hard to ensure growth through its multi-million dollar advertising campaign to promote the effectiveness of radio as an advertising medium.
In capital cities over the past financial year Brisbane revenue was up 8% to AUD 90.4 million (USD 68.2 million); Melbourne was up 6% to AUD 167.6 million (USD 126.4 million); Perth was up 5% to AUD 62 million (USD 46.8 million); and Adelaide was up 3.7% to AUD 54.4 million (USD 41 million) but Sydney was down 1.9% to AUD 221.6 million (USD 167.1 million).
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2006-07-16: The 112th Promenade Season of concerts - The Proms that started in 1895 - began in London on Friday amidst a row over the absence of works by female composers in this year's programme raised by an article by composer Jennifer Fowler in Classical Music magazine.
Fowler, who composes choral works, has been keeping a record of female composers in the Proms programmes for 16 years and says that, although a quarter of living composers are women the average in the Proms was three women a year compared to 25 men.
She told the BBC Radio 4 "PM" programme she thought, "both men and women tend to think of all composers as being men" and continued, "... I don't really bug when people think that people like me are trying to say we want quotas or we want to have positive discrimination. I think I can I can speak for all women composers when I say that we have never wanted that and never asked for that. What we want is a fair hearing and this simply isn't happening."
She then claimed a lack of direct personal interest but somewhat contradicted herself saying she had waited "all these years and not made the issue public because I didn't want my name to go forward connected with it" and then saying she only raised the issue this year "because there have been no women and I thought it is time to raise the issue" and "because I have given up .I think they will never feature me in the proms and so I may as well talk about it."
Responding to the allegations, Nicholas Kenyon, the BBC Proms director said that the point was that they did not choose composers or artists on the basis of their sex.
"We choose them because they are going the best work at any particular time," he said. "We are really talking about quality here not quotas"
He then went on to say, "There plenty of gaffes and mistakes that one makes over the years but I don't thing that this comes into that category - I was rather more ashamed of having left out Schubert one year It is a quirk and we are in active discussions with composers and there are two major composers for next year's proms who are women and whose new commissions will be presented there"
This year's proms feature 90 concerts over 58 days with all being broadcast by BBC Radio 3 where will be on the site for a week after initial transmission: In addition for the first time, the First Night again for up to seven days after the broadcast, via BBC Two's (TV) new broadband site at bbc.co.uk/bbctwo.
Orchestras appearing this year include the Berlin Philharmonic with Sir Simon Rattle, the Philadelphia Orchestra with Sir Andrew Davis and the Kirov Opera with Valery Gergiev and soloists will include Bryn Terfel, Angela Georghiou, Joshua Bell, Evgeny Kissin and Maxim Vengerov.
As well as classical performances this year's Proms will include world music in a late-night world music Prom on August 4, part of the UK-wide Festival of Muslim Cultures. Performers will include Mauritania's 'diva of the desert' Dimi Mint Abba, who replaces the late Cheikha Rimitti who was originally billed to perform, and the Spanish group Radio Tarifa, making its last-ever UK performance before the band retire to pursue other interests.
Dimi Mint Abba is a superstar in her homeland where she is one of few artists to have an album released internationally and is widely regarded as one of the country's best-loved female griot - a combination of singer or musician who through their songs act as historian, biographer, social commentator, poet, soothsayer and storyteller.
2006-07-15: In more North American results Canadian Satellite Radio (CSR), the parent of XM Canada, has reported a third quarter (to the end of May) loss of CAD 20.4 million ( USD 18.1 million) on revenues that more than doubled over the previous quarter to CAD 2.34 million ( USD 2.07 million and is to increase its subscription fee from CAD 12.99 ( USD 11.52 ) to CAD 14.99 ( USD 13.29 ) per month from the start of September, an increase that will put it in line with its competitor Sirius Canada.
It says that discounts will be available for multi-year sign-ups and anyone signing before the increase will retain the current rate until September next year.
Since it launched nine months ago CSR has lost CAD 79 million ( USD 71 million) and generated revenues of CAD 3.53 million ( USD 3.13 million) and its shares now trade around CAD 9 compared to a launch price of CAD 16 in December last year. Its Cost Per Gross Addition (CPGA) increased from CAD 194 (USD 172) in the second quarter to CAD 241 (USD 214), primarily as a result of increased advertising and marketing expenses around the Father's Day selling season in the fourth fiscal quarter.
President and COO Stephen Tapp said during a conference call that the increase was "warranted by the benefits to our subscribers of our unique and exclusive programming, leading-edge equipment like the Inno, and extensive signal coverage."
XM Canada said that at the end of May it had 80,000 subscribers of whom 64,000 had signed up themselves and a further 16,000 were on trial subscriptions after buying automobiles from makers linked to XM: Rival Sirius Canada said in early May that it had reached 100,000 subscribers.
Earlier this month XM Canada announced a deal with Telus Corporation to provide programming to mobile phones (See RNW Jul 9) but no details were given of expected revenues from the deal although CSR chairman and CEO John Bitove Jr. said the Telus agreement did not rule out future deals with other mobile communications providers.
XM Canada has also announced an agreement with Suzuki Canada to factory install its receivers on the 2007 model year XL-7 JLX manufactured at the Cami plant in Ingersol, Ontario and offer them as a dealer-installed option on the 2007 Grand Vitara and SX4:It already had ties with other automakers including GM, Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Subaru.
Rival Sirius Canada has also announced an additional automobile deal, in its case with a long-term deal with Ford of Canada that includes a comprehensive factory installation program launching with 2007 model year vehicles with almost all Ford vehicles to be equipped with Sirius by 2008.
Also in Canada, Corus Entertainment has announced revenues for its third fiscal quarter to the end of May up 6% to CAD 181.6 million (161 million) and up 7% for the year to date to CAD 541.3 million (USD 480 million).
Net income was up 19.6% for the quarter to CAD 23.2 million (USD 20.6 million) and net loss for the year went down from CAD 61.5 million (USD 54.5 million - CAD 1.44 basic and 1.43 diluted earnings per share) to CAD 11.2 million (USD 9.9 million - CAD 0.26 per basic and diluted share) a year ago including a CAD 132.0 million (USD 117 million) pre-tax debt refinancing charge related to the purchase of the Senior Subordinated Notes and the termination of cross-currency agreements.
President and CEO John Cassaday said of the results, "We had another excellent quarter with particularly strong results for Television. Ad markets continue to be strong in both our core segments of specialty television and radio and our pay subscribers continue to expand, responding well to programming and marketing investments."
In divisional terms its combined radio and TV segment saw revenues up 8% for the quarter and 9% for the year to date with profit for the segment up 11% for the quarter and 12% for the year so far.
Radio revenues for the quarter were up 5% to CAD 71.9 million (USD 63.8 million) and profit was down 5% to CAD 21.1 million (USD 18.7 million), largely because of the impact of the sale of Corus' Red Deer assets and a multi-station swap in the province of Quebec: Same station revenues and profit were each up by around 3% for the quarter.
For the year to date, radio revenues were up 8% to CAD 202.1 million (USD 179.2 million) and profit was down 1% to CAD 52.5 million (USD 46.4 million) for the same reasons but same station revenues were up 6% and same station profit was up around 8%.
TV revenues for the quarter were up 9% to CAD 99 million (USD 87.8 million) and for the nine months were up 10% to CAD 298.7 million (USD 264.9 million) whilst TV profit was up 20% for the quarter to CAD 41.7 million (USD 37 million) and up for the nine months by 10% to CAD 298.7 million (USD 264.9 million)
Content revenues fared worse - down 14% for the quarter to CAD 12.6 million (USD 11.2 million) although its profits were up five-fold to CAD 500,000 (USD 443,000) for the quarter: For the year so far content revenues are down 17% to CAD 45.4 million (USD 40.3 million) and profits are up 61% to CAD 2.9 million (USD 2.6 million )
The company has increased its annual dividend per Class B Non-Voting Share from CAD 0.40 to CAD 0.86 and Executive Chair Heather Shaw said of the year that its "strong brands continue to lead the way in what is turning out to be another very strong year for Corus."
In Mexico Grupo Radio Centro, which operates 14 radio stations - 11 in Mexico City, has reported second quarter revenues - to the end of June - of MXN 234,947,000 (USD 21.4 million) up 62.4% on a year earlier with first half year revenues up 61.5% to MXN 411,477,000 (USD 37.5 million): The increases were mainly attributable to the increase in advertising expenditures from political parties in connection with the July 2006 presidential and congressional election
Broadcasting expenses were up by around 19% in the quarter and 15% in the half year resulting in increases in broadcasting income of 170.8% to MXN 112,160,000 ( USD 10.2 million) , for the quarter whilst for the half-year it more than tripled to MXN 188,962,000 ( USD 17.2 million ) from MXN 61,092,000 (USD 5.6 million) a year earlier.
Operating income was up from MXN 28,267,000 (USD 2.6 million) to MXN 101,717,000 (USD 9.3 million) for the quarter and from MXN 34,488,000 (USD 3.1 million) to MXN 164,314,000 (USD 15 million) for the half-year.
Net income was up for the quarter from MXN 12,820,000 ( USD 1.17 million ) to MXN 308,478,000 ( USD 28.1 million) - including extraordinary income of MXN 246,198,000 (USD 22.4 million), which resulted from the reversal of the MXN 260,050,000 ( USD 23.7 million) provision for the contingent liability recorded by the Company in 2003 in relation to an award made by an arbitration tribunal against it in a dispute with Infored, producer of its former top-rated "Monitor" news programme and Gutierrez Vivo, host of the programme: This award was overturned by a Mexican Court and Grupo Radio is now initiating proceedings in the Mexican courts to recover up to USD 15 million in amounts that it had prepaid for future services to be provided by Infored and the host of the programme, under the contract between the parties (See RNW Jun 17). For the half-year, including the same income, its net income was up from MXN 3,284,000 (USD 299,000) to MXN 342,376,000 (USD 31.2 million).
Previous CSR/XM Canada:
Previous Grupo Radio Centro:
Previous Sirius Canada:
2006-07-15: UK media regulator Ofcom has received ten applications for the new Liverpool FM licence it advertised including one from a consortium including former GCap chief executive David Mansfield who, with a bid for a rock station targeting the 40-59 demographic will be competing against his former company that is entering a bid for its digital "Planet Rock" format.
The licence, which will cover an audience of up to around 1.5 million adults, will be amongst the last big city FM licences to be awarded: The licence for nearby Manchester was advertised earlier this month with an October 5 deadline for applications (See RNW Jul 5) and a similar sized potential audience.
The ten applications received were from:
* allTalk FM Liverpool - a speech based station with a strong commitment to locally led news and information.
* The Arrow - Chrysalis's bid with its classic and contemporary rock that currently airs on digital. The bid is backed by Beatles producer Sir George Martin.
* CityTalk - Emap's bid with a speech format: It already owns Radio City and Magic AM in the city.
*JACK FM Liverpool - the rock-format bid mentioned from Liverpool Radio 1059 Limited, whose shareholders include former GCap chief executive David Mansfield, Absolute Radio, and Irish group Communicorp.
*Liver FM - the Liverpool Local Radio Limited bid with a Classic Rock and Classic Hits format for a 35 plus audience. Associated Radio Ltd operated an RSL talk station named Liver FM last year.
* MerseyLife - The CN Radio bid with of speech, music and information targeted at the 45-64 demographic.
* Original 106 FM - The CanWest backed bid with an offering "of adult-orientated music with particular ABC1 appeal, with 24 hour local news."
* Planet Rock - The GCap bid with its classic rock format that currently airs on digital stations.
* RockTalk Liverpool - GMG's "hybrid" rock and speech format targeted in this case at the 35-64 demographic with speech during the day and rock at other times.
* Wicked FM - a bid with a "full service broad rock station for people 20 to 49" that would feature indie, alternative, guitar based Britpop and classic and soft rock music from the last 40 years with specialist rock shows during evenings and weekends.
Ofcom has also updated details of the new Aberdeen FM licence it advertised at the same time as the Manchester licence and updated its FM timetable with details of a two licences, one larger and one smaller to be advertised this year.
The South Wales larger licence to be advertised next month will have coverage that should initially include Cardiff and Swansea, and the areas around and between them, using two FM frequencies and whose coverage area of this licence may subsequently be extended further westward and inland, subject to frequency availability.
The Herefordshire & Monmouthshire smaller licence, to be advertised in September, will be designed to cover as much of the counties of Herefordshire and Monmouthshire as is technically possible, using up to four FM frequencies and to include the main population centres of Hereford, Ledbury, Leominster and Ross-on-Wye (in Herefordshire) and Monmouth and Abergavenny (in Monmouthshire).
In other licence-related activity it has published details of its reasons for awarding the new Andover licence to Tindle Radio subsidiary Radio Andover Limited (See RNW Jul 7): It notes that when it advertised the licence it said particular emphasis would be placed on the applicant's ability to maintain the service and that in this case the backing of Tindle brought it considerable experience of operating smaller stations in similarly-sized markets, that the ownership provided an "impressive level of funding", and that the station will also benefit from being able to call upon the news resources of neighbouring Tindle stations.
In non-licence action, Ofcom announced the appointment of five non-executive members, two of them re-appointments for a further term, of its Content Board - the committee of the main Ofcom Board with delegated responsibility for content issues.
The appointments follow a review of the role of the Content Board undertaken by Philip Graf following his appointment as Chairman of the Content Board and Deputy Chairman of Ofcom in January.
The new members are Richard Ayre, the Ofcom Content Board member for England who is a former Deputy Chief Executive of BBC News; Dr Paul Moore, the Ofcom Content Board member for Northern Ireland who is Lecturer and Course Director in Media Arts at the University of Ulster, Coleraine; and Anthony Lilley, the Chief Executive of Magic Lantern Productions, a digital media production and consultancy company:
Te reappointments are of Sue Balsom, the Ofcom Content Board member for Wales, and Pam Giddy. In addition Ofcom says it is looking for a new non-executive member to represent Scotland.
2006-07-15: Vatican Radio cost the Holy See up to USD 40 million last year but a report in the Catholic News says that according to the Italian news agency ANSA the radio will not turn to broadcasting adverts to stem the losses: it adds that overall Vatican finances in 2005 were in the black again to the tune of USD 16.5 million, the best for eight years and more than triple the USD 5.3 million for 2004.
2005 figures were aided by financial market performance with investments producing a surplus of USD 43.3 million, up from USD 6.1 million in 2004, and also by an increased number of visitors to Vatican museums partly offset by USD 11.9 million dollars in costs for the funeral of John Paul II and the conclave to select his successor
Vatican radio employs 200 journalists and transmits in five continents but the report says that network chief Fr Federico Lombardi, who has just added the job of chief Vatican spokesman to his duties, speaking during the presentation of Vatican accounts that showed USD 40 million in costs and virtually no revenues, said the station did not have the right sort of audience to broadcast advertising. Although the radio has long been a drain on Vatican finances it is seen as playing a crucial role in spreading the Pope's words around the world.
Previous Vatican Radio:
Catholic News report:
2006-07-14: Shares in Toronto-headquartered CHUM surged nearly 50% at one point on Thursday when trading resumed after Bell Globemedia offered CAD 1.4 billion (USD 1.2 billion) for the company, which is controlled by the Waters family.
Astral Media confirmed on Thursday that it had also bid to buy its rival with CEO Ian Greenberg saying during a conference call on Astral's quarterly results that it had made a "fair offer" for CHUM but not specifying the amount.
"At the end of the day, we went as far as we could that made sense to create shareholder value," said Greenberg. "In the end, obviously, there was a superior bid."
Bell Globemedia, Canada's largest telecommunications group, has offered CAD 47.25 for each non-voting class B share, and CAD 52.50 for each CHUM common share, majority owned by the family of CHUM group founder the late Allan Waters: When trading resumed in the B shares, which were suspended on Wednesday by the Toronto Stock Exchange, they reached CAD 52.01 at the peak before ending up 49.25% at CAD 15.39.
The deal will have to be approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) but if it goes through will give Bell 33 radio stations and 12 TV stations plus 21 cable channels including MuchMusic, the competitor to MTV Canada that is delivered by Bell.
CHUM founder Allan Waters died last year (See RNW Dec 12, 2005) and his son Jim, who succeeded him as chairman, had repeatedly said the company was not up for sale
At Astral, the third quarter that ended on May 31, saw revenues up 8% for the quarter to CAD 155.5 million ( USD 137.5 million ) and 9% for the first nine months to CAD 447.6 million (USD 395.9 million) with net earnings from continuing operations up 10% to CAD 33.2 million ( USD 29.4 million - CAD 0.62 per share0 and up 13% for the first nine months at CAD 85.8 million ( USD 79.9 million -CAD 1.59 per share), a performance Greenberg referred to as "solid".
Commenting on divisional results Greenberg noted that for the first nine months, "our Television division continued to show consistent growth with a strong subscriber revenue increase of 8%, and ad revenue growth of 11% for the same timeframe. The Radio group's revenue was up 9% for the first nine months of the fiscal year. Outdoor is continuing to show strong results this year with revenue rising 16% over last year's first nine months."
Previous Waters (Allan and Jim):
2006-07-14: Emap shares plunged by 15% on Thursday following a profits warning at the company's annual general meeting.
In a statement chairman, Adam Broadbent - who stepped down after the meeting and has now been succeeded by deputy chairman Alun Cathcart -said, "Technology driven structural evolution and difficult trading conditions are combining to create a period of change and volatility in many of our markets" and, although saying they believed the company was "well positioned due to our brands, closeness to our markets and creative talent to take advantage of these conditions" warned that underlying revenues might be marginally down in the first half of the year.
Broadbent said the company had a strategy "to focus resources on market-leading brands and to reposition the Group to access faster growth platforms" and added that over the past year had made "significant progress against this plan."
Emap, he said, had "invested a record level in launches, agreed the sale of Emap France and invested GBP 480 million (USD 884 million) in acquisitions, including SRH and WGSN, all of which have helped reshape and strengthen the Group" and intended to increase investment in new product development in its continuing businesses.
In radio, Emap said it had "seen a good start to the year followed by a weakening outlook" and added, "Over the full year, we expect to continue to outperform the UK radio market due to our strong local brands and national reach."
Emap is amongst the companied bidding for the new Liverpool FM licence for which applications had to be in on Thursday and where it already owns FM station Radio City and AM station Magic 1548: it is bidding with a speech format "CityTalk "against other bids that include one from Chrysalis with its adult rock format, "The Arrow", which already broadcasts on digital multiplexes, and Guardian Media Group (GMG) Radio's hybrid bid with its "RockTalk" offering of speech during the day and rock at night.
2006-07-14: Following the formal announcement by Australia's Communications Minister Helen Coonan of government plans to ease media ownership regulation that would include the lifting of foreign ownership caps and dropping newspaper and broadcaster cross-ownership (See RNW Jul 13), the Sydney Morning Herald reports that Macquarie Equities has named its publisher John Fairfax, and Austereo as prime takeover targets with a "buy" recommendation on both.
It quoted Macquarie analyst Alex Pollak as saying, "The removal of foreign ownership laws exposes all media players to takeover, from both foreign media companies and foreign and domestic private equity. We highlight that while Fairfax and Austereo are the immediate targets, the removal of foreign ownership restrictions exposes the full suite of listed media players as targets, including Southern Cross Broadcasting, West Australian Newspapers, Seven or Nine [Australian TV Networks], and Rural Press."
He noted that there is already significant foreign investment in Australian media, including that of CanWest in Channel Ten , of John Malone's Liberty Media in Austar and News Corp and Independent Newspapers in APN News and Media.
Following the formal announcement most media stocks, which had already risen on Wednesday, went up further: Amongst the higher increases Southern Cross Broadcasting was up 7.7% on Thursday; Fairfax was up 5.9% to AUD 4.13 compared to a Macquarie target price of AUD 4.75; Channel Ten TV was up 4.6%; and Austereo was up 3% to AUD 1.83 - well below the Macquarie target price of AUD 2.20.
The proposals have still to be approved by the Australian parliament and will give some protections for local news and information cover with a requirement for regional broadcasters to lodge legally binding content plans guaranteeing such content with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA): The ACMA will also be given tougher enforcement powers on broadcasters who breach its programme standards rules, a move prompted by the recent controversy over alleged sexual assault in the Ten Network reality TV show Big Brother.
Although the bar on cross ownership of print and broadcast media is lifted, there will be a cap of not more than one TV station and two commercial radio stations in a market and a minimum of five commercial owners in capital cities and four for regional centres.
The plans to insist on local news cover was criticized by Commercial Radio Australia, the industry body, whose chief executive Joan Warner said it did not see the need for "mandating local news on a local radio station" and added, "We already have a local music quota. It should be left to the local market to decide."
Concern over possible encroachment into radio territory by new digital TV channels was also raised: Austereo chief executive Michael Anderson was quoted by The Australian as warning the new channels must not be allowed to include radio look-alike services and saying, "We would want to make sure that they can't just become radio channels."
Anderson added that he did not expect the changes to spark a takeover frenzy and said new media was where activity seemed to be whilst DMG Radio Australia chief executive Paul Thompson, who predicted one or two mergers or acquisitions would happen "quite quickly" to avoid breaching the diversity rule, said the test needed to be redefined to ensure it only counted "significant" players
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
The Australian report:
2006-07-14: Cameroon teacher Daniel Ndongbou has won the first prize in this year's BBC Afrique Talents competition awarded by the BBC World Service's French for Africa service for the best radio feature on the subject of an entrant's own choice.
Ndongbou, who teaches in Yaoundé and had a feature short listed in the 2001 competition produced a feature on female bus drivers in Cameroon, which only has around a dozen women working in the job.
He wins one million CFA Francs (XAF- around USD 2,000) for the feature and commented of his win, "I am delighted. It is such an honour to have my work recognised by the BBC. I have loved radio since I was a child because my father listened to it all the time."
BBC Afrique senior producer Estelle Cornado said of the entry, Daniel was selected as the winner because his report was original, lively and well-crafted, "and added, "We were equally impressed by the high quality and the originality of subjects submitted by all the participants and struck by their sincerity and audacity - there are lots of very talented radio programme makers out there."
Second prize of a minidisk recorder went to Richard Pituwa, a journalist from Bunia in the DR Congo who reported on the difficulties faced by young people who return their weapons after the civil war and the third prize of a solar radio was won by Alice Bafiala who has a degree in journalism from the University of Kinshasa, DR Congo and reported on pastors who target bus commuters.
2006-07-13: CBS Radio has started to lay-off full and part time staff as part of a cost-cutting drive that is reported to involve the loss of around 115 jobs.
It is not known if any off the lay-offs are related to potential sales of stations in smaller markets that CEO Joel Hollander has said the company is planning but in a memo to staff Hollander said, "There is increased competition for our listener's attention and we must deploy our resources wisely and aggressively if we are to succeed and grow."
He added that while any cutbacks were painful only a small percentage of staff - some 1.3%- was affected.
2006-07-13: Most Australian media stocks surged on Wednesday following cabinet approval of the plan by Communications Minister Helen Coonan to scrap newspaper and broadcaster cross-ownership limits in major cities - -notable exceptions were News Corporation which wants a fourth commercial TV network to be allowed, a proposal rejected in the plan, and its Packer-owned rival Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL)-
The plan is expected to be formally announced by Coonan today and already the opposition Labor Party, the Australian Democrats and the Australian Greens have said they will oppose them because they do not protect the diversity of media in the country.
News.Com, whose parent is News Corporation, carried an Australian Associated Press (AAP ) report saying that "renegade" Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce might also vote against some of the proposals and quotes him as saying he is yet to be convinced to the benefits of some of the changes and adding that he is most concerned about possible concentration of regional media ownership: The government only has a one-seat majority in the Australian Senate and the paper says that for the proposals to pass if Joyce votes against them it would need the support of Family First senator Steve Fielding.
Joyce commented, "I'm concerned about the number of voices in specific regional towns and generally the overall concentration of the media. The current regulatory arrangements are terribly important because the power of the established media is still a major issue."
Opposition communications spokesman Stephen Conroy said Labor would oppose the changes, as they would allow a spate of buyouts and mergers that would concentrate the media in fewer hands and said, "Australians living in rural and regional areas will be particularly hard hit by the changes. Labor will vigorously oppose the government's attempts to undermine media diversity."
Labor's view was backed up by the Greens whose leader Bob Brown said that foreign ownership changes were dangerous for democracy and the Democrats whose media policy spokesman Andrew Murray said the plan lacked enough safeguards.
Under the plans, companies would be allowed to own print, radio and TV interest in a market but there would be a requirement for a minimum four commercial media operators in regional markets and five in capital cities and pave the way for digital TV and datacasting but a ban remains on a fourth commercial free-to-air TV network. The current foreign ownership limits of 15% of a broadcaster and 25% of mass circulation newspapers would be scrapped.
Amongst media companies the plans have been opposed by News Limited and the Seven Network although influential media buyers, Harold Mitchell told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's AM programme the big media players will be delighted with the news, commenting, "It will increase the value of almost every media property in Australia. Anyone who has got extra data, extra information because of the possible extra channels will be overjoyed with this news."
He said he thought the diversity argument was now redundant, commenting, "The diversity argument has well and truly moved on. The Internet has changed all of that. You can get anything that you want on the net."
Independent media analyst Peter Cox told the programme the changes would be a major and predicted victory for James Packer's PBL that owns the Nine network over Rupert Murdoch's News Limited but added that he did not think however that the changes would be to the general public interest, saying, "And of course the one party that's going to miss out in a major way is the public. There has been nothing done that's going to be in the public interest, and that would be to give viewers a greater choice."
Following the news, shares in The Ten Network, which is controlled by CanWest, rose by up to 5.4%, those of the country's second largest newspaper publisher John Fairfax Holdings went up by up to 3.7%, those in the Seven Network were up as much as 3.2% but those of PBL ended down 1.32 % and News Limited ended down 0.67%
Southern Cross Broadcasting, seen as a potential takeover target, saw its shares go up by up to 5.2% and close up 3.29%, and APN News and Media ended up 1.58% but Macquarie Radio Network shares ended unchanged
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross:
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - AM programme transcript:
2006-07-13: Salem Communications has announced a special cash dividend of 60 cents on each of its Class A and Class B common stock that will be paid on July 28 and total around USD 16.6 million.
President and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III said of the dividend, "With the transition of the radio broadcasting industry to a more mature stage of its lifecycle, a number of our peers have introduced dividends. After careful review, we have determined it is in the interest of the company and our shareholders to grant at this time a special dividend, our first dividend as a public company."
2006-07-13: The UK Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB) has launched a weekly ten-minute DAB digital radio podcast, "The Inside Track" that features the latest music news and breaking tunes from DAB digital radio stations across Britain.
It is hosted by Xfm DJ, Marsha and highlights UK unsigned bands in an minute offering of hip hop, electro indie, r'n'b, rap, indie punk and rock that has been posted on the DRDB's consumer web site and also station web sites such as those of websites like Xfm, Capital Radio and Choice.
DRDB chief executive, Ian Dickens noted that nearly a quarter of UK DAB owners are aged 15-24 and added, "The youth market is the fastest growing sector buying DAB digital radios, so it's important to tell them about programme content designed for them. Radio has to be relevant and cutting edge to compete with other new technologies, like iPods. We felt a podcast was the ideal way to sample the type of fresh, new content available on stations like Choice, BBC 1Xtra, Virgin Radio Xtreme, BBC 6 Music, and Kerrang!"
There are three podcasts on the site so far and the venture has a 13-week sponsorship by MSN Spaces Live Sessions: It is produced by Creation Podcasts, part of GCap Media.
DRDB consumer web site - has links to podcasts - they are 10-14 Mb MP3s at 128kbps:
2006-07-13: The recent ten-fold increase in US penalties for "indecent" broadcasts - now a maximum of USD 325,000 per incident, has proved a boon to insurance companies and the makers of delay equipment according to the Washington Post, which says that orders for the TV delay device produced by California-based Prime Image Inc. has increased from less than one a day to almost three dozen.
Prime Image chief executive Peter J. Jegou told the paper, "This is like a blessing for us" and added of the comparative costs of a fine and the devices - USD 9,000 for normal NTSC broadcasts and USD 12,000 for HDTV - "People are saying, 'Oh, for $12,000, we can avoid a $325,000 fine?' You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out."
It also notes that lawyers are being kept busy offering legal advice to stations and that one stand-up comedian took out an indecent liability policy on himself and another said that before he went on the radio airwaves he was forced to sign a waiver promising to pay any indecency fines that might result from his appearance.
Comedian Ralphie May, whose act often includes sexually oriented material and profanity, now spends USD 22,000 a year on insuring himself for up to USD 1 million against slander, lawsuits and possible indecency fines and many broadcasters have toughened up their policies: Clear Channel now has "indemnification language "in its talent contracts, conditions that the Post says mean the host not the broadcaster pays any Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fine. In addition it has a "zero-tolerance" policy that means personalities can be fired for offensive language before any FCC penalty has been levied.
At Emmis, which in 2004 paid USD 300,000 to settle its radio fines (See RNW Aug 13, 2004), - largely relating to the "Mancow Morning Madness" show - the Post says corporate counsel David O. Barrett has become known as the indecency czar, travelling to the company's 25 U.S. radio stations and briefing general managers, program directors and talent.
Barrett said it was a tough job because the Federal Communications Commission doesn't provide a clear guide as to what is permissible.
Previous Clear Channel:
Washington Post report:
2006-07-12: BBC World Service in its 2005-06 Annual Review just published says that independent research shows it to have a higher reputation for "trust and objectivity" than any other international broadcaster in virtually all markets surveyed and that its weekly audience rose from 149 million a year earlier to new record of 163 million for 2006, around half as many again as any other international broadcaster: The previous record was 153 million in 2001.
The service says that online audiences for the BBC's "international facing news sites" have also shown significant increases with around 500 million page impressions a month in March 2006 compared to 324 million page impressions in March 2005. It also notes that the service is now available on FM in 150 capital cities with selected programmes carried by more than 1,000 FM and AM radio stations around the world.
BBC International Governor Sir Andrew Burns introducing the report comments on a "year of great change for BBC World Service - change driven by the pressing need to respond rapidly and imaginatively to major shifts in technology, audience and geopolitics."
"These," he writes, "have prompted BBC World Service to undertake one of the biggest transformations in its history. Ten language services have been closed and resources moved into the launch of an Arabic language television service and increased investment in on-demand services and FM radio distribution."
BBC World Service Director Nigel Chapman says "The realignment of BBC World Service to focus more extensively on audience needs in the Middle East and the wider Islamic world is one of the most far reaching in its 70-year history."
He adds that it could not be funded by efficiency savings alone, thus leading to the decision to close ten language services: The service is funded by the British Foreign Office and received a grant for the year of GBP 239 million (USD 441 million) which is to be increased to GBP 245 million (USD 452 million) in 2006-07.
It now broadcasts in 33 languages - English plus Albanian, Arabic, Azeri, Bengali, Burmese, Caribbean-English, Cantonese, French for Africa , Hausa, Hindi, Indonesian, Kinyarwanda/Kirundi, Kyrgyz, Macedonian, Mandarin, Nepali, Pashto, Persian, Portuguese for Brazil, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sinhala, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tamil, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, and Vietnamese - having dropped broadcasts in ten languages - Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Kazakh, Polish, Slovak, Slovene, and Thai - during 2005-2006.
Commenting on various areas of the world, Chapman says "our broadcasting teams face severe operational difficulties in a number of countries. Reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan remains challenging and dangerous. Central Asia is increasingly volatile. We had to close our Uzbek newsgathering operation in Tashkent, and in Tajikistan we had difficulties in renewing our licence for FM broadcasts."
He also notes that in the aftermath of the South Asian earthquake, Pakistan's regulators took BBC Urdu off our FM partner stations, although part of the service is now being rebroadcast and that in Nigeria its largest partner is still being prevented from broadcasting our news programmes although he adds of this, "happily, the audiences there have rediscovered the value of their short-wave radios."
Chapman singles out for praise the "Who Runs Your World?" season on global power that he says was "the most ambitious themed season ever undertaken by the BBC's Global News Division" and also notes the "Fuelling the Future" series on "the major issue of energy supplies."
"Both editorially and in terms of impact," writes Chapman, "2005/06 was a very strong year" but, he adds, "major challenges remain" and comments, "It will require skill to build on this record-breaking performance at a time when consumer choice is expanding in many markets, but at different speeds. It will be vital to spot new trends early and then make difficult choices about investments. We also have to make sure the values which shape our journalism and programme making - accuracy, impartiality and independence - continue to shine through in all we do."
World Service Annual Report (38 page 3.3 Mb PDF):
2006-07-12: Long-time Emmis WKQX-FM (Q-101) morning host Erich "Mancow" Muller is to leave the company after eight years with the station and is looking for a new Chicago home for his "Morning Madhouse", which has been airing since 1994, having begun at the now-defunct WRCX-FM.
Emmis has announced that Muller's show will end on Friday and from next Monday the station will kick off a "Summer of Shuffle" - music intensive programming that will match its "on shuffle" programming it introduced to other day parts in April 2005.
Making the announcement Marv Nyren, vice president and general manager of Emmis Radio Chicago, said that since making the change the station had attracted a growing on demographically broader audience, adding that it was developing an "unconventional morning show" designed to appeal to this demographic. The target date for launch of the new show is September 18.
Nyren said of the new show, "'Q101 on Shuffle' - which represents 85 percent of our weekly programming - has proven to be incredibly popular with our listenership, which primarily is composed of individuals within the 18-49 demographic. In light of this, we've decided that the time has come for us to develop a morning show that will better serve the needs and sensibilities of this audience. These changes will provide our core listeners with a format that they can enjoy continuously, all day, every day."
Mike Stern, vice president of programming for Emmis Radio Chicago, added, "Mancow has been an enormous asset to Q101, and we're grateful to him for his eight great years at the station. Mancow is a tremendous talent, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavours."
"While we are sad to part ways," he continued, "for Q101 to continue to grow and expand our audience, we realize that it's important for us to provide listeners with a morning show with broader appeal that better fits the tone of the rest of the station's programming. We believe we have that show and will be excited to bring it to Chicago this fall."
Presaging the announcement, Muller had said on his programme that he was committed to honour his contract with Emmis but added that to "to expand my audience without interference I need a new partner."
He went on to say he wished "Emmis management didn't frown on my relationship with Fox News Channel and my success in national syndication" referring to his regular appearances on "Fox and Friends" and syndication of his show.
Of his time at Q101, Muller said, "I've enjoyed working with Emmis, but they've wanted me to talk only about their narrow music world and related issues despite the fact that my track record and numbers are growing consistently as I broaden the subject matter of the show."
Mark Masters, his syndicator and chief executive officer of Talk Radio Network FM, said Mancow's show, which attracted from USD 7 million to 10 million a year in Chicago revenues, had become "an attractive environment for more than 25 national brand advertisers" that positioned him "favourably to take full advantage of the ratings quagmire created by Stern's early replacements."
"With more top markets on the way by year's end, the Mancow juggernaut is positioned for unprecedented growth," added Masters in a news release.
Emmis's announcement of the changes comes on the heels of a disappointing second quarter as net revenues fell from USD 92.38 million to USD 89.79 million and an operating profit of USD 4.25 million a year ago turning into a loss of USD 269,000 and overall net income was down from USD 10.38 million to USD 8.65 million: The net income available to common shareholders went from a positive 4 cents a share (for 56.65 million outstanding shares) to a loss of seven cents per share ( for 37.13 million outstanding shares).
Emmis did not issue a news release related to the results but has posted its 10-Q filing in which it noted that as of the end of quarter - May 31 -- four lawsuits had been filed on behalf of
Emmis shareholders seeking injunctive relief and damages in connection with Emmis Chairman and CEO Jeffrey H. Smulyan's offer to purchase the outstanding common equity of the Company, as well as class action status for the lawsuits. Emmis said it was evaluating these suits that had subsequently been consolidated.
Smulyan has offered USD 15.25 to take the company private, an offer that is being evaluated by a special committee made up of Emmis's three independent board members and that many shareholders consider far too low. Many shareholders are also annoyed by Smulyan's statement that he would use his Class B shares to vote against any other offers and displeased at approval by Emmis's compensation committee of bonuses for Smulyan despite a fall in the value of its stock.
The compensation committee approved a USD 1.08 million bonus in 2005 when the company lost USD 304 million and a maximum bonus of the same amount for fiscal 2006 when the company went back into profit but its shares were down around 12% in value.
2006-07-12: GCap Media has confirmed the appointment of Will Harding as Group Strategy & Development Director: He joins the company from BSkyB Ltd, where he was Commercial Director of the Sky Networked Media division and has previously worked as Business Development Director at the internet search engine "Ask Jeeves UK & Ireland" and as General Manager at beeb.net, BBC Worldwide's internet service provider business.
Harding, who will report to GCap Media chief executive Ralph Bernard, will take up his post in August and will have responsibility for overall Group strategy, focusing on GCap's new media activity and opportunities for developing new, non-traditional revenues.
Also at GCap, Xfm has appointed Mike Walsh, currently head of music for the Century FM network, a post he will retain, and head of music for GCap North, to the new post of network head of music for the company's three Xfm services, adding responsibility for the London Xfm service to his previous responsibility for the Glasgow and Manchester stations.
2006-07-12: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has rejected complaints by a listener that comments broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), as a segment of the afternoon daily public affairs radio programme Radio Active on CBX-AM, Edmonton, contained a misleading and undocumented statement that might create an anti-Palestinian sentiment in the Canadian public.
The complainant, James Darwish, had sent six letters of complaint to the commission between May 2003 and November 2005 concerning comments made during an interview about sniper attacks last year in and around the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area and in Virginia during which the interviewer asked Rabbi Samuel Kaplan of Potomac, Maryland: "There have been comparisons made between the randomness of the sniper attacks and the suicide bombings we hear about in Israel or Palestine. Do you think this has changed people's understanding of what's happening in Israel?"
Darwish alleged that there was no documentation supporting the comparison made by the interviewer in the statement, and that it thus represented a "gross breach of journalistic ethics." He also alleged that the statement was calculated to ensure that the response by the interviewee would make people more sympathetic to Israel, and consequently do harm to Palestinians and other residents of the Middle East by generating animosity and prejudice against them.
The CRTC, rejecting the complaint, said the was not presented as part of a newscast, but as an exchange of opinion in the context of a public affairs program and most of it concerned the Rabbi's opinions and personal experience in his community offered in response to the questions formulated by the CBC interviewer.
2006-07-11: Sirius Satellite Radio CEO Mel Karmazin in the July 17 issue of Newsweek says the company is "far ahead of where most people thought it would be" and could be cash-generating as soon as the fourth quarter of this year adding that "In 2007, for the first time, we will be generating cash as compared to using cash."
Asked about the decline in the company's stock price he says Wall Street has moved past the idea of people paying for radio to asking about a company's business model and says because of this he thinks "it's so important that we generate this free cash flow and that we do generate a billion dollars by 2010. That would clearly say that this is a good business."
Karmazin says that he joined Sirius because it would be judged by "pure financials" not the success of "Mission: Impossible" and asked about his comment on buying XM says he answered the question honestly when he said he would be interested in purchases "if a company is for sale, if the price is right and if regulators would allow it."
"In the case of satellite radio," he adds, "it's hard to argue that strategically [buying XM] would fit. It's not something we're pursuing."
Karmazin also takes a swipe at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) saying of its recent request that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigate decency standards on satellite radio, "An organization like the NAB should be a proponent of free speech. There's certainly disappointment on my part and I know others who are saying, gee, that's not what the NAB should be doing."
RNW comment: On this matter we agree wholeheartedly with Karmazin and regard NAB's action, which would appear to show either intellectual deficiencies in the inability to understand the difference between a service that has to be selected and a free to air one or the usual narrow-minded lobbying for its benefit irrespective of wider issues as a despicable selling of the pass for short-term benefit.
In our view it's also a rather stupid approach as we think it unlikely that the Supreme Court will take the view NAB wants, which means NAB gains nothing and has little standing left when it comes to arguing for wider freedoms of speech on other matters.
MSNBC/Newsweek - Karmazin interview:
2006-07-11: GCap Media is looking for partnerships with other media companies to launch new interactive services and is planning to offer commercial-free versions of some of its stations such as Classic FM for a subscription fee according to chief executive Ralph Bernard.
Bernard, whose company already has a deal with the BBC that allows it to broadcast the Captain Kremen radio comedy shows of the late DJ Kenny Everett, told the Independent on Sunday his company could gain income by charging for podcasts of the show, or for specialist content such as fishing programmes, which he dubbed "rod casts" and also said mobile phone or online radio listeners would also be able to download or "podcast" premium content from other stations for a fee
He said the move to charge for podcasts and premium content was not driven by falling advertising revenues, commenting, "[The] advertising market is clearly soft at the moment. But this is not an alternative to existing free-to-air services."
Amongst the possible links could be one with UK commercial TV channel ITV but Bernard declined to give details on how this would be structured but did say, "Clearly this is something which works in a multimedia world. If there is an interesting proposal, we do not have to remain sole operators."
The paper says that GCap will appoint Will Harding this week as its new group strategy director, with a focus on boosting new media and non-traditional revenues.
UK Independent on Sunday report:
2006-07-11: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reduced from USD 10,000 to USD 500 the penalty on a New Hampshire CB operator who operated his CB station on a frequency not authorized for use by a CB station and transmitted a one-way communication in the form of a constant carrier, thereby voiding his blanket authorization to operate a CB station.
Gene A. Fricke of Nashua was traced following complaints of interference from other operators and in January issued with a Notice of Apparent Liability for USD 10,000.
In the settlement now agreed he will pay USD 500 in monthly USD 20 instalments starting next month and also bring his broadcasts into compliance with FCC regulations.
2006-07-11: Yorkshire Radio, the station set up by Leeds United soccer club as part of a new media strategy by club chairman Ken Bates has now launched online and on the MXR digital multiplex in Yorkshire using a slot that had previously broadcast Jazz FM (See RNW Apr 11).
The station, which describes itself as "A Unique Station for a Unique County", will air a mix of music and the latest news on Leeds United and Yorkshire Sport including commentary on all the club's games.
Yorkshire Radio web site:
2006-07-11: British media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin upheld no complaints against radio and only two TV standards complaints with a further two TV standards complaints considered resolved by action taken by the broadcaster and a TV fairness and privacy complaint not upheld.
This compares to three TV standards and two radio standards complaints upheld - one that led to a record fine of GBP 175,000 (USD 323,000) on Emap for a number of breaches of regulations at its KISS FM in London (See RNW Jun 21) - plus a further two TV complaints and a radio case considered resolved in the previous bulletin.
In addition Ofcom listed with no details a further 187 TV complaints involving 161 items and 41 radio complaints involving 39 items that it were out of its remit or not upheld. The totals compare with 78 TV complaints involving 69 items and 16 radio complaints involving 16 items that it said were out of its remit or not upheld in its previous bulletin.
Ofcom has also published a consultation about a request by Spectrum Radio, which was launched on AM in June 1990 with a unique remit to serve a number of ethnic communities, to be allowed to increase its Asian programming from the current permitted maximum of eight hours per day, to twelve hours per day: In return Spectrum is saying it would increase its formal commitment to diversity in its output by increasing the requirement in its Format to serve a minimum of eight communities, rather than the current six.
It argues that since it launched there has been an increase of some 350,000 Asians living in the capital and it therefore seeks to adjust its programming to reflect the growth in population and also argues that the advent of digital channels and community radio has further fragmented its audience meaning that it needs to "be able to broadcast commercially viable programming to support the less popular programming for other communities, which otherwise would not find a voice on the airwaves in London."
Ofcom notes that in addition to Spectrum, which broadcasts in Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil and Gujarati, London's Asian audience is served by five other Asian services - commercial stations Club Asia (Young Asian hit music); Sunrise Radio (Asian, music and information, targeting mainly Indian audience); Kismat Radio (speech based service targeted at over 35's in the Asian community around London) and community stations Desi Radio (Southall - English and Punjabi) and Sound Radio (Hackney. Programming will include Bangladeshi and Punjabi language services).
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2006-07-10: This week we start our look at print comment on radio with brief consideration of what's in a name courtesy of Randy Dotinga in the North County Times whose column last week was about "The Jesus Christ Show" on Clear Channel's KFI-AM.
The host, Neil "Jesus Christ" Saavedra, is described by Dotinga as "an earring-wearing, tattooed punk-rock fan who looks more like a devil than a spiritual savant" and Dotinga notes that "[A fair number of people ] have made it perfectly clear that Saavedra is disrespectful at best and sacrilegious at worst."
Saavedra commented, "I don't think I'm Jesus, and I don't have any delusions of grandeur" and says of the show it is "about life and truth, just whittled down into questions. It really is interactive radio theatre."
Dotinga comments that "Saavedra's Jesus Christ conceit is the only outrageous part of the show. The host is actually quite knowledgeable about the Bible and Christianity, no surprise considering that he once attended theology school."
Regarding the roots of the show Saavedra, who is director of marketing at KFI, says he found himself "token theologian" at the station where talk-show host Bill Handel asked him to portray Jesus Christ on the air before Easter.
"I said hell no," he recalled. "But I thought that if it was a controlled environment, it might be like the history teacher dressing up as Abe Lincoln. I struggled with it a little bit, but I did it and it got amazing."
The show, which runs from 06:00 to 09:00, followed and has now been on air for six years.
Next another name, this time relating to a station that's gone off the air until next year: Featured in a UK Independent report by Vincent Graff, it's Radio Wimbledon, run by the All England Lawn Tennis Club during the annual tournament: It began in 1992 as an ultra-local low-powered FM station set up partly to warn motorists on their way to the tournament about traffic jams.
It now has a staff of 25, some of them students, and, although the local FM broadcasts continue under a restricted service licence, its reach stretches worldwide including outlets such as Sirius Satellite Radio, customers of an Indian mobile phone company and an audience on the Internet that has peaked at around 600,000.
Station editor Steve Butterick commented, "We've become a much more international station - we can't just think we're broadcasting for five miles in the Wimbledon area" and noted that unlike other broadcasts from the tournament, "Because I work for the rights-holder, I've never really had to worry about where we broadcast to."
The budget does not attract the star commentators but rather what Graff terms "rather lesser known voices of former players Warren Jacques, Sue Mappin, Lucie Ahl and others" and Butterick, a producer who has spent his career with LBC and BBC Five Live, says that Radio Wimbledon has a good relationship with its BBC rival.
"We share material with them" he said, adding, "I think the coverage that we provide is different. I think we are able to be slightly faster on our feet."
During the women's final, for example, writes Graff, Radio Wimbledon uses a woman commentator and a woman summariser. "I don't think the BBC has ever done that," says Butterick. "So you could say I don't have their resources, I don't have their reach, but in some ways, because we're smaller and because there's slightly less tradition, I am less beholden to the past."
Butterick says he has "absolute editorial freedom" to criticise the Wimbledon authorities but there can be the occasional problem as players listen to the station, which is piped into their dressing rooms and their cars to and from matches. He recalled an incident when a commentator said he would rather have his toenails removed without anaesthetic than watch another set like he'd just seen, leading the French player Virginie Razzano to storm into the studio: She was not immediately convinced by Butterick's subsequent explanation that the comments were aimed at the women's game in general, rather than Razzano's in particular.
Sticking to UK stations with restricted remits, our next report - from Eric Allison, the UK Guardian prisons correspondent - concerns "an ambitious project, aimed at putting a radio station in every jail in the country", which was launched last month at Winson Green prison in Birmingham.
The "Prison Radio Project" has evolved via a partnership between the BBC, the newly established Prison Radio Association, the Prison Service, Community Service Volunteers and local education establishments and Allison says that, although intended primarily as an educational project, it could "also produce a bonus for its main sponsor, the BBC, in the form of a steady stream of material for its local and national radio stations."
The scheme is described as "an exportable radio scheme" that can be adopted for inclusion into existing prison educational systems and plans are to roll it out across the 39 BBC local radio stations.
The prisons will use redundant analogue equipment donated by the BBC and producers from local BBC stations will hold classes for inmates.
The programmes produced will initially be broadcast inside the prison and may then be relayed to local community stations with selected material aired on BBC stations and prisoners at Hewell Grange prison in Redditch, who prior to the launch of the scheme had successfully operated a pilot station, have produced several programmes for BBC Radio West Midlands.
Phil Maguire, who was seconded from the BBC to become the Prison Radio Project's co-ordinator, said that although the scheme was aimed primarily at teaching literacy and numeracy - in a prison population with an average reading age of 11 - it is hoped that some of the material produced will be used to engage local communities and prisoners in debate.
Winson Green governor Mike Shann said a radio station will further add to the range of work skills the prison provided and he thought it would also "open up" the prison to the local community.
On a personal level he said he is looking forward to a prison version of "Question Time" [A BBC TV programme] where inmates can voice grievances directly to him and expects a lively exchange that eh said would take him back to the time when his job gave him daily contact with those in his charge.
Finally a programming change brought about by the failure of a bearing that on June 6 silenced the quarter bells of "Big Ben", the Great Clock of the British Houses of Parliament, and that got a warm welcome from UK Sunday Times radio columnist Paul Donovan, who devoted his "Radio Waves" column to the birdsongs that replaced them.
The failure left a 15-second hold in which the BBC normally airs the "ding-dongs" running up to the 18:00 BBC Radio 4 news and Peter Rippon, editor of the preceding "PM" programme asked subscribers to its daily newsletter what they wanted aired to fill the time.
"Predictably, lots wanted the return of the UK Theme," he said, "But, in the end, they came up with an inspired idea - birdsong. The response has been overwhelming."
Repairs brought the clock back into action for Friday's anniversary of last year's London bombings and Donovan comments, "The return of the bongs means the end of the birds, which is a pity. Not only were they so properly introduced by presenter Eddie Mair, who even repeated the name of each one, but, as Rippon says: "Birdsong is one of the purest and most poetic audio experiences that nature produces - something for all who work in radio to think about."
The song apparently had some unexpected results - "One woman, in Edinburgh, contacted PM to say the dunnock had sent her cat demented. "As soon as it came on, she changed from a cute kitty to a lean, mean, hunting machine. She flew off the sofa to search with military precision every nook and cranny of the room." Another woman, in Sussex, told of a magical song she had heard in the garden on the night her mother died, prompting others to suggest it had been either a robin or a nightingale. Another, in Acton, sent in her own recording of an eider duck, sounding a bit like Kenneth Williams starting to say "Oooh Matron", and it was played as a bonus."
Donovan concludes his column, "Bird recordings, all of which have come from the BBC's own sound archives, should now continue on Radio 4, and the perfect place for them would be on News Briefing at 5.30am. With their spirit of innocence, in stark contrast to the world's corruption, they would do much to inspire each new day.
Now on to suggested listening and first make your own minds up about "The Jesus Chris Show". KFI offers it and other shows as a stream, MP3 download, or podcast, but you have to register - no charge - first. The Jesus Christ Show is 40 minutes - a 32 kbps MP3 of around 9.4 MB - the introductory audio and music is likely to be somewhat culturally alien to those more used to traditional church services but the talk on the show itself is much less so.
As a contrast to KFI, we suggest "Spirit of Things" from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Its most recent programme on Sunday was "Bibliodrama", based on the work of British-born Israeli Yael Unterman who travels the world coaxing people to 'be' the characters of the Bible, like "Adam and Eve", or "Cain and Abel" and in the process, as she sees it, plumb the issues that the text only touches on. The speech here is less traditional than that on KFI.
Also from the ABC we'd suggest last weeks "Sports Factor" , a timely look, as Wimbledon and the World Cup Soccer end, at globalisation's impacts for sports as the traditional local priorities turn for many organizations into a matter of global business.
Next the start of a music event, maybe even a Music Event - The 2006 Promenade concerts - that begin on Friday on BBC Radio 3 in the normal Performance on 3 slot at 18:30 GMT and run through until Saturday September 9: The station will air every concert - composers run from John Adams to Henry Wood, the founder of the concerts - and details can be found either view its schedule or the BBC Proms web site (http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms ).
On to a completely different range of music and BBC Radio 2 with "The Def Jam Story" and also the first part of the four-part "Ain't No Mickey Mouse Music" looking at the music from Disney films. The second part is at 18:00 GMT next Friday.
And a couple more from the station tomorrow at 19:30 GMT with "Dean Reed: Death of a Comrade" that tells the story of the late American singer and actor was found dead in mysterious circumstances in the Zeuthner Lake near East Berlin in June 1986. Dean, who had a successful recording and acting career in Argentina, Chile and Italy moved to the former East Germany in 1971 but his popularity as an actor and artist began to wane from the early 1980s. The programme is followed at 20:30 GMT by "Piaf", the first of four programmes in which Petula Clark tells the story of French singer Edith Piaf.
And as a final musical suggestion we turn to BBC Radio 4 and last week's "Music Feature" which was "Ragtime", in which conductor and pianist Wayne Marshall looks at the history of ragtime, the way Americans responded to it, and whether it had a role in the emerging classical music tradition of the nation. It's on the site until tomorrow when - at 12:30 GMT- this week's feature is "In Chorus" in which Robert Thicknesse looks at the uses of the chorus.
For drama, we suggest Radio 3 and Radio 4, the first for "The Wire" from last Saturday, which featured the problems for a relationship when talk is not possible, examined by Mike Bartlett in "Not Talking", a play based on his grandfather's experiences as a conscientious objector in the Second World War, and a contemporary story from the armed forces.
From Radio 4 we went for two dramas: First, from Thursday at 19:00 GMT is "The Road, the House, the Road" which was commissioned to mark the 60th birthday of the distinguished playwright Howard Barker and in which Barker sets in 16th Century Europe where a wealthy female aristocrat induces travelling scholar Johannes Aventinus to carry out a terrible crime.
And finally this week's "Friday Play", (20:00 GMT) which is "Lorilei", a dramatisation by Thomas Wright - adapted from the stage production by Reprieve, of the story of Louisiana mother Lorilei Gillory who gave testimony against the execution of Ricky Langley for murdering her six-years-old son.
KFI-AM web site:
North County Times - Dotinga:
UK Guardian - Allison:
UK Independent - Graff:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2006-07-09: Last week was fairly quiet for the regulators with the main story proposals from the UK regulator Ofcom for very significant cuts in the feeds for extensions to the national AM licences held by talkSPORT and Virgin Radio and also cuts in the charge for the Classic FM licence: there were no radio decisions at all in Australia or Ireland.
In Canada, there were only two decisions on radio licences from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) - an administrative renewal until December 31 of the licence of CKCL-FM, Chilliwack, and its transmitters CKCL-FM-1, Abbotsford and CKCL-FM-2, Vancouver, British Columbia, and approval of an application to add a new 26.8 watts FM transmitter at Slave Lake and new 50 watts transmitters at Weberville and Hines Creek for CIAM-FM Fort Vermilion, Alberta.
The CRTC also issued a public notice, with a deadline for submitting interventions or comments of August 11 that included one radio-related item in Quebec, an application to renew the licence of English-language commercial station CHOM-FM, Montréal.
The CRTC also released financial statistics covering the period from 2001-2005 on the Canadian broadcast distribution industry that showed in 2204-2005 cable revenues were static but those for Direct-to-Home (DTH) satellite distribution undertakings and Multipoint Distribution System (MDS) undertakings both grew - by around 8% in all.
In the UK, Ofcom as already noted is proposing to cut dramatically the fees for extensions to the current national licences for Classic FM, talkSPORT and Virgin Radio (See RNW Jul 5): It also advertised new FMs for Manchester and Aberdeen (also Jul 5) and announced the award of the new Kingston-upon-Hull FM licence to Planet Broadcasting Company Ltd. (KCFM 99.9), and that for Andover to Radio Andover Limited, a Tindle Radio subsidiary (See RNW Jul 7).
In addition Ofcom published details of new lifetime amateur and ship radio licences that it had said in February it intended to issue (See RNW Licence News Feb 19) and has issued consultations relating to business radio licences and spectrum trading.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had a fairly quiet week apart from routine work, but the issue of broadcast indecency came up again when it supported a move for the courts to allow ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC to respond to its March 15 order in which amongst other things it ruled that a number of TV programmes breached its regulations but did not impose a penalty (See RNW Jul 7).
The FCC has also put on its agenda for its meeting on Thursday the issue of digital regulations and, it has emerged from an SEC filing by electronics manufacturer Directed Electronics, that the FCC is investigating two Sirius receivers - the Sirius S50 and Starmate Replay- that have FM transmitters that may be overmodulating and causing interference.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-07-09: Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) news has been forced off the air in most of Russia by government authorities who said that local stations that rebroadcast the service had violated their licence conditions by failure to get permission to broadcast news from external services.
A year ago some 30 stations were broadcasting Radio Liberty's news but now only four do and for Voice of America, which had 42 Russian affiliates a year ago, is down to five. Both stations are funded by the US government and produce news in Russian.
Larry Hart, of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors that oversees the stations was quoted in a report on the VOA web site as describing the cancellations as a "disturbing trend" that was "particularly unfortunate because of the loss of information flow to the Russian people."
The Washington Post quoted Jeffrey N. Trimble, acting president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as saying, "We focus primarily on domestic developments, and those are exactly the things the Kremlin has problems with. This really hurts our ability to reach today's decision-makers."
The paper added that Yevgeny Strelchik, an adviser to the Culture Ministry's top mass media official had told it, "We do not have any problem with Radio Liberty or Voice of America. But if our radio stations change their concept, they should say so, and then the commission will decide whether to approve it or not."
He added, "They can't broadcast somebody else's product without having the license for it. . . . This is the law You should ask the general director of Radio Russia how hard it is to get a license to broadcast in the U.S. He tried many times. Their requirements are much stricter."
The Post says two stations that did apply for revised licenses to broadcast Radio Liberty were refused permission and quoted a manager at another station - who, like others, spoke on condition that they and their stations not be identified because they feared being closed down - as saying, "Of course, I felt the pressure. . . . They never tell you anything directly. Instead they come up with numerous complaints trying to find faults, they start their checkups, they would be looking at your license over and over again. But the message is clear."
A manager at yet another station added, "It's sad because the programs were very popular The owners decided that they would rather have their license, because if they kept the programming they would have been in trouble."
Previous Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty:
Washington Post report:
2006-07-09: XM has taken a lead in Canada in delivering its service to mobile phones through a live streaming service deal with Telus Mobile.
Announcing the move Stephen Tapp, president and COO of XM Canada, described it as another "fantastic 'first' for XM Canada" and added, "This partnership introduces a new option in content delivery that transcends the regular innovation XM listeners expect - it's a revolution in mobile entertainment."
The service allows access to only 20 XM channels -Bluesville, BPM, Chrome, Ethel, Flight 26, Fred, High Voltage, RAW, Real Jazz, Soul Street, Suite 62, The City, The Joint, The Rhyme, The
Verge, Top 20 on 20, Top Tracks, U.S. Country, XM Comedy and XM Pops - and will initially be available on two models of phone, the LG 8100 and Samsung A950 at a cost of an additional CAD 15 (USD 13.50) a month on top of existing plans or as part of a SPARK 25 feature bundle.
RNW comment: this service may be a first for Canada but it does not seem particularly advanced when compared to DMB services already available in Korea and we suspect that further developments of DMB and technology will soon make a much greater range of services available on mobile devices.
Previous XM Canada:
2006-07-08: The BBC Board of Governors has stressed value for money in the 2005/2006 BBC Annual Report and Accounts just published, the last they will publish before they are replaced by the BBC Trust at the end of this year.
Amongst measures noted are a reduction in bonuses for senior BBC staff together with significant increases in their basic salaries, changes that sparked indignation from the unions who complained of double standards since most staff are being offered rises below inflation and many are also concerned about job cuts and compulsory redundancies.
Jeremy Dear, General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists commented, "It is the second time in as many years that BBC bosses have found ways to grossly inflate their own pay whilst forcing their staff pay the price."
Amongst the top ranks BBC Director-General Mark Thompson waived his bonus for the second year running - but saw his salary increase to GBP 619,000 (USD 1.15 million) - up 8.7% or by GBP 59,000 (USD 110,000) on a like-for-like basis compared to a year ago when he was in the post for only part of the year.
Other executives took their bonuses including director of radio Jenny Abramsky whose remuneration was GBP 322,000 (USD 596,000), up GBP 30,000 (USD 56,000) on the previous year, half of it in bonuses.
In the report Thompson commented, "The BBC is going through huge change, moving from traditional linear broadcasting to the challenging and exciting world of interactive, on-demand digital media. It means the BBC's relationship with audiences is also constantly changing."
In terms of radio last year he commented of highlights: " on radio The Raj Quartet, the dramatization of Paul Scott's novel about India in the 1940s, was a creative highlight; meanwhile, The Archers, the world's longest running radio drama, marked its 55th anniversary."
"Our website continues to set new records for reach - now over 15.3 million a month - and our radio portfolio continues to carve its distinctive path," said Thompson who also commented, "Radio 3's Beethoven Experience and Bach Christmas and our ongoing podcasting trials show a real appetite for different ways of accessing, using and enjoying the BBC's content."
Thompson then referred to the launch of the BBC's "Creative Future" content vision for the on-demand world" that would allow people to put together their own programming.
In the report's review of radio it commented on the rapid changes with "with consolidation in the commercial sector, and the rapid spread of new ways of listening" and added, "Increasingly, younger audiences are listening via digital platforms, leading to expectations that they will be offered not just music but also supporting visual materials, and BBC Radio has begun to experiment using interactive television."
"Overall," it said, "BBC Radio continues to perform strongly - indeed its top performing output attracts audiences on a par with hit television shows" and then added, with a built-in warning, "In general terms audiences are strong, although the picture varies across the portfolio and the rising popularity of downloaded music threatens reach to younger listeners who now have somewhere else to go for their music other than radio."
It also took up some of the criticisms from the commercial sector about Radios 1 and 2, commenting, "We have always regarded distinctiveness as lying at the heart of the remits for Radio 1 and Radio 2. Under the present governance system we believe we have been successful in ensuring that management have delivered distinctive output for the two networks."
In terms of individual stations it said of the main channels - available on analogue and digital:
Radio 1 - has reversed its audience decline and has extended the range and diversity of its live events. It also noted the challenge from downloads and the station's digital offerings as part of the BBC podcast trial and moves to make content available via mobile phones allied with experiments to link to visual content.
Radio 2 - said the station's distinctiveness lies largely in the breadth of music played and also in documentaries, arts programming, comedy and high-quality news, current affairs and discussion.
Radio 3 - Radio 3 has had a year full of innovation, ambition and achievement. Two of the highlights of its year - indeed two of the highlights of the BBC's year - were The Beethoven Experience (all the music over seven days and free downloads of the Beethoven Symphonies that attracted 1.4 million takers) and the Bach Christmas (all the surviving music over ten days).
Radio 4 - The report referred to its core strength of journalism and outside that the range of the schedule, mentioning "In our Time", new comedy including "Ed Reardon's Week", "The Raj Quartet" and "This Sceptred Isle: Empire", noting the support for the last in "a richly detailed website which includes a valuable archive of listeners' personal Empire histories."
Radio 5 Live - it said the station had a good year editorially, in both its sports coverage and its news and current affairs output. Adding "Its coverage of the July bombings in London was particularly strong."
Of the digital stations overall it commented, "The BBC's digital-only stations are generally in good health and are beginning to make a contribution to the overall reach of BBC Radio. "
BBC Annual report (155 Page 6.1 Mb PDF):
Links page to Annual report - carries links to various segments of report:
2006-07-08: Clear Channel Radio has announced that it has expanded its capacity to deal with emergencies including the development of hub cities whose facilities will include generators, satellite phones plus fuel and supplies and also trucks containing transmitters and news-gathering facilities.
Clear Channel says an emergency satellite back-up system will enable any of its local stations to send programming directly to any of its tower sites when microwave links or landlines are down and thus let staff from an area where a studio has had to be abandoned to broadcast from nearby locations.
It lists hub cities as Tulsa, Philadelphia, Orlando, San Diego, Atlanta and Sacramento and says "Several hub cities have already been set up with a focus on hurricane-prone areas" with remaining cities to be in service by the end of this year and adds that emergency backup satellite systems are now being deployed in all of the Gulf Coast states with deployment in other areas also planned..
RNW comment: Welcome though this development is - and we note a marked absence of New Orleans from the hubs list - it seems to us that the very fact that Clear Channel can trumpet its measures as it has reflects a significant failure in US emergency planning in general and that both the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Homeland Security deserve brickbats.
Some measures such as basic generator capacity and fuel for a few days should already in our view be a requirement of licence for any station and the cost of an emergency back-up satellite is nowadays much less than it once was meaning that the FCC could well have - and probably should - set up such a system on a national rather than a company basis, allowing it to ensure some kind of emergency radio service in all areas when there is a disaster..
It would not be that expensive for the FCC and Department of Homeland Security to lease space from a commercial domestic satellite provider, insist on all stations having approved equipment to allow uplinking and a communications package to a central government emergency hub (The space could well be sold in normal times by the provider on the basis that emergency users could pre-empt commercial use when required, a kind of deal we have handled in the past when working at a satellite company). Tied in with a suitable communications package such a system could also have valuable back-up uses for emergency services' communications.
Previous Clear Channel:
2006-07-08: The US Department of Defense (DOD) has announced that American Forces Network (AFN) is to end all its broadcasts of play-by-play sports on radio later this summer, giving as the reason for the decision a preference for watching sports on TV and the impact of live sports on overseas local affiliate radio schedules.
AFN has expanded its TV sports cover and Robert Matheson, director of broadcasting at the AFN Broadcast Center in Riverside, California, said in a statement, "AFN audiences prefer to watch the greater variety of sports on television rather than listen to them on the radio. When radio sports coverage comes on, most listeners tune out. Our mission is better served when the largest possible audience tunes in to non-sports programming and spends more time listening."
AFN ended most of its play-by-play broadcasts with the conclusion of the NBA championships but because of agreements with the Motor Racing Network and the Indy Racing League broadcasts of some motor sport will continue until the September 9 NASCAR Nextel Cup race from Richmond International Raceway that is scheduled to be the final AFN radio sports play-by-play broadcast.
RNW comment: AFN reasoning jars a little with a recent note from analyst Maurice McKenzie of Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co., which earlier this week re-iterated "outperform" ratings for the US satellite ratings companies and said that sales staff at retail outlets "overwhelmingly indicated sports and other non-music programming as key drivers influencing the consumer's decision" to subscribe.
We leave it to readers to speculate on the different habits that allow troops overseas to watch TV whilst some folks back home have to make do with radio - or to maybe deduce that some of the forces stationed overseas are now going to have to do without sporting cover.
2006-07-07: Sirius and XM have each added significant numbers of new subscribers in the second quarter of this year with the former closing the gap on the latter slightly.
Sirius announced that it has added 600,460 net new subscribers, 64% above the numbers it added a year earlier, and now has more than 4.67 million subscribers whilst XM added more than 398,000 to reach a total of 6.89 million.
XM President and CEO Hugh Panero said its growth had been limited by product availability - at the end of May it had to ask manufacturers to suspend shipping of various receivers following Federal Communications Commission (FCC) tests showing that two devices breached its permissible emission limits (See RNW May 31) - and "overall softness in the retail channel."
2006-07-07: In more US radio deals Cox Radio and Salem have announced agreement for Cox to acquire Salem's contemporary Christian music WBGB-FM serving the Jacksonville, Florida, market for around USD 7.7 million in cash and Triad Broadcasting has reached an agreement sell to Schurz Communications of South Bend, Indiana, its six Rapid City, South Dakota cluster- country KOUT-FM, Contemporary Hit KRCS-FM, adult contemporary KKMK-FM, Classic Rock. KFXS-FM, farm KBHB-AM and oldies KKLS-AM. No price was given for the latter deal.
In North Carolina, CapSan Media LLC has completed its USD 3.5 million acquisition of Convergent Broadcasting's classic hits WFMZ-FM, Adult Album Alternative WVOD-FM, Easy Favorites WYND -FM and hits WZPR-FM.
Commenting on the Cox acquisition, which will take its Jacksonville cluster up to six stations, Cox Radio President and CEO Robert F. Neil said the company was "excited about expanding our presence in Jacksonville" and added, "The addition of WBGB-FM represents a unique opportunity for us to fill out a cluster in a key market."
In another US deal, Netherlands-based VNU has announced agreement to acquire Radio and Records, inc. for an undisclosed sum. It says it will integrate R&R's operations into its Billboard Music Group and that publisher Erica Farber will stay on.
Michael Marchesano, president and CEO of VNU Business Media and Nielsen Entertainment, said in a statement that the acquisition is in line with VNU's strategy to further strengthen its services to the radio and record industries.
2006-07-07: UK media regulator Ofcom has awarded the new Kingston-upon-Hull FM licence, for which it received seven applications (See RNW Mar 10) to Planet Broadcasting Company Ltd. (KCFM 99.9), and that for Andover to Radio Andover Limited, which is wholly owned by Tindle Radio subsidiary Provincial Radio Limited and for which there were two applications (See RNW Licence News May 14).
The Hull licence covers a population of some 400,000 and that for Andover some 40,000. Reasons for the awards are to be announced later.
2006-07-07: Oregon Republican Rep Greg Walden, who owns five small radio stations, has accused US lawmakers of an "incredible lack of understanding about the broadcast media" and expressed fears that heavy-handed application of increased indecency penalties - upped last month from a maximum USD 32,500 to a maximum USD 325,000 per incident and supported by Walden - could put small broadcasters out of business.
In a report in the Los Angeles Times, Walden is quoted as saying of his colleagues, "I wish that the people who voted on these things and enforced them actually had to spend some time in a truly small-market environment" and complains of inconsistency in rulings from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
He cites as an example a decision to allow broadcast of Steven Spielberg's film about World War II "Saving Private Ryan" including graphic language but issue fines for similar words on ABC's "NYPD Blue" and asked, "Just tell me what the boundaries are. Can I use that word or can't I? Don't tell me I can use it if it's this movie, but I can't use it if it's this program. How do I ever know?"
Walden, who noted that many small market stations are worth less than the new maximum fine, had inserted a provision into an earlier version of the legislation that encouraged the FCC to consider market size when levying fines but this was not in the final version signed into law by President Bush.
Walden began in the radio business as a part-time janitor at KIHR-AM in Hood River when he was 15 years old and later went on to fill in for on-air personalities during vacations and on weekend shifts. He did local news, hosted a community talk show and sold ads. He gained a journalism degree from the University of Oregon in 1981 and in 1986 took over his father's two stations, adding three more since then.
He says of indecency standards, "There was a long period where the FCC didn't set the boundaries and stations went way beyond community standards" and says that when the FCC started compensating with heftier and more frequent fines, broadcasters became confused about the indecency boundaries.
As an example of the risks, Walden tells the story of an interview that aired on one of his stations a few years ago in which a local Lions Club official was asked about the group's Fourth of July festivities.
"Without a pause, the guy said, 'We have a [expletive] of stuff planned,' " Walden said adding that the interviewer was so stunned that he failed to bleep out the word during the seven-second delay.
He says of the current situation now that his message is, "I'm just saying, 'OK, you've now got this authority. Don't go be stupid about it.' Understand how these stations operate, differentiate among them and look for ways to give clear guidance as to what's acceptable."
Some clarification of rulings may come following the filing by the FCC in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit asking it to allow ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC to respond to the FCC's March 15 order in which it decided indecency and profanity complaints involving 51 different program episodes or advertisements and proposed a record USD 4.5 million of fines including more than USD 3.6 million against CBS owned and operated and affiliated stations that broadcast an episode of "Without a Trace" and a USD 550,000 forfeiture against CBS for its broadcast (on O&O stations) of the Super Bowl half-time show involving the brief exposure of Janet Jackson's breast: it also ruled, in various other cases that there had been breaches but proposed no penalty (See RNW Mar 16).
The broadcasters had complained that they were not given the opportunity to comment to the commission before it issued the order on these latter cases.
Los Angeles Times report:
2006-07-07: Australia's commercial radio industry in its latest adverts in its campaign to promote radio's effectiveness in advertising is moving to a local and regional focus.
Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner, noting that regional radio reaches more than 11 people and breakfast radio in regional Australia more than 8 million, said using regional commercial radio stations is a great way to get your message across to millions of listeners while at the same time connecting with the local audience through the local commercial radio station.
She also noted that it was easy to book on regional radio through the two major regional rep agencies.
Regional Radioworks (RRW) National Sales Director Daryl Mitchell added that any national advertiser who is not advertising regionally is missing 40 per cent of the population. RRW is one of the two major regional radio representation agencies that represent 139 stations in 70 markets, including the Gold Coast.
He said radio in regional Australia provides a unique opportunity as it has fewer stations per market, those stations have a higher reach of the available audience and across all dayparts, commercial radio is the dominant media.
For the other major agency - The Radio Sales Network (TRSN) - director Dugald Cameron said regional Australians are more like their city cousins than many appreciate and have similar attitudes and aspirations.
The new adverts now airing continue to highlight the key findings of a recently released Advertising Effectiveness Study, which shows that by shifting 20 per cent of a television advertising budget to radio, brand awareness can be increased by up to 20 per cent and sales lifted by up to 15 per cent.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2006-07-06: No charges are to be laid against conservative US radio host Rush Limbaugh over a Viagra prescription that was not in his name found in his luggage when a check was made after he returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic (See RNW Jun 29) but action could still be taken against the doctors involved according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
The paper reports that the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office had said that the prescription was legal and quoted Assistant State Attorney Paul Zacks as saying in a memo, "If there was any impropriety, it would be in the mislabelling" and adding, "Since the doctor wrote the prescription in Dade County, and the prescription was filled in Dade County, any review of the mislabelling of the prescription by the doctors necessarily must occur in Dade County At the request of the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Board of Medicine, copies of the file are being forwarded for those agencies' review."
The paper says Miami-Dade prosecutors will review the file and decide whether charges are warranted against the two Miami doctors involved.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel report:
2006-07-06: Pollster Sir Bob Worcester, who founded Mori - now part of Ipsos-Mori and is now chairman its Public Affairs Advisory board - has told the UK Radio Academy's Radio Festival that demographic change in the UK will squeeze commercial radio and lead to a decline in listening.
Worcester based his predictions on statistics indicating an ageing population and also growth in internet advertising.
Although he says the UK population will increase by around seven million over the next two decades and the number of households will also increase, Worcester says the number of young people, who are heavier listeners to commercial radio will decline and this effect will be exacerbated by the fact that a much higher percentage of young people use the internet regularly.
Currently says Worcester, commercial stations in general have little interest in the 50 plus audience - and advertisers little interest in reaching them even though they tend to be the most affluent section of the population - and have left the field open to BBC stations, especially their local ones, which cater more to those past their 50s.
He notes that at the moment half the adult population is under and half over the age of 45 but the latter have 80% of the wealth and adds that whilst only a quarter of those above 65 are on the internet this rises to 60% in the 55-64 demographic, 80% of those under 45, and 97% of young people in the AB demographic skewing advertising against commercial radio whose revenues are down 9% this year compared to a 53% year-on-year increase for internet advertising.
Worcester sees a lining in the grey cloud in digital radio and suggests commercial radio companies need to develop programming for 45 plus age groups and cited the market researcher's cliché - "is there a gap in the market and is there a market in the gap?"
The Festival also heard criticism by BBC Radio London managing director, David Robey of the delay in introducing metered ratings together with the suggestion that the introduction of an electronic system had been delayed because of the vested interests of big stations who fared worse whilst smaller stations did better in electronic ratings.
The UK Guardian quoted him as saying, "There could be a conspiracy theory that [the tests] probably showed that the big brands - whether they be BBC or commercial - could have lost audience and smaller brands gained audience ... it's not in the interests of big businesses to get worse results."
The criticism was dismissed by RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Ratings) managing director Sally de la Bedoyere, who suggested it was incorrect to assume the current system was fundamentally flawed and added that volatility was present because of the sampling not the system used.
In May RAJAR opted to stick with diaries for two more years whilst further tests were conducted and De la Bedoyere commented at the time that "current metering technology was not proven enough to become the currency for UK ratings (See RNW May 23).
In an earlier session GCap Media chief executive Ralph Bernard defended his company's decision to limit adverts on the group's flagship Capital Radio to two in a row as being forced upon him because it was the only way to retain the station's advertising premium - it had charged around 30% more than Chrysalis's Heart FM and half as much again as Emap's Magic FM.
"What we faced in the autumn of last year was a situation I have never encountered before in radio," said Bernard. "Ad agencies said, 'your [audience] decline has been so great we're not going to pay the premium'. Advertisers were absolutely adamant. We thought, if we lose the premium we'll never get it back - and the point [of the new ad policy] is that we've protected the premium."
Bernard admitted that GCap had lost in the short term by taking the decision, saying "Of course we've lost money doing it, but the size of the group can protect us and buy us some time" but predicted that Capital would be back at the top of the London ratings.
He said he thought the advertising policy would increase audiences, saying, "Of course I'm not sure. But I think they will. It is important to remember why it is I've done this. This is a long-term fix for long-term decline."
Previous de la Bedoyere:
Previous Radio Academy:
UK Guardian - Bernard comments report:
UK Guardian - radio ratings report:
2006-07-06: Sydney 2UE breakfast co-host Mike Carlton in an on-air editorial on the Southern Cross Broadcasting-owned station has suggested that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) had dropped a book by Alan Jones, the top-ranked breakfast host at rival Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB because it outed Jones as being involved in homosexual encounters.
Carlton, who admitted he had not read the book, "Jonestown" written by journalist Chris Masters of the ABC's "4 Corners" programme - it followed a 2002 report on Jones by the programme - said he understood the book "details a number of gay sexual encounters Jones was allegedly involved in."
The Corporation's "Media Watch" TV programme had reported on Monday that the ABC had spent around AUD 100,000 (USD 75,000) on the book but then dropped it following a letter from Jones' lawyers that accused Masters of being biased against the conservative host and said what it had seen was "are replete with false and inappropriate sexual innuendo" and continued, "They are defamatory and their publication is not defensible on any basis."
ABC Enterprises had earlier issued a statement saying the book was dropped on commercial grounds with ABC Enterprises Director Robyn Watts commenting, "ABC Enterprises has a clear responsibility to deliver a commercial return to the ABC. To proceed with publication will almost certainly result in a commercial loss which would be irresponsible."
Media Watch said the decision had in fact been made by the ABC Board following receipt of the letter from the lawyers although ABC Enterprises said it had legal opinion saying any potential defamation action would be defensible and that an independent, outside consultant, brought in to oversee the editing, told ABC Enterprises the book was "even-handed, intelligent and fair-minded"..
In his comment Carlton said of the decision not to proceed, "Jonestown also, I understand, touches on an incident some time ago in a public toilet in London, where Alan Jones was charged with an offence (but was later found to have no case to answer). So is that why the ABC board has tried to stop the book?"
The ABC's acting managing director, Murray Green in a statement broadcast on the corporation's "Lateline" programme on Tuesday said the ABC was worried about facing a large legal bill, commenting, "The board feared facing unrecoverable post-publication legal expenses that could amount to several hundred thousand dollars."
Jones is in London on holiday and refused comment as he arrived at Wimbledon for the tennis championships but his station responded by quoting Jones' ratings successes.
The Australian, reporting the story, noted longstanding rivalry between Jones and Carlton since they both worked for 2UE and noted that Carlton mentioned the cash-for-comment scandal in the late 1990s, an issue that let to the two falling out in 1999 with Carlton calling Jones "greedy."
Although the ABC has dropped the book, Masters has been talking to various potential publishers although he says he has not settled on one. He confirmed that Carlton had not seen it, telling the paper, "Mike certainly hasn't read the book and I'm certainly not going to comment on the content of the book.
He added that he had called Jones late last year and offered to run through the book point by point but the offer was rejected: "I offered to take him through it and give him a good account. We got a response from Mark O'Brien (Jones's lawyer) that they didn't want to do it," said Masters.
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross:
The Australian report:
2006-07-06: Navin Kumar, director-general of Indian state-owned TV broadcaster Doordarshan, is standing in as chief executive of Prasar Bharati, the public body that controls Doordarshan and All India Radio ( AIR) , until a permanent replacement is found for KS Sarma who vacated the post at the end of June after being in the post from March 2002.
There had been speculation that an information and broadcasting ministry official - Indian Television.com had named Pradeep Singh, a government representative on the board of Prasar Bharati - was in line to take the interim role.
The Indian government was reported to have narrowed down the shortlist for a permanent replacement down to four- S.Y. Qureshi, secretary in the sports ministry; Sudeep Banerjee, education secretary; Anil Baijal, urban development secretary; and Vijay Singh, secretary of AYUSH (the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) - and is expected to name the appointee in the near future but subsequently Qureshi was named by the government to go to the Election Commission.
Previous Indian Radio:
Previous Prasar Bharati:
2006-07-05: UK media regulator Ofcom has also published the terms -greatly reducing the fees currently paid and in one case taking them down to around a twentieth of the current level - under which it is proposing to grant four-year extensions to the national commercial licences currently held by GCap's Classic FM, UTV's talkSPORT and SMG's Virgin Radio.
These expire at the end of September next year, at the end of 2008 , and at the end of April 2008 respectively and in all cases Ofcom is proposing considerable reductions in the fees but with a greater increase for the AM licences - in the case of Classic FM, which in 2006 paid 14% of Qualifying Revenue plus a cash sum for the year of GBP 1.161 million (USD 2.14 million) it is proposing a fee of 6% of Qualifying Revenue plus GBP 50,000 (USD 92,000).
In the other two cases, where the licences are for AM broadcasts, it is proposing to drop the qualifying revenue payment and charge a cash sum of GBP 100,000 (USD 184,000), figures that compare to 6% of qualifying revenue plus GBP 563,000 (USD 1.04 million) for talkSPORT in 2006 and 12% of qualifying revenue plus GBP 1.125 million (USD 2.07 million) for Virgin Radio.
In coming to these figures, Ofcom noted that since the existing terms were set the companies concerned have faced revenue pressures including an advertising recession and growth of other advertising, particularly the internet, which has meant that in real terms 2005 radio advertising revenue was around 5% below that of 2,000. In addition it notes "competition for national radio advertising revenue has intensified with new national and regional digital services, new analogue regional services and industry consolidation resulting in the re-enforcement of alternative national radio offerings" and it concludes that "for the national analogue licences, the share of advertising derived as a result of access to the analogue spectrum is likely to fall."
Concerning the grater reduction for talkSPORT and Virgin Radio, Ofcom says it has "long recognised that AM stations are at a particular disadvantage in retaining listeners because of the relatively poor quality of the medium" and says, "The financial terms take into account the migration of audience from analogue platforms to digital platforms to the extent that analogue listening is expected to be exceeded by digital listening by the end of the extended licence periods."
GCap Media Chief Executive Ralph Bernard welcoming the terms for Classic FM said in a statement, "The team here at GCap have worked hard making the case for these revised terms and I am pleased with today's result. I believe that by making these adjustments to our terms, Ofcom has recognised the growth of digital radio and the important role that Classic FM is playing by increasing digital listening to the station."
SMG also welcomed the terms, which it noted amounted to a reduction of around GBP 2 million ( USD 3.68 million) a year but wanted them introduced before its existing licence expires and said it "anticipates entering into discussions with OFCOM" on this matter
Ofcom has also advertised new FM licences for Manchester and Aberdeen, the former covering an area with around 1,450,000 adults and the latter an area with around 240,000.
The deadline for applications is October 5 and applications for the Manchester licence require a non-refundable fee of GBP 25,000 (USD 46,000) and those for Aberdeen a non-refundable fee of GBP 5,000 ( USD 9.200 ).
2006-07-05: The Illinois attorney general's office has launched a lawsuit alleging that Christopher DeChant, host of the US nationally syndicated HIV/AIDS radio program "Aware Talk Radio", and Kim Leffert, a member of the board of the non-profit organization that produces the show, stole more than USD 1.4 million from organization. The programme is the only US weekly, syndicated, radio program providing focusing on HIV/AIDS and claims to be heard on 400 stations across the country
The Chicago Tribune reports that court documents allege that between February 1999 and April 2004 the two signed 21 cheques from the charitable group's bank account that were made to a fictitious company New World Media and diverted the funds to their own use.
The suit alleges that after investigators for Illinois Attorney Gen. Lisa Madigan's office inquired, DeChant and Leffert turned over minutes to a May 1998 board meeting that showed members approved a deal with New World Media for services but according to affidavits from other board members, the minutes the defendants turned over "contained falsehoods and untrue statements," and further investigation uncovered the actual minutes, which mentioned no arrangement with New World Media.
The paper says DeChant, the creator, executive producer and host of "Aware Talk Radio", could not be reached but Leffert said she had not served on the HIV Talk Radio Project board for at least a year and was unaware of the lawsuit.
Chicago Tribune report:
2006-07-05: BBC Director-General Mark Thompson has told the UK Radio Academy's Radio Festival that the capability to broadcast TV to mobile phones could potentially disrupt radio more than the advent of TV itself since it took away the medium's unique selling point of portability and offered to invest more money in digital radio through a joint venture with commercial radio companies.
He was taken up on the offer by GCap Media chief executive Ralph Bernard who in a question-and-answer session following Thompson's opening speech to the festival suggested that Thompson should put his money where his mouth was and put extra funding into the Digital Radio Development Board (DRDB), which was set up by the BBC and commercial companies to promote digital radio.
Thompson suggested that the DRDB remit should be changed to "reflect the much wider technological and marketing challenges which radio now faces."
He also spoke of a project with the working title "MyBBCRadio" that would allow people to use peer-to-peer internet technology to "provide thousands, ultimately millions, of individual radio services created by the audience themselves, all of them based on the extraordinary wealth of existing BBC content, but as relevant to individual users as the playlists they assemble for their iPods".
Commenting on the effect of BBC Radio on listening to commercial radio, and in particular attacks from the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) on Radio 1 and Radio 2, Thompson defended the stations as having become successful "not because they've become more like their competitors but because they've become less like them" and said, "Over the past few years, BBC radio has taken a different creative path from most of commercial radio, focusing on talent and intelligent, exciting speech on its music networks just as much as on 4 and Five Live."
He also suggested to those who had demanded privatization of the two stations that the entry of two new commercial competitors would not be helpful to commercial radio.
Previous Radio Academy:
UK Guardian report:
2006-07-05: Salem Communications' Townhall.com, which it acquired in April for an undisclosed sum, has announced the launch of its new web site that it says "promotes political activism by combining the interactivity of the internet and blogosphere with the reach of conservative talk radio."
Townhall says its site is the "first conservative media site enabling people to create their own blog and their own email newsletters"
The site offers links to a listen to a number of "opinion" items - those we tried in an Independence Day check were not working - to a radio schedule (presumably to Salem's talk shows but this link was also not working) and items from conservative talk shows including those of Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, Mike Gallagher and Bill Bennett , either as streaming audio or as a podcast: the former available without registration but the latter requiring listeners to sign up first.
RNW comment: We thought the number of non-working links made this a rather inauspicious launch but found the availability online of excerpts of various shows valuable, even if just to demonstrate brown-nosed interviewing techniques from some of the hosts involved.
We would have liked the offering to have been more sophisticated - the streaming audio can just be played or stopped and offers no facility to pause or go back part-way through an item and we would also have welcomed MP3 download links as well as podcasts..
2006-07-05: GCap Media has announced that it is to swap drivetime hosts at its Capital Radio and Xfm stations, in moves that it highlights as "Keeping key talent in the Group."
The changes are scheduled to take place next month and involve moving the former's current drive-time host Richard Bacon back to Xfm, where he had previously hosted the drive-time show for 18 months before moving to Capital in May last year to take over the slot from Neil (Dr) Fox, who had with Capital for 18 years, whilst Xfm drive-time host Lucio (Lucio Buffone) moves over to Capital.
GCap Media Operations Director Steve Orchard said the company was "focused on developing talent by offering a broad range of career opportunities and keeping the best people within the Group."
"This is a great opportunity for both Richard and Lucio," he continued, " and I'm delighted that both presenters want to pursue their careers at GCap stations. In Richard, we have a presenter who is already well liked by the Xfm audience and with Lucio, while he has already proved popular on Xfm, I believe he can reach new heights at the reinvigorated Capital Radio."
Bacon started out with Xfm in 2003 presenting his Sunday Show followed by 18 months on the Xfm Friday Drivetime Show
Lucio, who began his radio career at the University of Bradford Radio station, moved to Xfm from the drive time slot at Emap's Kerrang! rock station in Birmingham in October last year after taking the Sony Gold Award for best daily music show for Kerrang!
2006-07-04: Less costs more but doesn't deliver pro-rata in some cases according to a US academic who studied Clear Channel's "Less is More" advertising policy that was introduced by the company to reduce advertising clutter and involved asking advertisers to pay around 70-80% of the price of a one-minute advert for a 30 second one.
The Philadelphia Inquirer says that according to St. Joseph's University marketing professor David Allan, a former disc jockey and radio station executive, says the 30-second ads are only about half as effective for conveying some kinds of messages.
Allan got a grant from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to study the issue of effective advert length and played four 30- and 60-second commercials , embedded in a pop music format - from Macy's, Home Depot, Cavit wine, and LasikPlus Vision Center - to 85 students at the university.
According to Allan shorter ads were about 75 percent as good as the long ones at promoting brands but only half as good at conveying more specific information in the spots such as what was on sale.
Allan now wants to study whether running a short advert twice is as effective as running a long one once and says that he thinks stations could make adverts more palatable by letting listeners know they're necessary to pay the bills and that listening to them is the cost of "free" radio. "I'm a radio guy, so I'm looking for radio to keep all its money," he said. "I'm not looking to throw anybody under the bus."
The Inquirer says that according to industry experts radio created some of the problems by expanding advertising time during the dotcom boom. RBC Capital Markets analyst David Bank said they got to the point where some stations were probably running 20 minutes per hour with Clear Channel amongst the companies running most adverts and said companies are now aiming for closer to 12 minutes: The Inquirer notes that information posted by Clear Channel from a survey on May 29 showed its stations airing an average of 8.9 minutes of commercials per hour, down from 9.3 last year whilst the average among general-market broadcast companies was 10.8 minutes.
"Clear Channel is kind of the guinea pig here and if it works everybody else will probably cut inventory," said Bank.
Not everyone it would appear is confident the idea will work and the paper quotes Mary Meder, president of Harmelin Media in Bala Cynwyd, as saying she thought Clear Channel was "still fighting an uphill battle to convince buyers that" the shorter commercials were "the right strategic way to go" and says officials at companies that specialize in buying advertising time say they have often been able to negotiate rates well below Clear Channel's asking prices.
Other companies cited in general welcomed the Clear Channel move although not all had followed it and some only did so partially - CBS Radio, for example, has not trimmed adverts on WINS-AM in New York but did reduce them at its Houston country station and found ratings went up.
Previous Clear Channel:
Philadelphia Inquirer report:
2006-07-04: A media consortium including Alpha Newspapers, the Irish News and River Media, has announced the purchase of the Q radio network, based in Mid-Ulster and the North-West.
The acquisition of the three stations - Q101.2 based in Omagh and Enniskillen; Q102.9 based in Derry; and Q97.2 based in Coleraine - doubles the number of stations the consortium has a stake in: Its holdings include Six FM in East Tyrone and South Derry; a majority shareholding in Seven FM in Ballymena and Antrim; and Five FM, the new Newry and Mourne area whose licence was awarded last month (See RNW Jun 17).
In addition River Media has stakes in Ocean FM, which broadcasts in Sligo and Donegal, and in Kildare's KFM and the Letterkenny Post, the Donegal Post and the Kildare Post newspapers.
2006-07-04: The BBC's Governors have given their approval for Salford Quays as the preferred location for the move of various departments to the north of England, ruling out a rival bid from Manchester City Council with a site at Central Spine but not confirming that the move will go ahead.
Last month the corporation had given the Salford site - near to the Lowry Museum and art gallery and the Imperial War Museum North - exclusive rights for a period but required Salford MediaCity to resolve various issues (See RNW Jun 16): The governors say the "outstanding issues we raised have been resolved" and the Salford consortium is now the preferred bidder although a final decision will be based on "whether the move represents value for money for licence fee payers, on which work is continuing; and the affordability of the project, with a final decision not able to be taken until the licence fee settlement is known."
Also at the BBC, BBC Radio 1 has said that DJ Steve Lamacq, whose current Lamacq Live show airs from Monday to Thursday evenings, is in talks over his options with the station following a revamp that saw the slot go to Colin Murray in September (See RNW Jul 1).
A station spokesman said that he was involved in talks about the "In New Music We Trust" show that is to precede Murray's new show and the BBC in a news report noted that Lamacq will continue to host his daily afternoon show on BBC digital station 6 Music.
2006-07-03: This week we devote most of our look at print comment on radio to an issue that is more concerned with TV but is nevertheless vital to all forms of broadcaster, that of media ownership, which is currently in the news in Australia, India and the US.
In Australia it came into prominence last week when News Corporation chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch in an all or nothing move called upon the Australian government to either lift restrictions completely or stick with current legislation.
The Melbourne Age reported that he told reporters in Sydney that the government should "Tear up everything, and make it an open go for everybody, otherwise leave it alone." His company has already said it supports removing cross and foreign ownership restrictions that the government has proposed but opposes other parts of the plan that would see a requirement for minimum numbers of media companies in each market and also wants more free-to-air TV licences issued.
Murdoch also commented that with the spread of high-speed broadband internet the media world was changing and opening up, saying, "What it is for me is it's about tremendous choice for everybody, where they get their information, what information they want, where they can put their views out."
In India, the government is also proposing some easing of restrictions but according to the Times of India doesn't really intend to let go and is in fact proposing to expand what the paper calls "already existing draconian provisions" in cable and direct-to-home service guidelines.
In an editorial headed "Control Freaks" the paper says the draft bill shows "that government is still nostalgic for the era when Doordarshan ruled television airwaves" and says, "The Bill permits bureaucrats to raid and seize equipment belonging to private media companies, as well as suspend or revoke their licences, on the mere receipt of complaints from any quarter that the prescribed content code is being violated."
It says the bill masquerades "as part of a set of provisions intended to prevent media monopolies from forming" and adds, "What's even more shocking is that the Bill proposes officials' punitive powers will not be subject to challenge in a court of law. That the government should even contemplate handing over to babus [babu is a term commonly used to refer to bureaucrats and other government officials] powers equivalent to that of the Taliban's moral police shows the time warp in which it operates."
In an echo of Murdoch's comments, the editorial concludes by saying, the government "hasn't yet realised what authoritarian regimes across the world are waking up to - that with the availability of proliferating platforms such as broadband Internet or multimedia 3G mobile phones it's impossible to prevent information, including TV signals, from leaking out."
In the US, however, the driving thought behind Frank Ahrens' article on the latest Federal Communications Commission (FCC) foray into media regulations was that "Big Media No Longer Cares."
Ahrens argued that since the last attempt to change US media legislation, things have changed radically and he notes, "Since 2003, the media giants have greatly expanded their presence on the Internet, buying successful Web sites or redoubling their own efforts. The continued rollout of high-speed Internet, the improvement in online content and an explosion of handheld devices have combined to give Big Media much greater reach and potentially greater influence than it would have had, were companies allowed to buy a few more television stations each."
In 2002, he says, media giants had been "burned by the Internet" and almost all Internet users had dial-up connections. Mel Karmazin, then with Viacom, told the FCC in 2003 it was essential to the company's future that it be allowed to expand but, notes Ahrens, laws were passed forbidding this and CBS, then a Viacom subsidiary, survived.
Now, he writes, "The company sees its future not in owning more television stations but in expanding a revenue stream that was an afterthought in 2003: the Internet and its various iterations of digital downloading and streaming, channels that give CBS a far bigger footprint than local television stations."
Ahrens goes on to detail changes at other media companies, including Tribune Co, and News Corporation and notes that the latter is, rather than looking to buy, is "looking to unload some of its stations" whilst in radio Clear Channel, which was also unable to expand through purchasing more stations in many markets, has also turned to the Internet.
Under Evan Harrison, whom it hired in 2005, says Ahrens "the digital music division has become Clear Channel's fastest-growing segment. Clear-Channel-produced podcasts outsell all others on iTunes."
"This is radio today, as we see it," Harrison wrote, via BlackBerry. "We have to work every day to create better programming than MTV, VH-1 to build our audience. The notion that a radio company would be competing with a cable network just didn't exist six years ago."
Mark Fratrik, vice president of media researchers BIA Financial Network Inc., also thought there might not be that much demand left for consolidation commenting, "I think in 2006 . . . the media environment is much more crowded, much more competitive. Radio groups are looking for opportunities where they can bring added value, not just get big for bigness sake."
After issues, individuals and first syndicated US host Rush Limbaugh. After his deal to escape prosecution on possible doctor shopping charges, he has been found with a Viagra prescription made out to someone else in his luggage on returning from a trip to the Dominican Republic (See RNW Jun 29), a story that has brought out some prime examples of prejudice in the US.
To his supporters, Limbaugh is just being picked on by the authorities and there was what we regarded as a terrific introduction to the prejudice in the start of a blog by Chris Baldwin, West Coast Bureau Chief of Golf Publisher Syndications in TravelGolf: "So this is what America's great airport security has come to? It's now about hassling rich 55-year-old dedicated golfers walking off their private jets? That's what happened to Rush Limbaugh when he returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic. Some glory-seeking customs officials decided they just needed to search Limbaugh's bag. Because he's such a threat to border security."
Which when you think about it puts Baldwin into the Limbaugh fan category - as do other articles he's written (Follow links in his article) but in no way addresses any issues relating to routine checks - should these be carried out at all and if so who, if anyone, should be exempted?; What is their purpose and is or should it be related just to security but not other things such as smuggling?; and what are the relevant regulations governing such searches.
We have seen no evidence to suggest there was any specific attempt to "get Limbaugh" or anything as to quite how Viagra relates to golf and didn't bother with speculation about why the host needed the prescription on this particular journey since that is his business.
What is clear and there is some entertainment in following the links from Baldwin's article is the degree to which prejudice is paramount for many of those commenting, maybe a reflection of the nature of the host himself.
After Limbaugh a move to criticism of another US host, in this case Garrison Keillor who gets the Randy Dotinga treatment in the North County Times. "Why," asks Dotinga, "do people enjoy listening to Garrison Keillor? Keillor defines the word 'lugubrious' with his deep, breathy voice and glacial pacing. He engages in corny repartee with sidekicks, recites political jokes and tells 'the news from Lake Wobegon,' where ---- say it with me now ---- 'all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.'"
Dotinga goes on to give examples of Keillor's own mudslinging, commenting, "Somehow, Keillor's genial radio personality lives in the same body as a self-righteous character assassin who hangs out in the political gutter."
And as to why people listen to him: "More than anything, it may all come down to The Voice. With it, Keillor exudes quiet Midwestern calm and reserve on his show. Like those dogs shuffling off their mortal coil to a "Prairie Home Companion" soundtrack, listeners can take a deep breath ---- Keillor shows them how ---- and relax while thinking of simpler times That's Garrison Keillor for you: a living tranquilizer. "
Finally courtesy of UNESCO some upbeat comments by media consultant Jonathan Marks of Critical Distance concerning broadcasters' futures. Speaking at the annual RadioAsia conference at the Singapore Expo he said broadcasters should realise that they have the content and set up the infrastructure to cash in on "on-demand".
"Let the newly rich technology companies pay for the expensive ads to launch the technology. It's all useless without the relevant content. That means a great future for speech, as well as music," he said, adding that broadcasters also had to recognise what people wanted and needed and what they would pay for.
"People will pay for services that communicate status, and they will also pay to save time. They will not pay for anything that locks them into something they think they do not need," he said.
On then to content and our listening suggestions: And first the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Media Report" that last Thursday had a trio of reports including one on Rupert Murdoch's call for the scrapping of planned media regulation, and an unflattering look at Australian commercial radio in comedian Judith Lucy's new show, called "I failed." Asked how she ended up in commercial radio her answer began," Gee, stupidity and greed are the two words that come to mind. I don't know. It seemed like a good idea at the time "
Then sticking with the ABC, the last few weeks of "Spirit of Things" on Sundays - both MP3s and streaming audio are available on the site - provided an interesting contrast : The most recent edition "Epiphanies: Ross Edwards" looked at the compositions of the eponymous Australian composer whilst on June 25 the programme, in the sixth part of its Spiritual Classics , looked at China and the teachings of Confucius, the Daodejing and the Yi Jing and that on June 18 features English historian Michael Burleigh explaining why he thinks Nazism, Communism and the French Revolution are examples of political religion.
Then for something very different from BBC Radio 2 and "Ain't no Mickey Mouse Music" next Friday at 18:00 GMT, the first of a four-part series in which Brian Sibley looks at the musical output of Walt Disney Studios.
The first programme looks at Disney's revolutionary way of telling stories through music and song and includes the tracks: Second Star to the Right, Beauty and The Beast (Best Song Oscar winner in 1992) and The Ballad of Davy Crockett.
Also from Radio 2 we'd suggest "Radio Rivron" whose new six-week run started last Thursday and will be on the site until this week's programme at 21:00 GMT. Earlier that evening at 18:00 GMT "Bob Harris Country" features Harris talking to The Dixie Chicks and includes live performances of songs from their new album, recorded exclusively for Radio 2 at the BBC's Maida Vale studios
Moving up a channel, BBC Radio 3's "Night Waves" on Friday featured the Battle of the Somme in both the songs of the time and a report from the battlefield: It will be on the site until this Friday when the programme, at 20:30 GMT, will feature Philip Dodd talking to philosopher and political activist George Soros about his latest book, "The Age of Fallibility: Unintended Consequences of the War on Terror."
Also from Radio 3 next Saturday, "Opera on 3" at 17:30 GMT features Delius's Margot la Rouge.
Up one more and BBC Radio 4, starting with Sunday's "Apprentice to the Past", the first in a four-part series by Clare Jenkins about those practicing ancient skills: This began with a Suffolk pargeter carrying on the tradition of cutting strange designs into the plasterwork on houses in the county.
Tomorrow the station broadcasts (at 10:00 GMT ) "Why The Big Pause?" in which stand-up comic Adam Bloom discusses the power of silence in comedy and finally this week's "Book of the Week" at 08:45 GMT daily is "The Plimsoll Sensation" by Nicolette Jones - the story of maritime safety campaigner Samuel Plimsoll.
Finally still with a maritime theme but only for a few hours before it is replaced by this week's edition, last week's edition of "Research File" on Radio Netherlands was a special on whales including the sounds of their singing: This morning's programme will include a look at new research on recovered/false memory syndrome.
Melbourne Age - media reforms report:
North County Times - Dotinga:
Times of India - media proposals editorial:
TravelGolf - Baldwin:
Washington Post - Ahrens:
2006-07-03: International satellite radio operator WorldSpace has signed an agreement with the French company Sodielec to develop terrestrial repeater prototypes that will enable WorldSpace to expand its satellite radio and data services to automobiles across Western Europe, beginning in Italy, where it recently announced a partnership with New Satellite Radio S.r.l. to launch its service (See RNW May 9).
WorldSpace says its contract with Sodielec is values at Euros 800,000 (USD 1 billion) and includes prototype design and development as well as guaranteed pricing for subsequent large-scale production of at least one model.
It adds that it expects to evaluate the Sodielec prototypes in Q4 2006 with production and deployment slated for 2007, when it expects to launch Europe's first digital satellite radio and data service for both portable and vehicular devices.
2006-07-03: Clear Channel's adult-contemporary WLIT-FM has become the only Chicago station to have an all-female talent line up from morning to night according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Feder was reporting the hiring for afternoons of Coco Cortez; she joins Melissa Forman in mornings, Robin Rock in mid-days, and the syndicated Delilah at night, leaving the male contributions down to production director Dave Hilton, who hosts overnights via recorded voice tracks.
Previous Clear Channel:
2006-07-02: Last week saw no major issues for the regulators and there were no radio-related announcements from Australia or Ireland but a fairly steady flow from the other regulators.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), as noted in its seventh annual Broadcasting Monitoring Report records a continuing decline in the average time Canadians spend listening to radio (see below): it also approved the CAD 12.5 million (USD 10.9 million) take over by Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Ltd. of six FMs from Island Radio Ltd (See RNW Jun 28).
Radio licensing decisions announced included the following (in order of province):
*Renewal until 31 August 2013 of licence of English-language commercial station CKLG-FM, Vancouver and its transmitter CKLG-FM-1, Whistler.
*Renewal until 31 August 2013 of licence of English-language commercial station CKSR-FM, Chilliwack.
*Renewal until 31 August 2013 of licence of English-language commercial station CKWX-AM, Vancouver and its short-wave transmitter CKFX-SW.
*Approval of new 1,550 watts FM transmitter in Squamish for CBU-AM, Vancouver, to rebroadcast the programming of English-language network service CBC Radio One.
Also in British Columbia, the Commission has republished its decision announced last year to approve new transmitters in Castlegar and Grand Forks for CJAT-FM, Trail, noting that at the time it had inadvertently failed to take into consideration an intervention in opposition to each of the applications, submitted by Vista Broadcast Group Inc. The decision is unchanged.
*Approval of application of French-language Type A community station CKXL-FM, Winnipeg, to reduce its weekly level of station-produced programming. The station said its reliance on the support of community volunteers meant it did not have the resources to maintain local programming at 121 hours a week and added that it will continue broadcasting 40 hours each week of programming produced by the Réseau francophone d'Amérique.
*Renewal until 31 August 2013 of licence of English-language commercial station CILQ-FM, North York.
*Renewal until 31 August 2013 of licence of English-language commercial station CKDO-AM, Oshawa and its transmitter CKDO-FM-1, Oshawa.
*Renewal until 31 August 2013 of licence of English-language commercial station CFTR-AM, Toronto.
*Renewal until 31 August 2013 of licence of English-language commercial station CHFI-FM, Toronto.
*Approval of application to relocate transmitter, decrease antenna height and increase power of transmitter CHIN-1-FM, Toronto, from 35 watts to 161 watts.
*Approval of application to change frequency of CJBE-FM, Port-Menier (Île d'Anticosti), relocate its transmitter, decrease its antenna height and increase its power from 6 watts to 88 watts. The increase in power will change CJBE-FM's status from that of a low-power, unprotected service to that of a regular, Class A service.
The CRTC also issued a public notice, with a deadline for interventions or comments of August 2 that included the following radio applications:
*British Columbia- Application from UCFV Campus and Community Radio Society to use frequency 88.5 MHz with an average effective radiated power of 92 watts for English-language community based campus FM approved in March.
*Ontario - Application to renew the licence of AM 740 Primetime Radio Limited Partnership's CHWO-AM, Toronto that expires on August 31. The CRTC notes that Primetime Radio Inc. has submitted an application to acquire from AM 740 LP, as part of a corporate reorganization, the assets of CHWO of the transitional digital radio undertaking CHWO-DR-2 associated with CHWO.
In the UK, Ofcom has now launched a consultation on the request to allow Guardian Media Group (GMG), which has just acquired from UTV hits and classic hits Q96, licensed to Paisley, from its from its current base in the Kinning Park district of Glasgow to its Real Radio Scotland building in Glasgow (See RNW Jun 29). Also in Scotland, Ofcom noted the transfer of control of the Ayr digital multiplex from Emap to Arqiva (Also Jun 29).
Ofcom has also launched a consultation, with a deadline for responses of September 7 on the use of available spectrum in the 10 GHz, 28 GHz, 32 GHz and 40 GHz bands for wireless broadband use. It is proposing to auction 12 licences, nine of which will have UK coverage - one in the 10 GHz band, two in 28 GHz, and six in 32 GHz. In addition, three in 28 GHz will have varying degrees of geographical coverage. All will be tradable and will have an indefinite term with a minimum period of fifteen years.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a number of penalties, totalling USD 26,000 in all (See RNW Jul 1).
In other actions, it rejected an application to move the community of license of WXAM-AM, Buffalo, Kentucky, to Hodgenville, Kentucky: The station is currently the sole local service licensed at Buffalo, which has an estimated population of 500 but was said to be able to receive at least 16 other stations, but would be the second local station for Hodgenville, whose population in 2,000 to 2.874.
The FCC said it did not find sufficient public interest factors in a move to offset the expectation of continued local service at Buffalo.
In Florida, it renewed the license of station WUFT-FM, Gainesville, which is licensed to the University of Florida, rejecting an objection by George Philip Reno who had called for a refusal of renewal because WUFT-FM refused to replace its regular programming of classical music with informational programming during the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. This, said Reno, deprived Florida residents of access to necessary information.
The FCC said the action did not constitute serious violations of the Communications Act or the Commission's Rules, or other violations that, when considered together, evidence a pattern of abuse.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-07-02: Broadcast transmission group Arqiva and the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) have announced that the Guardian Radio Group's Real Radio won this year's Arqiva Gold Award: GMG's Real Radio stations also won the Arqiva Commercial Radio Station of the Year for stations with a potential audience of a million plus; the Arqiva Commercial Radio News Award; and the Arqiva Commercial Radio Programme or Feature of the Year Award that went to Real Radio, Yorkshire's documentary feature "Bradford City Fire: 20 Years After".
Among other awards Nick Ferrari took the Arqiva Commercial Radio Presenter of the Year Award and Simon Bates the Arqiva/IRN Newslink Special Award.
Ferrari, who took this year's Breakfast Show Sony Gold Award for the "Nick Ferrari at Breakfast" show on Chrysalis's LBC 97.3FM (See RNW May 9) took the Commercial Radio Presenter award for a second time: He had won it in 2003 and judges commented on his ability to serve up a skilful mix of humour, pathos and headline-grabbing interviews.
Bates' Special Award marked his 35 years in British Radio and the judges commented that he had a unique radio style and, throughout his remarkable career, had never lost an ounce of his passion for communicating with listeners: He currently hosts the Classic FM breakfast show - and presents "Our Tune at Noon" across GCap's One Network group of stations.
Born in Birmingham he worked for radio stations in Australia and New Zealand as a teenager before returning to the UK 1971 and joining the BBC, where he initially worked for Radio 4 and later Radio 2 and Radio 1 with brief stints at Radio 3, for which he presented a Prom concert in 1987, and the then Radio 5 - now Radio Five Live - where he presented a digest of the daily papers in 1990.
He resigned in 1993 when it was thought he was among presenters whose posts would be at risk under the shake-up announced by then Radio 1 controller Matthew Bannister and after leaving the BBC, as well as TV work, has worked for now-defunct Irish-based long wave station Atlantic 252; in 1995 as the Breakfast show presenter at Talk Radio UK - which became talkSPORT; Liberty Radio, London; and from 1999 - 2002 as LBC breakfast host.
2006 is the last year the award will be organised by the CRCA before it is subsumed into the Radio Centre (See RNW Feb 21) and CRCA Research and Communications Manager Alison Winter said they could not be handing it over "in any better shape with record entries and a list of winners that truly reflects the diversity and creativity of the people and stations that make up today's UK Commercial Radio industry."
The full list of awards this year is:
*The Arqiva Commercial Radio Programmer of the Year - Mark Browning - Heart 106.2
* The Arqiva Commercial Radio Marketing Award - Sue Green, Graham Lysaght and Hamish Law - 107.6 Juice FM
* The Arqiva Commercial Radio Social Action Initiative Award - Radio in Schools - GWR FM Bristol
*The Arqiva Commercial Radio Station of the Year (less than 300,000) - 102.5 Radio Pembrokeshire
*The Arqiva Commercial Radio News Award - Real Radio, Yorkshire
*The Arqiva Local Sales Team of the Year - The Dearne FM Sales Team
*The Arqiva Commercial Radio Technical Innovation Award - Chrysalis Radio Engineering for LBC 97.3FM and LBC News 1152 AM
*The Arqiva Commercial Radio Station of the Year (300,000 to 1 million) - 97.2 Beacon Radio (West Midlands)
*The Arqiva National Sales Team of the Year - Classic FM Sales Team
*The Arqiva/British Heart Foundation Action on Health Award - Wessex FM
*The Arqiva Commercial Radio Programme or Feature of the Year - The Bradford City Fire: 20 Years After - Real Radio, Yorkshire
* The Arqiva/Skillset Commercial Radio Presentation Newcomers of the Year - Rupert Jones and Thomas Bowker - Fox FM, Oxfordshire
*The Arqiva Commercial Radio Digital Station of the Year - Planet Rock
*The Arqiva Commercial Radio Station Sound Award - Peter Gee, Jonathan Young and Liz Brace - talkSPORT
* The Arqiva Commercial Radio Presenter of the Year - in association with x-trax - Nick Ferrari - LBC 97.3FM
* The Arqiva Commercial Radio Station of the Year (1 million plus) - Real Radio, Scotland
*The Neil Robinson Memorial Award for Marketing Excellence - Dawn Gibson - 96.6 TFM
*The Arqiva/IRN Newslink Commercial Radio Special Award - Simon Bates
* The Arqiva Gold Award - Real Radio
Arqiva web site:
2006-07-02: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in its seventh annual Broadcasting Monitoring Report just released records a continuing decline in the average time Canadians spend listening to radio, down from 20.5 hours a week in 1999 to 19.1 hours last year when it declined more steeply after two years when average listening was 19.5 hours.
Over the six years recorded the listening decline was steepest amongst those 25-34, down 3.2 hours to 18.1 hours followed by those 12-17, down by 2.7 hours to 8.6 hours and those 18-21, down 2.1 hours to 15.2 hours.
It was least down amongst those 50-54, where it fell by only 0.1 hours then those 35-49 where it fell by only 0.6 hours to 21 hours with the remaining group-those above 65 - listening 1.1 hours less at 21.6 hours a week.
Within the listening, AM has lost share - down 6.7% to 21% of total listening hours for English AM stations and down 3.8 % to 1.9% for French-language AMs whilst FM stations have increased their share - up 7.5% to 52.7% for English-language FMs and up 3.5% to 18.9% for French-language FMs whilst "others" - principally tuning to US stations - have lost 0.4% to a 5.6% share.
Overall says the report, Canadians have access to 1,223 radio services, of which 913 are English-language services, 275 are French-language services and 35 are third-language services. It says that during 2005 the CRTC approved 44 new stations.
Station revenues in 2005 were up 9% on 2004 to CAD 1.3 billion (USD 1.17 billion) and profits before interest and taxes were up 24% to CAD 277 million (USD 248 million). Ethnic station revenues outpaced the rest of the industry - up 11.5% from 2004 to 2005, helped significantly by a new FM in Toronto and a new FM in Montréal: These stations rely more heavily on local revenues which are 95% of their total compared to 77% local revenues for English-language commercial stations and 66% for French-language commercial stations.
Ranked by listening hours the top five radio groups - who took 33% of listening - were Corus with 91,725 hours and a 17% share in 2005 followed by Standard Broadcasting with 65,643 hours and a 12% share; Rogers Communications with 48,243 and a 9% share, Astral with 38,139 and a 7% share and CHUM with 36,116 hours, also a 7% share.
For French-language listeners the top three groups were Astral with a 32% share; Corus with 22% and Cogeco with 10% and the top three groups for English-language listeners were Corus and Standard, each with 17%, and Rogers with 12%.
In revenue terms Corus took 18% of revenues in 2005 followed by Rogers with 14%, Standard with 14%, CHUM with 10% and Astral with 8%: Split into language groupings the French-language top three were Astral with a 49% share; Corus with 25%; and Cogeco with 9% whilst for English-language groups the top five were Corus with 18%; Rogers with 18%; Standard with 17%; CHUM with 12% and Newcap with 7%.
CRTC Broadcasting Monitoring Report ( 144Page, 1.48 Mb PDF):
2006-07-01: US radio revenues in May inched up 1% on a year ago according to the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) which had recorded falls for the previous three months.
Within the figures national revenues were down 1%, local revenues were up 1%, total combined local and national advertising was up 1% and- non-spot revenues down 1%.
For the year to date the corresponding figures were national revenues flat; local revenues down 2%; total combined local and national advertising down 1%; non-spot revenues up 6%; and total spot and non-spot down 1%.
For May, RAB's Ad Sales Index that equates pre-dot.com boom base year 1998 to 100 was 137.5 for total combined local and national with the local index 137.8 and the national index 137.1 with the year-to-date figures showing total combined local and national 140.5; the local index 139.3; and the national index 144.5.
Previous RAB figures:
2006-07-01: BBC Radio 1 afternoon hosts Colin Murray and Edith Bowman are to split up from September 25 as part of a revamp of the station's evening schedule that will see Murray hosting a new music show from Monday to Thursday from 22:00 while Bowman goes solo in the 1300-16:00 slot the duo currently co-host.
The changes include the departure of Chris Coco and Fergie although the latter will continue to put together Essential Mixes for the station.
Murray's new show will be preceded at 21:00 by "In New Music We Trust" shows to be hosted by the station's "musical experts" and will act as "one stop guides to everything that's happening in a particular genre fronted by the experts in that field."
The station is also introducing a number of other new shows including "The 1Xtra showcase", a selection of the very best new black music from 1Xtra; a multi-genre "Future Mix" show to feature new DJs; and shows hosted by Annie Mac - a multi-genre mix show; Eddie Halliwell and The Trophy Twins - both shows to feature club music.
Murray said of his new show, "I've been at Radio 1 for eight years with more than four years of that time spent making specialist programmes and I'm grateful to be given the chance to front a show that really hits those turned-on, engaged evening Radio 1 listeners. It's basically a blank canvas to tamper with the traditional format."
He added, "It's going to be exciting and personal and it's going to show a blatant disregard for musical pigeon-holing."
Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt commented. "We have made the specialist schedule easier for our audience to navigate and provided a broader range of content. We believe that this and the amazing talent line up will help even more listeners to come and sample the wealth of distinctive specialist shows Radio 1 has to offer."
Ian Parkinson, Head of Specialist Music and Speech, Radio 1, added, "It's important for the schedule to keep evolving to keep pace with the musical passions of our young audience which is why we've made these changes. "
Of Murray's show he said, "Colin brings with him a wealth of specialist knowledge as well as his consummate skills as a broadcaster", adding, "It's great to be able to give new talent like Eddie Halliwell and The Trophy Twins their own shows."
Earlier this week Parfitt was appointed by the corporation to lead the development of its offerings to teenagers, developing offerings for them through broadband, radio and TV services, and including comedy, factual programming and TV drama as well as music, said of the Radio 1 changes,
BBC Director General Mark Thompson making the announcement said, "Andy's appointment is a significant step in developing the public service vision set out in Creative Future" and added, "The BBC plays an important role in the early years of many children's lives. But as they reach adolescence this relationship fades as the Corporation hasn't been producing enough content that appeals to them."
"We are now aiming to bridge that gap with high quality content tailored and packaged for them, which we hope will complement existing services provided by the commercial sector," said Thompson.
2006-07-01: Radio One Inc has announced the departure of its COO Mary Catherine Sneed, who had been in the post since January 1988, to "pursue other interests." Before taking up the role she was General Manager of Radio One of Atlanta, which was acquired by Radio 1 and in a statement about the departure company president and CEO Alfred C. Liggins III said, "Mary Catherine has been a valuable contributor to Radio One over the years and we wish her well in her future endeavours,
Also out in US radio is Katz Radio Group President Steve Shaw who has already left the company. Katz Media Group CEO Stu Olds will take over his duties until a replacement is found and executives Katz Radio President Mark Gray, Christal Radio President Brian Benedik and Eastman Radio President Tucker Flood will report to Olds.
Previous Radio One Inc:
2006-07 01: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed or imposed penalties totalling USD 26,000 on a number of radio stations and a pirate operator.
The largest penalty, of USD 10,000 went to California pirate William Stephen Major of Sacramento: Signals from an unauthorized station identifying itself as "KNOZ LP" had been traced on January 5, 2005, and Major, who took responsibility, said he would take the station off the air as he wanted to apply for a low power FM licence.
A week later signals from the same station were traced and also subsequently two days later and in February and March and a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) for USD 10,000 was issued to Major in June. This elicited a response from "Radio 916", saying it and Major, a volunteer employee, was responsible for the station; it thought it had authority to operate until early January because it intended to file a LPFM application; and that it did not have the ability to pay.
The FCC took the view that Major had said he was responsible and demonstrated control by taking the station off air, said no evidence had been produced of his inability to pay, and confirmed the full USD 10,000 penalty.
The next largest penalty was one of USD 8,000 imposed on Farmworkers Educational Radio Network, Inc., licensee of KCEC-FM, Wellton, Arizona, for failure to ensure operational readiness of its Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment.
An inspection in April 2005 had shown the equipment as not operational and a review showed that from January 2004 through April 2005 only four alerts had been received from local primary stations and none had been retransmitted.
An NAL for USD 8.000 was issued in July, 2005, to which Farmworkers responded acknowledging lapses but saying KCED-FM made a conscientious effort to comply with the EAS Rules; that the EAS transmission equipment was at all times fully operational; that the station had most of the required logging slips; and that if someone had not "jostled loose" the plug on the EAS receiver, the station would have been in full compliance.
The FCC took the view that the rules had been breached, noted previous enforcement action against Farmworkers, and confirmed the full USD 8,000 penalty.
In Texas, the FCC has issued a USD 3,000 penalty on Power Radio Corporation, licensee of Low Power FM Station KXPW-LP, , Georgetown, for failure to file a modification of license application on FCC Form 319 within ten days of replacing its authorized antenna. Power Radio had sought reduction or cancellation on the basis of inability to pay, saying it is a new operator with decreasing revenues and submitted its federal tax return for 2003 in support of the claims but the FCC said the documentation did not justify reduction and confirmed the full penalty.
Also in Texas, the FCC has issued a penalty of USD 1,000 to Brazos Valley Broadcasting, LLC., Licensee of KZTR-FM, Franklin, for failure to properly maintain the Station's public inspection file: It had initially issued an NAL for USD 9,000 in August last year but Brazos filed for reduction on the basis that missing issues/programs lists prior to July 1, 2002, were inadvertently destroyed during a station move and could not be replaced and that it had put a letter saying that this had happened in the file and that the violation covered three years rather than five years as specified in the NAL. The FCC taking the arguments into account trimmed the penalty to USD 1,000.
In Michigan, the commission issued an NAL to a USD 4,000 penalty to Beyond the Bay Media Group (BBMG), licensee of Non commercial Educational Station WTRK-FM, Bay City, for operation of a broadcast station at variance with the terms of the station's authorization because it had constructed the tower with different parameters to those specified in its construction permit, but allowed the sale of the station to Educational Media Foundation (EMF) and an application by the latter for a construction permit to modify the station's technical facilities.
It rejected a call from Michigan Community Radio, licensee of non commercial educational station WWKM-FM, Imlay City, to deny the sale and CP modifications on the basis that to do so would reward "reward BBMG for its bad behaviour" and allow EMF to benefit from facilities to which it is not entitled.
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